Author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Secret of the Lost Fortune, The Visitors from Oz, etc.
From Baum's Our Landlady series. This episode originally published in the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, August 9, 1890.
"Well, I'm all tuckered out," exclaimed our landlady, as she entered the dining room in time to throw her hymn book at the cat, who was quietly eating out of the cream pitcher.
The first result was to frighten the household pet so badly that she jumped from the table to the window sill, (upsetting the fly trap into the stewed prunes in her flight) and alighting upon a strip of sticky fly-paper she uttered a screetch of dismay and sprang into the arms of her mistress, who promptly threw her out of the window - paper and all. The second result was that the colonel was induced to look up from his paper and ask,
"Been to prayer-meeting, ma'am?"
"Well, not exactly," responded our landlady, as she made preparations for tea, "this 'ere is a sort o' religious community, an' thought if I went to a hoss-race without my prayer book, some one would know where I was goin'. This church business covers a multitude of sins."
"Where was the horse-race?" inquired Tom, with sudden interest.
"Oh, out to the Fair grounds. You see, there's a barber here named John, as is got a colt that's no earthly good, an' the boys are havin' lots o' fun with him. He can't trot fer sour apples, that's the fact, but John thinks as he's the best race hoss in Ameriky. Billy Paulhamus pertended he wanted to race with him, an' so they went out to the grounds, an' got John to drive his nag around till it was all tuckered out. Then Billy brought his hoss out an' let the colt beat him two straight heats. It were a burning shame to treat the poor barber so. The jedges and starters they were in the game, an' when the colt made a mile in five minits an' a quarter they told the poor fellow that his time was 2:58! Five minits is the best that nag will even do. Baldwin, as has been guyin' John fer a long time about his hoss, made him an offer o' six hundred dollars, - when he wouldn't give six cents - for the colt, an' o' course the barber wouldn't take it."
"Are they trying to get the barber to make a bet?" asked the doctor.
"No - they ain't so mean as to work him fer money. It's jest a guy - that's all. Queer ideas folks git nowadays of fun. In my times fun was fun, an' don't you fergit it. Now look at this goose-quill deal. That shows how the kids nowadays is demoralizin'."
"What about the goose quill?" asked the colonel.
"Why, I didn't know anything about it myself until the other night. I was settin' on the back stoop in the dark, thinkin' of religious matters, when I noticed the forms of a couple o' young people comin' round the corner of a neighbor's house.
" 'Now, if you won't tell,' says a gal voice, 'I'll show you how it's done.'
" 'Oh, I won't tell,' says a boy's deep rich bass voice.
" 'This idea o' kissin' through a goose quill,' continued the gal, 'is my own inwention. You get a kiss just the same only it's removed to a respectful distance. Do you feel able to go through the ordeal, Hi?'
" 'You bet I do,' says the feller, 'let's have it!'
"Then I heard a sound like as if some one had pulled his foot out o' some wet mud an' the feller yells,
" 'Why, Gene, you've pulled a piece out o' my cheek!'
" 'Oh, no, that's the beauty o' the thing, you know when you've got kissed. How do you like it?'
" 'Oh, under some circumstances it's all right, but I think I like a meat kiss better.'
" 'But that's improper,' says the gal. 'The idee of the goose quill is that it makes kissin' proper. All the gals has got 'em now.'
"An' then the young folks went away an' left me to my horrified reflections. I don't approve o' this goose quill arrangement. There's only one proper way to kiss as I knows on, an' when I was a gal the young folks would scorn goose quills. Of course, this 'ere's a free country, but sence that night, whenever I see a young feller with a round red mark on his cheek, I feel kinder sorry for him, because I know that the march o' Civilization and the inwention o' the goose quill kiss has cost him one of the pleasantest and most innocent delights of youth - well - yes - an' ole age, too, fer that matter!"
THE FORGETFUL POET
The Puzzle Corner
Before we tell you any more puzzles we had better answer Mr. G. Ography's travel puzzles. In Holland he spent many a shiny florin, in Hindustan many rupees and in London paid his bills in honest English pounds.
The Forgetful Poet has written another of his one-worded verses. He says all the blanks may be filled in by the same word and we shall have to take his word for it. They are not always spelled the same, however. What word will answer these then?
A noble ------ ------d
In his ------ glass.
"I hope," said he, "I'll
Please my dear lass."
Before her now he
"You're looking well,
My high-born dear!"
The lady said, Down
To the ------
They took their way
To sail the mere.
[Answers next time.]
Copyright © 2007 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.