The wit and humor of ame.., p.6

The Wit and Humor of America, Volume VII. (of X.), page 6

 part  #VII. (of X.) of  The Wit and Humor of America Series


The Wit and Humor of America, Volume VII. (of X.)

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  "Tention once more agin, as 'caze next place thirdly, I'm a gwyin togive purtiklur 'zact 'count of sum folkses what fit and sum didn't wantto. And lubly sinnahs, maybe you minds um, as how King Sol and hissoljurs was pepper hot for fite when he fust liss um; but now, lublysinnahs, when they gits up to the Fillystines, they cool off mightyquick, I tell you! 'Caze why? I tell you; why, 'caze a grate, big, uglyole jiunt, with grate big eyes, so fashin--(Mr. Ham made giant's eyeshere)--he kums a rampin' out a frount o' them 'ar rigiments, like theole devul a gwyin about like a half-starv'd lion a-seeking to devourpoor lubly sinnahs! And he cum a-jumpin and a-tearin out sofashin--(actions to suit)--to git sum of King Solsis soljurs to fite urnjuul; and King Sol, lubly bruthurn and sisturn, he gits sker'd mightyquick, and he says to Jonathun and tother big officers, says he, 'Iain't a gwyin for to fite that grate big fellah.' And arter that theyups and says, 'We ain't a gwying for to fite um nuther, 'caze he's allkiver'd with sheetirun, and his head's up so high we muss stand a hossback to reach um!'--the jiunt he was _so big_!!

  "And then King Sol he quite down in the jaw, and he turn and ax ifsomebody wouldn't hunt up a soljur as would fite juul with um; and he'dgive um his dawtah, the prinsuss, for wife, and make um king'sson-in-law. And then one old koretur, they call him Abnah, he comes upand says to Sol so: 'Please, your majustee, sir, I kin git a youngfellah to fite um,' says he. And Abnah tells how Davy had jist rid up inhis carruge and left um with the man what tend the hossis--and how heheern Davy a quorl'n with his bruthers and a wantun to fite the jiunt.Then King Sol, he feel mighty glad, I tell you, sinnahs, and he make umbring um up, and King Sol he begins a-talkin so, and Davy he answersso:--

  "'What's your name, lilly fellah?'

  "'I was krissen'd Davy.'

  "'Who's your farder?'

  "'They call um Jesse.'

  "'What you follur for livin?'

  "'I 'tend my farder's sheep.'

  "'What you kum arter? Ain't you affeerd of that 'ar grate ugly ole jiuntup thar, lilly Davy?'

  "'I kum to see arter my udder brudurs, and bring um in our carruge somecheese and muttun, and some clene shirt and trowser, and have totherones wash'd. And when I cum I hear ole Golliawh a hollerin out forsomebody to cum and fite juul with um; and all the soljurs round tharthey begins for to make traks mighty quick, I tell you, please yourmajuste, sir, for thar tents; but, says I, what you run for? I'm nota-gwyin for to run away--if King Sol wants somebody for to fite thejiunt, I'll fite um for um.'

  "'I mighty feer'd, lilly Davy you too leetul for um--'

  "'No! King Sol, I kin lick um. One day I gits asleep ahind a rock, andout kums a lion and a bawr, and begins a-totin off a lilly lam; and whenI heern um roarin and pawin 'bout, I rubs my eyes and sees um gwyin tothe mountings--and I arter and ketch'd up and kill um both without nogun nor sword--and I bring back poor lilly lamb. I kin lick ole Goliawh,I tell you, please your majuste, sir.'

  "Then King Sol he wery glad, and pat um on the head, and calls um 'lillyDavy,' and wants to put on um his own armur made of brass and sheetirumand to take his sword, but Davy didn't like um, but said he'd trust tohis sling. And then out he goes to fite the ole jiunt; and this 'arbrings me to the fourth and last diwishin of our surmun.

  "'Tention once more agin, for lass time, as I'm gwyin to give mostpurtikurlust 'zactest 'count of the juul atween lilly Davy and oleGoliawh the jiunt, to show, lubly sinnah! how the Lord's peepul withoutno carnul gun nor sword, can fite ole Bellzybub and knock um over withthe sling rock of prayer, as lilly Davy knocked over Goliawh with hissinout of the Branch.

