Doesticks: What He Saysскачать книгу бесплатно
Having recovered somewhat from my momentary astonishment, I sung out to fire away.
No sooner said than done – the services of the feline "medium" were instantly dispensed with, and there suddenly appeared to my bewildered sight the unmistakable form of my lamented Pluto.
I was astonished, and so I said, but I could not be deluded – it was my "real, old, original, genuine" Pluto. I knew his warning growl – I recognized the friendly wag of his tail – I could have sworn to each particular hair.
He addressed me in a voice trembling with emotion – he narrated the full history of his untimely decease – told of his seduction by a tempting mutton chop, and consequent abduction by the remorseless thief – his vain and ineffectual struggles to escape – related his incarceration in an unseaworthy canal-boat, with a hundred other unfortunates – described their embarkation and departure for a foreign market – the terrific collision which ensued when about four miles and a half from port, when the canal-boat was met by a mudscow which was recklessly running with great velocity in a thick fog, the entire force of her propelling apparatus (one-horse power) being brought into requisition to attain a frightful speed – he dwelt upon the terrors of the scene – the dastardly desertion of the crew, (a mulatto woman and two coffee-colored boys,) who took to the boat, (a bass-wood "dugout,") and escaped, leaving the helpless passengers to their awful fate. He told the agonies he endured when submerged in the raging flood – his attempt to save himself upon an empty cheese-tub. How he was crowded off by a frightened spaniel pup – the last excruciating, agonizing pain of the final struggle, and his subsequent entrance to the canine spirit world. He whispered, in a mysterious tone, that he had just come from a sixpenny eating-house, where he had witnessed the final disappearance of his mortal remains through the jaws of a confiding drayman who had asked for a mutton pie.
The whole history was related with an appearance of earnestness and sincerity which left not a doubt of its truth; and the entire narrative was couched in such elegant language that I strongly suspected that Pluto had read the report of those accommodating spirits who had imparted such reliable information concerning the untimely loss of the lamented steamship "Arctic," to a distinguished, and formerly-supposed-sensible-and-sane, Judge of the Superior Court for the Empire State. And, like those unfortunate ghosts, these, too, came to reveal to mortal ears the story of their sufferings and death.
For my beloved animal was not alone: with him appeared the disembodied ghosts of all the crowd who perished with him.
Pluto informed me that they were in such a disturbed state of mind that they did not know much yet – most of them were not permanently billeted – but that he himself, on account of his superior sagacity, had been already assigned his sphere and situation.
He volunteered to show me some of the celebrities.
With a majestic motion he moved his pathetic tail, and forth they came in grand procession, the "Happy Family" being headed by old Mother Hubbard's dog and Dick Whittington's cat, in neighborly proximity.
From a hurried inspection I was enabled to gather the following items: The Trojan horse was suffering from indigestion; Coleridge's "mastiff bitch" has just become the happy mother of thirteen lovely cherubs, and is "as well as can be expected;" "the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jack built" says the Maine Law would have spared him that early indiscretion; Balaam's ass had his jaw tied up with the toothache; Rozinante was in good racing condition; St. George's dragon looks much more amiable than I should have supposed; Bucephalus and Old Whitey had been fighting a pitched battle, and are on short allowance of oats for insubordination; the Fee Jee mermaid said she had got tired of her Caudal appendage, and desired me to ask Barnum, if her tail must be continued.
Jonah's whale, some time since, swallowed the Nassau-st. four-cent man, but gave him up, like a second Jonah, and he is now on his old "stamping-ground" again. In the distance, I perceived John Gilpin's horse, and the bull that was unceremoniously displaced from a well known architectural elevation, and was informed that Nebuchadnezzar, who had not yet lost his fondness for greens, sometimes shares their pasture with them.
The Black Swan, the Swan of Avon, and the patriotic geese whose intellectual cackling saved Imperial Rome, were enjoying themselves in catching tadpoles in a duck-pond.
Walter Scott's dog Maida, Beth Gelert, Launce's dog, old dog Tray, and the other "Tray, Blanche, and Sweet-heart," were discussing canine politics over a beef-bone.
The Sea Serpent appeared, but was so dimly visible that I could only judge him to be about the average length.
Edgar A. Poe's Raven and Barnaby Rudge's Grip had just been detected stealing corn from a quail trap, and hiding it in an empty powder-horn.
Many other birds of note were pointed out, and their situation and prospects explained by the obliging Pluto.
