Doesticks: What He Saysскачать книгу бесплатно
Fire in a liquor-store – hose burst; brandy "lying round loose;" gin "convaynient," and old Monongahela absolutely begging to be protected from further dilution; Croton water too much for my delicate constitution; carried home on a shutter.
Fire in a church – Catholic – little marble images all round the room in niches; wall began to totter; statues began to fall; St. Andrew knocked my fire hat over my eyes; St. Peter threw his whole weight on my big toe; St. Jerome hit me a clip over the head, which laid me sprawling, when a picture of the Holy Family fell and covered me up like a bed quilt.
Fire in a big clothing store – next day our foreman sported a new silk velvet vest, seven of the men exhibited twelve dollar doeskin pants, and the black boy who sweeps out the bunk room, and scours the engine, had a new hat, and a flaming red cravat, presented, as I heard, by the proprietor of the stock of goods, as an evidence of his appreciation of their endeavors to save his property.
I didn't get any new breeches; on the contrary, lost my new overcoat, and got damaged myself. Something like this – fire out, order came, "take up, 97;" took off the hose; turned her round; got the boys together, and started for home; corner of the street hook and ladder 100 (Dutch), engine 73 (Irish), hose 88 (Yankee), and our own company, came in contact; machines got jammed; polyglot swearing by the strength of the companies; got all mixed up; fight; one of 88's men hit foreman of hook and ladder 100 over the head with a spanner; extemporaneous and impartial distribution of brickbats; 97's engineer clipped one of 73's men with a trumpet; 73 retaliated with a paving stone; men of all the companies went in; resolved to "go in" myself; went in; went out again as fast as I could, with a black eye, three teeth (indigestible, I have reason to believe) in my stomach, intermingled with my supper, my red shirt in carpet rags, and my knuckles skinned, as if they had been pawned to a Chatham street Jew.
Got on a hydrant, and watched the fun; 88's boys whipped everything; 73's best man was doubled up like a jack-knife, by a dig in the place where Jonah was; four of 97's fellows were lying under the machine, with their eyes in mourning; hook and ladder took home two-thirds of their company on the truck, and the last I saw of their foreman he was lying in the middle of the street, with his trumpet smashed flat, his boots under his head, his pockets inside out, a brick in his mouth, a hundred and twenty-five feet of hose on the back of his neck, and the hind wheels of 20's engine resting on his left leg.
Four policemen, on the opposite corner, saw the whole row. On the first indication of a fight, they pulled their hats down over their eyes, covered up their stars, and slunk down the nearest alley. Got home, resigned my commission, made my will, left the company my red shirt and fire cap. Seen enough of fire service; don't regret my experience, but do grieve for my lost teeth and my new overcoat.
S. – Have just met the foreman of 73 – he had on my late lamented overcoat; ain't big enough to lick him – magnanimously concluded to let him alone.
Street Preaching – A Zealous Trio, and a Religious Controversy
During the first part of my sojourn in the metropolis I made the acquaintance of a portly personage from the "Providence Plantations," who invited me to visit his home, and take a look at little "Rhody." As I had been hustled round pretty constantly for several weeks, I had become fairly tired of New York, although it is a town of considerable consequence. Wanted to see the world; so started for the seven-by-nine State of Rhode Island. In the course of a thorough exploration of that delightful though diminutive state, which occupied me about five hours, I discovered that they shingle the houses all over outside and in, and put the windows in the roof; they make their rail fences out of cobble stones; the ducks roost on the fence, and hatch their young ones in the tops of the cherry trees; the men look so much alike, their wives often kiss the wrong individual, (Damphool says it's a way women have the world over).
Went to the city of Providence, where all the men make jewelry, and all the women believe in spirit rappings; where they've got a bridge wider than it is long, and Macadamized on both sides; where all the plaster busts of great men have grey wigs on; where they light the gas in the middle of the afternoon; where they drive five horses tandem; where the apples grow as big as washtubs, and the oysters obtain the enormous size of three-cent pieces.
Went into the woods after chestnuts; couldn't find any, but discovered a magnificent tree in the distance – rejoiced exceedingly thereat – started for it – three quarters of a mile away; went ahead over stones, ditches, fences, snakes, briers, and stone walls, until at last I reached it, and found it was an elm, no chestnuts on it – got very mad; walked round the state a couple of times, and took the first train for home.
Glad to see the old place again, and also pleased to perceive that something of unusual importance seemed to occupy the attention of the usually-hard-at-work-but-on-Sunday-loafing-about-the-streets-waiting-for-a-fire-or-a-row-to-turn-up population of the city.
