Uncles Josh’s Punkin Centre Stories by Cal Stewart

Uncles Josh’s Punkin Centre Stories by Cal Stewart Scanned by Charles Keller with OmniPage Professional OCR software Uncles Josh’s Punkin Centre Stories By Cal Stewart Preface To the Reader. The one particular object in writing this book is to furnish you with an occasional laugh, and the writer with an occasional dollar. If you get
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Uncles Josh’s Punkin Centre Stories by Cal Stewart Scanned by Charles Keller with OmniPage Professional OCR software

Uncles Josh’s
Punkin Centre Stories

By Cal Stewart


To the Reader.

The one particular object in writing this book is to furnish you with an occasional laugh, and the writer with an occasional dollar. If you get the laugh you have your equivalent, and the writer has his.

In Uncle Josh Weathersby you have a
purely imaginary character, yet one true to life. A character chuck full of sunshine and rural simplicity. Take him as you find him, and in his experiences you will observe there is a bright side to everything.

Sincerely Yours
Cal Stewart









































Life Sketch of Author

THE author was born in Virginia, on a little patch of land, so poor we had to fertilize it to make brick. Our family, while having cast their fortunes with the South, was not a family ruined by the war; we did not have
anything when the war commenced, and so we held our own. I secured a common
school education, and at the age of twelve I left home, or rather home left me –things just petered out. I was slush cook on an Ohio River Packet; check clerk in a stave and heading camp in the knobs of
Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia; I helped lay the track of the M. K. & T. R. R., and was chambermaid in a livery stable. Made my first appearance on the stage at the National Theatre in Cincinnati, Ohio, and have
since then chopped cord wood, worked in a coal mine, made cross ties (and walked
them), worked on a farm, taught a district school (made love to the big girls), run a threshing machine, cut bands, fed the machine and ran the engine. Have been a
freight and passenger brakeman, fired and ran a locomotive; also a freight train conductor and check clerk in a freight house;
worked on the section; have been a shot gun messenger for the Wells, Fargo Company.
Have been with a circus, minstrels, farce comedy, burlesque and dramatic productions; have been with good shows, bad
shows, medicine shows, and worse, and some shows where we had landlords singing in the chorus. Have played variety houses and vaudeville houses; have slept in a box car one night, and a swell hotel the next; have been a traveling salesman (could spin as many yarns as any of them). For the past four years have made the Uncle Josh stories for the talking machine. The Lord only
knows what next!

My Old Yaller Almanac
Hangin’ on the
Kitchen Wall

I’M sort of fond of readin’ one
thing and another,

So I’ve read promiscus like
whatever cum my way,

And many a friendly argument’s cum up ‘tween me and mother,

‘Bout things that I’d be readin’ settin’ round a rainy day.

Sometimes it jist seemed to me thar wa’nt no end of books,

Some made fer useful readin’ and some jist made fer looks;

But of all the different books I’ve read, thar’s none comes up at all

To My Old Yaller Almanac, Hangin’ on the Kitchen Wall.

I’ve always liked amusement, of the good and wholesome kind,

It’s better than a doctor, and it elevates the mind;

So, often of an evening, when the farm chores all were done,

I’d join the games the boys would play, gosh how I liked the fun;

And once thar wuz a minstrel troop, they showed at our Town Hall,

A jolly lot of fellers, ’bout twenty of ’em all.

Wall I went down to see ’em, but their jokes, I knowed ’em all,

Read ’em in My Old Yaller Almanac,
Hangin’ on the Kitchen Wall.

Thar wuz Ezra Hoskins, Deacon Brown and a lot of us old codgers,

Used to meet down at the grocery store, what wuz kept by Jason Rogers.

There we’d set and argufy most every market day,

Chawin’ tobacker and whittlin’ sticks to pass the time away;

And many a knotty problem has put us on our mettle,

Which we felt it wuz our duty to duly solve and settle;

Then after they had said their say, who thought they knowed it all,

I’d floor ’em with some facts I’d got

From My Old Yaller Almanac, Hangin’ on the Kitchen Wall.

It beats a regular cyclopedium, that old fashioned yeller book,

And many a pleasant hour in readin’ it I’ve took;

Somehow I’ve never tired of lookin’ through its pages,

Seein’ of the different things that’s happened in all ages.

One time I wuz elected a Justice of the Peace,

To make out legal documents, a mortgage or a lease,

Them tricks that lawyers have, you bet I knowed them all,

Learned them in My Old Yaller Almanac, Hangin’ on the Kitchen Wall.

So now I’ve bin to New York, and all your sights I’ve seen,

I s’pose that to you city folks I must look most awful green,

Gee whiz, what lots of fun I’ve had as I walked round the town,

Havin’ Bunco Steerers ask me if I wasn’t Mr. Hiram Brown.

I’ve rode on all your trolloly cars, and hung onto the straps,

When we flew around the corners, sat on other peoples’ laps,

Hav’nt had no trouble, not a bit at all,

Read about your city in My Old Yaller Almanac, Hangin’ on the Kitchen Wall.

Uncle Josh Weathersby’s Arrival in New York

WALL, fer a long time I had my mind made up that I’d cum down to New York, and so a
short time ago, as I had my crops all gathered in and produce sold I calculated as how
it would be a good time to come down here. Folks at home said I’d be buncoed
or have my pockets picked fore I’d bin here mor’n half an hour; wall, I fooled
’em a little bit, I wuz here three days afore they buncoed me. I spose as how there are a good many of them thar bunco fellers
around New York, but I tell you them thar street keer conductors take mighty good
care on you. I wuz ridin’ along in one of them keers, had my pockit book right in my hand, I alowed no feller would pick my
pockits and git it long as I had it in my hand, and it shet up tight as a barrel when the cider’s workin’. Wall that conductor feller he jest kept his eye on me, and every
little bit he’d put his head in the door and say “hold fast.” But I’m transgressin’ from what I started to tell ye. I wuz ridin’ along in one of them sleepin’ keers comin’ here, and along in the night some time I felt a feller rummagin’ around under my bed, and I
looked out jest in time to see him goin’ away with my boots, wall I knowed the way that train wuz a runnin’ he couldn’t git off with them without breakin’ his durned neck, but in about half an hour he brot them back, guess they didn’t fit him. Wall I wuz sort of glad he took em cause he hed em all
shined up slicker ‘n a new tin whistle. Wall when I got up in the mornin’ my trubbles commenced. I wuz so crouded up like,
durned if I could git my clothes on, and when I did git em on durned if my pants wa’nt on hind side afore, and my socks got all tangled up in that little fish net along side of the bed and I couldn’t git em out, and I lost a bran new collar button that I traded Si Pettingill a huskin’ peg fer, and I got my right
boot on my left foot and the left one on the right foot, and I wuz so durned badly mixed up I didn’t know which way the train wuz a runnin’, and I bumped my head on the roof of the bed over me, and then sot down right suddin like to think it over when some feller cum along and stepped right squar on my
bunion and I let out a war whoop you could a heerd over in the next county. Wall, along cum that durned porter and told me I wuz a wakin’ up everybody in the keer. Then I started in to hunt fer my collar button, cause I sot a right smart store by that button, thar warns another one like it in Punkin Centre, and I thought it would be kind of doubtful if they’d have any like it in New York, wall I see one stuck right in the wall so I tried to git it out with my jack knife, when along came that durned black jumpin’ jack dressed in soldier clothes and ast me what I wanted, and I told him I didn’t want anything perticler, then he told me to quit ringin’ the
bell, guess he wuz a little crazy, I didn’t see no bell. Wall, finally I got my clothes on and went into a room whar they had a row of little troughs to wash in, and fast as I could pump water in the durned thing it run out of a little hole in the bottom of the trough so I jest had to grab a handful and then pump some more. Wall after that things
went along purty well fer a right smart while, then I et a snack out of my carpet bag and felt purty good. Wall that train got to runnin’ slower and slower ’till it stopped at every house and when it cum to a double house it stopped twice. I hed my ticket in my hat and I put my head out of the window to look at suthin’ when the wind blew my hat off and I lost the durned old ticket, wall the conductor made me buy another one. I hed to
buy two tickets to ride once, but I fooled him, he don’t know a durned thing about it and when he finds it out he’s goin to be the maddest conductor on that railroad, I got a round trip ticket and I ain’t a goin’ back on his durned old road. When I got off the
ferry boat down here I commenced to think I wuz about the best lookin’ old feller what ever cum to New York, thar wuz a lot of fellers down thar with buggies and kerridges
and one thing and another, and jest the minnit they seen me they all commenced to holler– handsome–handsome. I didn’t know
I wuz so durned good lookin’. One feller tried to git my carpet bag and another tried to git my umbreller, and I jest told ’em to stand back or durned if I wouldn’t take a wrestle out of one or two of them, then I asked one of ’em if he could haul me up to the Sturtevessant hotel, and by gosh I never heered a feller stutter like that feller did in all my life, he said ye-ye-ye-yes sir, and I said wall how much air you a goin’ to charge me, and he said f-f-f-fif-fif-fifty c-c-cents, and I sed wall I guess I’ll ride with you, but don’t stop to talk about it any more cause I’d kinder like to git thar. Wall we started out and when we stopped we wuz away up at the other end of the town whar thar warn’t many houses, and I sed to him, this here ain’t the Sturtevessant hotel, and he sed n-n-n-no n-s-s- n-no sir, I sed why didn’t you let me out at the hotel like I told ye, and he sed, b-b-b-be c-c-c b-b-be cause I c-c-c-c-couldn’t s-s-s-say w-w-w-whoa q-q-q-q-quick enough. Wall I hed a great time with that feller, but I got here at last.

