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Masterpieces of American Wit and Humor Part 14

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She curved and writhed, and then she said Less green of speech than blue: "Perhaps I _am_ absurd--perhaps I _don't_ appeal to you; But my artistic worth depends Upon the point of view."

I saw her smile, although her eyes Were only smudgy smears; And then she swished her swirling arms, And wagged her gorgeous ears, She sobbed a blue-and-green-checked sob, And wept some purple tears.

Carolyn Wells.

James Gardner Sanderson

THE CONUNDRUM OF THE GOLF LINKS



(_With thanks to Kipling_)

When the flush of the new-born sun fell first on Eden's gold and green, Our Father Adam sat under the Tree and shaved his driver clean, And joyously whirled it round his head and knocked the apples off, Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves: "Well done--but is it golf?"

Wherefore he called his wife and fled to practise again his swing-- The first of the world who foozled his stroke (yet the grandpapa of Tyng); And he left his clubs to the use of his sons--and that was a glorious gain, When the Devil chuckled "Beastly Golf" in the ear of the horrored Cain.

They putted and drove in the North and South; they talked and laid links in the West; Till the waters rose o'er Ararat's tees, and the aching wrists could rest-- Could rest till that blank, blank canvasback, heard the Devil jeer and scoff, As he flew with the flood-fed olive branch, "Dry weather. Let's play golf."

They pulled and sliced and pounded the earth, and the b.a.l.l.s went sailing off Into bunkers and trees while the Devil grinned, "Keep your eye on it! _That's_ not golf."

Then the Devil took his sulphured cleik and mightily he swung, While each man marveled and cursed his form and each in an alien tongue.

The tale is as old as the Eden Tree--and new as the newest green, For each man knows ere his lip thatch grows the caddy's mocking mien.

And each man hears, though the ball falls fair, the Devil's cursed cough Of joy as the man holes out in ten, "You did it--but what poor golf!"

We have learned to whittle the Eden Tree to the shape of a niblick's shaft, We have learned to make a mashie with a wondrous handicraft, We know that a hazard is often played best by re-driving off, But the Devil whoops as he whooped of old, "It's easy, but is it golf?"

When the flicker of summer falls faint on the Clubroom's gold and green, The sons of Adam sit them down and boast of strokes unseen; They talk of stymies and bra.s.sie lies to the tune of the steward's cough, But the Devil whispers in their ears, "Gadzooks!

But that's not golf!"

Now if we could win to the Eden Tree where the Nine-Mile Links are laid, And seat ourselves where Man first swore as he drove from the grateful shade, And if we could play where our Fathers played and follow our swings well through, By the favor of G.o.d we might know of Golf what our Father Adam knew.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

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 ma.s.sy! didn't Huldy hev a time on't when the minister began to come out of his study and wanted to ten' 'round an' 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 just 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 outdoors; and when you want to know anything you must come to me.'

"'Yes, sir,' said 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 next day the parson's hen-turkey was found killed up to old Jim Scrogg's barn.

Folks say 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.'

'"Oh, 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 weren'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 idea 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 tom-turkey; 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 ap.r.o.n 'round him.

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

"Huldy came behind, just 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', lookin' like a rail pious old c.o.c.k 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 p.r.o.nouncin' 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.

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Masterpieces of American Wit and Humor Part 14 summary

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