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- The Complete Works of Artemus Ward, Part 6 - 2/9 -


to his own satisfaction. He was very fond of the society of actors and actresses. Their weaknesses amused him as much as their talents excited his admiration. One of his favorite sayings was that the world was made up of "men, women, and the people on the stage.")--The play was 'Ruins of Pompeii.'--I played the Ruins. It was not a very successful performance--but it was better than the "Burning Mountain." He was not good. He was a bad Vesuvius.

The remembrance often makes me ask--"Where are the boys of my youth?"--I assure you this is not a conundrum.--Some are amongst you here--some in America--some are in gaol.--

Hence arises a most touching question--"Where are the girls of my youth?" Some are married--some would like to be.

Oh my Maria! Alas! she married another. They frequently do. I hope she is happy--because I am. (Spoken with a sigh. It was a joke which always told. Artemus never failed to use it in his "Babes in the Wood" lecture, and the "Sixty Minutes in Africa," as well as in the Mormon story.) --some people are not happy. I have noticed that.

A gentleman friend of mine came to me one day with tears in his eyes. I said, "Why these weeps?" He said he had a mortgage on his farm--and wanted to borrow 200 pounds. I lent him the money--and he went away. Some time after he returned with more tears. He said he must leave me for ever. I ventured to remind him of the 200 pounds he borrowed. He was much cut up. I thought I would not be hard upon him--so I told him I would throw off one hundred pounds. He brightened--shook my hand--and said--"Old friend--I won't allow you to outdo me in liberality--I'll throw off the other hundred."

As a manager I was always rather more successful than as an actor.

Some years ago I engaged a celebrated Living American Skeleton for a tour through Australia. He was the thinnest man I ever saw. He was a splendid skeleton. He didn't weigh anything scarcely--and I said to myself--the people of Australia will flock to see this tremendous curiosity. It is a long voyage--as you know--from New York to Melbourne-- and to my utter surprise the skeleton had no sooner got out to sea than he commenced eating in the most horrible manner. He had never been on the ocean before--and he said it agreed with him.--I thought so!--I never saw a man eat so much in my life. Beef--mutton--pork--he swallowed them all like a shark--and between meals he was often discovered behind barrels eating hard-boiled eggs. The result was that when we reached Melbourne this infamous skeleton weighed 64 pounds more than I did!

I thought I was ruined--but I wasn't. I took him on to California--another very long sea voyage--and when I got him to San Francisco I exhibited him as a Fat Man. (The reader need scarcely be informed that this narrative is about as real as "A. Ward's Snaiks," and about as much matter of fact as his journey through the States with a wax-work show.)

This story hasn't anything to do with my Entertainment, I know--but one of the principal features of my Entertainment is that it contains so many things that don't have anything to do with it.

My Orchestra is small--but I am sure it is very good--so far as it goes. I give my pianist ten pounds a night--and his washing. (That a good pianist could be hired for a small sum in England was a matter of amusement to Artemus. More especially when he found a gentleman obliging enough to play anything he desired, such as break-downs and airs which had the most absurd relation to the scene they were used to illustrate. In the United States his pianist was desirous of playing music of a superior order, much against the consent of the lecturer.)

I like Music.--I can't sing. As a singist I am not a success. I am saddest when I sing. So are those who hear me. They are sadder even than I am.

The other night some silver-voiced young men came under my window and sang--"Come where my love lies dreaming."--I didn't go. I didn't think it would be correct.

I found music very soothing when I lay ill with fever in Utah--and I was very ill--I was fearfully wasted.--My face was hewn down to nothing--and my nose was so sharp I didn't dare to stick it into other people's business--for fear it would stay there--and I should never get it again. And on those dismal days a Mormon lady--she was married--tho' not so much so as her husband--he had fifteen other wives--she used to sing a ballad commencing "Sweet bird--do not fly away!"--and I told her I wouldn't.--She played the accordion divinely--accordionly I praised her.

I met a man in Oregon who hadn't any teeth--not a tooth in his head--yet that man could play on the bass drum better than any man I ever met.--He kept a hotel. They have queer hotels in Oregon. I remember one where they gave me a bag of oats for a pillow--I had nightmares of course. In the morning the landlord said--How do you feel--old hoss--hay?-- I told him I felt my oats.

