compare to another frog. Smiley guarded Daniel in a little
box latticed which he carried bytimes to the village for
One day an individual stranger at the camp him arrested
with his box and him said :
346 PRIVATE HISTORY OF
* What is this that you have then shut up there
Smiley said, with an air indifferent :
4 That could be a paroquet, or a syringe (ou un serin),
but this no is nothing of such, it not is but a frog.
The individual it took, it regarded with care, it turned
from one side and from the other, then he said :
* Tiens ! in effect ! At what is she good ?
1 My God ! responded Smiley, always with an air disen
gaged, 4 she is good for one thing, to my notice (d mon avis),
she can batter in jumping [elle peut batter en sautant] all
frogs of the county of Calaveras.
The individual retook the box, it examined of new
longly, and it rendered to Smiley in saying with an air
Eh blen ! I no saw not that that frog had nothing
of better than each frog. (Je ne vois pas que cette grenouille
ait rien de mieux qiiaucune grenouille^) [If that isn t gram
mar gone to seed, then I count myself no judge. M. T.]
* Possible that you not it saw not, said Smiley ; * possible
that you you comprehend frogs ; possible that you not you
there comprehend nothing ; possible that you had of the
experience, and possible that you not be but an amateur.
Of all manner (de toute maniere] I bet forty dollars that she
batter in jumping no matter which frog of the county of
The individual reflected a second, and said like sad :
I not am but a stranger here, I no have not a frog ; but
if I of it had one, I would embrace the bet/
Strong, well ! respond Smiley ; nothing of more
facility. If you will hold my box a minute, I go you to
search a frog (firai vous chercher.y
Behold, then, the individual who guards the box, who
puts his forty dollars upon those of Smiley, and who attends
(et qul attendre]. He attended enough longtimes, reflecting
all solely. And figure you that he takes Daniel, him opens
the mouth by force and with a teaspoon him fills with shot
THE JUMPING FROG STORY 347
of the hunt, even him fills just to the chin, then he him puts
by the earth. Smiley during these times was at slopping in
a swamp. Finally he trapped (attrape) a frog, him carried
to that individual, and said :
Now if you be ready, put him all against Daniel, with
their before-feet upon the same line, and I give the signal
then he added : One, two, three advance !
Him and the individual touched their frogs by behind,
and the frog new put to jump smartly, but Daniel himself
lifted ponderously, exhalted the shoulders thus, like a French
man to what good ? He could not budge, he is planted solid
like a church, he not advance no more than if one him had
put at the anchor.
Smiley was surprised and disgusted, but he not himself
doubted not of the turn being intended (mais II ne se doutait
pas du tour bun entendre]. The individual empocketed the
silver, himself with it went, and of it himself in going is
that he no gives not a jerk of thumb over the shoulder like
that at the poor Daniel, in saying with his air deliberate
(Uindividu empoche I argent, $ en va et en fen a //ant est-ce quil
ne donne pas un coup de ponce par-dessus Pepaule^ comme ga, ait
pauvre Daniel^ en disant de son air delibere],
i Eh blen ! I no see not that that frog has nothing of better
Smiley himself scratched longtimes the head, the eyes
fixed upon Daniel, until that which at last he said :
< 1 me demand how the devil it makes itself that this
beast has refused. Is it that she had something ? One
would believe that she is stuffed.
He grasped Daniel by the skin of the neck, him lifted
and said :
The wolf me bite if he no weigh not five pounds.
He him reversed and the unhappy belched two handfuls
of shot (et le malheureux, etc.). When Smiley recognised
how it was, he was like mad. He deposited his frog by the
earth and ran after that individual, but he not him caught
348 THE JUMPING FROG STORY
It may be that there are people who can translate
better than I can, but I am not acquainted with them.
So ends the private and public history of the Jumping
Frog of Calaveras County, an incident which has this unique
feature about it that it is both old and new, a * chestnut
and not a l chestnut ; for it was original when it happened
two thousand years ago, and was again original when it
happened in California in our own time.
London, July, 1900. Twice, recently, I have been asked this question :
Have you seen the Greek version of the " Jumping Frog " ?
And twice I have answered
Has Professor Van Dyke seen it ?
I suppose so.
Then your supposition is at fault.
Because there isn t any such version.
