October 11, 1896
Mr. Big Hat's
TO CORRESPONDENTS -- When writing a letter to this department, first give your full name, postoffice and state. Use pen and ink, on smooth paper, not larger than note size. Write only on one side of the paper and do now sew, paste or pin the sheets together. These rules must be observed to insure publication.
BERTA HARRIS, Sherley, Hopkins Co., Tex. -- Good morning, cousins! After being absent some time from our Cozy Corner, I return more interested than ever. The tube rose is my favorite flower. The time is near at hand for school to start again. Ah, how glad I will be! Sister and myself are both going. She is 17, and I am 11. Mr. Big Hat, did you get my nickel I sent for the stone fund? We missed getting the paper, and I never knew if you got it, or not. Johnny Price, come again. I did enjoy reading your letter.
Mr. Big Hat's
AFTEN SALYER, The Grove, Coryell Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: As the sun descends in the western horizon, I seat myself by the open window to pen a few lines to the Cozy Corner. It has been some time since I last wrote, and perhaps some of you have forgotten me, but nevertheless, I have not forgotten myself, nor you, either. I notice that the cousins give a description of some noted man who lived since Washington's administration (1789). Cousin John Fisher, I do not want to get up an argument with you, but I believe if you will read a book entitled "Columbus and Columbia," you will change your mind as to Lincoln's being the most prominent man since Washington. Read the life of Thomas Jefferson. He was born in Albemarle county, Virginia, on the [13th] of April, 1745. He had excellent advantages of early training, both at home, and at a private school, established by an exiled Scottish clergyman. Afterward, he completed his education at William and Mary college. He then entered the study of law, and soon rose to distinction. He was a bold horseman, a skillful hunter, an elegant penman, a fine violinist, a brilliant talker, a superior classical scholar and proficient in the modern languages. On account of his talents, he was styled "The Sage of Monticello." He was, in early manhood, deeply absorbed in the rising controversy with the mother country, and by his radical views in the house of burgesses, contributed much to fix the sentiments of that body against the arbitrary measures of the English ministry. The provincial council of Virginia, however, could not limit the activity and power of Jefferson, and he was sent to the continental congress. His coming was anxiously awaited in that body in 1776; for his fame as a thinker and democrat had preceded him. To his pen and brain, the declaration of independence must be awarded. During the struggles of the revolution, he was among the most distinguished, active and uncompromising of the patriot leaders. After the war was over, he was sent abroad with Adams and Franklin to negotiate treaties of amity and commerce with the nations of Europe. He was then appointed minister plenipotentiary to the republic of France. From this high trust, he was recalled to become secretary of state under Washington. In 1796, he was elected vice president, and in 1800, president of the United States. Though of aristocratic birth, Jefferson was the most extreme democrat of his time. He was first of his social class to substitute pantaloons for knee pants and to fasten his shoes with leather strings, instead of silver buckles. When elected president, he set aside the custom of his predecessors, who rode to the place of their inauguration in a magnificent court-like carriage, drawn by four horses and accompanied by liveried servants, but proceeded on horseback and unattended. Arriving at the place, he hitched his horse to a pack and, going into the house, delivered an address that occupied less than fifteen minutes. So opposed was he to ostentation and the homage paid to greatness, that he abolished presidential levees and kept the date of his birth a secret, in order that it might not be celebrated. The American decimal system of coinage, the statute of religious freedom in Virginia, the declaration of independence, the university of Virginia, and the presidency of the union, are the immutable foundations of his fame. The last seventeen years of his life were passed at Monticello, near the place of his birth. He died poor in money, but rich in honor. He died in the year 1826. His last words were: "This is the Fourth of July." Oh, cousins, I just wish I could stay with you all day! For the department flower, I will choose the white poppy. Oh, yes; I must not forget to tell you all not to be like Miss Emily Q. Kelty and take me for a boy.
WINNIE WILLIAMS, Paluxy, Hood Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: May I come in and chat with you all awhile this morning? I will take a seat near the fire, as the atmosphere is so damp and chilly. It is morning. It rained all last night, and when I awoke from my slumbers, these words came into my mind:
We have had some very dry weather here, but the earth is quenched of her thirst to-day. I wonder who that is with the auburn hair and sparkling hazel eyes? Well! well! if it isn't our poet. Why, he is nearly six feet tall and weighs 150 pounds. And, there by his side sits Joe Farmer, a bright looking boy, but with a wild expression in his eyes, which is due to the fact that his brain has been floating in hot dish water for the past six weeks. Cousins, Hattie Simmons, and Genevieve Myrdock, why do you not call more frequently? Your last letters seemed to express my very thoughts. Cousin Ollie May Rogers, will you please send me the novel, "Beyond Pardon?" I will return the favor any way that I can, and also return the book and pay expenses. Cousin Jesse Locke, at the age of 12 years, I vowed I would make a school teacher of myself within five years, and at the age of 16, I did my first teaching. Have successfully taught two schools, and have the promise of another at $50 per month. So I, like Cousin Etta Atkinson, am not altogether dependent on my papa. I like teaching. I think it is a grand work. Cousin Etta, come again soon. Well, Cousin Lantie, I will cast my vote for the cape jasmine.
MAUD CARSON, Mount Vernon, Rowan Co., N. C. -- Mr. Big Hat and Cousins: Here I am again, after an absence of several months. I assure you, it is with pleasure that I, again, write to the dear old corner. Mr. Bit Hat, am I welcome? I stayed away so long, I expect I have been forgotten by many of the cousins, but, am glad to see one among the best writers has not, and that is Lena Weise. I have been enjoying vacation, but am going to school now. Lena, I would have written sooner, but my two brothers from Dallas, Texas, and my sister were home on a visit in the summer, and I didn't take time to write. A letter from you will always be read with interest. Where has Nell Morris, Florence Giddens, Rudolph Bollier and Lawrence Neff gone? Cousin Lantie, I select the white lily to represent our department. I think it is the sweetest of flowers. Some one wants us to describe Ludie Sanders. I think she is about five feet tall, a brunette with black hair and eyes, sweet disposition, bright and intelligent. I will tell the cousins something about the presidents of the United States. I will tell more of Washington, as he was the first. George Washington was born Feb. 22, 1732 and died December 14, 1799. He was left fatherless at the age of 11 years. His education was directed by his mother, a woman of strong character, who kindly, but firmly, exacted the most implicit obedience. Of her, Washington learned his first lessons in self-command. Although bashful and hesitating in his speech, his language was clear and manly. Before his thirteenth year, he had copied forms for all kinds of legal and mercantile papers. His manuscript and school books, which still exist, are models of neatness and accuracy. His favorite amusements were of a military character. He made soldiers of his playmates and officered all the mock parades. Grave, diffident, thoughtful, methodical and strictly honorable, such was Washington in his youth. He inherited great wealth, and the antiquity of his family gave him high social rank. On his Potomac farm, he had hundreds of slaves, and at his Mount Vernon home, he was like the prince of wide domain, free from dependence or restraint. He always rode on horseback. His family had a "chariot and four," with black postillions in scarlet and white livery. While at his home, he spent much of his time in riding and hunting. He rose early, ate his breakfast of corn cake, honey and tea, and then rode about his estate. His evenings, he passed with his family around the blazing hearth, retiring between 9 and 10. He loved to linger at the table, cracking nuts and relating his adventures. In personal appearance, Washington was over six feet in height. A consistent Christian, he was a regular attendant and communicant of the Episcopal church. His last illness was brief. "I die hard," said he, "but, I am not afraid to go." He left no children. It has been beautifully said, "Providence left him childless, that his country might call him father." I would love to tell you the history of all the presidents, but for the lack of space, I cannot. John Adams was born in 1735, died 1826. His last words were, "Thomas Jefferson still survives." Jefferson was, however, lying dead in his Virginia home. Thomas Jefferson was born 1745, died 1826. His last words were, "This is the 4th day of July." James Madison was born 1751, died 1836. James Monroe was born 1758, died 1831. John Quincy Adams was born 1767, died 1848. His last words were, "This is the last of earth; I am content." Andrew Jackson was born 1767, died 1845. Martin Van Buren was born 1782, died 1862. William Henry Harrison was born 1773, died 1841. John Tyler was born 1790, died 1862. James K. Polk was born 1795, died 1849. Zachary Taylor was born 1784, died 1850. Millard Fillmore was born 1800, died 1874. Franklin Pierce was born 1804, died 1869. James Buchanan was born 1791, died 1868. Abraham Lincoln was born 1809, died 1865. Andrew [Johnson] was born 1808, died 1875. Ulysses S. Grant was born 1822. Rutherford B. Hayes was born 1822. James A. Garfield was born 1831, died 1881. Chester A. Arthur was born 1830, died 1886. Grover Cleveland was born 1837. I don't know when Benjamin Harrison was born, and don't know when Grand and Hayes died. William J. Bryan speaks in our town Sept. 17. As I am going to school, I can't go to hear him. Come again, Burett Gouger, Fannie Archer and Bessie Smith. I had almost forgotten what I thought about Herbert. He is five feet in height, has chestnut brown hair, brown eyes, fair complexion and is very mischievous. Genevieve Myrdock, I certainly did enjoy reading your nice letter. Come often. I hope your cat will come back. If it don't, write to me, and I will send you a supply. Minnie Rogers, you write a beautiful letter. I would like to correspond with you, if you will write. What has become of the other North Carolina cousins. Cousin Barton S. and Maria C. must not let me do all the writing from this state. Joe Farmer, I have an uncle and aunt and some real cousins in Tennessee. Thompson is their name. Dosia Thompson, perhaps you and I are some kin. How many poets have we? I don't know where our department is going to stop. We haven't but one "Geniusess." I presume you all know who she is. Which shall we call her, "persimmon," or the "Geniusess?" I think we should try to pen picture "Gene" and Joe Farmer when we are through with Herbert and Ludie. Oh, my, what a long letter I have written, and nothing to interest anyone, either! Peggy, I will send you a little bunch of grass that grew in my flower garden, so you won't attack me. It is awfully hot in North Carolina now. I know it must be hot in Texas.
