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- The Complete Works of Artemus Ward, Part 7 - 2/12 -
My next ventur would hav bin a success if I hadn't tried to do too much. I got up a series of wax figgers, and among others one of Socrates. I tho't a wax figger of old Sock. would be poplar with eddycated peple, but unfortinitly I put a Brown linen duster and a U.S. Army regulation cap on him, which peple with classycal eddycations said it was a farce. This enterprise was onfortnit in other respecks. At a certin town I advertised a wax figger of the Hon'ble Amos Perkins, who was a Railroad President, and a great person in them parts. But it appeared I had shown the same figger for a Pirut named Gibbs in that town the previs season, which created a intense toomult, & the audience remarked "shame onto me," & other statements of the same similarness. I tried to mollify em. I told 'em that any family possessin children might have my she tiger to play with half a day, & I wouldn't charge 'em a cent, but alars! it was of no avail. I was forced to leave, & I infer from a article in the "Advertiser" of that town, in which the Editer says, "Atho' time has silvered this man's hed with its frosts, he still brazenly wallows in infamy. Still are his snakes stuffed, and his wax works unrelible. We are glad that he has concluded never to revisit our town, altho', incredible as it may appear, the fellow really did contemplate so doing last summer, when, still true to the craven instincts of his black heart, he wrote the hireling knaves of the obscure journal across the street to know what they would charge for 400 small bills, to be done on yellow paper! We shall recur to this matter again!"
I say, I infer from this article that a prejudiss still exists agin me in that town.
I will not speak of my once bein in straitend circumstances in a sertin town, and of my endeaverin to accoomulate welth by lettin myself to Sabbath School picnics to sing ballads adapted to the understandins of little children, accompanyin myself on a claironett--which I forgot where I was one day, singing, instid of "Oh, how pleasant to be a little child,"
"Rip slap--set em up again, Right in the middle of a three-cent pie,"
which mistake, added to the fact that I couldn't play onto the claironett except makin it howl dismal, broke up the picnic, and children said, in voices choked with sobs and emotions, where was their home and where was their Pa? and I said, Be quiet, dear children, I am your Pa, which made a young woman with two twins by her side say very angryly, "Good heavens forbid you should ever be the Pa of any of these innocent ones, unless it is much desirable for them to expire igminyusly upon to a murderer's gallus!"
I say I will not speak of this. Let it be Berrid into Oblivyun.
In your article, Mr. Editer, please tell him what sort of a man I am.
If you see fit to kriticise my Show speak your mind freely. I do not object to kriticism. Tell the public, in a candid and graceful article, that my Show abounds in moral and startlin cooriosities, any one of whom is wuth dubble the price of admission.
I hav thus far spoke of myself excloosivly as a exhibiter.
I was born in the State of Maine of parents. As a infant I attracted a great deal of attention. The nabers would stand over my cradle for hours and say, "How bright that little face looks! How much it nose!" The young ladies would carry me round in their arms, sayin I was muzzer's bezzy darlin and a sweety 'eety 'ittle ting. It was nice, tho' I wasn't old enuf to properly appreciate it. I'm a healthy old darlin now.
I have allers sustained a good moral character. I was never a Railroad director in my life.
Altho' in early life I did not inva'bly confine myself to truth in my small bills, I have been gradoolly growin respectabler and respectabler ev'ry year. I luv my children, and never mistake another man's wife for my own. I'm not a member of any meetin house, but firmly bel'eve in meetin houses, and shouldn't feel safe to take a dose of laudnum and lay down in the street of a village that hadn't any, with a thousand dollars in my vest pockets.
My temperament is billious, altho' I don't owe a dollar in the world.
I am a early riser, but my wife is a Presbyterian. I may add that I am also bald-heded. I keep two cows.
I live in Baldinsville, Indiany. My next door naber is Old Steve Billins. I'll tell you a little story about Old Steve that will make you larf. He jined the Church last spring, and the minister said, "You must go home now, Brothern Billins, and erect a family altar in your own house," whereupon the egrejis old ass went home and built a reg'lar pulpit in his sittin room. He had the jiners in his house over four days.
