Humour of the North
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English

Humour of the North

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Published 08 December 2010
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Humour of the North, by Lawrence J. Burpee
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Title: Humour of the North
Author: Lawrence J. Burpee
Release Date: April 11, 2008 [EBook #25041]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HUMOUR OF THE NORTH ***
Produced by K Nordquist, Beth Trapaga & the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net
H
U M O U R O
SELECTED AND ARRANGED BY
LAWRENCE J. BURPEE
TORONTO THE MUSSON BOOK COMPANY LIMITED
Entered at Stationers' Hall1912
F
INTRODUCTORY NOTE Some day an enterprising editor may find time to glean from the whole field of Canadian literature a representative collection of wit and humour. It would include the productions of such acknowledged humorists as Thomas Chandler Haliburton and George Thomas Lanigan, as well as specimens of characteristic humour from writers who are better remembered by their more serious work. It would also include a great deal of genuine wit and humour, largely anonymous, in such Canadian periodicals asGrip,Punch in Canada, theGrumbler, theFree Lance, andDiogenes; and characteristic passages from the speeches of such brilliant and witty debaters as Thomas D'Arcy McGee, Joseph Howe, and Nicholas Flood Davin. The present little collection obviously makes no such ambitious claim. It embraces, however, what are believed to be representative examples of the work of some of our better-known writers, many of which will no doubt be quite familiar to Canadian readers, but perhaps none the less welcome on that account. For permission to reproduce these selections the Editor is indebted to the authors or their representatives, and in the case of the late Dr. Drummond he is also indebted to the ublishers, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York. The
 
T
 
selection from Joseph Howe's work is taken from hisPoems and Essays; Haliburton's sketches are taken fromThe Old Judge; those of Dr. Drummond fromThe Habitant,Johnnie Courteau, andThe Voyageur; that of Mrs. Cotes from herSocial Departure; McCarroll's poem fromMadeleine; Lanigan's Fables from the little volume published under that title; and DeMille's selection fromThe Dodge Club. Lanigan's humorous verse was never brought together in book form. OTTAWA, August, 1910.
CONTENTS  PAGE JOSEPH HOWE (1804-1873): THEBLUENOSE1 TOMARY3 A TOAST(TOHALIBURTON)5   THOMAS CHANDLER HALIBURTON (1796-1865): SHEEPSKINS ANDPOLITICS8 THEDOCTOR11 MOTHERHUNT'SCHICKENS15 THEDEACON'SBARGAIN19   WILLIAM HENRY DRUMMOND (1854-1907): THECORDUROYROAD22 DOMINIQUE30 HOWBATEESE CAMEHOME34   MRS. EVERARD COTES (1862- ):  THEJAPANESEREPORTER46   JAMES McCARROLL (1814-1890): THEGRAYLINNET59   GEORGE THOMAS LANIGAN (1845-1886): THEAHKOOND OFSWAT61 THEAMATEURORLANDO64 THEPLUMBER'SREVENGE71 THEMERCHANT OFVENICE77 THEUNFORTUNATEELEPHANT78 THECORONER AND THEBANANAPEEL79 THERHINOCEROS AND THEDROMEDARY80 THEHEN AND THETAILOR82
 
 
THEGLOW-WORM AND THEFAMISHEDNIGHTINGALE THECENTIPEDE AND THEBARBARICYAK THEHONESTNEWSBOY THEVILLAGER AND THESNAKE THEOSTRICH AND THEHEN  JAMES DEMILLE (1836-1880): THESENATOR'SLAUNDRY
HUMOUR OF THE NORTH
THE BLUE NOSE
83 85 87 88 90   91
Let the Student of Nature in rapture descant, On the Heaven's cerulean hue; Let the Lover indulge in poetical rant, When the eyes of his Mistress are blue. But fill high your glasses—fill, fill to the brim, I've a different toast to propose: While such eyes, and such skies, still are beaming for him, Here's a health to the jolly Blue Nose. Let the Frenchman delight in his vine-covered vales, Let the Greek toast his old classic ground; Here's the land where the bracing Northwester prevails, And where jolly Blue Noses abound. Long—long may it flourish, to all of us dear, Loved and honoured by hearts that are true; But, should ever a foe chance his nose to show here He shall find all our Noses true Blue.
TO MARY
Oh! blame me not, Mar , for azin at ou,
 
