The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun Part 33
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MRS. CAUDLE'S UMBRELLA.
ONE of the best chapters in "Mrs. Caudle's Curtain Lectures," is where that amiable and greatly abused angel reproaches her inhuman spouse with loaning the family umbrella:
"Ah! that's the third umbrella gone since Christmas! What were you to do? Why, let him go home in the rain. I don't think there was any thing about _him_ that would spoil. Take cold, indeed! He does not look like one o' the sort to take cold. He'd better taken cold, than our only umbrella. Do you hear the rain, Caudle? I say do you _hear the rain_? Do you hear it against the windows? Nonsense; you can't be asleep with such a shower as that. Do you _hear_ it, I say? Oh, you _do_ hear it, do you?
Well, that's a pretty flood, I think, to last six weeks, and no stirring all the time out of the house. Poh! don't think to fool _me_, Caudle: _he_ return the umbrella! As if any body ever _did_ return an umbrella!
There--do you hear it? Worse and worse! Cats and dogs for six weeks--always six weeks--and no umbrella!
"I should like to know how the children are to go to school, to-morrow.
They shan't go through _such_ weather, _that_ I'm determined. No; they shall stay at home, and never learn anything, sooner than go and get wet. And when they grow up, I wonder who they'll have to thank for knowing nothing. People who can't feel for their children ought never to _be_ fathers.
"But _I_ know why you lent the umbrella--_I_ know very well. I was going out to tea to mother's, to-morrow;--you _knew_ that very well; and you did it on purpose. Don't tell me; _I_ know: you don't want me to go, and take every mean advantage to hinder me. But don't you think it, Caudle.
No; if it comes down in buckets-full, I'll go all the more: I will; and what's more, I'll walk every step of the way; and you know that will give me my death," &c., &c., &c.
FOLLOW YOUR NOSE.
"PRAY, Sir, what makes you walk so crookedly?" "Oh, my nose, you see, is crooked, and I have to follow it!"
LORENZO DOW is still remembered by some of the "old fogies" as one of the most eccentric men that ever lived. On one occasion he took the liberty, while preaching, to denounce a rich man in the community, recently deceased. The result was an arrest, a trial for slander, and an imprisonment in the county jail. After Lorenzo got out of "limbo," he announced that, in spite of his (in his opinion) unjust punishment, he should preach, at a given time, a sermon about "another rich man." The populace was greatly excited, and a crowded house greeted his appearance. With great solemnity he opened the Bible, and read, "And there was a rich man who died and went to ----;" then stopping short, and seeming to be suddenly impressed, he continued: "Brethren, I shall not mention the place this rich man went to, for fear he has some relatives in this congregation who will sue me for defamation of character." The effect on the a.s.sembled mult.i.tude was irresistible, and he made the impression permanent by taking another text, and never alluding to the subject again.
THE following story, although latterly related of "a distinguished Southern gentleman, and former member of the cabinet," was formerly told, we are _almost_ quite certain, of the odd and eccentric John Randoph of Roanoke, with certain omissions and additions. Be that as it may, the anecdote is a good one, and "will do to keep."
"The gentleman was a boarder in one of the most splendid of the New York hotels; and preferring not to eat at the _table d'hote_, had his meals served in his own parlor, with all the elegance for which the establishment had deservedly become noted.
"Being somewhat annoyed with the airs of the servant who waited upon him--a negro of 'the blackest dye'--he desired him at dinner one day to retire. The negro bowed, and took his stand behind the gentleman's chair. Supposing him to be gone, it was with some impatience that, a few minutes after, the gentleman saw him step forward to remove his soup.
"'Fellow!' said he, 'leave the room! I wish to be alone.'
"'Excuse me, Sah,' said Cuffee, drawing himself stiffly up, 'but _I'se 'sponsible for de silver_!'"
COULDN'T FIND IT OUT.
MR. SLOc.u.m was not educated in a university, and his life has been in by-paths, and out-of-the-way places. His mind is characterized by the literalness, rather than the comprehensive grasp of great subjects. Mr.
Sloc.u.m can, however, master a printed paragraph, by dint of spelling the hard words, in a deliberate manner, and manages to gain a few glimpses of men and things, from his little rocky farm, through the medium of a newspaper. It is quite edifying to hear Mr. Sloc.u.m reading the village paper aloud, to his wife, after a hard day's work. A few evenings since, farmer Sloc.u.m was reading an account of a dreadful accident, which happened at the factory in the next town, and which the village editor had described in a great many words.
"I declare, wife, that was an awful accident over to the mills," said Mr. Sloc.u.m.
"What was it about, Mr. Sloc.u.m?"
"I'll read the 'count, wife, and then you'll know all about it."
Mr. S. began to read:
"_Horrible and Fatal Accident._--It becomes our melancholy and painful duty, to record the particulars of an accident that occurred at the lower mill, in this village, yesterday afternoon, by which a human being, in the prime of life, was hurried to that bourne from which, as the immortal Shakspeare says, 'no traveler returns.'"
"Du tell!" exclaimed Mrs. S.
"Mr. David Jones, a workman, who has but few superiors this side of the city, was superintending one of the large drums--"
"I wonder if 'twas a bra.s.s drum, such as has 'Eblubust Unum' printed on't," said Mrs. Sloc.u.m.
--"When he became entangled. His arm was drawn around the drum, and finally his whole body was drawn over the shaft, at a fearful rate. When his situation was discovered, he had revolved with immense velocity, about fifteen minutes, his head and limbs striking a large beam a distinct blow at each revolution."
"Poor creeter! how it must have hurt him!"
"When the machinery had been stopped, it was found that Mr. Jones's arms and legs were macerated to a jelly."
"Well, didn't it kill him?" asked Mrs. S., with increasing interest.
"Portions of the dura mater, cerebrum, and cerebellum, in confused ma.s.ses, were scattered about the floor; in short, the gates of eternity had opened upon him."
Here, Mr. Sloc.u.m paused to wipe his spectacles, and the wife seized the opportunity to press the question.
"Was the man killed?"
"I don't know--haven't come to that place yet; you'll know when I've finished the piece." And Mr. Sloc.u.m continued reading:
"It was evident, when the shapeless form was taken down, that it was no longer tenanted by the immortal spirit--that the vital spark was extinct."
"Was the man killed? that's what I want to come at," said Mrs. Sloc.u.m.
"Do have a little patience, old woman," said Mr. Sloc.u.m, eyeing his better half, over his spectacles, "I presume we shall come upon it right away." And he went on reading:
"This fatal casualty has cast a gloom over our village, and we trust that it will prove a warning to all persons who are called upon to regulate the powerful machinery of our mills."
"Now," said Mrs. Sloc.u.m, perceiving that the narration was ended, "now, I should like to know whether the man was killed or not?"
The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun Part 33
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