The Wit and Humor of America, Volume IV. (of X.)
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Our missionary did not choose Miss Wood's text. He made his selection from another of the Psalms; and when it came, I did not dare to look at anybody; I was much nearer unseemly conduct than the cow-boys. Dr. MacBride gave us his text sonorously, "'They are altogether become filthy; There is none of them that doeth good, no, not one.'" His eye showed us plainly that present company was not excepted from this. He repeated the text once more, then, launching upon his discourse, gave none of us a ray of hope.

I had heard it all often before; but preached to cow-boys it took on a new glare of untimeliness, of grotesque obsoleteness—as if some one should say, "Let me persuade you to admire woman," and forthwith hold out her bleached bones to you. The cow-boys were told that not only they could do no good, but that if they did contrive to, it would not help them. Nay, more: not only honest deeds availed them nothing, but even if they accepted this especial creed which was being explained to them as necessary for salvation, still it might not save them. Their sin was indeed the cause of their damnation, yet, keeping from sin, they might nevertheless be lost. It had all been settled for them not only before they were born, but before Adam was shaped. Having told them this, he invited them to glorify the Creator of the scheme. Even if damned, they must praise the person who had made them expressly for damnation. That is what I heard him prove by logic to these cow-boys. Stone upon stone he built the black cellar of his theology, leaving out its beautiful park and the sunshine of its garden. He did not tell them the splendor of its past, the noble fortress for good that it had been, how its tonic had strengthened generations of their fathers. No; wrath he spoke of, and never once of love. It was the bishop's way, I knew well, to hold cow-boys by homely talk of their special hardships and temptations. And when they fell he spoke to them of forgiveness and brought them encouragement. But Dr. MacBride never thought once of the lives of these waifs. Like himself, like all mankind, they were invisible dots in creation; like him, they were to feel as nothing, to be swept up in the potent heat of his faith. So he thrust out to them none of the sweet but all the bitter of his creed, naked and stern as iron. Dogma was his all in all, and poor humanity was nothing but flesh for its canons.

Thus to kill what chance he had for being of use seemed to me more deplorable than it did evidently to them. Their attention merely wandered. Three hundred years ago they would have been frightened; but not in this electric day. I saw Scipio stifling a smile when it came to the doctrine of original sin. "We know of its truth," said Dr. MacBride, "from the severe troubles and distresses to which infants are liable, and from death passing upon them before they are capable of sinning." Yet I knew he was a good man; and I also knew that if a missionary is to be tactless, he might almost as well be bad.

I said their attention wandered, but I forgot the Virginian. At first his attitude might have been mere propriety. One can look respectfully at a preacher and be internally breaking all the commandments. But even with the text I saw real attention light in the Virginian's eye. And keeping track of the concentration that grew on him with each minute made the sermon short for me. He missed nothing. Before the end his gaze at the preacher had become swerveless. Was he convert or critic? Convert was incredible. Thus was an hour passed before I had thought of time.

When it was over we took it variously. The preacher was genial and spoke of having now broken ground for the lessons that he hoped to instil. He discoursed for a while about trout-fishing and about the rumored uneasiness of the Indians northward where he was going. It was plain that his personal safety never gave him a thought. He soon bade us good night. The Ogdens shrugged their shoulders and were amused. That was their way of taking it. Dr. MacBride sat too heavily on the Judge's shoulders for him to shrug them. As a leading citizen in the Territory he kept open house for all comers. Policy and good nature made him bid welcome a wide variety of travelers. The cow-boy out of employment found bed and a meal for himself and his horse, and missionaries had before now been well received at Sunk Creek Ranch.

"I suppose I'll have to take him fishing," said the Judge ruefully.

"Yes, my dear," said his wife, "you will. And I shall have to make his tea for six days."

"Otherwise," Ogden suggested, "it might be reported that you were enemies of religion."

"That's about it," said the Judge. "I can get on with most people. But elephants depress me."

So we named the Doctor "Jumbo," and I departed to my quarters.

At the bunk house, the comments were similar but more highly salted. The men were going to bed. In spite of their outward decorum at the service, they had not liked to be told that they were "altogether become filthy." It was easy to call names; they could do that themselves. And they appealed to me, several speaking at once, like a concerted piece at the opera: "Say, do you believe babies go to hell?"—"Ah, of course he don't."—"There ain't no hereafter, anyway."—"Ain't there?"—"Who told y'u?"—"Same man as told the preacher we were all a sifted set of sons-of-guns."—"Well, I'm going to stay a Mormon."—"Well, I'm going to quit fleeing from temptation."—"That's so! Better get it in the neck after a good time than a poor one." And so forth. Their wit was not extreme, yet I should like Dr. MacBride to have heard it. One fellow put his natural soul pretty well into words, "If I happened to learn what they had predestinated me to do, I'd do the other thing, just to show 'em!"

And Trampas? And the Virginian? They were out of it. The Virginian had gone straight to his new abode. Trampas lay in his bed, not asleep, and sullen as ever.

"He ain't got religion this trip," said Scipio to me.

"Did his new foreman get it?" I asked.

"Huh! It would spoil him. You keep around, that's all. Keep around."

Scipio was not to be probed; and I went, still baffled, to my repose.

No light burned in the cabin as I approached its door.

The Virginian's room was quiet and dark; and that Dr. MacBride slumbered was plainly audible to me, even before I entered. Go fishing with him! I thought, as I undressed. And I selfishly decided that the Judge might have this privilege entirely to himself. Sleep came to me fairly soon, in spite of the Doctor. I was wakened from it by my bed's being jolted—not a pleasant thing that night. I must have started. And it was the quiet voice of the Virginian that told me he was sorry to have accidentally disturbed me. This disturbed me a good deal more. But his steps did not go to the bunk house, as my sensational mind had suggested. He was not wearing much, and in the dimness he seemed taller than common. I next made out that he was bending over Dr. MacBride. The divine at last sprang upright.

"I am armed," he said. "Take care. Who are you?"

"You can lay down your gun, seh. I feel like my spirit was going to bear witness. I feel like I might get an enlightening."

He was using some of the missionary's own language. The baffling I had been treated to by Scipio melted to nothing in this. Did living men petrify, I should have changed to mineral between the sheets. The Doctor got out of bed, lighted his lamp, and found a book; and the two retired into the Virginian's room, where I could hear the exhortations as I lay amazed. In time the Doctor returned, blew out his lamp, and settled himself. I had been very much awake, but was nearly gone to sleep again, when the door creaked and the Virginian stood by the Doctor's side.

"Are you awake, seh?"

"What? What's that? What is it?"

"Excuse me, seh. The enemy is winning on me. I'm feeling less inward opposition to sin."

The lamp was lighted, and I listened to some further exhortations. They must have taken half an hour. When the Doctor was in bed again, I thought that I heard him sigh. This upset my composure in the dark; but I lay face downward in the pillow, and the Doctor was soon again snoring. I envied him for a while his faculty of easy sleep. But I must have dropped off myself; for it was the lamp in my eyes that now waked me as he came back for the third time from the Virginian's room. Before blowing the light out he looked at his watch, and thereupon I inquired the hour of him.

"Three," said he.

I could not sleep any more now, and I lay watching the darkness.

"I'm afeard to be alone!" said the Virginian's voice presently in the next room. "I'm afeard." There was a short pause, and then he shouted very loud, "I'm losin' my desire afteh the sincere milk of the Word!"

"What? What's that? What?" The Doctor's cot gave a great crack as he started up listening, and I put my face deep in the pillow.

"I'm afeard! I'm afeard! Sin has quit being bitter in my belly."

"Courage, my good man." The Doctor was out of bed with his lamp again, and the door shut behind him. Between them they made it long this time. I saw the window become gray; then the corners of the furniture grow visible; and outside, the dry chorus of the blackbirds began to fill the dawn. To these the sounds of chickens and impatient hoofs in the stable were added, and some cow wandered by loudly calling for her calf. Next, some one whistling passed near and grew distant. But although the cold hue that I lay staring at through the window warmed and changed, the Doctor continued working hard over his patient in the next room. Only a word here and there was distinct; but it was plain from the Virginian's fewer remarks that the sin in his belly was alarming him less. Yes, they made this time long. But it proved, indeed, the last one. And though some sort of catastrophe was bound to fall upon us, it was myself who precipitated the thing that did happen.

Day was wholly come. I looked at my own watch, and it was six. I had been about seven hours in my bed, and the Doctor had been about seven hours out of his. The door opened, and he came in with his book and lamp. He seemed to be shivering a little, and I saw him cast a longing eye at his couch. But the Virginian followed him even as he blew out the now quite superfluous light. They made a noticeable couple in their underclothes; the Virginian with his lean racehorse shanks running to a point at his ankle, and the Doctor with his stomach and his fat sedentary calves.

"You'll be going to breakfast and the ladies, seh, pretty soon," said the Virginian, with a chastened voice. "But I'll worry through the day somehow without y'u. And to-night you can turn your wolf loose on me again."

Once more it was no use. My face was deep in the pillow, but I made sounds as of a hen who has laid an egg. It broke on the Doctor with a total instantaneous smash, quite like an egg.

He tried to speak calmly. "This is a disgrace. An infamous disgrace. Never in my life have I—" Words forsook him, and his face grew redder. "Never in my life—" He stopped again, because, at the sight of him being dignified in his red drawers, I was making the noise of a dozen hens. It was suddenly too much for the Virginian. He hastened into his room, and there sank on the floor with his head in his hands. The Doctor immediately slammed the door upon him, and this rendered me easily fit for a lunatic asylum. I cried into my pillow, and wondered if the Doctor would come and kill me. But he took no notice of me whatever. I could hear the Virginian's convulsions through the door, and also the Doctor furiously making his toilet within three feet of my head; and I lay quite still with my face the other way, for I was really afraid to look at him. When I heard him walk to the door in his boots, I ventured to peep; and there he was, going out with his bag in his hand. As I still continued to lie, weak and sore, and with a mind that had ceased all operation, the Virginian's door opened. He was clean and dressed and decent, but the devil still sported in his eye. I have never seen a creature more irresistibly handsome.

Then my mind worked again. "You've gone and done it," said I. "He's packed his valise. He'll not sleep here."

