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- The Real Diary of a Real Boy - 1/14 -
BY HENRY A. SHUTE
In the winter of 1901-02, while rummaging an old closet in the shed-chamber of my father's house, I unearthed a salt-box which had been equipped with leather hinges at the expense of considerable ingenuity, and at a very remote period. In addition to this, a hasp of the same material, firmly fastened by carpet-tacks and a catch of bent wire, bade defiance to burglars, midnight marauders, and safe-breakers.
With the aid of a tack-hammer the combination was readily solved, and an eager examination of the contents of the box disclosed: --
1. Fish-line of braided shoemaker's thread, with perch hook, to which adhered the mummied remains of a worm that lived and flourished many, many years ago.
2. Popgun of pith elder and hoop-skirt wire.
3. Horse-chestnut bolas, calculated to revolve in opposite directions with great velocity, by an up-and-down motion of the holder's wrist; also extensively used for the adornment of telegraph-wires, --there were no telephones in those days, --and the cause of great profanity amongst linemen.
4. More fish-hooks of the ring variety, now obsolete.
5. One blood alley, two chinees, a parti-colored glass agate, three pewees, and unnumbered drab-colored marbles.
6. Small bow of whalebone, with two arrows.
7. Six-inch bean-blower, for school use--a weapon of considerable range and great precision when used with judgment behind a Guyot's Common School Geography.
8. Unexpended ammunition for same, consisting of putty pellets.
9. Frog's hind leg, extra dry.
10. Wing of bluejay, very ditto.
11. Letter from "Beany," postmarked "Biddeford, Me." and expressing great indignation because "Pewt" "hasent wrote."
12. Copy-book inscribed "Diry."
The examination of this copy-book lasted the rest of the day, and it was read with the peculiar pleasure one experiences in reviewing some of the events of a happy boyhood.
With the earnest hope that others may experience a little of the pleasure I gained from the reading, I submit the "Diry" to the public.
HENRY A. SHUTE.
EXETER, N. H. Sept. 23, 1902.
Father thot i aught to keep a diry, but i sed i dident want to, because i coodent wright well enuf, but he sed he wood give $1000 dolars if he had kept a diry when he was a boy.
Mother said she gessed nobody wood dass to read it, but father said everybody would tumble over each other to read it, anyhow he wood give $1000 dolars if he had kept it. i told him i wood keep one regular if he wood give me a quarter of a dolar a week, but he said i had got to keep it anyhow and i woodent get no quarter for it neither, but he woodent ask to read it for a year, and i know he will forget it before that, so i am going to wright just what i want to in it. Father always forgets everything but my lickins. he remembers them every time you bet.
So i have got to keep it, but it seems to me that my diry is worth a quarter of a dolar a week if fathers is worth $1000 dolars, everybody says father was a buster when he was a boy and went round with Gim Melcher and Charles Talor. my grandmother says i am the best boy she ever see, if i dident go with Beany Watson and Pewter Purinton, it was Beany and Pewt made me tuf.
there dos'nt seem to be much to put into a diry only fites and who got licked at school and if it ranes or snows, so i will begin today.
December 1, 186- brite and fair, late to brekfast, but mother dident say nothing. father goes to boston and works in the custum house so i can get up as late as i want to. father says he works like time, but i went to boston once and father dident do anything but tell stories about what he and Gim Melcher usted to do when he was a boy. once or twice when a man came in they would all be wrighting fast, when the man came in again i sed why do you all wright so fast when he comes in and stop when he goes out, and the man sort of laffed and went out laffing, and the men were mad and told father not to bring that dam little fool again.
December 2. Skinny Bruce got licked in school today. I told my granmother about it and she said she was glad i dident do enything to get punnished for and she felt sure i never wood. i dident tell her i had to stay in the wood box all the morning with the cover down, i dident tell father either you bet.
December 2. rany. i forgot to say it raned yesterday too. i got cold and have a red rag round my gozzle.
December 2. pretty near had a fite in schol today. Skinny Bruce and Frank Elliot got rite up with there fists up when the bell rung. it was two bad, it wood have been a buly fite. i bet on Skinny.
December 3, 186- brite and fair. went to church today. Me and Pewt and Beany go to the Unitarial church. we all joined sunday school to get into the Crismas festerval. they have it in the town hall and have two trees and supper and presents for the scholars. so we are going to stay til after crismas anyway the unitarials have jest built a new church. Pewt and Beany's fathers painted it and so they go there. i don't know why we go there xcept because they don't have any church in the afternoon. Nipper Brown and Micky Gould go there. we all went into the same class. our teacher is Mister Winsor a student. we call them stewdcats. after we had said our lesson we all skinned out with Mr. Winsor. when we went down Maple street we saw 2 roosters fiting in Dany Wingates yard, and we stoped to see it. i knew more about fiting roosters than any of the fellers, because me and Ed Towle had fit roosters lots. Mr. Winsor said i was a sport, well while the roosters were fiting, sunday school let out and he skipped acros the street and walked off with one of the girls and we hollered for him to come and see the fite out, and he turned red and looked mad. the leghorn squorked and stuck his head into a corner. when a rooster squorks he wont fite any more.
December 5. snowed today and school let out at noon. this afternoon went down to the library to plug stewdcats. there was me and Beany and Pewt, and Whacker and Pozzy Chadwick and Pricilla Hobbs. Pricilla is a feller you know, and Pheby Talor, Pheby is a feller too, and Lubbin Smith and Nigger Bell, he is'nt a nigger only we call him Nigger, and Tommy Tompson and Dutchey Seamans and Chick Chickering, and Tady Finton and Chitter Robinson.
December 6. Gim Wingate has got a new bobtail coat.
December 7, 186- Got sent to bed last nite for smoking hayseed cigars and can't go with Beany enny more. It is funny, my father wont let me go with Beany becaus he is tuf, and Pewts father wont let Pewt go with me becaus im tuf, and Beanys father says if he catches me or Pewt in his yard he will lick time out of us. Rany today.
December 8. Skinny Bruce got licked in school today. Skipy Moses was in the wood box all the morning.
December 9. brite and fair, speakin day today. missed in Horatius at the brige.
December 10. Clowdy but no rane. went to church. lots of new fellers in sunday school. me and Beany and Pewt and Pile Woods and Billy Folsom and Jimmy Gad and lots of others. Mister Winsor dident teach today, gess they woodent let him on account of the rooster fite.
December 11. My new boots from Tommy Gads came today. i tell you they are clumpers. no snow yet.
December 12. Crismas is pretty near, dont know wether i shall get ennything. father says i dont desirve ennything. you can get goozeberrys down to Si Smiths 1 dozen for 5 cents. He has a funny sine it is
flour meal molasses sugar coffe tea spises pork & lard salt butter ham eggs &so
December 15. Fite at resess today, Gran Miller and Ben Rundlet. Ben licked him easy. the fellers got to stumping each other to fite. Micky Gould said he cood lick me and i said he want man enuf and he said if i wood come out behind the school house after school he wood show me and i said i wood and all the fellers hollered and said they wood be there. But after school i thaught i aught to go home and split my kindlings and so i went home. a feller aught to do something for his family ennyway. i cood have licked him if i had wanted to.
December 16. Tady Finton got licked in school today. snowed today a little.
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