Uncle Josh's Punkin Centre Stories, page 1
Produced by Charles Keller
UNCLE JOSH'S PUNKIN CENTRE STORIES
By Cal Stewart
To the Reader.
The one particular object in writing this book is to furnish you with anoccasional laugh, and the writer with an occasional dollar. If you getthe laugh you have your equivalent, and the writer has his.
In Uncle Josh Weathersby you have a purely imaginary character, yet onetrue to life. A character chuck full of sunshine and rural simplicity.Take him as you find him, and in his experiences you will observe thereis a bright side to everything.
LIFE SKETCH OF AUTHOR
MY OLD YALLER ALMANAC
ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK
UNCLE JOSH IN SOCIETY
UNCLE JOSH IN A CHINESE LAUNDRY
UNCLE JOSH IN A MUSEUM
UNCLE JOSH IN WALL STREET
UNCLE JOSH AND THE FIRE DEPARTMENT
UNCLE JOSH IN AN AUCTION ROOM
UNCLE JOSH ON A FIFTH AVENUE 'BUS
UNCLE JOSH IN A DEPARTMENT STORE
UNCLE JOSH'S COMMENTS ON THE SIGNS SEEN IN NEW YORK
UNCLE JOSH ON A STREET CAR
MY FUST PAIR OF COPPER TOED BOOTS
UNCLE JOSH IN POLICE COURT
UNCLE JOSH AT CONEY ISLAND
UNCLE JOSH AT THE OPERA
UNCLE JOSH AT DELMONICO'S
IT IS FALL
SI PETTINGILL'S BROOMS
UNCLE JOSH PLAYS GOLF
JIM LAWSON'S HOGS
UNCLE JOSH AND THE LIGHTNING ROD AGENT
A MEETING OF THE ANNANIAS CLUB
JIM LAWSON'S HOSS TRADE
A MEETING OF THE SCHOOL DIRECTORS
THE WEEKLY PAPER AT PUNKIN CENTRE
UNCLE JOSH AT A CAMP MEETING
THE UNVEILING OF THE ORGAN
UNCLE JOSH PLAYS A GAME OF BASE BALL
THE PUNKIN CENTRE AND PAW PAW VALLEY RAILROAD
UNCLE JOSH ON A BICYCLE
A BAPTISIN' AT THE HICKORY CORNERS CHURCH
A REMINISCENCE OF MY RAILROAD DAYS
UNCLE JOSH AT A CIRCUS
UNCLE JOSH INVITES THE CITY FOLKS TO VISIT HIM
YOSEMITE JIM, OR A TALE OF THE GREAT WHITE DEATH
UNCLE JOSH WEATHERSBY'S TRIP TO BOSTON
WHO MARCHED IN SIXTY-ONE
Life Sketch of Author
THE author was born in Virginia, on a little patch of land, so poor wehad to fertilize it to make brick. Our family, while having cast theirfortunes with the South, was not a family ruined by the war; we did nothave anything when the war commenced, and so we held our own. I secureda common school education, and at the age of twelve I left home, orrather home left me--things just petered out. I was slush cook on anOhio River Packet; check clerk in a stave and heading camp in the knobsof 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 firstappearance on the stage at the National Theatre in Cincinnati, Ohio,and have since then chopped cord wood, worked in a coal mine, made crossties (and walked them), worked on a farm, taught a district school (madelove to the big girls), run a threshing machine, cut bands, fed themachine and ran the engine. Have been a freight and passenger brakeman,fired and ran a locomotive; also a freight train conductor and checkclerk in a freight house; worked on the section; have been a shotgun messenger for the Wells, Fargo Company. Have been with a circus,minstrels, farce comedy, burlesque and dramatic productions; have beenwith good shows, bad shows, medicine shows, and worse, and some showswhere we had landlords singing in the chorus. Have played variety housesand vaudeville houses; have slept in a box car one night, and a swellhotel the next; have been a traveling salesman (could spin as manyyarns as any of them). For the past four years have made the Uncle Joshstories 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 mind;
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 day,
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 took;
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 Peace,
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 NewYork, and so a short time ago, as I had my crops all gathered in andproduce sold I calculated as how it would be a good time to come downhere. Folks at home said I'd be buncoed or have my pockets picked foreI'd bin here mor'n half an hour; wall, I fooled 'em a little bit, I wuzhere three days afore they buncoed me. I spose as how there are a goodmany of them thar bunco fellers around New York, but I tell you themthar street keer
Uncle Josh in Society
WALL, I did'nt suppose when I cum down here to New York that I wuz agoin to flop right into the middle of high toned society, but I guessthat's jist about what I done. You see I had an old friend a livin' downhere named Henry Higgins, and I wanted to see Henry mighty bad. Henryand me, we wuz boys together down home at Punkin Centre, and I hadn'tseen him in a long time. Wall, I got a feller to look up his name inthe city almanac, and he showed me whar Henry lived, away up on a streetcalled avenue five. Wall when I seen Henry's house it jist about tookmy breath away, I wuz that clar sot back. Henry's house is a good dealbigger'n the court house at Punkin Centre. Wall at first I didn't knowwhether to go in or not, but finally I mustered up my courage, and Iwent up and rang some new fangled door bell, when a feller with kneebritches on cum out and wanted to know who it wuz I wanted to see. GoshI couldn't say anything