« AnteriorContinuar »
CHARLES FOLLEN ADAMS.
AUTHOR OF "LEEDLE YAWCOB STRAUSS."
HE humorous and dialectic literature of America owes more to Charles Follen Adams perhaps than to any other contributor who has not made literature a business or depended upon his pen for his livelihood. There is not a pretentious book of humorous readings or popular selections of late years which has not enriched its pages from this pleasingly funny man who delineates the German-American character and imitates its dialect with an art that is so true to nature as to be well-nigh perfection. "The Puzzled Dutchman;" "Mine Vamily;" "Mine Moderin-Law;" "Der Vater Mill;" "Der Drummer," and, above all, "Dot Leedle Yawcob Strauss," have become classics of their kind and will not soon suffer their author to be forgotten.
Charles Follen Adams was born in Dorchester, Mass., April 21, 1842, where he received a common school education, leaving school at fifteen years of age to take a position in a business house in Boston. This place he occupied until August, 1862, when he enlisted, at the age of twenty, in the Thirteenth Massachusetts Regiment of Volunteers, and saw service in a number of hard-fought battles. At Gettysburg, in 1863, he was wounded and held a prisoner for three days until the Union forces recaptured the town. After the close of the war he resumed business, and succeeded in placing himself at the head of a large business house in Boston, where he has continued to reside.
It was not until 1870 that Mr. Adams wrote his first poem, and it was two years later that his first dialectic effort, "The Puzzled Dutchman," appeared and made his name known. From that time he begun to contribute "as the spirit moved him" to the local papers, "Oliver Optic's Magazine," and, now and then, to "Scribner's." In 1876 he became a regular contributor to the "Detroit Free Press," his "Leedle Yawcob Strauss" being published in that paper in June, 1876. For many years all his productions were published in that journal, and did much to enhance its growing popularity as a humorous paper.
As a genial, companionable man in business and social circles, Mr. Adams has as great distinction among his friends as he holds in the literary world as a humorist. His house is one of marked hospitality where the fortunate guest always finds a cordial welcome.
He get der measles und der mumbs,
Und eferyding dot's oudt;
He sbills mine glass off lager bier,
Poots schnuff indo mine kraut.
He fills mine pipe mit Limburg cheese.—
I'd dake dot vrom no oder poy
He dakes der milk-ban for a dhrum, Und cuts mine cane in dwo,
To make der schticks to beat it mit.—
I dinks mine hed vas schplit abart,
He asks me questions sooch as dese:
To dot schmall Yawcob Strauss?
I somedimes dink I schall go vild
Und vish vonce more I gould haf rest,
So guiet as a mouse,
I prays der Lord, "Dake anyding,
HERE vas many qveer dings in dis land of Id vas von off dhose voman's righdts vellers I been
I neffer could qvite understand;
Der beoples dhey all seem so deefrent to me As dhose in mine own faderland. Dhey gets blendy droubles, und indo mishaps.
Mitout der least bit off a cause;
Und vould you pelief it? dhose mean Yangee shaps Dhey fights mit dheir moder-in-laws?
Shust dink off a vhite man so vicked as dot!
Dhere vas noding dot's mean aboudt me; Vhen der oldt lady vishes to run dot masheen, Vhy, I shust let her run id, you see.
Und vhen dot shly Yawcob vas cutting some dricks (A block off der oldt chip he vas, yaw!)
Ef he goes for dot shap like some dousand off bricks,
Dot's all righdt! She's mine moder-in-law.
Veek oudt und veek in, id vas always der same,
But, dehn, neffer mindt! I vas glad dot she came,
*Copyright, Harper & Bros.
EDGAR WILSON NYE.
MONG those who have shaken the sides of the fun-loving citizens of the United States and many in the old world with genuine wit and droll humor, our familiar and purely American "Bill Nye" must be
Edgar Wilson Nye was a born "funny man" whose humor was as irrepressible as his disposition to breathe air. The very face of the man, while far from being homely, as is frequently judged from comic pictures of him, was enough to provoke the risibility of the most sedate and unsmiling citizens in any community. When Mr. Nye walked out on the platform to exhibit in his plain manner a few samples of his "Baled Hay," or offer what he was pleased to term a few "Remarks," or to narrate one or more of the tales told by those famous creatures of his imagination known as "The Forty Liars,"-before a word was uttered an infectious smile often grew into a roaring laugh.
