Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
747. The Society upon the Stanislaus
 
By Francis Bret Harte
 
 
I RESIDE at Table Mountain, and my name is Truthful James;
I am not up to small deceit, or any sinful games;
And I ’ll tell in simple language what I know about the row
That broke up our Society upon the Stanislow.
 
But first I would remark, that it is not a proper plan        5
For any scientific gent to whale his fellowman,
And, if a member don’t agree with his peculiar whim,
To lay for that same member for to “put a head” on him.
 
Now nothing could be finer or more beautiful to see
Than the first six months’ proceedings of that same Society,        10
Till Brown of Calaveras brought a lot of fossil bones
That he found within a tunnel near the tenement of Jones.
 
Then Brown he read a paper, and he reconstructed there,
From those same bones, an animal that was extremely rare;
And Jones then asked the Chair for a suspension of the rules,        15
Till he could prove that those same bones was one of his lost mules.
 
Then Brown he smiled a bitter smile, and said he was at fault,—
It seemed he had been trespassing on Jones’s family vault:
He was a most sarcastic man, this quiet Mr. Brown,
And on several occasions he had cleaned out the town.        20
 
Now I hold it is not decent for a scientific gent
To say another is an ass,—at least, to all intent;
Nor should the individual who happens to be meant
Reply by heaving rocks at him, to any great extent.
 
Then Abner Dean of Angel’s raised a point of order—when        25
A chunk of old red sandstone took him in the abdomen,
And he smiled a kind of sickly smile, and curled up on the floor,
And the subsequent proceedings interested him no more.
 
For, in less time than I write it, every member did engage
In a warfare with the remnants of a palæozoic age;        30
And the way they heaved those fossils in their anger was a sin,
Till the skull of an old mammoth caved the head of Thompson in.
 
And this is all I have to say of these improper games,
For I live at Table Mountain, and my name is Truthful James;
And I ’ve told in simple language what I know about the row        35
That broke up our Society upon the Stanislow.
 

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