Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Dukite Snake

Well, mate, you’ve asked about a fellow
You met today, in a black-and-yellow
Chain-gang suit, with a peddler’s pack,
Or with some such burden, strapped to his back.
Did you meet him square? No, passed you by?
Well, if you had, and had looked in his eye,
You’d have felt for your irons then and there;
For the light in his eye is a madman’s glare.
Ay, mad, poor fellow! I know him well,
And if you’re not sleepy just yet, I’ll tell
His story, a strange one as ever you heard
Or read; but I’ll vouch for it, every word.

You just wait a minute, mate: I must see
How that damper’s doing, and make some tea.
You smoke? That’s good; for there’s plenty of weed
In that wallaby skin. Does your horse feed
In the hobbles? Well, he’s got good feed here,
And my own old bush mare won’t interfere.
Done with that meat? Throw it there to the dogs,
And fling on a couple of banksia logs.

And now for the story.

 That man who goes
Through the bush with the pack and the convict’s clothes
Has been mad for years; but he does no harm,
And our lonely settlers feel no alarm
When they see or meet him. Poor Dave Sloane
Was a settler once, and a friend of my own.
Some eight years back, in the spring of the year,
Dave came from Scotland, and settled here.
A splendid young fellow he was just then,
And one of the bravest and truest men
That I ever met: he was kind as a woman
To all who needed a friend, and no man—
Not even a convict—met with his scorn,
For David Sloane was a gentleman born.
Ay, friend, a gentleman, though it sounds queer:
There’s plenty of blue blood flowing out here,
And some younger sons of your “upper ten”
Can be met with here, first-rate bushmen.
Why, friend, I—Bah! curse that dog! you see
This talking so much has affected me.

Well, Sloane came here with an axe and a gun;
He bought four miles of a sandal-wood run.
This bush at that time was a lonesome place,
So lonesome the sight of a white man’s face
Was a blessing, unless it came at night,
And peered in your hut, with the cunning fright
Of a runaway convict; and even they
Were welcome, for talk’s sake, while they could stay.

Dave lived with me here for a while, and learned
The tricks of the bush, how the snare was laid
In the wallaby track, how traps were made,
How ’possums and kangaroo rats were killed,
And when that was learned, I helped him to build
From mahogany slabs a good bush hut,
And showed him how sandal-wood logs were cut.
I lived up there with him days and days,
For I loved the lad for his honest ways.

I had only one fault to find: at first
Dave worked too hard; for a lad who was nursed,
As he was, in idleness, it was strange
How he cleared that sandal-wood off his range.
From the morning light till the light expired
He was always working, he never tired;
Till at length I began to think his will
Was too much settled on wealth, and still
When I looked at the lad’s brown face, and eye
Clear open, my heart gave such thought the lie.
But one day—for he read my mind—he laid
His hand on my shoulder: “Don’t be afraid,”
Said he, “that I’m seeking alone for pelf.
I work hard, friend; but ’tis not for myself.”

And he told me then, in his quiet tone,
Of a girl in Scotland, who was his own,
His wife,—’twas for her: ’twas all he could say,
And his clear eye brimmed as he turned away.
After that he told me the simple tale:
They had married for love, and she was to sail
For Australia when he wrote home and told
The oft-watched-for story of finding gold.

In a year he wrote, and his news was good:
He had bought some cattle and sold his wood.
He said, “Darling, I’ve only a hut, but come.”
Friend, a husband’s heart is a true wife’s home;
And he knew she’d come. Then he turned his hand
To make neat the house, and prepare the land
For his crops and vines; and he made that place
Put on such a smiling and homelike face,
That when she came, and he showed her round
His sandal-wood and his crops in the ground,
And spoke of the future, they cried for joy,
The husband’s arm clasping his wife and boy.

Well, friend, if a little of heaven’s best bliss
Ever comes from the upper world to this,
It came into that manly bushman’s life,
And circled him round with the arms of his wife.
God bless that bright memory! Even to me,
A rough, lonely man, did she seem to be,
While living, an angel of God’s pure love,
And now I could pray to her face above.
And David he loved her as only a man
With a heart as large as was his heart can.
I wondered how they could have lived apart,
For he was her idol, and she his heart.

Friend, there isn’t much more of the tale to tell:
I was talking of angels awhile since. Well,
Now I’ll change to a devil,—ay, to a devil!
You needn’t start: if a spirit of evil
Ever came to this world its hate to slake
One mankind, it came as a Dukite Snake.

Like? Like the pictures you’ve seen of Sin,
A long red snake, as if what was within
Was fire that gleamed through his glistening skin.
And his eyes!—if you could go down to hell
And come back to your fellows here and tell
What the fire was like, you could find no thing,
Here below on the earth, or up in the sky,
To compare it to but a Dukite’s eye!

Now, mark you, these Dukites don’t go alone:
There’s another near when you see but one;
And beware you of killing that one you see
Without finding the other; for you may be
More than twenty miles from the spot that night,
When camped, but you’re tracked by the lone Dukite,
That will follow your trail like Death or Fate,
And kill you as sure as you killed its mate!

Well, poor Dave Sloane had his young wife here
Three months,—’twas just this time of the year.
He had teamed some sandal-wood to the Vasse,
And was homeward bound, when he saw in the grass
A long red snake: he had never been told
Of the Dukite’s ways,—he jumped to the road,
And smashed its flat head with the bullock-goad!

He was proud of the red skin, so he tied
Its tail to the cart, and the snake’s blood dyed
The bush on the path he followed that night.
He was early home, and the dead Dukite
Was flung at the door to be skinned next day.
At sunrise next morning he started away
To hunt up his cattle. A three hours’ ride
Brought him back: he gazed on his home with pride
And joy in his heart; he jumped from his horse
And entered—to look on his young wife’s corse,
And his dead child clutching his mother’s clothes
As in fright; and there, as he gazed, arose
From her breast, where ’twas resting, the gleaming head
Of the terrible Dukite, as if it said,
“I’ve had vengeance, my foe: you took all I had.”

And so had the snake—David Sloane was mad!
I rode to his hut just by chance that night,
And there on the threshold the clear moonlight
Showed the two snakes dead. I pushed in the door
With an awful feeling of coming woe:
The dead was stretched on the moonlit floor,
The man held the hand of his wife,—his pride,
His poor life’s treasure,—and crouched by her side.
O God! I sank with the weight of the blow.

I touched and called him: he heeded me not,
So I dug her grave in a quiet spot,
And lifted them both,—her boy on her breast,—
And laid them down in the shade to rest.
Then I tried to take my poor friend away,
But he cried so woefully, “Let me stay
Till she comes again!” that I had no heart
To try to persuade him then to part
From all that was left to him here,—her grave;
So I stayed by his side that night, and, save
One heart-cutting cry, he uttered no sound,—
O God! that wail—like the wail of a hound!

’Tis six long years since I heard that cry,
But ’twill ring in my ears till the day I die.
Since that fearful night no one has heard
Poor David Sloane utter sound or word.
You have seen to-day how he always goes:
He’s been given that suit of convict’s clothes
By some prison officer. On his back
You noticed a load like a peddler’s pack?
Well, that’s what he lives for: when reason went,
Still memory lived, for the days are spent
In searching for Dukites; and year by year
That bundle of skins is growing. ’Tis clear
That the Lord out of evil some good still takes;
For he’s clearing this bush of the Dukite snakes.

When Brownie Died

He was only a dog-and not a pedigreed dog, at that. Reckoned in dollars and cents, the loss occasioned by his death was inconsiderable. But he was a friendly dog, on speaking and romping terms with every child in the neighborhood, and to the tender heart of childhood his death was something akin to a calamity. At noon one day he darted in front of my car and both wheels passed over his body.

His front legs were broken, but by using his hind legs and his nose, he half dragged, half jerked his shattered frame to the parking, where he stretched out to die. School had just dismissed, and in a very short time a solemn circle of children formed about him. I shall never forget the picture; the noon-day sun shining down upon a mangled dog; the circle of sorrowing children who had romped with him but a few hours before, and who loved him as only children can love a canine friend; one of the little lads with his hat removed-an unconscious recognition of the presence of death; quivering lips and moistened eyes all about; truly, a tragedy of childhood.
 He was only a dog-but he loved the children, and his last act was to raise his head, gaze at the circle of pitying eyes, wag his tail as a token of friendship-and then the light went out. He was only a dog-but the grief of that group of children was inexpressible, and, though it was no fault of mine, I felt strangely like a criminal who had robbed childhood of one of its dearest possessions. Through her tears, my dark.eyed girl asked me to write something about "Brownie." It was my car that killed him. It shall be my pen to sing his requiem.

 No dog was he of pedigree-but when his mangled frame lay stretched beneath the noonday sun, the little children came And formed a silent circle 'round the spot where "Brownie's" breath was coming in convulsive gasps-the agony of death. And when the end approached, he raised his head from off the ground And turned a loving eye upon his playmates gathered 'round, And bade them all a mute farewell, and bravely, feebly tried to wag his friendly tail-and it was thus that "Brownie" died.