(Though the serious part of the lecture was here entered upon, it was not delivered in a graver tone than that in which he had spoken the farcicalities of the prologue. Most of the prefatory matter was given with an air of earnest thought; the arms sometimes folded, and the chin resting on one hand. On the occasion of his first exhibiting the panorama at New York he used a fishing-rod to point out the picture with; subsequently he availed himself of an old umbrella. In the Egyptian Hall he used his little riding-whip.)

Permit me now to quietly state that altho' I am here with my cap and bells I am also here with some serious descriptions of the Mormons--their manners--their customs--and while the pictures I shall present to your notice are by no means works of art--they are painted from photographs actually taken on the spot (They were photographed by Savage & Ottinger, of Salt Lake City, the photographers to Brigham Young.)--and I am sure I need not inform any person present who was ever in the territory of Utah that they are as faithful as they could possibly be. (Curtain.--The picture was concealed from view during the first part of the lecture by a crimson curtain. This was drawn together or opened many times in the course of the lecture, and at odd points of the lecture. I am not aware that Artemus himself could have explained why he caused the curtain to be drawn at one place and not at another. Probably he thought it to be one of his good jokes that it should shut in the picture just when there was no reason for its being used.)

I went to Great Salt Lake City by way of California? (That is, he went by steamer from New York to Aspinwall, thence across the Isthmus of Panama by railway, and then from Panama to California by another steamboat. A journey which then occupied about three weeks.)

I went to California on the steamer "Ariel."

This is the steamer "Ariel." (Picture.)

Oblige me by calmly gazing on the steamer "Ariel"--and when you go to California be sure and go on some other steamer-- because the Ariel isn't a very good one.

When I reached the "Ariel"--at pier No. 4--New York--I found the passengers in a state of great confusion about their things--which were being thrown around by the ship's porters in a manner at once damaging and idiotic.--So great was the excitement--my fragile form was smashed this way--and jammed that way--till finally I was shoved into a stateroom which was occupied by two middle-aged females--who said, "Base man--leave us--O leave us!"--I left them--Oh--I left them!

We reach Acapulco on the coast of Mexico in due time. Nothing of special interest occurred at Acapulco--only some of the Mexican ladies are very beautiful. They all have brilliant black hair--hair "black as starless night"--if I may quote from the "Family Herald". It don't curl.--A Mexican lady's hair never curls--it is straight as an Indian's. Some people's hair won't curl under any circumstances.--My hair won't curl under two shillings. (Artemus always wore his hair straight until his severe illness in Salt Lake City. So much of it dropped off during his recovery that he became dissatisfied with the long meagre appearance his countenance presented when he surveyed it in the looking-glass. After his lecture at the Salt Lake City Theatre he did not lecture again until we had crossed the Rocky Mountains and arrived at Denver City, the capital of Colorado. On the afternoon he was to lecture there I met him coming out of an ironmonger's store with a small parcel in his hand. "I want you, old fellow," he said; "I have been all around the city for them, and I've got them at last." "Got what?" I asked. "A pair of curling-tongs. I am going to have my hair curled to lecture in to-night. I mean to cross the plains in curls. Come home with me and try to curl it for me. I don't want to go to any idiot of a barber to be laughed at." I played the part of friseur. Subsequently he became his own "curlist," as he phrased it. >From that day forth Artemus was a curly-haired man.)

(Picture of) The great thoroughfare of the imperial city of the Pacific Coast (with a sign saying "Artemus Ward, Platts Hall every evening.")

The Chinese form a large element in the population of San Francisco--and I went to the Chinese Theatre.

A Chinese play often lasts two months. Commencing at the hero's birth, it is cheerfully conducted from week to week till he is either killed or married.

The night I was there a Chinese comic vocalist sang a Chinese comic song. It took him six weeks to finish it--but as my time was limited, I went away at the expiration of 215 verses. There were 11,000 verses to this song--the chorus being "Tural lural dural, ri fol day"--which was repeated


The Complete Works of Artemus Ward, Part 6 - 2/9

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