Nor suppose that my thoughts from the Preacher were straying, Tho' I stole a few glances—believe me 'tis true— They were sweet illustrations of what he was saying. For, when he observed that Perfection was not To be found upon Earth—for a moment I bent A look upon you—and could swear on the spot That perfection in Beauty was not what he meant. And when, with emotion, the worthy Divine On the doctrine of loving our neighbours insisted, I felt, if their forms were as faultless as thine, I could love every soul of them while I existed. And Mary, I'm sure 'twas the fault of those eyes— 'Twas the lustre of them to the error gave birth— That, while he spoke of Angels that dwelt in the Skies, I was gazing with rapture at one upon Earth.
A TOAST
Here's a health to thee, Tom: a bright bumper we drain To the friends that our bosoms hold dear, As the bottle goes round, and again and again We whisper, "We wishhewere here." Here's a health to thee, Tom: may the mists of this earth Never shadow the light of that soul Which so often has lent the mild flashes of mirth To illumine the depths of the Bowl. vWith a world full of beauty and fun for a theme, And a glass of good wine to inspire, E'en without thee we sometimes are bless'd with a gleam That resembles thy spirit's own fire. Yet still, in our gayest and merriest mood, Our pleasures are tasteless and dim, For the thoughts of the past and of Tom that intrude Make us feel we're but happy with him. Like the Triumph of old where theabsent onethrew A cloud o'er the glorious scene, Are our feasts, my dear Tom, when we meet without you, And think of the nights that have been.
 
