Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE DEACON'S MASTERPIECE:

OR THE WONDERFUL “ ONE-HOSS-SHAY."

A LOGICAL STORY.

Have you heard of the wonderful one-how-shay,
That was built in such a logical way
It ran a hundred years to a day,
And then, of a sudden, it

ah, but stay,
I'll tell you what happened without delay,
Scaring the parson into fits,
Frightening people out of their wits,
Flave you ever heard of that, I say?

Seventeen hundred and fifty-five.
Georgius Secundus was then alive,-
Snuffy old drone from the German hive.
That was the year when Lisbon-town
Saw the earth open and gulp her down,
And Braddock's army was done so brown,
*Left without a scalp to its crown.
It was on the terrible Earthquake-day
That the Deacon finished the one-hoss-shay

Now in building of chaises, I tell you what,
There is always somewhere a weakest spot,
In hub, tire, felloe, in spring or thill,
In panel, or crossbar, or floor, or sill,
In screw, bolt, thoroughbrace,- lurking still
find it somewhere you inust and will,-
Above or below, or within or without,-
And that's the reason, beyond a doubt,
A chaise breaks olcren, but doesp t wear out

But the Deacon swore (as Deacons do,
With an “I dew vum,” or an “I tell yeou,")
He would build one sbay to beat the taown
'n' the keounty 'n' all the kentry raoun’;
It should be so built that it couldn' break daowu.
—“ Fur," said the Deacon, "'t's mighty plain
Thut the weakes' place mus' stan the strain ;
'n' the way t' fix it, uz I maintain,

Is only jest
T make that place uz strong uz the rest."

So the Deacon inquired of the village folk
Where he could find the strongest oak,
That couldn't be split nor bent nor broke,-
That was for spokes and floor and sills;
He sent for lancewood to make the thills;
The crossbars were ash, from the straightest troos
The panels of white-wood, that cuts like cheese,
But lasts like iron for things like these ;
The hubs of logs from the “ Settler's ellum," —
Last of its timber,—they couldn't sell 'em,
Never an axe had seen their chips,
And the wedges flew from between their lipa,
Their blunt ends frizzled like celery-tips;
Step and prop-iron, bolt and screw,
Spring, tire, axle, and linchpin too,
Steel of the finest, bright and blue;
Thorouyhbrace bison-skin, thick and wide ;
Boot, top, dasher, from tough old hide
Found in the pit when the tanner died.
That was the way he “put her through.”—
“ There!” said the Deacon, “naow she'! lew."

Do I tel you, I rather guess
She was a wonder, and nothing less :

Colts grew horses, beards turned gray,
Deacon and deaconess dropped away,
Children and grand-children—where were they ?
But there stood the stout old one-hoss-shay
As fresh as on Lisbon-earthquake-day !

EIGHTEEN HUNDRED ;-it came and found
The Deacon's Masterpiece strong and sound.
Eighteen hundred increased by ten ;-
“ Hahnsum kerridge” they called it then.
Eighteen hundred and twenty came;
Rumung as usual ; much the same.
Thirty and forty at last arrive,
And then come fifty, and FIFTY-FIVE.

Little of all we value here
Wakes on the morn of its hundredth year
Without both feeling and looking queer.
In fact, there's nothing that keeps its youth,
So far as I know, but a tree and truth.
(This is a moral that runs at large;
Take 10.-You're welcome.- No extra charge.)

First of NOVEMBER,—the Earthquake-day.
There are traces of age in the one-hoss-shay,
A general flavor of mild decay,
But nothing local, as one may say.
There couldn't be,-for the Deacon's art
Had made it so like in every part
That there wasn't a chance for one to start.
For the wheels were just as strong as the thillen
And the floor was just as strong as the sills,
And the panels just as strong as the floor,
And the whippletree neither less nor more,

And the back-crossbar as strong as the foro
And spring and axle and hub encore.
And yet, as a whole, it is past a doubt
In another hour it will be worn out!

First of November, 'Fifty-five !
This morning the parson takes a drive.
Now, small boys, get out of the way!
Here comes the wonderful one-horse-shay,
Drawn by a rat-tailed, ewe-necked bay.
“ Huddup !” said the parson.-Off went thov

The parson was working his Sunday's text-
Had got to fifthly, and stopped perplexed
At what the-Moses—was coming next.
All at once the horse stood still,
Close by the meet'n'-house on the bill.
-First a shiver, and then a thrill,
Then something decidedly like a spill, -
And the parson was sitting upon a rock,
At half-past nine by the meet'n-house clock.com
Just the hour of the Earthquake shock!
.-What do you think the parson found,
When he got up and stared around ?

old chaise in a heap or mound,
As if it had been to the mill and ground
You see, of course, if you're not a dunce,
How it went to pieces all at once,
All at once, and nothing first,-
Just as bubbles do when they burst.

The poor

End of the wonderful one-hoss-shay.
Lopic is logic

That's all I say.

-I think there is one habit,-I said to our com. pany a day or two afterwards--worse than that of punning. It is the gradual substitution of cant oi Hash terms for words which truly characterize their objects. I have known several very genteel idiots whose whole vocabulary had deliquesced into some nalf dozen expressions. All things fell into one of two great categories,-fast or slow. Man's chief enj was to be a brick.

When the great calamities of life overtook their friends, these last were spoken of as being a good deal cut up. Nine-tenths of human existence were summed up in the single word, bore. These expressions come to be the algebraic symbols. of minds which have grown too weak or indolent to. discriminate. They are the blank checks of intellectual bankruptcy ;-you may fill them up with what idea you like; it makes no difference, for there are no funds in the treasury upon which they are drawn. Colleges and good-for-nothing smokingclubs are the places where these conversational fungi spring up most luxuriantly. Don't think I undervalue the proper use and application of a cant word ur phrase. It adds piquancy to conversation, as a mushroom does to a sauce. But it is no better than a toadstool, odious to the sense and poisonous to the intellect, when it spawns itself all over the talk of men and youths capable of talking, as it sometimes does. As we hear flash phraseology, it is commonly the dishwater from the washings of English danily.

« PreviousContinue »