« ZurückWeiter »
went upstairs, and told Pa to come up pretty soon and give three distinct raps, and when we asked him who comes there he must say, 'A pilgrim, who wants to join your ancient order and ride the goat.' Ma wanted to come up, too, but we told her if she come in it would break up the lodge, cause a woman couldn't keep a secret, and we didn't have any side-saddle for the goat. Say, if you never tried it, the next time you nishiate a man in your Mason's lodge you sprinkle a little kyan pepper on the goat's beard just afore you turn him loose.
You can get three times as much fun to the square inch of goat. You wouldn't think it was the same goat. Well, we got all Sixed and Pa rapped, and we let him in and told him he must be blindfolded, and he got on his knees a laffing, and I tied a towel around his eyes, and then I turned him around and made him get down on his hands also, and then his back was right towards the closet sign, and I put the bock beer sign right against Pa's clothes. He was a laffing all the time, and said we boys were as full of fun as they made 'em, and we told him it was a solemn occasion, and we wouldn't permit no levity, and if he didn't stop laffing we couldn't give him the grand bumper degree. Then everything was ready, and my chum had his hand on the closet door, and some kyan pepper in his other hand, and I asked Pa in low bass tones if he felt as though he wanted to turn back, or if he had nerve enough to go ahead and take the degree. I warned him that it was full of dangers, as the goat was loaded for bear, and told him he yet had time to retrace his steps if he wanted to. He said he wanted the whole bizness, and we could go ahead with the menagerie. Then I said to Pa that if he had decided to go ahead, and not blame us for the consequences, to repeat after me the following : ‘Bring forth the Royal Bumper and let him Bump.'
" Pa repeated the words, and my chum sprinkled the kyan pepper on the goat's moustache, and he sneezed once and looked sassy, and then he see the lager beer goat rearing up, and he started for it just like a crow-catcher, and blatted. Pa is real fat, but he knew he got hit, and he grunted and said, 'What you boys doin'?' and then the goat gave him another degree, and Pa pulled off the towel and got up and started for the stairs, and so did the goat; and Ma was at the bottom of the stairs listening, and when I looked over the banisters Pa and Ma and the goat were all in a heap, and Pa was yelling murder, and Ma was screaming fire, and the goat was blatting, and sneezing, and bunting, and the hired girl came into the hall and the goat took after her, and she crossed herself just as the goat struck her and said, 'Howly mother, protect me!' and went down stairs the way we boys slide down hill, with both hands on herself, and the goat reared up and blatted, and Pa and Ma went into their room and shut the door, and then my chum and me opened the front door and drove the goat out. The minister, who comes to see Ma every three times a week, was just ringing the bell, and the goat thought he wanted to be nishiated too, and gave him one for luck, and then went down the side walk, blatting, and sneezing, and the minister came in the parlour and said he was stabbed, and then Pa came out of his room with his suspenders hanging down, and he didn't know the minister was there, and he said cuss words, and Ma cried and told Pa he would go to the bad place sure, and Pa said he didn't care, he would kill that kussid goat afore he went, and I told Pa the minister was in the parlour, and he and Ma went down and said the weather was propitious for a revival, and it seemed as though an outpouring of the spirit was about to be vouchsafed, and none of them sot down but Ma, cause the goat didn't hit her, and while they were talking relidgin with their mouths, and kussin' the goat inwardly, my chum and me adjourned the lodge, and I went and stayed with him all night, and I haven't been home since. But I don't believe Pa will lick me, 'cause he said he would not hold us responsible for the consequences. He ordered the goat hisself, and we filled the order, don't you see? Well, I guess I will go and sneak in the back way, and find out from the hired girl how the land lays. She won't go back on me, 'cause the goat was not loaded for hired girls. She just happened to get in at the wrong time. Good-bye, sir. Remember and give your goat kyan pepper in your lodge.”
LONDON, October 30, 1802. I HAVE lately made a most important discovery which
has disclosed one of the great secrets of English rank. You, in the United States, knowing nothing of this, will consider the following authentic history of rank a singular curiosity.
They have confined the several species of man within such definite limits, in this country, that the moment they hear a knocking at the doors, they can tell you whether it be a servant, a postinan, a milkman, a half or whole gentleman, a very great gentleman, a knight, or a nobleman.
A servant is bound to lift the knocker once; should he usurp a nobleman's knock he would hazard his situation. A postman knocks twice, very loudly. A milkman knocks once, at the same time sending forth an artificial noise, not unlike the yell of an American Indian. A mere gentleman usually knocks three times, moderately; a terrible fellow feels authorised to knock thrice, very loudly, generally adding to these two or three faint knocks, which seem to run into each other ; but there is considerable art in doing this elegantly, therefore it is not always attempted; but it is a valuable accomplishment. A stranger who should venture at an imitation would undoubtedly be taken for an upstart. A knight presumes to give a double knock, that is six raps, with a few faint ones at the end. I have not yet ascertained the various peculiarities which distinguish the degrees between the baronet and the nobleman; but this I know too well, that a nobleman, at any time of night, is allowed to knock so long and loud, that the whole neighbourhood is frequently disturbed ; and although fifty people may be deprived of their night's rest, there is no redress at law or at equity. Nor have I learned how long and loud a prince of the blood presumes to knock, though doubtless he might knock an hour or two by way of distinction.
You may hold your sides if you please, but I assure you I am perfectly serious. These people are so tenacious of their prerogative, that a true-blooded Englishman goes near to think it a part of British liberty. Indeed, I am convinced I could place certain Englishmen in a situation, in which, rather than knock at a door but once, they would fight a duel every day in the week. Good heavens, how