"Petticoatism and plunder," was Artemus's reply—and that comprehended his whole philosophy of Mormonism. As he remarked elsewhere: "Brigham Young is a man of great natural ability. If you ask me, How pious is he? I treat it as a conundrum, and give it up."
To lecture in London, and at the Egyptian Hall, had long been a favourite idea of Artemus Ward. Some humorist has said, that "All good Americans, when they die—, go to Paris." So do most, whether good or bad, while they are living.
Still more strongly developed is the transatlantic desire to go to Rome. In the far west of the Missouri, in the remoter west of Colorado and away in far north-western Oregon, I have heard many a tradesman express his intention to make dollars enough to enable him to visit Rome. In a land where all is so new, where they have had no past, where an old wall would be a sensation, and a tombstone of anybody's great grandfather the marvel of the whole region, the charms of the old world have an irresistible fascination. To visit the home of the Caesars they have read of in their school-books, and to look at architecture which they have seen pictorially, but have nothing like it in existence around them, is very naturally the strong wish of people who are nationally nomadic, and who have all more or less a smattering of education. Artemus Ward never expressed to me any very great wish to travel on the European continent, but to see London was to accomplish something which he had dreamed of from his boyhood. There runs from Marysville in California to Oroville in the same State a short and singular little railway, which, when we were there, was in a most unfinished condition. To Oroville we were going. We were too early for the train at the Marysville station, and sat down on a pile of timber to chat over future prospects.
"What sort of a man was Albert Smith?" asked Artemus "And do you think that the Mormons would be as good a subject for the Londoners as Mont Blanc was?"
I answered his questions. He reflected for a few moments, and then said:
"Well, old fellow, I'll tell you what I should like to do. I should like to go to London and give my lecture in the same place. Can it be done?"
It was done. Not in the same room, but under the same roof and on the same floor; in that gloomy-looking Hall in Piccadilly, which was destined to be the ante-chamber to the tomb of both lecturers.
Throughout this brief sketch I have written familiarly of the late Mr. Charles F. Browne as "Artemus Ward," or simply as "Artemus." I have done so advisedly, mainly because, during the whole course of our acquaintance, I do not remember addressing him as "Mr. Browne," or by his real Christian name. To me he was always "Artemus"— Artemus the kind, the gentle, the suave, the generous. One who was ever a friend in the fullest meaning of the word, and the best of companions in the amplest acceptance of the phrase. His merry laugh and pleasant conversation are as audible to me as if they were heard but yesterday; his words of kindness linger on the ear of memory, and his tones of genial mirth live in echoes which I shall listen to for evermore. Two years will soon have passed away since last he spoke, and
"Silence now, enamour'd of his voice Looks its mute music in her rugged cell."
E.P. HINGSTON. LONDON, October 1868.
* * *
ESSAYS, SKETCHES, AND LETTERS.
1.1. ONE OF MR. WARD'S BUSINESS LETTERS.
To the Editor of the —
Sir—I'm movin along—slowly along—down tords your place. I want you should rite me a letter, sayin how is the show bizniss in your place. My show at present consists of three moral Bares, a Kangaroo (a amoozin little Raskal—t'would make you larf yerself to deth to see the little cuss jump up and squeal) wax figgers of G. Washington Gen. Tayler John Bunyan Capt Kidd and Dr. Webster in the act of killin Dr. Parkman, besides several miscellanyus moral wax statoots of celebrated piruts & murderers, &c., ekalled by few & exceld by none. Now Mr. Editor, scratch orf a few lines sayin how is the show bizniss down to your place. I shall hav my hanbills dun at your offiss. Depend upon it. I want you should git my hanbills up in flamin stile. Also git up a tremenjus excitemunt in yr. paper 'bowt my onparaleld Show. We must fetch the public sumhow. We must wurk on their feelins. Cum the moral on 'em strong. If it's a temperance community tell 'em I sined the pledge fifteen minits arter Ise born, but on the contery ef your peple take their tods, say Mister Ward is as Jenial a feller as we ever met, full of conwiviality, & the life an sole of the Soshul Bored. Take, don't you? If you say anythin abowt my show say my snaiks is as harmliss as the new-born Babe. What a interestin study it is to see a zewological animil like a snaik under perfeck subjecshun! My kangaroo is the most larfable little cuss I ever saw. All for 15 cents. I am anxyus to skewer your infloounce. I repeet in regard to them hanbills that I shall git 'em struck orf up to your printin office. My perlitercal sentiments agree with yourn exackly. I know thay do, becawz I never saw a man whoos didn't.
P.S.—You scratch my back & Ile scratch your back.
1.2. ON "FORTS."
Every man has got a Fort. It's sum men's fort to do one thing, and some other men's fort to do another, while there is numeris shiftliss critters goin round loose whose fort is not to do nothin.
Shakspeer rote good plase, but he wouldn't hav succeeded as a Washington correspondent of a New York daily paper. He lackt the rekesit fancy and imagginashun.
Old George Washington's Fort was not to hev eny public man of the present day resemble him to eny alarmin extent. Whare bowts can George's ekal be found? I ask, & boldly anser no whares, or eny whare else.
Old man Townsin's Fort was to maik Sassyperiller. "Goy to the world! anuther life saived!" (Cotashun from Townsin's advertisemunt.)
Cyrus Field's Fort is to lay a sub-machine tellegraf under the boundin billers of the Oshun, and then hev it Bust.
Spaldin's Fort is to maik Prepared Gloo, which mends everything. Wonder ef it will mend a sinner's wickid waze? (Impromptoo goak.)
Zoary's Fort is to be a femaile circus feller.
My Fort is the grate moral show bizniss & ritin choice famerly literatoor for the noospapers. That's what's the matter with ME.
&c., &c., &c. So I mite go on to a indefnit extent.
Twict I've endeverd to do things which thay wasn't my Fort. The fust time was when I undertuk to lick a owdashus cuss who cut a hole in my tent & krawld threw. Sez I, "my jentle Sir go out or I shall fall onto you putty hevy." Sez he, "Wade in, Old wax figgers," whareupon I went for him, but he cawt me powerful on the hed & knockt me threw the tent into a cow pastur. He pursood the attack & flung me into a mud puddle. As I aroze & rung out my drencht garmints I koncluded fitin wasn't my Fort. Ile now rize the kurtin upon Seen 2nd: It is rarely seldum that I seek consolation in the Flowin Bole. But in a sertin town in Injianny in the Faul of 18—, my orgin grinder got sick with the fever & died. I never felt so ashamed in my life, & I thowt I'd hist in a few swallows of suthin strengthin. Konsequents was I histid in so much I dident zackly know whare bowts I was. I turnd my livin wild beests of Pray loose into the streets and spilt all my wax wurks. I then Bet I cood play hoss. So I hitched myself to a Kanawl bote, there bein two other hosses hitcht on also, one behind and anuther ahead of me. The driver hollerd for us to git up, and we did. But the hosses bein onused to sich a arrangemunt begun to kick & squeal and rair up. Konsequents was I was kickt vilently in the stummuck & back, and presuntly I fownd myself in the Kanawl with the other hosses, kickin & yellin like a tribe of Cusscaroorus savvijis. I was rescood, & as I was bein carrid to the tavern on a hemlock Bored I sed in a feeble voise, "Boys, playin hoss isn't my Fort."
MORUL—Never don't do nothin which isn't your Fort, for ef you do you'll find yourself splashin round in the Kanawl, figgeratively speakin.
1.3. THE SHAKERS.
The Shakers is the strangest religious sex I ever met. I'd hearn tell of 'em and I'd seen 'em, with their broad brim'd hats and long wastid coats; but I'd never cum into immejit contack with 'em, and I'd sot 'em down as lackin intelleck, as I'd never seen 'em to my Show—leastways, if they cum they was disgised in white peple's close, so I didn't know 'em.
But in the Spring of 18—, I got swampt in the exterior of New York State, one dark and stormy night, when the winds Blue pityusly, and I was forced to tie up with the Shakers.
I was toilin threw the mud, when in the dim vister of the futer I obsarved the gleams of a taller candle. Tiein a hornet's nest to my off hoss's tail to kinder encourage him, I soon reached the place. I knockt at the door, which it was opened unto me by a tall, slick-faced, solum lookin individooal, who turn'd out to be a Elder.
"Mr. Shaker," sed I, "you see before you a Babe in the woods, so to speak, and he axes shelter of you."
"Yay," sed the Shaker, and he led the way into the house, another Shaker bein sent to put my hosses and waggin under kiver.
A solum female, lookin sumwhat like a last year's beanpole stuck into a long meal bag, cum in axed me was I athurst and did I hunger? to which I urbanely anserd "a few." She went orf and I endeverd to open a conversashun with the old man.
"Elder, I spect?" sed I.
"Yay," he said.
"Helth's good, I reckon?"
"What's the wages of a Elder, when he understans his bizness—or do you devote your sarvices gratooitus?"
"Stormy night, sir."
"If the storm continners there'll be a mess underfoot, hay?"
"It's onpleasant when there's a mess underfoot?"
"If I may be so bold, kind sir, what's the price of that pecooler kind of weskit you wear, incloodin trimmins?"
I pawsd a minit, and then, thinkin I'd be faseshus with him and see how that would go, I slapt him on the shoulder, bust into a harty larf, and told him that as a yayer he had no livin ekal.
He jumpt up as if Bilin water had bin squirted into his ears, groaned, rolled his eyes up tords the sealin and sed: "You're a man of sin!" He then walkt out of the room.
Jest then the female in the meal bag stuck her hed into the room and statid that refreshments awaited the weary travler, and I sed if it was vittles she ment the weary travler was agreeable, and I follored her into the next room.
I sot down to the table and the female in the meal bag pored out sum tea. She sed nothin, and for five minutes the only live thing in that room was a old wooden clock, which tickt in a subdood and bashful manner in the corner. This dethly stillness made me oneasy, and I determined to talk to the female or bust. So sez I, "marrige is agin your rules, I bleeve, marm?"
