Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

'Twould never do, the case was plain; His eyes

he couldn't shut; Ghosts shouldn't make the people laugh,

And Tom was quite a butt.

Tom's actor friends said ne'er a word

a To cheer his drooping heart; Though more than one was burning up

With zeal to “take his part.”

Tom argued very plausibly;

He said he didn't doubt That Hamlet's father drank, and grew, In

years, a little stout.

And so, 'twas natural, he said,

And quite a proper plan, To have his spirit represent

A portly sort of man.

'Twas all in vain; the manager

Said he was not in sport,
And, like a general, bade poor Tom

Surrender up his forte.

He'd do perhaps in heavy parts;

Might answer for a monk, Or porter to the elephant, •To carry round his trunk;

But in the ghost his day was past

He'd never do for that;
A Ghost might just as well be dead

As plethoric and fat!

Alas! next day poor Tom was found

As stiff as any post-
For he had lost his character,

And given up the Ghost !

Harriet Beecher Stowe.

[Mrs. Stowe was born in 1812, and achieved her fame by “Uncle Tom's Cabin,' which ap

peared in a magazine in 1850. The sale of this work was enormous, and its influence on the slavery question was indisputable. Mrs. Stowe has written many other works, amongst the best of which is the one from which the following extract is taken.)

THE MINISTER'S WOOING.

"WAL, the upshot on't was, they fussed and fuzzled and wuzzled till they'd drinked up all the tea in the teapot; and then they went down and called on the parson, and wuzzled him all up talkin' about this, that, and t’other that wanted lookin' to, and that it was no way to leave everything to a young chit like Huldy, and that he ought to be lookin' about for an experienced woman. The parson he thanked 'em kindly, and said he believed their motives was good, but he didn't go no further. He didn't ask Mis' Pipperidge to come and stay there and help him, nor nothin' o' that kind; but he said he'd attend to matters himself. The fact was, the parson had got such a likin' for havin' Huldy 'round,

' that he couldn't think o' such a thing as swappin' her off for the Widder Pipperidge.

“But he thought to himself, “Huldy is a good girl; but I oughtn't to be a leavin' everything to her—it's too hard on her. I ought to be instructin' and guidin' and helpin' of her; 'cause 'tain't everybody could be expected to know and do what Mis' Carryl did;' and so at it he went; and Lordy massy! didn't Huldy hev a time on 't when the minister began to come out of his study, and wanted to tew 'round and see to things? Huldy, you see, thought all the world of the minister, and she was 'most afraid to laugh; but she told me she couldn't, for the life of her, help it when his back was turned, for he wuzzled things up in the most singular way. But Huldy, she'd jest say "Yes, sir,' and get him off into his study, and go on her own way.

“Huldy,' says the minister one day, you ain't experienced out doors; and, when you want to know anything, you must come

a

6

to me.

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“Yes, sir,' says Huldy.

“Now, Huldy,' says the parson, you must be sure to save the turkey eggs, so that we can have a lot of turkeys for Thanksgiving.'

“« Yes, sir,' says Huldy; and she opened the pantry-door, and showed him a nice dishful she'd been a savin' up. Wal, the very

a next day the parson's hen-turkey was found killed up to old Jim Scroggs's barn. Folks said Scroggs killed it; though Scroggs, he stood to it he didn't ; at any rate, the Scroggses, they made a meal on't, and Huldy, she felt bad about it 'cause she'd set her heart on raisin' the turkeys; and says she, 'Oh, dear! I don't know what I shall do. I was just ready to set her.'

“Do, Huldy ?' says the parson : 'why, there's the other turkey, out there by the door; and a fine bird, too, he is.'

“Sure enough, there was the old tom-turkey a struttin' and a sidlin', and a quitterin', and a floutin' his tail-feathers in the sun, like a lively young widower, all ready to begin life over again.

'But,' says Huldy, 'you know he can't set on eggs.'
«. He can't? I'd like to know why,' says the parson.

'He shall set on eggs, and hatch 'em too.'

“O doctor !' says Huldy, all in a tremble; 'cause, you know, she didn't want to contradict the minister, and she was afraid she should laugh—'I never heard that a tom-turkey would set on eggs.'

Why, they ought to,' said the parson, getting quite 'arnest: what else be they good for you just bring out the eggs, now, and put 'em in the nest, and I'll make him set on 'em.'

