The Wit and Humor of America, Volume I. (of X.)
Author: Various
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I'm hoping the conductor will come in and give us all a tip to take to the timber because the cops are going to pinch the room, but there's nothing doing.

One of the dames on my right finds her voice and passes it around:—

"Oh, I think it's a perfect fright! I always did detest electric blue, anyway. It is so unbecoming, and then—"

I've just decided that this lady ought to make up as a Swede servant girl and play the part, when her friend hooks in:

"Oh, yes; I think it will look perfectly sweet! It is a foulard in one of those new heliotrope tints, made with a crepe de chine chemisette, with a second vest peeping out on either side of the front over an embroidered satin vest and cut in scallops on the edge, finished with a full ruche of white chiffon, and the sleeves are just too tight for any use, and the skirt is too long for any good, and I declare the lining is too sweet! and I just hate to wear it out on the street and get it soiled, and I was going to have it made with a tunic, and Mrs. Wigwag—that's my brother-in-law's first cousin—she had her's made to wear with guimpes—and they are so economical! and—"

Think of a guy having to ride four miles and get his forehead fanned all the while with talk about foulard and crepe de chine and guimpes!

Wouldn't it lead you to a padded cell?

Say! I was down and out—no kidding!

I wanted to get up and fight the door-tender, but I couldn't.

One of the conversationalists was sitting on my overcoat.

I felt that if I got up and called my coat back to Papa she might lose the thread of her story, and the jar would be something frightful.

So I sat still and saved her life.

The one on my right must have been the Lady President of The Hammer Club.

She was talking about some other girl and she didn't do a thing to the absent one.

She said she was svelte.

I suppose that's Dago for a shine.

That's the way with some women. They can't come right out and call another woman a polish. They have to beat around the bush and chase their friends to the swamps by throwing things like "svelte" at them. Tush!

I tried to duck the foreign tattle on my right and by so doing I'm next to this on my left:

"Oh, yes; I think politics is just too lovely! I don't know whether I'd rather be a Democrat or a Republican, but I think—oh! just look at the hat that woman has on! Isn't that a fright? Wonder if she trimmed it herself. Of course she did; you can tell by—"

I'm gasping for breath when the broad lady across the aisle gets the floor:

"No, indeed! I didn't have Eliza vaccinated. Why, she's too small yet, and don't you know my sister's husband's brother's child was vaccinated, and she is younger than our Eliza, but I don't just care, I don't want—"

Then the sweet girlish thing on my left gave me the corkscrew jab.

It was the finish:

"Isn't that lovely? Well, as I was telling you, Charlie came last night and brought Mr. Storeclose with him. Mr. Storeclose is awfully nice. He plays the mandolin just too sweet for anything, and—"

Me!—to the oyster beds! No male impersonators garroting a mandolin—not any in mine!

When I want to take a course in music I'll climb into a public library and read how Baldy Sloane wrote the Tiger Lily with one hand tied behind him and his feet on the piano.

So I fell off the car and crawled home to mother.



Muskeeters are a game bug, but they won't bite at a hook. Thare iz millyuns ov them kaught every year, but not with a hook, this makes the market for them unstiddy, the supply allways exceeding the demand. The muskeeto iz born on the sly, and cums to maturity quicker than enny other ov the domestik animiles. A muskeeter at 3 hours old iz just az reddy and anxious to go into bizzness for himself, az ever he iz, and bites the fust time az sharp, and natral, as red pepper duz. The muskeeter haz a good ear for musik, and sings without notes. The song ov the muskeeto iz monotonous to sum folks, but in me it stirs up the memorys ov other days. I hav lade awake, all nite long, menny a time and listened to the sweet anthems ov the muskeeter. I am satisfied that thare want nothing made in vain, but i kant help thinking how mighty kluss the musketoze kum to it. The muskeeter haz inhabited this world since its kreashun, and will probably hang around here until bizzness closes. Whare the muskeeter goes to in the winter iz a standing konumdrum, which all the naturalists hav giv up, but we kno he dont go far, for he iz on hand early each year with hiz probe fresh ground, and polished. Muskeeters must be one ov the luxurys ov life, they certainly aint one ov the necessarys, not if we kno ourselfs.



Love levels all plots. Dead men sell no tales. A new boom sweeps clean. Circumstances alter bookcases. The more haste the less read. Too many books spoil the trade. Many hands make light literature. Epigrams cover a multitude of sins. Ye can not serve Art and Mammon. A little sequel is a dangerous thing. It's a long page that has no turning. Don't look a gift-book in the binding. A gilt-edged volume needs no accuser. In a multitude of characters there is safety. Incidents will happen even in the best regulated novels. One touch of Nature makes the whole book sell. Where there's a will there's a detective story. A book in the hand is worth two in the library. An ounce of invention is worth a pound of style. A good name is rather to be chosen than great characters. Where there's so much puff, there must be some buyer.



In days of old, So I've been told, The monkeys gave a feast. They sent out cards, With kind regards, To every bird and beast. The guests came dressed, In fashion's best, Unmindful of expense; Except the whale, Whose swallowtail, Was "soaked" for fifty cents.

The guests checked wraps, Canes, hats and caps; And when that task was done, The footman he With dignitee, Announced them one by one. In Monkey Hall, The host met all, And hoped they'd feel at ease, "I scarcely can," Said the Black and Tan, "I'm busy hunting fleas."

"While waiting for A score or more Of guests," the hostess said, "We'll have the Poodle Sing Yankee Doodle, A-standing on his head. And when this through, Good Parrot, you, Please show them how you swear." "Oh, dear; don't cuss," Cried the Octopus, And he walked off on his ear.

