Monday, November 5, 2007


Uncles Josh's Punkin Centre Stories By Cal Stewart

Uncles Josh's
Punkin Centre Stories
By Cal Stewart
To the Reader.
The one particular object in writing this
book is to furnish you with an occasional
laugh, and the writer with an occasional
dollar. If you get the laugh you have your
equivalent, and the writer has his.
In Uncle Josh Weathersby you have a
purely imaginary character, yet one true to
life. A character chuck full of sunshine and
rural simplicity. Take him as you find him,
and in his experiences you will observe there
is a bright side to everything.
Sincerely Yours
Cal Stewart
Life Sketch of Author
THE author was born in Virginia, on a little
patch of land, so poor we had to fertilize it
to make brick. Our family, while having cast
their fortunes with the South, was not a family
ruined by the war; we did not have
anything when the war commenced, and
so we held our own. I secured a common
school education, and at the age of
twelve I left home, or rather home left me
--things just petered out. I was slush cook
on an Ohio River Packet; check clerk in a
stave and heading camp in the knobs of
Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia; I helped
lay the track of the M. K. & T. R. R., and
was chambermaid in a livery stable. Made
my first appearance on the stage at the National
Theatre in Cincinnati, Ohio, and have
since then chopped cord wood, worked in a
coal mine, made cross ties (and walked
them), worked on a farm, taught a district
school (made love to the big girls), run a
threshing machine, cut bands, fed the machine
and ran the engine. Have been a
freight and passenger brakeman, fired and
ran a locomotive; also a freight train conductor
and check clerk in a freight house;
worked on the section; have been a shot gun
messenger for the Wells, Fargo Company.
Have been with a circus, minstrels, farce
comedy, burlesque and dramatic productions;
have been with good shows, bad
shows, medicine shows, and worse, and
some shows where we had landlords singing
in the chorus. Have played variety houses
and vaudeville houses; have slept in a box
car one night, and a swell hotel the next;
have been a traveling salesman (could spin
as many yarns as any of them). For the past
four years have made the Uncle Josh stories
for the talking machine. The Lord only
knows what next!
My Old Yaller Almanac
Hangin' on the
Kitchen Wall
I'M sort of fond of readin' one
thing and another,
So I've read promiscus like
whatever cum my way,
And many a friendly argument's cum up 'tween
me and mother,
'Bout things that I'd be readin' settin' round
a rainy day.
Sometimes it jist seemed to me thar wa'nt
no end of books,
Some made fer useful readin' and some jist
made fer looks;
But of all the different books I've read,
thar's none comes up at all
To My Old Yaller Almanac, Hangin' on
the Kitchen Wall.
I've always liked amusement, of the good
and wholesome kind,
It's better than a doctor, and it elevates the
So, often of an evening, when the farm
chores all were done,
I'd join the games the boys would play, gosh
how I liked the fun;
And once thar wuz a minstrel troop, they
showed at our Town Hall,
A jolly lot of fellers, 'bout twenty of 'em all.
Wall I went down to see 'em, but their
jokes, I knowed 'em all,
Read 'em in My Old Yaller Almanac,
Hangin' on the Kitchen Wall.
Thar wuz Ezra Hoskins, Deacon Brown and
a lot of us old codgers,
Used to meet down at the grocery store,
what wuz kept by Jason Rogers.
There we'd set and argufy most every market
Chawin' tobacker and whittlin' sticks to pass
the time away;
And many a knotty problem has put us on
our mettle,
Which we felt it wuz our duty to duly solve
and settle;
Then after they had said their say, who
thought they knowed it all,
I'd floor 'em with some facts I'd got
From My Old Yaller Almanac, Hangin' on
the Kitchen Wall.
It beats a regular cyclopedium, that old
fashioned yeller book,
And many a pleasant hour in readin' it I've
Somehow I've never tired of lookin' through
its pages,
Seein' of the different things that's happened
in all ages.
One time I wuz elected a Justice of the
To make out legal documents, a mortgage
or a lease,
Them tricks that lawyers have, you bet I
knowed them all,
Learned them in My Old Yaller Almanac,
Hangin' on the Kitchen Wall.
So now I've bin to New York, and all your
sights I've seen,
I s'pose that to you city folks I must look
most awful green,
Gee whiz, what lots of fun I've had as I
walked round the town,
Havin' Bunco Steerers ask me if I wasn't
Mr. Hiram Brown.
I've rode on all your trolloly cars, and hung
onto the straps,
When we flew around the corners, sat on
other peoples' laps,
Hav'nt had no trouble, not a bit at all,
Read about your city in My Old Yaller
Almanac, Hangin' on the Kitchen Wall.
Uncle Josh Weathersby's Arrival in New York
WALL, fer a long time I had my mind made up
that I'd cum down to New York, and so a
short time ago, as I had my crops all gathered
in and produce sold I calculated as how
it would be a good time to come down
here. Folks at home said I'd be buncoed
or have my pockets picked fore I'd bin
here mor'n half an hour; wall, I fooled
'em a little bit, I wuz here three days afore
they buncoed me. I spose as how there are
a good many of them thar bunco fellers
around New York, but I tell you them thar
street keer conductors take mighty good
care on you. I wuz ridin' along in one of
them keers, had my pockit book right in my
hand, I alowed no feller would pick my
pockits and git it long as I had it in my
hand, and it shet up tight as a barrel when
the cider's workin'. Wall that conductor feller
he jest kept his eye on me, and every
little bit he'd put his head in the door and
say "hold fast." But I'm transgressin' from
what I started to tell ye. I wuz ridin' along
in one of them sleepin' keers comin' here,
and along in the night some time I felt a feller
rummagin' around under my bed, and I
looked out jest in time to see him goin' away
with my boots, wall I knowed the way that
train wuz a runnin' he couldn't git off with
them without breakin' his durned neck, but
in about half an hour he brot them back,
guess they didn't fit him. Wall I wuz sort
of glad he took em cause he hed em all
shined up slicker 'n a new tin whistle. Wall
when I got up in the mornin' my trubbles
commenced. I wuz so crouded up like,
durned if I could git my clothes on, and when
I did git em on durned if my pants wa'nt on
hind side afore, and my socks got all tangled
up in that little fish net along side of the
bed and I couldn't git em out, and I lost a
bran new collar button that I traded Si Pettingill
a huskin' peg fer, and I got my right
boot on my left foot and the left one on the
right foot, and I wuz so durned badly mixed
up I didn't know which way the train wuz a
runnin', and I bumped my head on the roof
of the bed over me, and then sot down right
suddin like to think it over when some feller
cum along and stepped right squar on my
bunion and I let out a war whoop you could
a heerd over in the next county. Wall, along
cum that durned porter and told me I wuz
a wakin' up everybody in the keer. Then I
started in to hunt fer my collar button, cause
I sot a right smart store by that button, thar
warns another one like it in Punkin Centre,
and I thought it would be kind of doubtful
if they'd have any like it in New York, wall
I see one stuck right in the wall so I tried to
git it out with my jack knife, when along
came that durned black jumpin' jack dressed
in soldier clothes and ast me what I wanted,
and I told him I didn't want anything perticler,
then he told me to quit ringin' the
bell, guess he wuz a little crazy, I didn't see
no bell. Wall, finally I got my clothes on
and went into a room whar they had a row
of little troughs to wash in, and fast as I could
pump water in the durned thing it run out
of a little hole in the bottom of the trough
so I jest had to grab a handful and then
pump some more. Wall after that things
went along purty well fer a right smart while,
then I et a snack out of my carpet bag and
felt purty good. Wall that train got to runnin'
slower and slower 'till it stopped at every
house and when it cum to a double house it
stopped twice. I hed my ticket in my hat
and I put my head out of the window to look
at suthin' when the wind blew my hat off and
I lost the durned old ticket, wall the conductor
made me buy another one. I hed to
buy two tickets to ride once, but I fooled
him, he don't know a durned thing about it
and when he finds it out he's goin to be the
maddest conductor on that railroad, I got a
round trip ticket and I ain't a goin' back on
his durned old road. When I got off the
ferry boat down here I commenced to think
I wuz about the best lookin' old feller what
ever cum to New York, thar wuz a lot of fellers
down thar with buggies and kerridges
and one thing and another, and jest the minnit
they seen me they all commenced to holler--
handsome--handsome. I didn't know
I wuz so durned good lookin'. One feller
tried to git my carpet bag and another tried
to git my umbreller, and I jest told 'em to
stand back or durned if I wouldn't take a
wrestle out of one or two of them, then I
asked one of 'em if he could haul me up to
the Sturtevessant hotel, and by gosh I never
heered a feller stutter like that feller did in
all my life, he said ye-ye-ye-yes sir, and I said
wall how much air you a goin' to charge me,
and he said f-f-f-fif-fif-fifty c-c-cents, and I
sed wall I guess I'll ride with you, but don't
stop to talk about it any more cause I'd
kinder like to git thar. Wall we started out
and when we stopped we wuz away up at the
other end of the town whar thar warn't many
houses, and I sed to him, this here ain't the
Sturtevessant hotel, and he sed n-n-n-no n-s-sn-
no sir, I sed why didn't you let me out
at the hotel like I told ye, and he sed,
b-b-b-be c-c-c b-b-be cause I c-c-c-c-couldn't
s-s-s-say w-w-w-whoa q-q-q-q-quick enough.
Wall I hed a great time with that feller, but
I got here at last.
Uncle Josh in Society
WALL, I did'nt suppose when I cum down here
to New York that I wuz a goin to flop right
into the middle of high toned society, but
I guess that's jist about what I done. You
see I had an old friend a livin' down here
named Henry Higgins, and I wanted to
see Henry mighty bad. Henry and me, we
wuz boys together down home at Punkin
Centre, and I hadn't seen him in a long time.
Wall, I got a feller to look up his name in
the city almanac, and he showed me whar
Henry lived, away up on a street called
avenue five. Wall when I seen Henry's
house it jist about took my breath away, I
wuz that clar sot back. Henry's house is a
good deal bigger'n the court house at
Punkin Centre. Wall at first I didn't know
whether to go in or not, but finally I mustered
up my courage, and I went up and
rang some new fangled door bell, when a
feller with knee britches on cum out and
wanted to know who it wuz I wanted to see.
Gosh I couldn't say anything fer about a
minnit, that feller jist looked to me like a
picter I'd seen in a story book. Wall finally
I told him I wanted to see Henry Higgins,
if it wuz the same Henry I used to know
down home at Punkin Centre. Wall I guess
Henry he must a heered me talkin', cause
he jist cum out and grabbed me by both
hands and sed, "why Josh Weathersby, how
do you do, cum right in." Wall he took
me into the house and introduced me to
more wimmin folks than I ever seen before
in all my life at one time. I guess they were
havin' some kind of society doins at Henry's
house, one old lady sed to me, "my dear
Mr. Weathersby, I am so pleased to meet
you, I've heered Mr. Higgins speak about
you so often." Wall by chowder, I got to
blushin' so it cum pretty near settin' my hair
on fire, but I sed, wall now I'm right glad
to know you, you kind-er put me in mind of
old Nancy Smith down hum, and Nancy,
she's bin tryin' to git married past forty seasons
that I kin remember on. Wall Henry
took me off into a room by myself, and when
I got on my store clothes and my new calf
skin boots, I tell you I looked about as
scrimptious as any of them. Wall they had
a dance, I think they called it a cowtillion,
and that wuz whar I wuz right to hum, I
jist hopped out on the floor, balanced to
partners, swung on the corners, and cut up
more capers than any young feller thar, it
jist looked as if all the ladies wanted to dance
with me. One lady wanted to know if I
danced the german, but I told her I only
danced in English.
Wall after that we had something to eat
in the dinin' room, and I hadn't any more'n
got sot down and got to eatin right good,
when that durn fool with the knee britches
on insulted me, he handed me a little wash
bowl with a towel round it, and I told him
he needn't cast any insinuations at me, cause
I washed my hands afore I cum in. If it
hadn't a bin in Henry's house I'd took a
wrestle out of him. Wall they had a lot of
furrin dishes, sumthin what they called beef
all over mud, and another what they called
a-charlotte russia-a little shavin' mug made
out of cake and full of sweetened lather, wall
that was mighty good eatin', though it took a
lot of them, they wasn't very fillin'. Then
they handed me somethin' what they called
ice cream, looked to me like a hunk of
casteel soap, wall I stuck my fork in it and
tried to bite it, and it slipped off and got
inside my vest, and in less than a minnit I
wuz froze from my chin to my toes. I
guess I cut a caper at Henry's house.
Uncle Josh in a Chinese Laundry
I S'POSE I got tangled up the other day with
the dogondest lookin' critter I calculate I
ever seen in all my born days, and I've bin
around purty considerable. I'd seen all sorts
of cooriosoties and monstrosities in cirkuses
and meenagerys, but that wuz the fust
time I'd ever seen a critter with his head
and tail on the same end. You see I
sed to a feller, now whar abouts in New
York do you folks git your washin' done;
when I left hum to come down here I lowed
I had enuff with me to do me, but I've
stayed here a little longer than I calculated
to, and if I don't git some washin' done purty
soon, I'll have to go and jump in the river.
Wall he wuz a bligin sort of a feller, and
he told me thar wuz a place round the corner
whar a feller done all the washin', so I
went round, and there was a sine on the
winder what sed Hop Quick, or Hop Soon,
or jump up and hop, or some other kind of
a durned hop; and then thar wuz a lot of
figers on the winder that I couldn't make
head nor tail on; it jist looked to me like a
chicken with mud on its feet had walked
over that winder.
Wall I went in to see bout gittin' my
washin' done, and gosh all spruce gum, thar
was one of them pig tailed heathen Chineeze,
he jist looked fer all the world like a picter
on Aunt Nancy Smith's tea cups. I wuz
sort of sot back fer a minnit, coz 'I sed to
myself--I don't spose this durned critter can
talk English; but seein' as how I'm in here,
I might as well find out. So I told him I'd
like to git him to do some washin' fer me,
and he commenced a talkin' some outlandish
lingo, sounded to me like cider runnin'
out of a jug, somethin' like--ung tong
oowong fang kai moi oo ung we, velly good
washee. Wall I understood the last of it
and jist took his word fer the rest, so I giv
him my clothes and he giv me a little yeller
ticket that he painted with a brush what he
had, and I'll jist bet a yoke of steers agin the
holler in a log, that no livin' mortal man could
read that ticket; it looked like a fly had fell
into the ink bottle and then crawled over the
paper. Wall I showed it to a gentleman
what was a standin' thar when I cum out, and
I sed to him--mister, what in thunder is this
here thing, and he sed "Wall sir that's a sort
of a lotery ticket; every time you leave your
clothes thar to have them washed you git
one of them tickets, and then you have a
chance to draw a prize of some kind." So
I sed--wall now I want to know, how much
is the blamed thing wuth, and he sed "I
spose bout ten cents," and I told him if he
wanted my chants for ten cents he could hav
it, I didn't want to get tangled up in any
lotery gamblin' bizness with that saucer faced
scamp. So he giv me ten cents and he took
the ticket, and in a couple of days I went
round to git my washin', and that pig tailed
heathen he wouldn't let me hev em, coz I'd
lost that lotery ticket. So I sed--now look
here Mr. Hop Soon, if you don't hop round
and git me my collars and ciffs and other
clothes what I left here, I'll be durned if I
don't flop you in about a minnit, I will by
chowder. Wall that critter he commenced
hoppin around and a talkin faster 'n a buzz
saw could turn, and all I could make out
wuz--mee song lay tang moo me oo lay ung
yong wo say mee tickee. Wall I seen jist as
plain as could be that he wuz a tryin' to swindle
me outen my clothes, so I made a grab
fer him, and in less 'n a minnit we wuz a
rollin' round on the floor; fust I wuz on top,
and then Mr. Hop Soon wuz on top, and
you couldn't hav told which one of us the
pig tail belonged to. We upset the stove
and kicked out the winder, and I sot Mr.
Hop Soon in the wash tub, and when I got
out of thar I had somebody's washin' in one
hand and about five yards of that pig tail in
tother, and Mr. Hop Soon, he wuz standin'
thar yellin'--ung wa moo ye song ki le yung
noy song oowe pelecee, pelecee, pelecee.
I had quite a time with that heathen critter.
Uncle Josh in a Museum
WHEN I wuz in New York one day I wuz a walkin'
along down the street when I cum to a theater
or play doins' of some kind or other, so I got
to lookin' at the picters, and I noticed whar
it sed it only cost ten cents to go in, and
I alowed I might as well go in and see
it. Wall I don't spose I'd bin in thar
over five minutes afore I made myself
the laffin' stock of every one in thar. I
noticed a feller a sottin' thar gittin' his boots
blacked, and thar was a durned little pick
pockit a pickin' his pockits. Wall I didn't
want to see him git robbed, so I went right
up to him and I sed--look out mister, you
air gittin' your pockits picked, wall sir, that
durned cuss never sed a word and every
body commenced to laff, and I looked round
to see what they wuz a laffin' at, and it wan't
no man at all, nothin' only a durned old wax
figger. I never felt so durned foolish since
the day I popped the question to Samantha.
Wall then I looked round a spell longer, and
thar wuz a feller what they called the human
pin cushion, and he wuz stuck chock full of
needles and pins and looked like a hedge
hog; he'd be a mighty handy feller at a
quiltin'. Wall, then a feller cum along and
sed, "everybody over to this end of the
hall." Wall, I went along with the rest of
them, and durn my buttins if thar wa'nt a
feller what had more picters painted on him
than thar is in a story book. Wall, I'd jist
got to lookin' at him when that feller what
had charge sed, "right this way everybody,"
and we all went into whar they wuz havin'
the theater doins', and I got sot down and a
feller cum out and sung a song I hadn't
heered since I wuz a youngster. Neer as I
kin remember it wuz this way--
Kind friends I hadn't had but one sleigh ride this year,
And I cum within one of not bein' here,
The facts I'll relate near as I kin remember,
It happened some time 'bout last December.
Li too ra loo ri too ra loo
ri too ra loo la ri do.
The load was composed of both girls and boys,
All tryin' to outdo the other in noise.
And the way that we guarded agin the cold weather
Wuz settin' all up spoon fashion together.
Li too ra loo ri too ra loo
ri too ra loo ri li do.
Wall, they had a parrit in that place and
the way he sputtered and jabbered and
talked! He wuz a whole show all to himself.
Wall, I bought one of them birds from
a feller one time--he said it wuz a good
talker. Wall, I took it hum and hed it
about three months, and it never sed a
durned word. I put in most of my spare
time tryin' to git it to say "Uncle Josh," but
the durned critter wouldn't do it, so I got
mad at him one day and throwed him out in
the barn yard amongst the chickens, and left
him thar. Wall, when I went out the next
mornin', I tell you thar wuz a sight. Half
of them chickens wuz dead, and the rest of
'em wuz skeered to death, and that durned
parrit had a rooster by the neck up agin the
barn, and jist a givin' him an awful whippin',
and every time he'd hit him he'd say, "Now
you say Uncle Josh, gol durn you, you say
Uncle Josh."
Uncle Josh in Wall Street
I USED to read in our town paper down home
at Punkin Centre a whole lot about Wall street
and them bulls and bears, and one thing and
another, so I jist sed to myself--now
Joshua, when you git down to New York
City, that's jist what you want to see. Wall,
when I got to New York, I got a feller to
show me whar it wuz, and I'll be durned
if I know why they call it Wall street;
it didn't hav any wall round it. I walked
up and down it bout an hour and a half,
and I couldn't find any stock exchange
or see any place fer watterin' any stock. I
couldn't see a pig nor a cow, nor a sheep
nor a calf, or anything else that looked like
stock to me. So finally I sed to a gentleman--
Mister, whar do they keep the menagery
down here. He sed "what menagery?"
I sed the place whar they've got all
them bulls and bears a fitin'. Wall he looked
at me as though he thought I wuz crazy,
and I guess he did, but he sed "you cum
along with me, guess I can show you what
you want to see." Wall I went along with
him, and he took me up to some public institushun,
near as I could make out it wuz a
loonytick asylem. Wall he took me into a
room about two akers and a half squar, and
thar wuz about two thousand of the crazyest
men in thar I ever seen in all my life. The
minnit I sot eyes on them I knowed they wuz
all crazy, and I'd hav to umer them if I got
out of thar alive. One feller wuz a standin'
on the top of a table with a lot of papers in
his hand, and a yellin' like a Comanche
injin, and all the rest of them wuz tryin' to
git at him. Finally I sed to one of 'em--
Mister, what are you a tryin' to do with that
feller up thar on the table? And he sed,
"Wall he's got five thousand bushels of
wheat and we are tryin' to git it away from
him." Wall, jist the minnit he sed that I
knowed fer certain they wuz all crazy, cos
nobody but a crazy man would ever think
he had five thousand bushels of wheat in his
coat and pants pockits. Wall when they
wan't a looking I got out of thar, and I felt
mighty thankful to git out. There wuz a
feller standin' on the front steps; he had a
sort of a unyform on; I guess he wuz Superintendent
of the institushun; he talked purty
sassy to me. I sed, Mister, what time does
the fust car go up town. He sed "the fust
one went about twenty-five years ago." I
sed to him--is that my car over thar? He
sed "no sir, that car belongs to the street car
company." I sez, wall guess I'll take it anyhow.
He says "you'd better not, thar's bin
a good many cars missed around here
lately." I sed, wall now, I want to know, is
thar anything round here any fresher than
you be? He sed, "yes, sir, that bench
you're a sotten on is a little fresher; they
painted it about ten minnits ago." Wall, I
got up and looked, and durned if he wasn't right.
Uncle Josh and the Fire Department
ONE day in New York, I thot I'd rite a letter
home. Wall after I'd got it all writ, I sed to
the landlord of the tavern--now, whar abouts
in New York do you keep the post offis? And
he sed, "what do you want with the post
offis?" So I told him I'd jist writ a letter
home to mother and Samantha Ann, and
I'd like to go to the post offis and mail
it. And he told me "you don't have to
go to the post offis, do you see that little
box on the post thar on the corner?" I
alowed as how I did. Wall he says, "You
jist go out thar and put your letter in that
box, and it will go right to the post offis."
I sed--wall now, gee whiz, ain't that handy.
Wall I went out thar, and I had a good deal
of trouble in gittin' the box open, and when
I did git it open, thar wan't any place to put
my letter, thar wuz a lot of notes and hooks
and hinges, and a lot of readin,' it sed--
"pull on the hook twice and turn the knob,"
or somethin, like that, I couldn't jist rightly
make it out. Wall I yanked on that hook
'till I tho't I'd pull it out by the roots, but I
couldn't git the durned thing open, then I
turned on the knob two or three times, and
that didn't do any good, so I pulled on the
hook and turned on the knob at the same
time, and jist then I think all the fire bells
in New York commenced to ringin' all to
onct. Wall I looked round to see whar the
fire wuz, and a lot of fire ingines and hook
and ladder wagons cum a gallopin' up to
whar I stood, and they had a big sody water
bottle on wheels, and it busted and squirted
sody water all over me. Wall one of them
fire fellers, lookin' jist like I'd seen them in
picters in Ezra Hoskin's insurance papers,
he cum up to me madder'n a hornet, and he
sed "what are you tryin' to do with that
box?" So I told him I'd jist writ a letter
home, and I wuz a tryin' to mail it. He sed
"why you durned old green horn, you've
called out the hull fire department of New
York City." Wall I guess you could have
knocked me down with a feather. I sed--
wall you'r a purty healthy lookin' lot of
fellers, it won't hurt ye any to go back, will
it? Wall he sed, "thars your letter box over
on thother corner, now you let this box
alone." Wall they all drove away, and I
went over to the other box, but I didn't
know whether to touch it or not, I didn't
know but maybe I'd call out the state legislater
if I opened it. Wall while I wuz a
standin' thar a feller cum along and looked
all round, and when he thot thar wan't any
body watchin' him, he opened that box and
commenced takin' the letters out. Wall I'd
heered a whole lot 'bout them post offis
robbers, when I wuz post master down home
at Punkin Center, so jist arrested him right
thar, I took him by the nap of the neck and
flopped him right down on the side walk,
and sot on him, I hollered--MURDER! PERLEES!
and every other thing I could think of, and
a lot of constables and town marshalls cum a
runnin' up, and one of them sed "what are
you holdin' this man fer?" and I told him
I'd caught him right in the act of robbin'
the United States Post Offis, and by gosh I
arrested him. Wall they all commenced a
laffin', and I found out I'd arrested one of
the post masters of New York City.
I lost mother's letter and she never did git it.
Uncle Josh in an Auction Room
I'D seen a good many funny things in New York at
one time and another, so the last day I wuz
thar, I wuz a packin' up my traps, a gittin'
ready to go home, when I jist conclooded I'd go
out and buy somethin' to remember New York by.
Wall I wuz a walkin' along down the
street when I cum to a place whar they wuz
auckshuneerin' off a lot of things. I stopped
to see what they had to sell. Wall that place
wuz jist chuck full of old-fashioned cooriositys.
I saw an old book thar, they sed it wuz
five hundred years old, and it belonged at
one time to Loois the Seventeenth or Eighteenth,
or some of them old rascals; durned
if I believe anybody could read it.
Wall I commenced a biddin' on different
things, but it jist looked as though everybody
had more money than I did, and they
sort of out-bid me; but finally they put up
an old-fashioned shugar bowl fer sale, and I
wanted to git that mighty bad, cos I thought
as how mother would like it fust rate. Wall
I commenced a biddin' on it, and it wuz
knocked down to me fer three dollars and
fifty cents I put my hand in my pockit to
git my pockit book to pay fer it, and by gosh
it was gone. So I went up to the feller what
wuz a sellin' the things, and I sed--now look
here mister, will you jist wait a minnit with
your "goin' at thirty make it thirty-five,
once, twice, three times a goin'", and he
sed "wall now what's the matter with you?"
And I sed, there's matter enuff, by gosh;
when I cum in here I had a pockit book in
my pockit, had fifty dollars in it, and I lost
it somewhars round here; I wish you'd say
to the feller what found it that I'll give five
dollars fer it; another feller sed "make it
ten," another sed "give you twenty," and
another sed "go you twenty-five."
Durned if I know which one of 'em got
it; when I left they wuz still a biddin' on it.
Advice--Advice is somethin' the other feller can't
use, so he gives it to you.
--Punkin Centre Philosophy.
Uncle Josh on a Fifth Ave. 'Bus
I WUZ always sort of fond of ridin', so I
guess while I wuz down in New York I rode on
about everything they've got to ride on thar.
I wuz on hoss cars and hot air cars, and
them sky light elevated roads. Wall, I
had jist about cum to the conclushun that
every street in New York had a different
kind of a street car on it, but I found one
that didn't have care of any kind, I think
they call it Avenoo Five. Wall, I wuz a
standin' thar one day a watchin' the people
and things go by, when all to onct along cum
the durndest lookin' contraption I calculate
I ever seen in my life. It wuz a sort of a
wagon, kind of a cross between a band wagon
and a hay rack, and it had a pair of stairs
what commenced at the hind end and rambled
around all over the wagon. I sed to a
gentleman standin' thar: "Mr. in the name
of all that's good and bad, what do you call
that thing?" He sed: "Wall, sir, that's a
Fifth Avenoo 'bus." I sed: "Wall, now,
I want to know, kin I ride on it?" And he
sed: "You kin if you've got a nickel."
Wall, I got in and sot down, and I jist about
busted my buttins a laffin' at things what
happened in that 'bus. Thar wuz a young
lady cum in and sot down, and she had a
little valise in her hand, 'bout a foot squar.
Wall, she opened the valise and took out a
purse and shet the valise, then she opened
the purse and took out a dime, and shet the
purse, opened the valise and put in the
purse, and shet the valise, then she handed
the dime to a feller sottin' out on the front
of the 'bus, and he give her a nickel back.
Then she opened the valise and took out the
purse, shet the valise and opened the purse
and put in the nickel and shet the purse,
opened the valise and put in the purse and
shet the valise, then sed, "Stop the bus,
please." Wall, I had to snicker right out,
though I done my best not to, but I jist
couldn't help it. I didn't have any small
change so I handed the feller a five-dollar
bill. Wall, that feller jist sot and looked at
it fer a spell, then he sed "whoa!" stopped
the hosses, cum round to the hind end of
the 'bus and he sed: "Who give me that
five-dollar bill?" I sed: "I did, and it
was a good one, too." He sed: "Wall,
you cum out here, I want to see you."
Wall, I didn't know what he wanted, but I
jist made up my mind if he indulged in any
foolishness with me I'd flop him in about a
minnit. Wall, I got out thar, and he sed:
"Now look here, honest injun, did you give
me that five-dollar bill?" I sed: "Yes,
sir, that's jist what I done," and he sed,
"Wall, now, which one of the hosses do you
want?" Gosh, I don't believe I'd gin him
five dollars fer the whole durned outfit.
Ambition--Somethin' that has made one man a
senator, and another man a convict.
--Punkin Centre Philosophy
Uncle Josh in a Department Store
ONE day while I wuz in New York I sed to a
feller, now whar kin I find one of them
stores whar they hav purty near everything
to sell what thar is on earth, and he sed "I
guess you mean a department store, don't you?"
I sed, wall I don't know bout that; they
may sell departments at one of them stores,
but what I want to git is some muzlin
and some caliker. Wall he showed me
which way to go, and I started out, and
wuz walkin' along down the street lookin'
at things, when some feller throwed
a bananer peelin' on the sidewalk. Wall
now I don't think much of a man what
throws a bananer peelin' on the sidewalk,
and I don't think much of a bananer
what throws a man on the sidewalk,
neether. Wall, by chowder, my foot hit
that bananer peelin' and I went up in the
air, and cum down ker-plunk, and fer about
a minnit I seen all the stars what stronomy
tells about, and some that haint been discovered
yit. Wall jist as I wuz pickin' myself
up a little boy cum runnin' cross the street
and he sed "Oh mister, won't you please do
that agin, my mother didn't see you do it."
Wall I wish I could a got my hands on that
little rascal fer about a minnit, and his
mother would a seen me do it.
I found one of them stores finally, and I
got on the inside and told a feller what I
wanted, and he sent me over to a red-headed
girl, and she sent me over to a bald-headed
feller; she sed he didn't have anythin' to do
only walk the floor and answer questions.
Wall I went up to him and I sed, mister I'm
sort of a stranger round here, wish you'd
show me round 'til I do a little bargainin'.
And he sed "Oh you git out, you've got hay
seed in your hair." Wall I jist looked at
that bald head of hisn, and I sed, wall now,
you haint got any hay seed in YOUR hair, hav
you? Everybody commenced a laffin', and he
got purty riled, so he sed, smart like, "jist
step this way, please." Wall he showed me
round and I bought what I wanted, and
when I cum to pay the feller what I had to
pay, it didn't look as though I wuz a goin'
to git any of my money back. I handed him
a ten dollar bill, and he jist took it and put it
in a little baskit and hitched it onto a wire,
and the durned thing commenced runnin'
all over the store. Wall now you can jist
bet your boots I lit out right after it; I chased
it up one side and down the other, I knocked
down five or six wimmin clerks, and I upset
five or six bargain counters; I took a wrastle
out of that bald-headed feller, and jist then
some one commenced to holler "CASH" and
I sed yep, that's what I'm after. Wall I
chased that durned little baskit round 'til I
got up to it, and when I did I was right thar
whar I started from. Gee whiz, I never felt
more foolish in all my life.
Prosperity--Consists principally of contentment; for
the man who is contented is prosperous, in his own way
of thinking, though his neighbors may have a different
--Punkin Centre Philosophy.
Uncle Josh's Comments on the Signs Seen in New York
I SEEN a good many funny things when I wuz
in New York, but I think some of the sines what
they've got on some of the bildins' are 'bout as
funny as anything I ever seen in my life.
I wuz walkin' down the street one day
and I seen a sine, it sed "Quick Lunch."
Wall, I felt a little hungry, so I went into
the resturant or bordin' house, or whatever
they call it, and they had some sines hangin'
on the walls in thar that jist about made me
laff all over. I noticed one sine sed "Put
your trust in the Lord," and right under it
wuz another sine what sed "Try our mince
pies." Wall, I tried one of them, and I
want to tell you right now, if you eat many
of them mince pies you want to put your
trust in the Lord.
Wall, I got out of thar, and I walked
along fer quite a spell, and finally I cum to
a store what had a lot of red, white and blue,
and yeller and purple lights in the winder.
Wall, I stopped to look at it, cos it wuz a
purty thing, and they had a sine in that winder
that jist tickled me, it sed, "Frog in
your throat 10C." I wouldn't put one of
them critters in my throat fer ten dollars.
Wall, jist a little further up the street I
seen another sine what sed "Boots blacked
on the inside." Now, any feller what gits
his boots blacked on the inside ain't got
much respect fer his socks. I git mine
blacked on the outside. Then I cum to a
sine what had a lot of 'lectric lights shinin'
on it, and I could read it jist as plain as day;
so I happened to turn round and when I
looked at that sine agin, it wa'nt the same
sine at all, and jist then it changed right in
front of my very eyes, and I cum to the conclooshun
that some feller on the inside wuz
a turnin' on it jist to have fun with folks, so
I cum away; but I had a mighty good laff
or two watchin' other folks git fooled, cos it
would turn fust one way and then the t'other,
and 'fore you could make up your mind
what it wuz, the durned thing wouldn't be
that at all.
A little further up the street I seen a sine
what sed, "This is the door." Now, any
durned fool could see it wuz a door. And
then I seen another sine what sed "Walk
in." Wall, now, I wunder how in thunder
they thought a feller wuz a goin' to cum in,
on hoss back, or on a bisickle, or how. And
then I seen another sine, it wuz in a winder
and had a lot of tools around it, and the sine
sed, "Cast iron sinks." Wall, now, any
durned fool what don't know that cast iron
sinks, ought to have some one feel his head
and find out what ails him.
Uncle Josh on a Street Car
NOW I'll jist bet I had more fun to the squar
inch while I wuz in New York, than any old feller
what ever broke out of a New England smoke house.
I had a little the durnd'st time a ridin' on
them street cars what they got thar. Wall I
wa'nt a ridin' on 'emnear as much as I wuz a runnin'
after 'em tryin' to ketch 'em. Gosh, I wuz
a runnin' after street cars and fire ingines,
and every durned thing with red wheels on
it, I calculate I run about a mile and a half
after a feller one day to tell him the water
what he had in his wagon wuz all leakin'
out, and when I caught up to him I found
out it wuz a durned old sprinklin' cart.
Wall I got on one of them street cars one
day, and it wuz purty crowded, and thar
wa'nt any place fer me to sot down, so I had
to hang onto one of them little harness straps
along side of the car. So I got holt of a
strap and I wuz hangin' on, when the conductor
sed "old man, you'r goin' to be in
the road thar, you'd better move up a little
further, wall I moved up a little ways and I
stepped on a feller's toe, and gee whiz, he
got madder'n a wet hen, he sed, 'can't you
see whar you'r a steppin'?" I sed, "guess
I kin, but you brought them feet in here,
and I've got to step some whar." Wall
every one begin to laff, and the conductor
sed, "old man you'r makin' too much trouble,
you'll have to move for'ard again," and
I got off 'n the gosh durned old car; I paid
him a nickel to ride, but I guess I might as
well have walked, I wuz a walkin' purty
much all the time I wuz in thar.
Wall I got onto another car, and I got
sot down, and I never laffed so much in all
my life. Up in one end of the car thar wuz
a little slim lady, and right along side of her
wuz a big fleshy lady, and it didn't look as
though the little slim lady wuz a gittin'
more'n about two cents and a half worth of
room, so finally she turned round to the
fleshy lady and sed, "they ought to charge
by weight on this line," and the big lady sed
"Wall if they did they wouldn't stop fer
you." Gosh I had to snicker right out loud.
Thar wuz a little boy a sottin' alongside
of the big lady, and three ladys got onto the
car all to onct, and thar wa'nt any place fer
'em to sot down, and so the big lady sed--
"little boy, you'd oughter git up and let one
of them ladys sot down," and the little boy
sed, "you git up and they can all sot down."
Wall by that time your uncle wuz a laffin'
right out.
Sottin' right alongside of me wuz a lady
and the had the purtiest little baby I calculate
I'd ever seen in all my born days, I
wanted to be sociable with the little feller
so I jist sort of waved my hand at him, and
sed how-d'e-do baby, and that lady just
looked et me scornful like and sed "rubber,"
wall I wuz never more sot back, I guess you
could have knocked me down with a feather,
I thought it was a genuine baby, I didn't
know the little thing was rubber.
Wall I noticed up in one end of the car
thar wuz a little round masheen, and the
conductor had a clothes line tied to it, and
every time he got a nickel he'd yank on that
clothes line, and fust it sed in and then it sed
out, I couldn't tell what all them little ins
and outs meant, but I jist cum to the conclusion
it showed how much the conductor
wuz in and the company wuz out.
Wall I got to talkin' to that feller on the
front end of the car, and he wuz a purty
nice sort of a feller, he showed me how
every thing worked and told me all about it,
wall when I got off I sed--good bye, mister,
hope I'll see you agin some time, and he
sed, "oh, I'll run across you one of these
days," I told him by gosh he wouldn't run
across me if I seen him a comin'.
My Fust Pair of Copper Toed Boots
THAR'S a feelin' of pleasure, mixed in with some pain,
That over my memory scoots,
When I think of my boyhood days once again
And my fust pair of copper toed boots.
How our folks stood around when I fust tried them on,
And bravely marched out on the floor,
And father remarked "thar a mighty good fit
And the best to be had at the store."
That night, I remember, I took them to bed,
With the rest of us little galoots,
And among other things in my prars which I sed
Wuz a reference to copper toed boots.
And then in the mornin' the fust one on hand
Wuz me and my new acquisition,
And thar wuzn't a spot in the house that I missed,
From the garret clar down to the kitchen.
Then with feelin's expandin', and huntin' fer room,
I concluded I'd help do the chores;
Fer I felt as though somethin' wuz goin' to bust
If I didn't git right out of doors.
But those boots they were new, and the ice it wuz slick,
And I couldn't get one way or tother,
And I jist had to stand right there in one spot
And holler like thunder fer mother.
But trouble's a blessing sometimes in disguise
Fer I larned right thar on the spot,
That the best sort of knowledge to hav in this world
Is that by experience taught.
So though many years have since passed away,
And I've ventured on various routes,
I'm still tryin' things jist as risky today
As my fust pair of copper toed boots.
Uncle Josh in Police Court
I NEVER wuz in a town in my life what had as
many cort houses in it as New York has got.
It jist seemed to me like every judge in New
York had a cort house of his own, and
most of them cort houses seemed to be
along side of some markit house. Thar
wuz the Jefferson Markit Cort, and the Essicks
Markit Cort, and several other corts
and markits, and markits and corts, I can't
remember now. Wall, I used to be Jestice
of the Peece down home at Punkin Center,
and I wuz a little anxious to see how they
handled law and jestice in New York City,
so one mornin' I went down to one of them
cort houses, and thar wuz more different
kinds of people in thar than I ever seen
afore. Thar wuz all kinds of nationalitys--
Norweegans, Germans, Sweeds, Hebrews,
and Skandynavians, Irish and colored folks,
old and young, dirty and clean, good, bad
and worse. The Judge, he wuz a sottin' up
on the bench, and a sayin,: "Ten days;
ten dollars; Geery society; foundlin' asylum;
case dismissed; bring in the next prisoner,"
and the Lord only knows what else.
Wall, some of the cases they tried in that
cort house made me snicker right out loud.
They brought in a little Irish feller, and the
Judge sed: "Prisoner, what is your name?"
And the little Irish feller sed: "Judge, your
honor, my name is McGiness, Patrick
McGiness." And the Judge sed: "Mr.
McGiness, what is your occupation?" And
the little Irish feller sed: "Judge, your
honor, I am a sailor." The Judge sed:
"Mr. McGiness, you don't look to me as
though you ever saw a ship in all your life."
And the little Irish feller sed: "Wall
Judge, your honor, if I never saw a ship in
me life, do you think I cum over from Ireland
in a wagon?" The Judge sed: "Case
dismissed. Bring in the next prisoner."
Wall, the next prisoner what they brought
in had sort of an impediment in his talk, and
the way he stuttered jist beat all. The
Judge sed: "Prisoner, what is your name?"
And the prisoner sed: "Jd-Jd-J-J-Judge,
yr-yr-yo-yo-your h-h-h-hon-hon-honor, m-mm-my-my
n-n-na-na-name is-is-is----." The
Judge sed: "Never mind, that will do.
Officer, what is this prisoner charged with?"
And the officer sed: "Judge, your honor,
the way he talks sounds to me like he might
be charged with sody water." Gosh, I got to laffin'
so I had to git right out of the cort house.
It sort of made me think of a law soot we
had down hum when Jim Lawson wuz Jestice
of the Peece. You see it wuz like this:
One spring Si Pettingill wuz goin' out to
Mizoori to be gone 'bout a year, and he'd
sold off 'bout all his things 'cept one cow,
and he didn't want to part with the cow,
'cause she wuz a mighty good milker, so he
struck a bargin with Lige Willet. Lige wuz
to keep the cow, paster and feed her, and
generally take keer on her fer the milk she
giv. Wall, finally Si cum hum, and he went
to Lige's place one day and sed: "Wall,
Lige, I've cum over to git my cow." And
Lige sed: "Cum after your cow? Wall,
if you've got any cow round here I'll be
durned if I know it." Si sed: "Wall,
Lige, I left my cow with you." And Lige
sed: "Wall, that's a year ago, and she's et
her head off two or three times since then."
