Don't You Believe In 'em?
We are astounded at the incredulity of some people. Every now and then
you run afoul of somebody who does not believe in spiritual knockers.
Enter any of our drinking saloons, take a seat, or stand up, and look on
for an hour or two, especially about the time "churchyards yawn!" and if
you are any longer skeptical upon the spirit-ual manifestations as
exhibited in the knee pans, shoulder joints, and thickness of the tongue
of the mediums,--education would be thrown away on you.
The Old Black Bull
It's poor human natur', all out, to wrangle and quarrel now and then,
from the kitchen to the parlor, in church and state. Even the fathers of
the holy tabernacle are not proof against this little weakness; for
people will have passions, people will belong to meetin', and people
will let their passions rise, even under the pulpit. But we have no
distinct recollection of ever having known a misdirected, but properly
interpreted letter, to settle a chuckly "plug muss," so efficiently
and happily as the case we have in point.
Old John Bulkley (grandson of the once famous President Chauncey) was
a minister of the gospel, and one of the best edicated men of his day
in the wooden nutmeg State, when the immortal (or ought to be) Jonathan
Trumbull was "around," and in his youth. Mr. Bulkley was the first
settled minister in the town of his adoption, Colchester, Connecticut.
It was with him, as afterwards with good old brother Jonathan (Governor
Trumbull, the bosom friend of General Washington), good to confer on
almost any matter, scientific, political, or religious--any subject, in
short, wherein common sense and general good to all concerned was the
issue. As a philosophical reasoner, casuist, and good counselor, he
was "looked up to," and abided by.
It so fell out that a congregation in Mr. Bulkley's vicinity got to
loggerheads, and were upon the apex of raising "the evil one" instead of
a spire to their church, as they proposed and split upon. The very
nearest they could come to a mutual cessation of the hostilities, was to
appoint a committee of three, to wait on Mr. Bulkley, state their
case, and get him to adjudicate. They waited on the old gentleman, and
he listened with grave attention to their conflicting grievances.
"It appears to me," said the old gentleman, "that this is a very simple
case--a very trifling thing to cause you so much vexation."
"So I say," says one of the committee.
"I don't call it a trifling case, Mr. Bulkley," said another.
"No case at all," responded the third.
"It ain't, eh?" fiercely answered the first speaker.
"No, it ain't, sir!" quite as savagely replied the third.
"It's anything but a trifling case, anyhow," echoed number two, "to
expect to raise the minister's salary and that new steeple, too, out of
our small congregation."
"There is no danger of raising much out of you, anyhow, Mr. Johnson,"
spitefully returned number one.
"Gentlemen, if you please--" beseechingly interposed the sage.
"I haven't come here, Mr. Bulkley, to quarrel," said one.
"Who started this?" sarcastically answered Mr. Johnson.
"Not me, anyway," number three replies.
"You don't say I did, do you?" says number one.
"Mr. Bulkley, you see how it is; there's Johnson--"
"Yes, Mr. Bulkley," says Johnson, "and there's old Winkles, too, and
here's Deacon Potter, also."
"I am here," stiffly replied the deacon, "and I am sorry the Reverend
Mr. Bulkley finds me in such company, sir!"
"Now, gentlemen, brothers, if you please," said Mr. Bulkley, "this is
"So I say," murmured Mr. Winkles.
"As far as you are concerned, it is ridiculous," said the deacon.
This brought Mr. Winkles up, standing.
"Sir!" he shouted, "sir!"
"But my dear sirs--" beseechingly said the philosopher.
"Sir!" continued Winkles, "sir! I am too old a man--too good a
Christian, Mr. Bulkley, to allow a man, a mean, despicable toad, like
"Do you call me--me a despicable toad?" menacingly cried the deacon.
"Brethren," said Mr. Bulkley, "if I am to counsel you in your
difference, I must have no more of this unchristian-like bickering."
"I do not wish to bicker, sir," said Johnson.