Uncle Josh in Society

WALL, I did’nt suppose when I cum down here to New York that I wuz a goin to flop right into the middle of high toned society, but I guess that’s jist about what I done. You see I had an old friend a livin’ down here named Henry Higgins, and I wanted to
see Henry mighty bad. Henry and me, we wuz boys together down home at Punkin
Centre, and I hadn’t seen him in a long time. Wall, I got a feller to look up his name in the city almanac, and he showed me whar
Henry lived, away up on a street called avenue five. Wall when I seen Henry’s
house it jist about took my breath away, I wuz that clar sot back. Henry’s house is a good deal bigger’n the court house at
Punkin Centre. Wall at first I didn’t know whether to go in or not, but finally I mustered up my courage, and I went up and
rang some new fangled door bell, when a feller with knee britches on cum out and wanted to know who it wuz I wanted to see. Gosh I couldn’t say anything fer about a minnit, that feller jist looked to me like a picter I’d seen in a story book. Wall finally I told him I wanted to see Henry Higgins, if it wuz the same Henry I used to know
down home at Punkin Centre. Wall I guess Henry he must a heered me talkin’, cause he jist cum out and grabbed me by both
hands and sed, “why Josh Weathersby, how do you do, cum right in.” Wall he took
me into the house and introduced me to more wimmin folks than I ever seen before in all my life at one time. I guess they were havin’ some kind of society doins at Henry’s house, one old lady sed to me, “my dear
Mr. Weathersby, I am so pleased to meet you, I’ve heered Mr. Higgins speak about you so often.” Wall by chowder, I got to blushin’ so it cum pretty near settin’ my hair on fire, but I sed, wall now I’m right glad to know you, you kind-er put me in mind of old Nancy Smith down hum, and Nancy,
she’s bin tryin’ to git married past forty seasons that I kin remember on. Wall Henry
took me off into a room by myself, and when I got on my store clothes and my new calf skin boots, I tell you I looked about as scrimptious as any of them. Wall they had a dance, I think they called it a cowtillion, and that wuz whar I wuz right to hum, I
jist hopped out on the floor, balanced to partners, swung on the corners, and cut up more capers than any young feller thar, it jist looked as if all the ladies wanted to dance with me. One lady wanted to know if I
danced the german, but I told her I only danced in English.

Wall after that we had something to eat in the dinin’ room, and I hadn’t any more’n got sot down and got to eatin right good, when that durn fool with the knee britches on insulted me, he handed me a little wash bowl with a towel round it, and I told him he needn’t cast any insinuations at me, cause I washed my hands afore I cum in. If it
hadn’t a bin in Henry’s house I’d took a wrestle out of him. Wall they had a lot of furrin dishes, sumthin what they called beef all over mud, and another what they called a-charlotte russia-a little shavin’ mug made out of cake and full of sweetened lather, wall that was mighty good eatin’, though it took a lot of them, they wasn’t very fillin’. Then they handed me somethin’ what they called ice cream, looked to me like a hunk of
casteel soap, wall I stuck my fork in it and tried to bite it, and it slipped off and got inside my vest, and in less than a minnit I wuz froze from my chin to my toes. I
guess I cut a caper at Henry’s house.

Uncle Josh in a Chinese Laundry

I S’POSE I got tangled up the other day with the dogondest lookin’ critter I calculate I ever seen in all my born days, and I’ve bin around purty considerable. I’d seen all sorts of cooriosoties and monstrosities in cirkuses and meenagerys, but that wuz the fust
time I’d ever seen a critter with his head and tail on the same end. You see I
sed to a feller, now whar abouts in New York do you folks git your washin’ done; when I left hum to come down here I lowed I had enuff with me to do me, but I’ve
stayed here a little longer than I calculated to, and if I don’t git some washin’ done purty soon, I’ll have to go and jump in the river.

Wall he wuz a bligin sort of a feller, and he told me thar wuz a place round the corner whar a feller done all the washin’, so I went round, and there was a sine on the
winder what sed Hop Quick, or Hop Soon, or jump up and hop, or some other kind of a durned hop; and then thar wuz a lot of figers on the winder that I couldn’t make head nor tail on; it jist looked to me like a chicken with mud on its feet had walked
over that winder.

Wall I went in to see bout gittin’ my washin’ done, and gosh all spruce gum, thar was one of them pig tailed heathen Chineeze, he jist looked fer all the world like a picter on Aunt Nancy Smith’s tea cups. I wuz
sort of sot back fer a minnit, coz ‘I sed to myself–I don’t spose this durned critter can talk English; but seein’ as how I’m in here, I might as well find out. So I told him I’d like to git him to do some washin’ fer me, and he commenced a talkin’ some outlandish lingo, sounded to me like cider runnin’
out of a jug, somethin’ like–ung tong oowong fang kai moi oo ung we, velly good washee. Wall I understood the last of it and jist took his word fer the rest, so I giv him my clothes and he giv me a little yeller ticket that he painted with a brush what he had, and I’ll jist bet a yoke of steers agin the holler in a log, that no livin’ mortal man could read that ticket; it looked like a fly had fell into the ink bottle and then crawled over the paper. Wall I showed it to a gentleman
what was a standin’ thar when I cum out, and I sed to him–mister, what in thunder is this here thing, and he sed “Wall sir that’s a sort of a lotery ticket; every time you leave your clothes thar to have them washed you git one of them tickets, and then you have a chance to draw a prize of some kind.” So I sed–wall now I want to know, how much is the blamed thing wuth, and he sed “I
spose bout ten cents,” and I told him if he wanted my chants for ten cents he could hav it, I didn’t want to get tangled up in any lotery gamblin’ bizness with that saucer faced scamp. So he giv me ten cents and he took the ticket, and in a couple of days I went round to git my washin’, and that pig tailed heathen he wouldn’t let me hev em, coz I’d lost that lotery ticket. So I sed–now look here Mr. Hop Soon, if you don’t hop round and git me my collars and ciffs and other clothes what I left here, I’ll be durned if I don’t flop you in about a minnit, I will by chowder. Wall that critter he commenced
hoppin around and a talkin faster ‘n a buzz saw could turn, and all I could make out wuz–mee song lay tang moo me oo lay ung yong wo say mee tickee. Wall I seen jist as plain as could be that he wuz a tryin’ to swindle me outen my clothes, so I made a grab
fer him, and in less ‘n a minnit we wuz a rollin’ round on the floor; fust I wuz on top, and then Mr. Hop Soon wuz on top, and
you couldn’t hav told which one of us the pig tail belonged to. We upset the stove and kicked out the winder, and I sot Mr. Hop Soon in the wash tub, and when I got out of thar I had somebody’s washin’ in one hand and about five yards of that pig tail in tother, and Mr. Hop Soon, he wuz standin’ thar yellin’–ung wa moo ye song ki le yung noy song oowe pelecee, pelecee, pelecee. I had quite a time with that heathen critter.