So Si sed: "Wall, Lige, you've had her
milk fer her keep." And Lige sed: "Milk
be durned, she went dry three weeks after
you left, and she ain't give any milk since,
and near as I can figger it out, seems to me
as how I've pestered her and fed her all this
time, she's my cow." Si sed: "No, Lige,
that wa'nt the bargin." But Lige sed:
"Bargin or no bargin, I've got her, and
seein' as how posession is 'bout nine points
in the law, I'm goin' to keep her."
So they went to law about it, and all
Punkin Centre turned out to heer the trial.
Wall, after Jim Lawson had heered both
sides of the case, he sed: "The Cort is
compelled, from the evidence sot forth in
this case, to find for the plaintiff, the aforesaid
Silas Pettingill, as agin' the defendant,
the aforesaid Elijah Willet. We find from
the evidence sot forth that the cow critter in
question is a valuable critter, and wuth more
'n a year's paster and keep, and, tharfore, it
is the verdict of this cort that the aforesaid
defendant, Elijah Willet, shall keep the cow
two weeks longer, and then she is hisn."
Uncle Josh at Coney Island
I'D heerd tell a whole lot at various times
'bout that place what they call Coney Iland,
and while I wuz down In New York, I jist made
up my mind I wuz a goin' to see it, so one
day I got on one of them keers what
goes across the Brooklyn bridge, and I started
out for Coney Iland. Settin' right along
side of me in the keer wuz an old lady, and
she seemed sort of figity 'bout somethin' or
other, and finaly she sed to me "mister, do
these cars stop when we git on the other side
of the bridge?" I sed, wall now if they
don't you'll git the durndest bump you ever
got in your life.
Wall we got on the other side, and I got
on one of them tra-la-lu cars what goes down
to Coney Iland. I give the car feller a dollar,
and he put it in his pockit jist the same
as if it belonged to him. Wall, when I wuz
gittin' purty near thar I sed, Mister, don't I
git any change? He sed, "didn't you see that
sign on the car?" I sed, no sir. Wall he
sez "you better go out and look at it."
Wall I went out and looked at it, and
that settled it. It sed "This car goes to
Coney Iland without change." Guess it did;
I'll be durned if I got any.
Wall we got down thar, and I must say
of all the pandemonium and hubbub I ever
heered in my life, Coney Iland beats it all.
Bout the fust thing I seen thar wuz a place
what they called "Shoot the Shoots." It
looked like a big hoss troff stood on end,
one end in a duck pond and tother end up
in the air, and they would haul a boat up to
the top and all git in and then cum scootin'
down the hoss troff into the pond. Wall I
alowed that ud be right smart fun, so I got
into one of the boats along with a lot of other
folks I never seed afore and don't keer if I
never see agin. They yanked us up to the
top of that troff and then turned us loose,
and I jist felt as though the whole earth had
run off and left us. We went down that troff
lickety split, and a woman what wuz settin'
alongside of me, got skeered and grabbed
me round the neck; and I sed, you let go of
me you brazen female critter. But she jist
hung on and hollered to beat thunder, and
everybody wuz a yellin' all to onct, and that
durned boat wuz a goin' faster'n greased
lightnin' and I had one hand on my pockit
book and tother on my hat, and we went
kerslap dab into that duck pond, and the
durned boat upsot and we went into the
water, and that durned female critter hung
onto me and hollered "save me, I'm jist a
drownin'." Wall the water wasn't very deep
and I jist started to wade out when along
cum another boat and run over us, and
under we went ker-souse. Wall I managed
to get out to the bank, and that female
woman sed I was a base vilian to not rescue
a lady from a watery grave. And I jist told
her if she had kept her mouth shet she
wouldn't hav swallered so much of the pond.
Wall they had one place what they called
the Middle Way Plesumps, and another place
what they called The Streets of Caro, and they
had a lot of shows a goin' on along thar.
Wall I went into one of 'em and sot down,
and I guess if they hadn't of shet up the show
I'd a bin sottin' thar yet. I purty near
busted my buttins a laffin'. They had a lot
of gals a dancin' some kind of a dance; I
don't know what they called it, but it sooted
me fust rate. When I got home, the more
I thought about it the more I made up my
mind I'd learn that dance. Wall I went out
in the corn field whar none of the neighbors
could see me, and I'll be durned if I
didn't knock down about four akers of corn,
but I never got that dance right. I wuz the
talk of the whole community; mother didn't
speak to me fer about a week, and Aunt
Nancy Smith sed I wuz a burnin' shame
and a disgrace to the village, but I notice
Nancy has asked me a good many questions
about jist how it was, and I wouldn't wonder
if we didn't find Nancy out in the cornfield
one of these days.
Uncle Josh at the Opera
WALL, I sed to mother when I left hum, now
mother, when I git down to New York City I'm
goin' to see a regular first-class theater.
We never had many theater doin's down our way.
Wall, thar wuz a theater troop cum to Punkin
Centre along last summer, but we
couldn't let 'em hav the Opery House to
show in 'cause it wuz summer time and the
Opery House wuz full of hay, and we couldn't
let 'em hav it 'cause we hadn't any place
to put the hay. An then about a year and a
half ago thar wuz a troop cum along that
wuz somethin' about Uncle Tom's home;
they left a good many of their things behind
'em when they went away. Ezra Hoskins
he got one of the mules, and he tried to
hitch it up one day; Doctor says he thinks
Ezra will be around in about six weeks. I
traded one of the dogs to Ruben Hendricks
fer a shot gun; Rube cum over t'other day,
borrowed the gun and shot the dog.
Wall, I got into one of your theaters
here, got sot down and wuz lookin' at it;
and it wuz a mighty fine lookin' pictur with
a lot of lights shinin' on it, and I wuz enjoyin'
it fust rate, when a lot of fellers cum out
with horns and fiddles, and they all started
in to fiddlin' and tootin', end all to once they
pulled the theatre up, and thar wuz a lot of
folks having a regular family quarrel. I
knowed that wasn't any of my business, and
I sort of felt uneasy like; but none of the
rest of the folks seemed to mind it any, so I
calculated I'd see how it cum out, though my
hands sort of itched to get hold of one feller,
'cause I could see if he would jest go 'way
and tend to his own business thar wouldn't
be any quarrel. Wall, jest then a young feller
handed me a piece of paper what told all
about the theater doin's, and I got to lookin'
at that and I noticed on it whar it sed thar
wuz five years took place 'tween the fust
part and the second part. I knowed durned
well I wouldn't have time to wait and see
the second part, so I got up and went out.
Wall, them theater doin's jest put me in
mind of somethin' what happened down
hum on the last day of school. You see the
school teacher got all the big boys and the
big girls, and the boys they read essays and
the girls recited poetry. One of the Skinner
girls recited a piece that sooted me fust rate.
Neer as I kin remember it went somethin'
like this:
How nice to hear the bumble-bee
When you go out a fishin',
But if you happen to sot down on him,
He'll spoil your disposition.
I liked that; thar wuz somethin' so
touchin' about it. Then the school teacher
he got all the girls in the 'stronomy class and
he dressed them up to represent the different
kinds of planits. He had one girl to represent
the sun--she wuz red-headed; and another
one to represent the moon, and another
one fer Mars, and another one fer Jerupetir,
and it looked mighty fine, and everythin'
wuz a gettin' along fust rate 'til old Jim
Lawson 'lowed he could make an improvement
on it; so he went out and got a colord
girl, and he wanted to sot her between the
sun and the moon and make an eklips. And
as usual he busted up the whole doin's.
Uncle Josh at Delmonico's
I USED to hear the summer boarders tell
a whole lot about a place here in New York
kept by Mr. Delmonico. Thar's
bin about ten thousand summer
boarders down to Punkin Centre
one time and another, and I guess I've
carried the bundles and stood the grumblin'
from about all of them; and when anyone of
'em would find fault with anythin' I used to
ast him whar he boarded at in New York,
and they all told me at Mr. Delmonico's; so
I'd cum to the conclusion that Mr. Delmonico
must hav a right smart purty good sized
tavern; and I sed to mother--now mother,
when I git down to New York that's whar
I'm goin' to board, at Mr. Delmonico's.
Wall, I got a feller to show me whar it
wuz, and when I got on the inside I don't
s'pose I wuz ever more sot back in all my
life; guess you could have knocked my eyes
off with a club; they stuck out like bumps
on a log. Wall sir, they had flowers and
birds everywhere, and trees a settin' in wash
tubs, didn't look to me as though they would
stand much of a gale; and about a hundred
and fifty patent wind mills runnin' all to
onct, and out in the woods somewhar they
had a band a-playin'. I couldn't see 'em
but I could hear 'em; guess some of 'em
wuz a havin' a dance to settle down their
dinner; I couldn't tell whether it was a society
festival or a camp meetin' at feedin'
time. Wall, one feller cum up to me and
commenced talkin' some furrin language I
didn't understand, somethin' about bon-sour,
mon-sour. I jist made up my mind he wuz
one of them bunco fellers, and I wouldn't
talk to him. Then another feller cum up
right smart like and wanted to know if I'd
hav my dinner table de hotel or all over a
card, and I told him if it wuz all the same to
him he could bring me my dinner on a plate.
Wall, he handed me a programme of the
dinner and I et about half way down it and
drank a bottle of cider pop what he give me,
and it got into my head, and I never felt so
durn good in all my life. I got to singin'
and I danced Old Dan Tucker right thar in
the dinin' room, and I took a wrestle out of
Mr. bon-sour mon-sour; and jist when I got
to enjoyin' myself right good, they called in
alot of constables, and it cost me sixteen
dollars and forty-five cents, and then they
took me out ridin' in a little blue wagon
with a bell on it, and they kept ringin' the
bell every foot of the way to let folks know
I wuz one of Mr. Delmonico's boarders.
It is Fall
THE days are gettin' shorter, and
the summer birds are leaving,
The wind sighs in the tree tops,
as though all nature was grieving;
The leaves they drop in showers, there's a
blue haze over all,
And a feller is reminded that once again it's
It is a glorious season, the crops most gathered
The wheat is in the granary and the oats are
in the bin;
A feller jest feels splendid, right in harmony
with all,
The old cider mill a-humin', 'gosh, I know
it's Fall.
I hear the Bob White whistlin' down by the
water mill,
While dressed in gorgeous colors is each
valley, knoll and hill;
The cows they are a-lowing, as they slowly
wander home,
And the hives are just a-bustin' with the
honey in the comb.
Soon be time for huskin' parties, or an apple
paring bee,
And the signs of peace and plenty are just
splendid for to see;
The flowers they are drooping, soon there
won't be none at all,
Old Jack Frost has nipped them, and by that
I know it's Fall.
The muskrat has built himself a house down
by the old mill pond,
The squirrels are laying up their store from
the chestnut trees beyond;
While walking through the orchard I can
hear the ripe fruit fall;
There's an air of quiet comfort that only
comes with Fall.
The wind is cool and bracing, and it makes
you feel first-rate,
And there's work to keep you going from
early until late;
So you feel like giving praises unto Him
who doeth all,
Nature heaps her blessings on you at this
season, and it's Fall.
The nights are getting frosty and the fire
feels pretty good,
I like to see the flames creep up among the
burning wood;
Away across the hilltops I can hear the hoot
owl call,
He is looking for his supper, I guess he
knows its Fall.
And though the year is getting old and the
trees will soon be bare,
There's a satisfactory feeling of enough and
some to spare;
For there's still some poor and needy who
for our help do call,
So we'll share with them our blessings and
be thankful that it's Fall.
Si Pettingill's Brooms
WALL, one day jist shortly after sap season
wuz over, we wuz all sottin' round Ezra Hoskins's
store, talkin' on things in general, when up
drove Si Pettingill with a load of brooms.
Wall, we all took a long breath, and got
ready to see some as tall bargainin' as wuz
ever done in Punkin Centre. 'Cause Si, he
could see a bargain through a six-inch plank
on a dark night, and Ezra could hear a dollar
bill rattle in a bag of feathers a mile off,
and we all felt mighty sartin suthin' wuz a
goin' to happen. Wall, Si, he sort er stood
'round, didn't say much, and Ezra got most
uncommonly busy--he had more business
than a town marshal on circus day.
Wall, after he had sold Aunt Nancy
Smith three yards of caliker, and Ruben
Hendricks a jack-knife, and swapped Jim
Lawson a plug of tobacker fer a muskrat
hide, he sed: "How's things over your
way, Si?" Si remarked: "things wuz
'bout as usual, only the water had bin most
uncommon high, White Fork had busted
loose and overflowed everything, Sprosby's
mill wuz washed out, and Lige Willits's
paster wuz all under water, which made it
purty hard on the cows, and Lige had to
strain the milk two or three times to git the
minnews out of it. Whitaker's young 'uns
wuz all havin' measles to onct, and thar wuz
a revival goin' on at the Red Top Baptist
church, and most every one had got religion,
and things wuz a runnin' 'long 'bout
as usual."
Deacon Witherspoon sed: "Did you
git religion, Si?" Si sed: "No, Deacon;
I got baptized, but it didn't take--calculated
I might as well have it done while thar wuz
plenty of water."
"Thought I'd cum over today, Ezra;
I've got some brooms I'd like to sell ye."
Ezra sed: "Bring 'em in, Si, spring house
cleanin' is comin' on and I'll most likely
need right smart of brooms, so jist bring 'em
in." Si sed: "Wall, Ezra, don't see as
thar's any need to crowd the mourners, can't
we dicker on it a little bit; I want cash fer
these brooms, Ezra, I don't want any store
trade fer 'em." Ezra sed: "Wall, I don't
know 'bout that, Si; seems to me that's a
gray hoss of another color, I always gin ye
store trade fer your eggs, don't I?" Si sed:
"Y-a-s--, and that's a gray hoss of another
color; ye never seen a hen lay brooms, did
ye? Brooms is sort of article of commerce,
Ezra, and I want cash fer 'em." Wall,
Ezra, he looked 'round the store and thot
fer a spell, and then he sed: "Tell ye what
I'll do, Si; I'll gin ye half cash and the other
half trade, how'll that be?" Si sed:
"Guess that'll be all right, Ezra. Whar
will I put the brooms?" Ezra sed: "Put
them in the back end of the store, Si, and
stack 'em up good; I hadn't got much room,
and I've got a lot of things comin' in from
Boston and New York." Wall, after Si had
the brooms all in, he sed: "Wall, thar they
be, five dozen on 'em." Ezra sed: "Sure
thar's five dozen?" Si sed: "Yas; counted
'em on the wagon, counted 'em off agin,
and counted 'em when I made 'em." So
Ezra sed: "Wall, here's your money; now
what do you want in trade?" Si looked
'round fer a spell and sed: "I don't know,
Ezra; don't see anything any of our folks
pertickerly stand in need on. If it's all the
same to you, Ezra, I'll take BROOMS?"
