Imágenes de páginas




T is astonishing what effect is produced by peculiarities of form or manner. It may be true that the writings of Thomas Carlyle owe much of their force and vigor to his disregard for grammatical rules and his peculiar arrangement of words and sentences; but one of the most surprising instances of this kind is in the fact that the "Essay on the Mule, by Josh Billings," received no attention whatever, while the same contribution transformed into the "Essa on the Muel, bi Josh Billings," was eagerly copied by almost every paper in the country. Josh Billings once said that "Chaucer was a great poit, but he couldn't spel," and apparently it was Mr. Shaw's likeness, in this respect, to the author of "Canterbury Tales" which won him much of his fame.

He was the son of a member of the Massachusetts Legislature, born in 1818, and entered Hamilton College; but being captivated by stories of Western life and adventure, abandoned college to seek his fortune in the West. The fortune was slow in coming, and he worked as a laborer on steamboats on the Ohio, and as a farmer, and finally drifted back to Poughkeepsie, New York, as an auctioneer. Here he wrote his first contribution to a periodical, "The Essa on the Muel," which has been above mentioned.

The popularity of the revised form of this classic of poor spelling induced him to publish "Josh Billings' Farmers' Allminax," which continued for ten years, having during a part of the time a circulation of one hundred and twenty-seven thousand copies per annum. In 1863 Mr. Shaw entered the lecture-field. His lectures being a series of pithy sayings without care or order, delivered in an apparently awkward manner. The quaintness and drollery of his discourse won very great popularity. For twenty years he was a regular contributor of "The New York Weekly," and it is said that the articles which appeared in "The Century Magazine," under the signature of "Uncle Esek," were his. His published books are "Josh Billings, His Sayings;" "Josh Billings on Ice;" "Everybody's Friend;" "Josh Billings' Complete Works," and "Josh Billings' Spice Box." Mr. Shaw died in Monterey, California, in 1885.


[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]
[blocks in formation]

KAN sell for eighteen hundred and thirty- art could portray. The stables are worthy of the nine dollars a pallas, a sweet and pensive steeds ov Nimrod or the studs ov Akilles, and its retirement, lokated on the virgin banks ov hennery waz bilt expressly for the birds of paradice; the Hudson, kontaining eighty-five acres. The land while sombre in the distance, like the cave ov a is luxuriously divided by the hand of natur and art hermit, glimpses are caught ov the dorg-house. Here into pastor and tillage, into plain and deklivity, into poets hav cum and warbled their laze-here skulptors stern abruptness, and the dallianse ov moss-tufted hav cut, here painters hav robbed the scene ov dreamy medder; streams ov sparkling gladness (thick with landscapes, and here the philosopher diskovered the trout) danse through this wilderness ov buty tew stun which made him the alkimist ov natur. Next, the low musik ov the kricket and grasshopper. The northward ov this thing ov buty, sleeps the resievergreen sighs as the evening sephir flits through its dence and domain ov the Duke, John Smith, while shadowy buzzum, and the aspen trembles like the southward, and nearer the spice-breathing tropicks, luv-smitten harte ov a damsell. Fruits ov the tropicks, may be seen the barronial villy ov Earl Brown and in golden buty, meit on the bows, and the bees go the Duchess, Widder Betsy Stevens. Walls ov heavy and sweet from the fields to their garnering hives. The manshun is ov Parian marble; the porch iz a single diamond, set with rubiz and the mother ov pearl; the floors are ov rosewood, and the ceilings are more butiful than the starry vault of heaven. Hot and cold water bubbles and quirts in evry apartment, and nothing is wanting that a poet could pra for, or

primitiff rock, laid in Roman cement, bound the estate, while upward and downward the eye catches the magesta and slow grander ov the Hudson. As the young moon hangs like a cutting ov silver from the blue brest ov the ski, an angel may be seen each night dansing with golden tiptoes on the green. (N. B.-This angel goes with the place.)



ANIFESS destiny iz the science ov going iz; but if he almost gits out and then falls down in tew bust, or enny other place before yu git agin 16 foot deeper and brakes off hiz neck twice in thare. I may be rong in this centiment, the same plase and dies and iz buried thare at low but that iz the way it strikes me; and i am so put water, that iz manifess destiny on the square. Standtogether that when enny thing strikes me i imme- ing behind a cow in fly time and gitting kicked twice jiately strike back. Manifess destiny mite perhaps at one time must feel a good deal like manifess be blocked out agin as the condishun that man and destiny. Being about 10 seckunds tew late tew git things find themselfs in with a ring in their nozes, an express train, and then chasing the train with yure and sumboddy hold ov the ring. I may be rong agin, but if i am. awl i have got tew sa iz i don't kno it, and what a man don't kno ain't no damage tew enny boddy else. The tru way that manifess destiny had better be sot down iz the exact distance that a frog kan jump down hill with a striped snake after him; i don't kno but i may be rong onst more, but if the frog don't git ketched the destiny iz jist what he iz a looking for.

When a man falls into the bottom ov a well and makes up hiz minde tew stay thare, that ain't manifess destiny enny more than having yure hair cut short

wife, and an umbreller in yure hands, in a hot day, and not getting as near tew the train az you waz when started, looks a leetle like manifess destiny on a rale rode trak. Going into a tempranse house and calling for a leetle old Bourbon on ice, and being told in a mild way that "the Bourbon iz jist out, but they hav got sum gin that cost 72 cents a gallon in Paris," sounds tew me like the manifess destiny ov most tempranse houses.

Mi dear reader, don't beleave in manifess destiny until yu see it. Thare is such a thing az manifess destiny, but when it occurs it iz like the number ov

rings on the rakoon's tale, ov no great consequense cord ov dri hickory wood. i thought i had it onse; onla for ornament. Man wan't made for a machine, it broke out in the shape ov poetry; i sent a speciif he waz, it was a locomotiff machine, and manifess ment ov the disseaze tew a magazine; the magazine destiny must git oph from the trak when the bell man wrote me next day az follers: rings or git knocked higher than the price ov gold. Manifess destiny iz a disseaze, but it iz eazy tew heal; i have seen it in its wust stages cured bi sawing a

"Dear Sur: You may be a phule, but you are no poeck. Yures, in haste."

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »