Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/88

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I tell you, it's all just a muddle,
Too much for a body like me;
I'll wait till I join my old husband,
And then we shall see what we'll see.
Don't ask me again, if you please, sir,
For really it worries me so;
And I don't know whether I'm High Church,
And I don't know whether I'm Low.


He came into my office with a portfolio under his arm. Placing it upon the table, removing a ruined hat, and wiping his nose upon a ragged handkerchief that had been so long out of the wash that it was positively gloomy, he said,—

"Mr. ——, I'm canvassing for the National Portrait Gallery; very valuable work; comes in numbers, fifty cents apiece; contains pictures of all the great American heroes from the earliest times down to the present day. Everybody subscribing for it, and I want to see if I can't take your name.

"Now, just cast your eyes over that," he said, opening his book and pointing to an engraving. "That's—lemme see—yes, that's Columbus, perhaps you've heard sumfin' about him. The publisher was telling me to-day, before I started out, that he discovered—No; was it Columbus that dis—Oh, yes, Columbus, he discovered America—was the first man here. He came over in a ship, the publisher said, and it took fire, and he staid on deck because his father told him to, if I remember right, and when the old thing busted to pieces he was killed. Handsome picture, ain't it? Taken from a photograph, all of 'em are; done especially for this work. His clothes are kinder odd, but they say that's the way they dressed in them days.

"Look at this one. Now, isn't that splendid? That's William Penn, one of the early settlers. I was reading t'other day about him. When he first arrived, he got a lot of Indians up a tree, and, when they shook some apples down, he set one on top of his son's head, and shot an arrow plump through it and never grazed him. They say its truck them Indians cold; he was such a terrific shooter. Fine