"The sexes liv strickly apart, I spect?"
"It's kinder singler," sez I, puttin on my most sweetest look and speakin in a winnin voice, "that so fair a made as thow never got hitched to some likely feller." [N.B.—She was upards of 40 and homely as a stump fence, but I thawt I'd tickil her.]
"I don't like men!" she sed, very short.
"Wall, I dunno," sez I, "they're a rayther important part of the populashun. I don't scacely see how we could git along without 'em."
"Us poor wimin folks would git along a grate deal better if there was no men!"
"You'll excoos me, marm, but I don't think that air would work. It wouldn't be regler."
"I'm fraid of men!" she sed.
"That's onnecessary, marm. YOU ain't in no danger. Don't fret yourself on that pint."
"Here we're shot out from the sinful world. Here all is peas. Here we air brothers and sisters. We don't marry and consekently we hav no domestic difficulties. Husbans don't abooze their wives—wives don't worrit their husbans. There's no children here to worrit us. Nothin to worrit us here. No wicked matrimony here. Would thow like to be a Shaker?"
"No," sez I, "it ain't my stile."
I had now histed in as big a load of pervishuns as I could carry comfortable, and, leanin back in my cheer, commenst pickin my teeth with a fork. The female went out, leavin me all alone with the clock. I hadn't sot thar long before the Elder poked his hed in at the door. "You're a man of sin!" he sed, and groaned and went away.
Direckly thar cum in two young Shakeresses, as putty and slick lookin gals as I ever met. It is troo they was drest in meal bags like the old one I'd met previsly, and their shiny, silky har was hid from sight by long white caps, sich as I spose female Josts wear; but their eyes sparkled like diminds, their cheeks was like roses, and they was charmin enuff to make a man throw stuns at his granmother if they axed him to. They comenst clearin away the dishes, castin shy glances at me all the time. I got excited. I forgot Betsy Jane in my rapter, and sez I, "my pretty dears, how air you?"
"We air well," they solumly sed.
"Whar's the old man?" sed I, in a soft voice.
"Of whom dost thow speak—Brother Uriah?"
"I mean the gay and festiv cuss who calls me a man of sin. Shouldn't wonder if his name was Uriah."
"He has retired."
"Wall, my pretty dears," sez I, "let's have sum fun. Let's play puss in the corner. What say?"
"Air you a Shaker, sir?" they axed.
"Wall my pretty dears, I haven't arrayed my proud form in a long weskit yit, but if they was all like you perhaps I'd jine 'em. As it is, I'm a Shaker pro-temporary."
They was full of fun. I seed that at fust, only they was a leetle skeery. I tawt 'em Puss in the corner and sich like plase, and we had a nice time, keepin quiet of course so the old man shouldn't hear. When we broke up, sez I, "my pretty dears, ear I go you hav no objections, hav you, to a innersent kiss at partin?"
"Yay," they said, and I YAY'D.
I went up stairs to bed. I spose I'd bin snoozin half an hour when I was woke up by a noise at the door. I sot up in bed, leanin on my elbers and rubbin my eyes, and I saw the follerin picter: The Elder stood in the doorway, with a taller candle in his hand. He hadn't no wearin appeerel on except his night close, which flutterd in the breeze like a Seseshun flag. He sed, "You're a man of sin!" then groaned and went away.
I went to sleep agin, and drempt of runnin orf with the pretty little Shakeresses mounted on my Californy Bar. I thawt the Bar insisted on steerin strate for my dooryard in Baldinsville and that Betsy Jane cum out and giv us a warm recepshun with a panfull of Bilin water. I was woke up arly by the Elder. He said refreshments was reddy for me down stairs. Then sayin I was a man of sin, he went groanin away.
As I was goin threw the entry to the room where the vittles was, I cum across the Elder and the old female I'd met the night before, and what d'ye spose they was up to? Huggin and kissin like young lovers in their gushingist state. Sez I, "my Shaker friends, I reckon you'd better suspend the rules and git married."
"You must excoos Brother Uriah," sed the female; "he's subjeck to fits and hain't got no command over hisself when he's into 'em."
"Sartinly," sez I, "I've bin took that way myself frequent."
"You're a man of sin!" sed the Elder.
Arter breakfust my little Shaker frends cum in agin to clear away the dishes.
"My pretty dears," sez I, "shall we YAY agin?"
"Nay," they sed, and I NAY'D.
The Shakers axed me to go to their meetin, as they was to hav sarvices that mornin, so I put on a clean biled rag and went. The meetin house was as neat as a pin. The floor was white as chalk and smooth as glass. The Shakers was all on hand, in clean weskits and meal bags, ranged on the floor like milingtery companies, the mails on one side of the room and the females on tother. They commenst clappin their hands and singin and dancin. They danced kinder slow at fust, but as they got warmed up they shaved it down very brisk, I tell you. Elder Uriah, in particler, exhiberted a right smart chance of spryness in his legs, considerin his time of life, and as he cum a dubble shuffle near where I sot, I rewarded him with a approvin smile and sed: "Hunky boy! Go it, my gay and festiv cuss!"
"You're a man of sin!" he sed, continnerin his shuffle.
The Sperret, as they called it, then moved a short fat Shaker to say a few remarks. He sed they was Shakers and all was ekal. They was the purest and Seleckest peple on the yearth. Other peple was sinful as they could be, but Shakers was all right. Shakers was all goin kerslap to the Promist Land, and nobody want goin to stand at the gate to bar 'em out, if they did they'd git run over.
The Shakers then danced and sung agin, and arter they was threw, one of 'em axed me what I thawt of it.
Sez I, "What duz it siggerfy?"
"What?" sez he.
"Why this jumpin up and singin? This long weskit bizniss, and this anty-matrimony idee? My frends, you air neat and tidy. Your lands is flowin with milk and honey. Your brooms is fine, and your apple sass is honest. When a man buys a keg of apple sass of you he don't find a grate many shavins under a few layers of sass—a little Game I'm sorry to say sum of my New Englan ancesters used to practiss. Your garding seeds is fine, and if I should sow 'em on the rock of Gibralter probly I should raise a good mess of garding sass. You air honest in your dealins. You air quiet and don't distarb nobody. For all this I givs you credit. But your religion is small pertaters, I must say. You mope away your lives here in single retchidness, and as you air all by yourselves nothing ever conflicks with your pecooler idees, except when Human Nater busts out among you, as I understan she sumtimes do. [I giv Uriah a sly wink here, which made the old feller squirm like a speared Eel.] You wear long weskits and long faces, and lead a gloomy life indeed. No children's prattle is ever hearn around your harthstuns—you air in a dreary fog all the time, and you treat the jolly sunshine of life as tho' it was a thief, drivin it from your doors by them weskits, and meal bags, and pecooler noshuns of yourn. The gals among you, sum of which air as slick pieces of caliker as I ever sot eyes on, air syin to place their heds agin weskits which kiver honest, manly harts, while you old heds fool yerselves with the idee that they air fulfillin their mishun here, and air contented. Here you air all pend up by yerselves, talkin about the sins of a world you don't know nothin of. Meanwhile said world continners to resolve round on her own axletree onct in every 24 hours, subjeck to the Constitution of the United States, and is a very plesant place of residence. It's a unnatral, onreasonable and dismal life you're leadin here. So it strikes me. My Shaker frends, I now bid you a welcome adoo. You hav treated me exceedin well. Thank you kindly, one and all.
"A base exhibiter of depraved monkeys and onprincipled wax works!" sed Uriah.
"Hello, Uriah," sez I, "I'd most forgot you. Wall, look out for them fits of yourn, and don't catch cold and die in the flour of your youth and beauty."
And I resoomed my jerney.
1.4. HIGH-HANDED OUTRAGE AT UTICA.
In the Faul of 1856, I showed my show in Uticky, a trooly grate sitty in the State of New York.
The people gave me a cordyal recepshun. The press was loud in her prases.
1 day as I was givin a descripshun of my Beests and Snaiks in my usual flowry stile what was my skorn disgust to see a big burly feller walk up to the cage containin my wax figgers of the Lord's Last Supper, and cease Judas Iscarrot by the feet and drag him out on the ground. He then commenced fur to pound him as hard as he cood.
"What under the son are you abowt?" cried I.
Sez he, "What did you bring this pussylanermus cuss here fur?" and he hit the wax figger another tremenjis blow on the hed.
Sez I, "You egrejus ass, that air's a wax figger—a representashun of the false 'Postle."
Sez he, "That's all very well fur you to say, but I tell you, old man, that Judas Iscarrot can't show hisself in Utiky with impunerty by a darn site!" with which observashun he kaved in Judassis hed. The young man belonged to 1 of the first famerlies in Utiky. I sood him, and the Joory brawt in a verdick of Arson in the 3d degree.
1.5. CELEBRATION AT BALDINSVILLE IN HONOR OF THE ATLANTIC CABLE.
Baldinsville, Injianny, Sep. the onct, 18&58.—I was summund home from Cinsinnaty quite suddin by a lettur from the Supervizers of Baldinsville, sayin as how grate things was on the Tappis in that air town in refferunse to sellebratin the compleshun of the Sub-Mershine Tellergraph & axkin me to be Pressunt. Lockin up my Kangeroo and wax wurks in a sekure stile I took my departer for Baldinsville—"my own, my nativ lan," which I gut intwo at early kandle litin on the follerin night & just as the sellerbrashun and illumernashun ware commensin.