Mr. Big Hat's
BIRTIE LANGLEY, Clemma, Ellis Co., Tex. -- Good morning, Mr. Big Hat, Miss Big Bonnet and cousins, too! Fine morning, isn't it? The wind is blowing from the north, and seems as if we might have a little norther. You seem to be having quite a lively time exchanging ideas with each other. I rather like it, for I was never the proud possessor of many. I live on the Houston and Texas Central railroad, three miles from Ferris and four miles from Palmer. Notwithstanding the nearness of other towns, our little town is going up fast. The soil is rich and we have fine water and plenty of it. If you wish a nice home in a quiet, little village, come ahead, and we will extend to you a hearty welcome. Summer has gone and winter is coming, and oh, how glad I am, for we will all enjoy better health, and everything seems so jolly and full of life in winter. Summer also has its charms, its pretty flowers and singing birds. What can cheer us more when we are lonely and sad at heart, than to take a walk down by a babbling brook, where fern and moss is growing green, and here and there a little violet peeps out at us, dressed in its coat of blue, seeming as if to say: "Come what may and come what will. I am always happy still." Well, I guess I might just as well wend my way homeward, as this is my first visit, and the norther has come in its highest forms. I will call again when the weather is fairer.
WALTER McKINZIE, Carlton, Hamilton Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: As I don't see any letters from Carlton, I will write. We have just had a good rain, which was very much needed. I was 11 years old last Thursday. I live one mile north of the beautiful little city of Carlton. Not a prettier town or a more healthy community, or a community where there is better society, can be found in the Lone Star state. Our school begins in a few weeks. I've been picking cotton, getting ready to start the first day. My best day's picking was 152 pounds. Our cotton hasn't furnished good picking.
GENEVIEVE MYRDOCK, Owlet Green, Van Zandt Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: You have all heard the song, "The Cat Came Back, 'Cause it Couldn't Stay Away?" Well, the cat and I are alike in that particular. Mr. Big Hat, after a careful search, I have been unable to find anything about the Minnesingers, except what Cousin Joe has already told. I shall continue to look, though, and if I find any additional facts concerning them, the cousins shall know them. We have all been familiar with the expression, "Fornatus' purse" from "our youth up," but, I never knew, until my search for the Minnesingers, how it originated. It arose from a German story, written during the sixteenth century, but founded on a legend of even an earlier date. Fornatus was a noble youth, who had undergone many hardships and had many adventures. One day, while wandering in a large forest, he suddenly came face to face with "a beautiful lady, leaning on a wheel." (I wonder if it was a bicycle? Perhaps so, or it might have been a spinning wheel.) She told him her name was Fortune, and asked him what he most desired. Like many of us, he wanted money, and she gave him a wonderful purse, containing a piece of money. No matter how much he spent, the purse always contained the same amount. The story goes on "to point a moral," and tells how Fornatus and his sons were ruined by their wonderful possession. "Why doesn't some one say, Amen?" you ask, Mr. Farmer. Well, if you had waited until you finished the next sentence, you would have hard mine very distinctly. I really believe, Cousin Joe, that you are the best write we have, and I believe, instead of striving and struggling to make a name in the world, I'd rather be a contented, happy farmer. Ahem! Marie Taylor, surely you have not forsaken us? Come soon. Prof. Dawson, I am saving you a chair by me, and anxiously watching for your appearance. Cousin Li Hung Chang Shinplaster, how does it feel to be the center of attraction? According to some of the cousins, you are now occupying that position. It is also intimated that I once held it. I'm sure, I wish I had known it at the time. Hattie Simmons, have you drowned yourself trying to swim? If not, come again. I see that one of the younger cousins says that the girls love Miss Big Bonnet the best. You are mistaken, dear. We all love her, but she has, by no means, usurped her brother's place in our affections. The great fair will soon be here, and we have never made our plans yet. Of course, it will be impossible to fix a certain day for all of us, but we might decide on a badge, so if any of us were there, we might get acquainted. There are some of the cousins I'd be almost as glad to meet, as I would a personal friend. Let us decide the matter, at once, among ourselves, or put all in Mr. Big Hat's hands. I have just finished reading, for the fifth or sixth time, that wonderful book, "Kenilworth," by Scott. I see where some one, in a recent compilation of good books, mentions it as the best historical novel. I don't know; am not competent to judge about that, but it is certainly a great work. My heart has ached in sympathy with David Copperfield and Oliver Twist, and my eyes were moist when Paul Dombey died and little Nell; but, when I read "Kenilworth," I broke down and cried, and yet, I could scarcely tell whether my tears were shed for poor Amy Rosbart, the much to be pitied earl, or England's proud, but heartsick, queen. I know I really hate the horrible Quilp and Salty Brass; Mr. Murdstone is detestable, and so is that politest of rascals in "Barnaby Ridge;" but Richard Varney seems to have the wickedest traits of them all. And yet, the whole book leaves a dissatisfied feeling. I can hardly help wishing Scott had thrown historical facts to the four winds and let somebody "lived happily ever afterward." Scott's "Lady of the Lake," is a wonderful poem, but it has not for me, half the interest of "Lucile." How many of you like the book, "Barriers Burned Away," by E. P. Roe? I enjoyed reading it, though, I think the characters of Dennis Fleet and Christian Ludolph, Mr. Fleet and "Bruder" are overdrawn. It really seems to me that a person who doesn't love books, misses half the pleasure of life. Deprived of my books, I don't know what I would do. The opening of school brings a feeling of sadness to me. It will be impossible for me to go. The younger children must go, and I am needed at home. How I wish I had a "Fornatus' purse!"