When thy genius, assuming all hues of delight Fled away with the rapturous hours, And when wisdom and wit, to enliven the night, Scattered freely their fruits and their flowers. When thy eloquence played round each topic in turn, Shedding lustre and life where it fell, As the sunlight, in which the tall mountain tops burn, Paints each bud in the lowliest dell. When that eye, before which the pale Senate once quailed With humour and deviltry shone, And the voice which the heart of the patriot hailed, Had mirth in its every tone. Then a health to thee, Tom: ev'ry bumper we drain But renders thy image more dear, As the bottle goes round, and again and again, We wish, from our hearts, you were here.
SHEEPSKINS AND POLITICS
You know Uncle Tim; he was small, very small—not in stature, for he was a six-footer, but small in mind and small in heart; his soul was no bigger than a flea's. "Zeb, my boy," says he to me one day, "always be neuter in elections. You can't get nothing by them but ill-will. Dear, dear! I wish I had never voted. I never did but oncest, and, dear, dear! I wish I had let that alone. There was an army doctor oncest, Zeb, lived right opposite to me to Digby: dear, dear! he was a good friend to me. He was very fond of wether mutton; and, when he killed a sheep, he used to say to me, 'Friend Tim, I will give you the skin if you will accept it.' Dear, dear! what a lot of them he gave me, first and last! Well, oncest the doctor's son, Lawyer Williams, offered for the town, and so did my brother-in-law, Phin Tucker; and, dear, dear! I was in a proper fix. Well, the doctor axed me to vote for his son, and I just up and told him I would, only my relation was candidating also; but ginn him my hand and promise I would be neuter. Well, I told brother-in-law the same, that I'd vote for him with pleasure, only my old friend, the doctor's son, was offering too; and, therefore, gave him my word also, I'd be neuter. And, oh, dear, dear! neuter I would have remained too, if it hadn't a-been for them two electioneering generals—devils, I might say—Lory Scott and Terry Todd. Dear, dear! somehow or 'nother, they got hold of the story of the sheepskins, and they gave me no peace day or night. 'What,' says they, 'are you going to sell your country for a sheepskin?' The day of the election they seized on me, one by one arm, and the other by the other, and lugged me off to the poll, whether I would or no.
"'Who do you vote for?' said the sheriff. "'Would you sell your country for a sheepskin?' shouted Terry, in one ear. "'Would you sell your country for a sheepskin?' bellowed Lory, in the other ear. "I was so frightened, I hardly knew what I did; but they tell me I voted for brother Phin! Dear, dear! the doctor never gave me a sheepskin while he lived after that. Dear, dear!—that was an ugly vote for me!"  
THE DOCTOR
Old Dr. Green (you knowed him, in course—everybody knowed him) lived on Digby Neck. He was reckoned a skilful man, and was known to be a regular rotated doctor; but he drank like a fish (and it's actilly astonishing how many country doctors have taken to drink), and, of course, he warn't always a very safe man in cases where a cool head and a steady hand was needed (though folks did say he knowed a plaguey sight more, even when he was drunk, than one-half of them do when they are sober). Well, one day old Jim Reid, who was a pot-companion of his, sent him a note to come into town immediately, without the loss of one moment of time, and bring his amputating instruments with him, for there was a most shocking accident had happened to his house. So in come the doctor as hard as he could drive, looking as sorry, all the time, as if he didn't live by misfortunes and accidents, the old hypocrite! "My dear friend," said he solemnly, to Reid, and a-taking of him by the hand, and giving it a doleful shake—"My dear friend, what is the matter? —who is hurt? And what the devil is to pay now? How thankful we all ought to be that the accident hasn't occurred to one whom we all respect so much as you!" And then he unpacked his instruments, off with his coat, and up with his sleeves; and, with one hand, pulls a hair out of his head, and, with the other, takes his knife and cuts it in two, to prove the edge was all right. Then he began to whistle while he examined his saw, for nothing puts these chaps in such good humour as cutting and slashing away at legs and arms —operating, as they call it—and, when all was ready, says he— "Reid," says he, a-tapping him on the shoulder, "where is the patient?" Well, Reid opened the door of another room, and there was a black boy a-holding of a duck on the table that had broke his leg! "There is a case for amputation, doctor!" said he; "but, first of all, take a glass of brandy and water to steady your nerves. He knows you," says he;
"hear him how he calls out Quack, quack! after you, as if he was afraid to let you perform on him." Well, the doctor entered into the joke as good-natured as possible, laughed like anything, whipped down the grog, whipped off the leg, and whipped up the knives and saws in no time. "You must stay to dine, doctor," said Reid (for the joke was only intended to get him into town to drink along with him); and he stayed to dine, and stayed to sup, and, being awful drunk, stayed to bed, too. Well, every time Reid saw him arter that in town, he asked him to come in and see his patient, which meant to come in and drink; and so he did as long as the cask of rael, particular Jamaikey lasted. Some time after that the old fellow sent in a bill for operating, making a wooden leg, medical attendance, and advice, per order, for twenty-five pounds; and, what's more, when Reid wouldn't pay it, the doctor sued him for it to court, and gained his cause. Fact, I assure you.  
MOTHER HUNT'S CHICKENS
Five years ago, come next summer, the old lady made a trip to Halifax, in one of our Digby coasters, to see sister Susannah, that is married in that city to Ted Fowler, the upholsterer, and took a whole lot of little notions with her to market to bear expenses; for she is a saving kind of body, is mother, and likes to make two ends meet at the close of the year. Among the rest, was the world and all of eggs, for she was a grand hand in a poultry-yard. Some she stowed away in boxes, and some in baskets, and some in tubs, so that no one accident could lose them all for her. Well, under the berths in the cabin were large drawers for bedding; and she rotated that out, and packed them full of eggs in wool, as snug as you please, and off they started on their voyage. Well, they had nothing but calms, and light airs, or head winds, and were ever so long in getting to town; and, when they anchored, she got her duds together, and began to collect her eggs all ready for landing. The first drawer she opened, out hopped ever so many chickens on the cabin floor, skipping and hopping about, a-chirping, "Chick, chick, chick!" like anything! "Well, if that don't beat all!" said mother, and she looked the very picture of doleful dumps. "I hope there is no more of them a-coming into the world that way, without being sent for!" and she opened a second, and out came a second flock, with a "Chick, chick, chick!" and another, and another, till she pulled them all out. The cabin floor was chockful of them; for the heat and confined bilge air had hatched all the eggs that were in the close and hot drawers.
