Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > American
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. I–V: American
 
The Society upon the Stanislaus
By Bret Harte (1836–1902)
 
From “Complete Poetical Works”

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 fellow man,
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 paleozoic 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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