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From Little Masterpieces of American Wit and Humor, edited by Thomas L. Masson; Doubleday, Page & Company, New York; 1903; pp.112-114.





I DESIRE to state that my position as United States cyclonist for this judicial district became vacant on the 9th day of September, A.D. 1884.

I have not the necessary personal magnetism to look a cyclone in the eye and make it quail. I am stern and even haughty in my intercourse with men, but when a Manitoba simoon takes me by the brow of my pantaloons and throws me across the Township 28, Range 18, west of the 5th principle meridian, I lose my mental reserve and become anxious and even taciturn. For years I had yearned to see a grown-up cyclone, of the ring-tail-puller variety, mop up the green earth with huge forest trees and make the landscape look tired. On the 9th day of September, A.D. 1884, my morbid curiosity was gratified.

As the people came out into the forest with lanterns and pulled me out of the crotch of a basswood tree with a “tackle and fall,” I remember I told them I didn’t yearn for any more atmospheric phenomena.

The old desire for a hurricane that could blow a cow through a penitentiary was satiated. I remember when the doctor pried the bones of my leg together, in order to kind of draw my 113 attention away from the limb, he asked me how I liked the fall style of zephyr in that locality. I said it was all right, what there was of it. I said this in a tone of bitter irony.

Cyclones are of two kinds — viz., the dark maroon cyclone, and the iron-gray cyclone with pale green mane and tail. It was the latter kind I frolicked with on the above-named date.

My brother and I were riding along in the grand old forest, and I had just been singing a few bars from the opera of “Whoop ’em up, Lizzie Jane,” when I noticed that the wind was beginning to sough through the trees. Soon after that I noticed that I was soughing through the trees also, and I am really no slouch of a sougher either when I get started.

The horse was hanging by the breeching from the bough of a large butternut tree, waiting for some one to come and pick him.

I did not see my brother at first, but after a while he disengaged himself from a rail fence, and came where I was hanging, wrong end up, with my personal effects spilling out of my pockets. I told him that as soon as the wind kind of softened down I wished he would go and pick the horse. He did so, and at midnight a party of friends carried me into town on a stretcher. It was quite an ovation. To think of a torchlight procession coming out way out there into the woods at midnight, and carrying me into town on their shoulders in triumph! And yet I was once a poor boy!


It shows what may be accomplished by any one if he will persevere and insist on living a different life.

The cyclone is a natural phenomenon, enjoying the most robust health. It may be a pleasure for a man with great will-power and an iron constitution to study more carefully into the habits of the cyclone, but as far as I am concerned, individually, I could worry along some way if we didn’t have a phenomenon in the house from one year’s end to another.

As I sit here, with my leg in a silicate of soda corset, and watch the merry throng promenading down the street, or mingling in the giddy torchlight procession, I cannot repress a feeling toward a cyclone that almost amounts to disgust.



A MAN was plucking a living goose, when his victim addressed him thus:

“Suppose you were a goose; do you think you would relish this sort of thing?”

“Well, suppose I were,” answered the man; “do you think you would like to pluck me?”

“Indeed I would!” was the emphatic, natural, but injudicious reply.

“Just so,” concluded her tormentor; “that’s the way I feel about the matter.”



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