Wall, Jim Lawson fell off'n a wash-tub
and Ruben Hendricks cut his thumb with
his new jack-knife, and Deacon Witherspoon
sed: "No, Si, that baptizin' didn't
take. And Ezra--wall, it wan't his say.
Suspicion--Consists mainly of thinking what we
would do if we wuz in the other feller's place.
--Punkin Centre Philosophy.
Uncle Josh Plays Golf
WALL, about two weeks ago the boys sed to me,
Uncle we'd like to hav you cum out and play a
game of golf. Wall, they took me out behind
the woodshed whar mother couldn't
see us and them durned boys dressed
your uncle up in the dogondest suit of
clothes I ever had on in my life. I had on a
pair of socks that had more different colors
in 'em than in Joseph's coat. I looked like
a cross atween a monkey and a cirkus rider,
and a-goin' across the medder our turkey
gobbler took after me and I had an awful
time with that fool bird. I calculate as how
I'll git even with him 'bout Thanksgiving
Wall, the boys took me into the paster,
and they had it all dug up into what they
called a "T," and they had a wheelbarrer
full of little Injun war clubs. They called
one a nibbler, and another a brassie, and a
lot of other fool names I never heerd afore,
and can't remember now. Then they
brought out a little wooden ball 'bout as big
as a hen's egg, and they stuck it up on a
little hunk of mud. Then they told me to
take one of them thar war clubs and stand
alongside of the ball and hit it. Wall, I jist
peeled off my coat and got a good holt on
that war club and I jist whaled away at that
durned little ball, and by gum I missed it,
and the boys all commenced to holler "foozle."
Wall, I got a little bit riled and I whaled
away at it again, and I hit it right whar I
missed it the fust time, and I whirled round
and sot down so durned hard I sot four back
teeth to akin, and I pawed round in the air
and knocked a lot of it out of place. I hit
myself on the shin and on the pet corn at the
same time, and them durned boys wuz jist arollin'
round on the ground and a-hollerin'
like Injuns. Wall, I begun to git madder
'n a wet hen, and I 'lowed I'd knock that
durned little ball way over into the next
county. So I rolled up my sleeves and spit
on my hands and got a good holt on that
war club and I whaled away at that little ball
agin, and by chowder I hit it. I knocked it
clar over into Deacon Witherspoon's paster,
and hit his old muley cow, and she got
skeered and run away, jumped the fence
and went down the road, and the durned
fool never stopped a-runnin' 'til she went
slap dab into Ezra Hoskins' grocery store,
upsot four gallons of apple butter into a keg
of soft soap, and sot one foot into a tub
of mackral, and t'other foot into a box of
winder glass, and knocked over Jim Lawson
who wuz sottin' on a cracker barrel, and
broke his durned old wooden leg, and then
she went right out through the winder and
skeered Si Pettingill's hosses that wuz a
standin' thar, and they run away and smashed
his wagon into kindlin' wood' and Silas has
sued me fer damages, and mother won't
speak to me, and Jim he wants me to buy
him a new wooden leg, and the neighbors
all say as how I ought to be put away some
place fer safe keepin', and Aunt Nancy
Smith got so excited she lost her glass eye
and didn't find it for three or four days, and
when she did git it the boys wuz a-playin'
marbles with it and it wuz all full of gaps,
and Jim Lawson he trimmed it up on the
grindstane and it don't fit Nancy any more,
and she has to sort of put it in with cotton
round it to bold it, and the cotton works
out at the corners and skeers the children
and every time I see Nancy that durned eye
seems to look at me sort of reproachful like,
and all I know about playin' golf is, the feller
what knocks the ball so durned far you
can't find it or whar it does the most damage,
wins the game.
Jim Lawson's Hogs
WHEN it cum to raisin' hogs, I don't s'pose
thar wuz ever enybody in Punkin Centre that had
quite so much trouble as Jim Lawson. One fall
Jim had a right likely bunch of shoats, but
somehow or other he couldn't git 'em fat,
it jist seemed like the more he fed 'em the
poorer they got, and Jim he wuz jist about
worried clar down to a shadder. He kept
givin' them hogs medecin' and feedin' of
'em everything he could think on, but it
wan't no use; every day or so one of 'em
would lay down and die. All the neighbors
would cum and lean over the fence, and
talk to Jim, and give him advice, but somehow
them hogs jist kept on a-dyin', and nobody
could see what wuz alin' of 'em, 'til
one day Jim cum over to Ezra Hoskins's
store, and he looked as tickled as though
he'd found a dollar, and he sed: "I want
you all to cum over to my place; I've found
out what's alin' them hogs." Deacon
Witherspoon sed: "Wall, what is it,
Jim?" and Jim sed: "Wall, you see the
ground over in my hog lot is purty soft, and
when it rains it gits right smart muddy, and
the mud gits on them hogs' tails, and that
mud it gits more mud, and finally they git
so much mud on their tails that it draws
their skin so tight that they can't shet their
eyes, and them hogs air jist a-dyin' fer the
want of sleep."
Wall, the followin' winter Jim had his
hogs all fat and ready fer markit, and he jist
conclooded he'd drive 'em to Concord.
Wall, he started out, and when he'd drov
'em two whole days he met old Jabez Whitaker.
Jabe sed: "Whar you goin' with your hogs, Jim?"
Jim sed: "Goin' to Concord, Jabez." Jabez sed
"Wall, now, I want to know. That's what cums
from not readin' the papers. Why, Jim,
they've got more hogs up Concord way than
they know what to do with. Lige Willit
took his hogs up thar, and Eben Sprosby
took his'n, and Concord's jist chuck full of
hogs, and so consequintly the markit's away
down in Concord. But the paper sez it's
good in Manchester, and you'd make money,
Jim, by goin' thar." So Jim shifted his
chew of terbacker over to the northeast, and
sed: "Wall, boys, I calculate we'll hav to
go to Manchester, so jist head the hogs off
and turn them round." Wall, they druv
them hogs 'bout three days towards Manchester,
and jist 'bout when they wuz gittin'
thar, along cum Caleb Skinner, and he sed:
"Wall, thunder and fish-hooks, whar be you
a-goin', Jim." And Jim sed: "As near
as he could figure it out from his present
bearin's, he wuz most likely goin' to
Manchester." And Caleb sed: "What fer?"
Jim sed: "Didn't know exactly what all
he wuz goin' fer, but if he ever got thar,
he'd most likely sell his hogs." And Caleb
sed: "Wall, your goin' to the wrong town.
Manchester has got a quarantine agin' any
more hogs comin' in, 'cos what hogs they is
thar has all got colery, and you'd better go
to Concord. Besides the paper says markit
is purty well up in Concord." Wall, Jim
sed a good many things that wouldn't sound
good at a prayer meetin', and then he sed:
"Wall, boys, gess we'll start back fer
Concord, so turn round." Wall, they went
along 'bout two days, and them poor hogs
couldn't stand it no longer 'cos they wuz
jist clean tuckered out, so Jim had to sell
'em to Josiah Martin fer what he could git,
'cos it wuz jist right at Josiah's place whar
the hogs gin out, and thar wan't no way of
moovin' them from thar fer some time to
Wall, along 'bout two weeks after that
we wuz all over to Ezra Hoskins's store,
and some one sed: "Jim, you didn't do
very well with your hogs this year, did you?"
And Jim sed: "Oh, I don't know; that's
jist owin' to how you look at it. I never
caught up to that blamed markit, but I had
the society of the hogs fer two weeks."
Uncle Josh and the Lightning Rod Agent
WALL I s'pose I git buncode offener than any
feller what ever lived in Punkin Centre. A
short time ago we wanted to build a new town
hall, and calculated we'd have a brick
building; and some one sed, "Wall now, if
you'll jist wait 'til Josh Weathersby makes
another trip or two down to New York
thar'll be gold bricks enuff a-layin' 'round
Punkin Centre to build a new town hall."
Wall, one day last summer I wuz a sottin'
out on my back porch, when along cum one
of them thar lightning rod agents. Wall,
he jist cum right up and commenced a-talkin'
at me jist as if he'd bin the town marshal
or a tax assessor, or like he'd known me all
his life. He sed, "My dear sir, I am astonished
at you. I've looked over your entire
premises and I find you haven't got a lightning
rod on any buildin' that you possess.
Why, my dear sir, don't you know you are
flyin' right in the face of Providence? Don't
you know that lightning may strike at any
time and demolish everything within the
sound of my voice? Don't you know you
are criminally negligent? Why, my dear
sir, I am astonished to think that a man of
your jedgment and good common sense
should allow yourself to----" Wall, about
that time I'd got my breath and wits at the
same time, and I sed, "Now hold on, gosh
durn ye, what hav ye got to sell anyhow?"
Wall, he told me he had some lightnin' rods,
and he brought out a little masheen and told
me to take hold of the handles and he'd
show me what a powerful thing 'lectricity
wuz. Wall, I took hold of them handles and
he turned on a crank, and that durned masheen
jist made me dance all over the porch,
and it wouldn't let go. Gee whiz, I felt as
though I'd fell in a yeller jacket's nest, and
about four thousand of 'em wuz a stingin'
me all to onct. Wall, I told him I guessed
he could put up a lightning rod or two, seein'
as how I didn't hav any. Wall, he went
to work and I went over to Ezra Hoskins',
and when I got back home my place wuz a
sight to behold; it looked like a harrer
turned upside down. Thar wuz seven
lightning rods on the barn, one on the hen
house, one on the corn crib, one on the
smoke house, two on the granery, three on
the kitchen, six on my house, and one on the
crab apple tree, and when I got thar that
durned fool had the old muley cow cornered
up a-tryin' to put a lightnin' rod on her.
Wall, I paid him fer what he had done, and
thanked the Lord he hadn't done any more.
Wall, he got me to sine a paper what sed he
had done a good job, and he sed he had to
show that to the company.
Wall, about a week after that we had a
thunder storm, and I think the lightnin'
struck everything on the place except the
spring wagon and old muley cow, and they
didn't have any lightnin' rod on 'em. Wall
I thought I wuz a-gittin' off mighty lucky
til next day, when along cum a feller with
that paper what I had sined, and durned if
it wan't a note fer six hundred dollars, and
by gosh if I didn't hav to pay it!
Buncode agin, by chowder!
Energy--There is a lot of energy in this life that
wasted. I notis that the man who has a good strong
pipe most usually rides in front.
--Punkin Centre Philosophy.
A Meeting of the Annanias Club
WALL, sometimes a lot of us old codgers used
to git down to Ezra Hoskins' grossery store
and we'd sot 'round and chaw terbacker and
whittle sticks and eat crackers and cheese
and proons and anything Ezra happened to
have layin' 'round loos, and then we'd git
to spinnin' yarns that would jist about put
Annanias and Safiry right out of business if
they wuz here now. Wall, one afternoon
we wuz all settin' 'round spinnin' yarns
when Deacon Witherspoon sed that eckos
wuz mighty peculiar things, cos down whar
he wuz born and raised thar wuz a passell of
hills cum together and you couldn't git out
thar and talk louder 'n a whisper on account
of the ecko. But one day a summer boarder
what wuz thar remarked as how he wasn't
afraid to talk right out in meetin' in front of
any old lot of hills what wuz ever created;
so he went out and hollered jist as loud as he
could holler, and he started a ecko a-goin'
and it flew up agin one hill and bounced off
onto another one and gittin' bigger and
louder all the time 'til it got back whar it
started from and hit a stone quarry and
knocked off a piece of stone and hit that feller
in the head, and he didn't cum too fer
over three hours. Wall, we thought that
wuz purty good fer a Deacon. Wall, none
of us sed anything fer a right smart spell
and then Si Pettingill remarked "he didn't
know anything about eckos, but he calculated
he'd seen some mighty peculiar things;
sed he guessed he'd seen it rain 'bout as
hard as anybody ever seen it rain."
Someone sed, "Wall, Si, how hard did
you ever see it rain?" and he sed, "Wall
one day last summer down our way it
got to rainin' and it rained so hard that
the drops jist rubbed together comin'
down, which made them so allfired hot that
they turned into steam; why, it rained
so gosh dinged hard, thar wuz a cider
bar'l layin' out in the yard that had both
heads out'n it and the bung hole up; wall, it
rained so hard into that bung hole that the
water couldn't run out of both ends of the
bar'l fast enough, and it swelled up and
busted." Wall, we all took a fresh chew of
terbacker and nudged each other; and Ezra
Hoskins sed he didn't remember as how
he'd ever seen it rain quite so hard as that,
but he'd seen some mighty dry weather; he
sed one time when he wuz out in Kansas it
got so tarnation dry that fish a-swimmin' up
the river left a cloud of dust behind them.
And hot, too; why, it got so allfired hot that
one day he tied his mule to a pen of popcorn
out behind the barn, and it got so hot that
the corn got to poppin' and flyin' 'round
that old mule's ears and he thought it wuz
snow and laid down and froze to death.
Wall, about that time old Jim Lawson
commenced to show signs of uneasiness, and
someone sed, "What is it, Jim?" and Jim
remarked, as he shifted his terbacker and cut
a sliver off from his wooden leg, "I wuz
a-thinkin' about a cold spell we had one
winter when we wuz a-livin' down Nantucket
way. It wuz hog killin' time, if I remember
right; anyhow, we had a kittle of
bilin' water sottin' on the fire, and we sot it
out doors to cool off a little, and that water
froze so durned quick that the ice wuz hot."