  "And to 'lusterut the juul and make um spikus, I'll show 'zactly howthey talk'd, and jaw'd, and fit it all out; and so ole Goliawh when hesees Davy a kumun, he hollurs out so, and lilly Davy he say back so:

  "'What you kum for, lilly Jew?--'

  "'What I kum for? you'll find out mighty quick, I tell you--I kum forfite juul--'

  "'Huhh! huhh! haw!--t'ink I'm gwyin to fite puttee lilly baby? I wantKing Sol or Abnah, or a big soljur man--'

  "'Hole your jaw--I'll make you laugh tother side, ole grizzle-gruzzle,'rectly--I'm man enough for biggust jiunt Fillystine.'

  "'Go way, poor lilly boy! go home, lilly baby, to your mudder, and gitsugar plum--I no want kill puttee lilly boy--'

  "'Kum on!--don't be afeerd!--don't go for to run away!--I'll ketch youand lick you--'

  "'You leetul raskul--I'll kuss you by all our gods--I'll cut out yoursassy tung--I'll break your blackguard jaw--I'll rip you up and give umto the dogs and crows--'

  "'Don't cuss so, ole Golly! I 'sposed you wanted to fite juul--so kum onwith your old irun-pot hat on--you'll git belly full mighty quick--'

  "'You nasty leetle raskul, I'll kum and kill you dead as choppedsassudge.'"

  Here the preacher represented the advance of the parties; and gave aflorid and wonderfully effective description of the closing act partlyby words and partly by pantomime; exhibiting innumerable marches andcounter-marches to get to windward, and all the postures, and gestures,and defiances, till at last he personated David putting his hand into abag for a stone; and then making his cotton handkerchief into a sling,he whirled it with fury half a dozen times around his head, and then letfly with much skill at Goliath; and at the same instant halloing withthe frenzy of a madman--"Hurraw for lilly Davy!" At that cry he, withhis left hand, struck himself a violent slap on the forehead, torepresent the blow of the sling-stone hitting the giant; and then inperson of Goliath he dropped _quasi_ dead upon the platform amid thedeafening plaudits of the congregation; all of whom, some spiritually,some sympathetically, and some carnally, took up the preacher's triumphshout--

  "Hurraw! for lilly Davy!"

  How the Rev. Mizraim Ham made his exit from the boards I could notsee--perhaps he rolled or crawled off. But he did not sufferdecapitation, like "ole Golly": since in ten minutes, his woolly patesuddenly popped up among the other sacred heads that were visible overthe front railing of the rostrum, as all kept moving to and fro in thewild tossings of religious frenzy.

  Scarcely had Mr. Ham fallen at his post, when a venerable old warrior,with matchless intrepidity, stepped into the vacated spot; and without asign of fear carried on the contest against the Arch Fiend, whose greatally had been so recently overthrown--i.e., Goliath, (not Mr. Ham). Yetexcited, as evidently was this veteran, he still could not forego hisusual introduction, stating how old he was; where he was born; where heobtained religion; how long he had been a preacher; how many miles hehad traveled in a year; and when he buried his wife--all of whichedifying truths were received with the usual applauses of a devout andenlightened assembly. But this introduction over--which did not occupymore than fifteen or twenty minutes--he began his attack in fine style,waxing louder and louder as he proceeded, till he exceeded all the oldgentlemen to "holler" I ever heard, and indeed old ladies either.


  "... Yes, sinners! you'll all have to fall and be knock'd down some timeor nuther, like the great giant we've heern tell on, when the Lord'ssarvints come and fight agin you! Oho! sinner! sinner!--oh!--I hope youmay be knock'd down to-night--now!--this moment--and afore you die andgo to judgment! Yes! oho! yes! oh!--I say judgment--for it's appintedonce to die and then the judgment--oho! oh! And what a time ther'll bethen! You'll see all these here trees--and them 'are stars, and yondersilver moon afire!--and all the alliments a-meltin and runnin down withfervent heat-ah!"--(I have elsewhere stated that the _unlearned_preachers out there (?) are by the vulgar--(not the _poor_)--but the_vulgar_, supposed to be more favored in preaching than man-madepreachers; and that the sign of an unlearned preacher's inspirationbeing in full _blast_ is his inhalations, which puts an ah! tothe end of sentences, members, words, and even exclamations, tillhis breath is all gone, and no more can be _sucked_ in)--"Oho!hoah! fervent heat-ah! and the trumpit a-soundin-ah!--and the deadarisin-ah!--and all on us a-flyin-ah!--to be judged-ah!--O-hoah!sinner--sinner--sinner--sinner-ah! And what do I see awaythar'-ah!--down the Mississippi-ah!-
-thar's a man jist done a-killin-ahanother-ah!--and up he goes with his bloody dagger-ah! And what's that Isee to the East-ah! where proud folks live clothed in purple-ah! andfine linen-ah!--I see 'em round a table a drinkin a decoction of Indianherb-ah!--and up they go with cups in thar hands-ah! andsee--ohoah!--see! in yonder doggery some a dancin-ah! andfiddlin-ah!--and up they go-ah! with cards-ah! and fiddle-ah!" etc.,etc.