Uncle Josh in a Museum

WHEN I wuz in New York one day I wuz a walkin’ along down the street when I cum to a theater or play doins’ of some kind or other, so I got to lookin’ at the picters, and I noticed whar it sed it only cost ten cents to go in, and I alowed I might as well go in and see
it. Wall I don’t spose I’d bin in thar over five minutes afore I made myself
the laffin’ stock of every one in thar. I noticed a feller a sottin’ thar gittin’ his boots blacked, and thar was a durned little pick pockit a pickin’ his pockits. Wall I didn’t want to see him git robbed, so I went right up to him and I sed–look out mister, you air gittin’ your pockits picked, wall sir, that durned cuss never sed a word and every
body commenced to laff, and I looked round to see what they wuz a laffin’ at, and it wan’t no man at all, nothin’ only a durned old wax figger. I never felt so durned foolish since the day I popped the question to Samantha. Wall then I looked round a spell longer, and thar wuz a feller what they called the human pin cushion, and he wuz stuck chock full of needles and pins and looked like a hedge hog; he’d be a mighty handy feller at a
quiltin’. Wall, then a feller cum along and sed, “everybody over to this end of the
hall.” Wall, I went along with the rest of them, and durn my buttins if thar wa’nt a feller what had more picters painted on him than thar is in a story book. Wall, I’d jist got to lookin’ at him when that feller what had charge sed, “right this way everybody,” and we all went into whar they wuz havin’ the theater doins’, and I got sot down and a feller cum out and sung a song I hadn’t
heered since I wuz a youngster. Neer as I kin remember it wuz this way–

Kind friends I hadn’t had but one sleigh ride this year, And I cum within one of not bein’ here, The facts I’ll relate near as I kin remember, It happened some time ’bout last December. Li too ra loo ri too ra loo
ri too ra loo la ri do.

The load was composed of both girls and boys, All tryin’ to outdo the other in noise. And the way that we guarded agin the cold weather Wuz settin’ all up spoon fashion together. Li too ra loo ri too ra loo
ri too ra loo ri li do.

Wall, they had a parrit in that place and the way he sputtered and jabbered and
talked! He wuz a whole show all to himself. Wall, I bought one of them birds from
a feller one time–he said it wuz a good talker. Wall, I took it hum and hed it
about three months, and it never sed a durned word. I put in most of my spare
time tryin’ to git it to say “Uncle Josh,” but the durned critter wouldn’t do it, so I got mad at him one day and throwed him out in the barn yard amongst the chickens, and left him thar. Wall, when I went out the next mornin’, I tell you thar wuz a sight. Half of them chickens wuz dead, and the rest of ’em wuz skeered to death, and that durned parrit had a rooster by the neck up agin the barn, and jist a givin’ him an awful whippin’, and every time he’d hit him he’d say, “Now you say Uncle Josh, gol durn you, you say Uncle Josh.”

Uncle Josh in Wall Street

I USED to read in our town paper down home at Punkin Centre a whole lot about Wall street and them bulls and bears, and one thing and another, so I jist sed to myself–now
Joshua, when you git down to New York City, that’s jist what you want to see. Wall, when I got to New York, I got a feller to show me whar it wuz, and I’ll be durned
if I know why they call it Wall street; it didn’t hav any wall round it. I walked up and down it bout an hour and a half,
and I couldn’t find any stock exchange or see any place fer watterin’ any stock. I couldn’t see a pig nor a cow, nor a sheep nor a calf, or anything else that looked like stock to me. So finally I sed to a gentleman– Mister, whar do they keep the menagery
down here. He sed “what menagery?”
I sed the place whar they’ve got all them bulls and bears a fitin’. Wall he looked at me as though he thought I wuz crazy,
and I guess he did, but he sed “you cum along with me, guess I can show you what you want to see.” Wall I went along with him, and he took me up to some public institushun, near as I could make out it wuz a
loonytick asylem. Wall he took me into a room about two akers and a half squar, and thar wuz about two thousand of the crazyest men in thar I ever seen in all my life. The minnit I sot eyes on them I knowed they wuz all crazy, and I’d hav to umer them if I got out of thar alive. One feller wuz a standin’ on the top of a table with a lot of papers in his hand, and a yellin’ like a Comanche
injin, and all the rest of them wuz tryin’ to git at him. Finally I sed to one of ’em– Mister, what are you a tryin’ to do with that feller up thar on the table? And he sed, “Wall he’s got five thousand bushels of
wheat and we are tryin’ to git it away from him.” Wall, jist the minnit he sed that I knowed fer certain they wuz all crazy, cos nobody but a crazy man would ever think
he had five thousand bushels of wheat in his coat and pants pockits. Wall when they
wan’t a looking I got out of thar, and I felt mighty thankful to git out. There wuz a
feller standin’ on the front steps; he had a sort of a unyform on; I guess he wuz Superintendent of the institushun; he talked purty
sassy to me. I sed, Mister, what time does the fust car go up town. He sed “the fust one went about twenty-five years ago.” I sed to him–is that my car over thar? He sed “no sir, that car belongs to the street car company.” I sez, wall guess I’ll take it anyhow. He says “you’d better not, thar’s bin
a good many cars missed around here lately.” I sed, wall now, I want to know, is thar anything round here any fresher than you be? He sed, “yes, sir, that bench
you’re a sotten on is a little fresher; they painted it about ten minnits ago.” Wall, I got up and looked, and durned if he wasn’t right.

Uncle Josh and the Fire Department

ONE day in New York, I thot I’d rite a letter home. Wall after I’d got it all writ, I sed to the landlord of the tavern–now, whar abouts in New York do you keep the post offis? And he sed, “what do you want with the post
offis?” So I told him I’d jist writ a letter home to mother and Samantha Ann, and
I’d like to go to the post offis and mail it. And he told me “you don’t have to
go to the post offis, do you see that little box on the post thar on the corner?” I
alowed as how I did. Wall he says, “You jist go out thar and put your letter in that box, and it will go right to the post offis.” I sed–wall now, gee whiz, ain’t that handy. Wall I went out thar, and I had a good deal of trouble in gittin’ the box open, and when I did git it open, thar wan’t any place to put my letter, thar wuz a lot of notes and hooks and hinges, and a lot of readin,’ it sed– “pull on the hook twice and turn the knob,” or somethin, like that, I couldn’t jist rightly make it out. Wall I yanked on that hook
’till I tho’t I’d pull it out by the roots, but I couldn’t git the durned thing open, then I turned on the knob two or three times, and that didn’t do any good, so I pulled on the hook and turned on the knob at the same
time, and jist then I think all the fire bells in New York commenced to ringin’ all to
onct. Wall I looked round to see whar the fire wuz, and a lot of fire ingines and hook and ladder wagons cum a gallopin’ up to
whar I stood, and they had a big sody water bottle on wheels, and it busted and squirted sody water all over me. Wall one of them fire fellers, lookin’ jist like I’d seen them in picters in Ezra Hoskin’s insurance papers, he cum up to me madder’n a hornet, and he sed “what are you tryin’ to do with that box?” So I told him I’d jist writ a letter home, and I wuz a tryin’ to mail it. He sed “why you durned old green horn, you’ve
called out the hull fire department of New York City.” Wall I guess you could have
knocked me down with a feather. I sed– wall you’r a purty healthy lookin’ lot of fellers, it won’t hurt ye any to go back, will it? Wall he sed, “thars your letter box over on thother corner, now you let this box
alone.” Wall they all drove away, and I went over to the other box, but I didn’t know whether to touch it or not, I didn’t know but maybe I’d call out the state legislater if I opened it. Wall while I wuz a
standin’ thar a feller cum along and looked all round, and when he thot thar wan’t any body watchin’ him, he opened that box and commenced takin’ the letters out. Wall I’d heered a whole lot ’bout them post offis robbers, when I wuz post master down home at Punkin Center, so jist arrested him right thar, I took him by the nap of the neck and flopped him right down on the side walk, and sot on him, I hollered–MURDER! PERLEES! and every other thing I could think of, and a lot of constables and town marshalls cum a runnin’ up, and one of them sed “what are you holdin’ this man fer?” and I told him I’d caught him right in the act of robbin’ the United States Post Offis, and by gosh I arrested him. Wall they all commenced a
laffin’, and I found out I’d arrested one of the post masters of New York City.