Do you mean to intimate that the tale is modern, and not borrowed
from some ancient Greek book ?
Yes. It is not permissible for any but the very young and innocent
to be so easily beguiled as you and Van Dyke have been.
Do you mean that we have fallen a prey to our ignorance and
1 Yes. Is Van Dyke a Greek scholar ?
I believe so.
Then he knew where to find the ancient Greek version if one existed.
Why didn t he look ? Why did he jump to conclusions?
I don t know. And was it worth the trouble, anyway ?
As it turns out, now, it was not claimed that the story had been trans
lated from the Greek. It had its place among other uncredited stories,
and was there to be turned into Greek by students of that language.
Greek Prose Composition that title is what made the confusion. It
seemed to mean that the originals were Greek. It was not well chosen, for
it was pretty sure to mislead.
Thus vanishes the Greek Frog, and I am sorry : for he loomed fine
and grand across the sweep of the ages, and I took a great pride in him.
MY MILITARY CAMPAIGN 349
MY MILITARY CAMPAIGN
You have heard from a great many people who did some
thing in the war ; is it not fair and right that you listen a
little moment to one who started out to do something in it,
but didn t ? Thousands entered the war, got just a taste
of it, and then stepped out again, permanently. These, by
their very numbers, are respectable, and are therefore
entitled to a sort of voice not a loud one, but a modest
one ; not a boastful one, but an apologetic one. They
ought not to be allowed much space among better people
people who did something I grant that ; but they ought
at least to be allowed to state why they didn t do anything,
and also to explain the process by which they didn t do
anything. Surely this kind of light must have a sort of
Out West there was a good deal of confusion in men s
minds during the first months of the great trouble a
good deal of unsettledness, of leaning first this way, then
that, then the other way. It was hard for us to get our
bearings. I call to mind an instance of this. I was
piloting on the Mississippi when the news came that
South Carolina had gone out of the Union on December
20, 1860. My pilot-mate was a New Yorker. He was
strong for the Union ; so was I. But he would not listen
to me with any patience ; my loyalty was smirched, to his
350 MY MILITARY CAMPAIGN
eye, because my father had owned slaves. I said, in pallia
tion of this dark fact, that I had heard my father say, some
years before he died, that slavery was a great wrong, and
that he would free the solitary negro he then owned if he
could think it right to give away the property of the
family when he was so straitened in means. My mate
retorted that a mere impulse was nothing anybody could
pretend to a good impulse ; and went on decrying my
Unionism and libelling my ancestry. A month later the
secession atmosphere had considerably thickened on the
Lower Mississippi, and I became a rebel ; so did he. We
were together in New Orleans, January 26, when
Louisiana went out of the Union. He did his full share of
the rebel shouting, but was bitterly opposed to letting me
do mine. He said that I came of bad stock of a father
who had been willing to set slaves free. In the following
summer he was piloting a Federal gun-boat and shouting
for the Union again, and I was in the Confederate army.
I held his note for some borrowed money. He was one of
the most upright men I ever knew ; but he repudiated that
note without hesitation, because I was a rebel, and the son
of a man who had owned slaves.
In that summer of 1861 the first wash of the wave
of war broke upon the shores of Missouri. Our State was
invaded by the Union forces. They took possession of St.
Louis, Jefferson Barracks, and some other points. The
Governor, Claib Jackson, issued his proclamation calling
out fifty thousand militia to repel the invader.
I was visiting in the small town where my boyhood had
been spent Hannibal, Marion County. Several of us got
together in a secret place by night and formed ourselves
into a military company. One Tom Lyman, a young
fellow of a good deal of spirit but of no military experience,
MY MILITARY CAMPAIGN 351
was made captain ; I was made second lieutenant. We had
no first lieutenant ; I do not know why ; it was long ago.
There were fifteen of us. By the advice of an innocent
connected with the organisation, we called ourselves the
Marion Rangers. I do not remember that any one found
fault with the name. I did not : I thought it sounded
quite well. The young fellow who proposed this title was
perhaps a fair sample of the kind of stuff we were made of.
He was young, ignorant, good-natured, well-meaning,
trivial, full of romance, and given to reading chivalric
novels and singing forlorn love-ditties. He had some
pathetic little nickel-plated aristocratic instincts, and
detested his name, which was Dunlap ; detested it, partly
because it was nearly as common in that region as Smith,
but mainly because it had a plebeian sound to his ear. So
he tried to ennoble it by writing it in this way : cFUnlap.