The Virginian looked quickly out of the door. "Why, he's leavin' us!" he exclaimed. "Drivin' away right now in his little old buggy!" He turned to me, and our eyes met solemnly over this large fact. I thought that I perceived the faintest tincture of dismay in the features of Judge Henry's new, responsible, trusty foreman. This was the first act of his administration. Once again he looked out at the departing missionary. "Well," he vindictively stated, "I cert'nly ain't goin' to run afteh him." And he looked at me again.

"Do you suppose the Judge knows?" I inquired.

He shook his head. "The windo' shades is all down still oveh yondeh." He paused. "I don't care," he stated, quite as if he had been ten years old. Then he grinned guiltily. "I was mighty respectful to him all night."

"Oh, yes, respectful! Especially when you invited him to turn his wolf loose."

The Virginian gave a joyous gulp. He now came and sat down on the edge of my bed. "I spoke awful good English to him most of the time," said he. "I can, y'u know, when I cinch my attention tight on to it. Yes, I cert'nly spoke a lot o' good English. I didn't understand some of it myself!"

He was now growing frankly pleased with his exploit. He had builded so much better than he knew. He got up and looked out across the crystal world of light. "The Doctor is at one-mile crossing," he said. "He'll get breakfast at the N-lazy-Y." Then he returned and sat again on my bed, and began to give me his real heart. "I never set up for being better than others. Not even to myself. My thoughts ain't apt to travel around making comparisons. And I shouldn't wonder if my memory took as much notice of the meannesses I have done as of—as of the other actions. But to have to sit like a dumb lamb and let a stranger tell y'u for an hour that yu're a hawg and a swine, just after you have acted in a way which them that know the facts would call pretty near white—"

[Footnote 3: Reprinted from Mr. Owen Wister's "The Virginian." Copyright, 1902-1904, by The Macmillan Company.]



Now, in the shimmer and sheen that dance on the leaf of the lily, Causing the bud to explode, and gilding the poodle's chinchilla, Gladys cavorts with the rake, and hitches the string to the lattice, While with the trowel she digs, and gladdens the heart of the shanghai.

Now, while the vine twists about the ribs of the cast-iron Pallas, And, on the zephyr afloat, the halcyon soul of the borax Blends with the scent of the soap, the brush of the white-washer's flying E'en as the chicken-hawk flies when ready to light on its quarry.

Out in the leaf-dappled wood the dainty hepatica's blowing, While the fiend hammers the rug from Ispahan, Lynn, or Woonsocket, And the grim furnace is out, and over the ash heap and bottles Capers the "Billy" in glee, becanning his innermost Billy.

Now the blue pill is on tap, and likewise the sarsaparilla, And on the fence and the barn, quite worthy of S. Botticelli, Frisk the lithe leopard and gnu, in malachite, purple, and crimson, That we may know at a glance the circus is out on the rampage.

Put then the flannels away and trot out the old linen duster, Pack the bob-sled in the barn, and bring forth the baseball and racket, For the spry Spring is on deck, performing her roseate breakdown Unto the tune of the van that rattles and bangs on the cobbles.



A-watchin' how the sea behaves For hours and hours I sit; And I know the sea is full o' waves— I've often noticed it.

For on the deck each starry night The wild waves and the tame I counts and knows 'em all by sight And some of 'em by name.

And then I thinks a cove like me Ain't got no right to roam; For I'm homesick when I puts to sea And seasick when I'm home.

[Footnote 4: From "Nautical Lays of a Landsman," by Wallace Irwin. Copyright, 1904, by Dodd, Mead & Co.]



I turned to the dictionary For a word I couldn't spell, And closed the book when I found it And dipped my pen in the well.

Then I thought to myself, "How was it?" With a sense of inward pain, And still 'twas a little doubtful, So I turned to the book again.

This time I remarked, "How easy!" As I muttered each letter o'er, But when I got to the inkwell 'Twas gone, as it went before.

Then I grabbed that dictionary And I sped its pages through, And under my nose I put it With that doubtful word in view.

I held it down with my body While I gripped that pen quite fast, And I howled, as I traced each letter: "I've got you now, at last!"

[Footnote 5: Lippincott's Magazine.]



I have bought me a horse. As I had obtained some skill in the manege during my younger days, it was a matter of consideration to have a saddle-horse. It surprised me to find good saddle-horses very abundant soon after my consultation with the stage proprietor upon this topic. There were strange saddle-horses to sell almost every day. One man was very candid about his horse: he told me, if his horse had a blemish, he wouldn't wait to be asked about it; he would tell it right out; and, if a man didn't want him then, he needn't take him. He also proposed to put him on trial for sixty days, giving his note for the amount paid him for the horse, to be taken up in case the animal were returned. I asked him what were the principal defects of the horse. He said he'd been fired once, because they thought he was spavined; but there was no more spavin to him than there was to a fresh-laid egg—he was as sound as a dollar. I asked him if he would just state what were the defects of the horse. He answered, that he once had the pink-eye, and added, "now that's honest." I thought so, but proceeded to question him closely. I asked him if he had the bots. He said, not a bot. I asked him if he would go. He said he would go till he dropped down dead; just touch him with a whip, and he'll jump out of his hide. I inquired how old he was. He answered, just eight years, exactly—some men, he said, wanted to make their horses younger than they be; he was willing to speak right out, and own up he was eight years. I asked him if there were any other objections. He said no, except that he was inclined to be a little gay; "but," he added, "he is so kind, a child can drive him with a thread." I asked him if he was a good family horse. He replied that no lady that ever drew rein over him would be willing to part with him. Then I asked him his price. He answered that no man could have bought him for one hundred dollars a month ago, but now he was willing to sell him for seventy-five, on account of having a note to pay. This seemed such a very low price, I was about saying I would take him, when Mrs. Sparrowgrass whispered that I had better see the horse first. I confess I was a little afraid of losing my bargain by it, but, out of deference to Mrs. S., I did ask to see the horse before I bought him. He said he would fetch him down. "No man," he added, "ought to buy a horse unless he's saw him." When the horse came down, it struck me that, whatever his qualities might be, his personal appearance was against him. One of his fore legs was shaped like the handle of our punch-ladle, and the remaining three legs, about the fetlock, were slightly bunchy. Besides, he had no tail to brag of; and his back had a very hollow sweep from his high haunches to his low shoulder-blades. I was much pleased, however, with the fondness and pride manifested by his owner, as he held up, by both sides of the bridle, the rather longish head of his horse, surmounting a neck shaped like a pea-pod, and said, in a sort of triumphant voice, "three-quarters blood!" Mrs. Sparrowgrass flushed up a little when she asked me if I intended to purchase that horse, and added, that, if I did, she would never want to ride. So I told the man he would not suit me. He answered by suddenly throwing himself upon his stomach across the backbone of his horse, and then, by turning round as on a pivot, got up a-straddle of him; then he gave his horse a kick in the ribs that caused him to jump out with all his legs, like a frog, and then off went the spoon-legged animal with a gait that was not a trot, nor yet precisely pacing. He rode around our grass plot twice, and then pulled his horse's head up like the cock of a musket. "That," said he, "is time." I replied that he did seem to go pretty fast. "Pretty fast!" said his owner. "Well, do you know Mr. ——?" mentioning one of the richest men in our village. I replied that I was acquainted with him. "Well," said he, "you know his horse?" I replied that I had no personal acquaintance with him. "Well," said he, "he's the fastest horse in the county—jist so—I'm willin' to admit it. But do you know I offered to put my horse agin' his to trot? I had no money to put up, or rayther, to spare; but I offered to trot him, horse agin' horse, and the winner to take both horses, and I tell you—he wouldn't do it!"

Mrs. Sparrowgrass got a little nervous, and twitched me by the skirt of the coat "Dear," said she, "let him go." I assured her that I would not buy the horse, and told the man firmly I would not buy him. He said, very well—if he didn't suit 'twas no use to keep a-talkin': but he added, he'd be down agin' with another horse, next morning, that belonged to his brother; and if he didn't suit me, then I didn't want a horse. With this remark he rode off....

"It rains very hard," said Mrs. Sparrowgrass, looking out of the window next morning. Sure enough, the rain was sweeping broadcast over the country, and the four Sparrowgrassii were flattening a quartet of noses against the window-panes, believing most faithfully the man would bring the horse that belonged to his brother, in spite of the elements. It was hoping against hope; no man having a horse to sell will trot him out in a rainstorm, unless he intend to sell him at a bargain—but childhood is so credulous! The succeeding morning was bright, however, and down came the horse. He had been very cleverly groomed, and looked pleasant under the saddle. The man led him back and forth before the door. "There, 'squire, 's as good a hos as ever stood on iron." Mrs. Sparrowgrass asked me what he meant by that. I replied, it was a figurative way of expressing, in horse-talk, that he was as good a horse as ever stood in shoe-leather. "He's a handsome hos, 'squire," said the man. I replied that he did seem to be a good-looking animal; but, said I, "he does not quite come up to the description of a horse I have read." "Whose hos was it?" said he. I replied it was the horse of Adonis. He said he didn't know him; but, he added, "there is so many hosses stolen, that the descriptions are stuck up now pretty common." To put him at his ease (for he seemed to think I suspected him of having stolen the horse), I told him the description I meant had been written some hundreds of years ago by Shakespeare, and repeated it:

"Round-hooft, short-joynted, fetlocks shag and long, Broad breast, full eyes, small head, and nostrils wide, High crest, short ears, straight legs, and passing strong, Thin mane, thick tail, broad buttock, tender hide."