The Orang-Outang A sea-song sang, About a Chimpanzee Who went abroad, In a drinking gourd, To the coast of Barberee. Where he heard one night, When the moon shone bright, A school of mermaids pick Chromatic scales From off their tails, And did it mighty slick.

"All guests are here, To eat the cheer, And dinner's served, my Lord." The butler bowed; And then the crowd Rushed in with one accord. The fiddler-crab Came in a cab, And played a piece in C; While on his horn, The Unicorn Blew, You'll Remember Me.

"To give a touch Of early Dutch To this great feast of feasts, I'll drink ten drops Of Holland's schnapps," Spoke out the King of Beasts. "That must taste fine," Said the Porcupine, "Did you see him smack his lip?" "I'd smack mine, too," Cried the Kangaroo, "If I didn't have the pip."

The Lion stood, And said: "Be good Enough to look this way; Court Etiquette Do not forget, And mark well what I say: My royal wish Is ev'ry dish Be tasted first by me." "Here's where I smile," Said the Crocodile, And he climbed an axle-tree.

The soup was brought, And quick as thought, The Lion ate it all. "You can't beat that," Exclaimed the Cat, "For monumental gall." "The soup," all cried. "Gone," Leo replied, "'Twas just a bit too thick." "When we get through," Remarked the Gnu, "I'll hit him with a brick."

The Tiger stepped, Or, rather, crept, Up where the Lion sat. "O, mighty boss I'm at a loss To know where I am at. I came to-night With appetite To drink and also eat; As a Tiger grand, I now demand, I get there with both feet."

The Lion got All-fired hot And in a passion flew. "Get out," he cried, "And save your hide, You most offensive You." "I'm not afraid," The Tiger said, "I know what I'm about." But the Lion's paw Reached the Tiger's jaw, And he was good and out.

The salt-sea smell Of Mackerel, Upon the air arose; Each hungry guest Great joy expressed, And "sniff!" went every nose. With glutton look The Lion took The spiced and sav'ry dish. Without a pause He worked his jaws, And gobbled all the fish.

Then ate the roast, The quail on toast, The pork, both fat and lean; The jam and lamb, The potted ham, And drank the kerosene. He raised his voice: "Come, all rejoice, You've seen your monarch dine." "Never again," Clucked the Hen, And all sang Old Lang Syne.



We had a sperrit meetin' (we'll never have no more!) To call up all the sperrits of them that's "gone before." A feller called a "medium" (he wuz of medium size), Took the contract fer the fetchin' o' them sperrits from the skies.

The mayor—the town council—the parson an' his wife, Come to shake han's with them sperrits what had left the other life; The Colonel an' the Major—the coroner, an' all Wuz waitin' an' debatin' in the darkness o' the hall.

The medium roared, "Silence! Amanda Jones appears! Is her husband present?" ("No, sir—he's been restin' twenty years!") "Here's the ghost of Sally Spilkins, from the lan' whar' glories glow: Would her husband like to see her?" (An' a feeble voice said, "No!")

"Here's the wife of Colonel Buster; she wears a heavenly smile: She wants to see the Colonel, an' she's comin' down the aisle!" Then all wuz wild confusion—it warn't a bit o' fun!— With "Lord, have mercy on me," the Colonel broke an' run!

Then the coroner got skeery an' scampered fer his life! "Stop—stop him!" said the medium; "here comes his second wife!" But thar' warn't a man could stop him in that whole blame settlement.— He turned a double summersault an' out the winder went!

Then, the whole town council follered an' hollered all the way; The parson said he had a call 'bout ten miles off, to pray! He didn't preach nex' Sunday, an' they tell it roun' a bit, Accordin' to the best reports the parson's runnin' yit!



Grasshoppers roam the Kansas fields and eat the tender grass— A trivial affair, indeed, but what then comes to pass? You go to buy a panama, or any other hat; You learn the price has been advanced a lot because of that. A glacier up in Canada has slipped a mile or two— A little thing like this can boost the selling price of glue. Occurrences so tragic always thrill me to the core; I hope and pray that nothing ever happens any more.

Last week the peaceful Indians went a-searching after scalps, And then there was an avalanche 'way over in the Alps; These diametric happenings seem nothing much, but look— We had to add a dollar to the wages of the cook. The bean-crop down at Boston has grown measurably less, And so the dealer charges more for goods to make a dress. Each day there is some incident to make a man feel sore, I'm on my knees to ask that nothing happens any more.

It didn't rain in Utah and it did in old Vermont— Result: it costs you fifty more to take a summer's jaunt; Upon the plains of Tibet some tornadoes took a roll— Therefore the barons have to charge a higher price for coal. A street-car strike in Omaha has cumulative shocks— It boosted huckleberries up to twenty cents a box. No matter what is happening it always finds your door— Give us a rest! Let nothing ever happen any more.

Mosquitoes in New Jersey bite a magnate on the wing— Result: the poor consumer feels that fierce mosquito's sting: The skeeter's song is silenced, but in something like an hour The grocers understand that it requires a raise in flour. A house burns down in Texas and a stove blows up in Maine, Ten minutes later breakfast foods in prices show a gain. Effects must follow causes—which is what I most deplore; I hope and pray that nothing ever happens any more.



Her hair was a waving bronze, and her eyes Deep wells that might cover a brooding soul; And who, till he weighed it, could ever surmise That her heart was a cinder instead of a coal!



