The Purple Cow!
by Gelett Burgess
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Transcriber's Note: Text within {xx} following ^ = text inserted above the line.

Published by William Doxey, at the Sign of the Lark, San Francisco.


The Lark Book I., Nos. 1-12, with Table of Contents and Press Comments; bound in canvas, with a cover design (The Piping Faun) by Bruce Porter, painted in three colors. Price, 3.00, post-paid.


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New York Critic.—"The faddists have produced some extraordinary things in the way of literature, but nothing more freakish has made its appearance in the last half-century than The Lark."

New York Tribune.—"It is perhaps one-fourth a monthly periodical and three-fourths an escapade. The Lark ought really to be called 'The Goose.'"

New York Herald.—"The current number of The Lark is, if possible, more curious, more quaint, more preposterously humorous, and more original than its predecessors. It is entirely unlike any other publication."

Richmond Times.—"We do not understand upon what the editor of The Lark bases anticipation of interest and consequent demand."

Philadelphia Times.—"The young men who publish The Lark have ideas of their own. The Lark is smart and funny in a way quite its own, and it is also capable of serious flights and of musical notes clear enough to be heard across the continent."

Cincinnati Commercial Gazette.—"The worst thing about it being that it is all too brief."

Jersey City Chronicle.—"Every line in it is well worth perusal."

St. Paul Globe.—"The Lark partakes of the prevalent temper of life on the Pacific Coast, where the don't-care mood of the West takes an especially sunny and cheerful turn, and life looks a bigger joke than elsewhere in the Union."

St. Louis Mirror.—"The Lark continues to be odd and ridiculous. Its humor is quite unlike any other humor ever seen in this country. There are good men with good pens working on The Lark."

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Lark Posters.—The full set of Eight Posters for THE LARK will be sent post-paid for $2.00. The Lark Posters are printed from wooden blocks, all but the first two having been cut by the artist.

May, 1895 The Piping Faun Bruce Porter Aug., 1895 Mother and Child Florence Lundborg Nov., 1895 Mt. Tamalpais Florence Lundborg Feb., 1896 Robin Hood Florence Lundborg May, 1896 The Oread Florence Lundborg Aug., 1896 Pan Pipes Florence Lundborg Nov., 1896 Redwood Florence Lundborg Feb., 1897 Sunrise Florence Lundborg

Published by WM. DOXEY, at the Sign of the Lark, San Francisco.



1. A LEGEND, Rare and Superfine, Cribbed, some will say, from FRANKENSTEIN, (It is a little in that line).

2. MY FEET; a Memoir, with a Phase Resembling some Equestrian Ways.

3. TH' INVISIBLE BRIDGE; a sort of Fable,— Please understand, if you're able.

4. THE RUNAWAY TRAIN; a weird Creation Of Fancy and Imagination, Meant for the Rising Generation.

5. On CITY FLORA, semi-culled By one whose Fame was somewhat dulled.

6. ASTONISHMENT; depicting how Peculiar is the Verdant Bough.

7. The PURPLE COW'S projected Feast; Reflections on a Mythic Beast That's quite Remarkable, at least.

8. MY HOUSE, and how I make MY BED; A Nocturne for a Sleepy-Head.

9. On DIGITAL EXTREMITIES; A Poem (and a gem it is!)

10. THE GOOP; constructed on a Plan Beyond the Intellect of Man.

11. PARISIAN NECTAR for the Gods; A little thick—but what's the odds?

12. THE FLYING HOUSE; a Narrative Of Sanity comparative, And nothing much declarative. (Permission of S. F. Examiner.)

13. The Story of the GIANT HORSE; 'T is quite improbable, of course.

14. WHAT SMITH TRIED TO BELIEVE; a Study That will appeal to anybuddy.

15. The TOWEL AND THE DOOR,—ah well! I'll not attempt the Tale to tell.

16. The TOWEL AND THE DOOR again! The Story's told—is it in vain?

17. The FOOTLESS FEAT of Mrs. Box Posteaque, fiat Nox!

18. And now, allow the PURPLE COW To make her Bow.



O Willie, an' Wallie, an' Huldy Ann, They went an' built a big CHEWIN'-GUM MAN: It was none o' your teenty little dots, With pinhole eyes an' pencil-spots; But this was a terribul big one—well, 'T was a'most as high as the Palace Hotel! It took 'em a year to chew the gum!! And Willie he done it all, 'cept some That Huldy got her ma to chew, By the time the head was ready to do.

