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
 
On Cyclones
By Edgar Wilson (Bill) Nye (1850–1896)
 
I DESIRE to state that my position as United States cyclonist for this judicial district became vacant on the 9th day of September, A.D. 1884.  1
  I have not the necessary personal magnetism to look a cyclone in the eye and make it quail. I am stern and even haughty in my intercourse with men, but when a Manitoba simoom takes me by the brow of my pantaloons and throws me across Township 28, Range 18, west of the 5th principal meridian, I lose my mental reserve and become anxious and even taciturn. For years I had yearned to see a grown-up cyclone, of the ring-tail-puller variety, mop up the green earth with huge forest trees and make the landscape look tired. On the 9th day of September, A.D. 1884, my morbid curiosity was gratified.  2
  As the people came out into the forest with lanterns and pulled me out of the crotch of a basswood tree with a “tackle and fall,” I remember I told them I didn’t yearn for any more atmospheric phenomena.  3
  The old desire for a hurricane that could blow a cow through a penitentiary was satiated. I remember when the doctor pried the bones of my leg together, in order to kind of draw my attention away from the limb, he asked me how I liked the fall style of zephyr in that locality. I said it was all right, what there was of it. I said this in a tone of bitter irony.  4
  Cyclones are of two kinds, viz., the dark maroon cyclone, and the iron-gray cyclone with pale green mane and tail. It was the latter kind I frolicked with on the above-named date.  5
  My brother and I were riding along in the grand old forest, and I had just been singing a few bars from the opera of “Whoop ’em up, Lizzie Jane,” when I noticed that the wind was beginning to sough through the trees. Soon after that I noticed that I was soughing through the trees also, and I am really no slouch of a sougher either when I get started.  6
  The horse was hanging by the breeching from the bough of a large butternut tree, waiting for some one to come and pick him.  7
  I did not see my brother at first, but after a while he disengaged himself from a rail fence and came where I was hanging wrong end up, with my personal effects spilling out of my pockets. I told him that as soon as the wind kind of softened down I wished he would go and pick the horse. He did so, and at midnight a party of friends carried me into town on a stretcher. It was quite an ovation. To think of a torchlight procession coming ’way out there into the woods at midnight, and carrying me into town on their shoulders in triumph! And yet I was once a poor boy!  8
  It shows what may be accomplished by any one if he will persevere and insist on living a different life.  9
  The cyclone is a natural phenomenon, enjoying the most robust health. It may be a pleasure for a man with great will-power and an iron constitution to study more carefully into the habits of the cyclone, but as far as I am concerned, individually, I could worry along some way if we didn’t have a phenomenon in the house from one year’s end to another.  10
  As I sit here, with my leg in a silicate of soda corset, and watch the merry throng promenading down the street, or mingling in the giddy torchlight procession, I cannot repress a feeling toward a cyclone that almost amounts to disgust.  11
 
 
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