That contented his eye, but left his ear unsatisfied, for
people gave the new name the same old pronunciation
emphasis on the front end of it. He then did the bravest
thing that can be imagined a thing to make one shiver
O O O
when one remembers how the world is given to resenting
shams and affectations ; he began to write his name so :
(C\]n Lcip. And he waited patiently through the long
storm of mud that was flung at this work of art, and he had
his reward at last ; for he lived to see that name accepted,
and the emphasis put where he wanted it, by people who
had known him all his life, and to whom the tribe of
Dunlaps had been as familiar as the rain and the sunshine for
forty years. So sure of victory at last is the courage that
can wait. He said he had found, by consulting some
ancient French chronicles, that the name was rightly
and originally written d Un Lap ; and said that if it were
translated into English it would mean Peterson :
352 MY MILITARY CAMPAIGN
Latin or Greek, he said, for stone or rock, same as the
French pierre, that is to say, Peter ; ^P, of or from ; un y a or
one ; hence, d Un Lap, of or from a stone or a Peter ; that
is to say, one who is the son of a stone, the son of a Peter
Peterson. Our militia company were not learned, and
the explanation confused them ; so they called him Peter
son Dunlap. He proved useful to us in his way ; he
named our camps for us, and he generally struck a name
that was no slouch, as the boys said.
That is one sample of us. Another was Ed Stevens,
son of the town jeweller, trim-built, handsome, graceful,
neat as a cat ; bright, educated, but given over entirely to
fun. There was nothing serious in life to him. As far as
he was concerned, this military expedition of ours was
simply a holiday. I should say that about half of us looked
upon it in the same way ; not consciously, perhaps, but
unconsciously. We did not think ; we were not capable
of it. As for myself, I was full of unreasoning joy to be
done with turning out of bed at midnight and four in the
morning, for a while ; grateful to have a change, new
scenes, new occupations, a new interest. In my thoughts
that was as far as I went ; I did not go into the details ; as
a rule one doesn t at twenty-five.
Another sample was Smith, the blacksmith s apprentice.
This vast donkey had some pluck, of a slow and sluggish
nature, but a soft heart ; at one time he would knock
a horse down for some impropriety, and at another he
would get homesick and cry. However, he had one
ultimate credit to his account which some of us hadn t : he
stuck to the war, and was killed in battle at last.
Jo Bowers, another sample, was a huge, good-nature^
flax-headed lubber ; lazy, sentimental, full of harmless
brag, a grumbler by nature ; an experienced, industrious^
MY MILITARY CAMPAIGN 353
ambitious, and often quite picturesque liar, and yet not a
successful one, for he had had no intelligent training, but
was allowed to come up just any way. This life was
serious enough to him, and seldom satisfactory. But he
was a good fellow, any way, and the boys all liked him. He
was made orderly sergeant ; Stevens was made corporal.
These samples will answer and they are quite fair
ones. Well, this herd of cattle started for the war. What
could you expect of them ? They did as well as they
knew how, but really what was justly to be expected of
them ? Nothing, I should say. That is what they did.
We waited for a dark night, for caution and secrecy
were necessary ; then, toward midnight, we stole in couples
and from various directions to the Griffith place, beyond
the town ; from that point we set out together on foot.
Hannibal lies at the extreme south-eastern corner of Marion
County, on the Mississippi River ; our objective point was
the hamlet of New London, ten miles away, in Rails
The first hour was all fun, all idle nonsense and
laughter. But that could not be kept up. The steady
trudging came to be like work ; the play had somehow
oozed out of it ; the stillness of the woods and the sombre-
ness of the night began to throw a depressing influence over
the spirits of the boys, and presently the talking died out
and each person shut himself up in his own thoughts.
During the last half of the second hour nobody said a
Now we approached a log farm-house where, according
to report, there was a guard of five Union soldiers. Lyman
called a halt ; and there, in the deep gloom of the over
hanging branches, he began to whisper a plan of assault
upon that house, which made the gloom more depressing
354 MY MILITARY CAMPAIGN
than it was before. It was a crucial moment ; we realised,
with a cold suddenness, that here was no jest we were
standing face to face with actual war. We were equal to
the occasion. In our response there was no hesitation, no
indecision : we said that if Lyman wanted to meddle with
those soldiers, he could go ahead and do it ; but if he
waited for us to follow him, he would wait a long time.
