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575



SOUTHERN SKETCHES

says he, "Bill, jest let Allcorn alone. He's too big for
you, and besides, there ain't nothin' to fite about." By
this time Jim was makin' rite towards us. I put myself
in position, and by the time he got to us every muscle in
my body was strung as tite as a banjo. I was worked up
powerful, and felt like I could whip a campmeetin' of
wild cats. Shore enuf Jim stepped up defiantly, and
lookin' me rite in the eye, says he, "I dare anybody to hit
that," and he touched his knuckles to his forrerd. He
had barely straightened before I took him rite in the left
eye with a sock-dolyger that popped like a wagin' whip.
It turned him half round, and as quick as lightnin' I let
him hav another on the right temple, and followed it up
with a leap that sprawled him as flat as a foot mat. I
knowed my customer, and I never giv him time to rally.
If ever a man was diligent in business it was me. I took
him so hard and so fast in the eyes with my fists, and in
his bred basket with my knees, that he didn't hav a
chance to see or to breathe, and he was the worst whipped
man in two minets I ever seed in my life. When he
hollered I helped him up and breshed the dirt off his
clothes, and he was as umble as a ded nigger and as sober
as a Presbyterian preacher. We took a dram on the
strength of it, and was always good frends afterwards.
But I dident start tp tell you about that.

Jim Perkins (Cousin of Eli)

I jist wanted to say that I wasent mad with Jim All-
corn, as sum peepul supposed ; but it do illustrate the on-
sertainty of human kalkulashuns in this subloonery world.
The disappintments of life are amazin', and if a man
wants to fret and grumble at his luck he can find a reesun-
able oppertunity to do so every day that he lives. Them

576



BILL ARP

sort of constitutional grumblers ain't much cumpany to
me. I'd rather be Jim Perkins with a bullit hole through
me and take my chances. Jim, you know, was shot down
at Gains' Mill, and the ball went in at the umbilikus, as
Dr. Battey called it, and cum out at the backbone. The
Doktor sounded him, and sez he, "Jeems, my friend, your
wound is mortal." Jim looked at the Doktor, and then at
me, and sez he, "That's bad, ain't it?" "Mighty bad,"
sez I, and I was as sorry for him as I ever was for any-
body in my life. Sez he, "Bill, I'd make a will if it
warn't for one thing." "What's that, Jim?" sez I. He
sorter smiled and sez, "I hain't got nothin' to will." He
then raised up on his elbow, and sez he, "Doktor, is there
one chance in a hundred for me?" and the Doktor sez,
"Jest about, Jim." "Well, then," sez he, "I'll git well—
I feel it in my gizzard." He looked down at the big hole
in his umbilikus, and sez he, "If I do get well, won't it be
a great naval viktry, Doktor Battey?" Well, shore enuff
he did git well, and in two months he was fitin' the Yanks
away up in Maryland.

But I didn't start to tell you about that.

Ike Mackoy

I jest stuck it in by way of illustratin' the good effeks
of keepin' up one's spirits. My motto has always been to
never say die, as Gen. Nelson sed at the battle of Mada-
gascar, or sum other big river. All things considered,
I've had a power of good luck in my life. I don't mean
money luck, by no means, for most of my life I've been
so ded poor that Lazarus would hev been considered
a note shaver compared with me. But I've been in a
heap of close places, and sumhow always cum out rite
side up with keer. Speakin' of luck, I don't know that

577



SOUTHERN SKETCHES

I ever told you about that rassel I had with Ike Mc-
Koy at Bob Hide's barbyku. You see Ike was perhaps
the best rasler in all Cherokee, and he jest hankered
after a chance to break a bone or two in my body. Now,
you know, I never hunted for a fite nor a fuss in my life,
but I never dodged one. I dident want a tilt with Ike, for
my opinyun was that he was the best man of the two, but
I never sed anything and jest trusted to luck. We was
both at the barbyku, and he put on a heap of airs, and
strutted around with his shirt collar open clean down to
his waist, and his hat cocked on one side as sassy as a
confedrit quartermaster. He took a dram or two and
stuffed himself full of fresh meat at dinner time. Purty
soon it was norated around that Ike was going to banter
me for a rassel, and, shore enuff, he did. The boys were
all up for some fun, and Ike hollered out, "I'll bet ten
dollars I can paster the length of any man on the ground,
and I'll giv Bill Arp five dollars to take up the bet."
Of course there was no gittin' around the like of that.
The banter got my blood up, and so, without waitin* for
preliminaries, I shucked myself and went in. The boys
was all powerfully excited, and was a bettin' evry dollar
they could raise; and Bob Moore, the feller I had licked
about a year before, jumped on a stump and sed hed bet
twenty dollars to ten that Ike would knock the breath out
of me the first fall. I jest walked over to him with the
money and sed, **ril take that bet." The river was right
close to the ring, and the bank was purty steep. I had on
a pair of old breeches that had been sained in and dried
so often they was about half rotten. When we hitched,
Ike took good britches hold, and lifted me up and down
a few times like I was a child. He was the heaviest, but
I had the most spring in me, and so I jest let him play
round for sum time, limber like, until he suddenly took