I have heard a good deal of the tenacity with which English ladies retain their personal beauty to a late period of life; but (not to suggest that an American eye needs use and cultivation, before it can quite appreciate the charm of English beauty at any age) it strikes me that an English lady of fifty is apt to become a creature less refined and delicate, so far as her physique goes, than anything that we Western people class under the name of woman. She has an awful ponderosity of frame, not pulpy, like the looser development of our few fat women, but massive with solid beef and streaky tallow; so that (though struggling manfully against the idea) you inevitably think of her as made up of steaks and sirloins. When she walks, her advance is elephantine. When she sits down it is on a great round space of her Maker's footstool, where she looks as if nothing could ever move her. She imposes awe and respect by the muchness of her personality, to such a degree that you probably credit her with far greater moral and intellectual force than she can fairly claim. Her visage is usually grim and stern, seldom positively forbidding, yet calmly terrible, not merely by its breadth and weight of feature, but because it seems to express so much well-defined self-reliance, such acquaintance with the world, its toils, troubles, and dangers, and such sturdy capacity for trampling down a foe. Without anything positively salient, or actively offensive, or, indeed, unjustly formidable to her neighbors, she has the effect of a seventy-four-gun ship in time of peace; for, while you assure yourself that there is no real danger, you can not help thinking how tremendous would be her onset, if pugnaciously inclined, and how futile the effort to inflict any counter-injury. She certainly looks tenfold—nay, a hundredfold—better able to take care of herself than our slender-framed and haggard womankind; but I have not found reason to suppose that the English dowager of fifty has actually greater courage, fortitude, and strength of character than our women of similar age, or even a tougher physical endurance than they. Morally, she is strong, I suspect, only in society, and in the common routine of social affairs, and would be found powerless and timid in any exceptional strait that might call for energy outside of the conventionalities amid which she has grown up.

You can meet this figure in the street, and live, and even smile at the recollection. But conceive of her in a ball-room, with the bare, brawny arms that she invariably displays there, and all the other corresponding development, such as is beautiful in the maiden blossom, but a spectacle to howl at in such an over-blown cabbage-rose as this.

Yet, somewhere in this enormous bulk there must be hidden the modest, slender, violet-nature of a girl, whom an alien mass of earthliness has unkindly overgrown; for an English maiden in her teens, though very seldom so pretty as our own damsels, possesses, to say the truth, a certain charm of half-blossom, and delicately folded leaves, and tender womanhood, shielded by maidenly reserves, with which, somehow or other, our American girls often fail to adorn themselves during an appreciable moment. It is a pity that the English violet should grow into such an outrageously developed peony as I have attempted to describe. I wonder whether a middle-aged husband ought to be considered as legally married to all the accretions that have overgrown the slenderness of his bride, since he led her to the altar, and which make her so much more than he ever bargained for! Is it not a sounder view of the case, that the matrimonial bond can not be held to include the three-fourths of the wife that had no existence when the ceremony was performed? And as a matter of conscience and good morals, ought not an English married pair to insist upon the celebration of a silver wedding at the end of twenty-five years in order to legalize and mutually appropriate that corporeal growth of which both parties have individually come into possession since they were pronounced one flesh?



Alas for him, alas for it, Alas for you and I! When this I think I raise my mitt To dry my weeping eye.



Deadheads tell no tales. Stars are stubborn things. All's not bold that titters. Contracts make cowards of us all. One good turn deserves an encore. A little actress is a dangerous thing. It's a long skirt that has no turning. Stars rush in where angels fear to tread. Managers never hear any good of themselves. A manager is known by the company he keeps. A plot is not without honor save in comic opera. Take care of the dance and the songs will take care of themselves.



My name is Esek Pettibone, and I wish to affirm in the outset that it is a good thing to be well-born. In thus connecting the mention of my name with a positive statement, I am not aware that a catastrophe lies coiled up in the juxtaposition. But I can not help writing plainly that I am still in favor of a distinguished family-tree. ESTO PERPETUA! To have had somebody for a great-grandfather that was somebody is exciting. To be able to look back on long lines of ancestry that were rich, but respectable, seems decorous and all right. The present Earl of Warwick, I think, must have an idea that strict justice has been done him in the way of being launched properly into the world. I saw the Duke of Newcastle once, and as the farmer in Conway described Mount Washington, I thought the Duke felt a propensity to "hunch up some." Somehow it is pleasant to look down on the crowd and have a conscious right to do so.

Left an orphan at the tender age of four years, having no brothers or sisters to prop me round with young affections and sympathies, I fell into three pairs of hands, excellent in their way, but peculiar. Patience, Eunice, and Mary Ann Pettibone were my aunts on my father's side. All my mother's relations kept shady when the lonely orphan looked about for protection; but Patience Pettibone, in her stately way, said,—"The boy belongs to a good family, and he shall never want while his three aunts can support him." So I went to live with my plain, but benignant protectors, in the state of New Hampshire.

During my boyhood the best-drilled lesson that fell to my keeping was this: "Respect yourself. We come of more than ordinary parentage. Superior blood was probably concerned in getting up the Pettibones. Hold your head erect, and some day you shall have proof of your high lineage."

I remember once, on being told that I must not share my juvenile sports with the butcher's three little beings, I begged to know why not. Aunt Eunice looked at Patience, and Mary Ann knew what she meant.

"My child," slowly murmured the eldest sister, "our family, no doubt, came of a very old stock; perhaps we belong to the nobility. Our ancestors, it is thought, came over laden with honors, and no doubt were embarrassed with riches, though the latter importation has dwindled in the lapse of years. Respect yourself, and when you grow up you will not regret that your old and careful aunt did not wish you to play with the butcher's offspring."

I felt mortified that I ever had a desire to "knuckle up" with any but kings' sons, or sultans' little boys. I longed to be among my equals in the urchin line, and fly my kite with only high-born youngsters.