I lost mother’s letter and she never did git it.

Uncle Josh in an Auction Room

I’D seen a good many funny things in New York at one time and another, so the last day I wuz thar, I wuz a packin’ up my traps, a gittin’ ready to go home, when I jist conclooded I’d go out and buy somethin’ to remember New York by.

Wall I wuz a walkin’ along down the
street when I cum to a place whar they wuz auckshuneerin’ off a lot of things. I stopped to see what they had to sell. Wall that place wuz jist chuck full of old-fashioned cooriositys. I saw an old book thar, they sed it wuz
five hundred years old, and it belonged at one time to Loois the Seventeenth or Eighteenth, or some of them old rascals; durned
if I believe anybody could read it.

Wall I commenced a biddin’ on different things, but it jist looked as though everybody had more money than I did, and they
sort of out-bid me; but finally they put up an old-fashioned shugar bowl fer sale, and I wanted to git that mighty bad, cos I thought as how mother would like it fust rate. Wall I commenced a biddin’ on it, and it wuz
knocked down to me fer three dollars and fifty cents I put my hand in my pockit to git my pockit book to pay fer it, and by gosh it was gone. So I went up to the feller what wuz a sellin’ the things, and I sed–now look here mister, will you jist wait a minnit with your “goin’ at thirty make it thirty-five, once, twice, three times a goin'”, and he sed “wall now what’s the matter with you?” And I sed, there’s matter enuff, by gosh; when I cum in here I had a pockit book in my pockit, had fifty dollars in it, and I lost it somewhars round here; I wish you’d say to the feller what found it that I’ll give five dollars fer it; another feller sed “make it ten,” another sed “give you twenty,” and another sed “go you twenty-five.”

Durned if I know which one of ’em got it; when I left they wuz still a biddin’ on it.

Advice–Advice is somethin’ the other feller can’t use, so he gives it to you.
–Punkin Centre Philosophy.

Uncle Josh on a Fifth Ave. ‘Bus

I WUZ always sort of fond of ridin’, so I guess while I wuz down in New York I rode on about everything they’ve got to ride on thar. I wuz on hoss cars and hot air cars, and them sky light elevated roads. Wall, I
had jist about cum to the conclushun that every street in New York had a different kind of a street car on it, but I found one that didn’t have care of any kind, I think they call it Avenoo Five. Wall, I wuz a
standin’ thar one day a watchin’ the people and things go by, when all to onct along cum the durndest lookin’ contraption I calculate I ever seen in my life. It wuz a sort of a wagon, kind of a cross between a band wagon and a hay rack, and it had a pair of stairs what commenced at the hind end and rambled around all over the wagon. I sed to a
gentleman standin’ thar: “Mr. in the name of all that’s good and bad, what do you call that thing?” He sed: “Wall, sir, that’s a Fifth Avenoo ‘bus.” I sed: “Wall, now,
I want to know, kin I ride on it?” And he sed: “You kin if you’ve got a nickel.”
Wall, I got in and sot down, and I jist about busted my buttins a laffin’ at things what happened in that ‘bus. Thar wuz a young
lady cum in and sot down, and she had a little valise in her hand, ’bout a foot squar. Wall, she opened the valise and took out a purse and shet the valise, then she opened the purse and took out a dime, and shet the purse, opened the valise and put in the
purse, and shet the valise, then she handed the dime to a feller sottin’ out on the front of the ‘bus, and he give her a nickel back. Then she opened the valise and took out the purse, shet the valise and opened the purse and put in the nickel and shet the purse, opened the valise and put in the purse and shet the valise, then sed, “Stop the bus, please.” Wall, I had to snicker right out, though I done my best not to, but I jist couldn’t help it. I didn’t have any small change so I handed the feller a five-dollar bill. Wall, that feller jist sot and looked at it fer a spell, then he sed “whoa!” stopped the hosses, cum round to the hind end of the ‘bus and he sed: “Who give me that
five-dollar bill?” I sed: “I did, and it was a good one, too.” He sed: “Wall,
you cum out here, I want to see you.” Wall, I didn’t know what he wanted, but I jist made up my mind if he indulged in any foolishness with me I’d flop him in about a minnit. Wall, I got out thar, and he sed: “Now look here, honest injun, did you give me that five-dollar bill?” I sed: “Yes,
sir, that’s jist what I done,” and he sed, “Wall, now, which one of the hosses do you want?” Gosh, I don’t believe I’d gin him five dollars fer the whole durned outfit. —-

Ambition–Somethin’ that has made one man a senator, and another man a convict.
–Punkin Centre Philosophy

Uncle Josh in a Department Store

ONE day while I wuz in New York I sed to a feller, now whar kin I find one of them
stores whar they hav purty near everything to sell what thar is on earth, and he sed “I guess you mean a department store, don’t you?” I sed, wall I don’t know bout that; they may sell departments at one of them stores, but what I want to git is some muzlin
and some caliker. Wall he showed me which way to go, and I started out, and
wuz walkin’ along down the street lookin’ at things, when some feller throwed
a bananer peelin’ on the sidewalk. Wall now I don’t think much of a man what
throws a bananer peelin’ on the sidewalk, and I don’t think much of a bananer
what throws a man on the sidewalk,
neether. Wall, by chowder, my foot hit that bananer peelin’ and I went up in the air, and cum down ker-plunk, and fer about a minnit I seen all the stars what stronomy tells about, and some that haint been discovered yit. Wall jist as I wuz pickin’ myself
up a little boy cum runnin’ cross the street and he sed “Oh mister, won’t you please do that agin, my mother didn’t see you do it.” Wall I wish I could a got my hands on that little rascal fer about a minnit, and his mother would a seen me do it.

I found one of them stores finally, and I got on the inside and told a feller what I wanted, and he sent me over to a red-headed girl, and she sent me over to a bald-headed feller; she sed he didn’t have anythin’ to do only walk the floor and answer questions. Wall I went up to him and I sed, mister I’m sort of a stranger round here, wish you’d show me round ’til I do a little bargainin’. And he sed “Oh you git out, you’ve got hay seed in your hair.” Wall I jist looked at that bald head of hisn, and I sed, wall now, you haint got any hay seed in YOUR hair, hav you? Everybody commenced a laffin’, and he got purty riled, so he sed, smart like, “jist step this way, please.” Wall he showed me round and I bought what I wanted, and
when I cum to pay the feller what I had to pay, it didn’t look as though I wuz a goin’ to git any of my money back. I handed him a ten dollar bill, and he jist took it and put it in a little baskit and hitched it onto a wire, and the durned thing commenced runnin’
all over the store. Wall now you can jist bet your boots I lit out right after it; I chased it up one side and down the other, I knocked down five or six wimmin clerks, and I upset five or six bargain counters; I took a wrastle out of that bald-headed feller, and jist then some one commenced to holler “CASH” and
I sed yep, that’s what I’m after. Wall I chased that durned little baskit round ’til I got up to it, and when I did I was right thar whar I started from. Gee whiz, I never felt more foolish in all my life.