 No dog was he of pedigree-but when he lifeless lay, the silent band of children there dispersed and walked away. With bitter tears and heaving sobs, and sad, dejected air, and the glory of the noonday sun seemed clouded everywhere. And when the word went swiftly forth that "Brownie" met his end.

From blocks around the kiddies came to see their faithful friend, and gazed awhile in silent awe, and mutely turned aside to hide the covert tears that flowed the day that "Brownie" died. No dog was he of pedigree-but figures of the mart can not compute or value the affections of the heart; And some will say there's one dog less to clutter up the street, and just a dollar lopped from off the next year's tax receipt; but the loss to happy childhood, in whose heart he was enshrined ... is something that can never be computed or defined, and the measure of their grief was such that furtively, a tear that welled up from my heart the day that "Brownie" died.

No dog was he of pedigree-and theologians say the soul of him will not survive to greet the Judgment Day; But little children loved him, and his mission here on earth was to make the children happy-and he thereby proved his worth. And despite my churchly teachings, something whispers , that if children go to heaven, faithful dogs will go there too, and abiding love assures me that a soul all true and tried went to romp with heaven's children on the day that "Brownie" died!

-Phil Carspecken

Lady Paying Her Fare

Ladies, have you ever noticed one of your own sex paying her fare on a street car?
 I saw one today and here's what happened.
Woman with satchel enters car, sits down; enter conductor, asks fare; woman opens satchel, takes out purse, shuts satchel, opens purse, takes out dime, shuts purse, opens satchel, puts in purse, shuts satchel, offers dime, receives nickel, opens satchel, takes out purse, shuts satchel, opens purse, puts in nickel, closes purse, opens satchel, puts in purse, closes satchel. "Stop the car, please."

Guilty Or Not Guilty

She stood at the bar of justice,
A creature wan and wild;
In form, too small for a woman,
In features, too old for a child,
For a look, so worn, and pathetic,
Was stamped on her pale young face,
It seemed long years of suffering,
Must have left that silent trace.

"Your name," said the Judge, as he eyed her,
With a kindly look, yet keen,
"Is Mary McGuire, if you please, sir."
"And your age?" "I'm turned fifteen."
"Well, Mary," and from a paper he slowly and gravely read.
"Y ou are charged here, I am sorry to say it,
With stealing three loaves of bread.
You don't look like an old offender,
And I hope that you can show
The charge is false-Now tell me
Are you guilty of this or no?"

A passionate burst of weeping was,
at first, her sole reply,
But she dried her tears in a moment
and looked in the judge's eye.
"I will tell you just how it was, sir,
My father and mother are dead,
and my little brothers and sisters were hungry,
and asked me for bread.

At first I earned it for them,
by working hard all day,
But somehow the times grew hard, sir,
and work all fell away.
I could get no more employment,
the weather was bitter cold,
The little ones cried and shivered,
Little Johnnie's but four years old.

So what was I to do, sir,
I am guilty, but do not condemn,
I took, (0 God was it stealing)
the bread to give to them.
one so learned in such matters,
so wise in dealing with men,
seemed on a simple sentence,
sorely puzzled just then.

And no one blamed him or wondered,
when he went to her and smiled
And kindly led from the court room himself,
the Guilty Child.
Everyone in the courtroom,
grey-bearded and thoughtless youth,
Knew as they looked upon her,
that the prisoner spoke the truth.

Out from their pockets came handkerchiefs,
out from their eyes came tears,
And out from old, faded wallets,
treasures hoarded for years.
The judge's face was a study,
the strangest ever you saw,
As he cleared his throat and murmured
something about the law.


If I Were Sending My Boy Afar

If I were sending my boy afar
To live and labor where strangers are,
I should hold him close till the time to go,
Telling him things which he ought to know;
I should whisper counsel and caution wise,
Hinting of dangers which might arise,
And tell him the things I have learned from life,
Of its bitter pain and its cruel strife
And the sore temptations which men beset,
And then add this: "Boy, don't forget
When your strength gives out and your hope grows dim,
Your father will help if you'll come to him."
If I were sending my boy away,
I should hold him close on the parting day
And give him my trust. Through thick and thin
I should tell him I counted on him to win,
To keep his word at whatever cost,
To play the man though his fight be lost.
But beyond all that I should whisper low;
"If trouble comes, let your father know;
Come to him, son, as you used to do
When you were little, he'll see you through.
I am trusting you in a distant land.
You trust your father to understand.
Trust me wherever you chance to be,
Know there is nothing to hide from me,
Tell me it all-your tale of woe,
The sting of failure that hurts you so.
Never, whatever your plight may be,
Think it something to hide from me;
Come to me first in your hour of need,
Come though you know that my heart will bleed;
Boy, when the shadows of trouble fall,
Come to your father first of all."

-Edgar A. Guest

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Two Church Spiders

Two spiders, so the story goes,
Upon a living bent,
Entered a church-building one day,
And hopefully were heard to say,
"Here we will have at least fair play,
With nothing to prevent."
Each chose his place and went to work
The light web grew apace;
One on the altar spun his thread,
But shortly came the sexton dread
And swept him off, and so, half dead,
He sought another place.
"I'll try the pulpit next," said he,
"There surely is a prize;
The desk appears so neat and clean,
I'm sure no spider there has been
Besides, how often have I seen
The pastor brushing flies."
He spun his threads, but alas!
His hopes proved visionary;
With dusting-brush the sexton came,
And spoiled his geometric game,
Nor gave him time or space to claim
The right of sanctuary.
At length, half starved, and weak and lean,
He sought his former neighbor,
Who now had grown so sleek and round,
He weighed a fraction of a pound,
And looked as if the art he'd found
Of living without labor.
"How is it, friend," he asked,
"That I endured such thumps and knocks
While you have grown so very gross?"
" 'Tis plain," he answered "not a loss
I've met, since first I spun across
The contribution box."


Boy Or Girl

Some folks pray for a boy, and some
For a golden-haired little girl to come.
Some claim to think there is more of joy
Wrapped up in the smile of a little boy,
While others pretend that the silky curls
And plump, pink cheeks of the little girls
Bring more of bliss to the old home place
Than a small boy's queer little freckled face.
Now which is better, I couldn't say
If the Lord should ask me to choose to-day;
If He should put in a call for me,
And say: "Now, what shall your order be,
A boy or girl: I have both in store,
Which of the two are you waiting for?"
I'd say with one of my broadest grrins:
"Send either one, if it can't be twins."
I've heard it said to some people's shame
They cried with grief when a small boy came,

For they wanted a girl.
And some folks I know
Who wanted a boy just took on so,
When a girl was sent.
But it seems to me
That mothers and fathers should happy be
To think when 'the stork has come and gone
That the Lord would trust them with either one.
Boy or girl? There can be no choice;
There's something lovely in either voice,
And all that I ask the Lord to do
Is to see that the Mother comes safely through,
And guard the baby and have it well,
With a perfect form, and a healthy yell,
And a pair of eyes, and a shock of hair
The boy or girl-and its dad won't care.

-Edgar A. Guest

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you are trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must-but don't you quit.

Life is queer with' its twists and turns
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a "failure" turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out';
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup;
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Tell Him Now

If with pleasure you are viewing any work a man is doing,
If you like him or you love him, tell him now;
Don't withhold your approbation 'til the parson makes oration
As he lies with snowy lilies o'er his brow;
For no matter how you shout it, he won't really care about it;
He won't know how many tear drops you have shed;
If you think some praise is due him, now's the time to slip it to him,
For he cannot read his tombstone when he's dead!

More than fame and more than money is the comment kind and sunny,
And the hearty warm approval of a friend;
For it gives to, life a savor, and it makes you stronger, braver,
And it gives you heart and spirit to the end;
If he earns your praise, bestow it; if you like him let him know it;
Let the words of true encouragement be said;
Do not wait till life is over and he's underneath the clover,
For he cannot read his tombstone when he's dead.


Going Home For Christmas

He little knew the sorrow that was in his vacant chair;
He never guessed they'd miss him or he'd surely have been there;
He couldn't see his mother or the lump that filled her throat,
Or the tears that started falling as she read his hasty note;
And, he couldn't see his father, sitting sorrowful and dumb,
Or he never would have written, that he thought he couldn't come.
He couldn't see the fading of the cheeks that once were pink,
And the silver in the tresses; and he didn't stop to think
How the years are passing swiftly, and next Christmas it might be
There would be no-home to visit and no mother dear to see;
He didn't think about it-I'll not say he didn't care
He was heedless and forgetful or he'd surely have been there.
Are you going home for Christmas?
Have you written you'll be there?
Going home to kiss the mother and to show her that you care?
Going home to greet the father in a way to make him glad?
If you're not I hope there'll never come a time you'll wish you had.
Just sit down and write a letter-it will make their heart strings hum
With a tune of perfect gladness-if you'll tell them that you'll come.