Edgar Wilson Nye was born at Shirley, Maine, 1850. His parents removed to Wisconsin, and thence to Wyoming Territory when he was but a boy, and he grew up amid the hardships and humorous aspects of frontier life, which he has so amusingly woven into the warp and the woof of his early "yarns." Mr. Nye studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1876; but practiced his profession only one year. Afterwards he reported for the newspapers, and, in 1878, began to write regularly a weekly humorous letter for the Sunday papers in the West. This he continued to do for several years, receiving good compensation therefor, and his reputation as a humorous writer grew steadily and rapidly.
In 1884, Mr. Nye came to New York and organized the Nye Trust, or Syndicate, through which a weekly letter from him should simultaneously appear in the journals of the principal cities of the Union. This increased his fame; and during the later years of his life he was engaged much of his time on the lecture platform, sometimes alone, and sometimes in company with other prominent authors. He and the poet, James Whitcomb Riley, did considerable touring together and were enthusiastically welcomed wherever they went, the people invariably turning out in large numbers to enjoy a feast of fun and good feeling which this pair of prominent and typical Westerners never failed to treat them to.
Among the most humorous of Mr. Nye's recent writings were his famous letters from Buck's Shoals, North Carolina, where, in his imagination, he established himself as a southern farmer, and dealt out his rural philosophy and comments on cur
rent events to the delight, not only of the farmers-many of whom imagined that he was really one of them-but of every class of readers throughout the country. In 1894 Mr. Nye turned his attention to another branch of humor, and brought out "Bill Nye's History of the United States." The drollery and humor of this work is unsurpassed--the interest and delight of the reader being greatly enhanced by the fact that he followed the chronological thread of the real historic narrative on which he pours the sidelights of his side-splitting humor. The success of this book was so great that Mr. Nye was preparing to go abroad to write humorous histories of England and other European countries when he suddenly died in 1896, in the 47th year of his age.
After his death Mrs. Nye went abroad, stopping in Berlin for the education of her children. The royalty on "Bill Nye's" books brings an ample support for his family.
THE WILD COW.
HEN I was young and used to roam around | Just then I heard something crash through the over the country, gathering water-melons window of the barn and fall with a dull, sickening in the light of the moon, I used to think thud on the outside. The neighbors came to see I could milk anybody's cow, but I do not think so what it was that caused the noise. They found now. I do not milk a cow now unless the sign is that I had done it in getting through the window. right, and it hasn't been right for a good many years. I asked the neighbors if the barn was still standThe last cow I tried to milk was a common cow, ing. They said it was. Then I asked if the cow was born in obscurity; kind of a self-made cow. I injured much. They said she seemed to be quite remember her brow was low, but she wore her tail robust. Then I requested them to go in and calm high and she was haughty, oh, so haughty. the cow a little, and see if they could get my plug hat off her horns.
I made a common-place remark to her, one that is used in the very best of society, one that need not have given offence anywhere. I said, "So"-and she "soed." Then I told her to "hist" and she histed. But I thought she overdid it. She put too much expression in it.
I am buying all my milk now of a milkman. I select a gentle milkman who will not kick, and feel as though I could trust him. Then, if he feels as though he could trust me, it is all right.
"No," she unto him straightway did make answer, I could not do that, honey."
MR. WHISK'S TRUE LOVE. O she said to him: Oh, darling, I fear that my wealth hath taught thee to me, and if it were to take wings unto itself thou wouldst also do the same."
"Nay, Gwendolin," said Mr. Whisk, softly, as he drew her head down upon his shoulder and tickled the lobe of her little cunning ear with the end of his moustache, "I love not thy dollars, but thee alone. Also elsewhere. If thou doubtest me, give thy wealth to the poor. Give it to the World's Fair. Give it to the Central Pacific Railroad. Give it to any one who is suffering."
Then give it to your daughter," said Mr. Whisk, "if you think I am so low as to love alone your yellow dross." He then drew himself up to his full height. She flew to his arms like a frightened dove that has been hit on the head with a rock. Folding her warm round arms about his neck, she sobbed with joy and gave her entire fortune to her daughter.
Mr. Whisk then married the daughter, and went on about his business. I sometimes think that, at the best, man is a great coarse thing.