Getting into the
“Right Pew” by
New Year's day is some considerable pumpkins in many parts of the
United States. In the Western States, they have horse-racing,
shooting-matches, quilting-frolics and grand hunting parties. In the
South, the week beginning with Christmas and ending with New Year's
day, is devoted to the largest liberty by the negroes, who have one
grand and extensive saturnalia, visit their friends and
relations, make love to the gals on neighboring plantations, spend
the little change saved through the year, or now and then given to them
by indulgent or generous masters, and in fact have a glorious good
time! The holidays in New Orleans, and in Louisiana generally, is a
time, and no mistake. The old French and Spanish families keep open
housedinners and suppers, music, song and dance. On New Year's eve,
they decorate the graves of their friends with flowers. Lamps or
lanterns are often required for this purpose, and as you pass the
silent grave-yards, it is indeed a novel sight to see the many
glimmering lights about the tombs of the departed. In most of the
South-Western towns, the day is given up to fun and frolic. The
Philadelphians have a great blow out. The streets are filled by
holiday-looking people, children with toys and mint sticksmaking
the air resound with tin trumpets and penny whistles. The men and boys
used to load up every thing in the shape of cannons, guns, pistols and
hollow keys, and bang away from sunset until sunrise, keeping up a
racket, din and uproar, equal to the bombardment of a citadel. The
authorities stopped that, and now the civil young men kill the night
and day in dancing, feasting, and attending the amusements, the
multitude of rowdies passing their time in concocting and carrying on
street fights and running with the engines.
But the New Yorkers bang the whole of them; bear witness, O
ye New Year's doings I have there seen. Visiting your friends, and your
friends' friends. Open houses every where! Drop in and take a glass of
wine or bit of cake, if nothing elsethat's the word. Jeremy Diddlers
flourish, marriageable daughters and interesting widows set their caps
for the nice young men, the streets are noisy and full of confusion,
the theatres and show-shops generally reap an elegant harvest, and the
police reports of the second morning of the New Year swell monstrously!
Of a New Year's adventure of an innocent young acquaintance of mine, I
have a little story to tell.
Jeff. Jones was caught, at a New Year's dinner in New York, by the
fascinating grace and cap-tivating head-gear of a certain young
widow, who had a fine estate. Jeff. was what you might call a good boy;
he had never seen much of creation, save that lying between Pokeepsie
(his birth-place) and the Battery, Castle Garden and Bloomingdale. He
was a clever fellow, fond of rational fun and amusement, kept a set of
books for a mercantile firm in Maiden Lane, dressed well, kept good
hours, and in all general respects, wasa nice young man. He went with
a friend on a tourNew Year's day, to make calls. After a number of
glasses and chunks of cake, feeling altogether beautiful, he found
himself in the presence of a charming widow, and some two months
afterwards, himself and the widow, a parson and a brace of male and
female friends, Jeff. Jones, aged 28, took a partner for life, ergo he
hung up his hat in the snug domicil of the flourishing widow, who
became Mrs. Jeff. Jones, thereafter.
Poor Jeff., he found out that there was some truth in the venerable
sayingall is not gold that glitters. The charming widow was seriously
inclined to wear the inexpressibles; and poor Jeff., being of such a
gentlemanly, good and easy disposition, scarcely made a struggle for
his reserved rights. However, things, under such a state of affairs,
grew no better fast, and as Jeff. Jones had neglected to go around and
see the elephant before marriage, he came to the conclusion to see what
was going on after that interesting ceremony. In short, Jeff. got to
going out of nightskept bad hours, got blowed up in gentle strains
at first, but which were promised to be enlarged if Mr. Jones did not
mind his Ps. and Qs.
The third anniversary of Jeff. Jones's annexation to the widow was
coming around. It was New Year's day in the morn; it brought rather
sober reflections into Jeff.'s mind, on the head of which he thought
he'd as soon as notget tight! This notion was pleasing, and
dressing himself in his best clothes, Jones informed Mrs. J. that he
wished to call on a few old friends, and would be home to dine and
bring some friends with him!
See that you do, then, said Mrs. J., see that you do, that's
all! and she gave Mr. J. a look not at all like Miss Juliet's to Mr.
Romeoshe spoke, and she said something.
However, Jones cleared himself; dinner hour arrived, if Jeff. Jones
did not; Mrs. Jones smiled and chatted, and did the honors of the table
with rare good grace, but where was Jones?