-Edgar A. Guest

A Father's Confession To His Son

Listen, Son:
I am saying this to you as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a hot, stifling wave of remorse swept over me. I could not resist it. Guiltily I came to your bedside. These are the things I was thinking, son:
I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when I found you had thrown some of your things on the floor.
At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a little hand and called, "Goodbye!" and I frowned, and said, "Hold your shoulders back."
Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the hill road I spied you down on your knees playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your friends by making you march ahead of me back to the house. Stockings were expensive -and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father! It was such stupid, silly logic.
Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in, softly, timidly, with a sort of hurt, hunted look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. "What is it you want?" I snapped.
You said nothing, but ran across, in one tempestuous plunge; and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, again and again, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God has set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.
Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. Suddenly I saw myself as I really was, in all my horrible selfishness, and I felt sick at heart.
What had habit been doing to me? The habit of complaining, of finding fault, of reprimanding-all of these were my rewards to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you, it was that I expected so much of youth. I was measuring' you by the yardstick of my own years.
And there was so much that was good, and fine, and true in your character. You did hot deserve my treatment of you, son. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. All this was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, so I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, choking with emotion, and so ashamed! It is a feeble atonement. I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours, yet I must say what I am saying. I must burn sacrificial fires alone, here in your bedroom, and make free confession. And I have prayed God to strengthen me in my new resolve. Tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer and laugh when you laugh. I'll be a real daddy.

-Author unknown.

Was Merely Whisperin' Bill

So you're takin' the census, mister?
There's three of us livin' still,
My wife and I, an' our only son,
that folks call Whisperin' Bill;
But Bill couldn't tell ye his name, sir,
an' so it's hardly worth givin' ,
For ye see a bullet killed his mind,
an' left his body livin'.

Set down for a minute, mister;
ye see Bill was only fifteen
At the time O' the war,
an' as likely a boy as ever this world has seen;
An' what with the news of battles lost,
the speeches an' all the noise,
I guess every farm in the neighborhood
lost a part of its crop O' boys.

'Twas the harvest time when Bill left home;
every stalk in the fields of rye
Seemed to stand tip-top to see him off
an' wave a fond good-bye;
His sweetheart was here with some other girls
-the sassy little miss!
An' pretendin' she wanted to whisper
in his ear, she gave him a rousin' kiss.

Oh, he was a handsome feller,
an' tender an' brave an' smart.
An' tho' he was bigger than I was,
the boy had a woman's heart.
I couldn't control my feelin's,
but I tried with all my might.
An' his mother an' me stood a-cryin'
till Bill was out o' sight.

His mother she often told him
 when she knew he was goin' away,
That God would take care o' him,
 maybe, if he didn't forgit to pray;
An' on the bloodiest battle-fields,
when bullets whizzed in the air
An' Bill was a-fightin' desperit,
 he used to whisper a prayer.

Oh, his comrades has often told me
that Bill never flinched a bit,
When every second a gap in the ranks
 told where a ball had hit.
An' one night when the field was covered
 with the awful harvest o' war.
They found my boy 'mongst the martyrs
 o' the cause he was fightin' for.

His fingers were clutched in the dewy grass
 — oh, no, sir, he wasn't dead,
But he lay sort of helpless an' crazy
 with a rifle-ball in his head ;
An' if Bill had really died that night
 I'd give all I've got worth givin';
For ye see the bullet had killed his mind
 an' left his body livin'.

An officer wrote an' told us how
 the boy had been hurt in the fight,
But he said that the doctors reckoned
 they could bring him round all right,
An' then we heard from a neighbor,
 dis- abled at Malvern Hill,
That he thought in the course of a week or so
he'd be comin' home with Bill.

We was that anxious t' see him
we'd set up an' talk o' nights
Till the break o' day had dimmed the stars
an' put out the northern lights;
We waited an' watched for a month or more,
an' the Summer was nearly past.
When a letter came one day that said
 they'd started for home at last.

I'll never forgit the day Bill came
 'twas harvest-time again
An' the air-bloom over the yellow fields
 was sweet with the scent o' the grain;
The door-yard was full o' the neighbors,
 who had come to share our joy,
An' all of us sent up a mighty cheer
 at the sight o' that soldier boy.

An' all of a sudden somebody said:
"My God! don't the boy know his mother?"
An' Bill stood a-whisperin', fearful like,
 an' starin' from one to another:
"Don't be afraid. Bill," said he to himself,
 as he stood in his coat o' blue,
"Why, God'll take care o' you, Bill;
 God'll take care o' you."

He seemed to be loadin' an' firin' a gun,
an' to act like a man who hears
 The awful roar o' the battle-field
a-soundin' in his ears;
I saw that the bullet had touched his brain
 an' somehow made it blind,
With the picture o' war before his eyes
 an' the fear o' death in his mind.

I grasped his hand, an' says I to Bill,
 "Don't ye remember me?
I'm yer father — don't ye know me?
 How frightened ye seem to be!"
But the boy kep' a-whisperin' to himself,
 as if 'twas all he knew,
"God'll take care o' you, Bill;
God'll take care o' you."

He's never known us since that day,
nor his sweetheart, an' never will:
Father an' mother an' sweetheart-
 are all the same to Bill.
An' many's the time his mother
 sets up the whole night through,
An' smooths his head, and says:
"Yes, Bill, God'll take care o' you."

Unfortunit? Yes, but we can't complain.
It's a livin' death more sad
 When the body chngs to a life o' shame
 an' the soul has gone to the bad;
An' Bill is out o' the reach
o'' harm an' danger of every kind.
We only take care of his body,
 but God takes care of his mind.

The Diet Squad

Ten plump and chubby matrons started out to diet;
One chanced upon a custard pie and couldn't help but try it.
Nine tubbies had for dinner an olive on a plate!
One smelled the doughnuts cooking and then there were eight!
Eight roly-polies thought that slenderness was heaven;
One went to a picnic and then there were seven.
Seven struggled valiantly their waistlines for to fix;
One walked by a baker's shop and then there were six.
Six chewed their lonesome carrots and tried to Jeep alive;
One attended a bridge luncheon and then there were five.
Five breakfasted on watered bran and vainly longed for more;
Her hubby brought home chocolate creams and then there were four.
Four gnawing, hollow stomachs, courageous as could be;
One day the maid made waffles and then there were three.
Three, stuck to counting calories 'till hollow-eye and blue;
One choked on pie with "a la mode" and then there were two.
Two survived on spinach soup and wished they'd ne'er begun;
A cheese souffle took one away and then there was but one.
One lone survivor weighed herself to see how well she'd done;
She found she'd gained a pound or two-and then there were none!

The Boy Who Scoffed At Santa Claus

"I don't believe in Santa Claus,
There ain't no such a man!
It's all a fairy tale, because
I know from Cousin Dan"
'Twas thus spoke Henry Lucius Stout,
A boy aged eight I knew.
His mother said, "You'd best watch out
You're standin' near the flue."

Now, Santa happened just to be
Upon the roof, right pat,
A-peekin' down if he could see
What Lucius Stout was at.
He heard those words with angry frown
And up and shook his head,
And took his book and wrote 'em down,
Exactly what he said.

When Christmas mornin' came around,
And Lucius ran to see
What he had got, alas! he found
His stockin' quite M.T.,
Except a note that he pulled out
Instead of some fine toy:
"I don't believe in Lucius Stout
There ain't no such a boy!"

-W illiam Wallace Whitelock

Why Is It?

Why is it the tenderest feet must tread the roughest road?
Why is it the weakest back must carry the heaviest load?
While the feet that are surest and firmest have the smoothest paths to go,
And the back that is straightest and strongest has never a burden to know.
Why is it the brightest eyes are the ones soon dimmed with tears?
Why is it the lightest heart must ache and ache for years?
While the eyes that are hardest and coldest shed never a bitter tear,
And the heart that is meanest and smallest has never an ache to fear.
Why is it those who are saddest have always the gayest laugh?
Why is it those who need not have always the biggest half?
While those who know never sorrow have never a smile to give,
And those who want just a little must strive and struggle to live.
Why is it the sweetest smile has for its sister sigh?
Why is it the strongest love is the love we always pass by?
While the smile that is cold and indifferent is the one for which we pray,
And the love we kneel and worship is only common clay.
Why is it the noblest thoughts are the ones never expressed?
Why is it the finest deeds are the ones never confessed?
While the thoughts that are lie all others are the ones we always tell,
And deeds worth little praise are the ones published well.
Why is it the friends we trust are the ones who always betray?
Why is it the lips we wish to kiss are the ones so far away?
While close by our side (if we knew it) is a friend who loyal would be,
And the lips we might have kissed are the lips we never see.
Why is it the things we all can have are the ones, we always refuse?
Why is it none of us live the lives (if we could) we'd choose?
While the things we all can have are the ones we always hate,
And life seems never complete no matter how long we wait.

-Author unknown.

Kittens and Babies

There were two little kittens, a black and a gray
And grandmama said, with a frown,
"It will never do to keep them both,
The black one we'd better drown."

"Don't cry, my dear," to tiny Bess
"One kitten's enough to keep;
Now, run to nurse, for it is growing late
And time you were fast asleep.

The morrow dawned, rosy and sweet
Came little Bess from her nap
The nurse said, "Go on down to momma's room
And look in grandmas lap."