Ezra sed, "Guess its 'bout shettin' up
Jim Lawson's Hoss Trade
SPEAKIN' of hoss tradin', now Jim Lawson was
calculated to be about the best hoss trader in
Punkin Centre. Yes, Jim he could sot up on a
fence, chew terbacker, whittle a stick, and
jist about swap ye outen your eye-teeth, if
you'd listen to him.
Yas, Jim wuz some punkins on a swap;
Jim 'd swap anything he had fer anything
he didn't want, jist to be swappin'.
Wall, a gypsy cum along one day and
tackled Jim fer a swap; and about that time
Jim he'd got hold of a critter that had more
cussedness in him to the squar inch than any
critter we'd ever sot eyes on, 'cept a cirkus
mule that Ezra Hoskins owned.
Wall, the gypsy traded Jim a mighty fine
lookin' critter, and we all calculated that
Jim had right smart of a bargain, 'til one day
Jim went to ride him, 'n he found out if he
fetched the peskey critter on the sides he'd
squat right down. Wall, Jim knowed if he
didn't git rid of that hoss, his reputation as a
hoss trader wuz forever gone; so he went
over in t'other township to see old Deacon
Witherspoon. You see the Deacon he wuz
mighty fond of goin' a-huntin', and as he
had rheumatiz purty bad it wuz sort of hard
fer him to git 'round, so he had to do his
huntin' on hoss back. Wall, Jim didn't say
much to fuss, just kinder hinted around that
huntin' was a-goin' to be mighty good this
fall, cos he'd seen one or two flocks of
partridges over back of Sprosby's medder, and
some right smart of quail over by Buttermilk
ford, and finally he sed: "Deacon, I've got
a hoss you ought to hev; he's a setter."
Wall, you could hav knocked the Deacon's
eyes off with a club, they stuck out like
bumps on a log, and he sed, "Why, Jim, I
never heered tell of sech a thing in all my
life; the idea of a horse being a setter!"
Jim sed, "Yes, Deacon, he's bin trained to
set for all kinds of game. I calculated as
how I'd git a shotgun this fall and do right
smart of hunting." So the Deacon sed,
"Wall, now, I want to know; bring him
over, Jim, I'd like to see him."
Wall, Jim took the hoss over, and all
Punkin Centre jest sort of held its breath to
see how it would cum out.
Jim and the Deacon went a-hunting, and
as they wuz a-ridin' along through the timber
down by Ruben Hendrick's paster, Jim
keepin' his eyes peeled and not sayin' much,
when all to onct he seen a rabbit settin' in a
brush heap, and he jist tetched the old hoss
on the sides and he squatted right down.
The Deacon sed, "Why, what's the matter
of your hoss, Jim, look what he be a
doin'." Jim sed, "'Sh, Deacon, don't you
see that rabbit over thar in the brush heap?
the old hoss is a-settin' of him." Deacon
sed, "Wall, now that's the most remarkable
thing I ever seen in my life; how'd you like
to trade, Jim?" Jim sed, "Wall, Deacon,
I hadn't calculated on disposin' of the hoss,
but I ain't much of a hand at huntin', and
seein' as how it's you, if you want him I'll
trade you, Deacon, fifty dollars to boot."
Wall, the Deacon had a mighty fine animal,
but he sed, "I'll trade you, Jim."
They traded hosses, and when they wuz acomin'
home they had to ford the crick what
runs back of Punkin Centre, and when the
old hoss wuz a-wadin' through the water,
Deacon went to pull his feet up to keep
them from gettin' wet, and he tetched the
old boss on the sides and he squatted right
down in the crick. Deacon sed, "Now look
a-here, Jim, what's the matter with this ungodly
brute, he ain't a-settin' now be he?"
Jim sed, "Yes he is, Deacon, he sees fish in
the water; tell you he's trained to set fer
suckers same as fer rabbits, Deacon; oh, he's
had a thorough eddication."
Paradox--I can't exactly describe it, but it looks to
me like a tramp who once told me how to be successful
in life.
--Punkin Centre Philosophy.
A Meeting of the School Directors
WE had bin havin' a good deal of argufyin'
about the school house. You see it had got to
be a sort of a tumble-down ram-shackle sort
of an affair, and when it wuz bad weather we
couldn't have school in it, 'cause you might
jist as well be a sittin' under a siv when it
rained as to be a settin' in that school house.
Wall, it wuz a-cummin' along the fall term,
and we wanted our boys and girls to git all
the schoolin' an' eddication what they could;
so we called a meetin' of the school directors
to devise ways and means of buildin' a new
school-house without stoppin' school. Wall,
we all met down at the school-house; thar
wuz Deacon Witherspoon, Ezra Hoskins,
Ruben Hendricks, Si Pettingill, old Jim
Lawson and me. Before we commenced
debatin' and argufyin' on the matter, Si
Pettingill alowed he'd sing a song. Wall, he
got up and sang the durndest old-fashioned
song I calculate I ever heered in my life;
went somethin' like this:
Oh a frog went a courtin' and he did ride,
Oh a frog went a courtin' and he did ride,
With a sword and a pistol by his side,
He rode till he came to the mouse's door,
He rode till he came to the mouse's door,
And there he knelt upon the floor,
He took Miss Mousey on his knee,
He took Miss Mousey on his knee,
Said he, Missy Mouse will you marry me?
Wall, we headed Si off right thar; I guess
if we hadn't he'd bin singin' about that frog
and the mouse yet. Wall, jist then old Jim
Lawson he sed, "I make a moshen;" and
Deacon Witherspoon, he wuz chairman,
and he sed, "Now look here, young feller,
don't you make any moshens at me or durned
if I don't git down thar and flop you in about
a minnit. You take your feet off'n that
desk and that corncob pipe out'n your
mouth, and conduct yourself with dignity
and decorum, and address the chairman of
this yere meetin' in a manner benttin' to his
station." Wall, Jim he got right smart riled
over the matter, and he sed, "Wall, you
gosh durned old gospel pirate, I want you to
understand that I'm a member of this body,
a citizen, a taxpayer and a honorably
discharged servant of the government, and I
make a moshen that we build a new schoolhouse
out of the bricks of the old schoolhouse,
and I do further offer an amendment
to the original moshen, that we don't tear
down the old schoolhouse until the new one
is built."
Wall, Deacon Witherspoon sed, "The
gentleman is out of order;" and Jim sed, "I
ain't so durned much out of order but that I
kin trim you in about two shakes of a dead
sheep's tail." Wall, before we knowed it,
them two old cusses wuz at it. The Deacon
he grabbed Jim and Jim he grabbed the
Deacon, and when we got 'em separated the
Deacon he wuz stuck fast 'tween a desk and
the woodbox, and Jim had his wooden leg
through a knot hole in the floor and couldn't
get it out, and they've both gone to law
about it. Jim says he's goin' to git out a
writ of corpus cristy fer the Deacon, and
the Deacon says he's goin' to prosecute Jim
for bigamy and arson and have him read out
of the church.
Wall, we've got the same old schoolhouse.
Justice--Those who hanker fer it would be
generally better off if they didn't git it.
--Punkin Centre Philosophy.
The Weekly Paper at Punkin Centre
WALL, t'other day, down in New York, I wuz
a-walkin' along on that street what they call
the broad way, when I cum to the Herald squar
noospaper buildin', and it wuz all winders and
masheenery. Wall, I wuz jist flobgasted; I
jist stood thar lookin' at it. On the front thar
wuz a bell and a couple of fellers standin'
along side of it with slege hammers in their
hands, and every onct in a while they would
go to poundin' on that bell, and folks 'd
stand 'round and watch 'em do it; they reminded
me of a couple of fellers splittin'
rales. And all 'round the edge of the buildin'
they had hoot owls sottin', with electric
lites in their ize, and thar wuz no end to the
masheenery in that buildin'. If anyone hed
ever told me thar wuz that much masheenery
in the whole world durned if I'd a-beleeved
them; biggest masheen I'd ever seen
before wuz Si Pettingill's new thrashin'
masheen. Wall, I jist stood thar a-watchin'
them printin' presses a-runnin'; paper goin'
in to one end and cumin' out at t'other all
printed and full of picters and folded up
ready to sell; it jist beat all the way they done
it. Wall, we never had but one paper down
home at Punkin Centre; we called it "The
Punkin Centre Weakly Bugle;" old Jim
Lawson he wuz editor of it. You see Jim
he wuz sort of a triflin' no 'count old cuss,
so to keep him out of mischief we made him
editor. Wall, Jim he had his place up over
Ezra Hoskins' grossery store. He never got
any money for the noospaper--always got
paid in produce, and Ezra's store wuz a
mighty good place fer him to take in his
subskriptions. Wall, things went along
pretty smooth fer quite a spell 'til one day a
feller he cum in and give Jim a keg of hard
cider fer a year's subskription to the noospaper,
and we all calculated right then that
somethin' wuz a-goin' to happen; and sure
enough it did. You see 'bout that time Jim
had got two advertisements; one wuz fer
Ruben Jackson's resterant and the other wuz
the time table of the Punkin Centre and Paw
Paw Valley Railroad. Wall, Jim he got to
drinkin' the hard cider and settin' type at
the same time, and when the paper cum out
on Thursday it wuz wuth goin' miles to see.
Neer as I kin remember it sed that: "Ruben
Jackson's resterant would leave the depo
every mornin' at eight o'clock fer beefstake
and mutton stews, and would change cars at
White River Junkshen for mins and punkin
pise, and cottage puddin' would be a flag
stashen fer coffy and do nuts like mother
used to make, and the train wouldn't run on
Sundays cos the stashun agint what done the
cookin' would have to run en extra on that
day over the chicken and ham sandwitch divishion."
I believe that wuz the last issu of the
Punkin Centre Weakly Bugle.
Enthusiasm--Sometimes inspired, sometimes acquired,
sometimes the result of immediate surroundings,
and sometimes the result of hard cider.
--Punkin Centre Philosophy.
Uncle Josh at a Camp Meeting
WALL, we've jist bin havin' a camp meeting
at Punkin Centre. Yes, fer several days we
wuz purty busy bakin' and cookin and makin'
preparations fer the camp meetin', and
some of the committee alowed we ought to
have lemonade fer the Sunday school
children. Wall, as we wanted to git it jist
as cheap as possible, we damed up the crick
what runs back of the camp meeting
grounds, and put in ten pounds of brown
sugar and half a dozen lemons, and let the
Sunday school children drink right out of
the crick, free of charge. Wall, we had
right smart difficulty in gittin' a pulpit fixed
up fer the ministers, but finally we sawed
down a hemlock tree and used the stump
fer a pulpit. Wall, some of the sarmons
preached at that camp meetin' beat anything
I ever heered in my life afore. You see we'd
bin havin' a good many argyments 'bout
corporations, monopolies and trusts, and one
minister got up and sed, "Ah, my dear beloved
brethren and sisters, we should not be
too severe on the monopolists. If we read
the scripters closely we observe our forefathers
wuz all monopolists. Adam and Eve
had a monopoly upon the garden of Eden,
and would have had it 'til this day, no doubt,
had not Mother Eve got squeezed in the
apple market. Yea, verily, Lot's wife had
a corner on the salt market. And while
Pharoe's daughter was not in the milk business,
yet we observe she took a great proffit
out of the water; yea, verrily." Most on us
cum to the conclusion he wuz ridin' on a
free pass.
Samantha Hoskins concluded she would
have to sing her favorit hymn; it went something
like this:
"Oh you need not cum in the mornin',
And neither in the heat of the day;
But cum along in the evenin', Lord,
And wash my sins away.
Standin' on the walls of Zion,
Lookin' at my ship cum a sailln' ov{er};
Standin' on the walls of Zion,
To see my ship cum in."
Jist about that time Ruben Hendricks
skeered a skunk out of a holler log. Si
Pettingill stirred up a hornet's nest, Deacon
Witherspoon sot down in a huckleberry pie
and Aunt Nancy Smith got a spider on her,
and she started in to yellin' and jumpin' like
she had a fit, and two dogs got to fitin', and
old Jim Lawson he tried to git 'em apart and
he stumped 'round and got his old wooden
leg into a post hole and fell down, and the
dogs got on top of him, and you couldn't tell
which wuz Jim nor which wuz dog; and
durned if it didn't bust up the camp meetin'.
The Unveiling of the Organ
IT wuz down in Punkin Centre,
I believe in eighty-nine,
We had some doin's at the meetin' house,
That we thought wuz purty fine;
It wuz a great occasion,
The choir, led by Sister Morgan,
Had called us thar to witness
The unveilin' of the organ.
In order fer to git it
We'd bin savin' here and there,
Lookin' forward to the time
When we'd have music fer to spare,
And as the time it had arrived,
And the organ had cum, too,
We had all of us assembled thar
To hear what the thing could do.
Wall, it wuz a gorgeous instrument,
In a handsome walnut case,
And thar wuz expectation
Pictured out on every face;
Then when Deacon Witherspoon
Had led us all in prayer,
The congregation all stood up
And Old Hundred rent the air.
Jist then the doin's took a turn,
Though I'm ashamed to say it,
We found that old Jim Lawson
Wuz the only one could play it;
But Jim, the poor old feller,
Had one besettin' sin,
A fondness fer hard cider
Which he'd bin indulgin' in.
But he sot down at that organ,
Planked his feet upon the pedals,
And he showed us he could play it
Though he hadn't any medals;
He dwelt upon the treble
And he flirted with the base,
He almost made that organ
Jump right out of its case.
Wall, the cider got in old Jim's head
And in his fingers, too,
So he played some dancin' music
And old Yankee Doodle Doo;
He shocked old Deacon Witherspoon
And scared poor Sister Morgan,
And jist busted up the meetin'
At the unveilin' of the organ.
Uncle Josh Plays a Game of Base Ball
I HAD heered a whole lot 'bout them games of
foot ball they have in New York, so while I
was thar I jist cum to the conclusion I'd see
a game of it, so went out to one of their city
pasters to see a game of foot ball. Wall now
I must say I didn't see much ball playin' of
any kind. All I got to see wuz about fifty
or sixty ambulances, and I think about that
many surgons and phisicians. Wall, from
what I could see of the game I calculate
they needed all of them. I saw one feller
and 'bout fifty others had him down, and it
jist looked as though they wuz all trying to
get a kick at him. They had a half back
and a quarter back; I suppose when they got
through with that feller he wuz a hump
back. Anyhow, if that's what they call foot
ball playin', your Uncle Josh don't want any
foot ball in his'n.