Thus I lived in a constant scene of self-enchantment on the part of the sisters, who assumed all the port and feeling that properly belonged to ladies of quality. Patrimonial splendor to come danced before their dim eyes; and handsome settlements, gay equipages, and a general grandeur of some sort loomed up in the future for the American branch of the House of Pettibone.

It was a life of opulent self-delusion, which my aunts were never tired of nursing; and I was too young to doubt the reality of it. All the members of our little household held up their heads, as if each said, in so many words, "There is no original sin in our composition, whatever of that commodity there may be mixed up with the common clay of Snowborough."

Aunt Patience was a star, and dwelt apart. Aunt Eunice looked at her through a determined pair of spectacles, and worshiped while she gazed. The youngest sister lived in a dreamy state of honors to come, and had constant zooelogical visions of lions, griffins, and unicorns, drawn and quartered in every possible style known to the Heralds' College. The Reverend Hebrew Bullet, who used to drop in quite often and drink several compulsory glasses of home-made wine, encouraged his three parishoners in their aristocratic notions, and extolled them for what he called their "stooping-down to every-day life." He differed with the ladies of our house only on one point. He contended that the unicorn of the Bible and the rhinoceros of to-day were one and the same animal. My aunts held a different opinion.

In the sleeping-room of my Aunt Patience reposed a trunk. Often during my childish years I longed to lift the lid and spy among its contents the treasures my young fancy conjured up as lying there in state. I dared not ask to have the cover raised for my gratification, as I had often been told I was "too little" to estimate aright what that armorial box contained. "When you grow up, you shall see the inside of it," Aunt Mary used to say to me; and so I wondered, and wished, but all in vain. I must have the virtue of years before I could view the treasures of past magnificence so long entombed in that wooden sarcophagus. Once I saw the faded sisters bending over the trunk together, and, as I thought, embalming something in camphor. Curiosity impelled me to linger, but, under some pretext, I was nodded out of the room.

Although my kinswomen's means were far from ample, they determined that Swiftmouth College should have the distinction of calling me one of her sons, and accordingly I was in due time sent for preparation to a neighboring academy. Years of study and hard fare in country boarding-houses told upon my self-importance as the descendant of a great Englishman, notwithstanding all my letters from the honored three came with counsel to "respect myself and keep up the dignity of the family." Growing-up man forgets good counsel. The Arcadia of respectability is apt to give place to the levity of football and other low-toned accomplishments. The book of life, at that period, opens readily at fun and frolic, and the insignia of greatness give the school-boy no envious pangs.

I was nineteen when I entered the hoary halls of Swiftmouth. I call them hoary, because they had been built more than fifty years. To me they seemed uncommonly hoary, and I snuffed antiquity in the dusty purlieus. I now began to study, in good earnest, the wisdom of the past. I saw clearly the value of dead men and mouldy precepts, especially if the former had been entombed a thousand years, and if the latter were well done in sounding Greek and Latin. I began to reverence royal lines of deceased monarchs, and longed to connect my own name, now growing into college popularity, with some far-off mighty one who had ruled in pomp and luxury his obsequious people. The trunk in Snowborough troubled my dreams. In that receptacle still slept the proof of our family distinction. "I will go," quoth I, "to the home of my aunts next vacation and there learn how we became mighty, and discover precisely why we don't practice to-day our inherited claims to glory."

I went to Snowborough. Aunt Patience was now anxious to lay before her impatient nephew the proof he burned to behold. But first she must explain. All the old family documents and letters were, no doubt, destroyed in the great fire of '98, as nothing in the shape of parchment or paper implying nobility had ever been discovered in Snowborough, or elsewhere. But there had been preserved, for many years, a suit of imperial clothes that had been worn, by their great-grandfather in England, and, no doubt, in the New World also. These garments had been carefully watched and guarded, for were they not the proof that their owner belonged to a station in life second, if second at all, to the royal court of King George itself? Precious casket, into which I was soon to have the privilege of gazing! Through how many long years these fond, foolish virgins had lighted their unflickering lamps of expectation and hope at this cherished old shrine!

I was now on my way to the family repository of all our greatness. I went up stairs "on the jump." We all knelt down before the well-preserved box; and my proud Aunt Patience, in a somewhat reverent manner, turned the key. My heart,—I am not ashamed to confess it now, although it is forty years since the quartet, in search of family honors, were on their knees that summer afternoon in Snowborough,—my heart beat high. I was about to look on that which might be a duke's or an earl's regalia. And I was descended from the owner in a direct line! I had lately been reading Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus; and I remembered, there before the trunk, the lines:

"O sacred receptacle of my joys, Sweet cell of virtue and nobility!"

The lid went up, and the sisters began to unroll the precious garments, which seemed all enshrined in aromatic gums and spices. The odor of that interior lives with me to this day; and I grow faint with the memory of that hour. With pious precision the clothes were uncovered, and at last the whole suit was laid before my expectant eyes.

Reader! I am an old man now, and have not long to walk this planet. But whatever dreadful shock may be in reserve for my declining years, I am certain I can bear it; for I went through that scene at Snowborough, and still live!

When the garments were fully displayed, all the aunts looked at me. I had been to college; I had studied Burke's Peerage; I had been once to New York. Perhaps I could immediately name the exact station in noble British life to which that suit of clothes belonged. I could; I saw it all at a glance. I grew flustered and pale. I dared not look my poor deluded female relatives in the face.

"What rank in the peerage do these gold-laced garments and big buttons betoken?" cried all three.

"It is a suit of servant's livery!" gasped I, and fell back with a shudder.