Baldinsville was trooly in a blaze of glory. Near can I forgit the surblime speckticul which met my gase as I alited from the Staige with my umbreller and verlis. The Tarvern was lit up with taller kandles all over & a grate bon fire was burnin in frunt thareof. A Traspirancy was tied onto the sine post with the follerin wurds—"Giv us Liberty or Deth." Old Tompkinsis grosery was illumernated with 5 tin lantuns and the follerin Transpirancy was in the winder—"The Sub-Mershine Tellergraph & the Baldinsville and Stonefield Plank Road—the 2 grate eventz of the 19th centerry—may intestines strife never mar their grandjure." Simpkinsis shoe shop was all ablase with kandles and lantuns. A American Eagle was painted onto a flag in a winder—also these wurds, viz.—"The Constitooshun must be Presarved." The Skool house was lited up in grate stile and the winders was filld with mottoes amung which I notised the follerin—"Trooth smashed to erth shall rize agin—YOU CAN'T STOP HER." "The Boy stood on the Burnin Deck whense awl but him had Fled." "Prokrastinashun is the theaf of Time." "Be virtoous & you will be Happy." "Intemperunse has cawsed a heap of trubble—shun the Bole," an the follerin sentimunt written by the skool master, who graduated at Hudson Kollige: "Baldinsville sends greetin to Her Magisty the Queen, & hopes all hard feelins which has heretofore previs bin felt between the Supervizers of Baldinsville and the British Parlimunt, if such there has been, may now be forever wiped frum our Escutchuns. Baldinsville this night rejoises over the gerlorious event which sementz 2 grate nashuns onto one anuther by means of a elecktric wire under the roarin billers of the Nasty Deep. QUOSQUE TANTRUM, A BUTTER, CATERLINY, PATENT NOSTRUM!" Squire Smith's house was lited up regardlis of expense. His little sun William Henry stood upon the roof firin orf crackers. The old 'Squire hisself was dressed up in soljer clothes and stood on his door-step, pintin his sword sollumly to a American flag which was suspendid on top of a pole in frunt of his house. Frequiently he wood take orf his cocked hat & wave it round in a impressive stile. His oldest darter Mis Isabeller Smith, who has just cum home from the Perkinsville Female Instertoot, appeared at the frunt winder in the West room as the goddis of liberty, & sung "I see them on their windin way." Booteus 1, sed I to myself, you air a angil & nothin shorter. N. Boneparte Smith, the 'Squire's oldest sun, drest hisself up as Venus the God of Wars and red the Decleration of Inderpendunse from the left chambir winder. The 'Squire's wife didn't jine in the festiverties. She sed it was the tarnulest nonsense she ever seed. Sez she to the 'Squire, "Cum into the house and go to bed you old fool, you. Tomorrer you'll be goin round half-ded with the rumertism & won't gin us a minit's peace till you get well." Sez the 'Squire, "Betsy, you little appresiate the importance of the event which I this night commererate." Sez she, "Commemerate a cat's tail—cum into the house this instant, you pesky old critter." "Betsy," sez the 'Squire, wavin his sword, "retire." This made her just as mad as she could stick. She retired, but cum out agin putty quick with a panfull of Bilin hot water which she throwed all over the Squire, & Surs, you wood have split your sides larfin to see the old man jump up and holler & run into the house. Except this unpropishus circumstance all went as merry as a carriage bell, as Lord Byrun sez. Doctor Hutchinsis offiss was likewise lited up and a Transpirancy, on which was painted the Queen in the act of drinkin sum of "Hutchinsis invigorater," was stuck into one of the winders. The Baldinsville Bugle of Liberty noospaper offiss was also illumernated, & the follerin mottoes stuck out—"The Press is the Arkermejian leaver which moves the world." "Vote Early." "Buckle on your Armer." "Now is the time to Subscribe." "Franklin, Morse & Field." "Terms 1.50 dollars a year—liberal reducshuns to clubs." In short the villige of Baldinsville was in a perfect fewroar. I never seed so many peple thar befour in my born days. Ile not attemp to describe the seens of that grate night. Wurds wood fale me ef I shood try to do it. I shall stop here a few periods and enjoy my "Oatem cum dig the tates," as our skool master observes, in the buzzum of my famerly, & shall then resume the show biznis, which Ive bin into twenty-two (22) yeres and six (6) months.
1.6. AMONG THE SPIRITS.
My naburs is mourn harf crazy on the new-fangled ideas about Sperrets. Sperretooul Sircles is held nitely & 4 or 5 long hared fellers has settled here and gone into the Sperret biznis excloosively. A atemt was made to git Mrs. A. Ward to embark into the Sperret biznis but the atemt faled. 1 of the long hared fellers told her she was a ethereal creeter & wood make a sweet mejium, whareupon she attact him with a mop handle & drove him out of the house. I will hear obsarve that Mrs.Ward is a invalerble womum—the partner of my goys & the shairer of my sorrers. In my absunse she watchis my interests & things with a Eagle Eye & when I return she welcums me in afectionate stile. Trooly it is with us as it was with Mr. & Mrs. INGOMER in the Play, to whit,—
2 soles with but a single thawt 2 harts which beet as 1.
My naburs injooced me to attend a Sperretooul Sircle at Squire Smith's. When I arrove I found the east room chock full includin all the old maids in the villige & the long hared fellers a4sed. When I went in I was salootid with "hear cums the benited man"— "hear cums the hory-heded unbeleever"—"hear cums the skoffer at trooth," etsettery, etsettery.
Sez I, "my frens, it's troo I'm hear, & now bring on your Sperrets."
1 of the long hared fellers riz up and sed he would state a few remarks. He sed man was a critter of intelleck & was movin on to a Gole. Sum men had bigger intellecks than other men had and thay wood git to the Gole the soonerest. Sum men was beests & wood never git into the Gole at all. He sed the Erth was materiel but man was immaterial, and hens man was different from the Erth. The Erth, continnered the speaker, resolves round on its own axeltree onct in 24 hours, but as man haint gut no axeltree he cant resolve. He sed the ethereal essunce of the koordinate branchis of super-human natur becum mettymorfussed as man progrest in harmonial coexistunce & eventooally anty humanized theirselves & turned into reglar sperretuellers. (This was versifferusly applauded by the cumpany, and as I make it a pint to get along as pleasant as possible, I sung out "bully for you, old boy.")
The cumpany then drew round the table and the Sircle kommenst to go it. Thay axed me if thare was an body in the Sperret land which I wood like to convarse with. I sed if Bill Tompkins, who was onct my partner in the show biznis, was sober, I should like to convarse with him a few periods.
"Is the Sperret of William Tompkins present?" sed 1 of the long hared chaps, and there was three knox on the table.
Sez I, "William, how goze it, Old Sweetness?"
"Pretty ruff, old hoss," he replide.
That was a pleasant way we had of addressin each other when he was in the flesh.
"Air you in the show bizniz, William?" sed I.
He sed he was. He sed he & John Bunyan was travelin with a side show in connection with Shakspere, Jonson & Co.'s Circus. He sed old Bun (meanin Mr. Bunyan,) stired up the animils & ground the organ while he tended door. Occashunally Mr. Bunyan sung a comic song. The Circus was doin middlin well. Bill Shakspeer had made a grate hit with old Bob Ridley, and Ben Jonson was delitin the peple with his trooly grate ax of hossmanship without saddul or bridal. Thay was rehersin Dixey's Land & expected it would knock the peple.
Sez I, "William, my luvly friend, can you pay me that 13 dollars you owe me?" He sed no with one of the most tremenjis knox I ever experiunsed.
The Sircle sed he had gone. "Air you gone, William?" I axed. "Rayther," he replide, and I knowd it was no use to pursoo the subjeck furder.
I then called fur my farther.
"How's things, daddy?"
"Middlin, my son, middlin."
"Ain't you proud of your orfurn boy?"
"Why not, my parient?"
"Becawz you hav gone to writin for the noospapers, my son. Bimeby you'll lose all your character for trooth and verrasserty. When I helpt you into the show biznis I told you to dignerfy that there profeshun. Litteratoor is low."
He also statid that he was doin middlin well in the peanut biznis & liked it putty well, tho' the climit was rather warm.
When the Sircle stopt thay axed me what I thawt of it.
Sez I, "My frends I've bin into the show biznis now goin on 23 years. Theres a artikil in the Constitooshun of the United States which sez in effeck that everybody may think just as he darn pleazes, & them is my sentiments to a hare. You dowtlis beleeve this Sperret doctrin while I think it is a little mixt. Just so soon as a man becums a reglar out & out Sperret rapper he leeves orf workin, lets his hare grow all over his fase & commensis spungin his livin out of other peple. He eats all the dickshunaries he can find & goze round chock full of big words, scarein the wimmin folks & little children & destroyin the piece of mind of evry famerlee he enters. He don't do nobody no good & is a cuss to society & a pirit on honest peple's corn beef barrils. Admittin all you say abowt the doctrin to be troo, I must say the reglar perfessional Sperrit rappers—them as makes a biznis on it—air abowt the most ornery set of cusses I ever enkountered in my life. So sayin I put on my surtoot and went home.
Respectably Yures, Artemus Ward.
1.7. ON THE WING.
Gents of the Editorial Corpse.—
Since I last rit you I've met with immense success a showin my show in varis places, particly at Detroit. I put up at Mr. Russel's tavern, a very good tavern too, but I am sorry to inform you that the clerks tried to cum a Gouge Game on me. I brandished my new sixteen dollar huntin-cased watch round considerable, & as I was drest in my store clothes & had a lot of sweet-scented wagon-grease on my hair, I am free to confess that I thought I lookt putty gay. It never once struck me that I lookt green. But up steps a clerk & axes me hadn't I better put my watch in the Safe. "Sir," sez I, "that watch cost sixteen dollars! Yes, Sir, every dollar of it! You can't cum it over me, my boy! Not at all, Sir." I know'd what the clerk wanted. He wanted that watch himself. He wanted to make believe as tho he lockt it up in the safe, then he would set the house a fire and pretend as tho the watch was destroyed with the other property! But he caught a Tomarter when he got hold of me. From Detroit I go West'ard hoe. On the cars was a he-lookin female, with a green-cotton umbreller in one hand and a handful of Reform tracks in the other. She sed every woman should have a Spear. Them as didn't demand their Spears, didn't know what was good for them. "What is my Spear?" she axed, addressing the people in the cars. "Is it to stay at home & darn stockins & be the ser-LAVE of a domineerin man? Or is it my Spear to vote & speak & show myself the ekal of a man? Is there a sister in these keers that has her proper Spear?" Sayin which the eccentric female whirled her umbreller round several times, & finally jabbed me in the weskit with it.