He'll be poking in just as dinner is over, and the puddings cold,
and company preparing to leave; then he'll catch a lecturing.
But don't fret your pretty self, Mrs. Jonesfor dinner passed and
tea-time came, but no Jones. Mrs. Jones began to get snappish, and by
ten o'clock she had bitten all the ends from her taper fingers, besides
dreadfully scolding the servants, all around. Mrs. J. finally
retiredthe clock had struck 12, and no Jones was to be seen; Mrs. J.
was worried out; she could not sleep a blessed wink. She got up again,
Jones might have met with some dreadful accident! She had not thought
of that before! Perhaps at that very hour he was in the bottom of the
Hudson, or in the deep cells of the Tombs! It was awful! Mrs. Jones
dressedthe house was as still as a church-yardshe put on an old
hood, and shawl to match, and noiselessly she crept down stairs; and by
a passage out through the back area into a rear street. Mrs. Jones at
the dead hour of night determined to seek some information of her
husband. She had not gotten over a block, or block and a half from her
mansion, when she spies two men coming alongwing and wing, merry as
grigs, reeling to and fro, and singing in stentorian notes:
A man that is (hic) married (hic) has lost every hope
He's (hic) like a poor (hic) pig with his foot in a rope!
O-o-o! dear! O-o-o! dearcracky!
A man that is (hic) married has so (hic) many ills
He's like a (hic) poor fish with a (hic) hook in his gills!
O-o-o-o! dear! O-o-o-o! dearcracky!
In terror of these roaring bacchanalians, who were slowly
approaching her, Mrs. Jones stood close in the doorway of a store; the
revellers parted at the corner of the street, after many asseverations
of eternal friendship, much noise and twattle. One of the carousers
came lumbering towards Mrs. J., and she, in some alarm, left her hiding
place and darted past the midnight brawler; and to her horror, the
fellow made tracks after her as fast as a drunken man could travel, and
that ain't slow; for almost any man inside of sixty can run, like
blazes, when he is scarce able to stand upon his pins because of the
quantity of bricks in his beaver. Mrs. Jones ran towards her dwelling,
but before she could reach it, the ruffian at her heels clasped her!
Just as she was about to give an awful scream, wake up all the
neighbors and police ten miles around, she sawJones! Jeff.
Jones, her recreant husband!
It was a moment of awful importthe widow was equal to the crisis,
however, and governed herself accordingly; proving the truth of some
dead and gone philosopher who has left it in black and white, that the
widows are always more than a match for any man in Christendom!
Jones was loving drunk, a stage that terminates and is a near kin to
total oblivion, in bacchanalian revels. Jones had not the remotest idea
of where he wastime or persons; his tongue was thick, eyes dull,
ideas monstrous foggy, and the few sentences he rather unintelligibly
uttered, were highly spiced withmy little (hic) angel, you (hic),
you (hic) live 'bout (hic) here? Can't you ta-take me (hic) home with
you, eh? My-my old woman (hic) would raise-rai-raise old scratch if I
(hic), I went home to-to-night. (Hic) I'll, I'll go home (hic) in the
morning, and (hic) tell her, ha! ha! he! (hic) tell her I've be-be-been
to a fire!
O, the villain, said Mrs. J. to herself; but I'll be revenged.
Come, sir, go home with meI'll take care of you. Come, sir, be
careful; this wayin here.
Where the (hic) deuce areare you going down this (hic) cellar,
All right, sir. Come, be careful! don't fall; rest on my
armthere, shut the door.
Why (hic), ha-hang it aall; get a lightthat's a dear!
Yes, yes; wait a moment, I'll bring you a light.
Mrs. J. having gotten her game bagged, left it in the dark, and
retired to her bed-chamber. Some of the servants, hearing a noise in
the basement, got up, stuck their noses out of their rooms, and being
convinced that a desperate scoundrel was in the house, raised the very
old boy. Poor Jones, in his efforts to get out, run over pots, pans,
and chairs, and through him and the servants, the police were alarmed!
lights were raised, and Jones was arrested for a burglar!
Never was a man better pleased to find himself in his own domicil,
than Jones! It was all Greek to the watchmen and servants; it was a
mysterious matter to Jones for a full fortnightbut upon promise of
ever after spending his new year's at home, Mrs. J. let the cat out of
the bag. Jones surrendered!