"Come here," said grandma, with a smile,
from the rocking-chair where she sat,
"God has sent you two little sisters;
Now! What do you think about that?"

Bess looked at the babies a moment,
with their wee heads, yellow and brown,
And then to grandma soberly said,
"Which one are you going to drown?"

Around the Corner

Around the corner I have a friend,
In this great city which has no end;
Yet days go by and weeks rush on,
And before I know it a year is gone,
And I never see my friend’s face;
For Life is a swift and terrible race.
He knows I like him just as well
As in the days when I rang his bell
And he rang mine. We were younger then;
And now we are busy, tired men
Tired with playing a foolish game,
Tired with trying to make a name.
"Tomorrow," I say, "I will call on him."
But tomorrow comes-and tomorrow goes,
And the distance between us grows and grows.
Around the corned-yet miles away
"Here's a telegram, sir, Jim died today!"
And that's what we get-yet deserve in the end
Around the corner a vanished friend.

--Charles Hanson Towne

At The End Of A Nurse's Day

Seven o'clock! And the nurse's work
Was done for another day;
She heaved a sort of tired sigh,
And put the charts away;

Then sat for a moment and bowed her head
Over the little white desk;
"I wonder," she said to herself, "After all,
Am I really doing my best?

"Perhaps I could have begun the day
With a Brighter, cheerier smile,
And answered the bells with a 'right away,'
Instead of an 'after awhile’,

“And I might have listened with sweeter grace,
To the story of 6's woes;
She may be suffering more, perhaps,
More than anyone knows.

“And I, might have refrained from that half-way frown,
(Although I was busy then)
When that frail little body, with sad blue eyes,
Kept ringing again and again.

"And I might have spoken a kindlier word,
To the heart of that restless boy,
And stopped a moment to help him find
The missing part of his toy.

"Or perhaps the patient in 18 A,
Just needed a kindlier touch;
There are lots of things that I might have done,
And it wouldn't have taken much."

She sighed again and brushed a tear;
Then whispered, praying low,
"O, God, how can you accept this day,
When it has been lacking so?"

And God looked down; He heard that sigh,
And saw that shining tear;
So sent His Angel Messenger,
To whisper in her ear:

"Perhaps, you could have done better today,
But, ah, the Omnipotent One,
Se-Ming your fault doesn't forget
The beautiful things you've done.

If He knows, little nurse, that you love, your work,
In this Big House of Sorrow,
So gladly forgives the lack of today,
For you will do better tomorrow."

And the nurse looked up, with the tenderest smile,
"To-morrow, I'll make it right,”
Then added a note in the order book,
Be good to them tonight!

-Alice Hansche Sorensen, R. N.

His Dream

Papa (at the breakfast - table): "Willie, my boy, why are you looking so thoughtful? Are you not feeling well?"
Willie (very seriously): "Yes, papa; but I had a strange dream this morning."
Papa: "Indeed? What was it?"
 Willie: "I dreamed, papa, that I died and went to heaven; and when St. Peter met me at the gate, instead of showing me the way to the golden street, as I expected, he took me out into a large field, and in the middle of the field there was a ladder reaching- away up into the sky and out of sight. Then St. Peter told me that heaven was at the top, and that in order to get there I must take the big piece of chalk he gave me.and slowly climb the ladder, writing on each rung some sin I had committed."
Papa (laying down his newspaper): "And did you finally reach heaven, my son?"
Willie! "No, papa, for just as I was trying to think of something to write on the second rung I looked up into the sky and saw you coming down."
Papa: "And what was I coming down for, pray?"
Willie: "That's just what I asked you, papa, and you told me you were going for more chalk."

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I Wanted a Drinik

TIME: 2 A. M.
"MA, I want a drink!"
"Hush, darling; turn and go to sleep."
"I want a drink! "
"No, you are restless. Turn over, dear, and go to sleep."
-(After five minutes.)
 "Ma, I want.a drink!"
 "Lie still, Ethel, and go to sleep."
"But I want a drink!"
"No, you don't want a drink; you had a drink just before you went to bed. Now be still and go right to sleep."
"I do, too, want a drink!"
"Don't let me speak to you again, child, go to sleep."
(After five minutes.) "Ma, won't you please give me a drink?"
"If you say another word I'll get up and spank you. Now go to sleep. You are a naughty girl."
(After two mimutes.) "Ma, when you get up to spank me will you give me a drink?"

A Kiss In The Rain

One stormy morn I chanced to meet
A lassie in the town;
Her locks were like the ripened wheat,
Her laughing eyes were brown
I watched her as she tripped along
Till madness fined my brain,
And then-and then-I know 'twas wrong
I kissed her in the rain
With raindrops shining on her cheek
Like dewdrops on a rose,
The little lassie strove to speak,
My boldness to oppose;
She strove. in vain, and quivenng,
Her fingers stole in mine;
And then the birds began to sing,
The sun began to shine.
Oh, let the clouds grow dark above,
My heart is light 'below;
'Tis always summer when we love.
However winds may blow;
And I'm as proud as any prince,
All honors I disdain:
Sbe says I am, her rain beau since
1 kissed her in the rain.


Father Used To Make

Said a young and tactless husband
To his inexperienced wife,
"If you would but give up leading
Such a fashionable life,
And devote more time to cooking
How to mix and when to bake
Then, perhaps, you might make pastry
Such as mother used to make."
And the wife, resenting, answered
(For the worm will turn, you know) :
"If you would but give up horses
And a score of clubs or so,
To devote more time to business
When to buy and what to stake
Then, perhaps, you might make money
Such as father used to make."

The Tragedy Of A Theater Hat

THE devil one day in a spirit of mirth
Was walking around, to and fro, on the earth.
When he heard a man say,
In a casual way,
"I think I'll just drop in at the matinee;
For I feel in the humor to see a good play,
And the thing is a rattler, I've heard people say.'
The devil stood by,
With a smile in his eye,
And he said, "I don't see any good reason why I,
too, shouldn't go to this play that's so fly."
Now, His Majesty, as is well known by the wise,
Assumes at his will any kind of disguise;
And he said, "I will go
To this wonderful show
In the shape of a man, and arrayed comme iltaut."
No sooner 'twas said than 'twas done,
and away His Majesty sped to the gay matinee.
In faultless attire becomingly garbed,
Concealing entirely his tail (which was barbed),
Correctly cravatted,
And duly silk-hatted,
With his two cloven hoofs patent-leathered and spatted,
He approached the box-office with jauntiest airs,
And purchased a seat in the orchestra chairs.
Then removing his tile,
He tripped down the aisle,
With a manner which showed no appearance of guile,
Although he could scarcely conceal a slight smile
 As he noticed the ladies who sat near to him,
 So modishly mannered, and quite in the swim
The maidens so trim,
And the matrons so prim
And he thought how extremely they'd be horrified
If they had any notion who sat by their side.
As His Majesty sat there enjoying it all
There entered a lady exceedingly tall;
With a rustle of silk and a flutter of fur,
She sat herself down in the seat kept for her,
Right in front of Old Nick, and exactly between
Himself and the stage. And her insolent mien
Proclaimed her at once a society queen.
Her shoulders were broad and supported a cape
Which gave you no clue to her possible shape,
'Twas so plaited and quilled,
And ruffled and frilled,
And it tinkled with bugles that never were stilled;
And wide epaulettes
All covered with jets,
Caught up here and there with enormous rosettes,
And further adorned with gold-spangled aigrettes
Encircling her neck was a boa of gauze,
Accordion-plaited and trimmed with gewgaws;
And perched on the top of her haughty, blond head
Was a HAT! Now, of course, you have all of you read
Of the theatre hats
That are seen at the mats,
That are higher than steeples and broader than flats;
But this one as far outshone all of the others
As young Joseph's dream-sheaves exceeded his brothers'.
'Twas a wide-rolling brim, and a high-peaked crown,
And black feathers stood up and black feathers hung down;
And black feathers waved wildly in every direction,
Without any visible scheme of connection.
'Twas decked with rare flowers of a marvelous size,
And colors that seemed to bedazzle the eyes.
And each vacant space
Was filled in with lace,
And twenty-three birds in the ribbons found place.
And as this arrangement quite shut off his view,
The devil was nonplussed to know what to do
And although he is not very often amazed,
Upon this occasion he found he was phased.
But, looking around,
He very soon found
That as many fair ladies, as gorgeously gowned,
Held their hats in their laps,
Or, still better, perhaps,
Had left them outside in the room with their wraps.
And assuming at once a society air,
He leaned over the back of the fair stranger's chair
And with manner well-fed,
"Beg pardon," he said,
"Will you please take that awful thing off of your head?"
When, what do you think! The lady addressed
Indignantly stared, and politely expressed
A decided refusal to grant his request.
And the poor devil sat
Behind that big hat,
So mad that he didn't know where he was at.
He could not see a thing that took place on the stage,
And he worked himself into a terrible rage.
He murmured quite low
But she heard him, you know
"Lady, since you refused to remove that chapeau.
You're condemned now to wear it wherever you go.
Since you won't take it off when a duty you owe,
You shall not take it off when you wish to do so."
Alas for the lady! The devil has power,
And the rest of her life, from that terrible hour,
The curse of the devil compelled her to wear
That enormous be-flowered and be-feathered affair.
Her lot was a sad one. If you'll reckon o'er
The times when a hat is a terrible bore,
You'll certainly say
That to wear it all day
And then wear it all night is a fate to deplore.
She wore it at dinners, she wore it at balls;
She wore it at home when receiving her calls;
She wore it at breakfast, at luncheon and tea,
Not even at prayers from that hat was she free.
She couldn't remove it on going to bed.
She rose, bathed and dressed with that hat on her head.
If she lounged in the hammock, perusing a book,
Or went to the kitchen to speak to the cook,
In summer or winter, the hat was still there,
And 'twas so in the way when she shampooed her hair.
Her lover would fain his fair sweetheart caress,
But who could to his bosom tenderly press
Twelve black, waving feathers and twenty¬three birds?
He said what he thought in appropriate words,
And broke the engagement. She vowed she would go
To a convent and bury her sorrow; but no
They wouldn't receive her. It was the old tale,
That hat quite prevented her taking the veil.
The curse was upon her! No mortal could save
She carried that ill-fated hat to her grave.