"I hav no objecshuns to your goin into the Spear bizness," sez I, "but you'll please remember I ain't a pickeril. Don't Spear me agin, if you please." She sot down.
At Ann Arbor, bein seized with a sudden faintness, I called for a drop of suthin to drink. As I was stirrin the beverage up, a pale-faced man in gold spectacles laid his hand upon my shoulder, & sed, "Look not upon the wine when it is red!"
Sez I, "This ain't wine. This is Old Rye."
"'It stingeth like a Adder and biteth like a Sarpent!'" sed the man.
"I guess not," sed I, "when you put sugar into it. That's the way I allers take mine."
"Have you sons grown up, sir?" the man axed.
"Wall," I replide, as I put myself outside my beverage, "my son Artemus junior is goin on 18."
"Ain't you afraid if you set this example be4 him he'll cum to a bad end?"
"He's cum to a waxed end already. He's learnin the shoe makin bizness," I replide. "I guess we can both on us git along without your assistance, Sir," I obsarved, as he was about to open his mouth agin.
"This is a cold world!" sed the man.
"That's so. But you'll get into a warmer one by and by if you don't mind your own bizness better." I was a little riled at the feller, because I never take anythin only when I'm onwell. I arterwards learned he was a temperance lecturer, and if he can injuce men to stop settin their inards on fire with the frightful licker which is retailed round the country, I shall hartily rejoice. Better give men Prusick Assid to onct, than to pizen 'em to deth by degrees.
At Albion I met with overwhelmin success. The celebrated Albion Female Semenary is located here, & there air over 300 young ladies in the Institushun, pretty enough to eat without seasonin or sass. The young ladies was very kind to me, volunteerin to pin my handbills onto the backs of their dresses. It was a surblime site to see over 300 young ladies goin round with a advertisement of A. Ward's onparaleld show, conspickusly posted onto their dresses.
They've got a Panick up this way and refooze to take Western money. It never was worth much, and when western men, who knows what it is, refooze to take their own money it is about time other folks stopt handlin it. Banks are bustin every day, goin up higher nor any balloon of which we hav any record. These western bankers air a sweet & luvly set of men. I wish I owned as good a house as some of 'em would break into!
Virtoo is its own reward.
1.8. THE OCTOROON.
It is with no ordernary feelins of Shagrin & indignashun that I rite you these here lines. Sum of the hiest and most purest feelins whitch actoate the humin hart has bin trampt onto. The Amerycan flag has bin outrajed. Ive bin nussin a Adder in my Boozum. The fax in the kase is these here:
A few weeks ago I left Baldinsville to go to N.Y. fur to git out my flamin yeller hanbills fur the Summer kampane, & as I was peroosin a noospaper on the kars a middel aged man in speckterkuls kum & sot down beside onto me. He was drest in black close & was appeerently as fine a man as ever was.
"A fine day, Sir," he did unto me strateway say.
"Middlin," sez I, not wishin to kommit myself, tho he peered to be as fine a man as there was in the wurld—"It is a middlin fine day, Square," I obsarved.
Sez he, "How fares the Ship of State in yure regine of country?"
Sez I, "We don't hav no ships in our State—the kanawl is our best holt."
He pawsed a minit and then sed, "Air yu aware, Sir, that the krisis is with us?"
"No," sez I, getting up and lookin under the seet, "whare is she?"
"It's hear—it's everywhares," he sed.
Sez I, "Why how you tawk!" and I gut up agin & lookt all round. "I must say, my fren," I continnered, as I resoomed my seet, "that I kan't see nothin of no krisis myself." I felt sumwhat alarmed, & arose & in a stentoewrian voice obsarved that if any lady or gentleman in that there kar had a krisis consealed abowt their persons they'd better projuce it to onct or suffer the konsequences. Several individoouls snickered rite out, while a putty little damsell rite behind me in a pinc gown made the observashun, "He, he."
"Sit down, my fren," sed the man in black close, "yu miskomprehend me. I meen that the perlittercal ellermunts are orecast with black klouds, 4boden a friteful storm."
"Wall," replide I, "in regard to perlittercal ellerfunts I don't know as how but what they is as good as enny other kind of ellerfunts. But I maik bold to say thay is all a ornery set & unpleasant to hav around. They air powerful hevy eaters & take up a right smart chans of room, & besides thay air as ugly and revenjeful, as a Cusscaroarus Injun, with 13 inches of corn whisky in his stummick." The man in black close seemed to be as fine a man as ever was in the wurld. He smilt & sed praps I was rite, tho it was ellermunts instid of ellerfunts that he was alludin to, & axed me what was my prinserpuls?
"I haint gut enny," sed I—"not a prinserpul. Ime in the show biznis." The man in black close, I will hear obsarve, seemed to be as fine a man as ever was in the wurld.
"But," sez he, "you hav feelins into you? You cimpathize with the misfortunit, the loly & the hart-sick, don't you?" He bust into teers and axed me ef I saw that yung lady in the seet out yender, pintin to as slick a lookin gal as I ever seed.
Sed I, "2 be shure I see her—is she mutch sick?" The man in black close was appeerently as fine a man as ever was in the wurld ennywhares.
"Draw closter to me," sed the man in black close. "Let me git my mowth fernenst yure ear. Hush—SHESE A OCTOROON!"
"No!" sez I, gittin up in a exsited manner, "yu don't say so! How long has she bin in that way?"
"Frum her arliest infuncy," sed he.
"Wall, whot upon arth duz she doo it fur?" I inquired.
"She kan't help it," sed the man in black close. "It's the brand of Kane."
"Wall, she'd better stop drinkin Kane's brandy," I replide.
"I sed the brand of Kane was upon her—not brandy, my fren. Yure very obtoose."
I was konsiderbul riled at this. Sez I, "My gentle Sir, Ime a nonresistanter as a ginral thing, & don't want to git up no rows with nobuddy, but I kin nevertheles kave in enny man's hed that calls me a obtoos," with whitch remarks I kommenst fur to pull orf my extry garmints. "Cum on," sez I—"Time! hear's the Beniki Boy fur ye!" & I darnced round like a poppit. He riz up in his seet & axed my pardin—sed it was all a mistake—that I was a good man, etsettery, & sow 4th, & we fixt it all up pleasant. I must say the man in black close seamed to be as fine a man as ever lived in the wurld. He sed a Octoroon was the 8th of a negrow. He likewise statid that the female he was travlin with was formurly a slave in Mississippy; that she'd purchist her freedim & now wantid to purchiss the freedim of her poor old muther, who (the man in black close obsarved) was between 87 years of age & had to do all the cookin & washin for 25 hired men, whitch it was rapidly breakin down her konstitushun. He sed he knowed the minit he gazed onto my klassic & beneverlunt fase that I'd donate librully & axed me to go over & see her, which I accordingly did. I sot down beside her and sed, "yure Sarvant, Marm! How do yer git along?"
She bust in 2 teers & sed, "O Sur, I'm so retchid—I'm a poor unfortunit Octoroon."
"So I larn. Yure rather more Roon than Octo, I take it," sed I, fur I never seed a puttier gal in the hull endoorin time of my life. She had on a More Antic Barsk & a Poplin Nubier with Berage trimmins onto it, while her ise & kurls was enuff to make a man jump into a mill pond without biddin his relashuns good-by. I pittid the Octoroon from the inmost recusses of my hart & hawled out 50 dollars kerslap, & told her to buy her old muther as soon as posserbul. Sez she "kine sir mutch thanks." She then lade her hed over onto my showlder & sed I was "old rats." I was astonished to heer this obsarvation, which I knowd was never used in refined society & I perlitely but emfattercly shovd her hed away.
Sez I "Marm, I'm trooly sirprized."
Sez she, "git out. Yure the nicist old man Ive seen yit. Give us anuther 50!" Had a seleck assortment of the most tremenjious thunderbolts descended down onto me I couldn't hav bin more takin aback. I jumpt up, but she ceased my coat tales & in a wild voise cride, "No, Ile never desart you—let us fli together to a furrin shoor!"
Sez I, "not mutch we wont," and I made a powerful effort to get awa from her. "This is plade out," I sed, whereupon she jerkt me back into the seet. "Leggo my coat, you scandaluss female," I roared, when she set up the most unarthly yellin and hollerin you ever heerd. The passinjers & the gentlemunly konducter rusht to the spot, & I don't think I ever experiunsed sich a rumpus in the hull coarse of my natral dase. The man in black close rusht up to me & sed "How dair yu insult my neece, you horey heded vagabone. You base exhibbiter of low wax figgers— yu woolf in sheep's close," & sow 4th.
I was konfoozed. I was a loonytick fur the time bein, and offered 5 dollars reward to enny gentleman of good morrul carracter who wood tell me whot my name was & what town I livd into. The konducter kum to me & sed the insultid parties wood settle for 50 dollars, which I immejitly hawled out, & agane implored sumbuddy to state whare I was prinsipully, & if I shood be thare a grate while my self ef things went on as they'd bin goin fur sum time back. I then axed if there was enny more Octoroons present, "becawz," sez I, "ef there is, let um cum along, fur Ime in the Octoroon bizniss." I then threw my specterculs out of the winder, smasht my hat wildly down over my Ise, larfed highsterically & fell under a seet. I lay there sum time & fell asleep. I dreamt Mrs. Ward & the twins had bin carried orf by Ryenosserhosses & that Baldinsville had bin captered by a army of Octoroons. When I awoked the lamps was a burnin dimly. Sum of the passinjers was a snorein like pawpusses & the little damsell in the pinc gown was a singin "Oft in the Silly nite." The onprinsipuld Octoroon & the miserbul man in black close was gone, & all of a suddent it flasht ore my brane that I'de bin swindild.
