The Worlds Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906. Vols. IV: American
By William Tappan Thompson (18121882)
From Major Joness Courtship
PINEVILLE, February 2
TO MR. THOMPSON:Dear SirEver sense I writ my last letter to you, things is gone on jest as straight as a shingle, and the only thing what troubles me is, Im fraid its all too good to last. Its always been the way with me ever sense I can remember whenever Im the happiest some cussed thing seems to turn up jest to upset all my calculations; and now, though the day is sot for the weddin, and the Stallinses is gettin every thing ready as fast as they can, I wouldnt be surprised much if some bominable thing was to happen, some yeathquake or something, jest to bust it all up agin, though I should hate it monstrous.
Old Miss Stallins read that piece in the Miscellany about the mistake in parson Millers figers, and I do blieve shes as glad about it as if she was shore she would live a whole thousand years more herself. She ses she haint got no objections to the weddin now, for me and Maryll have plenty of time to make a fortin for our children and rais em up as they ought to be. She ses she always wondered how Mr. Miller could cifer the thing out so straight, to the very day, without a single mistake, but now hes made sich a terrible blunder of a whole thousand years, she ses she knows he aint no smarter nor other people, if he was raised at the North.
Its really surprisin how mazin poplar it does make a body to be engaged to be married to a butiful young lady. Sense the things leaked out, everybodys my pertickeler friend, and I cant meet nobody wherever I go, but what wants to congratilate me on my good fortin, cept cousin Pete and two or three other fellers, who look sort o like they wanted to laugh and couldnt. Almost every night Mary and me is invited to a party. Tother night we went to one to old Squire Rogerses, whar I got my dander up a little the worst Ive had it for some time. I dont blieve you have ever hearn of jest sich a dingd fool trick as they played on me. Ther was a good many young people thar, and as the Squire dont allow dancin, they all played games and tricks, and sich foolishness to pass away the time, which to my notion is a bominable sight worse than dancin.
Ill tell you, ses he, you and somebody else must set down in the chairs and be blindfolded, and the rest must all walk round and round you, and keep tappin you on the head with something till you guess who bobd you.
Why, ses he, when any one taps you, you must say, Brother, Im bobd! and then theyll ax, Who bobd you? and if you guess the right one, then they must take your place and be bobd till they guess who bobd em. If youll be blindfolded I will, ses he, jest for fun.
Cousin Pete sot out two chairs into the middle of the room, back to back, and we sot down, and they tied a hankercher round my eyes tite as the mischief, so I couldnt see to guess no moren if I had no eyes at all. Then the boys and galls commenced walkin round us in a circle all giglin and laughin.
I hadnt sot thar no time before cawhalux! some one tuck me right side of the head with a dratted big book. The fire flew out o my eyes in big live coals, and I like to keeled over out of the chair. I felt my blood risin like a mill-tail, but they all laughed mightily at the fun, and after a while ses I,
I was dredful anxious to guess right, but it was no use, I missed it every time, and so did cousin Pete, and the harder they hit the louder they laughed. One time they hit me a great deal softlier than the rest.
I begun to git monstrous tired of sich fun, which seemed so much like the boys and the frogs in the spellin bookfor if it was fun to them it was death to meand I dont know what I would done if Mary hadnt come up and untied the hankercher.
Well, they all went on playin pawns, and pon honor, and Here we go round the gooseberry bush, and Oh, sister Feby, how merry we be, and sich tom fooleries till they played all they knowed, and while they was playin Mary told me all about the trick cousin Pete played on me.
It was the most oudacious take in I ever heard of. Do you think the cuss didnt set right down behind me, and never blindfolded himself at all, and hit me every lick himself, now and then hitttin his knee with the book, to make me blieve he was bobd too! My head was a-buzzin with the licks when she told me how he done me, and I do blieve if it hadnt been for her Id gin cousin Pete sich a lickin right thar in that room as he never had before in his born days. Blazes! but I was mad at fust. But Mary begged me not to raise no fuss about it, now it was all over, and she would fix him for his smartness. I hadnt no sort of a idee how she gwine to do it, but I knowd she was a match for cousin Pete any time, so I jest let her go ahed.
Well, she tuck the bominable fool off to one side and whispered to him like she was gwine to let him into a grate secret. She told him about a new play what she learned down to Macon when she was at the college, called Interduction to the King and Queen, what she sed was a grate deal funnier than Brother Bob, and got him to help to git em all to play it.
After she and him made it all up, cousin Pete put out three chairs close together in a row for a throne, and Mary she put a sheet over em to make em look a little grand. Bill Byers was to be King and Mary was to be Queen.
Cousin Pete was to be the fust one interduced, and Sam Rogers was to be the usher, the feller what interduced the company. Well, bimeby the door opened and in come cousin Pete, bowin and scrapin, and twistin and rigglein and puttin on more dandy airs than a French dancin masterhe beat Crotchett all to smash. The King sot on one side of the throne and the Queen on tother, leavin room in the middle for some one else. Sam was so full of laugh at cousin Petes anticks that he couldnt hardly speak.
Cousin Pete got up and bowed and scraped a few more times, and went to set down between em, but they ris up jest as he went to set down, and the fust thing he knowed, kerslosh he went, rite into a big tub morn half full of cold water, with nothing but his head and heels stickin out.
He tried to kiss Mary as he was takin his seat, and if you could jest seed him as he went into that tub with his arms reached out to her, and his mouth sot for a kiss, I do believe youd laughed moren you ever did before in your life. The fellers was all so spicious that some trick was gwine to be played, that they left the dore open, and when the thing tuck place they all run in shoutin and laughin like they would bust ther sides.
Pete got out as quick as he could, and I never seed a feller so wilted down in all my life. He was mad as a hornet, and sed it was a dd mean trick to sarve ennybody so, specially in cold weather. And he went right off home by himself to dry.
Mary made the niggers take out the middle chair what was covered by the sheet, and put the tub of water in its place when we was all in tother room. Pete didnt have no suspicion that the trick was gwine to turn out that way. He thought the queen was gwine to sentence every feller what didnt kiss her as he sot down, to do something that would make fun for the rest, and he was jest gwine to open the game.