fer about a minnit, that feller jist looked tome like a picter I'd seen in a story book. Wall finally I told him Iwanted to see Henry Higgins, if it wuz the same Henry I used to knowdown home at Punkin Centre. Wall I guess Henry he must a heered metalkin', 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 intothe house and introduced me to more wimmin folks than I ever seenbefore in all my life at one time. I guess they were havin' some kindof 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 speakabout you so often." Wall by chowder, I got to blushin' so it cum prettynear settin' my hair on fire, but I sed, wall now I'm right glad to knowyou, 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 rememberon. Wall Henry took me off into a room by myself, and when I got on mystore clothes and my new calf skin boots, I tell you I looked about asscrimptious as any of them. Wall they had a dance, I think they calledit a cowtillion, and that wuz whar I wuz right to hum, I jist hoppedout on the floor, balanced to partners, swung on the corners, and cutup more capers than any young feller thar, it jist looked as if all theladies wanted to dance with me. One lady wanted to know if I danced thegerman, but I told her I only danced in English.
Wall after that we had something to eat in the dinin' room, and I hadn'tany more'n got sot down and got to eatin right good, when that durn foolwith the knee britches on insulted me, he handed me a little wash bowlwith a towel round it, and I told him he needn't cast any insinuationsat me, cause I washed my hands afore I cum in. If it hadn't a bin inHenry's house I'd took a wrestle out of him. Wall they had a lot offurrin dishes, sumthin what they called beef all over mud, and anotherwhat they called a-charlotte russia-a little shavin' mug made out ofcake 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 handedme somethin' what they called ice cream, looked to me like a hunk ofcasteel soap, wall I stuck my fork in it and tried to bite it, and itslipped off and got inside my vest, and in less than a minnit I wuzfroze 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 aroundpurty considerable. I'd seen all sorts of cooriosoties and monstrositiesin cirkuses and meenagerys, but that wuz the fust time I'd ever seena critter with his head and tail on the same end. You see I sed to afeller, 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 dome, but I've stayed here a little longer than I calculated to, and if Idon't git some washin' done purty soon, I'll have to go and jump in theriver.
Wall he wuz a bligin sort of a feller, and he told me thar wuz a placeround 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 S
Wall I went in to see bout gittin' my washin' done, and gosh all sprucegum, thar was one of them pig tailed heathen Chineeze, he jist lookedfer all the world like a picter on Aunt Nancy Smith's tea cups. I wuzsort of sot back fer a minnit, coz 'I sed to myself--I don't spose thisdurned critter can talk English; but seein' as how I'm in here, I mightas 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 melike cider runnin' out of a jug, somethin' like--ung tong oowong fangkai moi oo ung we, velly good washee. Wall I understood the last of itand jist took his word fer the rest, so I giv him my clothes and he givme a little yeller ticket that he painted with a brush what he had, andI'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 intothe ink bottle and then crawled over the paper. Wall I showed it toa gentleman what was a standin' thar when I cum out, and I sed tohim--mister, what in thunder is this here thing, and he sed "Wall sirthat's a sort of a lotery ticket; every time you leave your clothes tharto have them washed you git one of them tickets, and then you have achance 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, Ididn't want to get tangled up in any lotery gamblin' bizness with thatsaucer faced scamp. So he giv me ten cents and he took the ticket, andin a couple of days I went round to git my washin', and that pig tailedheathen he wouldn't let me hev em, coz I'd lost that lotery ticket. SoI sed--now look here Mr. Hop Soon, if you don't hop round and git me mycollars and ciffs and other clothes what I left here, I'll be durned ifI don't flop you in about a minnit, I will by chowder. Wall that critterhe 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 yongwo say mee tickee. Wall I seen jist as plain as could be that he wuz atryin' to swindle me outen my clothes, so I made a grab fer him, and inless '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 oneof us the pig tail belonged to. We upset the stove and kicked out thewinder, and I sot Mr. Hop Soon in the wash tub, and when I got out ofthar I had somebody's washin' in one hand and about five yards of thatpig tail in tother, and Mr. Hop Soon, he wuz standin' thar yellin'--ungwa moo ye song ki le yung noy song oowe pelecee, pelecee, pelecee. I hadquite a time with that heathen critter.