Prosperity–Consists principally of contentment; for the man who is contented is prosperous, in his own way of thinking, though his neighbors may have a different opinion.
–Punkin Centre Philosophy.

Uncle Josh’s Comments on the Signs Seen in New York

I SEEN a good many funny things when I wuz in New York, but I think some of the sines what they’ve got on some of the bildins’ are ’bout as funny as anything I ever seen in my life.

I wuz walkin’ down the street one day and I seen a sine, it sed “Quick Lunch.” Wall, I felt a little hungry, so I went into the resturant or bordin’ house, or whatever they call it, and they had some sines hangin’ on the walls in thar that jist about made me laff all over. I noticed one sine sed “Put your trust in the Lord,” and right under it wuz another sine what sed “Try our mince pies.” Wall, I tried one of them, and I
want to tell you right now, if you eat many of them mince pies you want to put your
trust in the Lord.

Wall, I got out of thar, and I walked along fer quite a spell, and finally I cum to a store what had a lot of red, white and blue, and yeller and purple lights in the winder. Wall, I stopped to look at it, cos it wuz a purty thing, and they had a sine in that winder that jist tickled me, it sed, “Frog in
your throat 10C.” I wouldn’t put one of them critters in my throat fer ten dollars.

Wall, jist a little further up the street I seen another sine what sed “Boots blacked on the inside.” Now, any feller what gits his boots blacked on the inside ain’t got much respect fer his socks. I git mine
blacked on the outside. Then I cum to a sine what had a lot of ‘lectric lights shinin’ on it, and I could read it jist as plain as day; so I happened to turn round and when I
looked at that sine agin, it wa’nt the same sine at all, and jist then it changed right in front of my very eyes, and I cum to the conclooshun that some feller on the inside wuz
a turnin’ on it jist to have fun with folks, so I cum away; but I had a mighty good laff or two watchin’ other folks git fooled, cos it would turn fust one way and then the t’other, and ‘fore you could make up your mind
what it wuz, the durned thing wouldn’t be that at all.

A little further up the street I seen a sine what sed, “This is the door.” Now, any
durned fool could see it wuz a door. And then I seen another sine what sed “Walk
in.” Wall, now, I wunder how in thunder they thought a feller wuz a goin’ to cum in, on hoss back, or on a bisickle, or how. And then I seen another sine, it wuz in a winder and had a lot of tools around it, and the sine sed, “Cast iron sinks.” Wall, now, any
durned fool what don’t know that cast iron sinks, ought to have some one feel his head and find out what ails him.

Uncle Josh on a Street Car

NOW I’ll jist bet I had more fun to the squar inch while I wuz in New York, than any old feller what ever broke out of a New England smoke house. I had a little the durnd’st time a ridin’ on them street cars what they got thar. Wall I wa’nt a ridin’ on ’emnear as much as I wuz a runnin’ after ’em tryin’ to ketch ’em. Gosh, I wuz a runnin’ after street cars and fire ingines, and every durned thing with red wheels on it, I calculate I run about a mile and a half after a feller one day to tell him the water what he had in his wagon wuz all leakin’ out, and when I caught up to him I found out it wuz a durned old sprinklin’ cart.

Wall I got on one of them street cars one day, and it wuz purty crowded, and thar
wa’nt any place fer me to sot down, so I had to hang onto one of them little harness straps along side of the car. So I got holt of a strap and I wuz hangin’ on, when the conductor sed “old man, you’r goin’ to be in
the road thar, you’d better move up a little further, wall I moved up a little ways and I stepped on a feller’s toe, and gee whiz, he got madder’n a wet hen, he sed, ‘can’t you see whar you’r a steppin’?” I sed, “guess I kin, but you brought them feet in here, and I’ve got to step some whar.” Wall
every one begin to laff, and the conductor sed, “old man you’r makin’ too much trouble, you’ll have to move for’ard again,” and
I got off ‘n the gosh durned old car; I paid him a nickel to ride, but I guess I might as well have walked, I wuz a walkin’ purty
much all the time I wuz in thar.

Wall I got onto another car, and I got sot down, and I never laffed so much in all my life. Up in one end of the car thar wuz a little slim lady, and right along side of her wuz a big fleshy lady, and it didn’t look as though the little slim lady wuz a gittin’ more’n about two cents and a half worth of room, so finally she turned round to the fleshy lady and sed, “they ought to charge by weight on this line,” and the big lady sed “Wall if they did they wouldn’t stop fer you.” Gosh I had to snicker right out loud.

Thar wuz a little boy a sottin’ alongside of the big lady, and three ladys got onto the car all to onct, and thar wa’nt any place fer ’em to sot down, and so the big lady sed– “little boy, you’d oughter git up and let one of them ladys sot down,” and the little boy sed, “you git up and they can all sot down.” Wall by that time your uncle wuz a laffin’ right out.

Sottin’ right alongside of me wuz a lady and the had the purtiest little baby I calculate I’d ever seen in all my born days, I
wanted to be sociable with the little feller so I jist sort of waved my hand at him, and sed how-d’e-do baby, and that lady just
looked et me scornful like and sed “rubber,” wall I wuz never more sot back, I guess you could have knocked me down with a feather, I thought it was a genuine baby, I didn’t know the little thing was rubber.

Wall I noticed up in one end of the car thar wuz a little round masheen, and the conductor had a clothes line tied to it, and every time he got a nickel he’d yank on that clothes line, and fust it sed in and then it sed out, I couldn’t tell what all them little ins and outs meant, but I jist cum to the conclusion it showed how much the conductor
wuz in and the company wuz out.

Wall I got to talkin’ to that feller on the front end of the car, and he wuz a purty nice sort of a feller, he showed me how
every thing worked and told me all about it, wall when I got off I sed–good bye, mister, hope I’ll see you agin some time, and he sed, “oh, I’ll run across you one of these days,” I told him by gosh he wouldn’t run across me if I seen him a comin’.

My Fust Pair of Copper Toed Boots

THAR’S a feelin’ of pleasure, mixed in with some pain,

That over my memory scoots,

When I think of my boyhood days once again

And my fust pair of copper toed boots.

How our folks stood around when I fust tried them on,

And bravely marched out on the floor,

And father remarked “thar a mighty good fit

And the best to be had at the store.”

That night, I remember, I took them to bed,

With the rest of us little galoots,

And among other things in my prars which I sed

Wuz a reference to copper toed boots.

And then in the mornin’ the fust one on hand

Wuz me and my new acquisition,

And thar wuzn’t a spot in the house that I missed,

From the garret clar down to the kitchen.

Then with feelin’s expandin’, and huntin’ fer room,

I concluded I’d help do the chores;

Fer I felt as though somethin’ wuz goin’ to bust

If I didn’t git right out of doors.

But those boots they were new, and the ice it wuz slick,

And I couldn’t get one way or tother,

And I jist had to stand right there in one spot

And holler like thunder fer mother.

But trouble’s a blessing sometimes in disguise

Fer I larned right thar on the spot,

That the best sort of knowledge to hav in this world

Is that by experience taught.

So though many years have since passed away,

And I’ve ventured on various routes,

I’m still tryin’ things jist as risky today

As my fust pair of copper toed boots.

