The Worlds Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906. Vols. IV: American
Baked Beans and Culture
By Eugene Field (18501895)
THE MEMBERS of the Boston Commercial Club are charming gentlemen. They are now the guests of the Chicago Commercial Club, and are being shown every attention that our market affords. They are a fine-looking lot, well-dressed and well-mannered, with just enough whiskers to be impressive without being imposing.
This is a darned likely village, said Seth Adams last evening. Everybody is rushin round an doin business as if his life depended on it. Should think theyd git all tuckered out fore night, but Ill be darned if there aint jest as many folks on the street after nightfall as afore. Were stoppin at the Palmer tavern, an my chamber is up so all-fired high that I can count your meetin-house steeples from the winder.
Last night five or six of these Boston merchants sat around the office of the hotel and discussed matters and things. Pretty soon they got to talking about beans; this was the subject which they dwelt on with evident pleasure.
Waal, sir, said Ephraim Taft, a wholesale dealer in maple sugar and flavored lozenges, you kin talk bout your new-fashioned dishes an high-falutin vittles; but when you come right down to it, there aint no better eatin than a dish o baked pork n beans.
The truth o the matter is, continued Mr. Taft, that beans is good for everybodyt dont make no difference whether hes well or sick. Why, Ive known a thousand folkswaal, mebbe not quite a thousand; butwaal, now, jest to show, take the case of Bill Holbrook: you remember Bill, dont ye?
Thats the man, resumed Mr. Taft. Waal, Bill fell sickkinder moped round, tired-like, for a week or two, an then tuck to his bed. His folks sent for Dock Smithol Dock Smith that used to carry a pair o leather saddle-bags. Gosh, they dont have no sech doctors nowadays! Waal, the dock he come; an he looked at Bills tongue, an felt uv his pulse, an said that Bill had typhus fever. Ol Dock Smith was a very careful, conservtive man, an he never said nothin unless he knowed he was right.
Bills mother insisted on a con-sul-tation bein held; so ol Dock Smith sent over for young Dock Brainerd. I calclate that, next to ol Dock Smith, young Dock Brainerd was the smartest doctor that ever lived.
Waal, pretty soon along come Dock Brainerd; an he an Dock Smith went all over Bill, an looked at his tongue, an felt uv his pulse, an told him it was a gone case, an that he had got to die. Then they went on into the spare chamber to hold their con-sul-tation.
Waal, Bill he lay there in the front room a-pantin an a-gaspin, an a wondrin whether it wuz true. As he wuz thinkin, up comes the girl to git a clean table-cloth out of the clothes-press, an she left the door ajar as she come in. Bill he gave a sniff, an his eyes grew more natural like; he gathered together all the strength he had, an he raised himself up on one elbow an sniffed again.
So Sary went down to the kitchen an brought up a plateful of hot baked beans. Dock Smith raised Bill up in bed, an Dock Brainerd put a piller under the small of Bills back. Then Sary sat down by the bed an fed them beans into Bill until Bill couldnt hold any more.