I never played but one game of ball in
my life that I kin remember on, and don't
believe that I ever will forgit that. You see it
wuz along in the spring time of the yeer, and
the weather wuz purty warm and sunshiny,
and the boys sed to me, "Uncle, we'd like
to have you help us play a game of base
ball." I sed, "Boys, I'm gittin' a little too
old fer those kinds of passtimes, but I'll help
you play one game, I'll be durned if I
don't." Wall, we got out in the paster and
wuz gittin' ready to play; we got the bases
and bats put around in thar places, and a
buckit of drinkin' water up in the fence
corner, whar we could get a drink when we
wanted it. We didn't have any bleachers,
but we had thirty or forty hogs, and they
wuz the best rooters you ever seen; jist then
I happened to look around and thar wuz the
biggest billy goat I ever saw in all my life.
You ought to seen the boys a-gittin' out of
the paster; I would hav got out too, but I
got stuck in the fence. Wall, you ought to
hav seen that billy goat a-gittin' me through
the fence. He didn't git me all the way
through, cos I wuz half way through when
he got thar; but he got the last half through.
I didn't make any home run, but I wuz the
only feller what had a score of the game; I
couldn't see the score, but I had it. Every
time I'd go to sot down I knowed jist exactly
how the game stood.
They hav a good many new fangled
games now, but when they git anything that
can beet a game of base ball with a billy goat
fer a battery, durned if I don't want to see it.
The Punkin Centre and Paw Paw Valley Railroad
WONDERS will never cease--we've got a railroad
in Punkin Centre now; oh, we're gittin' to be
right smart cityfied. I guess that's about
the crookedest railroad that ever wuz bilt.
I think that railroad runs across itself in one
or two places; it runs past one station three
times. It's so durned crooked they hav to
burn crooked wood in the ingine. Wall,
the fust ingine they had on the Punkin
Centre wuz a wonderful piece of masheenery.
It had a five-foot boiler and a seven-foot
whissel, and every time they blowed the
whissel the durned old ingine would stop.
Wall, we've got the railroad, and we're
mighty proud of it; but we had an awful
time a-gittin' it through. You see, most
everybody give the right of way 'cept Ezra
Hoskins, and he didn't like to see it go
through his medder field, and it seemed as
though they'd hav to go 'round fer quite a
ways, and maybe they wouldn't cum to Punkin
Centre at all. Wall, one mornin' Ezra
saw a lot of fellers down in the medder most
uncommonly busy like; so he went down to
them and he sed, "Wat be you a-doin' down
here?" And they sed, "Wall, Mr. Hoskins,
we're surveyin' fer the railroad." And Ezra
sed, "So we're goin' to hav a railroad, be
we? Is it goin' right through here?" And
they sed, "Yes, Mr. Hoskins, that's whar it's
a-goin', right through here." Ezra sed,
"Wall, I s'pose you'll have a right smart of
ploughin' and diggin', and you'll jist about
plow up my medder field, won't ye?" They
sed, "Yes, Mr. Hoskins, we'll hav to do
some gradin'." Ezra sed, "Wall, now, let
me see, is it a-goin' jist the way you've got
that instrument p'inted?" They sed, "Yes,
sir, jist thar." And Ezra sed, "Wall, near
as I kin calculate from that, I should jedge
it wuz a-goin' right through my barn."
They sed, "Yes, Mr. Hoskins, we're sorry,
but the railroad is a-goin' right through your
Wall, Ezra didn't say much fer quite a
spell, and we all expected thar would be
trouble; but finally he sed, "Wall, I s'pose
the community of Punkin Centre needs a
railroad and I hadn't oughter offer any objections
to its goin' through, but I'm goin'
to tell ye one thing right now, afore you go
any further. When you git it bilt and a-runnin',
you've got to git a man to cum down
here and take keer on it, cos it's a-cumin'
along hayin' and harvestin' time, and I'll be
too durned busy to run down here and open
and shet them barn doors every time one of
your pesky old trains wants to go through."
Love--An indescribable longing, something that existed
since Mother Eve was in the apple trust, and will
exist until the end of time. Somethin' that no man has
ever yet defined or ever will define. A somethin' that
is past all description. Which will make a hired man
fergit to do the chores, and will make an old man act
boyish, and will make a woman show herself to be
stronger than the strongest man. Gosh durn it, an
indescribable somethin' that has never yet bin described.
--Punkin Centre Philosophy.
Uncle Josh on a Bicycle
A LONG last summer Ruben Hoskins, that is Ezra
Hoskins' boy, he cum home from college and
bro't one of them new fangled bisickle masheens
hum with him, and I think ever since
that time the whole town of Punkin Centre
has got the bisickle fever. Old Deacon
Witherspoon he's bin a-ridin' a bisickle to
Sunday school, and Jim Lawson he couldn't
ride one of them 'cause he's got a wooden
leg; but he jist calculated if he could git it
hitched up to the mowin' masheen, he could
cut more hay with it than any man in Punkin
Centre. Somebody sed Si Pettingill wuz
tryin' to pick apples with a bisickle.
Wall, all our boys and girls are ridin'
bisickles now, and nothin' would do but I
must learn how to ride one of them. Wall,
I didn't think very favorably on it, but in
order to keep peace in the family I told them
I would learn. Wall, gee whilikee, by gum.
I wish you had bin thar when I commenced.
I took that masheen by the horns and I led
it out into the middle of the road, and I
got on it sort of unconcerned like, and
then I got off sort of unconcerned like.
Wall, I sot down a minnit to think it
over, and then the trouble commenced.
I got on that durned masheen and it
jumped up in the front and kicked up behind,
and bucked up in the middle, and
shied and balked and jumped sideways,
and carried on worse 'n a couple of steers
the fust time they're yoked. Wall, I managed
to hang on fer a spell, and then I went
up in the air and cum down all over that bisickle.
I fell on top of it and under it and
on both sides of it; I fell in front of the
front wheel and behind the hind wheel at
the same time. Durned if I know how I
done it but I did. I run my foot through
the spokes, and put about a hundred and
fifty punctures in a hedge fence, and skeered
a hoss and buggy clar off the highway. I
done more different kinds of tumblin' than
any cirkus performer I ever seen in my life,
and I made more revolutions in a fifteen-foot
circle than any buzz-saw that ever wuz invented.
Wall, I lost the lamp, I lost the
clamp, I lost my patience, I lost my temper,
I lost my self-respect, my last suspender button
and my standin' in the community. I
broke the handle bars, I broke the sprockets,
I broke the ten commandments, I broke
my New Year's pledge and the law agin loud
and abusive language, and Jim Lawson got
so excited he run his wooden leg through a
knot-hole in the porch and couldn't git it
out agin. Wall, I'm through with it; once
is enough fer me. You kin all ride your
durned old bisickles that want to, but fer my
part I'd jist as soon stand up and walk as to
sit down and walk. No more bisickles fer
your Uncle Josh, not if he knows it, and
your Uncle Josh sort of calculates as how
he do.
Notoriety--A next door neighbor to glory, but another
way of gittin' it. --Punkin Centre Philosophy.
A Baptizin' at the Hickory Corners Church
A LONG about two summers ago we had a baptizin'
at the Hickory Corners Church, and before the
baptizin' we had preachin', and before the preachin'
we had Sunday school. Wall now, some of them
questions and answers in that Sunday school jist
made me snicker right out loud. You see, old
Deacon Witherspoon wuz a-teachin' the
Sunday school class, and he sed, "Now let
me see what little boy can tell me who slew
the Philistines and whar at?" Wall, no one
sed anything fer about a minnit, then a little
red-headed feller down at the foot of the
class sed, "Commodore Dewey, at Manila."
The Deacon sed, "No, Henry, it wasn't
Commodore Dewey what slew the Philistines,
it wuz Sampson." Another little feller
sed, "No, Deacon, I think you've sort of
got it mixed up; he wasn't there; Schley is
the feller what done the job, at Santiague."
The Deacon sed, "Now, boys, you've bin
readin' too much about them war doin's in
the papers. Now what little boy can tell
me what is the first commandment?" And
Ezra Hoskins' boy sed, "Remember the
main." Gosh, I had to go right out of the
meetin' house, whar I could have a good
laugh. Wall, I wouldn't have bin down
thar in the fust place, or the second place,
fer that matter, if it hadn't bin fer old Jim
Lawson. You see, Jim he's a peculiar old
critter. He's got one eye out; lost it lookin'
fer a pension, I believe. Wall, Jim he cum
over to my house and he sed, "Josh, let's
you and me go down to the baptizin'." I
sed, "What do you want to go down thar
fer, Jim; you can't git any pension thar, kin
ye?" Jim sed, "Wall, you see, Josh, thar
wuz a pedler left some hymn books at my
house, and I want to go down thar and see
if I can't sell 'em." Wall, we hadn't bin
thar more 'n a minnit when Jim he told the
minister he had the hymn books to sell, and
the minister sed he'd tell the congregation
all about it. Then Jim he sot right down in
the meetin' house and went to sleep; and
then he went to snorin'; you could hear him
clar across a forty acre lot. I wouldn't
a-keered a gosh durn, but he woke me up
Wall, about the time the minister wuz a-gittin'
through with his sermon, he sed, "Now
all members of the congregation having
babies here to-day and wantin' of them baptized
after the sermon is over, bring them
up to the pulpit and I will baptize them."
Wall, Jim he woke up about that time, and
be thought the minister wuz a-talkin' about
his hymn books; so he stood up and sed,
"Now all you folks what ain't got any I'll
let ye have 'em, twenty-five cents apiece."
Religion--Any one man's opinion, but consists
mainly of doing right. --Punkin Centre Philosophy.
Reminiscence of My Railroad Days
Dedicated to Engineer John Hoolihan, Pittsburg and
Lake Erie Railroad, Pittsburg, Pa.
WALL, John, I read your poetry,
And laughed till I nearly cried,
Seein' how you became an engineer,
And got on the right hand side.
It made me think of the days gone by,
When I wuz one of you fellers, too,
What used to run an old machine,
And go tootin' the country through.
But the engine that I had then, John,
Wuz far from a "Nancy Hanks;"
She wuz old and worn and loggy,
And jist chuck full of pranks;
And she wuz wonderfully got up, John,
Full of bolts and valves and knobs,
And the boiler wouldn't hold water;
Gosh, it wouldn't hold cobs.
But I wuz younger then, John,
And I didn't care a cuss;
So I'd pull the throttle open
And jist let her wheeze and fuss.
The road that I wuz a-runnin' on
Wuz out in the woolly west;
Two streaks of rust and the right of way
Wuz puttin' it at its best.
So we sort of plugged along, John.
And didn't put on any frills,
Never thought of doin' anything
But doublin' all the hills.
I tell you those were rocky times,
And we hadn't no air brake;
And fifteen miles an hour, John,
Wuz durn good time to make.
And thar wuz as good a lot of boys
As you could meet with anywhere;
Rough and ready open up,
And always on the square.
And I'd like to see them all again,
And grasp each honest hand;
But some of them, like me, have quit,
Some have gone to another land.
I have changed somewhat since then, John,
Jist a little more steady grown;
But I often think of my railroad days
As the happiest ones I've known.
And, John, I often watch the train.
As they go whizzing by;
As I think of Bill, or Jim, or Jack,
Thar's a tear comes in my eye.
Perhaps you'd like to know, John,
Just why I quit the rail,
And as some feller one time sed,
"Thereby hangs a tale."
I wuz goin' along one night, John,
At a purty lively rate,
The old machine a-doin' her best,
And me forty minutes late,
When all at once there came a crash,
I felt the old track yield,
And fireman, machine and I
Went into a farmer's field.
There's little more to say, John,
They laid me up for repairs,
But my fireman, poor fellow,
Hadn't time to say his prayers.
So now you have my story, John;
Still, you don't know how it feels
To know you've got to plug around
On a couple of flat wheels.
But it doesn't bother me, John,
Gosh, not fer a minnit;
I'm as happy as the day is long,
And feel jist strictly in it.
But sometimes I like to meet the boys,
And talk them days all over,
And I feel as gay and chipper
As a calf in a field of clover
But the happiest days I've known, John,
The ones that to me see best,
Wuz when I run an old machine
Way out in the woolly west.
Glory--Gittin' killed and not gittin' paid fer it.
Punkin Centre Philosophy.
Uncle Josh at a Circus
WALL, 'long last year, 'bout harvest time, thar
wuz a cirkus cum to Punkin Centre, and I think
the whole population turned out to see it. They
cum paradin' into town, the bands a-playin'
and banners flying, and animals pokin' their
heads out of the cages, and all sorts of jim
cracks. Deacon Witherspoon sed they wuz a sinful
lot of men and wimmin, and no one aughter go and
see them, but seein' as how they wuz thar, he
alowed he'd take the children and let them
see the lions and tigers and things. Si Pettingill
remarked, "Guess the Deacon won't put blinders
on himself when he gits thar." We noticed afterwards
that the Deacon had a front seat whar he could see
and hear purty well.
Wall, I sed to Ezra Hoskins, "Let's you
and me go down to the cirkus," and Ezra
sed, "All right, Joshua." So we got on our
store clothes, our new boots, and put some
money in our pockits, and went down to the
cirkus. Wall, I never seen any one in my
life cut up more fool capers than Ezra did.
We got in whar the animals wuz, and Ezra
he walked around the elefant three or four
times, and then he sed, "By gum, Josh,
that's a durned handy critter--he's got two
tails, and he's eatin' with one and keepin'
the flies off with t'other." Durned old fool!
Wall, we went on a little ways further, and
all to onct Ezra he sed, "Geewhiz, Josh,
thar's Steve Jenkins over thar in one of
them cages." I sed, "Cum along you silly
fool, that ain't Steve Jenkins." Ezra sed,
"Wall, now, guess I'd oughter know Steve
Jenkins when I see him; I jist about purty
near raised Steve." Wall, we went over to
the cage, and it wan't no man at all, nuthin'
only a durned old baboon; and Ezra wanted
to shake hands with him jist 'cause he looked
like Steve. Ezra sed he'd bet a peck of
pippins that baboon belonged to Steve's
family a long ways back.