"'Squire," said he, "that will do for a song, but it ain't no p'ints of a good hos. Trotters nowadays go in all shapes, big heads and little heads, big eyes and little eyes, short ears or long ears, thick tail and no tail; so as they have sound legs, good l'in, good barrel, and good stifle, and wind, 'squire, and speed well, they'll fetch a price. Now, this animal is what I call a hos, 'squire; he's got the p'ints, he's stylish, he's close-ribbed, a free goer, kind in harness—single or double—a good feeder." I asked him if being a good feeder was a desirable quality. He replied it was; "of course," said he, "if your hos is off his feed, he ain't good for nothin'. But what's the use," he added, "of me tellin' you the p'ints of a good hos? You're a hos man, 'squire: you know—" "It seems to me," said I, "there is something the matter with that left eye." "No, sir" said he, and with that he pulled down the horse's head, and, rapidly crooking his forefinger at the suspected organ, said, "see thar—don't wink a bit." "But he should wink," I replied. "Not onless his eye are weak," he said. To satisfy myself, I asked the man to let me take the bridle. He did so, and as soon as I took hold of it, the horse started off in a remarkable retrograde movement, dragging me with him into my best bed of hybrid roses. Finding we were trampling down all the best plants, that had cost at auction from three-and-sixpence to seven shillings apiece, and that the more I pulled, the more he backed, I finally let him have his own way, and jammed him stern-foremost into our largest climbing rose that had been all summer prickling itself, in order to look as much like a vegetable porcupine as possible. This unexpected bit of satire in his rear changed his retrograde movement to a sidelong bound, by which he flirted off half the pots on the balusters, upsetting my gladioluses and tuberoses in the pod, and leaving great splashes of mould, geraniums, and red pottery in the gravel walk. By this time his owner had managed to give him two pretty severe cuts with the whip, which made him unmanageable, so I let him go. We had a pleasant time catching him again, when he got among the Lima-bean poles; but his owner led him back with a very self-satisfied expression. "Playful, ain't he, 'squire?" I replied that I thought he was, and asked him if it was usual for his horse to play such pranks. He said it was not "You see, 'squire, he feels his oats, and hain't been out of the stable for a month. Use him, and he's as kind as a kitten." With that he put his foot in the stirrup, and mounted. The animal really looked very well as he moved around the grass-plot, and, as Mrs. Sparrowgrass seemed to fancy him, I took a written guarantee that he was sound, and bought him. What I gave for him is a secret; I have not even told Mrs. Sparrowgrass....

We had passed Chicken Island, and the famous house with the stone gable and the one stone chimney, in which General Washington slept, as he made it a point to sleep in every old stone house in Westchester County, and had gone pretty far on the road, past the cemetery, when Mrs. Sparrowgrass said suddenly, "Dear, what is the matter with your horse?" As I had been telling the children all the stories about the river on the way, I managed to get my head pretty well inside of the carriage, and, at the time she spoke, was keeping a lookout in front with my back. The remark of Mrs. Sparrowgrass induced me to turn about, and I found the new horse behaving in a most unaccountable manner. He was going down hill with his nose almost to the ground, running the wagon first on this side and then on the other. I thought of the remark made by the man, and turning again to Mrs. Sparrowgrass, said, "Playful, isn't he?" The next moment I heard something breaking away in front, and then the rockaway gave a lurch and stood still. Upon examination I found the new horse had tumbled down, broken one shaft, gotten the other through the check-rein so as to bring his head up with a round turn, and besides had managed to put one of the traces in a single hitch around his off hind leg. So soon as I had taken all the young ones and Mrs. Sparrowgrass out of the rockaway, I set to work to liberate the horse, who was choking very fast with the check-rein. It is unpleasant to get your fishing-line in a tangle when you are in a hurry for bites, but I never saw fishing-line in such a tangle as that harness. However, I set to work with a pen-knife, and cut him out in such a way as to make getting home by our conveyance impossible. When he got up, he was the sleepiest-looking horse I ever saw. "Mrs. Sparrowgrass," said I, "won't you stay here with the children until I go to the nearest farm-house?" Mrs. Sparrowgrass replied that she would. Then I took the horse with me to get him out of the way of the children, and went in search of assistance. The first thing the new horse did when he got about a quarter of a mile from the scene of the accident was to tumble down a bank. Fortunately the bank was not over four feet high, but as I went with him, my trousers were rent in a grievous place. While I was getting the new horse on his feet again, I saw a colored person approaching, who came to my assistance. The first thing he did was to pull out a large jack-knife, and the next thing he did was to open the new horse's mouth and run the blade two or three times inside the new horse's gums. Then the new horse commenced bleeding. "Dah, sah," said the man, shutting up his jack-knife, "ef 't hadn't been for dat yer, your hos would a' bin a goner." "What was the matter with him?" said I. "Oh, he's only jis got de blind-staggers, das all. Say," said he, before I was half indignant enough at the man who had sold me such an animal, "say, ain't your name Sparrowgrass?" I replied that my name was Sparrowgrass. "Oh," said he, "I knows you, I brung some fowls once down to you place. I heerd about you and your hos. Dats de hos dats got de heaves so bad, heh! heh! You better sell dat hoss." I determined to take his advice, and employed him to lead my purchase to the nearest place where he would be cared for. Then I went back to the rockaway, but met Mrs. Sparrowgrass and the children on the road coming to meet me. She had left a man in charge of the rockaway. When we got to the rockaway we found the man missing, also the whip and one cushion. We got another person to take charge of the rockaway, and had a pleasant walk home by moonlight. I think a moonlight night delicious, upon the Hudson.

Does any person want a horse at a low price? A good stylish-looking animal, close-ribbed, good loin, and good stifle, sound legs, with only the heaves and blind-staggers, and a slight defect in one of his eyes? If at any time he slips his bridle and gets away, you can always approach him by getting on his left side. I will also engage to give a written guarantee that he is sound and kind, signed by the brother of his former owner.



Shee sez shee neavur neavur luvd befoar shee saw me passen bi hur paws frunt dore wenn shee wuz hangen on the gait ann i Lookt foolish att hur wenn ime goen bi. Uv korse sheed hadd sum boze butt nun thatt sturd hur hart down too itts deppths until shee hurd me wissel ann shee saw mi fais. Ann wenn shee furst saw mee sheed neavur luv agen shee sedd shee noo. ann iff i shunnd hur eye sheed be a nunn ann bidd thee wurld good bi.

How swete itt is wenn munnys on thee throan uv life to bee luvd fore ureself aloan Ann no thatt u have gott thee powr to stur a woomans hart wenn u jusst look att hur. ann o itts sweeter still iff u kan no hur paw has gott jusst oshuns uv thee doe Ann u jusst hav to furnish luv ann hee wil furnish munny fore boath u ann shee. i wood nott kair iff shee wuz poor butt o itts dubley swete too no sheez gott thee doe:

i wood nott hezzetait iff shee wuz poor Too marrie hur. togeathur weed endoor wottever forchun sennt with rite good will butt sins sheeze rich itts awl thee bettur stil. ide luv hur in a cottidge jusst thee saim fore luv is such a holey sakerud flaim thatt burns like tindur wenn u strike a lite butt still itt burns moar gloarious ann brite wenn shee has lotts uv munny ann hur paw with menny thowsunds is ure fawthernlaw.

[Footnote 6: By permission of Life Publishing Company.]




You ask me if I love you still, tho' you And I were wed scarce one short happy year Agone. How well do I remember, dear, The day you put your hand in mine, and through Life's good and ill, tho' skies were gray or blue, We plighted faith that should not know a fear. That was the day I kissed away the tear That trembled on your cheek like morning dew. Of course I love you—still. You're at your best, Your perihelion, when you're silentest. I'd love you as I did, dear heart, of yore, And still a little more, nor ever tire: Why, I would love you like a house afire If you were only still a little more.


I think I loved you first when in your eyes I saw the glad, rapt answer to the spell Of Paderewski, when we heard him tell Life's gentler meaning, Love's sweet sacrifice. The master caught the rhythm of your sighs And then, inspired, the story rose and fell And sang of moonlight in a leafy dell, Of souls' Arcadias and dreaming skies, Of hearts and hopes and purposes that blend. Your bosom heaved beneath the witcheries That seemed to set a halo on his brow, And then the message sobbed on to its end. "That's fine," you murmured, chewing faster; "please Ask him if he won't play 'Bedelia' now."


You said that you would die for me, if e'er That price would buy me happiness. I dreamed Not of devotion like to that, that seemed To joy in sacrifice; that, tenderer Than selfish Life's small immolations were, Made Love an altar whereupon it deemed It naught to offer all; a shrine that gleamed With utter loyalty's red drops. I ne'er Believed that you were just quite in your head In saying death would prove Fidelity. But when I saw the packages of white and red Your druggist showed me—he's my chum, you see— I knew you meant, dear heart, just what you said, When you declared that you would dye for me.


Your smiles, dear one, have all the glad surprise The sunshine hath for roses; what the day Brings to the waiting lark. When you are gay My spirit sings in tune, and sorrow flies Away. But, dear, I can not bear your sighs When on my knees you nestle and you lay Your tear-wet face upon my shoulder. Nay, I can not help the pain that fills mine eyes. So, love, whatever cup of Life you drain I'll stand for. Send the cashier's check to me. "Smile" all you want to; smile and smile again. But as you weigh two hundred pounds, you see Why, when you cuddle down upon my knee, It is your size, dear heart, that gives me pain.


The heartless years have many hopes dispelled. But they have left me one dear night in June. They've left the still white splendor of the moon. They've left the mem'ry of a hand I held, While up thro' all my soul the rapture welled Of victory. I hear again the croon Of twilight time, the lullaby that soon To all the day's glad music shall have swelled. I hold a hand I never held before, A hand like which I'll never hold some more. It was the first time I had ever "called." 'Twas at the club, as we began to leave. I held five aces, but the dealer balled The ones that he had planted up his sleeve.


To feel your hands stray shyly to my head And flutter down like birds that find their nest, To see the gentle rise and fall of your dear breast, To hear again some tender word you said, To watch the little feet whose dainty tread Fell light as flowers upon the way they pressed, To touch again the lips I have caressed— All these are precious. But your cheek of red Outlives the mem'ry of all other things. I'd known you scarce a month, or maybe two; I had not yet made up my mind to speak, You trots out Tifny's catalogue of rings; Says No. 6 (200 yen) will do. So I remember best of all your cheek.


You would not stop this side the farthest line Of Truth, you said, nor hide one little falsity From my sweet faith that was too kind to see. You said a keener vision would divine All failings later, bare each hid design, Each poor disguise of loving's treachery That screened its weaknesses from even me. How oft you said those cherry lips were mine Alone. The cherries came in little jars, I learned. Those auburn locks, I found with pain, Cost forty plunks, according to the bill I saw. Those pearly teeth were porcelain. But I forgive you for each fault that mars. With all your faults, dear heart, I love you still.



We done dretful well last year. The crops come in first-rate, and Josiah had five or six heads of cattle to turn off at a big price. He felt well, and he proposed to me that I should have a sewin' machine. That man,—though he don't coo at me so frequent as he probable would if he had more encouragement in it, is attached to me with a devotedness that is firm and almost cast-iron, and says he, almost tenderly: "Samantha, I will get you a sewin' machine."