Saw a big crowd in the Park – inquired about it, and was told the usual Street Screeching was going on – wanted to see the fun – got a good place on a fat Irishman's toes.
Enter Gabriel – tin horn – hole in his pantaloons – (Bull Dogge says that if Angels have wings they are also provided with tails – hence this last item); thought it extremely probable. Gabriel mounted one end of the City Hall steps, and after a preliminary overture on his horn, and a slight skirmish among the faithful, resulting in four black eyes, a damaged nose, and a broken leg, the religious services commenced – (Damphool was entirely carried away by his sympathies for this last martyr, but soon discovered that the fractured member was "purely vegetable," as the patent medicine men say, and the injury was speedily repaired by means of a few shingle nails and a piece of clapboard).
Gabriel went in to win, but, spite of the sanctity of his name and the holiness of his aforesaid breeches, he was not permitted a clear field.
A female, with bosom undressed in the latest fashion; petticoats (Damphool says skirticoats) not immaculate; stockings, through the texture of which her delicate ancles were plainly visible to the naked eye; whose hair resembled molasses candy; with a nose symmetrical as an overgrown sweet potatoe, and in hue not unlike the martyred lobster; and whose teeth reminded me forcibly of the "crags and peaks" mentioned by the man in the play, took up her station on the other end of the steps.
She, like Gabe, went in for giving the church of Rome "Jesse," but otherwise did not agree with him. Did not seem willing to go to heaven by his conveyance, but claimed to have discovered some kind of a northwest passage – some exclusive path "cross lots;" and she advocated her right of way with all her woman's power of tongue – in fact, they agreed only tolerably – "Arcades ambo" – both celestials, but of a different breed – (B. D. says that some time since they joined issue on the devil's head, one asserting that he has horns, and the other maintaining that his brimstone friend is a muley) – but they both pitched into the Pope, abused all foreigners, denounced the church of Rome, walked into the affections of the Catholics generally – talked learnedly of priests, inquisitions, dungeons, thumbscrews, martyrs, convents, nunneries, and other luxuries, as being the only legitimate offspring of the mother of abominations, the scarlet woman; and, in fact, seemed to be having the field entirely to themselves, when lo! a change came o'er the spirit of the gospel show, for in the midst of the crowd suddenly appeared a third combatant – his classic dress and intellectual face gave unmistakable evidence that he was from the "gim of the ocean." With the dignified and majestic bearing peculiar to his countrymen, he slowly mounted the steps, and took a position directly between the two, and in a voice strongly tinctured with the "sweet brogue," announced himself as a champion of that much slandered gentleman, the Pope of Rome.
At this astounding impudence, the woman for a single instant held her peace. Gabe was so taken aback that he seemed about to collapse, but rallied, played an "ad libitum" interlude on the tin horn, and all hands "pitched in."
Gabriel commenced the onset by asserting that the Pope is not strictly a bachelor, but has seven white wives in his parlor, thirteen ditto bound in law calf in the library, a hundred and forty-one golden-haired damsels in his private apartments, and a perfect harem of jetty beauties in the coal-hole.
Petticoats followed, by saying that he breakfasts on Protestant babies; drinks whiskey punch out of a Protestant clergyman's skull; has an abducted Protestant virgin to black his boots; fifty-seven Protestant widows to dig his potatoes and hoe corn; and that he rolls ten-pins every afternoon with the heads of Protestant orphan children.
Irishman indignantly denied all – said the country is going to the old Knick, and some fine morning we shall wake up, and find that the Pope, unable longer to endure our perverseness, has sunk us all forty miles deeper than ancient Sodom; said that his Holiness can send us all to perdition by one wink of his left eye; that he is the head of the Church on Earth; has all power to save or otherwise; could get us all out of Purgatory, and send us all "kitin' into Heaven," by wagging his little finger; that he could, like a Joshua No. 2, make the sun and moon stand still; make the planets dance an astronomical rigadoon; cause the hills and mountains to execute a mighty geological jig, while old ocean should beat the time against the blue vault of Heaven and applauding Angels encore the huge saltations.
Gabe said he didn't believe the yarn. Petticoats remarked something about the Star Spangled Banner being always right side up.
Irishman proceeded to describe the future home of the happy in another world, as a place where there shall be plenty of potatoes, no end of shillelahs, oceans of genuine whiskey; and where no Know-Nothing Yankee shall be allowed to come and kick up a plug muss.