I am 56 (56) years of age. Time, with its relentless scythe, is ever busy. The Old Sexton gathers them in, he gathers them in! I keep a pig this year.
I don't think of anything more, Mr Ed'ter.
If you should giv my portrait in connection with my Bogfry, please have me ingraved in a languishin attitood, learnin on a marble pillar, leavin my back hair as it is now.--Trooly yours.
7.3. THE SERENADE.
Things in our town is workin. The canal boat "Lucy Ann" called in here the other day and reported all quiet on the Wabash. The "Lucy Ann" has adopted a new style of Binnakle light, in the shape of a red-headed girl, who sits up over the compass. It works well.
The artist I spoke about in my larst has returned to Philadelphy. Before he left I took his lily-white hand in mine. I suggested to him that if he could induce the citizens of Philadelphy to believe it would be a good idea to have white winder-shutters on their houses and white door-stones, he might make a fortin. "It's a novelty," I added, "and may startle 'em at fust, but they may conclood to adopt it.
As several of our public men are constantly being surprised with serenades, I concluded I'd be surprised in the same way, so I made arrangements accordin. I asked the Brass Band how much they'd take to take me entirely by surprise with a serenade. They said they'd overwhelm me with a unexpected honor for seven dollars, which I excepted.
I wrote out my impromptoo speech severil days beforehand bein very careful to expunge all ingramatticisms and payin particuler attention to the punktooation. It was, if I may say it without egitism, a manly effort; but, alars! I never delivered it, as the sekel will show you. I paced up and down the kitchin speakin my piece over so as to be entirely perfeck. My bloomin young daughter, Sarah Ann, bothered me summut by singin, "Why do summer roses fade?"
"Because," said I, arter hearin her sing it about fourteen times, "because it's their biz! Let 'em fade!"
"Betsy," said I, pausin in the middle of the room and letting my eagle eye wander from the manuscrip--"Betsy, on the night of this here serenade, I desires you to appear at the winder dressed in white, and wave a lily-white handkercher. D'ye hear?"
"If I appear," said that remarkable female, "I shall wave a lily-white bucket of bilin hot water, and somebody will be scalded. One bald-headed old fool will get HIS share."
She refer'd to her husband. No doubt about it in my mind. But for fear she might exasperate me I said nothin.
The expected night cum. At nine o'clock precisely there was sounds of footsteps in the yard, and the Band struck up a lively air, which when they did finish it, there was cries of "Ward! Ward!" I stept out onto the portico. A brief glance showed me that the assemblage was summut mixed. There was a great many ragged boys, and there was quite a number of grown-up persons evigently under the affluence of the intoxicatin bole. The Band was also drunk. Dr. Schwazey, who was holdin up a post, seemed to be partic'ly drunk--so much so that it had got into his spectacles, which were staggerin wildly over his nose. But I was in for it, and I commenced:--
"Feller Citizens,--For this onexpected honor--"
LEADER OF THE BAND.--Will you give us our money now, or wait till you git through?"
To this painful and disgustin interruption I paid no attention.
"--for this onexpected honor, I thank you."
LEADER OF THE BAND.--"But you said you'd give us seven dollars if we'd play two choons."
Again I didn't notice him, but resumed as follows:--
"I say, I thank you warmly. When I look at this crowd of true Americans, my heart swells--"
DR. SCHWAZEY.--"So do I!"
A VOICE.--"We all do!"
"--my heart swells--"
A VOICE.--"Three cheers for the swells."
"We live," said I, "in troublous times, but I hope we shall again resume our former proud position, and go on in our glorious career!"
DR. SCHWAZEY.--I'm willin for one to go on in a glorious career! Will you join me, fellow-citizens, in a glorious career? What wages does a man git for a glorious career, when he finds himself?"
"Dr, Schwazey," said I, sternly, "you are drunk. You're disturbin the meetin."
DR. S.--Have you a banquet spread in the house? I should like a rhunossyross on the half shell, or a hippopotamus on toast, or a horse and wagon roasted whole. Anything that's handy. Don't put
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