Says I, "Josiah, I have got a couple of sewin' machines by me that have run pretty well for upwards of—well it haint necessary to go into particulars, but they have run for considerable of a spell anyway"—says I, "I can git along without another one, though no doubt it would be handy to have round."

But Josiah hung onto that machine. And then he up and said he was goin' to buy a organ. Thomas Jefferson wanted one too. They both seemed sot onto that organ. Tirzah Ann took hern with her of course when she was married, and Josiah said it seemed so awful lonesome without any Tirzah Ann or any music, that it seemed almost as if two girls had married out of the family instead of one. He said money couldn't buy us another Tirzah Ann, but it would buy us a new organ, and he was determined to have one. He said it would be so handy for her to play on when she came home, and for other company. And then Thomas J. can play quite well; he can play any tune, almost, with one hand, and he sings first-rate, too. He and Tirzah Ann used to sing together a sight; he sings bearatone, and she sulfireno—that is what they call it. They git up so many new-fangled names nowadays, that I think it is most a wonder that I don't make a slip once in a while and git things wrong. I should, if I hadn't got a mind like a ox for strength.

But as I said, Josiah was fairly sot on that machine and organ, and I thought I'd let him have his way. So it got out that we was goin' to buy a sewin' machine, and a organ. Well, we made up our minds on Friday, pretty late in the afternoon, and on Monday forenoon I was a washin', when I heard a knock at the front door, and I wrung my hands out of the water and went and opened it. A slick lookin' feller stood there, and I invited him in and sot him a chair.

"I hear you are talkin' about buyin' a musical instrument," says he.

"No," says I, "we are goin' to buy a organ."

"Well," says he, "I want to advise you, not that I have any interest in it at all, only I don't want to see you so imposed upon. It fairly makes me mad to see a Methodist imposed upon; I lean towards that perswasion myself. Organs are liable to fall to pieces any minute. There haint no dependence on 'em at all, the insides of 'em are liable to break out at any time. If you have any regard for your own welfare and safety, you will buy a piano. Not that I have any interest in advising you, only my devotion to the cause of Right; pianos never wear out."

"Where should we git one?" says I, for I didn't want Josiah to throw away his property.

"Well," says he, "as it happens, I guess I have got one out here in the wagon. I believe I threw one into the bottom of the wagon this mornin', as I was a comin' down by here on business. I am glad now I did, for it always makes me feel ugly to see a Methodist imposed upon."

Josiah came into the house in a few minutes, and I told him about it, and says I:

"How lucky it is Josiah, that we found out about organs before it was too late."

But Josiah asked the price, and said he wasn't goin' to pay out no three hundred dollars, for he wasn't able. But the man asked if we was willin' to have it brought into the house for a spell—we could do as we was a mind to about buyin' it; and of course we couldn't refuse, so Josiah most broke his back a liftin' it in, and they set it up in the parlor, and after dinner the man went away.

Josiah bathed his back with linement, for he had strained it bad a liftin' that piano, and I had jest got back to my washin' again (I had had to put it away to git dinner) when I heerd a knockin' again to the front door, and I pulled down my dress sleeves and went and opened it, and there stood a tall, slim feller; and the kitchen bein' all cluttered up I opened the parlor door and asked him in there, and the minute he catched sight of that piano, he jest lifted up both hands, and says he:

"You haint got one of them here!"

He looked so horrified that it skairt me, and says I in almost tremblin' tones:

"What is the matter with 'em?" And I added in a cheerful tone, "we haint bought it."

He looked more cheerful too as I said it, and says he "You may be thankful enough that you haint. There haint no music in 'em at all; hear that," says he, goin' up and strikin' the very top note. It did sound flat enough.

Says I, "There must be more music in it than that, though I haint no judge at all."

"Well, hear that, then," and he went and struck the very bottom note. "You see just what it is, from top to bottom. But it haint its total lack of music that makes me despise pianos so, it is because they are so dangerous."

"Dangerous?" says I.

"Yes, in thunder storms, you see;" says he, liftin' up the cover, "here it is all wire, enough for fifty lightnin' rods—draw the lightnin' right into the room. Awful dangerous! No money would tempt me to have one in my house with my wife and daughter. I shouldn't sleep a wink thinkin' I had exposed 'em to such danger."

"Good land!" says I, "I never thought on it before."

"Well, now you have thought of it, you see plainly that a organ is jest what you need. They are full of music, safe, healthy and don't cost half so much."

Says I, "A organ was what we had sot our minds on at first."

"Well, I have got one out here, and I will bring it in."

"What is the price?" says I.

"One hundred and ninety dollars," says he.

"There won't be no need of bringin' it in at that price," says I, "for I have heerd Josiah say, that he wouldn't give a cent over a hundred dollars."

"Well," says the feller, "I'll tell you what I'll do. Your countenance looks so kinder natural to me, and I like the looks of the country round here so well, that if your mind is made up on the price you want to pay, I won't let a trifle of ninety dollars part us. You can have it for one hundred."

Well, the end on't was, he brung it in and sot it up the other end of the parlor, and drove off. And when Josiah come in from his work, and Thomas J. come home from Jonesville, they liked it first rate.

But the very next day, a new agent come, and he looked awful skairt when he katched sight of that organ, and real mad and indignant too.

"That villain haint been a tryin' to get one of them organs off onto you, has he?" says he.

"What is the trouble with 'em?" says I, in a awestruck tone, for he looked bad.

"Why," says he, "there is a heavy mortgage on every one of his organs. If you bought one of him, and paid for it, it would be liable to be took away from you any minute when you was right in the middle of a tune, leavin' you a settin' on the stool; and you would lose every cent of your money."

"Good gracious!" says I, for it skairt me to think what a narrow chance we had run. Well, finally, he brung in one of hisen, and sot it up in the kitchen, the parlor bein' full on 'em.

And the fellers kep' a comin' and a goin' at all hours. For a spell, at first, Josiah would come in and talk with 'em, but after a while he got tired out, and when he would see one a comin' he would start on a run for the barn, and hide, and I would have to stand the brunt of it alone. One feller see Josiah a runnin' for the barn, and he follered him in, and Josiah dove under the barn, as I found out afterwards. I happened to see him a crawlin' out after the feller drove off. Josiah come in a shakin' himself—for he was all covered with straw and feathers—and says he:

"Samantha there has got to be a change."

"How is there goin' to be a change?" says I.

"I'll tell you," says he, in a whisper—for fear some on 'em was prowlin' round the house yet—"we will git up before light to-morrow mornin', and go to Jonesville and buy a organ right out."

I fell in with the idee, and we started for Jonesville the next mornin'. We got there jest after the break of day, and bought it of the man to the breakfast table. Says Josiah to me afterwards, as we was goin' down into the village:

"Let's keep dark about buyin' one, and see how many of the creeters will be a besettin' on us to-day."

So we kep' still, and there was half a dozen fellers follerin' us round all the time a most, into stores and groceries and the manty makers, and they would stop us on the sidewalk and argue with us about their organs and pianos. One feller, a tall slim chap, never let Josiah out of his sight a minute; and he follered him when he went after his horse, and walked by the side of the wagon clear down to the store where I was, a arguin' all the way about his piano. Josiah had bought a number of things and left 'em to the store, and when we got there, there stood the organ man by the side of the things, jest like a watch dog. He knew Josiah would come and git 'em, and he could git the last word with him.

Amongst other things, Josiah had bought a barrel of salt, and the piano feller that had stuck to Josiah so tight that day, offered to help him on with it. And the organ man—not goin' to be outdone by the other—he offered too. Josiah kinder winked to me, and then he held the old mare, and let 'em lift. They wasn't used to such kind of work, and it fell back on 'em once or twice, and most squashed 'em; but they nipped to, and lifted again, and finally got it on; but they was completely tuckered out.

And then Josiah got in, and thanked 'em for the liftin'; and the organ man, a wipin' the sweat offen his face—that had started out in his hard labor—said he should be down to-morrow mornin'; and the piano man, a pantin' for breath, told Josiah not to make up his mind till he came; he should be down that night if he got rested enough.

And then Josiah told 'em that he should be glad to see 'em down a visitin' any time, but he had jest bought a organ.

I don't know but what they would have laid holt of Josiah, if they hadn't been so tuckered out; but as it was, they was too beat out to look anything but sneakin'; and so we drove off.

The manty maker had told me that day, that there was two or three new agents with new kinds of sewin' machines jest come to Jonesville, and I was tellin' Josiah on it, when we met a middle-aged man, and he looked at us pretty close, and finally he asked us as he passed by, if we could tell him where Josiah Allen lived.

Says Josiah, "I'm livin' at present in a Democrat."

Says I, "In this one-horse wagon, you know."

Says he, "You are thinkin' of buyin' a sewin' machine, haint you?"

Says Josiah, "I am a turnin' my mind that way."

At that, the man turned his horse round, and follered us, and I see he had a sewin' machine in front of his wagon. We had the old mare and the colt, and seein' a strange horse come up so close behind us, the colt started off full run towards Jonesville, and then run down a cross-road and into a lot.

Says the man behind us, "I am a little younger than you be, Mr. Allen; if you will hold my horse I will go after the colt with pleasure."

Josiah was glad enough, and so he got into the feller's wagon; but before he started off, the man, says he:

"You can look at that machine in front of you while I am gone. I tell you frankly, that there haint another machine equal to it in America; it requires no strength at all; infants can run it for days at a time; or idiots; if anybody knows enough to set and whistle, they can run this machine; and it's especially adapted to the blind—blind people can run it jest as well as them that can see. A blind woman last year, in one day, made 43 dollars a makin' leather aprons; stitched them all round the age two rows. She made two dozen of 'em, and then she made four dozen gauze veils the same day, without changin' the needle. That is one of the beauties of the machine, its goin' from leather to lace, and back again, without changin' the needle. It is so tryin' for wimmen, every time they want to go from leather to gauze and book muslin, to have to change the needle; but you can see for yourself that it haint got its equal in North America."

He heerd the colt whinner, and Josiah stood up in the wagon, and looked after it. So he started off down the cross road.

And we sot there, feelin' considerable like a procession; Josiah holdin' the stranger's horse, and I the old mare; and as we sot there, up driv another slick lookin' chap, and I bein' ahead, he spoke to me, and says he:

"Can you direct me, mom, to Josiah Allen's house?"

"It is about a mile from here," and I added in a friendly tone, "Josiah is my husband."

