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In mute despair, and they are face to face
THE GOOD.-J. Boyle O'REILLY,
* What is the real good ?”
UNCLE EDOM AND THE YANKEE BOOK.
AGENT.*-E. F. ANDREWS. It was a warm evening in the early fall, and Uncle Edom sat quietly smoking on the sidewalk, with his splintbottom chair tilted back against the lamp-post that stood at Aunt Beady's corner. It was too early for the beauty and fashion of Larned street to be stirring abroad, the said beauty and fashion being occupied just at this hour in clearing the supper table and washing the dishes for its employers in Apple Blossom street.
Things were very dull around the corner, and Uncle Edom's head was beginning to sink slowly upon his breast, preparatory to giving one of those sudden dabs forward that openly convict the perpetrator of nodding, when he was suddenly accosted by a long slim individual in a black alpaca coat as thin and limp as his own legs, carrying in one hand a pewter-headed walkingstick, and in the other one of those square gripsacks that mark the bearer unmistakably as a book-agent.
“Good evening, sir," said the stranger, touching his tall hat to the sleeper. “ Have I the honor of addressing the Reverend Edom Monday, parstor of the colored church over the way ? ”
“Who—whar—what you wan' wid me, boss ?” stammered the old man, suddenly roused from a half slumber. “Wha' dat you seh 'bouten de chu'ch ?”
" I asked if you were Mr. Monday, the parstor,' answered the stranger, with a strong New England accent.
“Yeh, boss, yeh sah,” answered Uncle Edom now fully aroused. I'se de pasture er Kingdom Come Chu'ch, tek a seat sah," offering his own chair an l eyeing the square gripsack expectantly. “You b’longs to our 'ligious dissection, boss?”
“Not exactly," replied the stranger opening his sack. “I a
am a friend to all faiths; I wish to offer for your in. spection 'The Looking-Glarss of Life,' the most re* By permission of the Author,
“ It is
markable work of our age, –a work that no clergyman can afford to be without," and he placed in Uncle Edom's hand a thick volume gorgeously bound in heavily gilt green cloth. Uncle Edom turned the book carefully on all sides, took a shy peep between the covers, and then returned it to the agent. “I doan see no looking-glass in dar, boss,” he said, in a disappointed tone.
“ That is the title of the work,” explained the agent, pointing to the large gilt letters on the back. metaphorical, you know.”
“ Meant fur what, sah?” inquired Uncle Edom, looking puzzled.
“Metaphorical,” answered the patient peddler of literature. “It is called the 'Looking-Glarss of Life,' because all phases of life are depicted there as in a mirror."
“What sorter pictures you seh dey is?” continued the colored brother in all seriousness.
The agent turned to the title page. “There is the first illustration,” he said, pointing to a hydrocephalic infant, in a hanging basket, suspended from nothing and surrounded by apoplectic cherubs bearing handfuls of impossible flowers. “It represents guileless infancy reveling in the golden sunshine of life's morning ere the roseate lines of dawn have been dispelled by the effulgent splendors of the god of day. And haire, at the beginning of Part Three, is a work of art that alone is worth the price of the book. You see haire depicted the visible incarnation of noble manhood as he struggles with heroic will amid the surging billows of life's stormy main, keeping his steadfast eye upon the cynosure of hope that shimmers in heaven's fateful vault above, undarnted by the grim visage of adversity glaring through the ever attenuating vail of the future."
“ You seh hit do ?” answered Uncle Edom, scratching his head and staring blankly at the speaker.”
“And all for two dollars and a half !” continued the agent, not heeding the interruption. “There was never such a bargain in the literary market before. The binding alone is worth the price of the book, the pictures alone are worth it, and the reading—there's reading enrugh in that book to last you the balance of your life; two hundred and sixteen pages, bourgeois type, all for two dollars and a half! Fifty-two clergymen have contributed to this book and it has taken ten years to get it up—just think of that! fifty-two ministers, ten years; equal to the work of one minister for five hundred years, and all for two dollars and a half! How many copies shall I put you down for?”
"Were dat ministure a Baptis', boss, what wuk at dis book five hundred year?" asked Uncle Edom, with perfect gravity.
“ Ministers of all denominations have contributed to it,” replied the agent, vigorously wiping his brow. “It is the most remarkable compilation of the age; the most eminent divines of our day have contributed to it.”
"An' who you seh writ it?” asked Uncle Edom deferentially.
“ It isn't the work of any one author, it is a compilation," repeated the agent, sweating like a dray-horse. You get the work of fifty-two authors in that book, every one of them ministers of the gospel, and only two dollars and a half! You will take at least two copies, wont you, one for your wife and one for yourself? No clergyman can afford to be without at least two copies of that book.”
Uncle Edom cast a wistful glance at the brilliant gold and green cover, but when he reflected how many mugs full of Aunt Beady's corn beer two dollars and a half would buy, they appeared more enticing than even the green and gold bound wisdom of the fifty-two eminent divines, and he answered:
“ Dat dar book is mos' too dispensible fur colored pussons, boss; you'll hatter git white folks to buy sech
“ Expensive!” exclaimed the agent in a withering tone. “Why it is the cheapest article for the money that has ever been put upon the market. Two hundred
and sixteen pages, bourgeois type, and fifty-two preachers, all for two dollars and a half! It is the cheapest book for the money ever printed.”
“But I aint got no money to spar, boss; I’se done spore all I could, to buy vittles an' clo'es fur my wife an' chillun," objected Uncle Edom, with a mental reservation concerning the brown jug in Aunt Beady's cupboard.
“But you had betier deny your wife and children bread,” persisted the agent, “than deprive them of this book. No Christian family can afford to be without at least one copy of this book.”
“I'd lack to git it, boss, ef I had de money,” said Uncle Edom, squirming himself off to the very edge of the sidewalk, as his persecutor pressed forward, pencil in hand, “but”
“Oh, but you needn't pay the cash,” interrupted the book-agent eagerly, as if afraid the quarry might escape him after all. “Just let me put your name down, and you can pay when the book is delivered. No minister of the gospel can afford to be without this work—especially," he added, struck by a happy thought, “when the parstor of the other colored church in Sugar Hill has taken two copies."
Bre'r Thusaleh got two er dem books ! ” cried Uncle Edom, suddenly recovering his interest in the work. “Well den, boss, I reckon you'll hatter put me down fur three.”
The agent wrote down the name with a flourish, and then hurried away to try the same tactics on Bre'r Thusaleh.
THE DEACON, ME AND HIM.—Louis EISENBEIS.*
Written expressly for this Collection, Last night they held a meetin', makin' a gineral search, Seein' if they couldn't find a way to build a stylish church Old Deacon Jones, he told 'em (and the deacon he was right) They'd better make the old one do, for the times were hard
and tight; *Author of “The Parson's Vacation," “The Church Fair,".&c., in nther Nun bers of this sorten