The Complete Works of Artemus Ward Part 2: War

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Author: Artemus Ward

2.5. A War Meeting.

Our complaint just now is war meetin’s. They’ve bin havin ’em bad in varis parts of our cheerful Republic, and nat’rally we caught ’em here in Baldinsville. They broke out all over us. They’re better attended than the Eclipse was.

I remember how people poured into our town last Spring to see the Eclipse. They labored into a impression that they couldn’t see it to home, and so they cum up to our place. I cleared a very handsome amount of money by exhibitin’ the Eclipse to ’em, in an open-top tent. But the crowds is bigger now. Posey County is aroused. I may say, indeed, that the pra-hay-ories of Injianny is on fire.

Our big meetin’ came off the other night, and our old friend of the "Bugle" was elected Cheerman.

The "Bugle-Horn of Liberty" is one of Baldinsville’s most eminentest institootions. The advertisements are wellwritten, and the deaths and marriages are conducted with signal ability. The editor, MR. SLINKERS, is a polish’d, skarcastic writer. Folks in these parts will not soon forgit how he used up the "Eagle of Freedom," a family journal published at Snootville, near here. The controversy was about a plank road. "The road may be, as our cotemporary says, a humbug; but OUR aunt isn’t bald-heded, and WE haven’t got a one-eyed sister Sal! Wonder if the Editor of the "Eagle of Freedom" sees it?" This used up the "Eagle of Freedom" feller, because his aunt’s head does present a skinn’d appearance, and his sister SARAH is very much one-eyed. For a genteel home-thrust, MR. SLINKERS has few ekals. He is a man of great pluck likewise. He has a fierce nostril, and I believe upon my soul that if it wasn’t absolootly necessary for him to remain here and announce in his paper, from week to week, that "our Gov’ment is about to take vig’rous measures to put down the rebellion"—I b’lieve, upon my soul, this illustris man would enlist as a Brigadier Gin’ral, and git his Bounty.
. . . .

I was fixin myself up to attend the great war meetin’, when my daughter entered with a young man who was evijently from the city, and who wore long hair, and had a wild expression into his eye. In one hand he carried a port-folio, and his other paw claspt a bunch of small brushes. My daughter introduced him as MR. SWEIBIER, the distinguished landscape painter from Philadelphy.

"He is a artist, papa. Here is one of his master-pieces—a young mother gazin’ admirin’ly upon her first-born," and my daughter showed me a really pretty picter, done in ile. "Is it not beautiful, papa? He throws so much soul into his work."

"Does he? does he?" said I—"well, I reckon I’d better hire him to whitewash our fence. It needs it. What will you charge, sir," I continued, "to throw some soul into my fence?"

My daughter went out of the room in very short meeter, takin’ the artist with her, and from the emphatical manner in which the door slam’d, I concluded she was summat disgusted at my remarks. She closed the door, I may say, in ITALICS. I went into the closet and larfed all alone by myself for over half an hour. I larfed so vi’lently that the preserve jars rattled like a cavalry offisser’s sword and things, which it aroused my BETSY, who came and opened the door pretty suddent. She seized me by the few lonely hairs that still linger sadly upon my bare-footed hed, and dragged me out of the closet, incidentally obsarving that she didn’t exactly see why she should be compelled, at her advanced stage of life, to open a assylum for sooperanooated idiots.

My wife is one of the best wimin on this continent, altho’ she isn’t always gentle as a lamb, with mint sauce. No, not always.

But to return to the war meetin’. It was largely attended. The Editor of the "Bugle" arose and got up and said the fact could no longer be disguised that we were involved in a war. "Human gore," said he, "is flowin’. All able-bodied men should seize a musket and march to the tented field. I repeat it sir, to the tented field."

A voice—"Why don’t you go yourself, you old blowhard?"

"I am identified, young man, with a Arkymedian leaver which moves the world," said the Editor, wiping his auburn brow with his left coat-tail; "I allude, young man, to the press: Terms, two dollars a year, invariably in advance. Job printing executed with neatness and dispatch!" And with this brilliant bust of elekance the Editor introduced Mr. J. Brutus Hinkins, who is suffering from an attack of College in a naberin’ place. Mr. Hinkins said Washington was not safe. Who can save our national capeetle?

"DAN SETCHELL," I said. "He can do it afternoons. Let him plant his light and airy form onto the Long Bridge, make faces at the hirelin’ foe, and they’ll skedaddle! Old SETCH can do it."