"Is he?" says he, in a genteel tone.

"Yes," says I, "we have been to Jonesville, and our colt run down that cross road, and—"

"I see," says he interruptin' of me, "I see how it is." And then he went on in a lower tone, "If you think of buyin' a sewin' machine, don't git one of that feller in the wagon behind you—I know him well; he is one of the most worthless shacks in the country, as you can plainly see by the looks of his countenance. If I ever see a face in which knave and villain is wrote down, it is on hisen. Any one with half an eye can see that he would cheat his grandmother out of her snuff handkerchief, if he got a chance."

He talked so fast that I couldn't git a chance to put in a word age ways for Josiah.

"His sewin' machines are utterly worthless; he haint never sold one yet; he cant. His character has got out—folks know him. There was a lady tellin' me the other day that her machine she bought of him, all fell to pieces in less than twenty-four hours after she bought it; fell onto her infant, a sweet little babe, and crippled it for life. I see your husband is havin' a hard time of it with that colt. I will jest hitch my horse here to the fence, and go down and help him; I want to have a little talk with him before he comes back here." So he started off on the run.

I told Josiah what he said about him, for it madded me, but Josiah took it cool. He seemed to love to set there and see them two men run. I never did see a colt act as that one did; they didn't have time to pass a word with each other, to find out their mistake, it kep' 'em so on a keen run. They would git it headed towards us, and then it would kick up its heels, and run into some lot, and canter round in a circle with its head up in the air, and then bring up short ag'inst the fence; and then they would leap over the fence. The first one had white pantaloons on, but he didn't mind 'em; over he would go, right into sikuta or elderbushes, and they would wave their hats at it, and holler, and whistle, and bark like dogs, and the colt would whinner and start off again right the wrong way, and them two men would go a pantin' after it. They had been a runnin' nigh onto half an hour, when a good lookin' young feller come along, and seein' me a settin' still and holdin' the old mare, he up and says:

"Are you in any trouble that I can assist you?"

Says I, "We are goin' home from Jonesville, Josiah and me, and our colt got away and—"

But Josiah interrupted me, and says he, "And them two fools a caperin' after it, are sewin' machine agents."

The good lookin' chap see all through it in a minute, and he broke out into a laugh it would have done your soul good to hear, it was so clear and hearty, and honest. But he didn't say a word; he drove out to go by us, and we see then that he had a sewin' machine in the buggy.

"Are you a agent?" says Josiah.

"Yes," says he.

"What sort of a machine is this here?" says Josiah, liftin' up the cloth from the machine in front of him.

"A pretty good one," says the feller, lookin' at the name on it.

"Is yours as good?" says Josiah.

"I think it is better," says he. And then he started up his horse.

"Hello! stop!" says Josiah.

The feller stopped.

"Why don't you run down other fellers' machines, and beset us to buy yourn?"

"Because I don't make a practice of stoppin' people on the street."

"Do you haunt folks day and night; foller 'em up ladders, through trap-doors, down sullers, and under barns?"

"No," says the young chap, "I show people how my machine works; if they want it, I sell it; and if they don't, I leave."

"How much is your machine?" says Josiah.

"75 dollars."

"Can't you," says Josiah, "because I look so much like your old father, or because I am a Methodist, or because my wife's mother used to live neighbor to your grandmother—let me have it for 25 dollars?"

The feller got up on his wagon, and turned his machine round so we could see it plain—it was a beauty—and says he:

"You see this machine, sir; I think it is the best one made, although there is no great difference between this and the one over there; but I think what difference there is, is in this one's favor. You can have it for 75 dollars if you want it; if not, I will drive on."

"How do you like the looks on it, Samantha?"

Says I, "It is the kind I wanted to git."

Josiah took out his wallet, and counted out 75 dollars, and says he:

"Put that machine into that wagon where Samantha is."

The good lookin' feller was jest liftin' of it in, and countin' over his money, when the two fellers come up with the colt. It seemed that they had had a explanation as they was comin' back; I see they had as quick as I catched sight on 'em, for they was a walkin' one on one side of the road, and the other on the other, most tight up to the fence. They was most dead the colt had run 'em so, and it did seem as if their faces couldn't look no redder nor more madder than they did as we catched sight on 'em and Josiah thanked 'em for drivin' back the colt; but when they see that the other feller had sold us a machine, their faces did look redder and madder.

But I didn't care a mite; we drove off tickled enough that we had got through with our sufferin's with agents. And the colt had got so beat out a runnin' and racin', that he drove home first-rate, walkin' along by the old mare as stiddy as a deacon.



I'm only a consumer, and it really doesn't matter If you crowd me in the street cars till I couldn't well be flatter; I'm only a consumer, and the strikers may go striking, For it's mine to end my living if it isn't to my liking. I am a sort of parasite without a special mission Except to pay the damages—mine is a queer position: The Fates unite to squeeze me till I couldn't well be flatter, For I'm only a consumer, and it really doesn't matter.

The baker tilts the price of bread upon the vaguest rumor Of damage to the wheat crop, but I'm only a consumer, So it really doesn't matter, for there's no law that compells me To pay the added charges on the loaf of bread he sells me. The iceman leaves a smaller piece when days are growing hotter, But I'm only a consumer, and I do not need iced water: My business is to pay the bills and keep in a good humor, And it really doesn't matter, for I'm only a consumer.

The milkman waters milk for me; there's garlic in my butter, But I'm only a consumer, and it does no good to mutter; I know that coal is going up and beef is getting higher, But I'm only a consumer, and I have no need of fire; While beefsteak is a luxury that wealth alone is needing, I'm only a consumer, and what need have I for feeding? My business is to pay the bills and keep in a good humor, And it really doesn't matter, since I'm only a consumer.

The grocer sells me addled eggs; the tailor sells me shoddy, I'm only a consumer, and I am not anybody. The cobbler pegs me paper soles, the dairyman short-weights me, I'm only a consumer, and most everybody hates me. There's turnip in my pumpkin pie and ashes in my pepper, The world's my lazaretto, and I'm nothing but a leper; So lay me in my lonely grave and tread the turf down flatter, I'm only a consumer, and it really doesn't matter.



Some years ago, I was one of a convivial party that met in the principal hotel in the town of Columbus, Ohio, the seat of government of the Buckeye state.

It was a winter's evening, when all without was bleak and stormy and all within were blithe and gay,—when song and story made the circuit of the festive board, filling up the chasms of life with mirth and laughter.

We had met for the express purpose of making a night of it, and the pious intention was duly and most religiously carried out. The Legislature was in session in that town, and not a few of the worthy legislators were present upon this occasion.

One of these worthies I will name, as he not only took a big swath in the evening's entertainment, but he was a man more generally known than our worthy President, James K. Polk. That man was the famous Captain Riley, whose "Narrative" of suffering and adventures is pretty generally known all over the civilized world. Captain Riley was a fine, fat, good-humored joker, who at the period of my story was the representative of the Dayton district, and lived near that little city when at home. Well, Captain Riley had amused the company with many of his far-famed and singular adventures, which, being mostly told before and read by millions of people that have seen his book, I will not attempt to repeat.

Many were the stories and adventures told by the company, when it came to the turn of a well-known gentleman who represented the Cincinnati district. As Mr. —— is yet among the living, and perhaps not disposed to be the subject of joke or story, I do not feel at liberty to give his name. Mr. —— was a slow believer of other men's adventures, and, at the same time, much disposed to magnify himself into a marvellous hero whenever the opportunity offered. As Captain Riley wound up one of his truthful though really marvellous adventures, Mr. —— coolly remarked that the captain's story was all very well, but it did not begin to compare with an adventure that he had, "once upon a time," on the Ohio, below the present city of Cincinnati.

"Let's have it!"—"Let's have it!" resounded from all hands.

"Well, gentlemen," said the Senator, clearing his voice for action and knocking the ashes from his cigar against the arm of his chair,—"gentlemen, I am not in the habit of spinning yarns of marvellous or fictitious matters; and therefore it is scarcely necessary to affirm upon the responsibility of my reputation, gentlemen, that what I am about to tell you I most solemnly proclaim to be truth, and—"

"Oh, never mind that: go on, Mr. ——," chimed the party.

"Well gentlemen, in 18— I came down the Ohio River, and settled at Losanti, now called Cincinnati. It was at that time but a little settlement of some twenty or thirty log and frame cabins, and where now stand the Broadway Hotel and blocks of stores and dwelling-houses, was the cottage and corn-patch of old Mr. ——, the tailor, who, by the bye, bought that land for the making of a coat for one of the settlers. Well, I put up my cabin, with the aid of my neighbors, and put in a patch of corn and potatoes, about where the Fly Market now stands, and set about improving my lot, house, etc.

"Occasionally I took up my rifle and started off with my dog down the river, to look up a little deer or bar meat, then very plenty along the river. The blasted red-skins were lurking about and hovering around the settlement, and every once in a while picked off some of our neighbors or stole our cattle or horses. I hated the red demons, and made no bones of peppering the blasted sarpents whenever I got a sight of them. In fact, the red rascals had a dread of me, and had laid a good many traps to get my scalp, but I wasn't to be catched napping. No, no, gentlemen, I was too well up to 'em for that.

"Well, I started off one morning, pretty early, to take a hunt, and traveled a long way down the river, over the bottoms and hills, but couldn't find no bar nor deer. About four o'clock in the afternoon I made tracks for the settlement again. By and by I sees a buck just ahead of me, walking leisurely down the river. I slipped up, with my faithful old dog close in my rear, to within clever shooting-distance, and just as the buck stuck his nose in the drink I drew a bead upon his top-knot, and over he tumbled, and splurged and bounded a while, when I came up and relieved him by cutting his wizen—"

"Well, but what has that to do with an adventure?" said Riley.

"Hold on a bit, if you please, gentlemen; by Jove, it had a great deal to do with it. For, while I was busy skinning the hind-quarters of the buck, and stowing away the kidney-fat in my hunting-shirt, I heard a noise like the breaking of brush under a moccasin up 'the bottom.' My dog heard it, and started up to reconnoiter, and I lost no time in reloading my rifle. I had hardly got my priming out before my dog raised a howl and broke through the brush toward me with his tail down, as he was not used to doing unless there were wolves, painters (panthers), or Injins about.