Uncle Josh in Police Court

I NEVER wuz in a town in my life what had as many cort houses in it as New York has got. It jist seemed to me like every judge in New York had a cort house of his own, and
most of them cort houses seemed to be along side of some markit house. Thar
wuz the Jefferson Markit Cort, and the Essicks Markit Cort, and several other corts
and markits, and markits and corts, I can’t remember now. Wall, I used to be Jestice of the Peece down home at Punkin Center, and I wuz a little anxious to see how they handled law and jestice in New York City, so one mornin’ I went down to one of them cort houses, and thar wuz more different kinds of people in thar than I ever seen afore. Thar wuz all kinds of nationalitys– Norweegans, Germans, Sweeds, Hebrews,
and Skandynavians, Irish and colored folks, old and young, dirty and clean, good, bad and worse. The Judge, he wuz a sottin’ up on the bench, and a sayin,: “Ten days;
ten dollars; Geery society; foundlin’ asylum; case dismissed; bring in the next prisoner,” and the Lord only knows what else.
Wall, some of the cases they tried in that cort house made me snicker right out loud. They brought in a little Irish feller, and the Judge sed: “Prisoner, what is your name?” And the little Irish feller sed: “Judge, your honor, my name is McGiness, Patrick
McGiness.” And the Judge sed: “Mr.
McGiness, what is your occupation?” And the little Irish feller sed: “Judge, your honor, I am a sailor.” The Judge sed:
“Mr. McGiness, you don’t look to me as though you ever saw a ship in all your life.” And the little Irish feller sed: “Wall
Judge, your honor, if I never saw a ship in me life, do you think I cum over from Ireland in a wagon?” The Judge sed: “Case
dismissed. Bring in the next prisoner.”

Wall, the next prisoner what they brought in had sort of an impediment in his talk, and the way he stuttered jist beat all. The
Judge sed: “Prisoner, what is your name?” And the prisoner sed: “Jd-Jd-J-J-Judge,
yr-yr-yo-yo-your h-h-h-hon-hon-honor, m-mm-my-my n-n-na-na-name is-is-is—-.” The
Judge sed: “Never mind, that will do. Officer, what is this prisoner charged with?” And the officer sed: “Judge, your honor, the way he talks sounds to me like he might be charged with sody water.” Gosh, I got to laffin’ so I had to git right out of the cort house.

It sort of made me think of a law soot we had down hum when Jim Lawson wuz Jestice of the Peece. You see it wuz like this:
One spring Si Pettingill wuz goin’ out to Mizoori to be gone ’bout a year, and he’d sold off ’bout all his things ‘cept one cow, and he didn’t want to part with the cow, ’cause she wuz a mighty good milker, so he struck a bargin with Lige Willet. Lige wuz to keep the cow, paster and feed her, and generally take keer on her fer the milk she giv. Wall, finally Si cum hum, and he went to Lige’s place one day and sed: “Wall,
Lige, I’ve cum over to git my cow.” And Lige sed: “Cum after your cow? Wall,
if you’ve got any cow round here I’ll be durned if I know it.” Si sed: “Wall,
Lige, I left my cow with you.” And Lige sed: “Wall, that’s a year ago, and she’s et her head off two or three times since then.” So Si sed: “Wall, Lige, you’ve had her
milk fer her keep.” And Lige sed: “Milk be durned, she went dry three weeks after you left, and she ain’t give any milk since, and near as I can figger it out, seems to me as how I’ve pestered her and fed her all this time, she’s my cow.” Si sed: “No, Lige,
that wa’nt the bargin.” But Lige sed: “Bargin or no bargin, I’ve got her, and
seein’ as how posession is ’bout nine points in the law, I’m goin’ to keep her.”

So they went to law about it, and all Punkin Centre turned out to heer the trial. Wall, after Jim Lawson had heered both
sides of the case, he sed: “The Cort is compelled, from the evidence sot forth in this case, to find for the plaintiff, the aforesaid Silas Pettingill, as agin’ the defendant, the aforesaid Elijah Willet. We find from the evidence sot forth that the cow critter in question is a valuable critter, and wuth more ‘n a year’s paster and keep, and, tharfore, it is the verdict of this cort that the aforesaid defendant, Elijah Willet, shall keep the cow two weeks longer, and then she is hisn.”

Uncle Josh at Coney Island

I’D heerd tell a whole lot at various times ’bout that place what they call Coney Iland, and while I wuz down In New York, I jist made up my mind I wuz a goin’ to see it, so one day I got on one of them keers what
goes across the Brooklyn bridge, and I started out for Coney Iland. Settin’ right along side of me in the keer wuz an old lady, and she seemed sort of figity ’bout somethin’ or other, and finaly she sed to me “mister, do these cars stop when we git on the other side of the bridge?” I sed, wall now if they
don’t you’ll git the durndest bump you ever got in your life.

Wall we got on the other side, and I got on one of them tra-la-lu cars what goes down to Coney Iland. I give the car feller a dollar, and he put it in his pockit jist the same as if it belonged to him. Wall, when I wuz gittin’ purty near thar I sed, Mister, don’t I git any change? He sed, “didn’t you see that sign on the car?” I sed, no sir. Wall he sez “you better go out and look at it.”

Wall I went out and looked at it, and that settled it. It sed “This car goes to Coney Iland without change.” Guess it did; I’ll be durned if I got any.

Wall we got down thar, and I must say of all the pandemonium and hubbub I ever heered in my life, Coney Iland beats it all. Bout the fust thing I seen thar wuz a place what they called “Shoot the Shoots.” It
looked like a big hoss troff stood on end, one end in a duck pond and tother end up in the air, and they would haul a boat up to the top and all git in and then cum scootin’ down the hoss troff into the pond. Wall I alowed that ud be right smart fun, so I got into one of the boats along with a lot of other folks I never seed afore and don’t keer if I never see agin. They yanked us up to the top of that troff and then turned us loose, and I jist felt as though the whole earth had run off and left us. We went down that troff lickety split, and a woman what wuz settin’ alongside of me, got skeered and grabbed me round the neck; and I sed, you let go of me you brazen female critter. But she jist hung on and hollered to beat thunder, and everybody wuz a yellin’ all to onct, and that durned boat wuz a goin’ faster’n greased lightnin’ and I had one hand on my pockit book and tother on my hat, and we went
kerslap dab into that duck pond, and the durned boat upsot and we went into the
water, and that durned female critter hung onto me and hollered “save me, I’m jist a drownin’.” Wall the water wasn’t very deep and I jist started to wade out when along cum another boat and run over us, and
under we went ker-souse. Wall I managed to get out to the bank, and that female
woman sed I was a base vilian to not rescue a lady from a watery grave. And I jist told her if she had kept her mouth shet she
wouldn’t hav swallered so much of the pond.

Wall they had one place what they called the Middle Way Plesumps, and another place what they called The Streets of Caro, and they had a lot of shows a goin’ on along thar. Wall I went into one of ’em and sot down, and I guess if they hadn’t of shet up the show I’d a bin sottin’ thar yet. I purty near busted my buttins a laffin’. They had a lot of gals a dancin’ some kind of a dance; I don’t know what they called it, but it sooted me fust rate. When I got home, the more
I thought about it the more I made up my mind I’d learn that dance. Wall I went out in the corn field whar none of the neighbors could see me, and I’ll be durned if I
didn’t knock down about four akers of corn, but I never got that dance right. I wuz the talk of the whole community; mother didn’t speak to me fer about a week, and Aunt
Nancy Smith sed I wuz a burnin’ shame and a disgrace to the village, but I notice Nancy has asked me a good many questions about jist how it was, and I wouldn’t wonder if we didn’t find Nancy out in the cornfield one of these days.

Uncle Josh at the Opera

WALL, I sed to mother when I left hum, now mother, when I git down to New York City I’m goin’ to see a regular first-class theater. We never had many theater doin’s down our way. Wall, thar wuz a theater troop cum to Punkin Centre along last summer, but we
couldn’t let ’em hav the Opery House to show in ’cause it wuz summer time and the Opery House wuz full of hay, and we couldn’t let ’em hav it ’cause we hadn’t any place to put the hay. An then about a year and a half ago thar wuz a troop cum along that wuz somethin’ about Uncle Tom’s home;
they left a good many of their things behind ’em when they went away. Ezra Hoskins
he got one of the mules, and he tried to hitch it up one day; Doctor says he thinks Ezra will be around in about six weeks. I traded one of the dogs to Ruben Hendricks fer a shot gun; Rube cum over t’other day, borrowed the gun and shot the dog.

