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Look out for them Lobsters by Jonathan F. Kelley


Deacon ——, who resides in a pleasant village inside of an hour's ride upon Fitchburg road, rejoices in a fondness for the long-tailed crustacea, vulgarly known as lobsters. And, from messes therewith fulminated, by some of our professors of gastronomics that we have seen, we do not attach any wonder at all to the deacon's penchant for the aforesaid shell-fish. The deacon had been disappointed several times by assertions of the lobster merchants, who, in their overwhelming zeal to effect a sale, had been a little too sanguine of the precise time said lobsters were caught and boiled; hence, after lugging home a ten pound specimen of the vasty deep, miles out into the quiet country, the deacon was often sorely vexed to find the lobster no better than it should be!

“Why don't you get them alive, deacon?” said a friend,—“get them alive and kicking, deacon; boil them yourself; be sure of their freshness, and have them cooked more carefully and properly.”

“Well said,” quoth the deacon; “so I can, for they sell them, I observe, near the depot,—right out of the boat. I'm much obliged for the notion.”

The next visit of the good deacon to Boston,—as he was about to return home, he goes to the bridge and bargains for two live lobsters, fine, active, lusty-clawed fellows, alive and kicking, and no mistake!

“But what will I do with them?” says the deacon to the purveyor of the crustacea, as he gazed wistfully upon the two sprawling, ugly, green and scratching lobsters, as they lay before him upon the planks at his feet.

“Do with 'em?” responded the lobster merchant,—“why, bile 'em and eat 'em! I bet you a dollar you never ate better lobsters 'n them, nohow, mister!”

The deacon looked anxiously and innocently at the speaker, as much as to say—“you don't say so?”

“I mean, friend, how shall I get them home?”

“O,” says the lobster merchant, “that's easy enough; here, Saul,” says he, calling up a frizzle-headed lad in blue pants—sans hat or boots, and but one gallows to his breeches, “here, you, light upon these lobsters and carry 'em home for this old gentleman.”

“Goodness, bless you,” says the deacon; “why friend, I reside ten miles out in the country!”

“O, the blazes you do!” says the lobster merchant; “well, I tell you, Saul can carry 'em to the cars for you in this 'ere bag, if you're goin' out?”

“Truly, he can,” quoth the deacon; “and Saul can go right along with me.”

The lobsters were dashed into a piece of Manilla sack, thrown across the shoulders of the juvenile Saul, and away they went at the heels of the deacon, to the depot; here Saul dashed down the “poor creturs” until their bones or shells rattled most piteously, and as the deacon handed a “three cent piece” to Saul, the long and wicked claw of one of the lobsters protruded out of the bag—opened and shut with a clack, that made the deacon shudder!

“Those fellows are plaguy awkward to handle, are they not, my son?” says the deacon.

“Not werry,” says the boy; “they can't bite, cos you see they's got pegs down here—hallo!” As Saul poked his hand down towards the big claw lying partly out of the open-mouthed bag, the claw opened, and clacked at his fingers, ferocious as a mad dog.

“His peg's out,” said the boy—“and I can't fasten it; but here's a chunk of twine; tie the bag and they can't get out, any how, and you kin put 'em into yer pot right out of the bag.”

“Yes, yes,” says the deacon; “I guess I will take care of them; bring them here; there, just place the bag right in under my seat; so, that will do.”

Presently the cars began to fill up, as the minute of departure approached, and soon every seat around the worthy deacon was occupied. By-and-by, “a middle-aged lady,” in front of the deacon, began to fussle about and twist around, as if anxious to arrange the great amplitude of her drapery, and look after something “bothering” her feet. In front of the lady, sat a slab-sided genus dandy, fat as a match and quite as good looking; between his legs sat a pale-face dog, with a flashing collar of brass and tinsel, quite as gaudy as his master's neck-choker; this canine gave an awful—

Ihk! ow, yow! yow-oo—yow, ook! yow! yow! YOW!”

“Lor' a massy!” cries the woman in front of the deacon, jumping up, and making a desperate splurge to get up on to the seats, and in the effort upsetting sundry bundles and parcels around her!

“Yow-ook! Yow-ook!” yelled the dog, jumping clear out of the grasp of the juvenile Mantillini, and dashing himself on to the head and shoulders of the next seat occupants, one of whom was a sturdy civilized Irishman, who made “no bones” in grasping the sickly-looking dog, and to the horror and alarm of the entire female party present, he sung out:

“Whur-r-r ye about, ye brute! Is the divil mad?”

“Eee! Ee! O dear! O! O!” cries an anxious mother.

“O! O! O-o-o! save us from the dog!” cries another.

“Whur-r-r-r! ye divil!” cries the Irish gintilman, pinning the poor dog down between the seats, with a force that extracted another glorious yell.

“Ike! Ike! Ike! oo, ow! ow! Ike! Ike! Ike!”

“Murder! mur-r-r-der!” bawls another victim in the rear of the deacon, leaping up in his seat, and rubbing his leg vigorously.

“What on airth's loose?” exclaims one.

“Halloo! what's that?” cries another, hastily vacating his seat and crowding towards the door.

“O dear, O! O!” anxiously cries a delicate young lady.

“What? who? where?” screamed a dozen at once.

“Good conscience!” exclaims the deacon, as he dropped his newspaper, in the midst of the din—noise and confusion; and with a most singular and spasmodic effort to dance a “high_land fling,” he hustled out of his seat, exclaiming:

“Good conscience, I really believe they're out.”

“Eh? What—what's out?” cries one.

“Snakes!” echoes an old gentleman, grasping a cane.

“Snappin' turtles, Mister?” inquire several.

“Snakes!” cried a dozen.

“Snappers!” echoes a like quantity of the dismayed.


“Snake-e-e-es!” O what a din!

“Halloo! here, what's all this? What's the matter?” says the conductor, coming to the rescue.

“That man's got snakes in the car!” roar several at once.

“And snappin' turtles, too, consarn him!” says one, while all eyes were directed, tongues wagging, and hands gesticulating furiously at the astonished deacon.

“Take care of them! Take care of them! I believe I'm bitten clear through my boot—catch them, Mr. Swallow!” cries the deacon.

“Swallow 'em, Mr. Catcher!” echoes the frightened dandy.

“What? where?” says the excited conductor, looking around.

“Here, here, in under these seats, sir,—my lobsters, sir,” says the deacon, standing aloof to let the conductor and the man with the cane get at the reptiles, as the latter insisted.

“Darn 'em, are they only lobsters!”

“Pooh! Lobsters!” says young Mantillini, with a mock heroic shrug of his shoulders, and looking fierce as two cents!

“Come out here!” says the conductor, feeling for them.

“Take care!” says the deacon, “the plaguy things have got their pins out!”

“Why, they are alive, and crawling around; hear the old fellow,—take care, Mr. Swaller—he's cross as sin!” says the man with the cane—“wasn't that a snap? Take care! You got him?” that indefatigable assistant continued, rattling his tongue and cane.

“I've got them!” cries the conductor.

“Put them in the bag, here, sir,” says the deacon.

“Take them out of this car!” cries everybody.

“Plaguy things,” says the deacon. “I sha'n't never buy another live lobster!

Order was restored, passengers took their seats, but when young Mantillini looked for his dog, he had vamosed with the Irishman, at “the last stopping place,” in his excitement, leaving a quart jug of whiskey in lieu of the dandy's dog.


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