"I picked up my knife, and took up my line of march in a skulking trot up the river. The frequent gullies on the lower bank made it tedious traveling there, so I scrabbled up to the upper bank, which was pretty well covered with buckeye and sycamore, and very little underbrush. One peep below discovered to me three as big and strapping red rascals, gentlemen, as you ever clapped your eyes on! Yes, there they came, not above six hundred yards in my rear, shouting and yelling like hounds, and coming after me like all possessed."

"Well," said an old woodsman, sitting at the table, "you took a tree, of course."

"Did I? No, gentlemen, I took no tree just then, but I took to my heels like sixty, and it was just as much as my old dog could do to keep up with me. I run until the whoops of my red-skins grew fainter and fainter behind me, and, clean out of wind, I ventured to look behind me, and there came one single red whelp, puffing and blowing, not three hundred yards in my rear. He had got on to a piece of bottom where the trees were small and scarce. 'Now,' thinks I, 'old fellow, I'll have you.' So I trotted off at a pace sufficient to let my follower gain on me, and when he had got just about near enough I wheeled and fired, and down I brought him, dead as a door-nail, at a hundred and twenty yards!"

"Then you skelp'd (scalped) him immediately?" said the backwoodsman.

"Very clear of it, gentlemen; for by the time I got my rifle loaded, here came the other two red-skins, shouting and whooping close on me, and away I broke again like a quarter-horse. I was now about five miles from the settlement, and it was getting toward sunset. I ran till my wind began to be pretty short, when I took a look back, and there they came, snorting like mad buffaloes, one about two or three hundred yards ahead of the other: so I acted possum again until the foremost Injin got pretty well up, and I wheeled and fired at the very moment he was 'drawing a bead' on me: he fell head over stomach into the dirt, and up came the last one!"

"So you laid for him, and—" gasped several.

"No," continued the "member," "I didn't lay for him, I hadn't time to load, so I laid my legs to ground and started again. I heard every bound he made after me. I ran and ran until the fire flew out of my eyes, and the old dog's tongue hung out of his mouth a quarter of a yard long!"

"Phe-e-e-e-w!" whistled somebody.

"Fact, gentlemen. Well, what I was to do I didn't know: rifle empty, no big trees about, and a murdering red Indian not three hundred yards in my rear; and what was worse, just then it occurred to me that I was not a great ways from a big creek (now called Mill Creek), and there I should be pinned at last.

"Just at this juncture, I struck my toe against a root, and down I tumbled, and my old dog over me. Before I could scrabble up—"

"The Indian fired!" gasped the old woodsman.

"He did, gentlemen, and I felt the ball strike me under the shoulder; but that didn't seem to put any embargo upon my locomotion, for as soon as I got up I took off again, quite freshened by my fall! I heard the red-skin close behind me coming booming on, and every minute I expected to have his tomahawk dashed into my head or shoulders.

"Something kind of cool began to trickle down my legs into my boots—"

"Blood, eh? for the shot the varmint gin you," said the old woodsman, in a great state of excitement.

"I thought so," said the Senator; "but what do you think it was?"

Not being blood, we were all puzzled to know what the blazes it could be; when Riley observed,—

"I suppose you had—"

"Melted the deer-fat which I had stuck in the breast of my hunting-shirt, and the grease was running down my leg until my feet got so greasy that my heavy boots flew off, and one, hitting the dog, nearly knocked his brains out."

We all grinned, which the "member" noticing, observed,—

"I hope, gentlemen, no man here will presume to think I'm exaggerating?"

"Oh, certainly not! Go on, Mr. ——," we all chimed in.

"Well, the ground under my feet was soft, and, being relieved of my heavy boots, I put off with double-quick time, and, seeing the creek about half a mile off, I ventured to look over my shoulder to see what kind of chance there was to hold up and load. The red-skin was coming jogging along, pretty well blowed out, about five hundred yards in the rear. Thinks I, 'Here goes to load, anyhow.' So at it I went: in went the powder, and, putting on my patch, down went the ball about half-way, and off snapped my ramrod!"

"Thunder and lightning!" shouted the old woodsman, who was worked up to the top-notch in the "member's" story.

"Good gracious! wasn't I in a pickle! There was the red whelp within two hundred yards of me, pacing along and loading up his rifle as he came! I jerked out the broken ramrod, dashed it away, and started on, priming up as I cantered off, determined to turn and give the red-skin a blast, anyhow, as soon as I reached the creek.

"I was now within a hundred yards of the creek, could see the smoke from the settlement chimneys. A few more jumps, and I was by the creek. The Indian was close upon me: he gave a whoop, and I raised my rifle: on he came, knowing that I had broken my ramrod and my load not down: another whoop! whoop! and he was within fifty yards of me. I pulled trigger, and—"

"And killed him?" chuckled Riley.

"No, sir! I missed fire!"

"And the red-skin—" shouted the old woodsman, in a frenzy of excitement.

"Fired and killed me!"

The screams and shouts that followed this finale brought landlord Noble, servants and hostlers running up stairs to see if the house was on fire!



There was quite a row of them on the mantel-piece. They were all facing front, and it looked as if they had come out of the wall behind, and were on their little stage facing the audience. There was the bronze monk reading a book by the light of a candle, who had a private opening under his girdle, so that sometimes his head was thrown violently back, and one looked down into him and found him full of brimstone matches. Then the little boy leaning against a greyhound; he was made of Parian, very fine Parian, too, so that one would expect to find a glass cover over him: but no, the glass cover stood over a cat and a cat made of worsted, too: still it was a very old cat, fifty years old in fact. There was another young person there, young like the boy leaning on a greyhound, and she, too, was of Parian: she was very fair in front, but behind—ah, that is a secret which is not quite time yet to tell. One other stood there, at least she seemed to stand, but nobody could see her feet, for her dress was so very wide and so finely flounced. She was the china girl that rose out of a pen-wiper.

The fire in the grate below was of soft coal, and flashed up and down, throwing little jets of flame up that made very pretty foot-lights. So here was a stage, and here were the actors, but where was the audience? Oh, the Audience was in the arm-chair in front. He had a special seat; he was a critic, and could get up when he wanted to, when the play became tiresome, and go out.

"It is painful to say such things out loud," said the Boy-leaning-against-a-greyhound, with a trembling voice, "but we have been together so long, and these people round us never will go away. Dear girl, will you?—you know." It was the Parian girl that he spoke to, but he did not look at her; he could not, he was leaning against the greyhound; he only looked at the Audience.

"I am not quite sure," she coughed. "If, now, you were under a glass case."

"I am under a glass case," spoke up the Cat-made-of-worsted. "Marry me. I am fifty years old. Marry me, and live under a glass case."

"Shocking!" said she. "How can you? Fifty years old, too! That would indeed be a match!"

"Marry!" muttered the bronze Monk-reading-a-book. "A match! I am full of matches, but I don't marry. Folly!"

"You stand up very straight, neighbor," said the Cat-made-of-worsted.

"I never bend," said the bronze Monk-reading-a-book. "Life is earnest. I read a book by candle. I am never idle."

The Cat-made-of-worsted grinned to himself.

"You've got a hinge in your back," said he, "they open you in the middle; your head flies back. How the blood must run down. And then you're full of brimstone matches. He! he!" and the Cat-made-of-worsted grinned out loud. The Boy-leaning-against-a-greyhound spoke again, and sighed:

"I am of Parian, you know, and there is no one else here of Parian except yourself."

"And the greyhound," said the Parian girl.

"Yes, and the greyhound," said he eagerly. "He belongs to me. Come, a glass case is nothing to it. We could roam; oh, we could roam!"

"I don't like roaming."

"Then we could stay at home, and lean against the greyhound."

"No," said the Parian girl, "I don't like that."


"I have private reasons."


"No matter."

"I know," said the Cat-made-of-worsted. "I saw her behind. She's hollow. She's stuffed with lamp-lighters. He! he!" and the Cat-made-of-worsted grinned again.

"I love you just as much," said the steadfast Boy-leaning-against-a-greyhound, "and I don't believe the Cat."

"Go away," said the Parian girl, angrily. "You're all hateful. I won't have you."

"Ah!" sighed the Boy-leaning-against-a-greyhound.

"Ah!" came another sigh—it was from the China-girl-rising-out-of-a-pen-wiper—"how I pity you!"

"Do you?" said he eagerly. "Do you? Then I love you. Will you marry me?"

"Ah!" said she; "but—"

"She can't!" said the Cat-made-of-worsted. "She can't come to you. She hasn't got any legs. I know it. I'm fifty years old. I never saw them."

"Never mind the Cat," said the Boy-leaning-against-a-greyhound.

"But I do mind the Cat," said she, weeping. "I haven't. It's all pen-wiper."

"Do I care?" said he.

"She has thoughts," said the bronze Monk-reading-a-book. "That lasts longer than beauty. And she is solid behind."

"And she has no hinge in her back," grinned the Cat-made-of-worsted. "Come, neighbors, let us congratulate them. You begin."

"Keep out of disagreeable company," said the bronze Monk-reading-a-book.

"That is not congratulation; that is advice," said the Cat-made-of-worsted. "Never mind, go on, my dear,"—to the Parian girl. "What! nothing to say? Then I'll say it for you. 'Friends, may your love last as long as your courtship.' Now I'll congratulate you."

But before he could speak, the Audience got up.

"You shall not say a word. It must end happily."

He went to the mantel-piece and took up the China-girl-rising-out-of-a-pen-wiper.

"Why, she has legs after all," said he.

"They're false," said the Cat-made-of-worsted. "They're false. I know it. I'm fifty years old. I never saw true ones on her."

The Audience paid no attention, but took up the Boy-leaning-against-a-greyhound.

"Ha!" said the Cat-made-of-worsted. "Come. I like this. He's hollow. They're all hollow. He! he! Neighbor Monk, you're hollow. He! he!" and the Cat-made-of-worsted never stopped grinning. The Audience lifted the glass case from him and set it over the Boy-leaning-against-a-greyhound and the China-girl-rising-out-of-a-pen-wiper.

"Be happy!" said he.

"Happy!" said the Cat-made-of-worsted. "Happy!"

Still they were happy.



It is not easy, at the best, for two persons talking together to make the most of each other's thoughts, there are so many of them.

[The company looked as if they wanted an explanation.]

When John and Thomas, for instance, are talking together, it is natural enough that among the six there should be more or less confusion and misapprehension.

