So I sold a slice of the wood-lot ter the folks at
the summer hotel,
That fetched me some cash—quite a good lot—so now he’s been gone a
He’s got a room up ter the City, an’ calls it a name that is queer—
I ain’t up in French, more’s the pity—but something that’s like
I went up last month on a visit, and blamed if that place wa’n’t a sight!
The fourteenth or fifteenth—which is it?—well, anyhow, it’s the top
I wouldn’t have b’lieved he could be there, way up on that
If’t wa’n’t fer the sign that I see there—“H. Lafayette Boggs”—on
That room was a wonder fer certain! The floor
was all paint-spots and dirt, Each window was hung
with a curtain, striped gay as a calico shirt; The
walls was jest like a museum, all statoos and flim-flam
and gush And picters—good land! when I
see ’em I jest had ter turn ’round and
And Hez! he looked like a gorilla,—a leetle round hat on his head, And hair that would stuff a big piller, and necktie blue, yeller, and red; I swan, he did look like a daisy! I tell yer, it went ter my heart, ’Cause, course I supposed he was crazy, until he explained it was ART.
[Illustration: “I swan, he did look like a daisy!”]
This Art, it does stagger a feller that ain’t
got a connerseer’s view, Fer trees by its teachin’
is yeller, and cows is a shade of sky-blue. Hez
says that ter paint ’em like natur’ is
common and tawdry and vile; He says it’s a plaguey
sight greater to do ’em “impressionist
style.” He done me my portrait, and, reely,
my nose is a ultrymarine, My whiskers is purple and
steely, and both of my cheeks is light green.
When Mother first viewed it she fainted—she
ain’t up in Art, don’t
And she had a notion ’twas painted when Hez had been off on a spree.
We used ter think Hezzy would shame us by bein’
no good anyhow, But he says some day he’l be
famous, so we’re sort er proud of him, now.
He says that the name he’s a-makin’ shall
ring in Fame’s thunderin’ tone; He says
that earth’s dross he’s forsaken, he’s
livin’ fer Art’s sake alone. That’s
nice, but what seems ter me funny, and what I can’t
Is why he keeps writin’ fer money and can’t seem ter earn nary red. I’ve been sort er thinkin’ it over, and seems ter me, certain enough, That livin’ for Art is just clover, but that livin’ on it is tough.
* * * * *
Oh! the horns are all a-tootin’ as we rattle
through the town,
And we fellers are a-hootin’ and a-jumpin’ up and down,
And the girls are all a-gigglin’ and a-tryin’ ter be smart,
With their braided pig-tails wigglin’ at the joltin’ of the cart;
There’s the teachers all a-beamin’, rigged up in their Sunday clothes,
And the parson’s specs a-gleamin’ like two moons acrost his nose,
And the sup’rintendent lookin’ mighty dignerfied and cool,
And a-bossin’ of the picnic of the Baptist Sunday-school.