1.9. EXPERIENCE AS AN EDITOR.
In the Ortum of 18— my frend, the editor of the Baldinsville Bugle, was obleged to leave perfeshernal dooties & go & dig his taters, & he axed me to edit for him dooring his absence. Accordingly I ground up his Shears and commenced. It didn't take me a grate while to slash out copy enuff from the xchanges (Perhaps five per cent. of the Western newspapers is original matter relating to the immediate neighborhood, the rest is composed of "telegraphs" and clippings from the "exchanges"—a general term applied to those papers posted in exchange for others, the accommodation being a mutual benefit.) for one issoo, and I thawt I'd ride up to the next town on a little Jaunt, to rest my Branes, which had bin severely rackt by my mental efforts. (This is sorter Ironical.) So I went over to the Rale Road offiss and axed the Sooprintendent for a pars.
"YOU a editer?" he axed, evijently on the pint of snickerin.
"Yes Sir," sez I; "don't I look poor enuff?"
"Just about," sed he, "but our Road can't pars you."
"No Sir—it can't."
"Becauz," sez I, lookin him full in the face with a Eagle eye, "IT GOES SO DARNED SLOW IT CAN'T PARS ANYBODY!" Methinks I had him thar. It's the slowest Rale Road in the West. With a mortified air, he told me to git out of his offiss. I pittid him and went.
About two years ago I arrove in Oberlin, Ohio. Oberlin is whare the celebrated college is. In fack, Oberlin IS the college, everything else in that air vicinity resolvin around excloosivly for the benefit of that institution. It is a very good college, too, & a grate many wurthy yung men go there annooally to git intelleck into 'em. But its my onbiassed 'pinion that they go it rather too strong on Ethiopians at Oberlin. But that's nun of my bisniss. I'm into the Show bizness. Yit as a faithful historan I must menshun the fack that on rainy dase white peple can't find their way threw the streets without the gas is lit, there bein such a numerosity of cullerd pussons in the town.
As I was sayin, I arroved at Oberlin, and called on Perfesser Peck for the purpuss of skewerin Kolonial Hall to exhibit my wax works and beests of Pray into. Kolonial Hall is in the college and is used by the stujents to speak peaces and read essays into.
Sez Perfesser Peck, "Mister Ward, I don't know 'bout this bizniss. What are your sentiments?"
Sez I, "I hain't got any."
"Good God!" cried the Perfesser, "did I understan you to say you hav no sentiments!"
"Nary a sentiment!" sez I.
"Mister Ward, don't your blud bile at the thawt that three million and a half of your culled brethren air a clankin their chains in the South?"
Sez I, "Not a bile! Let 'em clank!"
He was about to continner his flowry speech when I put a stopper on him. Sez I, "Perfesser Peck, A. Ward is my name & Americky is my nashun; I'm allers the same, tho' humble is my station, and I've bin in the show bizniss goin on 22 years. The pint is, can I hav your Hall by payin a fair price? You air full of sentiments. That's your lay, while I'm a exhibiter of startlin curiosities. What d'ye say?"
"Mister Ward, you air endowed with a hily practical mind, and while I deeply regret that you air devoid of sentiments I'll let you hav the hall provided your exhibition is of a moral & elevatin nater."
Sez I, "Tain't nothin shorter."
So I opened in Kolonial Hall, which was crowded every nite with stujents, &c. Perfesser Finny gazed for hours at my Kangaroo, but when that sagashus but onprincipled little cuss set up one of his onarthly yellins and I proceeded to hosswhip him, the Perfesser objected. "Suffer not your angry pashums to rise up at the poor annimil's little excentrissities," said the Perfesser.
"Do you call such conduck as THOSE a little excentrissity?" I axed.
"I do," sed he; sayin which he walked up to the cage and sez he, "let's try moral swashun upon the poor creeter." So he put his hand upon the Kangeroo's hed and sed, "poor little fellow— poor little fellow—your master is very crooil, isn't he, my untootered frend," when the Kangaroo, with a terrific yell, grabd the Perfesser by the hand and cum very near chawin it orf. It was amoozin to see the Perfesser jump up and scream with pane. Sez I, "that's one of the poor little fellow's excentrissities!"
Sez he, "Mister Ward, that's a dangerous quadruped. He's totally depraved. I will retire and do my lasserated hand up in a rag, and meanwhile I request you to meat out summery and severe punishment to the vishus beest," I hosswhipt the little cuss for upwards of 15 minutes. Guess I licked sum of his excentrissity out of him.
Oberlin is a grate plase. The College opens with a prayer and then the New York Tribune is read. A kolleckshun is then taken up to buy overkoats with red horn buttons onto them for the indignant cullured people of Kanady. I have to contribit librally two the glowrius work, as they kawl it hear. I'm kompelled by the Fackulty to reserve front seets in my show for the cullered peple. At the Boardin House the cullered peple sit at the first table. What they leeve is maid into hash for the white peple. As I don't like the idee of eatin my vittles with Ethiopians, I sit at the seckind table, and the konsequence is I've devowered so much hash that my inards is in a hily mixt up condishun. Fish bones hav maid their appearance all over my boddy and pertater peelins air a springin up through my hair. Howsever I don't mind it. I'm gittin along well in a pecunery pint of view. The College has konfired upon me the honery title of T.K., of which I'm suffishuntly prowd.
1.11. THE SHOWMAN'S COURTSHIP.
Thare was many affectin ties which made me hanker arter Betsy Jane. Her father's farm jined our'n; their cows and our'n squencht their thurst at the same spring; our old mares both had stars in their forreds; the measles broke out in both famerlies at nearly the same period; our parients (Betsy's and mine) slept reglarly every Sunday in the same meetin house, and the nabers used to obsarve, "How thick the Wards and Peasleys air!" It was a surblime site, in the Spring of the year, to see our sevral mothers (Betsy's and mine) with their gowns pin'd up so thay couldn't sile 'em, affecshuntly Bilin sope together & aboozin the nabers.
Altho I hankerd intensly arter the objeck of my affecshuns, I darsunt tell her of the fires which was rajin in my manly Buzzum. I'd try to do it but my tung would kerwollup up agin the roof of my mowth & stick thar, like deth to a deseast Afrikan or a country postmaster to his offiss, while my hart whanged agin my ribs like a old fashioned wheat Flale agin a barn floor.
'Twas a carm still nite in Joon. All nater was husht and nary a zeffer disturbed the sereen silens. I sot with Betsy Jane on the fense of her farther's pastur. We'd bin rompin threw the woods, kullin flours & drivin the woodchuck from his Nativ Lair (so to speak) with long sticks. Wall, we sot thar on the fense, a swingin our feet two and fro, blushin as red as the Baldinsville skool house when it was fust painted, and lookin very simple, I make no doubt. My left arm was ockepied in ballunsin myself on the fense, while my rite was woundid luvinly round her waste.
I cleared my throat and tremblin sed, "Betsy, you're a Gazelle."
I thought that air was putty fine. I waitid to see what effeck it would hav upon her. It evidently didn't fetch her, for she up and sed,
"You're a sheep!"
Sez I, "Betsy, I think very muchly of you."
"I don't b'leeve a word you say—so there now cum!" with which obsarvashun she hitched away from me.
"I wish thar was winders to my Sole," sed I, "so that you could see some of my feelins. There's fire enuff in here," sed I, strikin my buzzum with my fist, "to bile all the corn beef and turnips in the naberhood. Versoovius and the Critter ain't a circumstans!"
She bowd her hed down and commenst chawin the strings to her sun bonnet.
"Ar could you know the sleeplis nites I worry threw with on your account, how vittles has seized to be attractiv to me & how my lims has shrunk up, you wouldn't dowt me. Gase on this wastin form and these 'ere sunken cheeks"—
I should have continnered on in this strane probly for sum time, but unfortnitly I lost my ballunse and fell over into the pastur ker smash, tearin my close and seveerly damagin myself ginerally.
Betsy Jane sprung to my assistance in dubble quick time and dragged me 4th. Then drawin herself up to her full hite she sed:
"I won't listen to your noncents no longer. Jes say rite strate out what you're drivin at. If you mean gettin hitched, I'M IN!"
I considered that air enuff for all practicul purpusses, and we proceeded immejitely to the parson's, & was made 1 that very nite.
(Notiss to the Printer: Put some stars here.)
* * * * * *
I've parst threw many tryin ordeels sins then, but Betsy Jane has bin troo as steel. By attendin strickly to bizniss I've amarsed a handsum Pittance. No man on this footstool can rise & git up & say I ever knowinly injered no man or wimmin folks, while all agree that my Show is ekalled by few and exceld by none, embracin as it does a wonderful colleckshun of livin wild Beests of Pray, snaix in grate profushun, a endliss variety of life-size wax figgers, & the only traned kangaroo in Ameriky— the most amoozin little cuss ever introjuced to a discriminatin public.
1.12. THE CRISIS.
[This Oration was delivered before the commencement of the war.]
On returnin to my humsted in Baldinsville, Injianny, resuntly, my feller sitterzens extended a invite for me to norate to 'em on the Krysis. I excepted & on larst Toosday nite I peared be4 a C of upturned faces in the Red Skool House. I spoke nearly as follers:
Baldinsvillins: Hearto4, as I hav numerously obsarved, I have abstrained from having any sentimunts or principles, my pollertics, like my religion, bein of a exceedin accommodatin character. But the fack can't be no longer disgised that a Krysis is onto us, & I feel it's my dooty to accept your invite for one consecutive nite only. I spose the inflammertory individooals who assisted in projucing this Krysis know what good she will do, but I ain't 'shamed to state that I don't scacely. But the Krysis is hear. She's bin hear for sevral weeks, & Goodness nose how long she'll stay. But I venter to assert that she's rippin things. She's knockt trade into a cockt up hat and chaned Bizness of all kinds tighter nor I ever chaned any of my livin wild Beests. Alow me to hear dygress & stait that my Beests at presnt is as harmless as the newborn Babe. Ladys & gentlemen needn't hav no fears on that pint. To resoom—Altho I can't exactly see what good this Krysis can do, I can very quick say what the origernal cawz of her is. The origernal cawz is Our Afrikan Brother. I was into BARNIM'S Moozeum down to New York the other day & saw that exsentric Etheopian, the What Is It. Sez I, "Mister What Is It, you folks air raisin thunder with this grate country. You're gettin to be ruther more numeris than interestin. It is a pity you coodent go orf sumwhares by yourselves, & be a nation of What Is Its, tho' if you'll excoose me, I shooden't care about marryin among you. No dowt you're exceedin charmin to hum, but your stile of luvliness isn't adapted to this cold climit. He larfed into my face, which rather Riled me, as I had been perfeckly virtoous and respectable in my observashuns. So sez I, turnin a leetle red in the face, I spect, "Do you hav the unblushin impoodents to say you folks haven't raised a big mess of thunder in this brite land, Mister What Is It?" He larfed agin, wusser nor be4, whareupon I up and sez, "Go home, Sir, to Afriky's burnin shores & taik all the other What Is Its along with you. Don't think we can spair your interestin picters. You What Is Its air on the pint of smashin up the gratest Guv'ment ever erected by man, & you actooally hav the owdassity to larf about it. Go home, you low cuss!"