[Our landlady turned pale;—no doubt she thought there was a screw loose in my intellects,—and that involved the probable loss of a boarder. A severe-looking person, who wears a Spanish cloak and a sad cheek, fluted by the passions of the melodrama, whom I understand to be the professional ruffian of the neighboring theater, alluded, with a certain lifting of the brow, drawing down of the corners of the mouth and somewhat rasping voce di petti, to Falstaff's nine men in buckram. Everybody looked up. I believe the old gentleman opposite was afraid I should seize the carving-knife; at any rate, he slid it to one side, as it were carelessly.]

I think, I said, I can make it plain to Benjamin Franklin here, that there are at least six personalities distinctly to be recognized as taking part in that dialogue between John and Thomas.

{ 1. The real John; known only to his Maker. { 2. John's ideal John; never the real one, and often Three Johns { very unlike him. { 3. Thomas's ideal John; never the real John, nor { John's John, but often very unlike either.

{ 1. The real Thomas. Three Thomases { 2. Thomas's ideal Thomas. { 3. John's ideal Thomas.

Only one of the three Johns is taxed; only one can be weighed on a platform-balance; but the other two are just as important in the conversation. Let us suppose the real John to be old, dull and ill-looking. But as the Higher Powers have not conferred on men the gift of seeing themselves in the true light, John very possibly conceives himself to be youthful, witty, and fascinating, and talks from the point of view of this ideal. Thomas, again believes him to be an artful rogue, we will say; therefore he is so far as Thomas's attitude in the conversation is concerned, an artful rogue, though really simple and stupid. The same conditions apply to the three Thomases. It follows, that, until a man can be found who knows himself as his Maker knows him, or who sees himself as others see him, there must be at least six persons engaged in every dialogue between two. Of these, the least important, philosophically speaking, is the one that we have called the real person. No wonder two disputants often get angry, when there are six of them talking and listening all at the same time.

[A very unphilosophical application of the above remarks was made by a young fellow, answering to the name of John, who sits near me at table. A certain basket of peaches, a rare vegetable, little known to boarding houses, was on its way to me via this unlettered Johannes. He appropriated the three that remained in the basket, remarking that there was just one apiece for him. I convinced him that his practical inference was hasty and illogical, but in the mean time he had eaten the peaches.]


"This island is now the property of the Stamford family,—having been won, it is said, in a raffle, by Sir —— Stamford, during the stock-gambling mania of the South-Sea Scheme. The history of this gentleman may be found in an interesting series of questions (unfortunately not yet answered) contained in the "Notes and Queries." This island is entirely surrounded by the ocean, which here contains a large amount of saline substance, crystallizing in cubes remarkable for their symmetry, and frequently displays on its surface, during calm weather, the rainbow tints of the celebrated South-Sea bubbles. The summers are oppressively hot, and the winters very probably cold; but this fact can not be ascertained precisely, as, for some peculiar reason, the mercury in these latitudes never shrinks, as in more northern regions, and thus the thermometer is rendered useless in winter.

"The principal vegetable productions of the island are the pepper-tree and the bread-fruit tree. Pepper being very abundantly produced, a benevolent society was organized in London during the last century for supplying the natives with vinegar and oysters, as an addition to that delightful condiment. [Note received from Dr. D.P.] It is said, however, that, as the oysters were of the kind called natives in England, the natives of Sumatra, in obedience to a natural instinct, refused to touch them, and confined themselves entirely to the crew of the vessel in which they were brought over. This information was received from one of the oldest inhabitants, a native himself, and exceedingly fond of missionaries. He is said also to be very skilful in the cuisine peculiar to the island.

"During the season of gathering the pepper, the persons employed are subject to various incommodities, the chief of which is violent and long-continued sternutation, or sneezing. Such is the vehemence of these attacks, that the unfortunate subjects of them are often driven backward for great distances at immense speed, on the well-known principle of the aeolipile. Not being able to see where they are going, these poor creatures dash themselves to pieces against the rocks or are precipitated over the cliffs, and thus many valuable lives are lost annually. As, during the whole pepper-harvest, they feed exclusively on this stimulant, they become exceedingly irritable. The smallest injury is resented with ungovernable rage. A young man suffering from the pepper-fever, as it is called, cudgeled another most severely for appropriating a superannuated relative of trifling value, and was only pacified by having a present made him of a pig of that peculiar species of swine called the Peccavi by the Catholic Jews, who, it is well known, abstain from swine's flesh in imitation of the Mahometan Buddhists.

"The bread-tree grows abundantly. Its branches are well known to Europe and America under the familiar name of macaroni. The smaller twigs are called vermicelli. They have a decided animal flavor, as may be observed in the soups containing them. Macaroni, being tubular, is the favorite habitat of a very dangerous insect, which is rendered peculiarly ferocious by being boiled. The government of the island, therefore, never allows a stick of it to be exported without being accompanied by a piston with which its cavity may at any time be thoroughly swept out. These are commonly lost or stolen before the macaroni arrives among us. It therefore always contains many of these insects, which, however, generally die of old age in the shops, so that accidents from this source are comparatively rare.

"The fruit of the bread-tree consists principally of hot rolls. The buttered-muffin variety is supposed to be a hybrid with a cocoanut palm, the cream found on the milk of the cocoanut exuding from the hybrid in the shape of butter, just as the ripe fruit is splitting, so as to fit it for the tea-table, where it is commonly served up with cold—"

—There,—I don't want to read any more of it. You see that many of these statements are highly improbable.—No, I shall not mention the paper.—No, neither of them wrote it, though it reminds me of the style of these popular writers. I think the fellow that wrote it must have been reading some of their stories, and got them mixed up with his history and geography. I don't suppose he lies; he sells it to the editor, who knows how many squares off "Sumatra" is. The editor, who sells it to the public—by the way, the papers have been very civil—haven't they?—to the—the—what d'ye call it?—"Northern Magazine,"—isn't it?—got up by some of these Come-outers, down East, as an organ for their local peculiarities.

* * * * *

It is a very dangerous thing for a literary man to indulge his love for the ridiculous. People laugh with him just so long as he amuses them; but if he attempts to be serious, they must still have their laugh, and so they laugh at him. There is in addition, however, a deeper reason for this than would at first appear. Do you know that you feel a little superior to every man who makes you laugh, whether by making faces or verses? Are you aware that you have a pleasant sense of patronizing him, when you condescend so far as to let him turn somersets, literal or literary, for your royal delight? Now if a man can only be allowed to stand on a dais, or raised platform, and look down on his neighbor who is exerting his talent for him, oh, it is all right!—first-rate performance!—and all the rest of the fine phrases. But if all at once the performer asks the gentleman to come upon the floor, and, stepping upon the platform, begins to talk down at him,—ah, that wasn't in the program!

I have never forgotten what happened when Sydney Smith—who, as everybody knows, was an exceedingly sensible man, and a gentleman, every inch of him—ventured to preach a sermon on the Duties of Royalty. The "Quarterly," "so savage and tartly," came down upon him in the most contemptuous style, as "a joker of jokes," a "diner-out of the first water" in one of his own phrases; sneering at him, insulting him, as nothing but a toady of a court, sneaking behind the anonymous, would ever have been mean enough to do to a man of his position and genius, or to any decent person even.—If I were giving advice to a young fellow of talent, with two or three facets to his mind, I would tell him by all means to keep his wit in the background until after he had made a reputation by his more solid qualities. And so to an actor: Hamlet first and Bob Logic afterward, if you like; but don't think, as they say poor Liston used to, that people will be ready to allow that you can do anything great with Macbeth's dagger after flourishing about with Paul Pry's umbrella. Do you know, too, that the majority of men look upon all who challenge their attention,—for a while, at least,—as beggars, and nuisances? They always try to get off as cheaply as they can; and the cheapest of all things they can give a literary man—pardon the forlorn pleasantry!—is the funny-bone. That is all very well so far as it goes, but satisfies no man, and makes a good many angry, as I told you on a former occasion.

Oh, indeed, no!—I am not ashamed to make you laugh, occasionally. I think I could read you something I have in my desk that would probably make you smile. Perhaps I will read it one of these days, if you are patient with me when I am sentimental and reflective; not just now. The ludicrous has its place in the universe; it is not a human invention, but one of the Divine ideas, illustrated in the practical jokes as kittens and monkeys long before Aristophanes or Shakespeare. How curious it is that we always consider solemnity and the absence of all gay surprises and encounter of wits as essential to the idea of the future life of those whom we thus deprive of half their faculties and then called blessed! There are not a few who, even in this life, seem to be preparing themselves for that smileless eternity to which they look forward, by banishing all gaiety from their hearts and all joyousness from their countenances. I meet one such in the street not unfrequently, a person of intelligence and education, but who gives me (and all that he passes) such a rayless and chilling look of recognition,—something as if he were one of Heaven's assessors, come down to "doom" every acquaintance he met,—that I have sometimes begun to sneeze on the spot, and gone home with a violent cold, dating from that instant. I don't doubt he would cut his kitten's tail off, if he caught her playing with it. Please tell me, who taught her to play with it?



Have you read how Julius Caesar Made a call on Cicero In his modest Formian villa, Many and many a year ago?

"I shall pass your way," wrote Caesar, "On the Saturnalia, Third, And I'll just drop in, my Tullius, For a quiet friendly word:

"Don't make a stranger of me, Marc, Nor be at all put out, A snack of anything you have Will serve my need, no doubt.

"I wish to show my confidence— The invitation's mine— I come to share your simple food, And taste your honest wine."

Up rose M. Tullius Cicero, And seized a Roman punch,— Then mused upon the god-like soul Was coming round to lunch.

"By Hercules!" he murmured low Unto his lordly self, "There are not many dainties left Upon my pantry shelf!

"But what I have shall Julius share. What, ho!" he proudly cried, "Great Caesar comes this way anon To sit my chair beside.

"A dish of lampreys quickly stew, And cook them with a turn, For that's his favorite pabulum From Mamurra I learn."

* * * * *

His slaves obey their lord's command; The table soon is laid For two distinguished gentlemen,— One rather bald, 'tis said.

When lo! a messenger appears To sound approach—and then, "Brave Caesar comes to greet his friend With twice a thousand men!

"His cohorts rend the air with shouts; That is their dust you see; The trumpeters announce him near!" Said Marcus, "Woe is me!

"Fly, Cassius, fly! assign a guard! Borrow what tents you can! Encamp his soldiers round the field, Or I'm a ruined man!

"Get sheep and oxen by the score! Buy corn at any price! O Jupiter! befriend me now, And give me your advice!"

* * * * *

It turned out better than he feared,— Things proved enough and good,— And Caesar made himself at home, And much enjoyed his food.

But Marcus had an awful fright,— That can not be denied; "I'm glad 'tis over!"—when it was— The host sat down and sighed,

And when he wrote to Atticus, And all the story told, He ended his epistle thus: "J.C.'s a warrior bold,

"A vastly entertaining man, In Learning quite immense, So full of literary skill, And most uncommon sense,

"But, frankly, I should never say 'No trouble, sir, at all; And when you pass this way again, Give us another call!'"



I've clean fergot my rheumatiz— Hain't nary limp n'r hobble; I'm feelin' like a turkey-cock— An' ready 'most to gobble; I'm workin' spry, an' steppin' high— An' thinkin' life worth livin'. Fer all the children's comin' home All comin' home Thanksgivin'.

There's Mary up at Darby Town, An' Sally down at Goshen, An' Billy out at Kirkersville, An' Jim—who has a notion That Hackleyburg's the very place Fer which his soul has striven; They're all a-comin' home ag'in— All comin' home Thanksgivin'.

Yes—yes! They're all a-comin' back; There ain't no ifs n'r maybes. The boys'll fetch the'r wives an' kids; The gals, th'r men an' babies. The ol' place will be upside-down; An' me an' Mammy driven To roost out in the locus' trees— When they come home Thanksgivin'.

Fer Mary she has three 'r four Mischeevous little tykes, sir, An' Sally has a houseful more— You never seen the like, sir; While Jim has six, an' Billy eight— They'll tear the house to flinders, An' dig the cellar out in chunks An' pitch it through the winders.

The gals 'll tag me to the barn; An' climb the mows, an' waller All over ev'ry ton o' hay— An' laugh an' scream an' holler. The boys 'll git in this an' that; An' git a lickin'—p'r'aps, sir— Jest like the'r daddies used to git When they was little chaps, sir.

But—lawzee-me!—w'y, I won't care. I'm jest so glad they're comin', I have to whistle to the tune That my ol' heart's a-hummin'. An' me an' Mammy—well, we think It's good to be a-livin', Sence all the children's comin' home To spend the day Thanksgivin'.



I and my cousin Wildair met And tossed a pot together— Burnt sack it was that Molly brewed, For it was nipping weather. 'Fore George! To see Dick buss the wench Set all the inn folk laughing! They dubbed him pearl of cavaliers At kissing and at quaffing.

"Oddsfish!" says Dick, "the sack is rare, And rarely burnt, fair Molly; 'Twould cure the sourest Crop-ear yet Of Pious Melancholy." "Egad!" says I, "here cometh one Hath been at 's prayers but lately." —Sooth, Master Praise-God Barebones stepped Along the street sedately.

Dick Wildair, with a swashing bow, And touch of his Toledo, Gave Merry Xmas to the rogue And bade him say his Credo; Next crush a cup to the King's health, And eke to pretty Molly; "'T will cure your saintliness," says Dick, "Of Pious Melancholy."

Then Master Barebones stopped and frowned; My heart stood still a minute; Thinks I, both Dick and I will hang, Or else the devil's in it! For me, I care not for old Noll, Nor all the Rump together. Yet, faith! 't is best to be alive In pleasant Xmas weather.

His worship, Barebones, grimly smiled; "I love not blows nor brawling; Yet will I give thee, fool, a pledge!" And, zooks! he sent Dick sprawling! When Moll and I helped Wildair up, No longer trim and jolly— "Feelst not, Sir Dick," says saucy Moll, "A Pious Melancholy?"



The squire himself was the type of a class found only among the rural population of our Southern States—a class, the individuals of which are connected by a general similarity of position and circumstance, but present a field to the student of man infinite in variety, rich in originality.

As the isolated oak that spreads his umbrageous top in the meadow surpasses his spindling congener of the forest, so does the country gentleman, alone in the midst of his broad estate, outgrow the man of crowds and conventionalities in our cities. The oak may have the advantage in the comparison, as his locality and consequent superiority are permanent. The Squire, out of his own district, we ignore. Whether intrinsically, or simply in default of comparison, at home he is invariably a great man. Such, at least, was Squire Hardy. Sour and cynical in speech, yet overflowing with human kindness; contemning luxury and expense in dress and equipage, but princely in his hospitality; praising the olden time to the disparagement of the present; the mortal foe of progressionists and fast people in every department; above all, a philosopher of his own school, he judged by the law of Procrustes, and permitted no appeals; opinionated and arbitrary as the Czar, he was sauced by his negroes, respected and loved by his neighbors, led by the nose by his wife and daughters, and the abject slave of his grandchildren.

His house was as big as a barn, and, as his sons and daughters married, they brought their mates home to the old mansion. "It will be time enough for them to hive," quoth the Squire, "when the old box is full."

Notwithstanding his contempt for fast men nowadays, he is rather pleased with any allusion to his own youthful reputation in that line, and not unfrequently tells a good story on himself. We can not omit one told by a neighbor, as being characteristic of the times and manners forty years ago:

At Culpepper Court-house, or some court-house thereabout, Dick Hardy, then a good-humored, gay young bachelor, and the prime favorite of both sexes, was called upon to carve the pig at the court dinner. The district judge was at the table, the lawyers, justices, and everybody else that felt disposed to dine. At Dick's right elbow sat a militia colonel, who was tricked out in all the pomp and circumstance admitted by his rank. He had probably been engaged on some court-martial, imposing fifty-cent fines on absentees from the last general muster. Howbeit Dick, in thrusting his fork into the back of the pig, bespattered the officer's regimentals with some of the superfluous gravy. "Beg your pardon," said Dick, as he went on with his carving. Now these were times when the war spirit was high, and chivalry at a premium. "Beg your pardon" might serve as a napkin to wipe the stain from one's honor, but did not touch the question of the greased and spotted regimentals.

The colonel, swelling with wrath, seized a spoon, and deliberately dipping it into the gravy, dashed it over Dick's prominent shirt-frill.

All saw the act, and with open eyes and mouth sat in astonished silence, waiting to see what would be done next. The outraged citizen calmly laid down his knife and fork, and looked at his frill, the officer, and the pig, one after another. The colonel, unmindful of the pallid countenance and significant glances of the burning eye, leaned back in his chair, with arms akimbo, regarding the young farmer with cool disdain. A murmur of surprise and indignation arose from the congregated guests. Dick's face turned red as a turkey-gobbler's. He deliberately took the pig by the hind legs, and with a sudden whirl brought it down upon the head of the unlucky officer. Stunned by the squashing blow, astounded and blinded with streams of gravy and wads of stuffing, he attempted to rise, but blow after blow from the fat pig fell upon his bewildered head. He seized a carving-knife and attempted to defend himself with blind but ineffectual fury, and at length, with a desperate effort, rose and took to his heels. Dick Hardy, whose wrath waxed hotter and hotter, followed, belaboring him unmercifully at every step, around the table, through the hall, and into the street, the crowd shouting and applauding.

We are sorry to learn that among this crowd were lawyers, sheriffs, magistrates, and constables; and that even his honor the judge, forgetting his dignity and position, shouted in a loud voice, "Give it to him, Dick Hardy! There's no law in Christendom against basting a man with a roast pig!" Dick's weapon failed before his anger; and when at length the battered colonel escaped into the door of a friendly dwelling, the victor had nothing in his hands but the hind legs of the roaster. He re-entered the dining-room flourishing these over his head, and venting his still unappeased wrath in great oaths.

The company reassembled, and finished their dinner as best they might. In reply to a toast, Hardy made a speech, wherein he apologized for sacrificing the principal dinner-dish, and, as he expressed it, for putting public property to private uses. In reply to this speech a treat was ordered. In those good old days folks were not so virtuous but that a man might have cakes and ale without being damned for it, and it is presumable the day wound up with a spree.

After the squire got older, and a family grew up around him, he was not always victorious in his contests. For example, a question lately arose about the refurnishing of the house. On their return from a visit to Richmond the ladies took it into their heads that the parlors looked bare and old-fashioned, and it was decided by them in secret conclave that a change was necessary.

"What!" said he, in a towering passion, "isn't it enough that you spend your time and money in vinegar to sour sweet peaches, and your sugar to sweeten crab-apples, that you must turn the house you were born in topsy-turvy? God help us! we've a house with windows to let the light in, and you want curtains to keep it out; we've plastered the walls to make them white, and now you want to paste blue paper over them; we've waxed floors to walk on, and we must pay two dollars a yard for a carpet to save the oak plank! Begone with your nonsense, ye demented jades!"

The squire smote the oak floor with his heavy cane, and the rosy petitioners fled from his presence laughing. In due time, however, the parlors were furnished with carpets, curtains, paper, and all the fixtures of modern luxury. The ladies were, of course, greatly delighted; and while professing great aversion and contempt for the "tawdry lumber," it was plain to see that the worthy man enjoyed their pleasure as much as they did the new furniture.

On another occasion, too, did the doughty squire suffer defeat under circumstances far more humiliating, and from an adversary far less worthy.

The western horizon was blushing rosy red at the coming of the sun, whose descending chariot was hidden by the thick Indian-summer haze that covered lowland and mountain as it were with a violet-tinted veil. This was the condition of things (we were going to say) when Squire Hardy sallied forth, charged with a small bag of salt, for the purpose of looking after his farm generally, and particularly of salting his sheep. It was an interesting sight to see the old gentleman, with his dignified, portly figure, marching at the head of a long procession of improved breeds—the universally-received emblems of innocence and patience. Barring his modern costume, he might have suggested to the artist's mind a picture of one of the Patriarchs.

Having come to a convenient place, or having tired himself crying co-nan, co-nan, at the top of his voice, the squire halted. The black ram halted, and the long procession of ewes and well-grown lambs moved up in a dense semicircle, and also halted, expressing their pleasure at the expected treat by gentle bleatings. The squire stooped to spread the salt. The black ram, either from most uncivil impatience, or mistaking the movement of the proprietor's coat-tail for a challenge, pitched into him incontinently. "Plenum sed," as the Oxonions say. An attack from behind, so sudden and unexpected, threw the squire sprawling on his face into a stone pile.

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