578



BILL ARP

a notion to make short work pf it by one of his backleg
movements. He drawed me up to his body and Hfted me
in the air with a powerful twist. Just at that minit his
back was close to the river bank, and as my feet touched
the ground I giv a tremenjius jerk backwards, and a shuv
forwards, and my britches busted plum open on the back,
and tore clean off in front, and he fell from me and tum-
bled into the water, kerchug, and went out of sight as
clean as a mud turtle in a mill pond. Such hollerin' as
them boys done I rekon never heard in them woods. I
jumped in and helped Ike get out as he riz to the top. He
had took in a quart or two of water on top of his barbyku,
and he set on the bank and throwed up enuf vittels to feed
a pack of houns for a week. When he got over it he laffd,
and sed Sally told him before he left home he'd better let
Bill Arp alone — for nobody could run agin his luck. Ike
always believed he would hav throwd me if britches holt
hadent broke, and I rekon may be he would. One thing
is sertin, it cured him of braggin', and that helps any-
body. I never did like a braggin' man. As a genrul thing
they ain't much akkount, and remind me of a dog I used
to have, named Cesar.

D0G3

But I dident start to tell you a dog story — only now,
since I've mentioned him, I must tell you a circumstance
about Cees. He was a middlin' size broot, with fox ears
and yaller spots over his eyes, and could out bark and
out brag all creation when he was inside the yard. If
another dog was goin' along he'd run up and down the
palins and bark and take on like he'd give the world if
that fence wasent there. So one day when he was showin'
off in that way I caught him by the nap of the neck as he

579



SOUTHERN SKETCHES

run by me, and jest histed him right over and drapped
him. He struck the ground like an injun rubber ball, and
was back agin on my side in a jiffy. If he had ever
jumped that fence before I dident know it. The other
dog run a quarter of a mile without stoppin'. Now, that's
the way with sum foaks. If you want to hear war tawk
jest put a fence between 'em ; and if you want it stopped,
jest take the fence away. Dogs is mighty like peepul
anyhow. They've got karacter. Sum of em are good,
honest, trusty dogs that bark mity little and bite at
the right time. Sum are good pluk, and will fite like the
dickens when their masters is close by to back em, but
ain't worth a cent by themselves. Sum make it a bizness
to make other dogs fite. You've seen these little fices a
runnin' around growlin' and snappin' when two big dogs
cum together. They are jest as keen to get up a row and
see a big dog fite as a store clerk or a shoemaker, and
seem to enjoy it as much. And then, there's them mean
yaller-eyed bull terriers that don't care who they bite, so
they bite sumbody. They are no respekter of persons,
and I never had much respekt for a man who kept one on
his premises. But of all mean, triflin', contemptible dogs
in the world, the meanest of all is a country nigger's
houn — one that will kill sheep, and suck eggs, and lick
the skillet, and steal everything he can find, and try to do
as nigh like his master as possibul. Sum dogs are filoso-
fers, and study other dogs' natur, just like foaks study
foaks. It's amazin' to see a town dog trot up to a country
dog and interview him. How quick he finds out whether
it will do to attack him or not. If the country dog shows
fite jest notis the consequential dignity with which the
town dog retires. He goes off like there was a sudden
emergency of bisness a callin' him away. Town dogs
sumtimes combine agin a country dog, jest like town

S8o



BILL ARP

boys try to run over country boys. I wish you could see
Dr. Miller's dog Cartopsh. He jest lays in the piazzer
all day watchin' out for a stray dog, and as soon as he
sees him he goes for him, and he can tell in half a minit
whether he can whip him or run him; and if he can, he
does it instanter, and if he can't he runs to the next yard,
where there's two more dogs that nabor with him, and
in a minit they all cum a tarin' out together, and that
country dog has to run or take a whippin', shore. I've
seen Cartoosh play that game many a time.- These town
pups remind me powerfully of small editurs prowlin'
around for news. In my opinyun they is the inventors
of the interview bisness.