PEARL SHAW, Pepper Grove, Galveston Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and dear cousins: It has been quite a while since I have given you a call, but I can't resist the temptation any longer. How the Cozy Corner has improved! Oh, no! it is not the corner, it is the cousins. I know that you all have forgotten me, but when I get through, you will know who it is. Mr. Big Hat, how do you entertain so many visitors at once? Don't you get tired? Never mind, winter is coming, and with it, school, so, we all will have to go to studying. We get The News twice a week, but I don't read anything but the Cozy Corner and the Woman's Century. As the cousins are voting for their favorite flower, I will vote for the daisy. I see that many of the cousins are voting for the cape jasmine, but I think that it is too cold a flower; it always reminds me of death. The modest little daisy blooms nearly all of the year. Cousins, I don't believe that there is any Mr. Big Hat, for I have been in Galveston a good many times, and passed right by The News office, and never did see Mr. Big Hat or Peggy, either! I live twelve miles from Galveston. I would be glad to have Mr. Big Hat and Miss Big Bonnet give me a call! We are going to have a barbecue at Port Bolivar, six miles from here, and Mr. Big Hat and all of the cousins are invited to attend. There will be an excursion from Galveston on the tug Richmond, and from Beaumont on the new railroad, Gulf and Interstate. Now, Cousin Herbert, I will try to describe you. You are 18 years old, six feet tall, weigh 150 pounds. You have black eyes, curly black hair, fair complexion, and you are a very wild boy, but will make a great man. Ludie Sanders is a smart girl, learning fast, and is a favorite among her schoolmates. I think she is about 15 years old, five feet and a half tall, 120 pounds, has gray eyes, dark complexion and red hair. School will begin the 1st of October, and I certainly will be glad, for I dearly love to go to school. The only trouble with our school is it doesn't last long enough. I want to be a school teacher some day, but am afraid I will not succeed. I am going to try to get a private school in the spring. All join in, wishing me success! I will be 15 the 19th of October. One of the cousins said that she would not get any present this birthday. Why, that isn't anything; I never did get one, and I don't think it hurt me. What has become of Bessie Bee and Ida Hill? There is a great deal of sickness on Bolivar. There have been twenty cases of typhoid fever in the last two months, but so far, there has been but one death.
EVA MAY BATCHELOR, Dallas, Dallas Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I have staid away from your Cozy Corner as long as I can. I have been wanting to write for a long time, but was afraid my poor letter would only do to feed Peggy on. Some of the cousins write such nice letters. I wish I could do as well. My pets consist of four little sisters. My papa is a traveling man, and I haven't seen him for nearly three months. My favorite flower is the sweet violet. I am 10 years old and live on Live Oak street.
BESSIE SHILLINGS, Lebanon, Indian Territory > Marshall Co., Okla. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Here comes another new cousin to join your department. We live in the nation, but have come to Texas on a visit to see my grandpa, aunt, uncles and cousins. It has been five years since I saw any of them. We had a nice time on the road. We saw pretty houses and towns. I am 9 years old. I have three sisters and two brothers. My sisters, brother and six cousins are all down here, and you may know we have lots of fun together, but we are going home this evening. I am going to school.
NETTIE FRANCIS, Tyson, Hill Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Will you admit another 15-year-old cousin to join the Cozy Corner, cousins? I will tell you what I think. The Cozy Corner grows more interesting every time I read it. I can scarcely wait until the Friday issue comes. I have been going to camp meeting all the summer, and have had a nice time and enjoyed good meetings. I went to one ice cream supper, and I don't know how many picnics. We also went to visit my mother's father. My cousin from the nation was there. Our school will open the first Monday in November, and I will be glad of it, for I do dearly love to go to school. My papa is going to teach the school another year. He has taught the school for three sessions. It has been four or five years since I first saw Mr. Big Hat's picture, and he is just as small now, as he was then. I think the Sam Houston memorial stone fund is a great thing. In fact, Houston was a great man. I have an uncle named for him. Come again, Ludie Sanders, Genevieve Myrdock, Temple Pincham and Ethel Rose. I think your letters are interesting. I have two sisters and one brother. I would like to correspond with some cousin.