Now, all you 'young women with Gainsborough hats,
Beware how you wear them to Saturday mats.
Remember the fate
Of this maid up-to-date,
And take warning from her ere it maybe too late.

By permission of Life Publishing Company.

Dibdin's Ghost

DEAR wife, last midnight, whilst I read
The tomes you so despise,
A specter rose beside the bed,
And spake in this true wise:

"From Canaan's beatific coast
I've come to visit thee,
For I am Frognall Dibdin's ghost,"
Says Dibdin's ghost to me.

I bade him welconie, and we twain
Discussed with buoyant hearts
The various things that appertain
To bibliomaniac arts.

"Since you are fresh from t'other side,
Pray tell me of that host
That treasured books before they died,"
Says I to Dibdin's ghost.

They've entered into perfect rest;
For in the life they've won
There are no auctions to molest,
No creditors to dun.

Their heavenly rapture has no bounds,
Beside that jasper sea;
It is a joy unknown to Lowndes,"
Says Dibdin's ghost to me.

Much I rejoiced to hear him speak
Of biblio-bliss above,
For I am one of those who seek
What bibliomaniacs love.

"But tell me, for I long to hear
What doth concern me most,
Are wives admitted'to that sphere?"
Says I to Dibdin's ghost.

"The women folks are few up there;
For 'twere not fair, you know,
That they our heavenly joy should share
Who vex us here below.

The few are those who have been kind
To husbands such as we;
They knew our fads, and didn't mind,'"
Says Dibdin's ghost to me.

"But what of those who scold at us
When we would read in bed?
Or, wanting victuals, make a fuss
If we buy books instead?

And what of those who've dusted not
Our motley pride and boast
Shall they profane that sacred spot?"
Says I to Dibdin's ghost.

"Oh, No! they tread that other path,
Which leads where torments roll,
And worms, yes, bookworms, vent their wrath
Upon the guilty soul.

Untouched of bibliomaniac grace,
That saveth such as we,
They wallow in that dreadful place,"
Says Dibdin's ghost to me.

"To my dear wife will I recite
What things I've heard you say;
She'll let me read the books by night
She's let me buy by day.

For we together by and by
Would join that heavenly host;
She's earned a rest as well as I,"
Says I to Dibdin's ghost.


The Hen

Alas! my Child, where is the Pen
That can do justice to the Hen?
Like Royalty, She goes her way,
Laying foundations every day,
Though not for Public Buildings, yet
For Custard, Cake, and Omelette.
Or if too Old for such a use
They have their Fling at some Abuse,
As when to Censure Plays Unfit
Upon the Stage they make a Hit,
Or at elections Seal the Fate
Of an Obnoxious Candidate.
No wonder, Child, we prize the Hen,
Whose Egg is Mightier than the Pen.

Running A Piano

"I was loitering around the streets last night, '" said Jim Nelson, one of the old locomotive engineers running into New Orleans, "As I had nothing to do, I dropped into a concert and heard a sleek-looking Frenchman play a piano in a way that made me feel all over in spots. As soon as he sat down on the stool I knew by the way he handled himself that he understood the machine he was running.

 He tapped the keys away up one end, just as if they were gages and he wanted to see if he had water enough, Then he looked up, as if he wanted to know how much steam he was carrying and the next moment he pulled open the throttle and sailed on to the main line as if he was half an hour late. You could hear her thunder over culverts and bridges, and getting faster and faster, until the fellow rocked about in.his seat like a cradle.

Somehow I thought it was old' 36' pulling a passenger train and getting out of the way of a special. The fellow worked the keys on the middle division like lightning, and then he flew along the north end of the line until the drivers went around like a buzz saw, and I got excited. About the time I was fixing to tell him to cut her off a little, he kicked the dampers under the machine wide open, pulled the throttle 'way back in the fender, and how he did run!

I couldn't stand it any longer, and yelled to him that he was pounding on the left side, and if he wasn't careful he'd drop his ash-pan. But he didn't hear. No one heard me. Everything was flying and whizzing. Telegraph poles on the side of the track looked like a row of cornstalks, the trees appeared to be a mud-bank, and all the time the exhaust of the old machine sounded like the hum of a bumblebee. I tried to yell out, but my tongue wouldn't move. He went around curves like a bullet, slipped an eccentric, blew out his soft plug-went down grades fifty feet to the mile, and not a controlling brake set.

She went by the meeting point at a mile and a half a minute, and calling for more steam. My hair stood up straight, because I knew the game was up. Sure enough, dead ahead of us was the headlight of a 'special.' In a daze I heard the crash as they struck, and I saw cars shivered into atoms, people smashed and mangled and bleeding and gasping for water. I heard another crash as the French professor struck three deep keys away down on the lower end of the southern division, and then I came to my senses. There he was at a dead stand¬still, with the door of the fire-box of the machine open, wiping the perspiration off his face and bowing to the people before him. If I live to be one thousand years old I'll never forget the tide that Frenchman gave me on a piano."

Us Poets

Wordsworth wrote some tawdry stuff;
Much of Moore I have forgotten;
Parts of Tennyson are guff;
Bits of Byron, too, are rotten.
All of Browning isn't great;
There are slipshod lines in Shelley;
Everyone knows Homer's fate;
Some of Keats in vermicelli.
Sometimes Shakespeare hit the slide,
Not to mention Pope or Milton;
Some of Southey's stuff is snide.
Some of Spenser's simply Stilton.
When one has to boil the pot,
One can't always watch the kettle.
You may credit it or not-
Now and then I slump a little!

'From "Tobogganing on Parnassus," Doubleday, Page and Company, 1912.

My Subway Guard Friend

I have always wanted to have an intimate interview with a New York subway guard. Selecting one that I thought would answer my purpose, I arrayed myself in medieval armour, and sent up my card. He received me very pleasantly.
"Sit down and make yourself at home," he said, throwing me across the room into a chair.
"You don't know how to sit down, do you?"
He stood me on my head once or twice, broke a collar bone or so and I believe a rib, and arranged me in the proper manner.
"There, that's better," he said. "Now, what can I do for you? Any little thing."
My armour, which, though not made to order fitted me fairly well when I entered, was now bent so as to occasion me some slight inconvenience. But I smiled brightly and replied:
"I came in to know how you like your life's work?"
"I was born to it," he replied, playfully putting his feet on my chest and gentle exerting a four hundred-pound pressure until I felt the wall behind me preparing to yield. "It's a great thing to understand your job, to like it, and to know that you are the right man in the right place."
 "Don't you find," I ventured, "that people are often rude to you?"
"That is my cross," he replied. "The work of every real artist is handicapped by the misunderstanding of the purely vulgar; but I bear with them, I bear with them."
He started to move me to the ceiling, when, thinking that I might interest him in the details of his profession, I asked: “At a guess, about how many people can you get into an ordinary subway car?"
He smiled blithely and flicked the ashes of a superb stogie into my off eye.
"It depends entirely upon my moods," he replied. “I am very temperamental. If I am feeling in fairly good condition, and at peace with all the world, I can get in about five thousand."
"That is a goodly number," I ventured. The truth is, my mind was beginning to wander slightly. And my blood pressure, I should judge, was above one thousand, and I was afraid to start anything too definite.
"I suppose," I added, as vaguely as possible "that on your off days you couldn't pack in more than two or three hundred or possibly--"
A hurt look came into his eye, and I saw his muscles begin to swell ominously.
“Now you are guying me," he said. Picking me up and throwing me down, he stamped on me for a few moments until my new suit was something like a sheet of steel writing paper. Then he folded me up and shot me through the door.
"Come around and see me again," he chortled, "I'm a little off today, not quite myself."

