YANKEE DOODLE, ESQ., IN ARKANSAS.
[ In the “ Spirit” of the 3d Feb. last, we published the first of a series of letters from YANKEE DOODLE, Esq., in which he recapitulated the story of his disastrous courtship of Sally Anger, in New Hampshire. He is now a resident of Arkansas, and in the following letter furnishes an account of the inducements held out to him to migrate, and also his leave taking of Deacon Anger, the father of his faithless Sally.]
BETTY’S PRARY, Arkansaw, Jan. 7th, 1844.
Dear Mister Editur.--Wal, I kept puty shy of the Deacon’s folks after Sally “ give me the bag,” for the quiltin showed me where the land lay, and I new the deacon was terribly fracskus, and would ease his mind by blowin me up the fust time he got a chance. But as I was twenty-wun I didn’t much care, for I determined to kill off our ducks and geese, and chickens and turkeys, and take them down to Bosting and sell them, and then go to sea and make my tarnal fortun, for I was allers kinder rovin like. So I got them all packed up in our old lumber slay, and fixed up the bells. Sam Fitch was a goin with me, and put in his old black hoss, and we meant tu be off by daylight. Wal, muther wanted some meal the morning before, and so I just took the hand-sled and put a bag of corn on it, and started and got it ground, but while I was comin hum I thought as there was a good crust, and it was a mile nearer by the Deacon’s I would just cut across. The Deacon’s house stood on top of a steep hill, and way down below it, a half a mile off, was a wide meadow all covered with ice.
Wal, as I come along, I had to go thro the Deacon’s door yard, for he’d been sleddin wood that way, and jest as I got close up to the house, I see that the kitchen door was open, and I heard the old man enquire in a crabbed voice,
“ What have you got in that pot ?” (It was near dinner time.)
“ Vittels,” said the old woman, in a tone sharper than our last barrel of vinegar.
“ Why can’t you tell me what is in that pot ?” continued the Deacon, louder than before.
“ I tell you its vittles, and that’s enuff,” said the old woman, louder yet.
“ I vow,” says the Deacon, “ I will know whats in that pot,” and in a minit out he cum with it in his hand, and he went rite strate to the hill, and give it a kick, and down it went. Didn’t I laff tu see the lid cum off, and the taters a rollin out ? At that the Deacon saw me, and he riz rite up like the fur on a cat’s back.
“ What are you duin here ?” says he.
“ I am goin hum,” says I.
“ No you aint, this way,” says he.
“ I rather guess I shall, for all you,” says I, for my dander began to rise too, and I pulled my sled along up tu him tie on to the edge of the hill.
“ No you wont,” says he, and at that he caught my bag rite off, and squatted down on the sled, and put his legs out at the side and braced back like all natur. I turned round and put the file back and stepped behind him, to pull him off. I took hold of his collar, and lifted him up, but he took up the sled tu, so I just set him up on the crust, and gave the sled an almighty push down hill, and before he could get his legs fixed to stop it, it was goin like all wrath ! So I jist hollared after him, “ Bring up your pot when you come back,” and shouldered my meal and started, but I couldn’t go more nor three rods at a time, I larfed so to see the sled spin down the hill, and onto the glare ice, and away more nor a mile into the bushes. I waited till I saw him come out agin, and shake his first at me, (I rather guess he swore sum) and then I put. When I got hum, Sam was there and fierce for a start right away, so I put on my tother hat and coat, and biddin muther good by, off we sot. I was rite glad of that, for I new the Deacon would have me up before the church by mornin.
Wal, arter I had got to Bosting, and sold out, and started Sam hum with the team, I took a stroll to see the lions. Now, I’d red a grate deal in the old schule books about the “ cradle of liberty," so the fust man I met I says to him--
“ Can you tell me where they keep the Cradle of Liberty ?”
“ I d’know,” says he, very stiff, “ at the mew-se-um, probably.”
