Philander Doesticks.

Doesticks: What He Says



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They wrapped me in an American flag, made me kneel down before the white oak goddess of Liberty and solemnly swear hatred to the Pope, the abolitionists, and the king of England, death and destruction to all foreigners, and eternal fidelity to "Sam;" that I never would employ Irishmen, never work for an Irishman, never have my washing done by an Irishwoman, or my shirts made of Irish linen, and that when I said the prayer in the book for all the world, I should make a special reservation of the Irish, and insert a petition that in the general resurrection they be overlooked "by particular desire."

At this juncture Bull Dogge fainted away, and was brought to by the High Lord Noodle throwing dirty water in his face, and treading on his corns.

I was then made to stand upon my feet, hold up my right hand, and take a terrible swear to the effect that I would never reveal the grand principle of the order; which is to get trusted at the Irish groceries, and use their liquor as long as credit holds out, in order to drink up all the Irish whiskey, and get it out of the country; the supposition being, that when the liquor is gone and the potato rot has done its worst, the Irish will all perish for want of nourishment.

Should any survive this annihilation of their national and necessary food, it is proposed to organize a company of volunteer Native Know Nothing Thugs, who are to circulate through the country and make an end of the rest, and at the same time sack all the nunneries, burn all the Popish churches, and finish up all the Foreign Catholics.

I was promised by the Ineffable Noodle, that if I did my duty well I should have the pleasure of choking a dozen or two priests, burning a couple of churches, and running away with the prettiest nun I could pick out.

Instructions were then given me how to work my way into a lodge of unadulterated Know Nothings.

Every member gives the pass-word, at the door (which is "Whiskey," and "Lager Bier," on alternate months), walks to the centre of the room, faces the Most Illustrious Ineffable, puts the thumb of his left hand on the tip of his nose, grinds an imaginary hand organ with the other, at the same time looking cross-eyed at the nonsensical numskull.

Each member is bound to bring a bottle of Irish whiskey to every meeting, and drink it all before he goes, in order to prove his devotion to the cause, and his determination to expunge the foreign element from the liquid comforts of the country.

The recognition of members in the street is as follows: – One rolls his chew of tobacco into the upper story of his left cheek, at the same time motioning with his thumb over his shoulder towards the nearest grocery; if the other nods his head and starts towards the rum-shop on a run, the question of fraternity is decided, and they know each other as members of the K. N. brotherhood.

Since my initiation I have striven to live up to the principles of the order, and have got trusted for so much Irish liquor that I have kept all my friends dead drunk for a month, and have three times had to bail Bull Dogge out of the station-house, whither he had been taken for being inebriated in the street, and giving the K.

N. signs to the M. P., and trying to pull his star off, insisting that an Irishman has no right to wear the badge of the order.

The intention is to elect the next President, when there is to be an immediate end made of all foreigners; they will drown the Dutchmen in Lager Bier, pelt the Irish to death with potatoes, and pen up all the Frenchmen in second-hand flat-boats, and send them over Niagara Falls.

I was expelled from the order for eating Dutch "Sauerkrout" with an oyster stew, and I am now in danger of losing my life, as I hear that the Ineffable Noodle is on the look-out for me, having two revolvers and a bowie-knife in his bosom; a Congreve rocket in his hat; a six inch bomb in each pocket; a large jack-knife in his pantaloons; and a Mexican lasso round his waist.

P. S. I have just discovered that I have been hoaxed – that the lodge into which I was admitted is not the genuine article, but a spurious society who take in members under false pretences, by making them believe that this is the society of "Sam."

The truth is, however, that "Sam" lives in different quarters, and has a different set of people about him; and if I can gain admission to a lodge of the pure-bred K. N.'s., I may then be able to tell something more of the hidden mysteries of this popular individual.

XXVIII
A Diabolical Conspiracy – A Shanghae Infernal Machine

I have been the recipient of an unexpected favor. I have been gratified by a bipedal compliment, and have here publicly to acknowledge the receipt of a rare bird of unexampled dimensions – a Shanghae Rooster, with double teeth, which has been presented to me by our friend, the "Young 'Un."

When I desire to speak of the various beauties of this feathered pledge of friendship, language can't come to time. His legs rival the Grand-street liberty-pole, in length, size, and symmetry – in fact, he exhibits rather a strong tendency to run to legs; his plumage is variegated and generally shaggy, and his disposition courageous; he has an eye like a hen hawk, a tail like the butt-end of a feather-duster, and a voice like a rhinoceros with the whooping cough; he is perfect in every point; to combine in a single expression, the elegance and euphony of the ancient Latin tongue, and the expressive intensity of the more modern Bowery idiom, he is literally "gallus."