Lyman urged, pleaded, tried to shame us, but it had no
effect. Our course was plain, our minds were made up :
we would flank the farmhouse go out around. And that
is what we did. We turned the position.
We struck into the woods and entered upon a rough
time, stumbling over roots, getting tangled in vines, and
torn by briers. At last we reached an open place in a safe
region, and sat down, blown and hot, to cool off and nurse
our scratches and bruises. Lyman was annoyed, but the
rest of us were cheerful ; we had flanked the farm-house,
we had made our first military movement, and it was a
success ; we had nothing to fret about, we were feeling
just the other way. Horse-play and laughing began
again ; the expedition was become a holiday frolic once
Then we had two more hours of dull trudging and
ultimate silence and depression ; then, about dawn, we
straggled into New London, soiled, heel-blistered, fagged
with our little march, and all of us except Stevens in a sour
and raspy humour and privately down on the war. We
stacked our shabby old shot-guns in Colonel Ralls s barn,
and then went in a body and breakfasted with that veteran
of the Mexican War. Afterwards he took us to a distant
meadow, and there in the shade of a tree we listened to an
old-fashioned speech from him, full of gunpowder and
glory, full of that adjective-piling, mixed metaphor, and
MY MILITARY CAMPAIGN 355
windy declamation which was regarded as eloquence in that
ancient time and that remote region ; and then he swore
us on the Bible to be faithful to the State of Missouri and
drive all invaders from her soil, no matter whence they
might come or under what flag they might march. This
mixed us considerably, and we could not make out just
what service we were embarked in ; but Colonel Rails, the
practised politician and phrase-juggler, was not similarly in
doubt ; he knew quite clearly that he had invested us in
the cause of the Southern Confederacy. He closed the
solemnities by belting around me the sword which his
neighbour, Colonel Brown, had worn at Buena Vista and
Molino del Rey ; and he accompanied this act with
another impressive blast.
Then we formed in line of battle and marched four
miles to a shady and pleasant piece of woods on the border
of the far-reaching expanses of a flowery prairie. It was
an enchanting region for war our kind of war.
We pierced the forest about half a mile, and took up a
strong position, with some low, rocky, and wooded hills be
hind us, and a purling, limpid creek in front. Straightway
half the command were in swimming, and the other half
fishing. The ass with the French name gave this position a
romantic title, but it was too long, so the boys shortened
and simplified it to Camp Rails.
We occupied an old maple-sugar camp, whose half-
rotted troughs were still propped against the trees. A long
corn-crib served for sleeping quarters for the battalion. On
our left, half a mile away, was Mason s farm and house;
and he was a friend to the cause. Shortly after noon the
farmers began to arrive from several directions, with mules
and horses for our use, and these they lent us for as long as
the war might last, which they judged would be about
356 MY MILITARY CAMPAIGN
three months. The animals were of all sizes, all colours,
and all breeds. They were mainly young and frisky, and
nobody in the command could stay on them long at a time ;
for we were town boys, and ignorant of horsemanship.
The creature that fell to my share was a very small mule,
and yet so quick and active that it could throw me without
difficulty ; and it did this whenever I got on it. Then it
would bray stretching its neck out, laying its ears back, and
spreading its jaws till you coufd see down to its works. It
was a disagreeable animal, in every way. If I took it by
the bridle and tried to lead it off the grounds, it would sit
down and brace back, and no one could budge it. However,
I was not entirely destitute of military resources, and I did
presently manage to spoil this game ; for I had seen many a
steam-boat aground in my time, and knew a trick or two
which even a grounded mule would be obliged to respect.
There was a well by the corn-crib ; so I substituted thirty
fathom of rope for the bridle, and fetched him home with
I will anticipate here sufficiently to say that we did
learn to ride, after some days practice, but never well.
