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
 
Chimmie Meets the Duchess
By Edward Waterman Townsend (1855–1942)
 
From “Chimmie Fadden”

“SAY, me name’s Dennis, an’ not Chimmie Fadden, if dem folks up dere ain’t got boodle ter burn a wet dog wid. Sure. Boodle ter burn a wet dog wid. I’m tellin’ ye, an’ dat’s right. See?
  1
  “Say, dey makes it deir ownselves. Naw, I ain’t stringin’ ye. It’s right. How? Listen: Miss Fannie, she sent fer me, an’ she was writin’, she was, in a little book, an’ when she writ a page she teared it out an’ pinned it on a bill.  2
  “‘Here, Chames,’ she says ter me, she says, ‘here, Chames, take dese bills an’ pay dem,’ she says.  3
  “‘Wot t’ell will I pay dem wid, Miss Fannie?’ I says. Like dat, ‘Wot t’ell will I pay dem wid?’ I says. See?  4
  “Say, wot der ye t’ink she says? She says, says she, ‘Pay dem wid de checks, Chames,’ she says. See? ‘Dere’s a check pinned on every bill,’ she says.  5
  “Say, I taut she was stringin’ me; but I t’inks ter meself, if she wants ter string me, it goes. See? Wot Miss Fannie does goes, wedder it makes me look like a farmer er not. Dat’s right.  6
  “Well, I taut I’d get a roast when I’d try ter pass off dose t’ings she writ out fer boodle. See? Wot do ye t’ink? Why, every one er dose mugs—dere was a candy store, an’ dere was a flower store, an’ dere was a store where dey sells womin’s hats, an’ holy gee! dere was all kind er stores—all dose mugs, I’m tellin’ ye, dey just takes off deir hats when I shoved de boodle Miss Fannie made at ’em. Dat’s right. Dat boodle was as good as nickels. Sure!  7
  “Well, I was clean paralized, an’ when I gits home an’ was goin’ ter Miss Fannie wid de bills I meets a mug in de hall dey calls de walley. Say, all dat mug does fer ’is wages is ter take care of ’is Whiskers’s whiskers. Sure! ’E is ’is Whiskers’s walley. When ’is Whiskers wants a clean shirt, dat walley gits it for ’im, and t’ings like dat.  8
  “I wouldn’t mind dat snap meself, only ’is Whiskers is a reg’lar scrapper an’ can do me.  9
  “Well, I was tellin’ ye ’bout meetin’ de walley in de hall. I told ’im dat Miss Fannie could make boodle outter paper, just like de President er de United States.  10
  “Say, wot der ye tink dat mug done? ’E gives me de laugh. See? Gives me de laugh, an’ says I’m a ig’rant wagabone.  11
  “‘Wot t’ell!’ I says ter ’im. ‘I may be a wagabone,’ I says, ‘but I’m not ig’rant,’ I says, like dat. ‘Wot t’ell.’ See?  12
  “‘Miss Fannie can’t make boodle,’ says ’e, ‘no more nor I kin,’ ’e says. ‘Dem’s checks.’  13
  “Say, I was kinder layin’ fer dat dude, anyhow, ’cause ’e is allers roastin’ me. So when ’e says dat, I gives ’im a jolt in de jaw. See? Say, ’e squared ’isself in pretty good shape, an’ I taut I had a good scrap on me hands, when in comes Miss Fannie’s maid.  14
  “Say, she’s a doisy. Ye otter see ’er. I’m dead stuck on ’er. She’s French, and talks a for’n langwudge mostly.  15
  “When she showed up in de hall I drops me hands, an’ de odder mug ’e drops ’is hands, an’ I gives ’er a wink an’ says:  16
  “‘Ah dere, Duchess!’ like dat. See? ‘Ah dere, Duchess!’  17
  “Den I chases meself over ter ’er and trows me arms ’round ’er an’ gives ’er a kiss.  18
  “Say, ye otter seed dat walley! I taut I’d die! Holy gee, ’e was crazy! ’E flies outter de hall, but I didn’t know den wot ’is game was. I soon tumbled, dough.  19
  “Well, as I was a-tellin’ ye, I gives de Duchess a kiss, an’ she says ‘Vat on,’ like dat. Dat’s ’er for’n langwudge. ‘Vat on.’ See?  20
  “How der ye say it is? ‘Va-t-en’? Is it ‘Get out’?  21
  “Holy gee! Is dat so?  22
  “Well, seein’ as how I wasn’t onto ’er langwudge, den, I gives ’er anodder kiss.  23
  “Dat’s right, ain’t it? When a felley meets a Duchess ’e’s stuck on, it’s right ter give ’er a kiss, ain’t it? Sure!  24
  “Well, she runs a big bluff of pretendin’ not ter like it, an’ says ‘Lace moy’ and ‘Finney say.’  25
  “How der ye say it is? ‘Finnissez’? Naw, dat ain’t right. ‘Finney say,’ she says, says she, but ’er langwudge bein’ for’n I wasn’t dead on all de time, an’ so I says nottin’ but just kep’ busy.  26
  “Say, I was pretty busy when in tru de door comes Miss Fannie an’ dat mug, de walley, an’ catched me. Dat’s wot dat mug went out fer, ter give me snap away ter Miss Fannie.  27
  “Say, but Miss Fannie was red! An’ pretty! She was just pretty up ter de limit, I’m tellin’ ye. Up ter de limit. See?  28
  “She gives me a look, an’ I was paralized. See?  29
  “But, holy gee! Ye otter seed de Duchess. She was as cool an’ smooth as ever ye seed anybody in yer life. I taut she’d be paralized, but—say, womin is queer folks, anyhow, an’ ye never know wot t’ell dey’ll do ’till dey do it. Sure!  30
  “Miss Fannie, she begun talkin’ dat for’n langwudge ter de Duchess, but de Duchess she humped ’er shoulders an’ she humped ’er eyebrows an’ looked as surprised as if she’d put on her shoe wid a mouse in it.  31
  “Den de Duchess she says, says she, talkin’ English, but kinder dago like—de kind er dago dat French folks talk when dey talks English. See? She says, says she:  32
  “‘Meester Cheemes ’e don’t do nottin’,’ she says, like dat, see?  33
  “Say, wasn’t dat great? Are ye on? See? Why, youse must be a farmer. I was dead on ter oncet. Say, de Duchess talked English ter tip me, see? She didn’t want me ter give de game away.  34
  “Miss Fannie, she was dead on, too, fer she got redder, an’ looked just like a actress on top er de stage, sure. She told de Duchess ter talk dat for’n langwudge, I guess, fer dey jawed away like a amb’lance gong, an’ I was near crazy, fer I taut I was gettin’ de gran’ roast an’ I couldn’t understan’ deir talk, see?  35
  “’Bout de time I taut I’d drop dead fer not knowin’ wot t’ell dey was sayin’, Miss Fannie she turns ter me an’ says, says she:  36
  “‘Chames,’ she says, ‘wot was ye doin’ of?’ she says.  37
  “‘Nottin’,’ I says; ‘nottin’ ’tall, Miss Fannie,’ says I, ‘only askin’ de Duchess where t’ell ye was,’ I say, ‘so I could give ye de bills wot I paid wid de boodle,’ I says.  38
  “Den Miss Fannie she taut erwhile, an’ she says suddent, says she: ‘Wot did she say when ye ast ’er where I was?’ she says.  39
  “Say, dere was where I was a farmer, a dead farmer. ’Stid er chippin’ in wid a song an’ dance ’bout somethin’ or ’nodder, I was so stuck on me langwudge dat I said dose words de Duchess spoke, wot I was tellin’ ye of: ‘Vat on,’ an’ ‘Lace moy,’ an’ ‘Finney say.’  40
  “Say, wot t’ell do dem words mean, anyhow?  41
  “Holy gee! is dat so—‘Get out,’ an’ ‘Let me be,’ and ‘Stop.’  42
  “Say, holy gee, I was a farmer, an’ dat’s right.  43
  “Well, when I said dem four words Miss Fannie she bit her lips, an’ twisted her mouth like she’d die if she didn’t laugh. But de Duchess, she gives me one look like she’d like ter do me, an’ chased ’erself outter de hall. An’ me stuck on ’er, too!  44
  “Say, womin is queer folks, anyhow; an’ when ye’re stuck on yerself de most dat’s when dey t’rows ye down de hardest. See?  45
  “Say, fallin’ in love has taut his mug one t’ing, dead. I don’t go monkeyin’ wid no for’n langwudge no more. Sure! Straight English is ’bout me size. See?”  46
 
 
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