'From "Well, Why Not?" Doubleday, Page and Company, 1921. THOMAS L. MASSON

The End Of The World

On the 3Ist of December, XXXX, two figures were slowly approaching the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates -a man and a woman last of the human race- Mr. and Mrs. Fin. Mrs. Fin was becomingly gowned in a moire antique bell-skirt, with sun-plaits festooned with Venetian point-lace caught in with a girdle of cats'-eyes, a loose blouse waist elab¬orately trimmed with applique, bouffant sleeves, V-shaped corsage, Elizabethan collar, and broad-brimmed Gainsboro' hat with black ostrich plumes. Mr. Fin appeared in a frock coat, double-breasted corduroy waistcoat, diagonal trousers, and patent leather shoes, and with a beaver hat.
It was midnight. As the couple approached the confluence, a gigantic vessel steamed slowly up the stream and cast anchor at the mouth of the Y. A small gangplank was lowered, and in less time than it takes to typewrite, a procession of assorted animals made their way down to the shore, two by two, much to Mr. and Mrs. Fin's surprise, grief and mortification, proceeded, with many apologies and with singular nai'veti, to divest them of their respective wardrobes.
An elephant helped himself first to Mr.Fin's, ivory-headed cane. An ostrich calmly but firmly appropriated Mrs. Fin's feathers. A beaver reluctantly deprived the unfortunate gentleman of his hat, while a nimble tortoise deftly picked the haircombs and pins from his wife's head. Mr. Fin, stunned with amazement, made no resistance while a few sheep robbed him of his outer garments; but Mrs. Fin began to be a little shocked when two industrious silkworms began to ravel and wind up her bellskirt, and a large Mo removed his mohair from the lining.
The situation now became somewhat tense, and when a huge but conscientious whale appeared and carefully abstracted the bones from the lady's stays her embarrassment was almost painful. We must now hurry a little with our narrative. Suffice it to say that two business like camels approached and absentmindedly devoured the Jaeger suits in which Mr. and Mrs. Fin had both always been firm believers. Things had now gone so far that the couple cheerfully resigned themselves to the inevitable, as an absently enthusiastic alligator escorted a pair of patent kids to the scene of the divestivities and gaily claimed possession of the shoes.
 It now only remained for a dozen excited oysters, shouting their college yell, to rush down the gangplank and dexterously abstract the pearl earrings from Mrs. Fin's ears, and the necklace which was her only remaining ornament.
There was an awkward pause. When at length the pair recovered sufficiently to speak of the weather, which, as Mr. Fin remarked, had not moderated, the animals had disappeared. The couple, resuming their stroll, at length found themselves at the lodge gates of what seemed to be a large park, or garden. They entered, and, almost fainting with mortification and hunger, made their way hurriedly toward an orchard which was visible in the distance. All the fruit they could find, however, was a windfall russet apple, upon which they fell forthwith. Much to their disgust, it was found to have been bitten, and, making a tiny moue, the fastidious Mrs. Fin presented it to her spouse, who, with a shrug, refused the fruit and replaced it upon the tree.

By permission of Life Publishing Company.

Eve's Daughter

I waited in the little sunny room
The cool breeze waved the window-lace at play,
The white rose on the porch was all in bloom,
And out upon the bay I watched the wheeling sea-birds go and come
Such an old friend-- she would not make me stay
While she bound up her hair." I turned and lo,
Danae in her shower! and fit to slay
All a man's hoarded prudence at a blow:
Gold hair, that streamed away,
As round some nymph in sunlit fountain's flow.
"She would not make me wait!" but well I know
She took a good half hour to loose and lay
Those locks - in dazzling disarrangement so


doing good business

One of the best stories that occurs to me offhand, relates to a Jew who kept a sort of combination pawnshop and second-hand clothing store. One day he went out and left the place in charge of his son. When he came back he said:
"Vell, Isaac, how vas business ven I vas oud ?"
"Business vas goot, fader," the son said; "ferry goot."
" Vat did you sell?"
"Nothings; but dot man wat buy de diamon' ring yesterday come back an' pawned it."
“Und did you sell him someting else?"
"No, fader; 'e look as if 'e vas too much discouraged to buy anyting."
"Un you call dot doing goot bizness? If he look disgouraged, vy not you sell him a revolver?"


What He Wanted It For

Those who attended the sale of animals from Barnum's hippodrome in Bridgeport report the following occurrence. A tiger was being offered. The bid run up to forty-five hundred dollars. This was made by a man who was a stranger.
Barnum, who had been eyeing the stranger uneasily during the bidding, now went up to him and said:
"Pardon me for asking the question; but will you tell me where you are from?"
"Down south a 'bit," responded the man.
“Are you connected with any show?"
“And are you buying this animal for yourself?"
Barnum shifted about uneasily for a moment, looking alternately at the man and at the tiger and evidently trying his best to reconcile the two together.
"Now, young man,"" he finally said, "you need not take this animal unless you want to, for there are those here who will take it off your hands."
"I don't want to sell'" was the stranger's reply.
Then Barnam said, in his desperation: “What on earth are you going to do with such an ugly beast, if you have no show of your own and are not buying for some one who is a showman?"
"Well, I'll tell you," said the purchaser. "My wife died about three weeks ago. We had lived together for ten years, and-and I miss her." He paused to wipe his eyes and steady his voice, and then added, "So I've bought this tiger."
“I understand you," said the great showman, in a husky voice.


'TWAS the night after Christmas,

'TWAS the night after Christmas, and all through the flat,
Every creature was wide-awake-barring the cat.
The stockings were Hung in a heap on a chair,
Quite empty of candy St. Nick had put there.
The children were all doubled up in their beds,
With pains in their tummies and aches in their heads.
Mamma heated water, while I, in my wrapper,
Was walking the kid (who is not a kid-napper);
When out in the street there arose a great clatter,
And I put down the kid to see what was the matter;
Rushed out in the entry, threw the door open wide,
And found an old gentleman standing outside.
I looked at him closely, and realized then
'Twas the doctor I'd sent for that morning at ten.
He was dressed in an ulster, to keep him from chills,
And his pockets were bulging with boxes of pills.
He came to the nursery and opened his pack,
Full of fresh paragoric and strong ipecac;
Rhubarb and soda-mints, fine castor oil,
And pink sticking-plaster, rolled up in a coil.
The children all howled in a chorus of pain,
And the kid lifted up his contralto again.
He felt all their pulses and looked at their tongues,
Took all their temperatures, sounded their lungs. .
When he'd dosed all the children and silenced the kid,
He put back his medicine, down the stairs slid,
Jumped into his cab, and said to the driver
(In excellent humor-he'd just made a "fiver"):
"I'm twelve hours behind my appointments, I fear,
But I wish it was Christmas each day in the year!"

"P. FAMILIAS." By permission of Life Publishing Company.

Palabras Grandiosa after T B A

I lay in the bosom of the sun,
Under the roses dappled and dun.
I thought of the Saltan Gingerbeer,
In his palace beside the Bendemeer,
With his Afghan guards and his eunuchs blind,
And the harem that stretched for a league behind
The tulips bent in the summer breeze,
Under the broad chrysanthemum tree's,
And the minstrel, playing his culvarin,'
Made for mine ears a merry din.
If I were the Sultan, and he were I,
Here in the grass he should loafing lie,
And I should bestride my zebra steed,
And the ride of the hunt of the centipede:
While the Pet of the harem, Dandeline,
Should fill me a crystal bucket of wine,
And the kislar aga, up to Snuff,
Should wipe my mouth when I sighed Enough!
And the gay court-poet, Fearfulbore,
Should sit in the hall when the hunt was o'er;
And chant me songs of silvery tone,
Not from Hafiz, but-mine own!
Ah, wee sweet love, beside me here,
I am not the Sultan Gingerbeer,
Nor you the odalisque Dandeline,
Yet, I am yourn, and you are mine!


how Lincoln got rid of a pest

In 1864 President Lincoln was greatly bothered by the well-meant but ill-advised efforts of certain good Northern men to bring about a termination of the war. An old gentleman from Massachusetts, very bland and entirely bald, was especially persistent and troublesome. Again and again he appeared before the President and was got rid of by one and another ingenious expedient. One day, when this angel of mercy had been boring Mr. Lincoln for half an hour, to the interruption of important business, the President suddenly rose, went to a closet, and took out of it a large bottle. "Did you ever try this remedy for baldness?" he asked, holding up the bottle before his astonished visitor.

No; the man was obliged to confess that he never had tried it. Mr. Lincoln called a servant had the bottle wrapped up, and handed it to the bald philanthropist. "There," said he. "Go and rub some of that on your head. Persevere. They say it will make the hair grow. Come back in about three months and report." And almost before he knew it, the good man was outside of the door with the package under his arm.

Similar Cases

There was once a little animal,
No bigger than a fox,
And on five toes he scampered
Over Tertiary rocks
They called him Eohippus,
And they called him very small,
And they thought him of no value
When they thought of him at all;
For the lumpish old Dinoceras,
And Coryphodon so slow
Were the heavy aristocracy,
In days of long ago.

Said the little Eohippus,
I am going to be a horse
And on my middle finger-nails
To run my earthly course
I'm going to have a flowing tail!
I'm going to have a mane!
I'm going to stand fourteen hands high
On the psychozoic plain!"

The Coryphodon was horrified,
The Dinoceras was shocked;
And they chased young Eohippus,
But he skipped away and mocked.
Then they laughed enonnous laughter,
And they groaned enonnous groans,
And they bade young Eohippus
Go view his father's bones.

