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THE WEATHER FIEND
One hot day last summer, a young man dressed in thin clothes, entered a Broadway car, and seating himself opposite a stout old gentleman, said, pleasantly:
“Pretty warm, isn't it?”
“Why, no,--no; it's warmer in some places and it's colder in others."
“What makes it warmer in some places than it's colder in others q”
“Why, the sun,—the effect of the sun's heat.”
"Makes it colder in some places than it's warmer in others ? Never heard of such a thing."
“No, no, no. I didn't mean that. The sun makes it warmer." “Then what makes it colder ?" “I believe it's the ice.” “What ice q”
"Why, the ice,—the ice,-the ice that was frozen by-by-by the frost."
“Have you ever seen any ice that wasn't frozen ?"
“And what do you know about it,—what do you know about the weather po
"Well, I thought I knew something, but I see I don't and that's a fact.”
"No, sir, I should say you didn't! Yet you come into this car and force yourself upon the attention of a stranger and begin to talk about the weather as tho you owned it, and I find you don't know a solitary thing about the matter you yourself selected for a topic of conversation. You don't know one thing about meteorological conditions, principles, or phenomena; you can't tell me why it is warm in August and cold in December; you don't know why icicles form faster in the sunlight than they do in the shade; you don't know why the earth grows colder as it comes nearer the sun; you can't tell why a man can be sunstruck in the shade; you can't tell me how a cyclone is formed nor how the trade-winds blow; you couldn't find the calm-center of a storm if your life depended on it; you don't know what a sirocco is nor where the southwest monsoon blows; you don't know the average rainfall in the United States for the past and current year; you don't know why the wind dries up the ground more quickly than a hot sun; you don't know why the dew falls at night and dries up in the day; you can't explain the formation of fog; you don't know one solitary thing about the weather and you are just like a thousand and one other people who always begin talking about the weather because they don't know anything else, when, by the Aurora Borealis, they know less about the weather than they do about anything else in the world, sir!"
THE RACE QUESTION
BY PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR
SCENE: Race-track. Enter old colored man, seating himself.
“Oomph, oomph. De work of de devil sho' do p'ospah. How 'do, suh? Des tol'able, thankee, suh. How you come on? Oh, I was des asayin' how de wo’k of de ol' boy do p'ospah. Doesn't I frequent the race-track? No, suh; no, suh. I's Baptis' mysef an' I 'low hit's all devil's doin's. Wouldn't 'a'be'n hyeah today, but I got a boy named Jim dat's long gone in sin an' be gwine ride one dem hosses. Oomph, dat boy! I sut'ny has talked to him and labohed wid him night an' day, but it was allers in vain, an' I's feahed dat de day of his reckonin' is at han'.
“Ain't I nevah been intrusted in racin'? Humph, you don't s'pose I been dead all my life, does you! What you laffin at ! Oh, scuse me, scuse me, you unnerstan' what I means. You don' give a ol man time to splain hisse'f. What I means is dat dey has been days when I walked in de counsels of de ongawdly and set in de seats of sinnahs; and long erbout dem times I did tek most ovably strong to racin'.
"How long dat been? Oh, dat's way long back, 'fo I got religion, mo'n thuty years ago, dough I got to own I has fell from grace several times sense.
“Yes, suh, I ust to ride. Ki-yi! I nevah furgit de day dat my ol' Mas' Jack put me on ‘June Boy,' his black geldin', an' say to me, 'Si,' says he, 'if you don' ride de tail offen Cunnel Scott's mare, “No Quit,” I's gwine to larrup you twell you cain't set in de saddle no mo'.' Hyah, hyah. My ol' Mas' was a mighty han' fu' a joke. I knowed he wan't gwine to do nuffin' to me.
"Did I win? Why, whut you spec' I's doin' hyeah ef I hadn' winned? W’y, ef I'd 'a' let dat Scott maih beat my 'June Boy' I'd 'a' drowned myse'f in Bull Skin Crick.