"I call the Napoleon of Showmen," said the Editor of the "Bugle,"—"I call that Napoleonic man, whose life is adorned with so many noble virtues, and whose giant mind lights up this warlike scene—I call him to order."

I will remark, in this connection, that the Editor of the "Bugle" does my job printing.

"You," said Mr. Hinkins, "who live away from the busy haunts of men do not comprehend the magnitood of the crisis. The busy haunts of men is where people comprehend this crisis. We who live in the busy haunts of men—that is to say, we dwell, as it were, in the busy haunts of men."

"I really trust that the gen’l’man will not fail to say suthin’ about the busy haunts of men before he sits down," said I.

"I claim the right to express my sentiments here," said Mr. Hinkins, in a slightly indignant tone, "and I shall brook no interruption, if I am a Softmore."

"You couldn’t be MORE SOFT, my young friend," I observed, whereupon there was cries of Order! order!"

"I regret I can’t mingle in this strife personally," said the young man.

"You might inlist as a liberty-pole," said I, in a silvery whisper.

"But," he added, "I have a voice, and that voice is for war." The young man then closed his speech with some strikin and orginal remarks in relation to the star-spangled banner. He was followed by the village minister, a very worthy man indeed, but whose sermons have a tendency to make people sleep pretty industriously.

"I am willin’ to inlist for one," he said.

"What’s your weight, parson?" I asked.

"A hundred and sixty pounds," he said.

"Well, you can inlist as a hundred and sixty pounds of morphine, your dooty bein’ to stand in the hospitals arter a battle, and preach while the surgical operations is bein’ performed! Think how much you’d save the Gov’ment in morphine."

He didn’t seem to see it; but he made a good speech, and the editor of the "Bugle" rose to read the resolutions, commencin’ as follers:

RESOLVED, That we view with anxiety the fact that there is now a war goin’ on, and

RESOLVED, That we believe Stonewall Jackson sympathizes with the secession movement, and that we hope the nine-months men—

At this point he was interrupted by the sounds of silvery footsteps on the stairs, and a party of wimin, carryin’ guns and led by BETSY JANE, who brandish’d a loud and rattlin’ umbereller, burst into the room.

"Here," cried I, "are some nine-months wimin!"

"Mrs. Ward," said the editor of the "Bugle"—"Mrs. WARD and ladies, what means this extr’ord’n’ry demonstration?"

"It means," said that remarkable female "that you men air makin’ fools of yourselves. You air willin’ to talk and urge others to go to the wars, but you don’t go to the wars yourselves. War meetin’s is very nice in their way, but they don’t keep STONEWALL JACKSON from comin’ over to Maryland and helpin’ himself to the fattest beef critters. What we want is more cider and less talk. We want you able-bodied men to stop speechifying, which don’t ’mount to the wiggle of a sick cat’s tail, and to go fi’tin’; otherwise you can stay to home and take keer of the children, while we wimin will go to the wars!"

"Gentl’man," said I, "that’s my wife! Go in, old gal!" and I throw’d up my ancient white hat in perfeck rapters.

"Is this roll-book to be filled up with the names of men or wimin?" she cried.

"With men—with men!" and our quoty was made up that very night.

There is a great deal of gas about these war meetin’s. A war meetin’, in fact, without gas, would be suthin’ like the play of HAMLET with the part of OTHELLO omitted.

Still believin’ that the Goddess of Liberty is about as well sot up with as any young lady in distress could expect to be, I am
Yours more’n anybody else’s,
A. Ward.

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Chicago: Artemus Ward, "2.5. A War Meeting.," The Complete Works of Artemus Ward Part 2: War, ed. Paine, Albert Bigelow, 1861-1937 and trans. Townsend, R.S. in The Complete Works of Artemus Ward Part 2: War (New York: A. L. Burt Company, 1916), Original Sources, accessed September 20, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=D9R4BAR82FQXZ6F.

MLA: Ward, Artemus. "2.5. A War Meeting." The Complete Works of Artemus Ward Part 2: War, edited by Paine, Albert Bigelow, 1861-1937, and translated by Townsend, R.S., in The Complete Works of Artemus Ward Part 2: War, Vol. 22, New York, A. L. Burt Company, 1916, Original Sources. 20 Sep. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=D9R4BAR82FQXZ6F.

Harvard: Ward, A, '2.5. A War Meeting.' in The Complete Works of Artemus Ward Part 2: War, ed. and trans. . cited in 1916, The Complete Works of Artemus Ward Part 2: War, A. L. Burt Company, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 20 September 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=D9R4BAR82FQXZ6F.