Said they, "You always were as small
And mean as now we see,
And that's conclusive evidence
That you're always going to be.
What! Be a great, tall, handsome beast,
With hoofs to gallop on?
Why! You'd have to change your nature!"
Said the Loxolophodon.
They considered him disposed Of
And retired with gait serene;
That was the way they argued,
In "the early Eocene."

There was once an Anthropoidal Ape,
Far smarter than the rest,
And everything that they could do
He always did the best;
So they naturally disliked him,
And they gave him shoulders cool,
And when they had to mention him
They said he was a fool.

Cried this pretentious Ape one day,
"I'm going to be a Man!
And stand upright, and hunt, and fight,
And conquer all I can!
I'm going to cut down forest trees,
To make my houses higher!
I'm going to kill the Mastodon!
I'm going to make a fire!"

Loud screamed the Anthropoidal Apes
With laughter wild and gay;
They tried to catch that boastful one,
But he always got away.
So they yelled at him in chorus,
Which he minded not a whit;
And they pelted him with cocoanuts,
Which didn't seem to hit.
And then they gave him reasons
Which they thought of much avail
To prove how his preposterous
Attempt was sure to fail.

Said the sages, "In the first place,
The thing cannot be done!
And, second, if it could be,
It would not be, any fun!
And, third, and most conclusive,
And admitting no reply,
You would have to change your nature!
We should like to see you try!"
They chuckled then triumphantly,
These lean and hairy shapes,
For these things passed as arguments
With the Anthropoidal Apes.

There was once a Neolithic Man,
An enterprising wight,
Who made his chopping implements
Unusually bright,
Unusually clever he,
Unusually brave,
And he drew delightful Mammoths
On the borders of his cave.

To his Neolithic neighbors,
Who were startled and surprised,
Said he, "My friends, in course of time,
We shall be civilized!
We are going to live in cities,
We are going to fight in wars!
We are going to eat three times a day
Without the natural cause!

We are going to turn life upside down
About a thing called gold!
We are going to want the earth, and take
As much as we can hold!
We are going to wear great piles of stuff
Outside our proper skins!
We are going to have Diseases!
And Accomplishments!! And Sins"

Then they all rose up in fury
Against their boastful friend,
For prehistoric patience
Cometh quickly to an end.
Said one, "This is chimerical!
Utopian! Absurd! "
Said another, "What a stupid life!
Too dull, upon my word!"
Cried all, before such things can come,
You idiotic child,
You must alter Human Nature!"
And they all sat back and smiled.
Thought they, An answer to that last
It will be hard to find!
It was a clinching argument
To the Neolithic Mind!


Ralph Waldo Emerson

Years ago, when the "Philosophers," as the guides called them, camped in the Adirondacks, one member of the party occasioned a good deal of criticism. He devoted himself to reading and "worthless writin’" thus, in the opinion of the guides, wasting time which might have been better spent in hunting and fishing. He was Ralph Waldo Emerson.

There was one guide who recognized in Emerson something of his real worth, and upon whom the poet made a great impression. "Steve," as he was familiarly called, was an observing man, and the poet's physical defects, then undoubtedly more prominent than in later years, did not escape his eye, as may be seen from the answer he gave to the question of the writer of this paragraph: "What kind of a fellow was Emerson?" "Wal, sir,' said the old guide, "he was a gentleman every inch as nice a fellow as you ever see; pleasant and kind, and a scholar too, allus figgerin', studyin', and writin'; but, sir he was, I believe, the all-firedest homeliest critter for his age that ever came into these woods."

The Nomencalature Of The National Game

The possibilities of the English language have frequently been taxed to describe the great American game of baseball, but for striking illustration this from the Herald, of Quincy, Illinois, has rarely been equaled:

"The glass-armed toy soldiers of this town were fed to the pigs yesterday by the cadaverous Indian grave-robbers from Omaha. The flabby one-lunged Reubens who represent the Gem City in the reckless rush for the baseball pennant had their shins toasted by the basilisk-eyed cattle-drivers from the West.

They stood around with gaping eyeballs like a hen on a hot nail, and suffered the grizzly yaps of Omaha to run the bases until their necks were long with thirst. Hickey had more errors than Coin's Financial School, and led the rheumatic processsion to the morgue.

The Quincys were full of straw and scrap-iron. They couldn't hit a brick-wagon with a pickax, and ran bases like pall-bearers at a funeral. If three-base hits were growing on the back of every man's neck they couldn’t reach 'em with a feather duster.

It looked as if the Amalgamated Union of South American Hoodoos was in session for work in the thirty-third degree. The geezers stood about and whistled for help, aria were so weak they couldn't lift a glass of beer if it had been all foam.

Everything was yellow, rocky and whangbasted, like a stigtossel full of doggle¬gammon. The game was whiskered and frostbitten.

The Omahogs were bad enough, but the Quincy Brown Sox had their fins sewed up until they couldn't hold a crazy quilt unless it was tied around their necks."


Morning and memory wake me together
When night is yet holding the laggards in sleep;
I walk through the dew in the warm summer weather,
Through pastures where succulent grasses are deep
And horses are waiting the slavery of leather.
The silence is broken. A cow's restless lowing
Betrays her a pagan who worships no dawn
And bows to no God but the need of milk flowing
For one wayward calf to build sustenance on
And find in the dawning the need to keep growing.
Too many mornings are barren and groping,
Worship is bludgeoned and harnessed to greed;
But prisms of dew with a pale ghost is coping
To waken a dream. There is pain in the need
Of morning and pastures where horses are loping.



I never knew exactly what it meant
To say forever and forever while
You lived, but now I know- now since you went
From me. Forever is mile after mile
Of space, impassable, uncharted: it
Is time beyond the count and scope of mind;
A rack on which all tortured souls submit;
A prison with sealed doors; steel chains that bind.
Forever is from when you died until
I go. Forever is the thing graves know.
Forever is the life, the years, you will
Not live. Forever is a word for woe.
I say forever and forever and
There are no words I better understand.


Wild Barley

Ah, but men do remember her,
With a quickening pulse. . .
Whenever they kiss their austere loves
Whose mild lips are but an icy lance
To one who has loved this woman.
She was wild barley in the wind!
The earth sang and the moon was a bright drum
Of heady rhythm;
Beating. . . beating with Eve curved throb of Eden
Muted to pale languor, pale as magnolia bloom
Heavy with perfumed rapture.
Men shall remember her with secret longing
Deep as life. . . remember the lure of her vibrant throat
And her laughter.
There is never enough of that, nor of the way
Soft fingers can riffle a man's calm
And measure the chord of passion.
Briar and thorn were as plush in her arms.
Yet, she sleeps in the potters field.
Not that it matters. . . fields are fields,
Whether they be cut swards or . . . barley waving.


The Fan

Dear weapon of grace,
In ivory and lace,
How archly you veiled our intentions.
With you, coy fan,
We captured our man
When girls were submerged in conventions.
You parried and swayed
The night that gay blade
With such daring technique hovered near you,
What was it he said
About lips that were red?
Shush, don't let my granddaughter hear you.


The Gentle Days

Now comes the heat of summer on soft feet,
Slipping through the trees
On little shafts of sunlight to the beat
Of insect symphonies.
Soft winds stroll too
Languidly through
The gentle days
The days when earth's serenities
Walk golden ways;
When clouds float in a tranquil mist;
And morning-glories, prejudiced
Against the heat, curl up, withdrawn
To wait a new and cooler dawn.
These days were made with golden hours
For wise surcease
From hectic Time; their quiet empowers
The soul with peace.


Mary White

The Associated Press reports carrying the news of Mary White's death declared that it came as the result of a fall from a horse. How she would have hooted at that! She never fell from a horse in her life. Horses have fallen on her and with her. "I'm always trying to hold 'em in my lap," she used to say. But she was proud of few things, and one was that she could ride anything that had four legs and hair. Her death resulted not from a fall, but from a blow on the head which fractured her skull, and the blow came from the limb of an overhanging tree on the parking.

The last hour of her life was typical of its happiness. She came home from a day's work at school, topped off by a hard grind with the copy on the High School Annual, and felt that a ride would refresh her. She climbed into her khakis, chattering to her mother about the work she was doing, and hurried to get her horse and be out on the dirt roads for the country air and the radiant green fields of the spring. As she rode through the town on an easy gallop, she kept waving at passers-by. She knew everyone in town. For a decade the little figure with the long pig-tail and the red hair-ribbon has been familiar on the streets of Emporia, and she got in the way of speaking to those who nodded at her.

She passed the Kerrs-walking the horse-in front of the Normal Library, and waved at them; passed another friend a few hundred feet further on, and waved at her. The horse was walking and, as she turned into North Merchant Street, she took off her cowboy hat, and the horse swung into a lope. She passed the Tripletts and waved her cowboy hat at them, still moving gayly north on Merchant Street. A Gazette carrier passed- a High School boy friend- and she waved at him, but with her bridle hand; the horse veered quickly, plunged into the parking where the low-hanging limb faced her, and, while she still looked back waving, the blow came. But she did not fall from the horse; she slipped off, dazed a bit, staggered, and fell in a faint. She never quite recovered consciousness.