“Yes, suh, I winned; wy, at de finish I come down dat track lak hit was de Jedgment Day an' I was de las' one up! 'f I didn't race dat maih's tail clean off. I 'low I made hit do a lot o'switchin'. An' aftah dat my wife Mandy she ma’ed me. Hyah, hyah, I ain't bin much on hol'in' de reins sence.
“Sh! dey comin' in to wa'm up. Dat Jim, dat Jim, dat my boy; you nasty, putrid little raskil. Des a hundred an eight, suh, des a hundred an' eight. Yas, suh, dat's my Jim; I don' know whaih he gits his dev'ment at.
“What's de mattah wid dat boy? Whyn't he hunch hisse'f up on dat saddle right ? Jim, Jim, whyn't you limber up, boy; hunch yo'sef up on dat hoss lak you belonged to him and knowed you was dah. What I done showed you? De black raskil, goin' out dah tryin' to disgrace his own daddy. Hyeah he come back. Dat's bettah, you scoun'ril.
“Dat's a right smaht-lookin' hoss he's a-ridin', but I ain't atrustin' dat bay wid de white feet-dat is, not altogethah. She's a favourwright, too; but dey's sumpin' else in dis worl sides playin' favourwrights. Jim battah had win dis race. His hoss ain't a five to one shot, but I spec's to go way fum hyeah wid money ernuff to mek a donation on de pa’sonage.
"Does I bet? Well, I don' des call hit bettin'; but I resks a little wen I t'inks I kin he'p de cause. 'Tain't gamblin', o'co'se; I wouldn't gamble fu nothin', dough my ol' Mastah did ust to say dat a hones' gamblah was ez good ez a hones' preachah an' mos' nigh ez skace.
"Look out dah, man, dey's off, dat nasty bay maih wid de white feet leadin' right f’um de pos'. I knowed it! I knowed it! I had my eye on huh all de time. O Jim, Jim, why didn't you git in bettah, way back dah fouf? Dah go de gong! I knowed dat wasn't no staht. Troop back dah, you raskils, hyah, hyah.
"I wush day boy wouldn't do so much jummyin erroun' wid day hoss. Fust t’ing he know he ain't gwine to know whaih he's at.
"Dah, dah dey go ag'in. Hit's a sho' t'ing dis time. Bettah, Jim, bettah. Dey didn't leave you dis time. Hug dat bay maih, hug her close, boy. Don't press dat hoss yit. He holdin' back a lot o'tings.
"He's gainin'! doggone my cats, he's gainin'! an' dat hoss o' his'n gwine des ez stiddy ez a rockin'-chair. Jim allus was a good boy.
"Counfound these spec's, I cain't see 'em skacely; huh, you say dey's neck an' neck; now I see 'em! and Jimmy's a-ridin' like Huh, huh, I laik to said sumpin'.
“De bay maih's done huh bes', she's done huh bes'! Dey's turned into the stretch an' still see-sawin'. Let him out, Jimmy, let him out! Dat boy done th’owed de reins away. Come on, Jimmy, come on! He's leadin' by a nose. Come on, I tell you, you black rapscallion, come on! Give 'em hell, Jimmy! give 'em hell! Under de wire an'a len'th ahead. Doggone my cats! wake me up w'en dat otbah hoss comes in.
“No, suh, I ain't gwine stay no longab—I don't app'ove o' racin’; I's gwine 'roun' an' see dis hyeah bookmakah an' den I's gwine dreckly home, suh, dreckly home. I's Baptis' myse'f, an' I don't app'ove o' no sich doin's !"
Reprinted by permission from "The Heart of Happy Hollow," Dodd, Mead & Company, New York.
WHEN THE WOODBINE TURNS RED
They sat in a garden of springing flowers,
In a tangle of woodland ways;
Where they passed long summer days.
And those brightest of days had fled
When the woodbine leaves turned red.
When the woodbine leaves turned red,
They swore to be true, as all lovers do,
In a year and a day; tho they parted for aye
They met in the garden again next year,
And their ways had been far apart.
And murmured, "My old sweetheart,
For already have I been wed.”
And the woodbine turned red.