That evening, after the sun had gone down, we buried those hateful garments in a ditch at the bottom of the garden. Rest there perturbed body-coat, yellow trousers, brown gaiters, and all!

"Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye!"



One day the children came running to Aunt Nancy with a mole which one of the dogs had just killed. They had never seen one before and were very curious as to what it might be.

"Well, befo' de king!" said Nancy, "whar y'all bin livin' dat you nuver seed a mole befo'? Whar you come f'um mus' be a mighty cur'ous spot ef dey ain' have no moleses dar; mus' be sump'n wrong wid dat place. I bin mos' all over dish yer Sussex kyounty endurin' er my time, an' I ain' nuver come 'cross no place yit whar dey ain' have moleses.

"Moleses is sut'n'y cur'ous li'l creeturs," she continued. "I bin teckin' tickler notuss un 'em dis long time, an' dey knows mo'n you'd think fer, jes' ter look at 'em. Dough dey lives down un'need de groun', yit dey is fus'class swimmers; I done seed one, wid my own eyes, crossin' de branch, an' dey kin root 'long un'need de yearf mos' ez fas' ez a hoss kin trot on top uv hit. Y'all neenter look dat-a-way, 'kase hit's de trufe; dey's jes' built fer gittin' 'long fas' unner groun'. Der han's is bofe pickaxes an' shovels fer 'em; dey digs an' scoops wid der front ones an' kicks de dirt out de way wid der behime ones. Der strong snouts he'ps 'em, too, ter push der way thu de dirt."

"Their fur is just as soft and shiny as silk," said Janey.

"Yas," said Aunt Nancy, "hit's dat sof an' shiny dat, dough dey live all time in de dirt, not a speck er dirt sticks to 'em. You ses 'sof an' shiny ez silk,' but I tell you hit is silk; silk clo'es, dat 'zackly w'at 'tis."

Ned laughed. "Who ever heard of an animal dressed in silk clothes?" he said.

"Nemmine," she answered, "you talks mighty peart, but I knows w'at I knows, an' dish yer I bin tellin' you is de sho'-'nuff trufe."

"Just see its paws," Janey went on, "why, they look exactly like hands."

"Look lak han's! look lak han's! umph! dey is han's, all thumbered an' fingered jes lak yo'n; an', w'at's mo', dey wuz onct human ban's; human, dey wuz so!"

"How could they ever have been human hands and then been put on a mole's body?" asked Ned. "I believe most things you say, Aunt Nancy, but I can't swallow that."

"Dar's a li'l boy roun' dese diggin's whar talkin' mighty sassy an' rambunkshus, seem ter me. I am' ax you ter swoller nuttin' 't all, but 'pears ter me y'all bin swollerin' dem 'ar ol' tales right an' lef, faster'n' I kin call 'em ter min', an' I am' seed none er you choke on 'em yit, ner cry, 'nuff said. I'se 'tickler saw'y 'bout dis, 'kase I done had hit in min' ter tell you a tale 'bout huccome moleses have han'ses, whar I larn f'um a ooman dat come f'um Fauquier kyounty, but now dat Mars' Ned 'pear ter be so jubous 'bout hit, I ain' gwine was'e my time on folks whar ain' gwine b'lieve me, nohows. Nemmine, de chillen over on de Thompson place gwine baig me fer dat tale w'en I goes dar ag'in, an', w'at's mo', dey gwine git hit; fer dey b'lieves ev'y wu'd dat draps f'um my mouf, lak 'twuz de law an' de gospil."

Of course, the children protested that they were as ready to hang upon her words as the Thompson children could possibly be, and presented their prior claim to the tale in such moving fashion that Aunt Nancy was finally prevailed upon to come down from her high horse and tell the story.

"I done tol' you," she said, "dat dem 'ar han's is human, an' I mean jes' w'at I ses, 'kase de moleses useter be folks, sho'-'nuff folks, dough dey is all swunk up ter dis size an' der han's is all dat's lef ter tell de tale. Yas, suh, in de ol' days, so fur back dat you kain't kyount hit, de moleses wuz folks, an' mighty proud an' biggitty folks at dat. Dey wan't gwine be ketched wearin' any er dish yer kaliker, er linsey-woolsey, er homespun er sech ez dat, ner even broadclawf, ner bombazine, naw suh! Dey jes' tricked derse'fs out in de fines' an' shinies' er silk, nuttin' mo' ner less, an' den dey went a-traipsin' up an' down an' hether an' yon, fer tu'rr folks ter look at an' mek 'miration over. Mo'n dat, dey 'uz so fine an' fiddlin' dey oon set foot ter de groun' lessen dar wuz a kyarpet spread down fer 'em ter walk on. Dey tells me hit sut'n'y wuz a sight in de worl' ter see dem 'ar folks walkin' up an' down on de kyarpets, trailin' an' rus'lin' der silk clo'es, an' curchyin' an' bobbin' ter one nu'rr w'en dey met up, but nuver speakin' ter de common folks whar walkin' on de groun', ner even so much ez lookin' at 'em. W'ats mo', dey wuz so uppish dey thought de yearf wuz too low down fer 'em even ter run der eyes over, so dey went 'long wid der haids r'ared an' der eyes all time lookin' up, stidder down. You kin be sho' dem gwines-on ain' mek 'em pop'lous wid tu'rr folks, 'kase people jes' natchelly kain't stan' hit ter have you th'owin' up to 'em dat you is better'n w'at dey is, w'en all de time dey knows you're nuttin' but folks, same 'z dem.