At the word Know-Nothing, there was a great sensation. Symptoms of a free fight rapidly developed into an uncivil war. Petticoats got mixed up with the crowd, and presently emerged rather the worse for wear, barefooted, bareheaded, hair down, nose injured by collision, eye in mourning, mouth bloody, and her whole appearance reminding me of "a goose or goslin – stuffed." (I forgot who penned this apposite quotation, and asked Bull Dogge, who, being excited by the fray, angrily asserted that it is by "Nero or some other old fogy" – is it?)
Irishman was taken away by seven policemen, on his national carriage, a wheelbarrow. Gabriel came out unhurt, save that his elegant features were somewhat marred by the finger nails of Petticoats. Perceiving that the fun was over, I turned to go, leaving the self-elected Angel Gabriel, straddle of a hydrant, edifying the passers-by, by alternately sounding notes of victory upon his horn, and crowing like an overgrown Shanghae.
Although in the course of my western peregrinations I had frequently met with attractive-looking damsels, there was always some blemish on their personal beauty, which though perhaps slight in many cases, made their charms fall short of that exalted standard desirable in the fairer part of mankind. Being unusually fastidious in my taste it is not to be wondered at, that previous to last Wednesday night, I had never been in love.
Save an occasional fit of cholera-morbus, I had never experienced anything even remotely approaching the tender passion. But on the evening of the eventful Wednesday, Sandie Goatie invited me to go with him and see his sister.
Now my friend Sandie is not a scholarly person, and has never received that questionable blessing, a college education. He always says "cod-fish" instead of "bon? fide," and calls "tempus fugit" "pork and beans;" the only "Jupiter" he knows is a sable gentleman, and his only idea of "Venus," is a colored washerwoman, who in early life got up his hebdomadal linen.
But his sister is eminently classic; she stoops fashionably, with the "Grecian bend" – has a Roman nose, and her name is Calanthe Maria.
I went to see that sister – I saw that sister – I surrendered.
That seraphic sister – to attempt a description of her beauty, would be insanity itself. I will only mention her hair, and when I have said that this was sublime and divine, I wish it distinctly understood that I use these feeble terms, because the poverty of our language does not afford adjectives of adequate force.
The instant I saw her, my presence of mind deserted me. I felt bashful – I was conscious that I looked like a fool in the face, and my apparel, (on which I had prided myself), seemed as unworthy to be seen in her presence, as if it had been bought second-hand in Chatham street. Beneath the glance of her brilliant eyes, my feet seemed to grow too short, and my legs too long – my coat too big, and my collar limpsy, and I discovered a grease spot on my vest. Never had I been so shamefaced in the feminine presence before, and my bashfulness only temporarily deserted me, when, after much tribulation, I achieved a seat on a clumsy looking foot-stool, which I understood was called an "Ottoman." Whether or not it had any connection with Turks, turkeys, and Thanksgiving, I failed to discover.
Left alone a short time, I had leisure to recover myself, and to note the individual charms of my fair enslaver. A partial inventory of her visible apparel is ineffaceably stamped upon my mind.
A silk dress, of a pattern which seemed to have been designed for a gigantic checker-board, made with a train to do scavenger duty, and short sleeves, with lace curtains underneath – her neck and shoulders hidden from view by a thin veil of transparent lace, of a pattern designedly made to attract attention – but particulars are omitted.
Suffice it to say, that she was dressed as the prevailing fashion seems to demand.
I essayed to speak to her, but my timidity returned upon me with double force. Mustered courage at length and asked her to sing, and stepped on her toes while turning over her music – praised everything in the wrong place – when she sung a false note, I exclaimed "delicious." She made a two-handed discord, which I pronounced "enchanting," and when at last, from excess of agitation, she broke flat down, I enthusiastically declared that I was "never more delighted in the whole course of my life."
Asked her to play a waltz, and handed her a choir-book – opened at "Corinth" and "Silver street" – found I was wrong, and turned over the leaf to "Sinners turn, why will ye die?" – discovered that all was not right yet, and then requested her to play some sacred music, and in my anxiety to get the right notes this time, placed before her the "Jenny Lind Polka," which she at once began to play – I attempting to sing the words of "Old Hundred," which didn't seem to jibe.
We tried to dance, but my confusion still continued. I "chassez?d" myself across a table, and into a music rack – "promenaded" my partner over the stove – "balanced" her into a side-board, and eventually attempted to seat her in a mirror, where I saw a sofa.