We could not learn to like our animals ; they were not
choice ones, and most of them had annoying peculiarities of
one kind or another. Stevens s horse would carry him, when
he was not noticing, under the huge excrescences which
form on the trunks of oak-trees, and wipe him out of the
saddle ; in this way Stevens got several bad hurts. Sergeant
Bowers s horse was very large and tall, with slim, long legs,
and looked like a railroad bridge. His size enabled him to
reach all about, and as far as he wanted to, with his head ;
so he was always biting Bowers s legs. On the march, in
the sun, Bowers slept a good deal ; and as soon as the horse
recognised that he was asleep he would reach around and
MY MILITARY CAMPAIGN 357
bite him on the leg. His legs were black and blue with
bites. This was the only thing that could ever make him
swear, but this always did ; whenever the horse bit him he
always swore, and of course Stevens, who laughed at every
thing, laughed at this, and would even get into such
convulsions over it as to lose his balance and fall off his
horse ; and then Bowers, already irritated by the pain of the
horse-bite, would resent the laughter with hard language,
and there would be a quarrel ; so that horse made no end
of trouble and bad blood in the command.
However, I will get back to where I was our first
afternoon in the sugar-camp. The sugar-troughs came very
handy as horse-troughs, and we had plenty of corn to fill
them with. I ordered Sergeant Bowers to feed my mule ;
but he said that if I reckoned he went to war to be dry-
nurse to a mule, it wouldn t take me very long to find out
my mistake. I believed that this was insubordination, but
I was full of uncertainties about everything military, and so
I let the thing pass, and went and ordered Smith, the
blacksmith s apprentice, to feed the mule ; but he merely
gave me a large, cold, sarcastic grin, such as an ostensibly
seven-year-old horse gives you when you lift his lip and find
he is fourteen, and turned his back on me. I then
went to the captain, and asked if it was not right and
proper and military for me to have an orderly. He said it
was, but as there was only one orderly in the corps, it was
but right that he himself should have Bowers on his staff.
Bowers said he wouldn t serve on anybody s staff; and if
anybody thought he could make him, let him try it. So, of
course, the thing had to be dropped ; there was no other
Next, nobody would cook ; it was considered a degrada
tion : so we had no dinner. We lazied the rest of the
358 MY MILITARY CAMPAIGN
pleasant afternoon away, some dozing under the trees, some
smoking cob-pipes and talking sweethearts and war, some
playing games. By late supper-time all hands were
famished ; and to meet the difficulty all hands turned to, on
an equal footing, and gathered wood, built fires, and cooked
the meal. Afterward everything was smooth for a while ;
then trouble broke out between the corporal and the
sergeant, each claiming to rank the other. Nobody knew
which was the higher office ; so Lyman had to settle the
matter by making the rank of both officers equal. The
commander of an ignorant crew like that has many
troubles and vexations which probably do not occur in the
regular army at all. However, with the song-singing and
yarn-spinning around the camp-fire, everything presently
became serene again ; and by-and-by we raked the corn
down level in one end of the crib, and all went to bed on
it, tying a horse to the door, so that he would neigh if any
one tried to get in. 1
We had some horsemanship drill every forenoon ; then,
afternoons, we rode off here and there in squads a few miles,
and visited the farmers girls, and had a youthful good time,
and got an honest good dinner or supper, and then home
again to camp, happy and content.
For a time, life was idly delicious, it was perfect ; there
was nothing to mar it. Then came some farmers with an
1 It was always my impression that that was what the horse was there
for, and I know that it was also the impression of at least one other of the
command, for we talked about it at the time, and admired the military
ingenuity of the device ; but when I was out West three years ago I was
told by Mr. A. G. Fuqua, a member of our company, that the horse was
his, that the leaving him tied at the door was a matter of mere forgetful-
ness, and that to attribute it to intelligent invention was to give him quite too
much credit. In support of his position, he called my attention to the
suggestive fact that the artifice was not employed again. I had not
thought of that before.
MY MILITARY CAMPAIGN 359
alarm one day. They said it was rumoured that the enemy
were advancing in our direction, from over Hyde s prairie.
The result was a sharp stir among us, and general conster
nation. It was a rude awakening from our pleasant trance.
The rumour was but a rumour nothing definite about it ;
so, in the confusion, we did not know which way to retreat.
Lyman was for not retreating at all, in these uncertain
circumstances ; but he found that if he tried to maintain
that attitude he would fare badly, for the command were in