I was workt up to a high pitch, & I proceeded to a Restorator & cooled orf with some little fishes biled in ile—I b'leeve thay call 'em sardeens.
Feller Sitterzuns, the Afrikan may be Our Brother. Sevral hily respectyble gentlemen, and sum talentid females tell us so, & fur argyment's sake I mite be injooced to grant it, tho' I don't beleeve it myself. But the Afrikan isn't our sister & our wife & our uncle. He isn't sevral of our brothers & all our fust wife's relashuns. He isn't our grandfather, and our grate grandfather, and our Aunt in the country. Scacely. & yit numeris persons would have us think so. It's troo he runs Congress & sevral other public grosserys, but then he ain't everybody & everybody else likewise. [Notiss to bizness men of VANITY FAIR: Extry charg fur this larst remark. It's a goak. —A.W.]
But we've got the Afrikan, or ruther he's got us, & now what air we going to do about it? He's a orful noosanse. Praps he isn't to blame fur it. Praps he was creatid fur sum wise purpuss, like the measles and New Englan Rum, but it's mity hard to see it. At any rate he's no good here, & as I statid to Mister What Is It, it's a pity he cooden't go orf sumwhares quietly by hisself, whare he cood wear red weskits & speckled neckties, & gratterfy his ambishun in varis interestin wase, without havin a eternal fuss kickt up about him.
Praps I'm bearin down too hard upon Cuffy. Cum to think on it, I am. He woodn't be sich a infernal noosanse if white peple would let him alone. He mite indeed be interestin. And now I think of it, why can't the white peple let him alone. What's the good of continnerly stirrin him up with a ten-foot pole? He isn't the sweetest kind of Perfoomery when in a natral stait.
Feller Sitterzens, the Union's in danger. The black devil Disunion is trooly here, starein us all squarely in the face! We must drive him back. Shall we make a 2nd Mexico of ourselves? Shall we sell our birthrite for a mess of potash? Shall one brother put the knife to the throat of anuther brother? Shall we mix our whisky with each other's blud? Shall the star spangled Banner be cut up into dishcloths? Standin here in this here Skoolhouse, upon my nativ shor so to speak, I anser—Nary!
Oh you fellers who air raisin this row, & who in the fust place startid it, I'm 'shamed of you. The Showman blushes for you, from his boots to the topmost hair upon his wenerable hed.
Feller Sitterzens: I am in the Sheer & Yeller leaf. I shall peg out 1 of these dase. But while I do stop here I shall stay in the Union. I know not what the supervizers of Baldinsville may conclude to do, but for one, I shall stand by the Stars & Stripes. Under no circumstances whatsomever will I sesesh. Let every Stait in the Union sesesh & let Palmetter flags flote thicker nor shirts on Square Baxter's close line, still will I stick to the good old flag. The country may go to the devil, but I won't! And next Summer when I start out on my campane with my Show, wharever I pitch my little tent, you shall see floatin prowdly from the center pole thereof the Amerikan Flag, with nary a star wiped out, nary a stripe less, but the same old flag that has allers flotid thar! & the price of admishun will be the same it allers was—15 cents, children half price.
Feller Sitterzens, I am dun. Accordinly I squatted.
1.13. WAX FIGURES VS. SHAKESPEARE.
ONTO THE WING—1859.
I take my Pen in hand to inform yu that I'm in good helth and trust these few lines will find yu injoyin the same blessins. I wood also state that I'm now on the summir kampane. As the Poit sez—
ime erflote, ime erflote On the Swift rollin tied An the Rovir is free.
Bizness is scacely middlin, but Sirs I manige to pay for my foode and raiment puncktooally and without no grumblin. The barked arrers of slandur has bin leviled at the undersined moren onct sins heze bin into the show bizness, but I make bold to say no man on this footstule kan troothfully say I ever ronged him or eny of his folks. I'm travelin with a tent, which is better nor hirin hauls. My show konsists of a serious of wax works, snakes, a paneramy kalled a Grand Movin Diarea of the War in the Crymear, komic songs and the Cangeroo, which larst little cuss continners to konduct hisself in the most outrajus stile. I started out with the idear of makin my show a grate Moral Entertainment, but I'm kompeled to sware so much at that air infurnal Kangeroo that I'm frade this desine will be flustratid to some extent. And while speakin of morrality, remines me that sum folks turn up their nosis at shows like mine, sayin they is low and not fit to be patrernized by peplpeple of high degree. Sirs, I manetane that this is infernul nonsense. I manetane that wax figgers is more elevatin than awl the plays ever wroten. Take Shakespeer for instunse. Peple think heze grate things, but I kontend heze quite the reverse to the kontrary. What sort of sense is thare to King Leer, who goze round cussin his darters, chawin hay and throin straw at folks, and larfin like a silly old koot and makin a ass of hisself ginerally? Thare's Mrs. Mackbeth—sheze a nise kind of woomon to have round ain't she, a puttin old Mack, her husband, up to slayin Dunkan with a cheeze knife, while heze payin a frendly visit to their house. O its hily morral, I spoze, when she larfs wildly and sez, "gin me the daggurs—Ile let his bowels out," or wurds to that effeck—I say, this is awl, strickly, propper I spoze? That Jack Fawlstarf is likewise a immoral old cuss, take him how ye may, and Hamlick is as crazy as a loon. Thare's Richurd the Three, peple think heze grate things, but I look upon him in the lite of a monkster. He kills everybody he takes a noshun to in kold blud, and then goze to sleep in his tent. Bimeby he wakes up and yells for a hoss so he kan go orf and kill some more peple. If he isent a fit spesserman for the gallers then I shood like to know whare you find um. Thare's Iargo who is more ornery nor pizun. See how shameful he treated that hily respecterble injun gentlemun, Mister Otheller, makin him for to beleeve his wife was too thick with Casheo. Obsarve how Iargo got Casheo drunk as a biled owl on corn whiskey in order to karry out his sneekin desines. See how he wurks Mister Otheller's feelins up so that he goze and makes poor Desdemony swaller a piller which cawses her deth. But I must stop. At sum futur time I shall continner my remarks on the drammer in which I shall show the varst supeeriority of wax figgers and snakes over theater plays, in a interlectooal pint of view.
Very Respectively yures, A WARD, T.K.
1.14. AMONG THE FREE LOVERS. (Some queer people, calling themselves "Free Lovers," and possessing very original ideas about life and morality, established themselves at Berlin Heights, in Ohio, a few years since. Public opinion was resistlessly against them, however, and the association was soon disbanded.)
Some years ago I pitched my tent and onfurled my banner to the breeze, in Berlin Hites, Ohio. I had hearn that Berlin Hites was ockepied by a extensive seck called Free Lovers, who beleeved in affinertys and sich, goin back on their domestic ties without no hesitation whatsomever. They was likewise spirit rappers and high presher reformers on gineral principles. If I can improve these 'ere misgided peple by showin them my onparalleld show at the usual low price of admitants, methunk, I shell not hav lived in vane. But bitterly did I cuss the day I ever sot foot in the retchid place. I sot up my tent in a field near the Love Cure, as they called it, and bimeby the free lovers begun for to congregate around the door. A onreer set I have never sawn. The men's faces was all covered with hare and they lookt half-starved to deth. They didn't wear no weskuts for the purpose (as they sed) of allowin the free air of hevun to blow onto their boozums. Their pockets was filled with tracks and pamplits and they was bare-footed. They sed the Postles didn't wear boots, & why should they? That was their stile of argyment. The wimin was wuss than the men. They wore trowsis, short gownds, straw hats with green ribbins, and all carried bloo cotton umbrellers.
Presently a perfeckly orful lookin female presented herself at the door. Her gownd was skanderlusly short and her trowsis was shameful to behold.
She eyed me over very sharp, and then startin back she sed, in a wild voice:
"Ah, can it be?"
"Which?" sed I.
"Yes, 'tis troo, O 'tis troo!"
"15 cents, marm," I anserd.
She bust out a cryin & sed:
"And so I hav found you at larst—at larst, O at larst!"
"Yes," I anserd, "you hav found me at larst, and you would hav found me at fust, if you had cum sooner."
She grabd me vilently by the coat collar, and brandishin her umbreller wildly round, exclaimed:
"Air you a man?"
Sez I, "I think I air, but if you doubt it, you can address Mrs. A. Ward, Baldinsville, Injianny, postage pade, & she will probly giv you the desired informashun."
"Then thou ist what the cold world calls marrid?"
"Madam, I istest!"
The exsentric female then clutched me franticly by the arm and hollered:
"You air mine, O you air mine!"
"Scacely," I sed, endeverin to git loose from her. But she clung to me and sed:
"You air my Affinerty!"
"What upon arth is that?" I shouted.
"Dost thou not know?"
"No, I dostent!"
"Listin man, & I'll tell ye!" sed the strange female; "for years I hav yearned for thee. I knowd thou wast in the world, sumwhares, tho I didn't know whare. My hart sed he would cum and I took courage. He HAS cum—he's here—you air him—you air my Affinerty! O 'tis too mutch! too mutch!" and she sobbed agin.