EARLY CORNELIUS, Mountain Peak, Ellis Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Once more, I am seized with a desire to contribute something to our "dear department," but like Florence Giddens, I fear I can't comply with every one's suggestions. However, I will let the suggestions take care of themselves for the present, while I try to collect what few melted, scorched and bewithered thoughts I possess to impose upon the corner. Mr. Farmer is pleading for a rather nice reception, isn't he? Yes, a reception that most any of the cousins would fain receive. However, I think Mr. Farmer, our "ideal correspondent," and, with about fifty more such writers, the corner would be cozy, indeed. Mr. Herbert has come to us in the garb of a great poet and explorer. After taking a view of the distant planets, he returns, and in a most boastful manner, tells us of his encounters with Old Go Ahead and the whale. Yes, and more than that, he says he has discovered that home is the best place for all such chaps as he. Now, cousins, take warning; let's learn a lesson at Mr. Herbert's expense. I guess if one had been near him while on that mysterious transportator's back, they would have heard him singing in a pitiful tone, the song entitled, "There's No Place Like Home," while the steady stroke of old "Go Ahead's wing wafted him onward and upward. Dale Nelson, Carlisle Russell, Pet Kelley, Annie Jamison, come again. Ray Hill, have you severed your connection with us forever? If so, you should have give us your farewell address. Ah! hasn't the corner a generous supply of poets; sometimes, I am seized with what I shall call a "poetical spasmodic" myself, but knowing that my poetical ambitions are rather green, and that they would be too tempting for Peggy, I haven't the courage to place them at his disposal. Cousins, did you ever think how many of the world's greatest men died in misery and want? Columbus was sent home in shame and disgrace from the new world, which he had discovered. Milton, upon whose brow fame had placed her laurel wreath, died in abject poverty. Socrates, the most eminent of the ancient philosophers, was charged with instilling into the youth, a disobedience to their duties and propagating impiety to the gods, faults of which, he was notoriously innocent. He was forced to spend his last days in prison and wait for the signal of death, which was the return of a ship. That great soldier, Napoleon, after he had shaken every throne in Europe, and after his defeat by the "Holy Alliance" of European powers, was imprisoned on a lonely island. A host of others might be named, which shows how little the world appreciates her greatest men. Boys, didn't Miss Lauretta Faust come it on us, though? According to her definition, a boy is a most excellent "tormenting apparatus." Thank you for the compliment, Miss Laurette, but I hardly think we deserved it. However, your letter was interesting, and you have my invitation to come again. I suppose all are anxious to know the result of the literary contest, especially those who have sent their work to the Hon. Mr. Big Hat for inspection. The cousins should highly appreciate Mr. Big Hat's kindness for offering the prizes and placing a page of his valuable paper at their disposal. The grand and golden opportunities are swiftly passing away. How true the old saying, "Time and tide wait for no man." Why don't some of the cousins write a biography of Gen. Sam Houston? It seems that the cousins have overlooked this venerable old man who helped to rescue Texas from Mexican despotism.
MAUDE SALLEY, Hubbard, Hill Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I have long been a silent reader and admirer of your Cozy Corner, and I can not stay away any longer. Would it be asking too much of your "royal highness" to ask you to look down from among those palatial air castles which you inhabit, and give me permission to step in the Corner and join your happy band -- something I have been contemplating for quite a while? I think we mark more improvement every week. I never read so many highly interesting letters in all my life before. Joe Farmer, your letters are just lovely. Also, Genevieve Myrdock's. Your letters are very instructive, as well as entertaining. When you both become men and women, you will have won a fair name that can never be blotted from the memory of the Cozy Corner readers. Genevieve, speaking of beauty alone, I imagine you are a perfect little queen. Your cheeks are like scarlet, and soft as velvet. Your beautiful brown eyes defy the stars, and your tresses are like streams of gold. If I should be permitted to build a monument to beauty, I would place its foundation at your feet and build its summit up among the clouds. With the band of magic sculpture, I would place your image there and pray God to send only gentle breezes to fan your brow. Joe Farmer, judging from your letters, I see you have quite a taste for books, and have already familiarized yourself with the best, even at your young age. There are so many nice letters, I hardly know which are the best. There are many writers who will some day become great men and women, and who will win a grand name in this world. Then, we'll all be proud of them, and they, themselves, will rejoice to think what a benefit they can, and will, be to others. Dear cousins, I have a warming to give you against what we call "keeping bad company." Boys, beware of bad company; beware how you let a bad man talk familiarly with you. Look him straight in the eye, without a smile at his coarse words, and see how it will disconcert him. There is no monstrosity of wickedness that can stand unabashed under the glance of purity and honor. God keeps the lightnings of heaven in his own scabbard, and no human arm can wield them. But, God gives to every young man a lightning that he may use, and that is the lightning of an honest eye. Shun the skeptic. Shun the young man who puts his fingers in his vest and laughs at your old-fashioned religion, and turns to some mystery of the Bible and says, "Explain that, my pious friend; I am not afraid of the future. I used to be, and so did my father and mother, but I have got over all that." Yes, he has got over it; and, if you sit in his company a little longer, you will get over it, too. Shrink back from idleness in yourself and in others, and maintain a right position, and you will always keep good company. I solicit correspondence.
