He could hardly believe his senses.
This boy always had a hard time of it. Nothing ever came out according to the authorities with him. At last, one day, when he was around hunting up bad little boys to admonish, he found a lot of them in the old iron-foundry fixing up a little joke on fourteen or fifteen dogs, which they had tied together in long procession, and were going to ornament with empty nitroglycerin cans made fast to their tails. Jacob's heart was touched. He sat down on one of those cans (for he never minded grease when duty was before him), and he took hold of the foremost dog by the collar, and turned his reproving eye upon wicked Tom Jones. But just at that moment Alderman McWelter, full of wrath, stepped in. All the bad boys ran away, but Jacob Blivens rose in conscious innocence and began one of those stately little Sunday-school-book speeches which always commence with "Oh, sir!" in dead opposition to the fact that no boy, good or bad, ever starts a remark with "Oh, sir." But the alderman never waited to hear the rest. He took Jacob Blivens by the ear and turned him around, and hit him a whack in the rear with the flat of his hand; and in an instant that good little boy shot out through the roof and soared away toward the sun with the fragments of those fifteen dogs stringing after him like the tail of a kite. And there wasn't a sign of that alderman or that old iron-foundry left on the face of the earth; and, as for young Jacob Blivens, he never got a chance to make his last dying speech after all his trouble fixing it up, unless he made it to the birds; because, although the bulk of him came down all right in a tree-top in an adjoining county, the rest of him was apportioned around among four townships, and so they had to hold five inquests on him to find out whether he was dead or not, and how it occurred. You never saw a boy scattered so.--[This glycerin catastrophe is borrowed from a floating newspaper item, whose author's name I would give if I knew it.--M. T.]
Thus perished the good little boy who did the best he could, but didn't come out according to the books. Every boy who ever did as he did prospered except him. His case is truly remarkable. It will probably never be accounted for.
A COUPLE OF POEMS BY TWAIN AND MOORE--[Written about 1865]
THOSE EVENING BELLS
BY THOMAS MOORE
Those evening bells! those evening bells! How many a tale their music tells Of youth, and home, and that sweet time When last I heard their soothing chime.
Those joyous hours are passed away; And many a heart that then was gay, Within the tomb now darkly dwells, And hears no more those evening bells.
And so 'twill be when I am gone That tuneful peal will still ring on; While other bards shall walk these dells, And sing your praise, sweet evening bells.
THOSE ANNUAL BILLS
BY MARK TWAIN
These annual bills! these annual bills! How many a song their discord trills Of "truck" consumed, enjoyed, forgot, Since I was skinned by last year's lot!
Those joyous beans are passed away; Those onions blithe, O where are they? Once loved, lost, mourned--now vexing ILLS Your shades troop back in annual bills!
And so 'twill be when I'm aground These yearly duns will still go round, While other bards, with frantic quills, Shall damn and damn these annual bills!
NIAGARA [ Written about 1871.]
Niagara Falls is a most enjoyable place of resort. The hotels are excellent, and the prices not at all exorbitant. The opportunities for fishing are not surpassed in the country; in fact, they are not even equaled elsewhere.