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
 
He Came to Pay
By Andrew V. Kelley (Parmenas Mix)
 
THE EDITOR sat with his head in his hands
  And his elbows at rest on his knees;
He was tired of the ever-increasing demands
  On his time, and he panted for ease.
The clamor for copy was scorned with a sneer,        5
  And he sighed in the lowest of tones:
“Won’t somebody come with a dollar to cheer
  The heart of Emanuel Jones?”
 
Just then on the stairway a footstep was heard,
  And a rap-a-tap loud at the door,        10
And the flickering hope that had been long deferred
  Blazed up like a beacon once more;
And there entered a man with a cynical smile
  That was fringed with a stubble of red,
Who remarked, as he tilted a sorry old tile        15
  To the back of an average head:
 
“I have come here to pay.” Here the editor cried
  “You’re as welcome as flowers in spring!
Sit down in this easy armchair by my side,
  And excuse me a while till I bring        20
A lemonade dashed with a little old wine,
  And a dozen cigars of the best….
Ah! Here we are! This, I assure you, is fine.
  Help yourself, most desirable guest.”
 
The visitor drank with a relish, and smoked        25
  Till his face wore a satisfied glow,
And the editor, beaming with merriment, joked
  In a joyous, spontaneous flow;
And then, when the stock of refreshments was gone,
  His guest took occasion to say,        30
In accents distorted somewhat by a yawn,
  “My errand up here is to pay——”
 
But the generous scribe, with a wave of his hand,
  Put a stop to the speech of his guest,
And brought in a melon, the finest the land        35
  Ever bore on its generous breast.
And the visitor, wearing a singular grin,
  Seized the heaviest half of the fruit,
And the juice, as it ran in a stream from his chin,
  Washed the mud of the pike from his boot.        40
 
Then, mopping his face on a favorite sheet
  Which the scribe had laid carefully by,
The visitor lazily rose to his feet
  With the dreariest kind of a sigh,
And he said, as the editor sought his address        45
  In his books, to discover his due:
“I came here to pay—my respects to the press,
And to borrow a dollar of you!”
 
 
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