"Yes," I anserd, "I think it is a darn site too mutch!"
"Hast thou not yearned for me?" she yelled, ringin her hands like a female play acter.
"Not a yearn!" I bellerd at the top of my voice, throwin her away from me.
The free lovers who was standin round obsarvin the scene commenst for to holler "shame" "beast," etsettery, etsettery.
I was very mutch riled, and fortifyin myself with a spare tent stake, I addrest them as follers: "You pussylanermus critters, go way from me and take this retchid woman with you. I'm a law-abidin man, and beleeve in good, old-fashioned institutions. I am marrid & my orfsprings resemble me if I am a showman! I think your Affinity bizniss is cussed noncents, besides bein outrajusly wicked. Why don't you behave desunt like other folks? Go to work and earn a honist livin and not stay round here in this lazy, shiftless way, pizenin the moral atmosphere with your pestifrous ideas! You wimin folks go back to your lawful husbands if you've got any, and take orf them skanderlous gownds and trowsis, and dress respectful like other wimin. You men folks, cut orf them pirattercal whiskers, burn up them infurnel pamplits, put sum weskuts on, go to work choppin wood, splittin fence rales, or tillin the sile." I pored 4th my indignashun in this way till I got out of breth, when I stopt. I shant go to Berlin Hites agin, not if I live to be as old as Methooseler.
1.15. A VISIT TO BRIGHAM YOUNG.
It is now goin on 2 (too) yeres, as I very well remember, since I crossed the Planes for Kaliforny, the Brite land of Jold. While crossin the Planes all so bold I fell in with sum noble red men of the forest (N.B. This is rote Sarcasticul. Injins is Pizin, whar ever found,) which thay Sed I was their Brother, & wanted for to smoke the Calomel of Peace with me. Thay then stole my jerkt beef, blankits, etsettery, skalpt my orgin grinder & scooted with a Wild Hoop. Durin the Cheaf's techin speech he sed he shood meet me in the Happy Huntin Grounds. If he duz thare will be a fite. But enuff of this ere. "Reven Noose Muttons," as our skoolmaster, who has got Talent into him, cussycally obsarve.
I arrove at Salt Lake in doo time. At Camp Scott there was a lot of U.S. sogers, hosstensibly sent out there to smash the Mormons but really to eat Salt vittles & play poker & other beautiful but sumwhat onsartin games. I got acquainted with sum of the officers. Thay lookt putty scrumpshus in their Bloo coats with brass buttings onto um & ware very talented drinkers, but so fur as fitin is consarned I'd willingly put my wax figgers agin the hull party.
My desire was to exhibit my grate show in Salt Lake City, so I called on Brigham Yung, the grate mogull amung the mormins and axed his permishun to pitch my tent and onfurl my banner to the jentle breezis. He lookt at me in a austeer manner for a few minits, and sed:
"Do you bleeve in Solomon, Saint Paul, the immaculateness of the Mormin Church and the Latter-day Revelashuns?"
Sez I, "I'm on it!" I make it a pint to git along plesunt, tho I didn't know what under the Son the old feller was drivin at. He sed I mite show.
"You air a marrid man, Mister Yung, I bleeve?" sez I, preparin to rite him sum free parsis.
"I hev eighty wives, Mister Ward. I sertinly am married."
"How do you like it as far as you hev got?" sed I.
He sed "middlin," and axed me wouldn't I like to see his famerly, to which I replide that I wouldn't mine minglin with the fair Seck & Barskin in the winnin smiles of his interestin wives. He accordingly tuk me to his Scareum. The house is powerful big & in a exceedin large room was his wives & children, which larst was squawkin and hollerin enuff to take the roof rite orf the house. The wimin was of all sizes and ages. Sum was pretty & sum was Plane—sum was helthy and sum was on the Wayne—which is verses, tho sich was not my intentions, as I don't 'prove of puttin verses in Proze rittins, tho ef occashun requires I can Jerk a Poim ekal to any of them Atlantic Munthly fellers.
"My wives, Mister Ward," sed Yung.
"Your sarvant, marms," sed I, as I sot down in a cheer which a red-heded female brawt me.
"Besides these wives you see here, Mister Ward," sed Yung, "I hav eighty more in varis parts of this consecrated land which air Sealed to me."
"Which?" sez I, gittin up & starin at him.
"Sealed, Sir! sealed."
"Whare bowts?" sez I.
"I sed, Sir, that they was sealed!" He spoke in a traggerdy voice.
"Will they probly continner on in that stile to any grate extent, Sir?" I axed.
"Sir," sed he, turnin as red as a biled beet, "don't you know that the rules of our Church is that I, the Profit, may hev as meny wives as I wants?"
"Jes so," I sed. "You are old pie, ain't you?"
"Them as is Sealed to me—that is to say, to be mine when I wants um—air at present my sperretooul wives," sed Mister Yung.
"Long may thay wave!" sez I, seein I shood git into a scrape ef I didn't look out.
In a privit conversashun with Brigham I learnt the follerin fax: It takes him six weeks to kiss his wives. He don't do it only onct a yere & sez it is wuss nor cleanin house. He don't pretend to know his children, thare is so many of um, tho they all know him. He sez about every child he meats call him Par, & he takes it for grantid it is so. His wives air very expensiv. Thay allers want suthin & ef he don't buy it for um thay set the house in a uproar. He sez he don't have a minit's peace. His wives fite amung their selves so much that he has bilt a fitin room for thare speshul benefit, & when too of 'em get into a row he has em turnd loose into that place, whare the dispoot is settled accordin to the rules of the London prize ring. Sum times thay abooz hisself individooally. Thay hev pulled the most of his hair out at the roots & he wares meny a horrible scar upon his body, inflicted with mop-handles, broom-sticks, and sich. Occashunly they git mad & scald him with bilin hot water. When he got eny waze cranky thay'd shut him up in a dark closit, previsly whippin him arter the stile of muthers when thare orfsprings git onruly. Sumptimes when he went in swimmin thay'd go to the banks of the Lake & steal all his close, thereby compellin him to sneek home by a sircootius rowt, drest in the Skanderlus stile of the Greek Slaiv. "I find that the keers of a marrid life way hevy onto me," sed the Profit, "& sumtimes I wish I'd remaned singel." I left the Profit and startid for the tavern whare I put up to. On my way I was overtuk by a lurge krowd of Mormons, which they surroundid me & statid that they were goin into the Show free.
"Wall," sez I, "ef I find a individooal who is goin round lettin folks into his show free, I'll let you know."
"We've had a Revelashun biddin us go into A. Wards's Show without payin nothin!" thay showtid.
"Yes," hollered a lot of femaile Mormonesses, ceasin me by the cote tales & swingin me round very rapid, "we're all goin in free! So sez the Revelashun!"
"What's Old Revelashun got to do with my show?" sez I, gittin putty rily. "Tell Mister Revelashun," sed I, drawin myself up to my full hite and lookin round upon the ornery krowd with a prowd & defiant mean, "tell Mister Revelashun to mind his own bizness, subject only to the Konstitushun of the United States!"
"Oh now let us in, that's a sweet man," sed several femails, puttin thare arms round me in luvin style. "Become 1 of us. Becum a Preest & hav wives Sealed to you."
"Not a Seal!" sez I, startin back in horror at the idee.
"Oh stay, Sir, stay," sed a tell, gawnt femaile, ore whoos hed 37 summirs must hev parsd, "stay, & I'll be your Jentle Gazelle."
"Not ef I know it, you won't," sez I. "Awa you skanderlus femaile, awa! Go & be a Nunnery!" THAT'S WHAT I SED, JES SO.
"& I," sed a fat chunky femaile, who must hev wade more than too hundred lbs, "I will be your sweet gidin Star!"
Sez I, "Ile bet two dollers and a half you won't!" Whare ear I may Rome Ile still be troo 2 thee, Oh Betsy Jane! [N.B. Betsy Jane is my wife's Sir naime.]
"Wiltist thou not tarry here in the promist Land?" sed several of the miserabil critters.
"Ile see you all essenshally cussed be4 I wiltist!" roared I, as mad as I cood be at thare infernul noncents. I girdid up my Lions & fled the Seen. I packt up my duds & Left Salt Lake, which is a 2nd Soddum & Germorrer, inhabitid by as theavin & onprincipled a set of retchis as ever drew Breth in eny spot on the Globe.
1.16. SCANDALOUS DOINGS AT PITTSBURG.
Hear in the Buzzum of my famerly I am enjoyin myself, at peas with awl mankind and the wimin folks likewise. I go down to the villige ockashunly and take a little old Rye fur the stummuck's sake, but I avoyd spiritus lickers as a ginral thing. No man evir seen me intossikated but onct, and that air happind in Pittsburg. A parsel of ornery cusses in that luvly sity bustid inter the hawl durin the nite and aboosed my wax works shaimful. I didn't obsarve the outrajus transacshuns ontil the next evening when the peple begun for to kongregate. Suddinly they kommensed fur to larf and holler in a boysterious stile. Sez I good peple what's up? Sez thay them's grate wax wurks, isn't they, old man. I immejitly looked up ter whare the wax works was, and my blud biles as I think of the site which then met my Gase. I hope two be dodrabbertid (Dod-rabit is an American euphemism for a profane expression which is quite as common in this country as on the other side of the Atlantic.) if them afoursed raskals hadent gone and put a old kaved in hat onter George Washington's hed and shuved a short black klay pipe inter his mouth. His noze thay had painted red and his trowsis legs thay had shuved inside his butes. My wax figger of Napoleon Boneypart was likewise mawltreatid. His sword wus danglin tween his legs, and his cockd hat was drawn klean down over his ize, and he was plased in a stoopin posishun lookin zactly as tho he was as drunk as a biled owl. Ginral Taylor was a standin on his hed and Wingfield Skott's koat tales ware pind over his hed and his trowsis ware kompleetly torn orf frum hisself. My wax works representin the Lord's Last Supper was likewise aboozed. Three of the Postles ware under the table and two of um had on old tarpawlin hats and raggid pee jackits and ware smokin pipes. Judus Iskarriot had on a cocked hat and was appeerently drinkin, as a Bottle of whisky sot befour him. This ere specktercal was too much fur me. I klosed the show and then drowndid my sorrers in the flowin Bole.
1.17. THE CENSUS.
The Sences taker in our town bein taken sick, he deppertised me to go out for him one day, and as he was too ill to giv me informashun how to perceed, I was consekently compelled to go it blind. Sittin down by the road side, I drawd up the follerin list of questions, which I proposed to ax the peple I visited:
Wat's your age?
Whar was you born?
Air you marrid, and if so how do you like it?
How many children hav you, and do they resemble you or your naber?
Did you ever hav the measels, and if so how many?
Hav you a twin brother several years older than yourself?
How many parents hav you?
Do you read Watt's Hims regler?
Do you use boughten tobacker? (I.e., that which has been bought. A very common word in the interior of New England and New York. It is applied to articles purchased from the shops, to distinguish them from articles of home manufacture. Many farmers make their own sugar from the maple-tree, and their coffee from barley or rye. West India sugar or coffee is then called "boughten sugar," &c. "This is a home-made carpet; that a 'boughten' one," i.e., one bought at a shop. In the North of England, baker's bread is called "bought bread."
Wat's your fitin wate?
Air you trubeld with biles?
How does your meresham culler?
State whether you air blind, deaf, idiotic, or got the heaves?
Do you know any Opry singers, and if so how much do they owe you?
What's the average of virtoo on the Ery Canawl?
If 4 barrils of Emptins pored onto a barn floor will kiver it, how many plase can Dion Bourcicault write in a year? [Emptyings, pronounced "emptins," the lees of beer, cider, &c.; yeast or anything by which bread is leavened:-
"'Twill take more emptins, by a long chalk, than this new party's got, To give such heavy cakes as these a start, I tell ye what." "The Biglow Papers."]
Is Beans a regler article of diet in your family?
How many chickins hav you, on foot and in the shell?
Air you aware that Injianny whisky is used in New York shootin galrys instid of pistols, and that it shoots furthest?
Was you ever at Niagry Falls?
Was you ever in the Penitentiary?
State how much pork, impendin crysis, Dutch cheeze, popler suvrinty, standard poetry, children's strainers, slave code, catnip, red flannel, ancient history, pickled tomaters, old junk, perfoomery, coal ile, liberty, hoop skirt, &c., you hav on hand?
But it didn't work. I got into a row at the fust house I stopt to, with some old maids. Disbelieven the ansers they giv in regard to their ages, I endevered to open their mouths and look at their teeth, same as they do with hosses, but they floo into a vilent rage and tackled me with brooms and sich. Takin the sences requires experiunse, like any other bizniss.
1.18. AN HONEST LIVING.
I was on my way from the mines to San Francisco, with a light puss and a hevy hart. You'd scacely hav recognized my fair form, so kiverd was I with dust. Bimeby I met Old Poodles, the all-firdist gambler in the country. He was afoot and in his shirt-sleeves, and was in a wuss larther nor any race hoss I ever saw. ("All-fired," enormous, excessive, a low Americanism, not improbably a puritanical corruption of "hell-fired," designed to have the virtue of an oath without offending polite ears.)
"Whither goist thow, sweet nimp?" sez I, in a play-actin tone.
"To the mines, Sir," he unto me did say, "to the mines, TO EARN AN HONEST LIVIN."
Thinks I that air aint very cool, I guess, and druv on.
1.19. THE PRESS.
I want the editers to cum to my Show free as the flours of May, but I don't want um to ride a free hoss to deth. Thare is times when Patience seizes to be virtoous. I had "in my mind's eye, Hurrashio" (cotashun from Hamlick) sum editers in a sertin town which shall be nameless, who air Both sneakin and ornery. They cum in krowds to my Show and then axt me ten sents a line for Puffs. I objectid to payin, but they sed ef I didn't down with the dust thay'd wipe my Show from the face of the earth! Thay sed the Press was the Arkymedian Leaver which moved the wurld. I put up to their extorshuns until thay'd bled me so I was a meer shadder, and left in disgust.
It was in a surtin town in Virginny, the Muther of Presidents & things, that I was shaimfully aboozed by a editor in human form. He set my Show up steep & kalled me the urbane & gentlemunly manajer, but when I, fur the purpuss of showin fair play all around, went to anuther offiss to git my hanbills printed, what duz this pussillanermus editer do but change his toon & abooze me like a Injun. He sed my wax wurks was a humbug & called me a horey-heded itinerent vagabone. I thort at fust Ide pollish him orf ar-lar the Beneshy Boy, but on reflectin that he cood pollish me much wuss in his paper, I giv it up. & I wood here take occashun to advise peple when thay run agin, as thay sumtimes will, these miserable papers, to not pay no attenshun to um. Abuv all, don't assault a editer of this kind. It only gives him a notorosity, which is jest what he wants, & don't do you no more good than it wood to jump into enny other mud puddle. Editers are generally fine men, but there must be black sheep in every flock.
1.20. EDWIN FOREST AS OTHELLO.
Durin a recent visit to New York the undersined went to see Edwin Forrest. As I'm into the moral show bizness myself, I ginrally go to Barnum's moral Museum, where only moral peple air admitted, pertickly on Wednesday arternoons. But this time I thot I'd go & see Ed. Ed has bin actin out on the stage for many years. There is varis 'pinions about his actin, Englishmen ginrally bleevin that he is far superior to Mister Macready; but on one pint all agree, & that is that Ed draws like a six ox team. Ed was actin at Niblo's Garding, which looks considerable more like a parster, than a garding, but let that pars. I sot down in the pit, took out my spectacles & commenced peroosin the evenin's bill. The awjince was all-fired large & the boxes was full of the elitty of New York. Several opery glasses was leveld at me by Gothum's farest darters, but I didn't let on as tho I noticed it, tho mebby I did take out my sixteen-dollar silver watch & brandish it round more than was necessary. But the best of us has our weaknesses & if a man has gewelry let him show it. As I was peroosin the bill a grave young man who sot near me axed me if I'd ever seen Forrest dance the Essence of Old Virginny? "He's immense in that," sed the young man. "He also does a fair champion jig," the young man continnerd, "but his Big Thing is the Essence of Old Virginny." Sez I, "Fair youth, do you know what I'd do with you if you was my sun?"
"No," sez he.
"Wall," sez I, "I'd appint your funeral tomorrow arternoon, & the KORPS SHOULD BE READY! You're too smart to live on this yearth." He didn't try any more of his capers on me. But another pussylanermus individooul, in a red vest & patent lether boots, told me his name was Bill Astor & axed me to lend him 50 cents till early in the mornin. I told him I'd probly send it round to him before he retired to his virtoous couch, but if I didn't he might look for it next fall, as soon as I cut my corn. The Orchestry was now fiddling with all their might, & as the peple didn't understan anything about it they applaudid versifrussly. Presently, Old Ed cum out. The play was Otheller or More of Veniss. Otheller was writ by Wm. Shakspeer. The scene is laid in Veniss. Otheller was a likely man & was a ginral in the Veniss army. He eloped with Desdemony, a darter of the Hon. Mister Brabantio, who represented one of the back districks in the Veneshun legislater. Old Brabantio was as mad as thunder at this & tore round considerable, but finally cooled down, tellin Otheller, howsever, that Desdemony had come it over her Par, & that he had better look out or she'd come it over him likewise. Mr. & Mrs. Otheller git along very comfortable like for a spell. She is sweet-tempered and luvin—a nice, sensible female, never goin in for he-female conventions, green cotton umbrellers, and pickled beats. Otheller is a good provider and thinks all the world of his wife. She has a lazy time of it, the hired girl doin all the cookin and washin. Desdemony, in fact, don't have to git the water to wash her own hands with. But a low cuss named Iago, who I bleeve wants to git Otheller out of his snug government birth, now goes to work & upsets the Otheller family in the most outrajus stile. Iago falls in with a brainless youth named Roderigo & wins all his money at poker. (Iago allers played foul.) He thus got money enuff to carry out his onprincipled skeem. Mike Cassio, a Irishman, is selected as a tool by Iago. Mike was a clever feller & orficer in Otheller's army. He liked his tods too well, howsever, & they floored him, as they have many other promisin young men. Iago injuces Mike to drink with him, Iago slyly throwin his whiskey over his shoulder. Mike gits as drunk as a biled owl & allows that he can lick a yard full of the Veneshun fancy before breakfast, without sweatin a hair. He meets Roderigo & proceeds for to smash him. A feller named Montano undertakes to slap Cassio, when that infatooated person runs his sword into him. That miserble man, Iago, pretents to be very sorry to see Mike conduck hisself in this way & undertakes to smooth the thing over to Otheller, who rushes in with a drawn sword & wants to know what's up. Iago cunningly tells his story, & Otheller tells Mike that he thinks a good deal of him, but he can't train no more in his regiment. Desdemony sympathizes with poor Mike & interceeds for him with Otheller. Iago makes him bleeve she does this because she thinks more of Mike than she does of hisself. Otheller swallers Iago's lyin tail & goes to makin a noosence of hisself ginrally. He worries poor Desdemony terrible by his vile insinuations, & finally smothers her to deth with a piller. Mrs. Iago cums in just as Otheller has finished the fowl deed & givs him fits right & left, showin him that he has bin orfully gulled by her miserble cuss of a husband. Iago cums in, & his wife commences rakin him down also, when he stabs her. Otheller jaws him a spell & then cuts a small hole in his stummick with his sword. Iago pints to Desdemony's deth bed & goes orf with a sardonic smile onto his countenance. Otheller tells the peple that he has dun the state sum service & they know it; axes them to do as fair a thing as they can for him under the circumstances, & kills hisself with a fish-knife, which is the most sensible thing he can do. This is a breef skedule of the synopsis of the play.