Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > American
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. I–V: American
 
The Bohemians of Boston
By Gelett Burgess (1866–1951)
 
From “The Burgess Nonsense Book”

THE “ORCHIDS” were as tough a crowd
As Boston anywhere allowed;
It was a club of wicked men—
The oldest, twelve, the youngest, ten;
They drank their soda colored green,        5
They talked of “Art,” and “Philistine,”
They wore buff “wescoats,” and their hair
It used to make the waiters stare!
They were so shockingly behaved
And Boston thought them so depraved,        10
Policemen, stationed at the door,
Would raid them every hour or more!
They used to smoke (!) and laugh out loud (!)
They were a very devilish crowd!
They formed a Cult, far subtler, brainier,        15
Than ordinary Anglomania,
For all as Jacobites were reckoned,
And gaily toasted Charles the Second!
(What would the Bonnie Charlie say,
If he could see that crowd to-day?)        20
Fitz-Willieboy McFlubadub
Was Regent of the Orchid’s Club;
A wild Bohemian was he,
And spent his money fast and free.
He thought no more of spending dimes        25
On some debauch of pickled limes,
Than you would think of spending nickels
To buy a pint of German pickles!
The Boston maiden passed him by
With sidelong glances of her eye,        30
She dared not speak (he was so wild),
Yet worshiped this Lotharian child.
Fitz-Willieboy was so blasé,
He burned a Transcript up one day!
The Orchids fashioned all their styles        35
On Flubadub’s infernal guile.
That awful Boston oath was his—
He used to ’jaculate, “Gee Whiz!”
He showed them that immoral haunt,
The dirty Chinese Restaurant,        40
And there they’d find him, even when
It got to be as late as ten!
He ate chopped suey (with a fork).
You should have heard the villain talk
Of one reporter that he knew (!)        45
An artist, and an actor, too!!!
The Orchids went from bad to worse,
Made epigrams—attempted verse!
Boston was horrified and shocked
To hear the way those Orchids mocked;        50
For they made fun of Boston ways,
And called good men Provincial Jays!
The end must come to such a story,
Gone is the wicked Orchid’s glory,
The room was raided by the police,        55
One night, for breaches of the Peace
(There had been laughter, long and loud,
In Boston this is not allowed),
And there, the sergeant of the squad
Found awful evidence—my God!—        60
Fitz-Willieboy McFlubadub,
The Regent of the Orchid’s Club,
Had written on the window-sill,
This shocking outrage—“Beacon H—ll!”
 
 
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