He is a present from Burnham, Professor No. 1 of Henology, and such a proficient in universal humbug that he ranks only second to the Bridgeport Fejee Prince – Burnham, who made one fortune by selling "pure bred" Shanghae stock, and another by showing up the tricks of the trade, and the mysteries of Roosterdom, in a blue covered book, with gilt edges, and who has now left the hen trade, only keeping on hand a few chicks, of warranted pure blood, which he prescribes at high prices to any anxious individuals who haven't yet had the "hen fever" – (a popular epidemic, price $1, can be caught at any book store).

How they ever got my bird from Boston to New York, I am uncertain; but I have the authority of the engineer for stating that they switched the locomotive off on a side track, and made him draw the passenger train.

Got him home; for fear he should stray away in the night, anchored him in the barn yard to a brick smoke-house, with a chain cable. Was waked up in the morning by a sound like an army of tom-cats, in league with a legion of amateur musical bull-frogs – listened – heard it again – thought my time had come – covered my head up with the bed-clothes – was soon startled by the sudden disappearance of the same – looked up and saw that Mr. Shanghae had poked his head in at the third story window, and was pulling the covers off me with a vengeance; he made a grab at my leg, but I hit him with a bootjack, and succeeded in impressing him with the idea that he was trespassing; kept out of his reach during the day, and watched him from a distance; he has to get down on his knees to eat, inasmuch as his neck isn't more than half as long as his legs. But I admire his beauties, though I can't conceive what he's made for; and I can bear ample testimony to the excellence of his appetite. On the whole, I am delighted, and the donor has my sincere thanks.

ONE WEEK LATER

What kind of a fellow is Burnham?

Is he a malicious, unscrupulous conspirator?

What can I have done to provoke his ire?

This voracious animal which he has given me is eating me out of house and home; my means are limited, my salary is small, corn is expensive, and at the present rate one of us must starve; he has eaten every thing I have given him, and (the poor brute being tortured by growing hunger) he has at last actually devoured his own toes.

Two small pigs and a litter of kittens have also mysteriously disappeared; one of the children last night was attacked by the monster and barely escaped with his life, but left his Sunday breeches in the unappeasable maw of the pure bred biped, who has twice been observed to cast longing eyes upon the Irish kitchen girl – the cannibalic feathered Know Nothing.

Like the eastern prince, who, when he wants to ruin a man, makes him a present of an elephant, which court etiquette will allow him neither to give away, sell, or kill, and which he must keep and allow to devour his patrimony; so the vengeful Burnham, for some unmentioned injury which I have done him, has sent me this rapacious villain, who eats as if he was the result of a cross between the Anaconda and the Ostrich. I must get some one to kill him, or coax him into the rural districts, where they might use him for a breaking-up team, or some two or three counties club to keep him as a curiosity.

ONE HOUR LATER

Our stable boy, half an hour ago, found the bird suffering an indigestion (consequent upon eating a bushel and a half of corn with the cobs in, a pyramid of oyster shells, and a barrel of guano), and boldly attacking him with a revolver and broad-axe, has succeeded, after a prolonged struggle, in making an end of him. I ask B. if his fiendish and diabolical malice is sated.

THE VERY LATEST

I have for sale half a ton of feathers, which would make capital bean poles, a side of tanned Rooster hide, and two Shanghae hams.

XXIX
An Evening with the Spiritualists – Rampant Ghostology

After the election excitement was over with, all ordinary means of amusement seemed "stale, flat, and unprofitable." I no longer took any interest in Theatres, Balls, or Darkey Minstrelism – and even a fire at midnight failed to rouse me from my bed, unless it was in the next block, visible from my window without getting up, and I could hear Hose 71 pitching into Engine 83 on the next corner.

A near relative of the illustrious Damphool, who believed in the Spiritual performances, persuaded me to visit, with him and my inseparable friends, the habitation of a "Medium" who retailed communications from the other spheres at twenty-five cents an interview.

Being sated with the ordinary common-place things of every-day life, and having heard a great deal about the mysterious communications telegraphed to this, our ignorant sphere, by wise and benignant spirits of bliss, through the dignified medium of old chairs, wash-stands and card-tables, we three (who had met again) determined to put ourselves in communication with the next world, to find out, if possible, our chances of a favorable reception when business or pleasure calls us in that direction.

Up Broadway, till we came to an illuminated three-cornered transparency, (which made Bull Dogge smack his lips and say "oysters,") which informed us that within, a large assortment of spirits of every description were constantly in attendance, ready to answer inquiries, or to run on errands in the spirit world, and bring the ghosts of anybody's defunct relations or friends to that classic spot, for conversational purposes, all for the moderate charge before mentioned.