"Dey kep' gwine on so-fashion, an' gittin' mo' an' mo' pompered an' uppish, 'twel las' dey 'tracted de 'tention er de Lawd, an' He say ter Hisse'f, He do, 'Who is dese yer folks, anyhows, whar gittin' so airish, walkin' up an' down an' back an' fo'th on my yearf an' spurnin' hit so's't dey spread kyarpets 'twix' hit an' der footses, treatin' my yearf, w'at I done mek, lak 'twuz de dirt un'need der footses, an' 'spisin' der feller creeturs an' excusin' 'em er bein' common, an' keepin' der eyes turnt up all de time, ez ef dey wuz too good ter look at de things I done mek an' putt on my yearf? I mus' see 'bout dis; I mus' punish dese 'sumptious people an' show 'em dat one'r my creeturs is jez' ez low down ez tu'rr, in my sight.'

"So de Lawd He pass jedgment on de moleses. Fus' He tuck an' made 'em lose der human shape an' den He swunk 'em up ontwel dey 'z no bigger'n dey is now, dat 'uz ter show 'em how no-kyount dey wuz in His sight. Den bekase dey thought derse'fs too good ter walk 'pun de bare groun' He sont 'em ter live un'need hit, whar dey hatter dig an' scratch der way 'long. Las' uv all He tuck an' tuck 'way der eyes an' made 'em blin', dat's 'kase dey done 'spise ter look at der feller creeturs. But He feel kind er saw'y fer 'em w'en He git dat fur, an' He ain' wanter punish 'em too haivy, so He lef 'em dese silk clo'es whar I done tol' you 'bout, an' dese han's whar you kin see fer yo'se'fs is human, an' I reckon bofe dem things putt 'em in min' er w'at dey useter be an' rack 'em 'umble. Uver sence den de moleses bin gwine 'long un'need de groun', 'cordin ter de jedgmen' er de Lawd, an' diggin' an' scratchin' der way thu de worl', in trial an' tribilashun, wid dem po' li'l human han'ses. An' dat orter l'arn you w'at comes er folks 'spisin' der feller creeturs, an' I want y'all ter 'member dat nex' time I year you call dem Thompson chillen 'trash.'"

"I'd like to know what use moles are," said Ned, who was of rather an investigating turn of mind; "they just go round rooting through the ground spoiling people's gardens, and I don't see what they're good for; you can't eat them or use them any way."

"Sho', chil'!" said Aunt Nancy, "you dunno w'at you talkin' 'bout; de Lawd have some use fer ev'y creetur He done mek. Dey tells me dat de moleses eats up lots er bugs an' wu'ms an' sech ez dat, dat mought hurt de craps ef dey wuz let ter live. Sidesen dat, jes' gimme one'r de claws er dat mole, an' lemme hang hit roun' de neck uv a baby whar cuttin' his toofs, an' I boun' you, ev'y toof in his jaws gwine come bustin' thu his goms widout nair' a ache er a pain ter let him know dey's dar. Don't talk ter me 'bout de moleses bein' wufless! I done walk de flo' too much wid cryin' babies not ter know de use er moleses."

"You don't really believe that, do you?" asked Ned.

"B'lieve hit!" she answered indignantly; "I don' b'lieve hit, I knows hit. I done tol' you all de things a hyar's foot kin do; w'ats de reason a mole's foot ain' good fer sump'n, too? Ef folks on'y knowed mo' about sech kyores ez dat dar neenter be so much sickness an' mis'ry in de worl'. I done kyored myse'f er de rheumatiz in my right arm jes' by tyin' a eel-skin roun' hit, an' ev'yb'dy on dis plantation knows dat ef you'll wrop a chil's hya'r wid eel-skin strings hit's boun' ter mek hit grow. Ef you want de chil' hisse'f ter grow an' ter walk soon you mus' bresh his feet wid de broom. I oon tell you dis ef I hadn't tried 'em myse'f. You mus'n' talk so biggitty 'bout w'at you dunno nuttin' 't all about. You come f'um up Norf yonner, an' mebbe dese things don' wu'k de same dar ez w'at dey does down yer whar we bin 'pendin' on 'em so long."



Tell me not, in idle jingle, Marriage is an empty dream, For the girl is dead that's single, And things are not what they seem.

Married life is real, earnest, Single blessedness a fib, Taken from man, to man returnest, Has been spoken of the rib.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each to-morrow Nearer brings the wedding-day.

Life is long, and youth is fleeting, And our hearts, if there we search, Still like steady drums are beating Anxious marches to the Church.

In the world's broad field of battle, In the bivouac of life, Be not like dumb, driven cattle; Be a woman, be a wife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act—act in the living Present. Heart within, and Man ahead!

Lives of married folks remind us We can live our lives as well, And, departing, leave behind us;— Such examples as will tell;—

Such examples, that another, Sailing far from Hymen's port, A forlorn, unmarried brother, Seeing, shall take heart, and court.

Let us then be up and doing, With the heart and head begin; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor, and to win!



I've traveled up and down this land And crossed it in a hundred ways, But somehow can not understand These towns with names chock-full of K's. For instance, once it fell to me To pack my grip and quickly go— I thought at first to Kankakee But then remembered Kokomo. "Oh, Kankakee or Kokomo," I sighed, "just which I do not know."

Then to the ticket man I went— He was a snappy man, and bald, Behind an iron railing pent— And I confessed that I was stalled. "A much K'd town is booked for me," I said. "I'm due to-morrow, so I wonder if it's Kankakee Or if it can be Kokomo." "There's quite a difference," growled he, "'Twixt Kokomo and Kankakee."

He spun a yard of tickets out— The folded kind that makes a strip And leaves the passenger in doubt When the conductor takes a clip. He flipped the tickets out, I say, And asked: "Now, which one shall it be? I'll sell you tickets either way— To Kokomo or Kankakee." And still I really did not know— I thought it might be Kokomo.

At any rate, I took a chance; He struck his stamp-machine a blow And I, a toy of circumstance, Was ticketed for Kokomo. Upon the train I wondered still If all was right as it should be. Some mystic warning seemed to fill My mind with thoughts of Kankakee, The car-wheels clicked it out: "Now, he Had better be for Kankakee!"

Until at last it grew so loud, At some big town I clambered out And elbowed madly through the crowd, Determined on the other route. The ticket-agent saw my haste; "Where do you wish to go?" cried he. I yelled: "I have no time to waste— Please fix me up for Kankakee!" Again the wheels, now fast, now slow, Clicked: "Ought to go to Kokomo!"

Well, anyhow, I did not heed The message that they sent to me. I went, and landed wrong indeed— Went all the way to Kankakee. Then, in a rush, I doubled back— Went wrong again, I'd have you know. There was no call for me, alack! Within the town of Kokomo.

And then I learned, confound the luck, I should have gone to Keokuk!



He was a curious trout. I believe he knew Sunday just as well as Deacon Marble did. At any rate, the deacon thought the trout meant to aggravate him. The deacon, you know, is a little waggish. He often tells about that trout. Sez he, "One Sunday morning, just as I got along by the willows, I heard an awful splash, and not ten feet from shore I saw the trout, as long as my arm, just curving over like a bow, and going down with something for breakfast. Gracious! says I, and I almost jumped out of the wagon. But my wife Polly, says she, 'What on airth are you thinkin' of, Deacon? It's Sabbath day, and you're goin' to meetin'! It's a pretty business for a deacon!' That sort o' cooled me off. But I do say that, for about a minute, I wished I wasn't a deacon. But 't wouldn't made any difference, for I came down next day to mill on purpose, and I came down once or twice more, and nothin' was to be seen, tho' I tried him with the most temptin' things. Wal, next Sunday I came along ag'in, and, to save my life I couldn't keep off worldly and wanderin' thoughts. I tried to be sayin' my catechism, but I couldn't keep my eyes off the pond as we came up to the willows. I'd got along in the catechism, as smooth as the road, to the Fourth Commandment, and was sayin' it out loud for Polly, and jist as I was sayin: 'What is required in the Fourth Commandment?' I heard a splash, and there was the trout, and, afore I could think, I said: 'Gracious, Polly, I must have that trout.' She almost riz right up, 'I knew you wa'n't sayin' your catechism hearty. Is this the way you answer the question about keepin' the Lord's day? I'm ashamed, Deacon Marble,' says she. 'You'd better change your road, and go to meetin' on the road over the hill. If I was a deacon, I wouldn't let a fish's tail whisk the whole catechism out of my head'; and I had to go to meetin' on the hill road all the rest of the summer."



I shot a rocket in the air, It fell to earth, I knew not where Until next day, with rage profound, The man it fell on came around. In less time than it takes to tell, He showed me where that rocket fell; And now I do not greatly care To shoot more rockets in the air.

[Footnote 2: By permission of Life Publishing Company.]



"Read out the names!" and Burke sat back, And Kelly drooped his head, While Shea—they call him Scholar Jack— Went down the list of the dead. Officers, seamen, gunners, marines, The crews of the gig and yawl, The bearded man and the lad in his teens, Carpenters, coal-passers—all. Then knocking the ashes from out his pipe, Said Burke, in an off-hand way, "We're all in that dead man's list, by Cripe! Kelly and Burke and Shea." "Well, here's to the Maine, and I'm sorry for Spain!" Said Kelly and Burke and Shea.

"Wherever there's Kellys there's trouble," said Burke. "Wherever fighting's the game, Or a spice of danger in grown man's work," Said Kelly, "you'll find my name." "And do we fall short," said Burke, getting mad, "When it's touch and go for life?" Said Shea, "It's thirty-odd years, be dad, Since I charged to drum and fife Up Marye's Heights, and my old canteen Stopped a Rebel ball on its way. There were blossoms of blood on our sprigs of green— Kelly and Burke and Shea— And the dead didn't brag." "Well, here's to the flag!" Said Kelly and Burke and Shea.

"I wish 'twas in Ireland, for there's the place," Said Burke, "that we'd die by right, In the cradle of our soldier race, After one good stand-up fight. My grandfather fell on Vinegar Hill, And fighting was not his trade; But his rusty pike's in the cabin still, With Hessian blood on the blade." "Aye, aye," said Kelly, "the pikes were great When the word was 'Clear the way!' We were thick on the roll in ninety-eight— Kelly and Burke and Shea." "Well, here's to the pike and the sword and the like!" Said Kelly and Burke and Shea.

And Shea, the scholar, with rising joy, Said "We were at Ramillies. We left our bones at Fontenoy, And up in the Pyrenees, Before Dunkirk, on Landen's plain, Cremona, Lille, and Ghent, We're all over Austria, France, and Spain, Wherever they pitched a tent. We've died for England from Waterloo To Egypt and Dargai; And still there's enough for a corps or crew, Kelly and Burke and Shea." "Well, here is to good honest fighting blood!" Said Kelly and Burke and Shea.

"Oh, the fighting races don't die out, If they seldom die in bed, For love is first in their hearts, no doubt," Said Burke. Then Kelly said: "When Michael, the Irish Archangel, stands, The angel with the sword, And the battle-dead from a hundred lands Are ranged in one big horde, Our line, that for Gabriel's trumpet waits, Will stretch tree deep that day, From Jehoshaphat to the Golden Gates— Kelly and Burke and Shea." "Well, here's thank God for the race and the sod!" Said Kelly and Burke and Shea.



