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grapple with that same old problem a second time. And in still one more cradle, somewhere under the flag, the future illustrious commander-in-chief of the American armies is so little burdened with his approaching grandeurs and responsibilities as to be giving his whole strategic mind at this moment to trying to find out some way to get his big toe into his mouth-an achievement which, meaning no disrespect, the illustrious guest of this evening turned his entire attention to some fifty-six years ago; and if the child is but a prophecy of the man, there are mighty few who will doubt that he succeeded.
Samuel L. Clemens (“Mark Twain”).
DESIRE to state I
that my position as United States cyclonist for this judicial district is now vacant. signed on the 9th day of September, A.D. 1884.
I have not the necessary personal magnetism to look a cyclone in the eye and make it quail. I am stern and even haughty in my intercourse with men, but when a Manitoba simoon takes me by the brow of my pantaloons and throws me across township 28, range 18, west of the 5th principal meridian, I lose my mental reserve and become anxious and even taciturn. For thirty years I had yearned to see a grown-up cyclone, of the ring-tail-puller variety, mop up the green earth with huge forest trees and make the landscape look tired. On the oth day of September, A.D. 1884, my morbid curiosity was gratified.
As the people came out into the forest with lanterns and pulled me out of the crotch of a basswood tree with a “tackle and fall,” I remember I told them I didn't yearn for any more atmospheric phenomena.
The old desire for a hurricane that could blow a cow through a penitentiary was satiated. I remember when the doctor pried the bones of my leg together, in order to kind of draw my attention away from the limb, he asked me how I liked the fall style of zephyr in that locality.
I said it was all right, what there was of it. I said this in a tone of bitter irony.
Cyclones are of two kinds—viz., the dark maroon cyclone, and the iron grey cyclone with pale green mane and tail. It was the latter kind I frolicked with on the above-named date.
My brother and I were riding along in the grand old forest, and I had just been singing a few bars from the opera of “Whoop 'em up, Lizzie Jane," when I noticed that the wind was beginning to sough through the trees. Soon after that I noticed that I was soughing through the trees also, and I am really no slouch of a sougher either when I get started.
The horse was hanging by the breeching from the bough of a large butternut tree, waiting for some one to come and pick him.
I did not see my brother at first, but after a while he disengaged himself from a rail fence, and came where I was hanging, wrong end up, with my personal effects spilling out of my pockets. I told him that as soon as the wind kind of softened down, I wished he would go and pick the horse. He did so, and at midnight a party of friends
carried me into town on a stretcher. It was quite an ovation. To think of a torchlight procession coming out way out there into the woods at midnight, and carrying me into town on their shoulders in triumph! And yet I was once a poor boy!
It shows what may be accomplished by any one if he will persevere and insist on living a different life.
The cyclone is a natural phenomenon, enjoying the most robust health. It may be a pleasure for a man with great will power and an iron constitution to study more carefully into the habits of the cyclone, but as far as I am concerned, individually, I could worry along some way if we didn't have a phenomenon in the house from one year's end to another.
As I sit here, with my leg in a silicate of soda corset, and watch the merry throng promenading down the street, or mingling in the giddy torchlight procession, I cannot repress a feeling toward a cyclone that almost amounts to disgust.
1861. UDGE not by appearances, for appearances are very
deceptive,-as the old lady cholerically remarked when one, who was really a virgin unto forty, blushingly informed her that she was “just twenty-five this month.”
Though you find me in Washington now, I was born of respectable parents, and gave every indication, in my satchel and apron days, of coming to something better than this.
Slightly northward of the Connecticut river, where a pleasant little conservative village mediates between two opposition hills, you may behold the landscape on which my infantile New England eyes first traced the courses of future railroads.
Near the centre of this village in the valley, and a little back from its principal road, stood the residence of my worthy sire, and a very pretty residence it was. From the frequent addition of a new upper room here, a new dormer window there, and an innovating skylight elsewhere, the roof of the mansion had gradually assumed an alpine variety of juts and peaks somewhat confusing to behold. Local tradition related that, on a certain showery occasion, a streak of lightning was seen to descend upon that roof, skip vaguely about from one peak to another, and finally slink ignominiously down the water-pipe, as though utterly disgusted with its own inability to determine, where there were so many, which peak it should particularly perforate.
Such was the house in which I came to life a certain number of years ago, entering the world like a human exclamation point between two of the angriest sentences of a September storm, and adding materially to the uproar prevailing at the time.
Next to my parents, the person I can best remember, as I look back, was our family physician. A very obese man was he, with certain sweet-oiliness of manner, and never put out of patience. I think I can see him still, as he arose from his chair after a profound study of the case before him, and wrote a prescription so circumlocutory in its effect that it sent a servant half-a-mile to his friend the druggist for articles she might have found in her own kitchen, aqua pumpaginis and sugar being the sole ingredients required.
The doctor had started business in our village as a veterinary surgeon, but as the entire extent of his practice for six months in that line was a call to mend one of Colt's revolvers, he finally turned his attention to the ailings of