Wall then we went into whar they wuz
havin' the cirkus doin's, and I guess us two
old codgers jist about busted our buttins
a-laffin at that silly old clown. Wall, he cut
up a lot of didos, then he went out and sot
down right alongside of Aunt Nancy Smith;
and Nancy she'd like to had histeericks.
She sed, "You go 'way from me you painted
critter," and that clown he jist up and yelled
to beat thunder--sed Nancy stuck a pin in
him. Wall, everybody laffed, and Nancy
she jist sot and giggled right out. Wall,
they brought a trick mule into the ring, and
the ring master sed he'd give any one five
dollars what could ride the mule; and Ruben
Hoskins alowed he could ride anything with
four legs what had hair on. So he got into
the ring, and that mule he took after Ruben
and chased him 'round that ring so fast
Ruben could see himself goin' 'round t'other
side of the ring. He wuz mighty glad to
git out of thar. Then a gal cum out on hoss
back and commenced ridin' around. Nancy
Smith sed she wuz a brazen critter to cum
out thar without clothes enough on her to
dust a fiddle. But Deacon Witherspoon sed
that wuz the art of 'questrinism; we all
alowed it, whatever he meant. And then
that silly old clown he told the ring master
that his uncle committed sooiside different
than any man what ever committed sooiside;
and the ring master sed, "Wall, sir, how did
your uncle commit sooiside?" and that silly
old clown sed, "Why, he put his nose in his
ear and blowed his head off." Then he sang
an old-fashioned song I hadn't heered in a
long time; went something like this:
From Widdletown to Waddletown is fifteen miles,
From Waddletown to Widdletown is fifteen miles,
From Widdletown to Waddletown, from Waddletown
to Widdletown,
Take it all together and its fifteen miles.
He wuz about the silliest cuss I ever seen.
Wall, I noticed a feller a rummagin' 'round
among the benches as though he might
a-lost somethin'. So I sed to him, "Mister,
did you lose anythin' 'round here any place?"
He sed, "Yes, sir, I lost a ten dollar bill; if
you find it I'll give you two dollars." Wall,
I jist made up my mind he wuz one of them
cirkus sharpers, and when he wan't a-lookin'
I pulled a ten dollar bill out of my pockit
and give it to him; and the durned fool
didn't know but what it wuz the same one
that he lost. Gosh, I jist fooled him out of
his two dollars slicker 'n a whistle. I tell
you cirkus day is a great time in Punkin
Uncle Josh Invites the City Folks to Visit Him
I DIDN'T s'pose when I wuz gittin' ready to
go home, that all you folks would be down
here to the depo' to see me off. Wall, now,
that's purty good of ye, I'll be durned it it
ain't. Yes, I guess I'll have to be goin' home now;
I've stayed here this time 'bout as long as I
kin afford to. I must say, some of you folks
have made it purty warm fer me since I've
bin here in New York; but I guess I've enjoyed
it 'bout as much as you have.
I'd like to have you all cum down to
Punkin Centre and see MEE some time this
summer, if you hadn't got nuthin' else to do.
Lots of fun down thar on that farm of mine,
huntin', fishin', and shootin', and other
things. Wall, I never shot but one bird in
my life, and that wuz a squirrel; yes, sir, a
flyin' squirrel.
I had a feller workin' fer me on the farm
last summer, and he was cross-eyed, and I
sent him out in the paster to dig a well fer
me, and what do you s'pose? Wall he dug it
so tarnal all-fired crooked that he fell out of
it and sprained his ankel. Then one day I
sent him out in the garden to plant some
pertaters and some unyuns fer me, and it jist
seemed like that feller didn't have good hoss
sense. He planted them unyuns and pertaters
right alongside of each other, and the
unyuns got into the pertaters' eyes and they
couldn't see to grow. Oh, yes, lots of fun
down home onct in a while. I calculate
I've got the funnyest lot of chickens you
ever heerd tell on. I've got sixty old hens
and they lay an egg every day; but they
don't lay any at nite, cos when nite comes
every one of them is roosters. I had one
old hen, she went into the woodshed and sot
down on the ax and tried to hatch-it. I had
another one sottin' on a door knob, tryin' to
hatch out a house and lot, but she didn't.
While she wuz a-sottin' there along cum a
rooster, and he sed, "We're having a little
party down behind the barn; will you dance
with me this set?" and she sed, "No, sir,
I'm engaged to his nobs for this set." Gosh,
I wuz afraid to go out in the barnyard one
while, cos one day when I wuz out thar I
heerd a hen say to a rooster, "Thar's that
old gray-headed cuss we've bin a-layin' fer."
Guess that's my train; s'pose I'll have to
be a-goin'; good-bye; cum down and see
me some time if you kin, ev'ry one of ye;
cum down about apple-butter time and jist
butt in--good bye.
Yosemite Jim, or a Tale of the Great White Death
YOSEMITE JIM wuz the name he had,
And he came from no one knowed whar;
Quiet, easy goin' sort of a cuss,
And wuz reckoned on the squar'.
Ridin' a route for the Wells Fargo folks
May have made him stern and grim;
But thar wasn't a man that crossed the divide
But 'ud swar by Yosemite Jim.
He wa'n't one of the regular sort
What you'd meet thar any day,
But as near as the camp could figure it out,
In a show down he'd likely stay.
A shambling, awkward figure,
Rawboned, tall and slim,
And his schaps and togs in general
Jist looked like they'd fell on him.
I wuz somewhat of a tenderfoot then,
Hadn't jist got the lay of the land;
Thar wuz a good many things in them thar parts
As I couldn't quite understand.
But I took a likin' to Yosemite Jim,
Wuz with him on my very first trick;
And from that time on I stuck to him
Like a kitten to a good warm brick.
Our headquarters then wuz the valley camp,
It wuz down by the redwood way,
With Chaparel across the spur,
'Bout fifty miles away.
Wall, what I'm goin' to tell you, pard,
Happened thar whar the trail runs into the sky;
And if it hadn't a-bin fer Yosemite Jim,
Wall, I'd be countin' my chips on high.
The galoot that wuz punchin' the broncos fer me
Wuz a greaser from down Monterey;
And Jim used to say, "Keep your eye on him, pard,
I don't think he's cum fer to stay;
His eyes are too shifty and yeller,
And his face is sullen and hard;
And 'taint that so much as a feelin' I have;
Anyhow, keep your eye on him, pard."
One day when the mercury wuz way out of sight,
And the frost it wuz on every nail,
With jist the mail sack and specie box,
The greaser and I hit the trail.
We picked two passengers up at Big Pine,
And while the broncos were changed that day
I noticed them havin' a sneakin' chat
With the greaser from down Monterey.
Did you ever hear tell of the Great White Death,
That creeps down the mountain side,
Leavin' behind it a ghastly track
Whar those who have met it died?
Wall, pard, as true as I'm a-livin',
No man wants to see it twice;
White and grim as a funeral shroud,
A mass of mist and ice.
Wall, we hadn't got far from the Big Pine relay
When my hair it commenced to rise,
For I saw across by the Lone Bear spur
A cloud of most monstrous size.
And the greaser acted sort of peculiar,
And the broncos commenced to neigh;
Wall, some thoughts went through my mind jist then
I won't forgit till my dyin' day.
In less time than it takes to tell it,
We were into the Great White Death,
With its millions of frozen snowflakes
A-takin' away our breath.
And jist then somethin' happened, pard,
The greaser from down Monterey
Tried to sneak off with the specie box,
Along with the passengers from Big Pine relay.
All at once a figure on hossback
Cum a-whoopin' it down the trail,
And bullets from out of a Winchester
Commenced to fly like hail.
The greaser and them two passengers
Cashed in their chips to him,
Fer the feller what wuz doin' the shootin'
Wuz my friend, Yosemite Jim.
Wall, we planted them thar together,
When the cloud had passed away;
And all they've got fer a tombstone
Is the mountains, dull and gray.
So, pard, let's take one together,
And I'll drink a toast to him,
Fer though he wuz rough and ready,
He'd a heart, YOSEMITE JIM.
The Great White Death, so named by the Indians,
occurs in the higher altitudes of the Rocky and Sierra
Nevada Mountains. It is almost indescribable. It might
properly be termed a frozen fog. It has the effect of
bringing on acute congestion of the lungs, from which
few rarely recover. Viewed at a distance it is a magnificent
sight, each and every particle of the frozen moisture
being a miniature prism, which reflects the sun's rays in
a manner once seen never to be forgotten.--By CAL.
STEWART, formerly Overland Messenger for the Wells-
Fargo Express Company.
Uncle Josh Weathersby's Trip to Boston
FER a long time I had my mind made up to go
down to Boston, so a short time ago, as I had
all my crops and produce mostly sold, I alowed
it would be a good time to go down thar, and
I sed to mother, "I'll start early in
the mornin' and take a load of produce with
me, and that will sort of pay expenses of the
Wall, I got into Boston next mornin'
bright and early, 'bout time they had their
breakfast, and I looked 'round fer a spell;
then finally I picked out a right likely lookin'
store, and jist conclooded I'd sell my load
of produce thar. Wall, I went in and I met
a feller 'nd I sed, "Good mornin', be you
the storekeeper?" And he sed, "No, sir,
I'm only one of the clerks." So I sed,
"Wall, be the storekeeper to hum?" And
he sed, "Yes, sir, would you like to see
him?" And I told him as how I would, and
he turned 'round and commenced to hollerin'
"FRONT," and a boy cum up what had
more brass buttins on him than a whole
regiment of soljers. I thought that wuz a
durned funny name fer a boy--front--and
that clerk feller he wuz about the most
importent thing I'd seen in Boston so far, less
maybe it wuz the Bunker Hill monument
that I druv past cummin' to town. He had
on a biled collar that sort of put me in mind
of the whitewashed fence 'round the fair
grounds down hum. I'll bet if he'd ever
sneeze it would cut his ears off.
Wall, anyhow, he sed to that front boy,
"Show the gentleman to the proprietor's
offis." Wall, I went along with that boy,
and presently we cum to a place in one corner
of that store; it wuz made out of iron
and had bars in front of the winders, and
looked like the county jale. The front boy
p'inted to a man and sed, "Go in," and I
sed, "I gessed I wouldn't go in thar, cos I
hadn't done anything to be locked up fer."
And that front boy commenced to laffin' tho'
durned if I could see what he wuz a-laffin'
about, and the storekeeper he opened the
door and cum out, and he sed, "Good mornin',
what can I do fer you?" I sed, "Be
you the storekeeper?" and he sed he wuz.
So I sed, "Do you want to buy any pertaters?"
And he sed, "No, sir, we don't buy
pertaters here; this a dry goods store." So
I sed, "Wall, don't want any cabbage, do
ye?" And he sed, "No, sir, this is a dry
goods store." So I sed, "Wall, now, I
want to know; do you need any onions?"
And by chowder, he got madder 'n a wet
hen. He sed, "Now look a-heer, I want
you to understand onct fer all, this is a dry
goods store, and we don't buy anything but
dry goods and don't sell anything but dry
goods; do you understand me now? DRY
GOODS." And I sed, "Yes, gess I understand
you; you don't need to git so tarnaly
riled about the matter; neer as I can figure
it out you jist buy dry goods and sell 'em."
And he sed, "Yes, sir, only dry goods."
So I sed, "Do you want to buy some mighty
good dried apples?"
Wall, that front boy got to laffin, and a
lot of wimmin clerks giggled right out, and
the storekeeper he commenced a-laffin',
too, and fer about a minnit I thought they'd
all went crazy to onct. Wall, he told a feller
to show me whar I could sell my produce, and I
disposed of it at a good bargain.
I like them Boston folks, they try to
make you feel to hum, and enjoy yourself
and be soshable, and I wuz chuck full of
soshability, too; I wuz goin' up one street
and down t'other, jist a-gettin' soshability at
ten cents a soshable.
Wall, I gess I seen about everything wuth
seein' in Boston, and I wuz a-standin' alongside
of one of their old churches, a-lookin' at
the semetry, and I gess thar wuz folks in
thar burried nigh unto three hundred years.
And I wuz jist a-thinkin' what they'd say if
they could wake up and see Boston now,
when I noticed a row of little toomstones,
and one of them it sed, "Hester Brown, beloved
wife of James Brown," and on another
it sed, "Prudence Brown, beloved wife of
James Brown," and on another it sed,
"Thankful Brown, beloved wife of James
Brown." Wall, I couldn't jist make out
what she had to be thankful about, but I sed,
"Jimmy, you had a right lively time while
you wuz in Boston, didn't you?" Then I
seen another toomstone and on it it sed,
"Matilda Brown, beloved wife of James
Brown," and another one what sed,
"Sara Ann Brown, beloved wife of James
Brown," and over in a little corner, all to
itself, I seen a toomstone, and on it it sed,
"James Brown, At Rest."
Who Marched in Sixty-One
CAL STEWART, New York, Memorial Day, 1903.
I'VE jist bin down at the corner, mother,
To see the boys in line,
Dressed up in their bran' new uniforms,
I tell you they looked fine.
And as they marched past whar I stood,
To the rattle of the drum,
It made me think of those other boys
Who marched in sixty-one.
The old flag wuz proudly wavin', mother,
Jist as it did one day
When you stood thar to say good-bye,
And watch me march away.
So I stood thar and watched them
Till the parade wuz nearly done,
But thar wasn't many thar to-day
Who marched in sixty-one.
And thar wuz my old Captain
And the Colonel side by side,
And as they both saluted me
I jist sot down and cried.
And I thought about some other boys
Whose work has long bin done;
Soon thar won't be any left at all
Who marched in sixty one.
I heered the band play Dixie,
And my old heart swelled with pride,
A-thinkin' of the boys in gray
Who marched on the other side.
And when my time it comes, mother,
The Lord's will it be done,
I hope he'll take me to the boys
Who marched in sixty-one.

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