Then I essayed conversation, and I am confident I talked the most absurd nonsense for the rest of my call – distinctly remember speaking of Noah Webster's beautiful play of "Evangeline" – eulogising Shakspeare's "Robinson Crusoe" – Thackeray's generalship at Waterloo – attempting to explain the difficulties which attended Henry Ward Beecher's attempts to get his Opera of "Bohemian Girl" before the public – telling who had the blackest eye when President Pierce and Joan of Arc fought their celebrated prize fight in the Crystal Palace in New York in 1793 – and at last, breaking down in trying to explain why Admiral Elihu Burritt, and his right hand man Xerxes the Great, did not succeed in taking Sebastopol in a month, according to contract.
When I bid her "good night," she took my hand and set me crazy by the touch of her fairy, taper fingers.
I dreamed all night about Calanthe – got up in the morning, called the waiter "Calanthe," and said "my darling" to him as he handed me my coffee – gave my tailor an order for a new coat and two pairs of pantaloons, and told him to charge them to "Calanthe" – got a box of cigars and a demijohn of Scotch whiskey, and signed the drayman's receipt "Calanthe" – all the signs read "Calanthe" – every street was "Calanthe" street – all the stages belonged to the "Calanthe" line, and were going to "Calanthe" ferry – the ship "Calanthe" had arrived, the steamboat "Calanthe" had burst her boiler, and the brig "Calanthe" been seen bottom upward with her rudder gone. I saw, heard, read, dreamed, thought, and talked nothing but "Calanthe," and cannibal that I am, I verily believe I ate nothing but "Calanthe" for a month.
The day after I saw her first I felt so exceedingly amiable that I bought something of every pedler who came into the store – laid in a stock of matches, pencils, shoe-brushes, suspenders, bootjacks, and blacking, which will last me a short lifetime – bought so much candy that the office-boy had the colic every afternoon for a week – called the applewoman "my own sweet love," and said "thank you, darling," when she gave me pewter dimes in change.
Wrote spasmodic poetry about Calanthe's hair – lines to her raven tresses – stanzas to her locks of jet – odes to her ebon ringlets – verses to her sable curls – rhymes to her coal-black hair, and commenced a poem in 17 cantos, to her ebony-topped head, but on reflection I was led to doubt the propriety of the comparison.
Called to see her every evening – substantial victuals didn't agree with me – a kind word from her was a good breakfast – a tender glance has served me for a dinner many a time, and once when she pressed my hand I couldn't eat anything for a fortnight but oranges, cream-candy, and vanilla-beans.
We went to the theatre, endured the negro minstrels, and braved the horrors of a second-rate Italian Opera Company – in fact, everywhere, where there was anything to be seen or heard, there were Calanthe Maria, and her devoted Philander.
For a month I forgot my debts, neglected business, ignored entirely this mundane sphere, and lived in a rainbow-colored aerial castle, of the most elegant finish – surrounded by roses, attended by cupids, and just big enough for Calanthe Maria and the subscriber.
In that happy place there were no duns, no tailors' bills, no trouble, no debts, no getting up early cold mornings, no tight boots, no bad cigars: nothing but love, luxury, and Calanthe Maria.
Came down occasionally out of my airy mansion, to speak a few words of compassion to my companions in the office, who hadn't got any Calanthe, but I went right back again as quick as I could to that rose-colored dream-land where love and Calanthe were "boss and all hands."
At last, one fatal evening I was undeceived.
We were waltzing, and through some clumsiness on my part, her hair caught in a gas-fixture – some mysterious string broke, and those glossy ringlets, the object of my adoration, came off, leaving her head bald as a brickbat. Relating this scrape of the locks to a friend, he informed me that the rest of her charms would not bear minute inspection, for she wore false teeth, and bought her complexion at Phalon's; that her graceful form was the result of a skilful combination of cotton and whalebone.
This was too much. While I thought Calanthe a woman, I loved her, but the discovery of the fishy element excited a prejudice – as a female, she had my affection, and I contemplated matrimony – as a land mermaid, I had no desire to swindle Barnum and become her proprietor.
Coming as I did, from a section of the country where they have human women, and where they don't attempt to deceive masculine mankind with French millinery strategy, I was unprepared for counterfeits, and had been easily deluded by a spurious article. But I find that in New York, perambulating bundles of dry goods not unfrequently pass current as women – and the milliners now put their eccentric inventions upon these locomotive shams, to the great neglect of those revolving waxen ladies who used to perform their perpetual gyrations in the show-windows.
As an advertising medium, they possess facilities for publicity beyond any of the newspapers, having a city circulation, which is unattainable by anything dumb and unpetticoated.
The great staple of the south has not only "made" some of our first men, but has been discovered to enter largely into the composition of many of our first ladies.скачать книгу бесплатно
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