W. LAWRENCE GEORGE, Willow City, Gillespie Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat, Peggy and cousins: Good morning to all! Well, Peggy, you have eaten the first letter I wrote, and I guess you will eat this one, too. Next time I write, I will send 10 cents to the Houston monument. I was so glad to see a letter from Minnie Rogers of Blanco. I was at the jubilee at Fredericksburg, and staid three days. I know Miss Rosa Pauls, the lady that introduced your brother to Wilhelmine Clark. She lives at Willow City, and I boarded at her home last year and went to school. I have a sister that is going to school now in Blanco. Her name is Fannie. I will be glad to see Minnie's next letter, as she said she would describe Blanco. I hope Mr. Big Hat will admit me as a member of the Cozy Corner. Mr. Peggy, I hope you won't be such a cannibal as to eat this letter. I will answer Miss Cora Smith's question: A dead hen lays the longest. I would like to correspond with Miss Mamie Moore of Alvarado. I am a boy just 16 years old.
HUGH LUSTER, Prosper, Collin Co., Tex. - Mr. Big Hat and cousins: There is another one knocking at the door for admittance into the Cozy Corner. This is my first attempt to write, but I have been reading the cousins' letters for about two years. I like to read the letters very much. Lafayette Sewast writes an interesting letter. Come again, 75-year-old cousin. I like to read your letters. Mr. Big Hat, for a department flower, I think the rose is the loveliest of them all. My age is 12. I live on the farm and go to school.
NELIA PRUITT, Waxahachie, Ellis Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and dear cousins: Will you again allow me the privilege of writing to the most interesting department of the paper, the Cozy Corner. Pearl Yarbrough, I live within three blocks of town. I would have liked to have seen you so much while here. Come again. My uncle lives just about twenty yards from the Frost tank. It is, indeed, a very beautiful place. You should have taken a ride on the little steamboat. Mamma and I were visiting in Frost long ago, and one day, mamma and my cousin went over on the far side of the tank and my little cousin and I endeavored, of course, to follow. I became frightened at a cow and I fell in the water. They pulled me out and I never tried crossing again. I choose for the department flower, the white lily, emblem of purity. Mr. Big Hat, I will send a stamp for yours and Miss Big Bonnet's pictures.
JOE M. DAWSON, Italy, Ellis Co., Tex. -- Responding to the invitations of several to come again, I will, once more, identify myself with the many bright letter-writers of the Cozy Corner. Thanks, Pet Kelly; and thanks to you, too. Meanville Russell, I enjoyed both your letters very much. Jenny Arnold, I cordially invite you to write again. The fire of patriotism must burn very brightly within your heart, else we could not have enjoyed this outburst of enthusiasm. I fancy I can picture in my mind's eye, the kind of disposition you have. Very imaginative, passionate, with an extreme love for the grand and the beautiful, but withal ambitious and sensitive. Am I right? Well, Mr. Wallpaper S. Shinplaster, you are a breezy entertainer, and should not get discouraged about your name. While it sounds very queer, and possibly, suggestive, it may help you, in a measure, on to fame; for, doubtless, you have noticed the growing popularity for strange and curious names in the periodicals of to-day. This is due to the fact that foreign writers hailing from distant lands are taking a very important place in our literature. Then, there seems to be a kind of prevalence for quaint names in literature from time immemorial. Hang on to your name, by all manes. Now, of course, I could not think of failing to tell you something of my books, for that is my hobby, being, or trying to be, made, at least, my daily associates, though, I find it difficult sometimes, when I come home from the cotton field at night, tired, dusty and fingers sore, to associate myself with any thing except a hearty supper and twelve hours of good, sound sleep. But, what matters, if when I do get to read, I do it with relish. Washington Irving has been, and is, my favorite of all authors, Scott not excepted. One never tires of the good, easy manner in which he expresses himself. I read and re-read his "Legend of Sleepy Hollow," and, at each reading, some new beauty is present, which I had failed to see at a former time. I think that if Irving lived to-day, I would try to make arrangements by which board could be secured at his house, for one. Joe Dawson, I should even take pleasure, I think, in grooming his horse and keeping his shoes looking shiny, just to have orders delivered to me in his happy, easy style. It has always been a mystery to me why it was, that in spite of ill health, and of being disappointed in love by the lady of his choice, lying, he always maintained the calm, easy temperament which characterized his life. So deep was his affections for his intended wife, that he never married. One may get an idea of his love for the innocent and beautiful by reading "The Pride of the Village." In this piece is presented his softer nature, which was gentle enough at all times, but here, in particular. Now, let us turn from the "Father of American Literature" to Longfellow's beauteous "Courtship of Miles Standish," with which all of us are so familiar. The story of long-ago pilgrim days never grows old. How the fearless Capt. Standish weakened under this new phase of gallantry, and sent his secretary, John Alden, to do his wooing; how it resulted in the Puritan maiden, Priscilla, saying: "Why don't you speak for yourself, John?" -- is still read and appreciated. How, after failing in his love affairs, the grewsome old captain, on his march against the wily red man, remarked:
but a dream -- let it pass -- let it vanish like so many others;
How Capt. Standish, who was reported dead, created such confusion by stalking into the little room where John Alden and Priscilla were being made man and wife, but possessing the noble traits of his ancestors, was quick to forgive and forget, walked up to the young pair, "wishing her joy and loudly lauding her husband," invoked his blessing. All this delights us, but while it is very interesting, it was perhaps made more so to the poet, on account of the characters' being his ancestors' direct. I have lately been taking especial notice of the changes which our language is undergoing. The bicycle has introduced a variety of newly-coined words. Some of the phrases are perfectly absurd and ridiculous. Seemingly, the wheelmen are puncturing the language, as well as their tires. Electricity has been the means of bringing a large amount of new words into play; in fact, all inventions bring with them inverted words. While all this is going on, the reporter is doing good or bad, as the case may be, by making some marked changes, and I believe it is generally for the worst. For instance, a man has not been known to die in several years past. You read it in the newspaper of to-day: "He deceased," "he passed out of existence," "his spirit quitted its earthly habitation," "winged its way to eternity," "shook off its burden," or "lay down to rest." "Peddler" is rendered "itinerant merchant." We speak of a fellow who is fond of drink as being "bibulously inclined," and so on, ad infinitum. John W. Criddle, come again; your letter was good. Genevieve Murdock and Marie Taylor, what is holding you away?
MYRTLE NELSON, Advance, Parker Co., Tex. -- Dear Little Men and Women: Once again, I have the pleasure of writing to you. I love to write to the Cozy Corner. Isn't the corner improving? It makes any one feel happy to read so many nice letters every week. I got a letter from one of the cousins the other day. I will send the name of my favorite flower. It is the Texas plume. Nellie Fallon, come again, your letters are nice. I will start to school the 1st of November, if we have our cotton out by that time. We have out four bales and think we will get two more off of twenty acres. We picked away from home some, but not much. Herbert Taylor, I don't know, but what we are kin to each other, for my mother was a Taylor before she was married, and her father's folks came from Mississippi to Texas in the early days, when Indians and deer abounded. I love to read books about great men and women. I love to read about the great men who settled up the far west, like Daniel Boone, David Crockett and Simon Kenton, the man that was tied to the stake three times, and ran the gauntlet eight times, and made his escape. The answer to Willie Belle Nichol's question, who was the man that rose from a sick bed to lead his troops in a battle, in which he was killed, is Gen. Wolfe. The answer to your question, why Major Mollie was so called, is that during the battle, an artillery man was shot at his post and his wife, Mary Pitcher, while she was bringing water to her husband from a spring, saw him fall and heard the commander order the piece to be removed from the field. Instantly dropping the pail, she hastened to the cannon, seized the rammer, and with the skill of a man, performed her husband's duty. The soldiers gave her the nick-name of "Major Mollie." Congress voted her a sergeant's commission with half pay through life. Cora Smith, I do not live far from you. The answer to your question is a dead hen. I will ask a question: Who fired the first gun in the French and Indian war?
ETHEL ELDRIDGE, Waco, McLennan Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Here comes another new member. Lee Sypert, talking about "Scottish Chiefs," it is just grand; words are inadequate to express my opinion of it. I think Helen was a perfect angel, and if only those kind of angels existed now-adays, this world and the people in it, would certainly be goodness personified. It would give me great pleasure to correspond with Lee Sypert. I am one of her most ardent admirers. My opinion of Ludie Sanders is: She is about 16, with brown, curly hair, is rather tall, pretty, intelligent and stylish. As for Herbert Taylor, he is about five feet high, 17 years old, has sea blue eyes, cavalry mustache and large mouth. My school will soon begin, and I would like to borrow all of the cousins' handkerchiefs, especially Mr. Big Hat's, as I am sure his would be like the first part of his name and would answer the purpose of a table cloth to shed my emblems of regret on. Well, as my store of information is about bankrupt, I will close and send my sky-blue affections and high-heel regards for Peggy to feast on, instead of my letter, as I know it would be more digestible. My favorite flower is the cape jasmine.
EMMA LAWLER, Minerva, Milam Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I was very glad to see my little letter in print a few weeks ago, so, I will come again. Genevieve Myrdock, Ruth Miller and Minnie Rodgers, come again. Rachel Sanders, what is [it] that you want to tell Mr. Sanders? It looks like you would tell me, and let me tell him, for I can get over there where he lives quicker than he could come to where you live. Cora Smith, you asked the question, What hen lays the longest? It is a dead hen, of course. We are picking cotton now, and I can pick 204 pounds a day. We have had lots of watermelons, but they are all gone now. I love flowers very dearly, and my favorite flower is the red velvet rose. I think it is the queen of flowers. School will commence here in October, and I sure will be glad. I took music lessons last winter, but I am not [them] taking now. I am 12 years old.
