Simon Stutterer, or the Mysterious Traveller.

Some years ago the good ship Russell Glover made her first passage from New York to this port. Just as the lines were being “ cast off,” the Captain, who was “ up to his eyes” in business, was hailed by a tall, gawky personage on shore. The Captain, in a very choleric tone, (for, poor man, he was nearly dead with the fatigue of attending to the wants and answering the questions of over two hundred passengers,) bawled out--

“ What the d--l d’ye want ?”

The tall young man opened his eyes and essayed to speak. At last, with a convulsive effort, he managed to get out the single word “ Captain.”

“ Well ! what do you want ?”

“ Will you take um, um, um, me to New Orleans fu-fu-fu-fu-fur thi-thi-thi-this ?” And here Simon Stutterer held up a small, turnip-shaped silver watch.

“ No ! No !” shouted the Captain. “ Cast off there !”

“ The shi-shi-ship shan-shant go ti-ti-ti-till I have an answer !” shrieked Simon, who not only stuttered but was also somewhat deaf. He caught hold of the hawser, and it was not until the mate had used him pretty roughly that he relinquished his grasp. By this time a crowd had collected around the unfortunate Simon, and he endeavored to explain himself.

“ I want to go to New Or-le-le-le-leans, and I’ve got nothing but this d--d pot-bel-bel-bel-bellied watch to pay my pas-pas-pas-pass----”

Here poor Simon stopped--he could get no further. The passengers on board laughed at him--he turned up his eyes like a duck in agony--shook his fists--gnashed his teeth, but from his infirmity he could not speak.

An Irishman seeing him in his sad plight suggested that he had the hydrophobia, and a Dutchman “dat hish tongue mush be cut off at ter eend.” The ship at last was fairly under way, and there stood poor Simon on shore, his watch still uplifted, his lips quivering, and his legs performing sundry steps of some “ Polka,” known probably to the natives of Polynesia. During the passage stuttering Simon was often spoken of, but no one thought he ever would be seen again. Maybe he had stuttered himself into futurity, or it might be broken a blood-vessel, or pawned his unfortunate watch. After a prosperous voyage of some twenty days, the Russell [1] Glover came up the river, and as she passed DeBuys’ saw mill, a tall individual was seen on shore, capering like a newly liberated goat. All wondered who he could be--what he meant by placing his fingers to his nose, &c. When the vessel neared the wharf, the mysterious person, standing on a tall pile of wood, hailed her with--

“ Is that the Rus-rus-rus-rus--”

“ By --------,” said the Captain, “ there’s that fellow and his cursed watch again !”

“ Yes,” stuttered Simon, “ ye didn’t be-be-be-beat me after all, and I wouldn’t give this wa-wa-wa-watch for yer d--d vessel if ye’d give me a hundred dol-dol-dol-dollars to boo-boo-boo-boot !”

The mate seized a handspike, but Simon used his legs faster than he could his tongue, and that was the last we ever saw of him. How he got here is a mystery--he must have stuttered his way all along from New York to New Orleans.

Daily Delta.


Source: New York Spirit of the Times 15.41 (6 December 1845): 480. University of Virginia Alderman Library.

Erin Bartels prepared this typescript.

[1] Original text reads “Russel,” but it is here corrected to its spelling in the first line.

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