And, even as one of our most learned, wise and illustrious rulers, and his brother Rapperites, have demonstrated that the spirits of the departed are busied in employments similar to their earthly ones, so did my reliable Pluto state similar facts concerning the honorable company of beasts, birds, and reptiles. His discourse ran much as follows:
"Know, men of earth, that shadowy horses still throng your streets, harnessed to intangible drays, and to incorporeal express wagons, and still tailfully drag innumerable three-cent stages; they still live in your stables, graze in your pastures, and drink at your pumps; drivers, malignant, though unseen, still lash their unreal sides with cutting whips, until they become overcome with ire, and viciously kick over their spectral traces; defunct racers still haunt the scenes of their former triumphs, skim with feet unshod round the inside track, and scornfully turn up their goblin noses at the fastest earthly time on record; transparent donkeys wag complacently their celestial ears, and brush off airy flies with unsubstantial tails.
"Swine, full grown, although unseen, proud as in life, ferociously prowl about your streets, seeking what they may devour, and expressing with inaudible grunts their Paradisiac satisfaction; bodiless pigs squeal under formless gates; dogs still follow, with unheard tread, their dreamy masters, wagging their placid phantom tails, or searching through their shaggy hides, with savage teeth, for spiritual fleas.
"Polecats, invisible, still haunt your barns, searching for airy chickens, finding ghostly eggs in unheard of nests – then stealing and giving odor in your cellars; apparitions of departed cats hunt pulseless mice, and in your parlors, phantom kittens chase their goblin tails. Henceforth, let every man take heed, lest, in pulling off his boots, he kick his dear departed Carlo; and let every maiden lady bestow herself in her favorite rocking-chair, in awe and perturbation, lest the cushion be already occupied by defunct Tabby and her spectral litter."
When my darling Pluto had spoken thus, the company began to disappear. A mist seemed gradually to envelope all, and one by one they faded from my mortal vision, and soon all save Pluto had vanished from my sight. He only remained, to give me one last assurance that the creed of the well known Indian mentioned by Mr. Pope, is true – who firmly believes that in the happy hunting ground hereafter,
"His faithful dog shall bear him company."
'Lection Day. – "Paddy" versus "Sam."
Everybody knows that Election day anywhere creates an unusual excitement; but it is in the large cities where partisan feeling runs the highest, where strongest and strangest influences are brought into requisition to influence the election of favorite candidates; where the people are made to act as blind confederates in a skilful scheme of party trickery and political legerdemain, which places one man into office, and defeats the expectations of another, whom they fully expected to see invested with the imaginary robes of municipal power. So dexterously are the cups and balls shifted by the party leaders, and so cunningly is the pack shuffled, that the rank and file of the different cliques can't tell where the "little joker" is, or who holds the trump card, for an hour together.
The first election witnessed by the undersigned, was one of unusual interest, principally on account of the intense antagonism of the foreign and the know-nothing elements of party, and the tremendous exertions of "Sam" to overthrow his great rivals, "Paddy" and "Hans."
Early in the morning of the day I was in the street, to see whatever fun might turn up – found it filled with big placards, posters, music, notices, split-tickets, rum-bullies, banners, bonfires, and lager-bier – saw a great many flags with appropriate devices, noticed one in particular; the whiskey faction had it; coat of arms as follows:
Within the American shield, two lager-bier casks supporting a rum-bottle rampant, Irishman azure, flat-on-his-back-ant, sustained by a wheelbarrow couchant – sinister eye sable in-base, demijohn between two small decanters – in the distance, policeman pendant, from a lamp-post standant – motto, "Coming events cast their shadows before: Let the M. P.'s beware." On the obverse, ticket for city officers, and opposed an American quarter dollar – motto, "Exchange no Bribery." "Faugh na Ballagh." "Go in and win."
As has ever been the case, from the time of the first institution of public elections, it rained as if it was raining on a bet – went to the polls, wanted to vote, wasn't particular who for, if he only had the biggest flags and the most bullies: was a little puzzled after all how to do it; had read all the political prints to find out the best man, but to judge from what the newspapers say concerning the different candidates, the various factions in this city entertain peculiar ideas about the requisites necessary to qualify a man to fill a public station.
Not an individual is ever nominated for any office, who is not eulogized by some of the public journals, as a drunkard, liar, swindler, incendiary, assassin, or public robber.