“So Huldy, she thought there wern't no way to convince him but to let him try; so she took the eggs out, and fixed 'em all nice in the nest; and then she come back and found old Tom a skirmishin' with the parson pretty lively, I tell ye. Ye see, old Tom, he didn't take the idee at all; and he flopped and gobbled, and fit the parson; and the parson's wig got 'round so that his cue stuck straight out over his ear, but he'd got his blood up. Ye see, the old doctor was used to carryin' his p'ints o' doctrine; and he hadn't fit the Arminians and Socinians to be beat by a tomturkey; and finally he made a dive and ketched him by the neck in spite o' his floppin', and stroked him down, and put Huldy's apron 'round him,

[ocr errors]

“There, Huldy,' he says, quite red in the face, we've got him now;' and he travelled off to the barn with him as lively as a cricket.

“Huldy came behind, jist chokin' with laugh, and afraid the minister would look 'round and see her.

“Now, Huldy, we'll crook his legs, and set him down,' says the parson, when they got him to the nest : 'you see he is getting quiet, and he'll set there all right.'

“And the parson, he sot him down; and old Tom, he sot there solemn enough, and held his head down all droopin', as long as the parson sot by him.

« « There : you see how still he sets,' says the parson to Huldy.

“Huldy was 'most dyin' for fear she should laugh. 'I'm afraid he'll get up,' says she, 'when you do.'

“Oh no he won't !' says the parson, quite confident. “There, there,' says he, layin' his hands on him as if pronouncin' a blessin'. But when the parson riz up, old Tom, he riz up too, and began to march over the eggs.

“Stop, now !' says the parson. "I'll make him get down agin : hand me that corn-basket; we'll put that over him.'

“So he crooked old Tom's legs, and got him down agin; and they put the corn-basket over him, and then they both stood and waited.

“That'll do the thing, Huldy,' said the parson.
" " I don't know about it,' says Huldy.
Oh, yes, it will, child ! I understand,' says he.

"Just as he spoke, the basket riz right up and stood, and they could see old Tom's long legs.

"" I'll make him stay down,' says the parson.

“. You jist hold him a minute, and I'll get something that'll make him stay, I guess ;' and out he went to the fence, and brought in a long, thin, flat stone, and laid it on old Tom's back.

Oh, my eggs !' says Huldy. "I'm afraid he's smashed

" 'em !'

“And sure enough, there they was, smashed flat enough under the stone.

“I'll have him killed,' said the parson, 'we won't have such a critter 'round:

[ocr errors]

666

6

“Wal, next week Huldy, she jist borrowed the minister's horse and side-saddle, and rode over to South Parish to her Aunt Bascome's,-Widder Bascome's, you know, that lives there by the trout-brook,—and got a lot o' turkey-eggs o' her, and come back and set a hen on 'em, and said nothin'; and in good time there was as nice a lot o'turkey-chicks as ever ye see.

“Huldy never said a word to the minister about his experiment, and he never said a word to her; but he sort o' kep' more to his books, and didn't take it on him to advise so much.

“But not long arter he took it into his head that Huldy ought to have a pig to be a fattin' with the buttermilk. Mis' Pipperidge set him up to it; and jist then old Tim Bigelow, out to Juniper Hill, told him if he'd call over he'd give him a little pig.

“So he sent for a man, and told him to build a pig-pen right out by the well, and have it all ready when he came home with

his pig.

[ocr errors]

“Huldy said she wished he might put a curb round the well out there, because in the dark, sometimes, a body might stumble into it; and the parson he told him he might do that.

Wal, old Aikin, the carpenter, he didn't come till ’most the middle of the arternoon; and then he sort o' idled, so that he didn't get up the well-curb till sundown ; and then he went off and said he'd come and do the pig-pen next day.

· Wal, arter dark, Parson Carryl, he driv into the yard, full chizel, with his pig.

“There, Huldy, I've got you a nice little pig.'
“Dear me !' says Huldy, where have you put him ? '
“Why, out there in the pig-pen, to be sure.'

“Oh dear me!' says Huldy : 'that's the well-curb; there ain't no pig-pen built,' says she.

Lordy massy !' says the parson : "then I've thrown the pig in the well !'

“Wal, Huldy, she worked and worked, and finally she fished piggy out in the bucket, but he was dead as a door-nail; and she got him out o' the way quietly, and didn't say much; and the parson he took to a great Hebrew book in his study.

'Arter that the parson set sich store by Huldy that he come

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »