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- The Complete Works of Artemus Ward, Part 7 - 6/12 -
"Let me write the songs of a nashun," sed I, "and I don't care a cuss who goes to the legislater! But I ax your pardon--how's things?"
"Comfortable, I thank you. I have here," he added, "a copy of the Middletown "Weekly Clarion" of February the 15, containin a report that there isn't much Union sentiment in South Caroliny, but I hardly credit it."
"Air you well, Mr. Secky," sed I. "Is your liver all right? How's your koff?"
"God bless me!" sed the Secky, risin hastily and glarin wildly at me, "what do you mean?"
"Oh, nothin partickler. Only it is one of the beauties of a Republican form of gov'ment that a Cabnet offisser can pack up his trunk and go home whenever he's sick. Sure nothin don't ail your liver?" sed I, pokin him putty vilent in the stummick.
I called on Abe. He received me kindly. I handed him my umbreller, and told him I'd have a check for it if he pleased. "That," sed he, "puts me in mind of a little story. There was a man, out in our parts who was so mean that he took his wife's coffin out of the back winder for fear he would rub the paint off the doorway. Wall, about this time there was a man in a adjacent town who had a green cotton umbreller."
"Did it fit him well? Was it custom made? Was he measured for it?"
"Measured for what?" said Abe.
"Wall, as I was sayin," continnered the President, treatin the interruption with apparent comtempt, "this man sed he'd known that there umbreller ever since it was a pyrasol. Ha, ha, ha!"
"Yes," said I, larfin in a respectful manner, "but what has this man with the umbreller to do with the man who took his wife's coffin out of the back winder?"
"To be sure," said Abe--"what was it? I must have got two stories mixed together, which puts me in mind of another lit--"
"Never mind, Your Excellency. I called to congratulate you on your career, which has been a honest and a good one--unscared and unmoved by Secesh in front of you and Abbolish at the back of you--each one of which is a little wuss than the other if possible!
"Tell E. Stanton that his boldness, honesty, and vigger merits all praise, but to keep his under-garments on. E. Stanton has appeerently only one weakness, which it is, he can't allus keep his under-garments from flyin up over his hed. I mean that he occasionally dances in a peck-measure, and he don't look graceful at it."
I took my departer. "Good-bye, old sweetness!" sed Abe, shakin me cordgully by the hand.
"Adoo, my Prahayrie flower!" I replied, and made my exit. "Twenty-five thousand dollars a year and found," I soliloquized, as I walked down the street, "is putty good wages for a man with a modist appytite, but I reckon that it is wuth it to run the White House."
"What you bowt, sah? What the debble you doin, sah?"
It was the voice of an Afrikin Brother which thus spoke to me. There was a cullud procession before me which was escortin a elderly bald-hedded Afrikin to his home in Bates Alley. This distinguished Afrikin Brother had just returned from Lybery, and in turnin a corner puty suddent I hed stumbled and placed my hed agin his stummick in a rather strengthy manner.
"Do you wish to impede the progress of this procession, sah?"
"Certainly not, by all means! Procesh!"
And they went on.
I'm reconstructing my show. I've bo't a collection of life size wax figgers of our prominent Revolutionary forefathers. I bo't 'em at auction, and got 'em cheap. They stand me about two dollars and fifty cents (2 dols. 50 cents) per Revolutionary forefather.
Ever as always yours,
7.7. SCENES OUTSIDE THE FAIR GROUNDS.
There is some fun outside the Fair Ground. Any number of mountebanks have pitched their tents there, and are exhibiting all sorts of monstrosities to large and enthusiastic audiences. There are some eloquent men among the showmen. Some of them are Demosthenic. We looked around among them during the last day we honored the Fair with our brilliant presence, and were rather pleased at some things we heard and witnessed.
The man with the fat woman and the little woman and the little man was there.
"'Ere's a show, now," said he, "worth seeing. 'Ere's a entertainment that improves the morals. P.T. Barnum--you've all hearn o' him. What did he say to me? Sez he to me, sez P.T. Barnum, 'Sir, you have the all-firedest best show travelin!'--and all to be seen for the small sum of fifteen cents!"
The man with the blue hog was there. Says he, "Gentle-MEN, this beast can't turn round in a crockery crate ten feet square, and is of a bright indigo blue. Over five hundred persons have seen this wonderful BEING this mornin, and they said as they come out, 'What can these 'ere things be? Is it alive? Doth it breathe and have a being? Ah yes,' they say, 'it is true, and we have saw a entertainment as we never saw afore. 'Tis nature's [only fifteen cents--'ere's your change, sir] own sublime hand-works'--and walk right in."
The man with the wild mare was there.
"Now, then, my friends, is your time to see the gerratist queeriosity in the livin' world--a wild mare without no hair-- captered on the roarin wild prahayries of the far distant West by sixteen Injuns. Don't fail to see this gerrate exhibition. Only fifteen cents. Don't go hum without seein the State Fair, an' you won't see the State Fair without you see my show. Gerratist exhibition in the known world, an' all for the small sum of fifteen cents."
Two gentlemen connected with the press here walked up and asked the showman, in a still small voice, if he extended the usual courtesies to editors. He said he did, and requested them to go in. While they were in some sly dog told him their names. When they came out the showman pretended to talk with them, though he didn't say a word. They were evidently in a hurry.
"There, gentleMEN, what do you think them gentlemen say? They air editors--editors, gentleMEN--Mr. ---, of the Cleveland ---, and Mr. ---, of the Detroit ---, and they say it is the gerratist show they ever seed in their born days!"
[Nothing but the tip ends of the editors' coat-tails could be seen when the showman concluded this speech.]
A smart-looking chap was doing a brisk business with a gambling contrivance. Seeing two policemen approach, he rapidly and ingeniously covered the dice up, mounted his table, and shouted:
"Ere's the only great show on the grounds! The highly trained and performing Mud Turtle with nine heads and seventeen tails, captured in a well-fortified hencoop, after a desperate struggle, in the lowlands of the Wabash!"
The facetious wretch escaped.
A grave, ministerial-looking and elderly man in a white choker had a gift-enterprise concern. "My friends," he solemnly said, "you will observe that this jewellery is elegant indeed, but I can afford to give it away, as I have a twin brother seven years older than I am, in New York City, who steals it a great deal faster than I can give it away. No blanks, my friends--all prizes--and only fifty cents a chance. I don't make anything myself, my friends--all I get goes to aid a sick woman--my aunt in the country, gentlemen--and besides I like to see folks enjoy themselves!"
The old scamp said all this with a perfectly grave countenance.
The man with the "wonderful calf with five legs and a huming head," and "the philosophical lung-tester," were there. Then there was the Flying Circus and any number of other ingenious contrivances to relieve young ladies and gentlemen from the rural districts of their spare change.
A young man was bitterly bewailing the loss of his watch, which had been cut from his pocket by some thief.
"You ain't smart," said a middle-aged individual in a dingy Kossuth hat with a feather in it, and who had a very you-can't-fool-me look. "I've been to the State Fair before, I want yer to understan, and knows my bizniss aboard a propeller. Here's MY money," he exultingly cried, slapping his pantaloons' pocket.
About half an hour after this we saw this smart individual rushing frantically around after a policeman. Somebody had adroitly relieved him of HIS money. In his search for a policeman he encountered the young man who wasn't smart.
"Haw, haw, haw," violently laughed the latter; "by G--, I thought you was smart--I thought you'd been to the State Fair before."
The smart man looked sad for a moment, but a knowing smile soon crossed his face, and drawing the young man who wasn't smart confidentially toward him, said--
"There wasn't only fifteen cents in coppers in my pocket--my MONEY is in my boot--they can't fool me--I'VE BEEN TO THE STATE FAIR BEFORE!!"
7.8. THE WIFE.
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