* * * * *

Well, Willie he chewed it for days 'n' days; They brung it to him in gret big drays; An' fast as he got it good an' soft, Then Wallie he come and carried it oft. Then he'd roll it into a gret big ball, An' he made a-more'n a MILLION in all! Then Huldy Ann she spanked 'em flat An' pinched an' poked, an' the like o' that, Till she got it inter a gret big hunk— My! didn't Huldy have the spunk! And then she sliced one end half-way To make the laigs ('cause they never stay When you stick 'em on in a seprit piece— Seems like the ends was made o' grease); And she slit an arm right up each side,— I couldn't a done it if I'd a tried! O' course, her brothers they helped her, though, An' rolled the arms an' laigs out, so They all was smooth with roundin' bends An' chopped the fingers inter the ends! An' when their mother had chewn the head, She went an' stuck it on, instead!

An' then, when the man was almost done, They had an awful lots o' fun. A-walkin' down his stummick was best To make the buttons onter his vest! They struck big cartwheels in him for eyes; His eyes was both tremendous size; His nose was a barrel—an' then beneath They used a ladder, to make his teeth! An' when he was layin' acrost the street Along come their daddy, as white 's a sheet,— He was skeert half outer his wits, I guess, An' he didn't know whatter make o' the mess,— But Huldy she up an' begun to coax To have him down town, to skeer the folks! So her dad he grabbed him offen the street, An' Willie an' Wallie they took his feet, An' they dragged him clean down to the Cogswell fountain, An' stood him up as big as a mountain! You'd orter seen him a-standin' there, A-straddlin' Market street in the air!

Well, he stood up straight for a week 'n' a half An' the folks, Gee! didn't they yell 'n' laff: The boys clum up his laigs quite bold— The gum was so soft they got good hold; The cars run under him day an' night, An' the people come miles to see the sight! Well, after he'd stayed as stiff 's a post, With his head on top o' the roofts almost, The sun come outer the fog one day An'—well, I guess you can see the way That gret big feller begun to melt;— Imagine how Willie and Wallie felt! For first he cocked his head out some, An' when the heat got inter the gum He slowly waved his arms ahead An' slanted forred, just like he was dead!

An' all day long he leaned an' bent Till all expected he would have went An' pitched right over. They roped the street To keep the crowd away from his feet. I tell yer he was a sight; my soul! Twicet as high as a telegraft pole, Wavin' his arms an' slumpin' his feet An' a-starin' away down Market street.

Then, what did I tell yer—that blame old head Their mother had made a-seprit, instead,— It fell right off an' squashed a horse! ('T was so soft, it didn't kill him, o' course.) When his hands got so they touched the ground A hundred policemen they come around; They stuck a cable-car to his feet, An' one to his head, a goin' up street, An' then they pulled him opposite ways, An' they pulled him for days 'n' days 'n' days, An' they drored him out so slim an' small That he reached a mile 'n' a half, in all.

An' that was the end o' the CHEWIN'-GUM MAN For Willie, an' Wallie, an' Huldy Ann. They come along with an ax next day, An' chopped him up, and guv him away.

My Feet they haul me 'round the House; They hoist me up the Stairs; I only have to steer them and They ride me everywheres.

I'd never dare to walk across A Bridge I could not see, For quite afraid of falling off I fear that I should be!


Oh, Willie and Wallie and Pinkie Jane! They run away with a Railroad Train! 'T was Wallie got up the ridiculous plan,— 'T was most as good as the Chewin'-Gum Man! Wallie is terribul funny—My! He can make up a face that would make you die, An' when Pinkie Jane come down to the city He tried to show off, for she's awful pretty. So they all went over across the Bay, To have a picnic, and spend the day. At Sixteenth Street they got off the cars A-grinnin' an' giggling so,—My Stars! A Enormus Crowd begun to collect, But nobuddy knew just what to expect. Then up the track come a little spot, An' nearer and nearer and NEARER it got, And Willie and Wallie and Pinkie Jane Stood right in the road of the Overland Train!!! The folks on the platform begun to yell, "Look out!—get off!!" an' the engine bell


Was ringin' like mad,—but them children stood As calm as if they was made of wood! And a great big fat man yelled,—"Oh Golly! For Heaven's sakes, just look at Wallie!" As the train came thunderin' down the rail, The wimmin all turned terribul pale. But Wallie he stood there, stiff 's a soldier, An' then (you remember what I told yer) He made up a horribul face,—and whack! He SCARED THE ENGINE RIGHT OFF'N THE TRACK! An' the train jumped forreds an' squirmed around, A-wrigglin' an' jigglin' over the ground; And all the people they had to git, For the blame old engine it had a fit! But when the train got onto the track, Them children they clum right onto its back, And they tickled it so that all to once It gave 'em a lot of shivers an' grunts, And it humped itself way up in the air, And p'raps it didn't give them a scare!


Then it puffed an' puffed, a-faster an' faster, While Wallie sat there like an old school-master, A-drivin' that train till, I tell you what! You no idea what a nerve he's got! Willie he held on to Wallie, an' Jane Held onto Willie with might and main. Then they hitched along, like an old inch-worm, With now a spazzum, and then a squirm; But Willie and Wallie and Pinkie Jane, They soon got sick o' that Railroad train! But when they crawled to the last end car To jump on the ground, where it wasn't far, They got a heap worse off, instead, For that nasty train, it stood on its head! An' they all yelled, "Telegraft Huldy Ann, And make her come as quick as she can. We can't get off. Oh, hurry up, please! What would we do if the thing should sneeze?"


I tell yer them children was in a fix While that mad engine was doin' his tricks. But the messenger-boy found Huldy Ann, An' she said, "I'm glad that I ain't a man! I'll show 'em how!" an' she crossed the Bay, An' she see in a wink where the trouble lay. An' she said, "You go, an' you telegraft back For a load o' candy to block the track!" An' when they sent it, she piled it high With chocolate caramels, good ones,—My! Peppermint drops and cocoanut cream, Till it looked too good for a Christmas dream! And the sun it melted and finished the job Into one great elegant sticky gob! So the train run into it lickety-split, An' the cow-catcher stuck, when the engine hit,— An' the tail o' the train flew up and threw Them children into that caramel goo! They fell clear in,—way over their head, But Ann eat 'em out, an' sent 'em to bed!

There is a Theory some deny, That Lamp Posts once were three foot high, And a Little Boy was terrible strong, And he stretched 'em out to 'leven foot long!

I picked some Leaves from off a Tree, And then I nearly Fainted: For somehow it Astonished me To find they'd All been Painted!

I never saw a PURPLE COW, I never HOPE to see one; But I can tell you, anyhow, I'd rather SEE than BE one!

My House is made of Graham Bread, Except the ceiling 's made of White; Of Angel Cake I make my Bed; I eat my Pillow every night!

I'd rather have Fingers than Toes; I'd rather have Ears than a Nose; And as for my Hair, I'm glad it's all there, I'll be awfully sad when it goes!

Now you are what I call a GOOP! A Co-tangent harmonious Loop You appear to be facing due South But O what have you done with your Mouth?

Many People seem to Think Plaster o' Paris good to Drink: Though conducive unto Quiet I prefer another Diet!


Written and Illustrated by GELETT:BURGESS

O Willie an' Wallie, you better believe, They had a circus on Christmas Eve With Huldy Ann an' Pinkie Jane— The folks imagined they'd went insane! Them twins had an awfully narrow shave— They nearly was killt, for they wouldn't behave! Huldy's a winner! She hatched the scheme On the day before Christmas; an' that there team— That Willie an' Wallie—they worked like mad— You've no idea what a time they had! 'Twas the day before Christmas, at half-past three, When Huldy she up an' she says, says she: "You Willie an' Wallie, you go in the yard An' get that windmill—it won't be hard— An' bring it an' put it on top of the house, An' don't make no more noise than a mouse! 'For I know something I won't tell, Nine little niggers in a peanut shell!'" Well, the twins they knew when she said that, Huldy wa' n't talkin' much through her hat. So they worked an' they tugged for more 'n an hour, 'Till they got that windmill off'n the tower; An' they hauled it up to the roof with ropes, Way on the ridgepole, 'tween the slopes.

They was almost dead, it tired 'em so, An' Will druv a splinter into his toe! An' all this time both Pinkie Jane An' Huldy was workin' with might an' main, A-shuttin' the doors, an' the windows too, An' stoppin' up cracks where the leaks come through. An' when it was tight, she slipped inside An' turned the gas on good an' wide! An' she screamed, "Look out that you don't get smothered: Climb up on the roof where I won't be bothered!"

When the house filled up with the gas inside, It trembled an' jiggled from side to side; An' when the gas filled it good an' full The ole foundations began to pull; Then Huldy she pushed it a little mite, An' the house riz up in the air all right! An' it riz an' riz like a ole balloon. An' Ann got aboard of it none too soon; For it flew away off up into the sky With her holdin' on by her hands—Oh my! But she clum on top, an' you'd oughter have seen Them workin' that wheel like a flyin' machine! Well, after they'd flew an hour or so They came to a mountain all covered with snow, An' there on the top they happened to see A enermous great big Christmas tree! Then Huldy steered 'em over the top, An' they let down an anchor to make 'em stop; An' Willie an' Wallie they yelled with glee, An' jumped right into that Christmas tree! They let down a ladder for them two girls That didn't darst jump for spoilin' their curls! They was toys an' games an' wagons an' dolls, All trimmed with tinsel an' fol-de-rols! For Santa Claus had just drove away, An' Wallie he said that he seen the sleigh! Well, when they'd eat all the candy they could, They loaded their house with things up good. (But they hurried for fear that the old man'd come back An' catch 'em an' give 'em a larrupin' whack!) Then they got on the roof, an' they cut the string An' away they flew like everything!

The twins worked the wheel an' Huldy steered, An' Pinkie clung tight—she was awfully skeered: They got back home at half-past six, But, oh! they got into a nawful fix! For just as they sunk the house gave a lurch An' they landed right on top of a church! An' they punched a hole through the roof with the steeple, To the great amazement of all of the people! An' the toys fell out of that house in the air, An' all the children in the town was there. So every one got a present again 'Cept Willie an' Wallie an' Huldy an' Jane— An' it served 'em right, don't you think? because They'd stolen the presents from Santa Clause.

Once there was a GIANT HORSE, That walked through all the Town, A-stepping into all the Roofs, And Smashing Houses down!


Well, I come home late that night, near one o'clock, I reckon, and I undressed in the dark as per usual. When I gut into bed I thot it felt as tho sumbuddy hed bin there, and when I kicked out my leg sure enough there was sumbuddy there. Well, I thot Rats, what's the difference; I'll go to sleep, it's only a man. But I kinder could'nt sleep, so I got up and lit a cigaroot, and I saw the feller that was in bed with me wos dead. Well, I thot Rats, what's the difference, he wont git over to my side of the bed anyway; so I turned over and went to sleep. Well, I fired my cigaroot in ther paper-basket and went to sleep. Well, after a while I thot I smealed smoke, and it wasn't cigaroot smoke, but the basket was all afire, and burning like a editor's soul after death. Well, I thot Rats, what's the difference. Well, it looked so bright and comfortable I thot I'd get up and read. By this time one corner of the room was goin' like 4 o'clock, and it was nice and warm. After I'd read about ten minits, it got so hot I cuddent stand it, and I got up and went into ther next room. Well, I thot Rats, what's the difference. Well, in about a hour there was a big crowd outside of the house, and they was all yellin' Fire to beat the band. I looked out er winder. Jump, says the fireman, and I jumped. Then I walked off, and a feller says, says he, "You blame fool, you've bruk yer leg." Well, I thot Rats, what's the difference?

The Towel hangs upon the Wall, And, somehow, I don't care at all!

The Door is open;—I must say I rather fancy it that Way!

,llaW eht nopu sgnah lewoT ehT !lla ta erac t'nod I, wohemos,dnA

yas tsum I—;nepo si rooD ehT !yaW taht ti ycnaf rehtar I


Likkery had but one leg[A] when I married him.[B] I did not realize what this meant {it meant 41 right-foot shoes [for he was extravagant (and I was economical[C]) to a degree] in his dressing closet} until he died.

{I could not bear to throw {them away. { {The clerks asserted that all {their one-legged right-footed I could not get rid of them {customers wore {large sizes.[D] { {There were not weddings {enough to throw them all {after the carriages.

Chapter II.

