« PreviousContinue »
off on you
into that attitude. He can't do it, because 'tis against all bird laws; anatomy teaches, ornithology preaches, an owl has a toe that can't turn out so ! I've made the white owl my study for years, and to see such a job almost moves me to tears ! Mister Brown, I'm amazed you should be so gone crazed as to put up a bird in that posture absurd ! To look at that owl really brings on a dizziness; the man who stuffed him don't half know his business!” And the barber kept on shaving.“ Examine those eyes, I'm filled with surprise taxidermists should pass
such poor glass ; so unnatural they seem they'd make Audubon scream, and John Burroughs laugh to encounter such chaff. Do take that bird down: have him stuffed again, Brown !” And the barber kept on shaving. “With some sawdust and bark I could stuff in the dark an owl better than that I could make an old hat look more like an owl than that horrid fowl. Stuck up there so stiff like a side of coarse leather, in fact, about him there's not one natural feather.”—Just then, with a wink and a sly normal lurch, the owl, very gravely, got down from his perch, walked round, and regarded his fault-finding critic (who thought he was stuffed) with a glance analytic. And then fairly hooted, as if he should say: “Your learning's at fault this time, anyway; don't waste it again on a live bird, I pray. I'm an owl ; you're another, Sir Critic, good day!” And the barber kept on shaving.
(Verse printed as Prose.) Like an awful alligator breathing fire and screeching wildly, with a pack of hounds behind him, as if hunted by the furies, came the smoking locomotive, followed by the cars and tender, down among the mountain gorges, till it stopped before a village as the starry night came on.—Just before a mountain village, where there was a howling shindy, just around a brannew gallows, with a roaring blazing bonfire, casting a red light upon it, while a crowd of roughest rowdies shouted, “ Cuss him ! tear his vitals ! bust him ! sink him ! burn him ! skin him !"-evidently much excited as the starry night came on.-On the gallows stood a culprit shrieking painfully for mercy.
As the train and engine halted, louder yelled the
gasping victim. Then out cried the grim conductor, “What
" in thunder is the matter ? What's ye doin' with that feller ? Why've ye got both fire and gallows ?" And unto him some one answered, as the starry night came on :—“This all-fired, skunk-eyed villain, whom you see upon the gallows, lately stole the loveliest mewel that you ever sot your peeps on, for a hundred shiny dollars, went and sold it to the Greasers. But, as you perceive, we've nailed him, and at present we're debatin' whether we had better hang him, or else roast him like an Injun, ere the starry night comes on.—And I think ez ther ar ladies here to grace this gay occasion, in the train, and quite convenient, we had better take and burn him. 'Twould be kinder interestin', or, as folks might say, romantic, to behold an execution, as we do 'em here in this town, in the real frontier fashion, ere the starry night comes on.”—Up from all the assembled ladies, and from all the passengeros, went a scream of protestation, -“What! for nothing but a mewel ! only for a hundred dollars roast alive a fine young fellow ! never, never, never, ne-ver!” Falling on her knees, a damsel begged the maddened crowd to spare him! and to her replied the spokesman, as the starry night came on :- “Since a lady begs it of us, and as we ar' galiant fellers, we will smash the tail of Jestis, and will spare this orful miscrint, ef you'll raise a hundred dollars to replace the vanished mewel. Then this fiend, unwhipped, undamaged, may go wanderin' to thunder, soon as he tarnation pleases, ere the starry night comes on.” Straight among the pitying ladies, and the other passengeros, went the hat around in circle. Dollars, quarters, halves, and greenbacks rained into it till the hundred was accomplished, and the ransom paid unto Judge Lynch in person, who received it very gracious, and at once released the prisoner, sternly bidding him to squaddle, just as fast as he could make it, ere the starry night came on. And the lady who by kneeling had destroyed the path of justice, seized upon the fine young fellow, he who had the mulomania, or who was a kleptomuliac; and she led him by the halter, while the reckless population made atrocious puns upon it; and she stowed him in the Pullman as the safest sanctuary, as the starry night came on. It was over. Loud the whistle blew a signal of departure ; still the dying bonfire flickering showed on high the ghastly gallows, seeming like some hungry monster disappointed of a victim, gasping as in fitful anger, pouring out unto the gallows or the sympathetic scaffold, all the story of its sorrow, as the clouds passed o'er the moon-face, as the starry night came on. Soon the train and those within it reached and passed a second station, and was speeding ever onward, when at once a shriek came ringing'twas an utterance from the lady who by tears had baffled justice; loud she cried, “Where is my hero? where, oh,
, where's the handsome prisoner ?” And the affable conductor searched the train from clue to ear-ring, but they could not find the captive. He had clearly just evaded at the station just behind them, as the starry night came on.—Then outspoke a man unnoted hitherto : "I heard the fellow say just now to the conductor, ere we reached the second deapot, that he reckoned he must hook it this here time a little sooner, if he hoped to get his portion of the hundred, since the last time he came awful nigh to lose it; for it might be anted off all 'fore he got a chance to strike it, ere the starry night came on. And the unknown thus continued : • They hev hed that gallows standin' all the summer and the people mostly git ther livin' from it, for they take ther turns in being mournful victims who hev stolen every one a lovely mewel ; and they always every evenin' hev the awful death-fire kindled, and the ghastly captive ready. It's the fourth time I hev seen it, comin' through and never missed it, only for a variation now and then they hire a nigger for the people from New England, as the starry night comes on.—And they find that fire and gallows just as good as a bonanza, for they got the Legislater lately to incopperate it; and I hear the stock is risin' up like prairie smoke in autumn. Yes, in this world men diskiver curious ways to make a livin', ez you'll find when you
hev tried it for a year or so about here." And the passengers in silence mused upon this new experience, most of all the fine young lady, as the dragon darted onward, and the starry night came
Little Dora's Soliloquy. I tan't see what our baby boy is dood for any way : He don't know how to walk or talk, he don't know how to play;
He tears up ev'ry single zing he posser-bil-ly tan,
zink ?) Upset a dreat big bottle of my papa's writin' ink; An', 'stead of kyin' dood an' hard, as course he ought to done, He laughed, and kicked his head 'most off, as zough he zought
'twas fun. He eren tries to reach up high, an' pull zings off ze shelf, An' he's al’ays wantin' you, of course, jus' when you wants
you'self. I rather dess, I really do, from how he pulls my turls, Zey all was made a-purpose for to 'noy us little dirls; An' I wisla zere wasn't no such zing as naughty baby boys— Why—why, zat's him a-kyin' now; he makes a drefful noise, I dess I better run and see, for if he has-boo-hoo!Felled down ze stairs and killed his-self, whatever s-s-s'all I do!
Now, as it chanced, upon that ship,