But she did not fall from the horse, neither was she riding fast. A year or so ago she used to go like the wind. But that habit was broken, and she used the horse to get into the open to get fresh, hard exercise and to work off a certain surplus energy that welled up in her and needed a physical outlet. That need has been in her heart for years. It was back of the impulse that kept the dauntless little brownclad figure on the streets and country roads of this community and built into a strong, muscular body what had been a frail and sickly frame during the first years of her life. But the riding gave her more than a body. It released a gay and hardy soul. She was the happiest thing in the world. And she was happy because she was enlarging her horizon.

She came to know all sorts and conditions of men; Charley O'Brien, the traffic cop, was one of her best friends. W. L. Holtz, the Latin teacher, was another. Tom O'Connor, farmer-politician, and Rev. J. H. J. Rice, preacher and police judge, and Frank Beach, music master, were her special friends, and all the girls, black and white, above the track and below the track, in Pepville and Stringtown, were among her acquaintances. And she brought home riotous stories of her adventures. She loved to rollick; persiflage was her natural expression at home. Her humor was a continual bubble of joy. She seemed to think in hyperbole and metaphor. She was mischievous without malice, and full of faults as an old shoe. No angel was Mary White, but an easy girl to live with, for she never nursed a grouch five minutes in her life.

With all her eagerness for the out-of-doors, she loved books. On her table when she left her room, were a book by Conrad, one by Galsworthy, Creative Chemistry, by E. E. Slosson, and Kipling book. She read Mark Twain, Dickens, and Kipling before she was ten- all of their writings. Wells and Arnold Bennett particularly amused and diverted her. She was entered as a student in Wellesley in 1922; was assistant editor of the High School Annual this year, and in line for election to the editorship of the Annual next year.

She was a member of the executive committee of the High School Y.W.C.A. Within the last two years she had begun to be moved by an ambition to draw. She began as most children do by scribbling in her schoolbooks, funny pictures. She bought cartoon magazines and a took a course rather casually, naturally; for she was, after all, a child with no strong purposes- and this year she tasted the first fruits of success by having her pictures accepted by the High School Annual.

But the thrill of delight she got when Mr. Ecord, of the Normal Annual, asked her to do the cartooning for that book this spring was too beautiful for words. She fell to her work with all her enthusiastic heart. Her drawings were accepted, and her pride- always repressed by a lively sense of the ridiculousness of the figure she was cutting- was a really gorgeous thing to see. No successful artist ever drank a deeper draft of satisfaction than she took from the little fame her work was getting among her schoolfellows. In her glory she almost forgot her horse- but never her car.

For she used the car as a jitney bus, it was her social life. She never had a "party" in all her nearly seventeen years, wouldn't have one, but she never drove a block in the car in her life that she didn't begin to fill the car with pick-ups!

Everybody rode with Mary White-white and black, old and young, rich and poor, men and women. She liked nothing better than to fill the car full of long-legged High School boys and an occasional girl, and parade the town. She never had a "date," nor went to a dance, except once with her brother Bill, and the "boy proposition" didn't interest her yet. But young people, great spring-breaking, varnish cracking, fender-bending, door-sagging carloads of  "kids," gave her great pleasure.

Her zests were keen. But the most fun she ever had in her life was acting as chairman of the committee that got up the big turkey dinner for the poor folks at the county home; scores pf pies, gallons of slaw, jam, cakes, preserves, oranges, and a wilderness of turkey were loaded in the car and taken to the county home. And, being of a practical turn of mind, she risked her own Christmas dinner by staying to see that the poor folks actually got it all. Not that she was a cynic; she just disliked to tempt folks. While there she found a blind colored uncle, very old, who could do nothing but make rag rugs, and she rustled up from her school friends rags enough to keep him busy for a season.

The last engagement she tried to make was to take the guests at the county home out for a car ride. And the last endeavor of her life was to try to get a rest room for colored girls in the High School. She found one girl reading in the toilet, because there was no better place for a colored girl to loaf, and it inflamed her sense of injustice, and she became a nagging harpie to those who, she thought, could remedy the evil. The poor she had always with her, and was glad of it. She hungered and thirsted for righteousness; and was the most impious creature in the world. She joined the Congregational Church without consulting her parents; not particularly for her soul's good. She never had a thrill of piety in her life, and would have hooted at "testi¬mony." But even as a little child she felt the church was an agency for helping people to more of life's abundance, and she wanted to help.

She never wanted help for herself. Clothes meant little to her. It was a fight to get a new ring on her; but eventually a harder fight to get it off. She never wore a jewel and had no ring but her High School class ring, and never asked for anything but a wrist watch. She refused to have her hair up, though she was nearly seventeen. "Mother," she protested, "you don't know how much I get by with, in my braided pigtails, that I could not with my hair up." Above every other passion of her life was her passion not to grow up, to be a child. The tomboy in her, which was big, seemed to loathe to be put away forever in skirts. She was a Peter Pan, who refused to grow up.

Her funeral yesterday at the Congregational Church was as she would have wished it; no singing, no flowers save the big bunch of red roses from her brother Bill's Harvard classmen - heavens, how proud that would have made her- and the red roses from the Gazette force in vases at her head and feet. A short prayer, Paul's beautiful essay on "Love" from the Thirteenth Chapter of First Corinthians, some remarks about her democratic spirit by her friend, John H. J. Rice, pastor and police judge, which she would have deprecated if she could, a prayer sent down for her by her friend, Carl Nau, and opening the service the slow, poignant movement from Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, which she loved, and closing the service a cutting from the joyously melancholy first movement of Tschaikowski's Pathetic Symphony, which she liked to hear in certain moods on the phonograph; then the Lord's Prayer by her friends in the High School. That was all.

For her pall-bearers only her friends were chosen; her Latin teacher, W. L. Holtz; her High School principal, Rice Brown; her doctor, Frank Fonconnon; her friend, W. W. Finney; her pal at the Gazette office, Walter Hughes; and her brother Bill. It would have made her smile to know that her friend Charley O'Brien, the traffic cop, had been transferred from Sixth and Commercial to the corner near the church to direct her friends who came to bid her good-by.

A rift in the clouds in a gray day threw a shaft of sunlight upon her coffin as her nervous energetic little body sank to its last sleep. But the soul of her, the glowing, gorgeous, fervent soul of her, surely was flaming in eager joy upon some other dawn.


At Sunrise

They pushed him straight against the wall;
The firing squad dropped in a row,
And why he raised upon his toes,
Those men shall never know.
He wore a smile across his face
As he stood trimly there,
The guns all aiming at his heart,
The sun upon his hair.
For he remembered in a flash
Those days now past recall,
When his proud mother took his height
Against the bedroom wall.


The Sweetheart of Juan Flores

Grizzled old Martina slouches in the sun,
Wrapped in her rebosa, now her day is done.
Begging at the Mission with her black dress on,
What can she remember of the bandit Juan?
Dusky young Juan Flores with the evil eyes,
Riding on a pilfered horse, carbine at his thighs.
Shots- beyond EI Toro at Capistrano Town,
Dying men who stumbled, blood upon her gown
¬Indian Martina, when the moon is bright
Hears across the Plaza a rider in the night
Halt at her adobe-Ah, never more his tread
Who met a grim riata, looped and stained with red.


Greenwich Village

The days were cold
And wood was scarce,
And we without a penny
We burned the chairs
And shower doors
And were as gay as any.
We fed on bread,
Italian wine,
And many a potato,
While we discussed
The wisdom of
Confucius, Freud and Plato.
And life was lean
And beautiful
And love was young and glad
It's good to be
A Village poet
And a little mad.



The only fault of Reuben Brown
Was knocking aged old spinsters down.
He loved to hear their timid squeal,
And see their look of soft appeal;
And wept with joy to watch them flutter,
On muddy mornings in the gutter.
And in this not unhealthy pleasure
He spent his frequent hours of leisure
Till came a day when Spinster Fate
Decided to retaliate.
A lady sauntered close ahead:
He caught her up with wary tread,
And sent her sprawling on the earth.
His eyes grew dim with tears of mirth.
They cleared; and there before him lay,
Among wet leaves and liquid clay,
The richest of the rich relations
On whom he based his expectations,
His Aunt! She turned, she saw, she knew!
In blind and nervous haste he flew,
And slipped beneath a passing bus:
His death was instantaneous.
Two morals, Reader, here are shown.
"Don't knock a lady down" is one;
The next, if you'd avoid a shock,
Is simply: "Look before you knock."



Man cuts down the tall green spears
And trims them to his smallest whim;
He mows them down and plucks them out
Mercilessly, with his strong pointed tools.
Whenever a thin green blade lifts its head
He conquers it with one ruthless stroke.
Man is master of the soil and grass
Is but a cringing helpless slave;
But when Man puts away his tools
And shuts his eyes, the green grass creeps
Out once again and takes revenge
By covering him beneath the soil and
Climbing gleefully over his face and hands.