At one of his week night lectures, Beecher was speaking about the building and equipping of new churches. After a few satirical touches about church architects and their work, he went on to ridicule the usual style of pulpit—the "sacred mahogany tub"—"plastered up against some pillar like a barn-swallow's nest." Then he passed on to the erection of the organ, and to the opening recital.

"The organ long expected has arrived, been unpacked, set up, and gloried over. The great players of the region round about, or of distant celebrity, have had the grand organ exhibition; and this magnificent instrument has been put through all its paces in a manner which has surprised every one, and, if it had had a conscious existence, must have surprised the organ itself most of all. It has piped, fluted, trumpeted, brayed, thundered. It has played so loud that everybody was deafened, and so soft that nobody could hear. The pedals played for thunder, the flutes languished and coquetted, and the swell died away in delicious suffocation, like one singing a sweet song under the bed-clothes. Now it leads down a stupendous waltz with full brass, sounding very much as if, in summer, a thunderstorm should play, 'Come, Haste to the Wedding,' or 'Moneymusk.' Then come marches, galops, and hornpipes. An organ playing hornpipes ought to have elephants as dancers.

"At length a fugue is rendered to show the whole scope and power of the instrument. The theme, like a cautious rat, peeps out to see if the coast is clear; and, after a few hesitations, comes forth and begins to frisk a little, and run up and down to see what it can find. It finds just what it did not want, a purring tenor lying in ambush and waiting for a spring; and as the theme comes incautiously near, the savage cat of a tenor springs at it, misses its hold, and then takes after it with terrible earnestness. But the tenor has miscalculated the agility of the theme. All that it could do, with the most desperate effort, was to keep the theme from running back into its hole again; and so they ran up and down, around and around, dodging, eluding, whipping in and out of every corner and nook, till the whole organ was aroused, and the bass began to take part, but unluckily slipped and rolled down-stairs, and lay at the bottom raving and growling in the most awful manner, and nothing could appease it. Sometimes the theme was caught by one part, and dangled for a moment, then with a snatch, another part took it and ran off exultant, until, unawares, the same trick was played on it; and, finally, all the parts, being greatly exercised in mind, began to chase each other promiscuously in and out, up and down, now separating and now rushing in full tilt together, until everything in the organ loses patience and all the 'stops' are drawn, and, in spite of all that the brave organist could do—who bobbed up and down, feet, hands, head and all—the tune broke up into a real row, and every part was clubbing every other one, until at length, patience being no longer a virtue, the organist, with two or three terrible crashes, put an end to the riot, and brought the great organ back to silence."



It owned not the color that vanity dons Or slender wits choose for display; Its beautiful tint was a delicate bronze, A brown softly blended with gray. From her waist to her chin, spreading out without break, 'Twas built on a generous plan: The pride of the forest was slaughtered to make My grandmother's turkey-tail fan.

For common occasions it never was meant: In a chest between two silken cloths 'Twas kept safely hidden with careful intent In camphor to keep out the moths. 'Twas famed far and wide through the whole countryside, From Beersheba e'en unto Dan; And often at meeting with envy 'twas eyed, My grandmother's turkey-tail fan.

Camp-meetings, indeed, were its chiefest delight. Like a crook unto sheep gone astray It beckoned backsliders to re-seek the right, And exhorted the sinners to pray. It always beat time when the choir went wrong, In psalmody leading the van. Old Hundred, I know, was its favorite song— My grandmother's turkey-tail fan.

A fig for the fans that are made nowadays, Suited only to frivolous mirth! A different thing was the fan that I praise, Yet it scorned not the good things of earth. At bees and at quiltings 'twas aye to be seen; The best of the gossip began When in at the doorway had entered serene My grandmother's turkey-tail fan.

Tradition relates of it wonderful tales. Its handle of leather was buff. Though shorn of its glory, e'en now it exhales An odor of hymn-books and snuff. Its primeval grace, if you like, you can trace: 'Twas limned for the future to scan, Just under a smiling gold-spectacled face, My grandmother's turkey-tail fan.


Before An Audience


The Use of the Will in Public Speaking


Talks to the Students of the University of St. Andrew and the University of Aberdeen

This is not a book on elocution, but it deals in a practical common-sense way with the requirements and constituents of effective public speaking.


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Revised, Enlarged, New Matter


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in Speech and Manner


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Note for Law Lecture Abraham Lincoln Of Truth Francis Bacon Of Practise and Habits John Locke Improving the Memory Isaac Watts

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Formerly Instructor in Public Speaking at Yale Divinity School; Author of "How to Speak in Public," etc.

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Essentials of English Speech and Literature


Managing Editor of the Funk & Wagnalls New Standard Dictionary; Author of "A Desk-Book of Errors in English," etc.

A record, in concise and interesting style, of the Origin, Growth, Development, and Mutations of the English language. It treats of Literature and its Elements; of the Dictionary as a Text-Book, and its Functions; of Grammar, Phonetics, Pronunciation, and Reading; of the Bible as a model of pure English; of Writing for Publication and of Individuality in Writing; also of the Corruption of English Speech.

An Appendix of the principal Authors and their works, and a Selection of a Hundred Best Books is included.

Raymond Weeks, Ph.D., Prof. Romance Languages, Columbia University, says it is: "One of the most valuable books on this subject which have come into my hands for a long time."

Brander Matthews, Litt.D., LL.D., says it is: "A good book—a book likely to do good, because it is generally sound and always stimulating."

8vo, Cloth, 428 pages. $1.50 net; average carriage charges, 12 cents



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