Wall, I got into one of your theaters here, got sot down and wuz lookin’ at it; and it wuz a mighty fine lookin’ pictur with a lot of lights shinin’ on it, and I wuz enjoyin’ it fust rate, when a lot of fellers cum out with horns and fiddles, and they all started in to fiddlin’ and tootin’, end all to once they pulled the theatre up, and thar wuz a lot of folks having a regular family quarrel. I knowed that wasn’t any of my business, and I sort of felt uneasy like; but none of the rest of the folks seemed to mind it any, so I calculated I’d see how it cum out, though my hands sort of itched to get hold of one feller, ’cause I could see if he would jest go ‘way and tend to his own business thar wouldn’t be any quarrel. Wall, jest then a young feller handed me a piece of paper what told all about the theater doin’s, and I got to lookin’ at that and I noticed on it whar it sed thar wuz five years took place ‘tween the fust part and the second part. I knowed durned well I wouldn’t have time to wait and see the second part, so I got up and went out. Wall, them theater doin’s jest put me in mind of somethin’ what happened down
hum on the last day of school. You see the school teacher got all the big boys and the big girls, and the boys they read essays and the girls recited poetry. One of the Skinner girls recited a piece that sooted me fust rate. Neer as I kin remember it went somethin’ like this:

How nice to hear the bumble-bee
When you go out a fishin’,
But if you happen to sot down on him, He’ll spoil your disposition.

I liked that; thar wuz somethin’ so
touchin’ about it. Then the school teacher he got all the girls in the ‘stronomy class and he dressed them up to represent the different kinds of planits. He had one girl to represent the sun–she wuz red-headed; and another one to represent the moon, and another
one fer Mars, and another one fer Jerupetir, and it looked mighty fine, and everythin’ wuz a gettin’ along fust rate ’til old Jim Lawson ‘lowed he could make an improvement on it; so he went out and got a colord
girl, and he wanted to sot her between the sun and the moon and make an eklips. And as usual he busted up the whole doin’s.

Uncle Josh at Delmonico’s

I USED to hear the summer boarders tell a whole lot about a place here in New York kept by Mr. Delmonico. Thar’s
bin about ten thousand summer
boarders down to Punkin Centre
one time and another, and I guess I’ve carried the bundles and stood the grumblin’ from about all of them; and when anyone of ’em would find fault with anythin’ I used to ast him whar he boarded at in New York,
and they all told me at Mr. Delmonico’s; so I’d cum to the conclusion that Mr. Delmonico must hav a right smart purty good sized
tavern; and I sed to mother–now mother, when I git down to New York that’s whar
I’m goin’ to board, at Mr. Delmonico’s.

Wall, I got a feller to show me whar it wuz, and when I got on the inside I don’t s’pose I wuz ever more sot back in all my life; guess you could have knocked my eyes off with a club; they stuck out like bumps on a log. Wall sir, they had flowers and birds everywhere, and trees a settin’ in wash tubs, didn’t look to me as though they would stand much of a gale; and about a hundred and fifty patent wind mills runnin’ all to onct, and out in the woods somewhar they had a band a-playin’. I couldn’t see ’em but I could hear ’em; guess some of ’em
wuz a havin’ a dance to settle down their dinner; I couldn’t tell whether it was a society festival or a camp meetin’ at feedin’
time. Wall, one feller cum up to me and commenced talkin’ some furrin language I didn’t understand, somethin’ about bon-sour, mon-sour. I jist made up my mind he wuz
one of them bunco fellers, and I wouldn’t talk to him. Then another feller cum up
right smart like and wanted to know if I’d hav my dinner table de hotel or all over a card, and I told him if it wuz all the same to him he could bring me my dinner on a plate. Wall, he handed me a programme of the
dinner and I et about half way down it and drank a bottle of cider pop what he give me, and it got into my head, and I never felt so durn good in all my life. I got to singin’ and I danced Old Dan Tucker right thar in the dinin’ room, and I took a wrestle out of Mr. bon-sour mon-sour; and jist when I got to enjoyin’ myself right good, they called in alot of constables, and it cost me sixteen dollars and forty-five cents, and then they took me out ridin’ in a little blue wagon with a bell on it, and they kept ringin’ the bell every foot of the way to let folks know I wuz one of Mr. Delmonico’s boarders.

It is Fall

THE days are gettin’ shorter, and
the summer birds are leaving,

The wind sighs in the tree tops,
as though all nature was grieving;

The leaves they drop in showers, there’s a blue haze over all,

And a feller is reminded that once again it’s Fall.

It is a glorious season, the crops most gathered in,

The wheat is in the granary and the oats are in the bin;

A feller jest feels splendid, right in harmony with all,

The old cider mill a-humin’, ‘gosh, I know it’s Fall.

I hear the Bob White whistlin’ down by the water mill,

While dressed in gorgeous colors is each valley, knoll and hill;

The cows they are a-lowing, as they slowly wander home,

And the hives are just a-bustin’ with the honey in the comb.

Soon be time for huskin’ parties, or an apple paring bee,

And the signs of peace and plenty are just splendid for to see;

The flowers they are drooping, soon there won’t be none at all,

Old Jack Frost has nipped them, and by that I know it’s Fall.

The muskrat has built himself a house down by the old mill pond,

The squirrels are laying up their store from the chestnut trees beyond;

While walking through the orchard I can hear the ripe fruit fall;

There’s an air of quiet comfort that only comes with Fall.

The wind is cool and bracing, and it makes you feel first-rate,

And there’s work to keep you going from early until late;

So you feel like giving praises unto Him who doeth all,

Nature heaps her blessings on you at this season, and it’s Fall.

The nights are getting frosty and the fire feels pretty good,

I like to see the flames creep up among the burning wood;

Away across the hilltops I can hear the hoot owl call,

He is looking for his supper, I guess he knows its Fall.

And though the year is getting old and the trees will soon be bare,

There’s a satisfactory feeling of enough and some to spare;

For there’s still some poor and needy who for our help do call,

So we’ll share with them our blessings and be thankful that it’s Fall.

Si Pettingill’s Brooms

WALL, one day jist shortly after sap season wuz over, we wuz all sottin’ round Ezra Hoskins’s store, talkin’ on things in general, when up drove Si Pettingill with a load of brooms. Wall, we all took a long breath, and got ready to see some as tall bargainin’ as wuz ever done in Punkin Centre. ‘Cause Si, he could see a bargain through a six-inch plank on a dark night, and Ezra could hear a dollar bill rattle in a bag of feathers a mile off, and we all felt mighty sartin suthin’ wuz a goin’ to happen. Wall, Si, he sort er stood ’round, didn’t say much, and Ezra got most uncommonly busy–he had more business
than a town marshal on circus day.

Wall, after he had sold Aunt Nancy
Smith three yards of caliker, and Ruben Hendricks a jack-knife, and swapped Jim
Lawson a plug of tobacker fer a muskrat hide, he sed: “How’s things over your
way, Si?” Si remarked: “things wuz
’bout as usual, only the water had bin most uncommon high, White Fork had busted
loose and overflowed everything, Sprosby’s mill wuz washed out, and Lige Willits’s
paster wuz all under water, which made it purty hard on the cows, and Lige had to
strain the milk two or three times to git the minnews out of it. Whitaker’s young ‘uns wuz all havin’ measles to onct, and thar wuz a revival goin’ on at the Red Top Baptist church, and most every one had got religion, and things wuz a runnin’ ‘long ’bout
as usual.”

Deacon Witherspoon sed: “Did you
git religion, Si?” Si sed: “No, Deacon; I got baptized, but it didn’t take–calculated I might as well have it done while thar wuz plenty of water.”