Assuming from the wonderful unanimity of the papers on this subject, that these amiable qualities constitute the fitness of the nominees for places of honor, trust, or profit, I have endeavored to analyze the gradations of criminal merit, and discover exactly how big a rascal a man must be to qualify himself for any given office. The result of my investigation is as follows: —
No one is eligible to the office of Mayor of the city, unless he has forged a draft, and got the money on it; and, on at least two separate occasions, set fire to his house, to get the insurance.
Candidates for Aldermen qualify themselves by carrying a revolver, getting beastly drunk, and stabbing a policeman or two before they can get sober.
A Common Councilman must drink with the Short Boys, give prizes to the Firemen's Target Excursion, carry a slung-shot in his pocket, and have a personal interest in a Peter Funk auction shop.
A police Justice must gamble a little, cheat a considerable, lie a good deal, and get drunk "clear through" every Saturday night; if he can read easy words, and write his name, it is generally no serious objection; but the Know Nothings will not permit even this accomplishment, on the plea that the science of letters is of foreign origin.
A man who can pick pockets scientifically, will make a good constable.
Aspirants to minor offices are classified according to desert, but no one who has not at least committed petit larceny, is allowed a place on any regular ticket.
As to offices of more importance, I should say from what I can now judge, that no man can ever be elected Governor of the State, unless he is guilty of a successful burglary, complicated with a midnight murder.
The rival candidates in this present crisis, had called each other all the names, and accused each other of all the crimes imaginable, for the preceding six weeks.
Boggs had been denounced as the plunderer of orphans, and seducer of innocent maidens, and the pilferer of hard-earned coppers from the poor.
Noggs, according to his charitable opponents, was a pickpocket, a sheepstealer, a Peter Funk, and an Irishman.
The candidate set up by the Know Nothings, to claim votes on the plea of his being an immaculate American, was proved to be the child of a French father, and a Prussian mother, and to have been born in Calcutta – it was asserted that he commenced his education in the northern part of Ethiopia, continued it in Dublin, and finally graduated at Botany Bay.
Hoggs, who had once before held the office he was now striving for, it was asserted, had solemnly promised to pardon all the murderers, liberate all the burglars, reward all the assassins, and present all the shoulder hitters with an official certificate of good moral character, which should also testify to their valuable and highly commendable exertions in the public behalf.
Scroggs, too virtuous to be severely handled, was merely mentioned as having been formerly a swindler, and a member of the Common Council.
Got to the polls; man with a blue flag urged me to go for Boggs; man with a red flag said vote for Scroggs; man with a white flag with black letters sung out "Go for Hoggs" – little boy pulled my coat tails and whispered, "Vote for Noggs."
Man challenged my vote, took off my hat, held up my hand, and swore to all sorts of things, told how old I am, where I get my dinners, and what my washerwoman's name is; got mad and did a little extra swearing on my own account, which was not "down in the bill;" marched up in a grand procession of one, and poked my vote in the little hole.
The great excitement was on the liquor question; it was Noggs, and no liquor shops, or Boggs, and a few liquor shops, Scroggs, and plenty of liquor shops, or Hoggs, and every man his own liquor shop.
Voted for Hoggs, for I feel perfectly justified in taking an occasional toddy, when all Wall street is perpetually "tight."
Noise on the corner, nigger boy playing big drum – candidates presented themselves to the sovereign people for inspection.
Know Nothing man on a native jackass, cap of liberty on his head, and his pantaloons made of the American flag, with the stripes running the wrong way.
Independent candidate, who wants the Irish vote and Dutch suffrages, entered, borne in a mortar hod, bare-footed, with a shillelagh in one hand, a whiskey bottle in the other, a Dutch pipe in his mouth, and a small barrel of beer strapped to his back.
Cold water man stood on a hydrant with the water turned on, and had his pockets full of icicles.
Whiskey man brought in drunk on a cart by admiring friends, who besought the crowd to do as he did, go it blind.
Special deputy, who wanted to be appointed policeman, was very active; he arrested an apple-woman, knocked down a cripple, kicked a little boy, looked the other way while his constituents were picking pockets, and took a little match girl up an alley and boxed her ears for presuming to show herself in the street without shoes and stockings, – motto on his hat, "sic itur ad astra," Go it or you'll never be a star.
Irish woman, with a big bag of potatoes on her head, came up to vote – she said Dennis was sick, (drunk) but as Mr. Hoggs had paid for his vote, she had brought it herself, in order that it might not be lost. She was, with difficulty, choked off by the heroic aspirant to the civic star.
Whiskey man began to fall behind; messenger sent to Randall's Island, and one to Blackwell's ditto, for aid.