  Here the tempest around drowned the voice of the old hero; although,from the frantic violence of his gestures, the frightful distortion ofhis features, and the Pythonic foam of his mouth, he was plainly blazingaway at the enemy. The uproar, however, so far subsided as to allow myhearing his closing exhortation, which was this:

  "... Yes, I say--fall down--fall down all of you, on yourknees!--shout!--cry aloud!--spare not!--stamp with the _foot_!--smitewith the _hand_!--down! _down!_--that's it--down brethren!--downpreachers!--down _sisters_!--pray away!--take it by storm!--_fire_ away!fire _away_! not one at a time! not two together-ah!--a single shot thedevil will _dodge-ah_!--give it to him _all at once_--fire a _wholeplatoon_!--at him!!"

  And then such platoon firing as followed! If Satan stood that, he canstand much more than the worthy folks thought he could. And, indeed, theeffect was wonderful!--more than forty thoughtless sinners that came forfun, and twice as many backsliders were instantly knocked over!--andthere all lay, some with violent jerkings and writhings of body, andsome uttering the most piercing and dismaying shrieks and groans! Thefact is, I was nearly knocked down myself--

  "You?--Mr. Carlton!!"

  Yes--indeed--but not by the hail of spiritual shot falling so thickaround me; it was by a sudden rush towards my station, where I stoodmounted on a stump. And this rush was occasioned by a wish to see astout fellow lying on the straw in the pen, a little to my left,groaning and praying, and yet kicking and pummelling away as ifscuffling with a sturdy antagonist. Near him were several men and womenat prayer, and one or more whispering into his ear; while on a smallstump above stood a person superintending the contest, and so as toinsure victory to the right party. Now the prostrate man, who like aspirited tom-cat seemed to fight best on his back, was no other than ourcelebrated New Purchase bully--Rowdy Bill! And this being reportedthrough the congregation, the rush had taken place by which I was sonearly overturned. I contrived, however, to regain my stand, sharedindeed now with several others, we hugging one another and standing ontip-toes and our necks elongated as possible; and thus we managed tohave a pretty fair view of matters.

  About this time the Superintendent in a very loud voice cried out--"Lethim alone, brothers! let him alone sisters! keep on praying!--it's ahard fight--the devil's got a tight grip yet! He don't want to lose poorBill--but he'll let go soon--Bill's gittin the better on him fast!--Prayaway!"

  Rowdy Bill, be it known, was famous as a gouger, and so expert was he inhis antioptical vocation, that in a few moments he usually bored out anantagonist's eyes, or made him cry _peccavi_. Indeed, could he, on thepresent occasion, have laid hold of his unseen foe's head--spirituallywe mean--he would--figuratively, of course--soon have caused him to easeoff or let go entirely his metaphorical grip. So, however, thought onefriend in the assembly--Bill's wife. For Bill was a man after her ownheart; and she often said that "with fair play she sentimentally allowedher Bill could lick ary a man in the 'varsal world, and his weight inwild cats to boot." Hence, the kind-hearted creature, hearing that Billwas actually fighting with the evil one, had pressed in from theoutskirts to see fair play; but now hearing Bill was in reality down,and apparently undermost, and above all, the words of theSuperintendent, declaring that the fiend had a tight grip of the poorfellow, her excitement would no longer be controlled; and, collectingher vocal energies, she screamed out her common exhortation to Bill, andwhich, when heeded, had heretofore secured him immediatevictories--"Gouge him, Billy!--gouge him, _Billy!--gouge_ him!"

  This spirited exclamation was instantly shouted by Bill's cronies andpartizans--mischievously, _maybe_, for we have no right to judge ofmen's motives, in meetings:--but a few--_friends_, doubtless, of the oldfellow--cried out in very irreverent tone--"Bite him! devil--_bite_him!" Upon which the faithful wife, in a tone of voice that beggarsdescription, reiterated her--"Gouge him," etc.--in which she was againjoined by her husband's allies, and that to the alarm of his invisiblefoe; for Bill now rose to his knees, and on uttering some mystic jargonsymptomatic of conversion, he was said to have "got religion";--and thenall his new friends and spiritual guides united in fresh prayers andshouts of thanksgiving.

