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Uncle Josh's Punkin Centre Stories

Uncle Josh at the Opera

WALL, I sed to mother when I left hum, now mother, when I git down to New York City I'm goin' to see a regular first-class theater. We never had many theater doin's down our way. Wall, thar wuz a theater troop cum to Punkin Centre along last summer, but we couldn't let 'em hav the Opery House to show in 'cause it wuz summer time and the Opery House wuz full of hay, and we couldn't let 'em hav it 'cause we hadn't any place to put the hay. An then about a year and a half ago thar wuz a troop cum along that wuz somethin' about Uncle Tom's home; they left a good many of their things behind 'em when they went away. Ezra Hoskins he got one of the mules, and he tried to hitch it up one day; Doctor says he thinks Ezra will be around in about six weeks. I traded one of the dogs to Ruben Hendricks fer a shot gun; Rube cum over t'other day, borrowed the gun and shot the dog.

Wall, I got into one of your theaters here, got sot down and wuz lookin' at it; and it wuz a mighty fine lookin' pictur with a lot of lights shinin' on it, and I wuz enjoyin' it fust rate, when a lot of fellers cum out with horns and fiddles, and they all started in to fiddlin' and tootin', end all to once they pulled the theatre up, and thar wuz a lot of folks having a regular family quarrel. I knowed that wasn't any of my business, and I sort of felt uneasy like; but none of the rest of the folks seemed to mind it any, so I calculated I'd see how it cum out, though my hands sort of itched to get hold of one feller, 'cause I could see if he would jest go 'way and tend to his own business thar wouldn't be any quarrel. Wall, jest then a young feller handed me a piece of paper what told all about the theater doin's, and I got to lookin' at that and I noticed on it whar it sed thar wuz five years took place 'tween the fust part and the second part. I knowed durned well I wouldn't have time to wait and see the second part, so I got up and went out. Wall, them theater doin's jest put me in mind of somethin' what happened down hum on the last day of school. You see the school teacher got all the big boys and the big girls, and the boys they read essays and the girls recited poetry. One of the Skinner girls recited a piece that sooted me fust rate. Neer as I kin remember it went somethin' like this:

How nice to hear the bumble-bee
When you go out a fishin',
But if you happen to sot down on him,
He'll spoil your disposition.

I liked that; thar wuz somethin' so touchin' about it. Then the school teacher he got all the girls in the 'stronomy class and he dressed them up to represent the different kinds of planits. He had one girl to represent the sun—she wuz red-headed; and another one to represent the moon, and another one fer Mars, and another one fer Jerupetir, and it looked mighty fine, and everythin' wuz a gettin' along fust rate 'til old Jim Lawson 'lowed he could make an improvement on it; so he went out and got a colord girl, and he wanted to sot her between the sun and the moon and make an eklips. And as usual he busted up the whole doin's.


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