Interviewers

If it ain't a doggish sort of bisnes I'm mistaken in my
idees of the proprietes of life. When a man gits into
trubble, these sub editurs go fur him right strait, and they
force their curosity away down into his heart strings,
and bore into his buzzom with an augur as hard and as
cold as chilld iron. Then away they go to skatter his
feelins and sekrets to the wide, wide world. You see the
poor feller can't help himself, for if he won't talk they'll
go off and slander him, and make the publik beleeve he's
dun sumthing mean, and is ashamed to own it. I've
knowd em to go into a dungeon and interview a man
who dident have two hours to live. Dot rot em. I wish
one of em would try to interview me. If he didnt catch
leather under his coat tail it would be bekaus he retired
prematurely — that's all. But I like editurs sorter — es-
pecially sum. I like them that is the guardeens of sleep-
in' liberty, and good morals, and publik welfare, and
sich like ; but there's sum kinds I don't like. Them what

581



SOUTHERN SKETCHES

makes sensation a bizness ; feedin' the peepul on skandal,
and crime, and gossip, and private quarrels, and them
what levies black mail on polytiks, and won't go for a
man who won't pay em, and will go for a man that will.
Them last watch for elekshun times jest like a sick frog
waitin' for rain.

As Bill Nations used to say, I'd drather be a luniak
and gnaw chains in an asylum, than to be an editur that
everybody feard and nobody respekted.



582



THE TWO BUSINESS MEN

BY CAROLYN WELLS

Once on a Time two Business Men were Each Con-
fronted with what seemed to be a Fine Chance to Make
Money.

One Man, being of a Cautious and Prudent Nature,
said : "I will not Take Hold of this Matter until I have
Carefully Examined it in All its Aspects and Inquired
into All its Details."

While he was thus Occupied in a thorough Investiga-
tion he Lost his Chance of becoming a Partner in the
Project, and as It proved to be a Booming Success, he
was Much Chagrined.

The Other Man, when he saw a Golden Opportunity
Looming Up Before him. Embraced it at once, without
a Preliminary Question or Doubt.

But alas! after he had Invested all his Fortune in it,
the Scheme proved to be Worthless, and he Lost all his
Money.

MORALS :

This Fable teaches that you should Strike While the
Iron is Hot, and Look Before you Leap.



583



THE RETORT

BY GEORGE P. MORRIS

Old Nick, who taught the village school,
Wedded a maid of homespun habit;

He was stubborn as a mule,
She was playful as a rabbit.

Poor Jane had scarce become a wife,
Before her husband sought to make her

The pink of country polished life.
And prim and formal as a Quaker.

One day the tutor went abroad.

And simple Jenny sadly missed him;

When he returned, behind her lord
She slyly stole, and fondly kissed him.

The husband's anger arose — and red
And white his face alternate grew.

"Less freedom, ma'am !" — Jane sighed and said,
"Oh dear ! I didn't know 'twas you !"



584



THE BRIEFLESS BARRISTER
A Ballad

BY JOHN G. SAXE

An attorney was taking a turn,

In shabby habiliments drest ;
His coat it was shockingly worn,

And the rust had invested his vest.

His breeches had suffered a breach,
His linen and worsted were worse;

He had scarce a whole crown in his hat,
And not half a crown in his purse.

And thus as he wandered along,
A cheerless and comfortless elf,

He sought for relief in a song,

Or complainingly talked to himself : —

"Unfortunate man that I am !

I've never a client but grief :
The case is, I've no case at all.

And in brief, I've ne'er had a brief I

"I've waited and waited in vain.
Expecting an 'opening' to find,

Where an honest young lawyer might gain
Some reward for toil of his mind.

" 'Tis not that I'm wanting in law,

Or lack an intelligent face.
That others have cases to plead.

While I have to plead for a case.

585



THE BRIEFLESS BARRISTER

"O, how can a modest young man

E'er hope for the smallest progression, —

The profession's already so full
Of lawyers so full of profession!"

While thus he was strolling around,

His eye accidentally fell
On a very deep hole in the ground,

And he sighed to himself, "It is well !"

To curb his emotions, he sat

On the curbstone the space of a minute.
Then cried, "Here's an opening at last!"

And in less than a jiffy was in it !

Next morning twelve citizens came

('Twas the coroner bade them attend),

To the end that it might be determined
How the man had determined his end !

"The man was a lawyer, I hear,"

Quoth the foreman who sat on the corse.

"A lawyer? Alas!" said another,
"Undoubtedly died of remorse!"