  It was now very late at night; and joining a few other citizens ofWoodville, we were soon in our saddles and buried in the darkness of theforest. For a long time, however, the uproar of the spiritual elementsat the camp continued at intervals to swell and diminish on the hearing;and, often came a yell that rose far above the united din of otherscreams and outcries. Nay, at the distance of nearly two miles, could bedistinguished a remarkable and sonorous _oh_!--like the faintly heardexplosion of a mighty elocutional class, practising under a master. Andyet my comrades, who had heard this peculiar cry more than once, alldeclared that this wonderful _oh_-ing was performed by the separatevoice of our townsman, Eolus Letherlung, Esq.!


  A camp-meeting of _this sort_ is, all things considered, the very bestcontrivance for making the largest number of converts in the shortestpossible time; and also for enlarging most speedily the bounds of aChurch _Visible_ and _Militant_.



  Publication delayed by the author's determined but futile attempt tofind the rhyme

  If _Browning_ only were here, This yule-ish time o' the year-- This mule-ish time o' the year,-- Stubbornly still refusing To add to the rhymes we've been using Since the first Christmas-glee (One might say) chantingly Rendered by rudest hinds Of the pelt-clad shepherding kinds Who didn't know Song from b- U-double-l's-foot!--Pah!-- (Haply the old Egyptian _ptah_-- Though I'd hardly wager a baw- Bee--or a _bumble_, for that-- And that's flat!).... But the thing that I want to get at Is a rhyme for _Christmas_-- Nay! nay! nay! nay! not _isthmus_-- The t- and the h- sounds covertly are Gnawing the nice auracular Senses until one may hear them gnar-- And the terminal, too, for m_a_s, is m_u_s, So _that_ will not do for us. Try for it--sigh for it--cry for it--die for it! O _but_ if Browning were here to apply for it, _He'd_ rhyme you _Christmas_-- _He'd_ make a _mist pass_ Over--something o' ruther-- Or find you the rhyme's very brother In lovers that _kissed fast_ _To baffle the moon_,--as he'd lose the _t_-final In fas-t as it blended with _to_ (mark the spinal Elision--tip-clipt as exquisitely nicely And hyper-exactingly sliced to precisely The extremest technical need): Or he'd _twist glass_, Or he'd have a _kissed lass_, Or shake neath our noses some great giant _fist-mass_-- No matter! If Robert were here, _he_ could do it, Though it took us till Christmas next year to see through it.



  My cigarette! The amulet That charms afar unrest and sorrow; The magic wand that far beyond To-day can conjure up to-morrow. Like love's desire, thy crown of fire So softly with the twilight blending, And ah! meseems, a poet's dreams Are in thy wreaths of smoke ascending.

  My cigarette! Can I forget How Kate and I, in sunny weather, Sat in the shade the elm-tree made And rolled the fragrant weed together? I at her side beatified, To hold and guide her fingers willing; She rolling slow the paper's snow, Putting my heart in with the filling.

  My cigarette! I see her yet, The white smoke from her red lips curling, Her dreaming eyes, her soft replies, Her gentle sighs, her laughter purling! Ah, dainty roll, whose parting soul Ebbs out in many a snowy billow, I, too, would burn if I might earn Upon her lips so soft a pillow!

  Ah, cigarette! The gay coquette Has
long forgot the flames she lighted, And you and I unthinking by Alike are thrown, alike are slighted. The darkness gathers fast without, A raindrop on my window plashes; My cigarette and heart are out, And naught is left me but the ashes.

  [Footnote 1: By permission of Life Publishing Company.]



  Ye Parsons, desirous all sinners to save, And to make each a prig or a prude, If two thousand long years have not made us behave, It is time you began to conclude.

  Ye Husbands, who wish your sweet mates to grow mum, And whose tongues you have never subdued, If ten years of your reign have not made them grow dumb, It is time to begin to conclude.

  Ye Matrons of men whose brown meerschaum still mars The sweet kiss with tobacco bedewed, After pleading nine years, if they still puff cigars, It is time you began to conclude.

  Ye Lawyers, who aim to reform all the land, And your statutes forever intrude, If five thousand lost years have not worked as you planned, It is time to begin to conclude.

  Ye Lovers, who sigh for the heart of a maid, And forty-four years have pursued, If two scores of young years have not taught you your trade, It is time you began to conclude.

  Ye Doctors, who claim to cure every ill, And so much of mock learning exude, If the _Comma Bacillus_ still laughs at your pill, It is time to begin to conclude.

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