Oh, the captain, and passengers, and sailors, they roared with laughter! Mother was awful mad, for nothing makes one so angry as accidents that set folks off a tee-hee-ing that way. If anybody had been to blame but herself, wouldn't they have caught it, that's all? for scolding is a great relief to a woman; but as there warn't, there was nothing left but to cry: and scolding and crying are two safety-valves that have saved many a heart from busting. Well, the loss was not great, though she liked to take care of her coppers, too; it was the vexation that worried her. But the worst was to come yet. When she returned home, the boys to Digby got hold of the story; and, wherever she went, they called out after her "Chick, chick, chick!" I skinned about half-a-dozen of the little imps of mischief for it, but it only made them worse; for they hid in porches, and behind doors, and gates, and fences, as seen her a-coming, and roared out, "Chick, chick, chick!" and nearly bothered her to death. So she give up going out any more, and never leaves home now. It's my opinion, her rheumatism is nothing but the effect of want of exercise, and all comes from that cursed "Chick, chick, chick!"  
THE DEACON'S BARGAIN
Old Deacon Bruce of Aylesford, last Monday week, bought a sleigh of his fellow-deacon, Squire Burns, for five pounds. On his way home with it, who should he meet but Zeek Morse, a-trudging along through the snow a-foot. "Friend Zeek," says the old Christian, "won't you get in and ride? Here's room for you and welcome." "Don't care if I do," said Zeek, "seeing that sitting is as cheap as walking, if you don't pay for it." So he hops in, and away they go. Well, Zeek was mightily taken with the sleigh. "Deacon," says he, "how shall you and me trade for it? It's just the article I want, for I am a-going down to Bridgetown next week to be married; and it will suit me to a notch to fetch Mrs. Morse, my wife, home in. What will you take for it?" "Nine pounds," said old Conscience. "It cost me seven pounds ten shillings, to Deacon Burns, who built it; and as it's the right season for using it, and I can't get another made till next winter, I must have nine pounds for it, and it ain't dear at that price neither." "Done!" says Zeek—for he is an offhand kind of chap, and never stands bantering and chaffering a long time, but says at once what he means, as I do. "Done! says he—"'tis mine!" and the deacon drives up to his house, " gets his pay, and leaves the sleigh there.
Next morning, when Zeek went to examine his purchase, he found there was a bolt left out by mistake, so off he goes to the maker, Deacon Burns, to get it put in, when he ups and tells him all about the bargain. "Did the old gentleman tell you my price was seven pounds ten?" said he. "Oh yes " said Zeek, "in course he did—there is no mistake about it. I'll take , my oath to it. " "Well, so it was," said Burns. "He told you true. He was to give me seven pounds ten; but as there was nobody by but him and me when we traded, and as it ain't paid for yet, he might perhaps forget it, for he is getting to be an old man now. Will you try to recollect it?" "Sartainly," said Zeek. "I'll swear to it any day you please, in any court in the world, for them was his very words to me." What does Deacon Burns do but go right off and sue Deacon Bruce for seven pounds ten, instead of five pounds, the real price; called Zeek as a witness to his admission, and gained his case! Fact, upon my soul!  
THE CORDUROY ROAD
De corduroy road go bompety bomp, De corduroy road go jompety jomp, An' he's takin' beeg chances upset hees load De horse dat'll trot on de corduroy road. Of course it's purty rough, but it's handy t'ing enough, An' dey mak' it wit' de log all jine togeder W'en dey strek de swampy groun' w'ere de water hang aroun' Or passin' by some tough ole beaver medder. But it's not macadamise, so if you're only wise You will tak' your tam an' never min' de worry, For de corduroy is bad, an' will mak' you plaintee mad By de way de buggy jomp, in case you hurry. An' I'm sure you don't expec' leetle Victorine Leveque She was knowin' moche at all about dem places, 'Cos she's never dere before, till young Zepherin Madore He was takin' her away for see de races. Oh, I wish you see her den! dat's before she marry, w'en She's de fines' on de lan'; but no use talkin'. I can bet you w'at you lak, if you meet her you look back Jus' to watch de fancy way dat girl is walkin'.
Yass, de leetle Victorine was de nices' girl between De town of Yamachiche an' Maskinongé, But she's stuck up an' she's proud, an' you'll never count de crowd Of de boy she geev it w'at dey call de congé.
Ah! de moder spoil her, sure, for even to Joe D'Amour, W'en he's ready nearly ev'ry t'ing to geev her If she mak' de mariée, only say, "Please go away " , An' he's riches' habitant along de reever.
Zepherin he try it too, an' he's workin' somet'ing new, For he's makin' de old woman many presen'— Prize package on de train, umbrella for de rain— But she's grompy all de tam, an' never pleasan'.
Wall, w'en he ax Ma-dame tak' de girl away dat tam See dem races on Sorel wit' all de trotter De moder say, "All right, if you bring her home to-night, Before de cow's milk, I let her go, ma daughter."
So Victorine she go wit' Zepherin her beau On de yankee buggy mak' it on St. Bruno, An' w'en dey pass hotel on de middle of Sorel Dey're puttin' on de beeges' style dat you know.
Wall! dey got some good horse dere, but Zepherin don't care. He's back it up, hees own paroisse, ba golly, An' he mak' it t'ree doll-arre w'en Maskinongé Star On de two mile heat was beating Sorel Molly.
Victorine don't min' at all, till de "free for all" dey call— Dat's de las' race dey was run before de snow fly— Den she say, "I t'ink de cow mus' be gettin home soon now An' you know it's only clock ole woman go by.
"An' if we're comin' late w'en de cow pass on de gate You'll be sorry if you hear de way she talk dere, So w'en I see de race on Sorel or any place Affer dis, you may be sure I got to walk dere."
Den he laugh, dat Zepherin, an' he say, "Your poor mama, I know de pile she t'ink about her daughter So we'll tak' de short road back on de corduroy race track; Don't matter if we got to sweem de water."
No wonder he is smile till you hear heem half a mile, For dat morning he was tole hees leetle broder Let de cattle out de gate, so he know it's purty late By de tam dem cow was findin' out each oder.
So along de corduroy de young girl an' de boy Dey was kipin' up a joggin' nice an' steady.