A third said, "He knew the deceased.
An attorney well versed in the laws,

And as to the cause of his death,

'Twas no doubt for the want of a cause."

The jury decided at length.

After solemnly weighing the matter,
That the lawyer was drownt/ed, because

He could not keep his head above water !
586



THE TWO HUSBANDS

BY CAROLYN WELLS

Once on a Time there were Two Men, each of whom
married the Woman of his Choice. One Man devoted all
his Energies to Getting Rich.

He was so absorbed in Acquiring Wealth that he
Worked Night and Day to Accomplish his End.

By this Means he lost his Health, he became a Nervous
Wreck, and was so Irritable and Irascible that his Wife
Ceased to live with him and Returned to her Parents'
House.

The Other Man made nO' Efforts to Earn Money, and
after he had Spent his own and his Wife's Fortunes,
Poverty Stared them in the Face,

Although his Wife had loved him Fondly, she could
not Continue her affection toward One who could not
Support her, so she left him and Returned to her Child-
hood's Home.

MORALS :

This Fable teaches that the Love of Money is the Root
of All Evil, and that When Poverty Comes In At the
Door, Loves Flies Out Of the Window.



587



THE STORY OF THE TWO FRIARS

BY EUGENE FIELD

It befell in the year 1662, in which same year were
many witchcrafts and sorceries, such as never before had
been seen and the like of which will never again, by grace
of Heaven, afflict mankind — in this year it befell that the
devil came upon earth to tempt an holy friar, named
Friar Gonsol, being strictly minded to win that righteous
vessel of piety unto his evil pleasance.

Now wit you well that this friar had grievously of-
fended the devil, for of all men then on earth there was
none more holier than he nor none surer to speak and to
do sweet charity unto all his fellows in every place. There-
fore it was that the devil was sore wroth at the Friar
Gonsol, being mightily plagued not only by his teachings
and his preachings, but also by the pious works which he
continually did do. Right truly the devil knew that by
no common temptations was this friar to be moved, for
the which reason did the devil seek in dark and troublous
cogitations to bethink him of some new instrument where-
with he might bedazzle the eyes and ensnare the under-
standing of the holy man. On a sudden it came unto the
fiend that by no corporeal allurement would he be able
to achieve his miserable end, for that by reason of an
abstemious life and a frugal diet the Friar Gonsol had
weaned his body from those frailties and lusts to which
hyman flesh is by nature of the old Adam within it dis-

588



EUGENE FIELD

posed, and by long-continued vigils and by earnest de-
votion and by godly contemplations and by divers
proper studies had fixed his mind and his soul with ex-
ceeding steadfastness upon things unto his eternal spirit-
ual welfare appertaining. Therefore it beliked the devil
to devise and to compound a certain little booke of
mighty curious craft, wherewith he might be like to please
the Friar Gonsol and, in the end, to ensnare him in his im-
pious toils. Now this was the way of the devil's thinking,
to wit : This friar shall suspect no evil in the booke, since
never before hath the devil tempted mankind with such
an instrument, the common things wherewith the devil
tempteth man being (as all histories show and all theolo-
gies teach) fruit and women and other like things pleas-
ing to the gross and perishable senses. Therefore, ar-
gueth the devil, when I shall tempt this friar with a booke
he shall be taken off his guard and shall not know it to be
a temptation. And thereat was the devil exceeding merry
and he did laugh full merrily.

Now presently came this thing of evil unto the friar in
the guise of another friar and made a proper low obei-
sance unto the same. But the Friar Gonsol was not
blinded to the craft of the devil, for from under the cloak
and hood that he wore there did issue the smell of sul-
phur and of brimstone which alone the devil hath,

"Beshrew me," quoth the Friar Gonsol, "if the odour
in my nostrils be spikenard and not the fumes of the bot-'
tomless pit !"

"Nay, sweet friar," spake the devil full courteously,
"the fragrance thou perceivest is of frankincense and
myrrh, for I am of holy orders and I have brought thee a
righteous booke, delectable to look upon and profitable
unto the reading."

589



THE STORY OF THE TWO FRIARS

Then were the eyes of that Friar Gonsol full of bright
sparklings and his heart rejoiced with exceeding joy, for
he did set most store, next to his spiritual welfare, by
bookes wherein was food to his beneficial devouring.

*T do require thee," quoth the friar, "to shew me that
booke that I may know the name thereof and discover
whereof it treateth."