“Thought I’d cum over today, Ezra;
I’ve got some brooms I’d like to sell ye.” Ezra sed: “Bring ’em in, Si, spring house cleanin’ is comin’ on and I’ll most likely need right smart of brooms, so jist bring ’em in.” Si sed: “Wall, Ezra, don’t see as
thar’s any need to crowd the mourners, can’t we dicker on it a little bit; I want cash fer these brooms, Ezra, I don’t want any store trade fer ’em.” Ezra sed: “Wall, I don’t know ’bout that, Si; seems to me that’s a gray hoss of another color, I always gin ye store trade fer your eggs, don’t I?” Si sed: “Y-a-s–, and that’s a gray hoss of another color; ye never seen a hen lay brooms, did ye? Brooms is sort of article of commerce, Ezra, and I want cash fer ’em.” Wall,
Ezra, he looked ’round the store and thot fer a spell, and then he sed: “Tell ye what I’ll do, Si; I’ll gin ye half cash and the other half trade, how’ll that be?” Si sed:
“Guess that’ll be all right, Ezra. Whar will I put the brooms?” Ezra sed: “Put
them in the back end of the store, Si, and stack ’em up good; I hadn’t got much room, and I’ve got a lot of things comin’ in from Boston and New York.” Wall, after Si had the brooms all in, he sed: “Wall, thar they be, five dozen on ’em.” Ezra sed: “Sure
thar’s five dozen?” Si sed: “Yas; counted ’em on the wagon, counted ’em off agin,
and counted ’em when I made ’em.” So Ezra sed: “Wall, here’s your money; now
what do you want in trade?” Si looked ’round fer a spell and sed: “I don’t know, Ezra; don’t see anything any of our folks pertickerly stand in need on. If it’s all the same to you, Ezra, I’ll take BROOMS?”

Wall, Jim Lawson fell off’n a wash-tub and Ruben Hendricks cut his thumb with
his new jack-knife, and Deacon Witherspoon sed: “No, Si, that baptizin’ didn’t
take. And Ezra–wall, it wan’t his say.


Suspicion–Consists mainly of thinking what we would do if we wuz in the other feller’s place. –Punkin Centre Philosophy.

Uncle Josh Plays Golf

WALL, about two weeks ago the boys sed to me, Uncle we’d like to hav you cum out and play a game of golf. Wall, they took me out behind the woodshed whar mother couldn’t
see us and them durned boys dressed your uncle up in the dogondest suit of
clothes I ever had on in my life. I had on a pair of socks that had more different colors in ’em than in Joseph’s coat. I looked like a cross atween a monkey and a cirkus rider, and a-goin’ across the medder our turkey gobbler took after me and I had an awful time with that fool bird. I calculate as how I’ll git even with him ’bout Thanksgiving time.

Wall, the boys took me into the paster, and they had it all dug up into what they called a “T,” and they had a wheelbarrer full of little Injun war clubs. They called one a nibbler, and another a brassie, and a lot of other fool names I never heerd afore, and can’t remember now. Then they
brought out a little wooden ball ’bout as big as a hen’s egg, and they stuck it up on a little hunk of mud. Then they told me to take one of them thar war clubs and stand alongside of the ball and hit it. Wall, I jist peeled off my coat and got a good holt on that war club and I jist whaled away at that durned little ball, and by gum I missed it, and the boys all commenced to holler “foozle.”

Wall, I got a little bit riled and I whaled away at it again, and I hit it right whar I missed it the fust time, and I whirled round and sot down so durned hard I sot four back teeth to akin, and I pawed round in the air and knocked a lot of it out of place. I hit myself on the shin and on the pet corn at the same time, and them durned boys wuz jist a- rollin’ round on the ground and a-hollerin’ like Injuns. Wall, I begun to git madder ‘n a wet hen, and I ‘lowed I’d knock that durned little ball way over into the next county. So I rolled up my sleeves and spit on my hands and got a good holt on that
war club and I whaled away at that little ball agin, and by chowder I hit it. I knocked it clar over into Deacon Witherspoon’s paster, and hit his old muley cow, and she got
skeered and run away, jumped the fence and went down the road, and the durned
fool never stopped a-runnin’ ’til she went slap dab into Ezra Hoskins’ grocery store, upsot four gallons of apple butter into a keg of soft soap, and sot one foot into a tub of mackral, and t’other foot into a box of winder glass, and knocked over Jim Lawson who wuz sottin’ on a cracker barrel, and broke his durned old wooden leg, and then she went right out through the winder and skeered Si Pettingill’s hosses that wuz a standin’ thar, and they run away and smashed his wagon into kindlin’ wood’ and Silas has sued me fer damages, and mother won’t
speak to me, and Jim he wants me to buy him a new wooden leg, and the neighbors
all say as how I ought to be put away some place fer safe keepin’, and Aunt Nancy
Smith got so excited she lost her glass eye and didn’t find it for three or four days, and when she did git it the boys wuz a-playin’ marbles with it and it wuz all full of gaps, and Jim Lawson he trimmed it up on the
grindstane and it don’t fit Nancy any more, and she has to sort of put it in with cotton round it to bold it, and the cotton works out at the corners and skeers the children and every time I see Nancy that durned eye seems to look at me sort of reproachful like, and all I know about playin’ golf is, the feller what knocks the ball so durned far you
can’t find it or whar it does the most damage, wins the game.

Jim Lawson’s Hogs

WHEN it cum to raisin’ hogs, I don’t s’pose thar wuz ever enybody in Punkin Centre that had quite so much trouble as Jim Lawson. One fall Jim had a right likely bunch of shoats, but somehow or other he couldn’t git ’em fat, it jist seemed like the more he fed ’em the poorer they got, and Jim he wuz jist about worried clar down to a shadder. He kept
givin’ them hogs medecin’ and feedin’ of ’em everything he could think on, but it wan’t no use; every day or so one of ’em would lay down and die. All the neighbors would cum and lean over the fence, and
talk to Jim, and give him advice, but somehow them hogs jist kept on a-dyin’, and nobody could see what wuz alin’ of ’em, ’til
one day Jim cum over to Ezra Hoskins’s store, and he looked as tickled as though he’d found a dollar, and he sed: “I want you all to cum over to my place; I’ve found out what’s alin’ them hogs.” Deacon
Witherspoon sed: “Wall, what is it, Jim?” and Jim sed: “Wall, you see the
ground over in my hog lot is purty soft, and when it rains it gits right smart muddy, and the mud gits on them hogs’ tails, and that mud it gits more mud, and finally they git so much mud on their tails that it draws their skin so tight that they can’t shet their eyes, and them hogs air jist a-dyin’ fer the want of sleep.”

Wall, the followin’ winter Jim had his hogs all fat and ready fer markit, and he jist conclooded he’d drive ’em to Concord.
Wall, he started out, and when he’d drov ’em two whole days he met old Jabez Whitaker. Jabe sed: “Whar you goin’ with your hogs, Jim?” Jim sed: “Goin’ to Concord, Jabez.” Jabez sed “Wall, now, I want to know. That’s what cums from not readin’ the papers. Why, Jim,
they’ve got more hogs up Concord way than they know what to do with. Lige Willit
took his hogs up thar, and Eben Sprosby took his’n, and Concord’s jist chuck full of hogs, and so consequintly the markit’s away down in Concord. But the paper sez it’s
good in Manchester, and you’d make money, Jim, by goin’ thar.” So Jim shifted his
chew of terbacker over to the northeast, and sed: “Wall, boys, I calculate we’ll hav to go to Manchester, so jist head the hogs off and turn them round.” Wall, they druv
them hogs ’bout three days towards Manchester, and jist ’bout when they wuz gittin’
thar, along cum Caleb Skinner, and he sed: “Wall, thunder and fish-hooks, whar be you a-goin’, Jim.” And Jim sed: “As near
as he could figure it out from his present bearin’s, he wuz most likely goin’ to
Manchester.” And Caleb sed: “What fer?” Jim sed: “Didn’t know exactly what all
he wuz goin’ fer, but if he ever got thar, he’d most likely sell his hogs.” And Caleb sed: “Wall, your goin’ to the wrong town. Manchester has got a quarantine agin’ any more hogs comin’ in, ‘cos what hogs they is thar has all got colery, and you’d better go to Concord. Besides the paper says markit is purty well up in Concord.” Wall, Jim
sed a good many things that wouldn’t sound good at a prayer meetin’, and then he sed: “Wall, boys, gess we’ll start back fer