Damphool, who had been there before, said that these "delicate Ariels" were the spirits of departed newsboys, who are thrown out of their legitimate business, and strive to get an honest living by doing these eighteen-penny jobs.

Entered the room with becoming gravity, and overcoming awe. Two old foozles in white neckcloths and no collars, a returned Californian in an Indian blanket, two peaked-nosed old maids, a good-looking widow, with a little boy, our own sacred trio, and the "medium," composed the whole of the assembled multitude.

The "medium" aforesaid, was a vinegar-complexioned woman, with a very ruby nose, mouth the exact shape of the sound-hole to a violin, who wore green spectacles, and robes of equivocal purity.

The furniture consisted of several chairs, a mirror, no carpet, a small stand, a large dining table, and in one corner of the room a bedstead, washstand, and bookcase, with writing desk on top. After some remarks by the medium, we formed the magic circle, by sitting close together, and putting our hands on the table. Bull Dogge, who, despite the Maine law, had a bottle in his pocket, took a big drink before he laid his ponderous fists by the side of the others.

After a short length of time the table began to shake its ricketty legs, to flap its leaves after the manner of wings, and to utter ominous squeaks from its crazy old joints.

Pretty soon "knock" under Damphool's hand; he trembled, and turned pale, but on the whole, stood his ground like a man. Knock, knock in my immediate vicinity – looked under the table, but couldn't see any body – knock, knock, knock, KNOCK, directly under Bull Dogge's elbow. He, frightened, jumped from his seat, and prepared to run, but, sensible to the last, he took a drink, felt better – reverently took off his hat, said "d – n it" – and resumed his seat.

Knocking became general – medium said the spirits were ready to answer questions – asked if any spirit would talk to me.

Yes.

Come along, I remarked – noisy spirit announced its advent by a series of knocks, which would have done honor to a dozen penny postmen "rolled into one."

Asked who it was – ghost of my uncle – (never had an uncle) – inquired if he was happy – tolerably.

What are you about?

Principal occupations are, hunting wild bees, catching cat-fish, chopping pine lumber, and making hickory whip stocks.

How's your wife?

Sober, just at present.

Do you have good liquor up there?

Yes (very emphatically).

What is your comparative situation?

I am in the second sphere; hope soon to get promoted into the third, where they only work six hours a day, and have apple dumplings every day for dinner – good-bye – wife wants me to come and spank the baby.

One of the old foozles now wanted to talk spirit – was gratified by the remains of his maternal grandmother, who hammered out in a series of forcible raps, the gratifying intelligence, that she was very well contented, and spent the most of her time drinking green tea and singing Yankee Doodle.

Damphool now took courage, and sung out for his father to come and talk to him – (when the old gentleman was alive, he was "one of 'em") – on demand, the father came – interesting conversation – old man in trouble – lost all his money betting on a horse race, and had just pawned his coat and a spare shirt to get money to set himself up in business again, as a pop-corn merchant.

(Damphool sunk down exhausted, and borrowed the brandy bottle.)

Disconsolate widow got a communication from her husband that he is a great deal happier now than formerly – don't want to come back to her – no thank you – would rather not.

Old maid inquires if husbands are plenty – to her great joy is informed that the prospect is good.

Little boy asks if when he gets into the other world he can have a long tail coat – mother tells him to shut up – small boy whimpers, and says that he always has worn a short jacket, and he expects when he gets to Heaven, he'll be a bob-tail Angel.

Damphool's attention to the bottle has re-assured his spirits (he is easily affected by brandy – one glass makes him want to treat all his friends – when he has two bumpers in him he owns a great deal of real estate, and glass No. 3 makes him rich enough to buy the Custom-House), and he now ventures another inquiry of his relative, who shuts him up, by telling him as soon as he gets sober enough to tell Maiden Lane from a light-house, to go home and go to bed.

Went at it myself; inquired all sorts of things from all kinds of spirits, "black spirits and white, red spirits and grey." Result as follows.

By means of thumps, knocks, raps, and spiritual kicks, I learned that Sampson and Hercules have gone into partnership in the millinery business. Julias C?sar is peddling apples and molasses candy.

Tom Paine and Jack Sheppard keep a billiard table. Noah is running a canal boat. Xerxes and Othello are driving opposition stages. George III. has set up a caravan, and is waiting impatiently for Kossuth and Barnum to come and go halves. Dow, Junior, is boss of a Methodist camp meeting. – Napoleon spends most of his time playing penny "ante" with the three Graces. Benedict Arnold has opened a Lager-bier saloon, and left a vacancy for S. A. Douglas (white man).

John Bunyan is a clown in a circus. John Calvin, Dr. Johnson, Syksey, Plutarch, Rob Roy, Davy Jones, Gen. Jackson, and Damphool's grandfather were about establishing a travelling theatre; having borrowed the capital (two per cent. a month) – they open with "How to pay the Rent;" Dr. Johnson in a fancy dance; to conclude with "The Widow's Victim," the principal part by Mr. Pickwick.

Joe Smith has bought out the devil, and is going to convert Tophet into a Mormon Paradise.

Shakspeare has progressed in his new play as far as the fourth act, where he has got the hero seven miles and a half up in a balloon, while the disconsolate heroine is hanging by her hair to a limb over a precipice; question is, how the heroic lover shall get down and rescue his lady-love before her hair breaks, or her head pulls off.

Spirits now began to come without invitation, like Paddies to a wake.

Soul of an alderman called for clam soup and bread and butter.

Ghost of a newsboy sung out for the Evening Post.

All that was left of a Bowery fireman, wanted to know if Forty had got her butt fixed and a new inch and a half nozzle.

Ghost of Marmion wanted a dish of soft crabs, and called out, after the old fashion, to charge it to Stanley.

Medium had by this time lost all control over her ghostly company.

Spirits of waiters, soldiers, tailors (Damphool trembled), babies, saloon-keepers, dancers, actors, widows, circus-riders, in fact all varieties of obstreperous sprites, began to play the devil with things generally.

The dining table jumped up, turned two somersets, and landed with one leg in the widow's lap, one in Damphool's mouth, and the other two on the toes of the sanctimonious-looking individuals opposite.

The washstand exhibited strong symptoms of a desire to dance the Jenny Lind polka on Bull Dogge's head.

The book-case beat time with extraordinary vigor, and made faces at the company generally.

Our walking canes and umbrellas promenaded round the room in couples, without the slightest regard to corns or other pedal vegetables; while the bedstead in the corner was extemporizing a comic song, with a vigorous accompaniment on the soap-dish, the wash-dish, and other bed-room furniture.

Bull Dogge here made a rush for the door, and dashed wildly down Broadway, pursued, as he avers to this day, by the spirit of an Irishman, with a pickaxe, a handsaw, and a ghostly wheelbarrow.

Concluding I had seen enough, I took Damphool and B. D – 's bottle (empty, or he would never have left it), and went home, satisfied that "there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of," except by lying "mediums," so called; who too lazy to work, and too cowardly to get an honorable living by stealing, adopt this method to sponge their bread and butter out of those, whom God in his mysterious wisdom has seen fit to send on earth weak enough to believe their idiotic ravings.

XXX
Special Express from Dog Paradise – A Canine Ghost

I regret the strong language used in the preceding chapter, for since it was penned I have become a firm believer in ghosts, "spheres," saltatory furniture, and the other doctrines of professed Spiritualists.

It is a solemn truth that I, Q. K. Philander Doesticks, P.B., although neither a doctor, clergyman, nor Judge of the Supreme Court, have received a visit from the spirits. The secrets of the other world have been partially revealed to me.

I have had a glimpse of horse-heaven – a very fair view of the very blissful residence of pigs and poultry, and been vouchsafed a key-hole peep at the paradise of Spiritual Jackassdom.

I have discovered that Esop is a reliable historian, and I find that in a future world the power and liberty of quadrupedal speech will be restored in all its pristine euphony and elegance. Listen, wonder, and believe!

Some time since, I had a beloved and beautiful bull-terrier – (not the Bull Dogge alluded to in other epistles,) he was perfect in every point – his hair stuck out in multitudinous directions – his snarl was of the crossest – his teeth of the sharpest, and his ordinary behavior exhibited a general and impartial hatred of mankind. He was a canine Ishmael, for every man's hand was against him. His cognomen savored of the satanic. I called him Pluto.

He mysteriously disappeared – an offered reward of seven dollars and a half failed to restore him to my fireside. I tearfully gave him up, and mourned sincerely. I suspected the dog-killers, and wept for him as for one gone "to that bourne from which" bull-terriers don't come back.

Last evening I was aroused from a thoughtful contemplation of my nightcap (liquid and hot, with nutmeg,) by the unusual and remarkable conduct of a pet tom-cat, who deliberately climbed upon my lap, and, in a voice intelligible, if not absolutely musical, spoke to me – positively spoke to me! – he informed me that various spirits were present who desired to hold communication with me.



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