[Sidenote: Mr. Silk WAS a two-legged gentleman.]

My second marriage WOULD have been happy, but my husband met with a distressing accident, which necessitated an amputation ^{of his right leg} of his wrong leg. So the collection increased.

In spite of all my precautions, Mr. Silk's shoes would often be left pointing toward the bed.[E] How I suffered! At last Mr. Silk died. The day after the funeral, I made a procession of all the shoes—

ORDER: 1. Patent leathers 2. Brogans 3. Bluchers (small) 4. Bluchers (large) 5. Tan shoes 6. Slippers (carpet) 7. Congresses 8. Riding boots 9. Pumps

Sixty-two right-foot shoes, ^{toe to heel,} they reached from my bedroom[F] to the stairs.

I was in despair when a small-footed man named Box proposed to me. I looked at his feet and accepted him. (I was sure the shoes would fit.)

* * * * *

As soon as he was asleep I approached his prostrate form (my axe was sharp {I ground it myself} and my mind was set).

Sixty-two soles inspired me.[G] I struck the blow!—Then the HORROR of my deed seized me. The rest is too awful!

NOTE: I had cut off the wrong foot!

[A] Left leg.

[B] Fool that I was.

[C] For he could get a pair at the same price as a single shoe.

[D] Likkery wore No. 3's.

[E] It is a common superstition among children that this encourages bad dreams.

[F] Bay-window.

[G] I was determined they should at last be worn out.

Ah, yes, I wrote the "Purple Cow"— I'm Sorry, now, I wrote it; But I can tell you Anyhow I'll Kill you if you Quote it!

The Lark Book II., Nos. 13-24, with Table of Contents and EPILARK; bound in canvas, with cover design (Pan Pipes) by Florence Lundborg, painted in three colors. Price, 3.00, post-paid.


Literary Review.—"Its ways were ways of pleasantness, and all its paths were peace. It had no enemies and all its friends were true ones. We see it go with a real regret and a feeling that we could have better spared a better paper."—CAROLYN WELLS.

New York Times.—"Regret moderately deep and thoroughly sincere will be felt all over the country, at the announcement that The Lark has ceased publication. A considerable number of people could see no humor and less meaning in its songs, but thousands of others had keener eyes and ears, and looked and listened with delight."

Cincinnati Commercial Tribune.—"The Lark is dead, and the Epilark has come and gone, leaving behind them only a haunting echo of joyous song and a love of living delicious to contemplate."

St. Paul Daily Globe.—"But the mood in which we turn the Japanese pages of the last Lark is anything but flippant. It is something to have known youth and gayety, enthusiasm and a bravery which flies in the face of day, and now—something to have lost them. The Lark has lived and now dies well, and, to some at least, the time of its irregular appearance will no longer be a red-letter day."

The Philosopher.—"And now The Lark announces its end. It was the freshest, purest breath of air that ever blew across the atmosphere of letters."

London Times.—"So unique in literature and illustration, we are sorry to note that its publication is to be suspended. The bound volumes for the two years it has been running deserve a place in the libraries of all lovers of the odd and advanced in literature."

Paragraphs.—"No more shall its cool notes delight the tree-tops, and no longer may we follow in the footsteps of Vivette. It is a pity, of course; but what can you expect? Larks must be fed, and—no one thinks of feeding them."

Trenton Tribune.—"Its clever foolery shows how big a void was created when The Lark decided to sing no more. The Lark was the one new thing in junior magazinedom that did not outlive its welcome."

St. Louis Mirror.—"It smacked of Robert Louis Stevenson. It was 'Alice in Wonderland' in picture. It was art through a crazy looking-glass. It was the realism of nonsense. The whole country laughed at the strange pictures with the brilliantly unintelligible verses. But much of it was not understood of the people who need diagrams. The Lark was always too high in the blue for the many; but for those who might mount with him or to him—for those the magazinelet was published. Those enjoyed it; and now they regret it—for The Lark is no more. It was so original that its death is its only unoriginality."

The Lark Almanac for 1899:

Being a collection of vagaries from THE LARK, with original designs by Porter Garnett; uniform in size with "The Purple Cow." Price, 50c.

Published by WM. DOXEY, at the Sign of the Lark, San Francisco

"Who'll be the Clerk!" "I!" said THE LARK.


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