Fresh caught Irishman came up – been but fifteen minutes off the ship "Pauper's Refuge," but was brought up by the bullies to vote for whiskey man – Know Nothing man challenged him – he swore he was twenty-seven years old, had always lived in this country – ten years in Maine – eleven in South Carolina – eight in Maryland, and the last nine years of his life he had spent in this city. Said he was a full-blooded American; that his father was a New Hampshire farmer, and his mother a Mohawk squaw; that they had separated three years before he was born, and had never seen each other since.
Inspector, who was a friend of whiskey man, received his ballot. (Paddy had slipped in two others with his left hand, while his right was on the book taking the oath.) His kind friends took him by turns into eighteen different wards, in every one of which he deposited a whiskey vote, and swore it in; after the polls were closed and he couldn't vote any more, they sent him to the station-house for being "drunk and disorderly."
Elated with their success in this instance, the B'hoys now brought up a newly imported Dutchman, who could only grin idiotically and say "Yaw."
Inspector asks – "Are you a voter?"
"Are you twenty-one years old?"
"Do you live in this city?"
Here one of Noggs's friends culpably interposed, evidently with the desire of ridiculing the august proceedings, and asked:
"Have you got thirty-one wives?" – another man asked if he had his hat full of saur-krout – and a third was anxious to be informed if he could stand on his head and smoke a pipe, and balance a potash kettle on his heels to all of which he placidly responded "Yaw." Inspector hurried to the rescue, and put the test question:
"Do you vote for Hoggs?" and receiving the same complacent "Yaw," he took his vote, and shoved him aside.
All sorts of odd customers came up to deposit their ballots, but it is a remarkable fact that if they wanted to vote for Boggs, Scroggs, or Noggs, or, in fact, any one but Hoggs, they were sure to be crowded, shoved, and hustled, and generally left the room with bloody noses, and their ballots still in their hands.
Fun grew fast and furious; whiskey man ahead, but wanted tremendous majority; the pauper forces of Randall's Island, visiting the city for that occasion only, came up and voted.
This last trick is getting stale, and whoever is elected this time will probably have it denounced as a diabolical invention of the opposite faction, and have a sharp watch kept over these individuals until his own term of office runs out, and he is announced as a candidate for re-election; which circumstance will blind his eyes for a while unless his opponents bring them over to the other side, when he will turn state's evidence, and expose the whole trick to his constituents.
Almost time to close the polls, but the inspector kept the box open twenty minutes after sundown to receive the votes of sixteen promiscuous rascals, who had been habeas corpused from the Tombs, and who voted every man for Hoggs.
Polls closed; intense excitement; bonfires built; squibs, rockets, guns and Chinese crackers; liquor scarce, the candidates having cut off the supply as soon as the voting was over.
Crowd sat down in bar-rooms and engine-houses, and crowded about the secret rooms to get dispatches; about twelve o'clock they began to come: it was soon evident that Noggs was beaten, Boggs was distanced, and Scroggs was nowhere; it was Hoggs everywhere; Hoggs in the street; Hoggs in the tavern; Hoggs at the bonfires; Hoggs for ever; no one but Hoggs; triumphant Hoggs; victorious Hoggs; high-old Hoggs, the people's choice.
This morning Noggs's typographical organ announced the utter ruin, and speedy annihilation of the country, under the destructive rule of Hoggs, and it asserted that honor, honesty and truth had left the nation; patriotism and decency had deserted hand in hand, and that the outraged goddess of liberty had taken off her night-cap, pinned up her skirts, put on a pair of cowhide boots, and bidden eternal farewell to fallen, degenerate Columbia.
On the other hand, Hoggs' papers rejoiced over the defeat of the allied armies. Bade Noggs, Boggs and Scroggs an affectionate adieu, and consigned them to oblivion; and then rejoiced that they had chosen a ruler so capable as the glorious Hoggs, the proud, far-seeing, generous, liberal, independent Hoggs, who guaranties to the people their daily gin, and nightly riots. Hoggs, the magnanimous – Hoggs, who stands up to the popular creed – unlimited whiskey – Hoggs, who remains true to his alcoholic instincts – Hoggs, who battles for the people's rights – Hoggs, who has so nobly earned the title bestowed upon him by the lager-bier shops, whose liberty he has secured, and the whiskey dens whose morality he has vouched for – Hoggs, "defender of the Faith, and leader of the Faithful."
P. S. Hurrah for Hoggs.
P. S. Junior. – And unlimited whiskey.
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