Then shewed the devil the booke unto the friar, and the
friar saw it was an uncut unique of incalculable value ; the
height of it was half a cubit and the breadth of it the
fourth part of a cubit and the thickness of it five barley-
corns lacking the space of three horsehairs. This booke
contained, within its divers picturings, symbols and simili-
tudes wrought with incomparable craft, the same being
such as in human vanity are called proof before letters,
and imprinted upon India paper; also the booke con-
tained written upon its pages, divers names of them that
had possessed it, all these having in their time been
mighty and illustrious personages ; but what seemed most
delectable unto the friar was an autographic writing
wherein 'twas shewn that the booke sometime had been
given by Venus di Medici to Apollos at Rhodes.

When therefore the Friar Gonsol saw the booke how
that it was intituled and imprinted and adorned and
bounden, he knew it to be of vast worth and he was
mightily moved to possess it; therefore he required of the
other (that was the devil) that he give unto him an op-
tion upon the same for the space of seven days hence or
until such a time as he could inquire concerning the booke
in Lowndes and other such like authorities. But the devil,
smiling, quoth : "The booke shall be yours without price
provided only you shall bind yourself to do me a service
as I shall hereafter specify and direct."

Now when the Friar Gonsol heard this compact, he

590



EUGENE FIELD

knew for a verity that the devil was indeed the devil, and
but that he sorely wanted the booke he would have driven
that impious fiend straightway from his presence. How-
beit, the devil, promising to visit him again that night, de-
parted, leaving the friar exceeding heavy in spirit, for he
was both assotted upon the booke to comprehend it and
assotted upon the devil to do violence unto him.

It befell that in his doubtings he came unto the Friar
Francis, another holy man that by continual fastings and
devotions had made himself an ensample of piety unto all
men, and to this sanctified brother did the Friar Gonsol
straightway unfold the story of his temptation and speak
fully of the wondrous booke and of its divers many rich-
nesses.

When that he had heard this narration the Friar Fran-
cis made answer in this wise : *'Of great subtility surely
is the devil that he hath set this snare for thy feet. Have
a care, my brother, that thou fallest not into the pit which
he hath digged for thee ! Happy art thou to have come
to me with this thing, elsewise a great mischief might
have befallen thee. Now listen to my words and do as I
counsel thee. Have no more to do with this devil ; send
him to me, or appoint with him another meeting and I will
go in thy stead."

"Nay, nay," cried the Friar Gonsol, "the saints fore-
fend from thee the evil temptation provided for my espe-
cial proving! I should have been reckoned a weak and
coward vessel were I to send thee in my stead to bear the
mortifications designed for the trying of my virtues."

"But thou art a younger brother than I," reasoned the
Friar Francis softly; "and, firm though thy resolution
may be now, thou art more like than I to be wheedled
and bedazzled by these diabolical wiles and artifices. So
let me know where this devil abideth with the booke; I

591



THE STORY OF THE TWO FRIARS

burn to meet him and to wrest his treasure from his im-
pious possession."

But the Friar Gonsol shook his head and would not
hear unto this vicarious sacrifice whereon the good Friar
Francis had set his heart.

"Ah, I see that thou hast little faith in my strength to
combat the fiend," quoth the Friar Francis reproachfully.
"Thy trust in me should be greater, for I have done thee
full many a kindly office ; or, now I do bethink me, thou
art assotted on the booke! Unhappy brother, can it be
that thou dost covet this vain toy, this frivolous bauble,
that thou wouldst seek the devil's companionship anon
to compound with Beelzelub? I charge thee. Brother
Gonsol, open thine eyes and see in what a slippery place
thou standest."

Now by these argumentations was the Friar Gonsol
mightily confounded, and he knew not what to do.

"Come, now, hesitate no longer," quoth the Friar Fran-
cis, "but tell me where that devil may be found — I burn to
see and to comprehend the booke — not that I care for the
booke, but that I am grievously tormented to do that devil
a sore despight !"

"Odds boddikins," quoth the other friar, "me-seemeth
that the booke inciteth thee more than the devil."

"Thou speakest wrongly," cried the Friar Francis.
"Thou mistakest pious zeal for sinful selfishness. Full
wroth am I to hear how that this devil walketh to and
fro, using a sweet and precious booke for the temptation
of holy men. Shall so righteous an instrument be em-
ployed by the prince of heretics to so unrighteous an end ?"

"Thou sayest wisely," quoth the Friar Gonsol, "and thy
words convince me that a battaile must be made with this
devil for that booke. So now I shall go to encounter the
fiend!"

592



EUGENE FIELD

"Then by the saints I shall go with thee!" cried the
Friar Francis, and he gathered his gown about his loins
right briskly.

But when the Friar Gonsol saw this he made great haste


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