[EDITOR'S NOTE: This item has not been previously republished elsewhere. It is included in this collection because of its potential to be the work of Clemens and is deserving of further research and consideration.]
STORY FOR GOOD OLD GIRLS
Some months ago a series of stories, written for the express intellectual entertainment and moral encouragement of "Good Little Girls," were published in the Californian. Since that time we have been confidently expecting from the pen of the same author a companion series for the edification and improvement of good old girls. It is needless to say that our expectation has not been realized; that this manifest indifference concerning the condition and welfare of the good old girls has occasioned us much sorrow. The depravity of the old girls and the beneficial influence that the holding up of a shining example for their imitation would exert, seem not to have been sufficient incentive, we lament to say, to spur the author to the task. But it will not do to neglect the good old girls in this way. Something must be done for their encouragement in well doing, and with such an object in view we present the following "pattern," hoping that all the good old girls will henceforth cut their conduct thereby. There was once a good old girl living in Vermont. She was an orphan, aged seventy-five. She had a daughter, Dorcas, who married a single man, and they looked out for her. This good old girl was very poor. One tooth, a gin bottle and a Bible were all the property she had in her own right in the world. The tooth was loose, the gin bottle was empty, but the Bible still held its own. The source from which this good old girl had drawn the most of her consolation will be evident from the gin bottle's being empty. Being at last left entirely without consolation, she felt sadly out of spirits. After reflecting awhile, she put a shawl over her head, took the Bible under one arm, and the gin bottle under the other, and put out slyly for the grocery store. When she got to the store the good old girl laid the Bible on the counter, and said to the grocery man --
"How much gin will you give me for that ar' book?"
"Dang the book," said the profane grocery man; "what's it about?"
"Story book of old times -- pesky nice one," said the good old girl.
"Quart of gin, I spose."
"Now that's real gin-rous of you," chuckled the good old girl, passing in her bottle.
As soon as it was filled she took a good swig out of it. When she got to the grocery door, she stopped and took a "gooder" swig yet, and on the way home she took another swig, which was the "goodest" swig of all. She felt right happy and full of good spirits when she got home and she went into the room where Dorcas was sitting, who married the single man, shouting:
"Glo-ri! glo-ri! glo-ri!"
"Land sake," exclaimed Dorcas, "what's got inter yer?"
"Glo-ri!" -- shouted the good old girl, putting the gin bottle to her mouth.
Dorcas sprang at her, wrenched the bottle away -- knocking out the good old girl's tooth in doing so -- and emptied the gin into the sink. The good old girl stood silently listening to the gurgling of the gin until it had all run down the sink spout, and then she turned away without saying a word, and went to her room, and sat down in a rocking chair and rocked herself to and fro, fro and to. No tooth, no gin, no Bible. Nothing left to her in the world. Such desolation as hers would appall the heart of any good old girl. She continued to rock herself to and fro until midnight. Then mumbling, "Drat 'em!" she stealthily set fire to the house, and went away a short distance and watched it until everything was burned to ashes. "Drat 'em!" she mumbled once more, and then the good old girl went and gave herself up to the poor house, and the selectmen, in consideration of her heroism, awarded her as much soup as she could guzzle as long as she lived, at the expense of the town. Now, if all the old girls would only go and do as this good old girl did, what a bright place this world would be -- for a short time!
[transcribed from microfilm]
Return to Chronicle index