"Nor I don't want to, sir," said the deacon, "but when a man calls me a
toad, a mean, despicable toad--"
"Well, well, never mind," said Mr. Bulkley; "you are all too excited
now; go home again, and wait patiently; on Saturday evening next, I will
have prepared and sent to you a written opinion of your case, with a
full and free avowal of most wholesome advice for preserving your church
from desolation and yourselves from despair." And the committee left, to
await his issue.
Now it chanced that Mr. Bulkley had a small farm, some distance from the
town of Colchester, and found it necessary, the same day he wrote his
opinion and advice to the brethren of the disaffected church, to drop a
line to his farmer regarding the fixtures of said estate. Having written
a long, and of course, elaborate "essay" to his brethren, he wound up
the day's literary exertions with a despatch to the farmer, and after a
reverie to himself, he directs the two documents, and next morning
despatches them to their several destinations.
On Saturday evening a full and anxious synod of the belligerent
churchmen took place in their tabernacle, and punctually, as promised,
came the despatch from the Plato of the time and place,--Rev. John
Bulkley. All was quiet and respectful attention. The moderator took up
the document, broke the seal, opened and--a pause ensued, while dubious
amazement seemed to spread over the features of the worthy president of
"Well, brother Temple, how is it--what does Mr. Bulkley say?" and
another pause followed.
"Will the moderator please proceed?" said another voice.
The moderator placed the paper upon the table, took off his spectacles,
wiped the glasses, then his lips--replaced his specs upon his nose, and
with a very broad grin, said:
"Brethren, this appears to me to be a very singular letter, to say the
least of it!"
"Well, read it--read it," responded the wondering hearers.
"I will," and the moderator began:
"You will see to the repair of the fences, that they be built high and
strong, and you will take special care of the old Black Bull."
There was a general pause; a silent mystery overspread the community;
the moderator dropped the paper to a "rest," and gazing over the top of
his glasses for several minutes, nobody saying a word.
"Repair the fences!" muttered the moderator at length.
"Build them strong and high!" echoed Deacon Potter.
"Take special care of the old Black Bull!" growled half the meeting.
Then another pause ensued, and each man eyed his neighbor in mute
A tall and venerable man now arose from his seat; clearing his voice
with a hem, he spoke:
"Brethren, you seem lost in the brief and eloquent words of our learned
adviser. To me nothing could be more appropriate to our case. It is just
such a profound and applicable reply to us as we should have hoped and
looked for, from the learned and good man, John Bulkley. The direction
to repair the fences, is to take heed in the admission and government of
our members; we must guard the church by our Master's laws, and keep out
stray and vicious cattle from the fold! And, above all things, set a
trustworthy and vigilant watch over that old black bull, who is the
devil, and who has already broken into our enclosures and sought to
desolate and lay waste the fair grounds of our church!"
The effect of this interpretation was electrical. All saw and took the
force of Mr. Bulkley's cogent advice, and unanimously resolved to be
governed by it; hence the old black bull was put hors du combat, and
the church preserved its union!
Dobbs makes "a Pint."
Dobbs walked into a Dry Goodery, on Court street, and began to look
around. A double jinted clerk immediately appeared to Dobbs.
"What can I do for you, sir?" says he.
"A good deal," says Dobbs, "but I bet you won't."
"I'll bet I will," says the knight of the yard-stick, "if I can."
"What'll you bet of that?" says the imperturbable Dobbs.
"I'll bet a fourpence!" says the clerk, with a cute nod.
"I'll go it," says Dobbs. "Now, trust me for a couple of dollars' wuth
of yur stuffs!"
"Lost, by Ned!" says yard-stick. "Well, there's the fourpence."
"Thank you; call again when I want to trade!" says Dobbs.
"Do, if you please; wouldn't like to lose your custom," says the clerk,
Polite young man that--as soon as his chin vegetates, provided his
dickey don't cut his throat, he'll be arter the gals, Dobbs thinks!