Over the Border: Acadia, the Home of "Evangeline" - lightnovelgate.com
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The company, strange to say, hit upon Elsie for this, and are evidently surprised that one so given up to pomps and vanities should display such knowledge of natural history; but they evidently suspect her of shining by reflected light, as she sits next to the Philosopher; and I heard her ask him a question about this animal with the jaw-breaking name. By this time the party have become so brilliant, having polished each other up as by diamond cutters' wheels, that it is "moved and seconded" that we "try again". The laughter has brought down the Chemist from the laboratory, the Fisherman from his den; besides rousing the Astronomer, who scintillates in the corner to such a degree that all others expect to be totally eclipsed. This time the Fisherman, who is also an amateur gardener and farmer on a small scale, draws an appropriate question, in regard to which he enlightens us as follows; and what he says must be true, as we know he has had experience with pigs and hens:--
"Which knows most, a pig or a hen?
'Tis hard to tell in rustic _rhyme_ What pigs or hens may know.
A cabbage-head in olden time Sure knew enough to grow.
If _Balm_ and corn to them were thrown By _parsimonious_ Bill I think the fact would then be shown, For Piggy'd eat his fill."
Next comes the Chemist with the question:--
"Do you like peanuts?
Peanuts are _double_, And so is the trouble Involved in _effort_ To answer it.
Hand over a few, And see if I do Not like peanuts Better than _Sanskrit_"
Any one who had heard the Chemist warbling,--
"He who hath good peanuts and gives his neighbor none, He sha'n't have any of my peanuts when his peanuts are gone,"
would not have doubted this.
The Philosopher next airs his learning in the following:--
"What do you admire in a fool?
Water has such _combustibility_ That one may rightfully admire The happy lack of wise ability Which never rivers sets on fire.
_Truth_ needs no _recapitulation_ To make what's simple plainer still.
Folly courts our admiration Wherever Fashion has her will."
Part of this is so abstruse that I fear the company do not fully appreciate it; so the next is quite startling; and after hearing it we learn, the cause of the Astronomer's silent merriment in the corner, and rejoice that Dr. Holmes's experience in "writing as funny as he could"
has proved a warning to this individual:--
"What is stronger than an onion?
Oh, _scissors_! on a summer night To tax a fat _republican_ In thinking out with all his might Some mightier thing than on-i-on.
Garlic, maybe's not strong enough Well, I'll exert my '_spunk_'
So here you have it, 'in the rough,'-- A pole-cat, alias s----k."
The Oleaginous Personage comes next with the question, "Do you like Crambo?" which was answered, rather ambiguously, thus:--
"If our last lingo was a _specimen_ Of this most wise and learned game, 'Tis sure that thus not many men Would long be known to fame.
Any of you as well as I Would knock our type all into _Pi_, If _ghost_, or man, or printer's devil Should show us up for good or evil."
Here the sedate and dignified Elsie gives her opinion of a summer recreation after this fashion:--
"Are you fond of fishing?
A foolish amusement, it seems to me, To be rocking about on the briny sea Watching for bites 'neath a broiling sun, (Mosquitoes will give you 'em when day is done) For my part I'd rather be left in _peace_ To read of travels in sunny Greece Varied by poem on 'Pleasures of _Hope_',-- Whate'er my employment I shall not mope-- But it proves great sport for cousin _Bill_.
(He's a youth just starting up Life's hill) But should he as old as I become He would conclude that 't is all a 'hum'."
Where a person generally considered "proper" became familiar with slang I cannot imagine, but I make no remarks. Owing to the absence of two members of the household, who, having been caught out in the shower, are probably calculating the specific gravity of rain drops and their effect on new straw hats, we have doubtless been deprived of more poems of surprising depth and brilliancy. And, from regard for the excessive modesty of other participants in the game, I suppress many compositions of rare merit which were brought out this stormy evening. This letter is merely to acquaint you with an important fact, which is as follows. As Dr. Holmes has informed you with regard to the "Asylum for Decayed Punsters," be it known hereby that we have here started a rival institution,--a school for poets; so when you wish to secure the services of any of the graduates, you may know where to apply. And, the reason why the game of Crambo is like night is, because it is quiet in the middle and noisy at both ends.