What made Bowstr exceptionally disagreeable was his shameless habit of making fun of Feodora’s mother, whom he declared crazy as a loon. But the maiden bore everything as well as she could, until one day the nasty thing put his arm about her waist and kissed her before her very face; then she felt—well, it is not clear how she felt, but of one thing she was quite sure: after having such a shame put upon her by this insolent brute, she would never go back under her dear mother’s roof—never. She was too proud for that, at any rate. So she ran away with Mr. Bowstr, and married him.
The conclusion of this history I learned for myself.
Upon hearing of her daughter’s desertion Madame Yonsmit went clean daft. She vowed she could bear betrayal, could endure decay, could stand being a widow, would not repine at being left alone in her old age (whenever she should become old), and could patiently submit to the sharper than a serpent’s thanks of having a toothless child generally. But to be a mother-in-law! No, no; that was a plane of degradation to which she positively would not descend. So she employed me to cut her throat. It was the toughest throat I ever cut in all my life.
* * * * *
THE LEGEND OF IMMORTAL TRUTH.
A bear, having spread him a notable feast,
Invited a famishing fox to the place.
“I’ve killed me,” quoth he, “an edible beast
As ever distended the girdle of priest
With ‘spread of religion,’ or ‘inward grace.’
To my den I conveyed her,
I bled her and flayed her,
I hung up her skin to dry;
Then laid her naked, to keep her cool,
On a slab of ice from the frozen pool;
And there we will eat her—you and I.”
The fox accepts, and away they walk,
Beguiling the time with courteous talk.
You’d ne’er have suspected, to see them smile,
The bear was thinking, the blessed while,
How, when his guest should be off his guard,
With feasting hard,
He’d give him a “wipe” that would spoil his style.
You’d never have thought, to see them bow,
The fox was reflecting deeply how
He would best proceed, to circumvent
His host, and prig
The entire pig—
Or other bird to the same intent.
When Strength and Cunning in love combine,
Be sure ’t is to more than merely dine.
The while these biters ply the lip,
A mile ahead the muse shall skip:
The poet’s purpose she best may serve
Inside the den—if she have the nerve.
Behold! laid out in dark recess,
A ghastly goat in stark undress,
Pallid and still on her gelid bed,
And indisputably very dead.
Her skin depends from a couple of pins—
And here the most singular statement begins;
For all at once the butchered