Wal, on I started and kept askin fur the mew-se-um, and they sent me up one street, all fenced in with high houses, and down another, till I got tired clean out. These city folks talk so allfired queer, a feller cant touch a stick to their meanin. I asked wun man where I could get a neckhandkercher, and he said very quick--“ Down at the sign of the Golden Stork.” So I stepped up to a passel of fellers, with cains as small as a pipe-stem, and boots no bigger than would hold a rat’s tale, and asked them for the sign of the Golden Stork, and they teeheed rite out, so as to brake their jackets open. I went on and a little further I saw a grave old man, and asked him. He pointed with his cain to a grate big wooden thing, hung over the street that looked just like the stock which Goliah wore when David cut his hed off, and said very steadily--
“ That is what you mean, I think, my young friend.”
Wal, as I was sayin, I went on and kept askin for the Mew-se-um, and at last I got there and asked the feller that kept the door “ if he had the Cradle of Liberty up there ?”
“ I guess not,” says he, “ they keep that are down at Funnel Hall.”
Wal, I knew where that was, for I’d sold my turkeys just by it, and off I sot as fast as I could streak it, rite down there. But the door was shot : so I got up on a hogshed, to look inter a winder, but I couldn’t quite reach and climed up a little furder, when my toes slipped and down I came thump on the head of the hogshed, and thro’ I went up tu my neck in ‘lasses, and I tell you I crawled out a leetle the sweetest cretur you ever did see. Wal, when I got out the way fellers did shout and larf and cry “ sweetened johnny-cake !” At that, an uncommon friendly man, who kept clothes to sell rite down in a seller close by, came out and took me by the arm.
“ You can cum down here,” sais he, “ and change your coat.”
“ And that’s mighty kind in you,” says I, “ and I’ll du it.”
So down I went, and he soon rigged me out agin, with a suit that looked a darned site nicer than mine.
“ There,” says he, “ I’ll give them are fur yours, and ten dollars to boot.”
“ Done,” says I ; “ I guess I shant want them no more unless I want to go agin and see Sally Anger, and that I shant do in a hurry, I tell you.”
At that there started up a dark-faced man, who looked as if he could lay stone wall faster than Uncle Bill, and says he, “ Stranger,” says he, “ whar did you cum from ?”
“ From Cheshire up in New Hampshire, rite under the mountains, where the sun dont rise till ten o’clock in the arternoon,” says I.
“ Wal,” says he, “ I thort so at onct,” says he, “ by yure bein so uncommon tall ; and whar are you goin,” says he, talkin mighty strange, for he didn’t say “ where” and “ are” like ceevelized people.
“ Way round to Gibraltar, and over to the ‘Ingies,’ ” says I, “ if I can find a ship.” “ Wal,” says he, “ come and set down and let me comb yure har.”
So I did, and he begun to ask me so many things about New Hampshire, and how the people lived up “ thar” as he called it, that I up and told him all about it, and what Sally did, and how I’d served the Deacon. At that he burst out larfin, and said, “ I was sum in a bar fight,” and asked me how I should like to go out West. I didn’t exactly know what he meant about “ bar fights,” but we sot and talked for hours, and he told me how easy people raised corn out West, and how plenty of wild turkeys and deer, and “ bars,” were to be had for shootin, and how the cows lived all the year without feedin, and everybody could have as much land as he wanted for the askin, till I riz rite up, and said, “ I’d be darned if I didn’t see that country before I was tu months older.”
“ That’s your sort, my boy,” says he, a slappin me on the back, till it almost took my breth away ; “ I’m off for the prarys to-morrow mornin, and if you’ll go with me, I’ll take good care of you, and we will have a ‘ bar’ hunt as soon as we get thar.”
So we went down to the tavern and took some black strap upon the bargain.
Yours, YANKEE DOODLE.
Source: New York Spirit of the Times, 14.4 (23 March 1844): 37. University of Virginia Alderman Library.
Erin Bartels prepared this typescript.
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