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
 
Tight Boots
By Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw) (1818–1885)
 
From “Complete Works”

I WOULD jist like to kno who the man waz who fust invented tite boots.
  1
  He must hav bin a narrow and kontrakted kuss.  2
  If he still lives, i hope he haz repented ov hiz sin, or iz enjoying grate agony ov sum kind.  3
  I hav bin in a grate menny tite spots in mi life, but generally could manage to make them average; but thare iz no sich thing az making a pair of tite boots average.  4
  Enny man who kan wear a pair ov tite boots, and be humble, and penitent, and not indulge profane literature, will make a good husband.  5
  Oh! for the pen ov departed Wm. Shakspear, to write an anethema aginst tite boots, that would make anshunt Rome wake up, and howl agin az she did once before on a previous ockashun.  6
  Oh! for the strength ov Herkules, to tare into shu strings all the tite boots ov creashun, and skatter them tew the 8 winds ov heaven.  7
  Oh! for the buty ov Venus, tew make a bigg foot look hansum without a tite boot on it.  8
  Oh! for the payshunce ov Job, the Apostle, to nuss a tite boot and bles it, and even pra for one a size smaller and more pinchfull.  9
  Oh! for a pair of boots bigg enuff for the foot ov a mountain.  10
  I have been led into the above assortment ov Oh’s! from having in my posseshun, at this moment, a pair ov number nine boots, with a pair ov number eleven feet in them.  11
  Mi feet are az uneasy az a dog’s noze the fust time he wears a muzzle.  12
  I think mi feet will eventually choke the boots to deth.  13
  I liv in hopes they will.  14
  I suppozed i had lived long enuff not to be phooled agin in this way, but i hav found out that an ounce ov vanity weighs more than a pound ov reazon, espeshily when a man mistakes a bigg foot for a small one.  15
  Avoid tite boots, mi friend, az you would the grip of the devil; for menny a man haz cought for life a fust rate habit for swareing bi encouraging hiz feet to hurt hiz boots.  16
  I hav promised mi two feet, at least a dozen ov times during mi checkured life, that they never should be strangled agin, but i find them to-day az phull ov pain az the stummuk ake from a suddin attak ov tite boots.  17
  But this iz solemly the last pair ov tite boots i will ever wear; i will hereafter wear boots az bigg az mi feet, if i have to go barefoot to do it.  18
  I am too old and too respektable to be a phool enny more.  19
  Eazy boots iz one of the luxurys ov life, but i forgit what the other luxury iz, but i don’t kno az i care, provided i kan git rid ov this pair ov tite boots.  20
  Enny man kan hav them for seven dollars, just half what they kost, and if they don’t make his feet ake wuss than an angle worm in hot ashes, he needn’t pay for them.  21
  Methuseles iz the only man, that i kan kall to mind now who could hav afforded to hav wore tite boots, and enjoyed them, he had a grate deal ov waste time tew be miserable in, but life now days, iz too short, and too full ov aktual bizzness to phool away enny ov it on tite boots.  22
  Tite boots are an insult to enny man’s understanding.  23
  He who wears tite boots will hav too acknowledge the corn.  24
  Tite boots hav no bowells or mersy, their insides are wrath, and promiskious cussing.  25
  Beware ov tite boots.  26
 
 
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