MARY LEA HUDDLESTON, Leander, Williamson Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Here I am again, after a silence of several years. I, again, ask for admittance in the Cozy Corner. What are all of the cousins doing these hot summer days? I guess some of them are like me -- picking cotton. Oh, these golden moments, how they are passing away! I wonder how many of the cousins ever think over this matter, how we let our opportunities pass. Just take two words and consider them and what we can make out of them. These words are "idleness" and "industry." What is idleness, and what does it lead to? It has led many to commit crime and to the penitentiary. Industry leads to wealth and happiness. Now, cousins, let us all try to put our golden moments to some advantage and not spend them in idleness. Cousins, if we are far away from Virginia, wouldn't a trip up the James river, which flows across the southern part of the state, be worth taking. I know it would be a beautiful ride between the wooded banks, with every now and then, a fine old Virginia estate, extending down to the water's edge. Besides the beauty of the region, its historic interest, etc., extends through the civil war, the revolution and back to the very earliest settlement. After leaving Norfolk and sailing up the river a little way, we see on either side of the boat, for miles, vast fleets of oyster boats, reaping a rich harvest. The first point of interest is the site of the ancient "citie" of Jamestown. There is nothing left of the old town, but ruins. The town itself was destroyed in 1676, during Bacons' rebellion, but the house occupied by Gov. Berkeley has stood all these years and been occupied. Last year, however, it caught fire and was nearly destroyed. The ruins of the walls are still there. But, the most interesting thing of all is the ruins of the old church tower. It is very picturesque, with trees and shrubbery growing midst the old cemetery, which lies at its foot. It is of brick brought from England in those remote days. A mass of masonry upon the shore shows where John Smith's powder magazine was. Not far from the old tower are some earthworks, which formed the wall of a confederate fort in the civil war. Farther up the river, on the same side, the north side, are some fine old estates, which date as far back as 1640. "Shirley," the home of the aristocratic Carter family of Virginia, was built in 1642[?] of brick brought from England. It is a beautiful old place. Here was born Annie Carter, the mother of Gen. Robert E. Lee. "Westower" is another beautiful old estate. The house was built in 1737 by Col. William Byrd, the founder of Richmond. This house was occupied, at one time, by Benedict Arnold, after he joined the British, and it was from here he departed to capture Richmond. "Berkeley," another old place, was the birth place of the first President Harrison, and was occupied, at one time, during the civil war, as headquarters, by Gen. McClellan. It was here, at Harrison's landing, that many exchanges of prisoners were made. "'Brandon," a splendid old estate on the south shore, is the home of another family of Harrisons. Here have been entertained, all the presidents, from Washington to Lincoln, at least. "Brandon" and "Shirley" are occupied by the original families who built the house. Farther up toward Richmond, are many places made famous during the last war. At Drury's Bluff, a serious engagement took place, and the earth ramparts of the confederate forts are still seen. Here, in this part of the river, many gunboats were sunk, carrying down many a brave soldier. So many soldiers were buried in these waters, that the place is called Graveyard landing. The trip also takes us through the famous Dutch Gap, so closely associated with the name of Ben Butler. The river here winds in such a way, as to make a loop of about seven miles in length. Gen. Butler, wishing to take his troops up the river, found by cutting across the neck of this loop, he would avoid the confederates' batteries stationed there, and now, all steamers pass through the Dutch gap. Mr. Big Hat, all of the cousins are telling their favorite flowers. Allow me to tell mine. I like crape myrtle the best. What has become of all of our old-time cousins, and where is our Wisconsin cousin? I know that the cousins will all say that they wish I would never come again, but if this escapes the waste basket, I shall do so, nevertheless.
ONA POGUE, Blum, Hill Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Seeing my first letter in print has encouraged me to write again. Cousins, see how our page is improving! It grows brighter and brighter each publication. If some of the cousins keep improving as they have been, they will make great writers some day. And, if Cousin Herbert T. and our Dallas poet keep on, they will be great poets. Thus, the Cozy Corner will make both orators and poets of its writers. That shows it is beneficial for anyone to write, even if it is nothing but a little letter. Everything is done step by step. The Blum High school opened Sept. 14. I was very glad, indeed, but, I was much more pleased to have our same dear teacher again this year. Cousins, the other day, when I cam home from school, I was told I had received a letter from a Cozy Corner cousin. I was so surprised, I was just beside myself! I could hardly wait to see who it was from (but, of course, I had to), and when I looked, who should it be, but Cousin Bessye Smith, of Whitney. I was very glad, and felt quite proud of having received a letter from a stranger, although she did not seem like a stranger, for I have read her letters often in The News. It seems as if though I can see Peggy peeping through a crack, and some of the cousins nodding, and those who are not nodding, are making a great face, as much as to say, "I wish that girl would go home." So, I will take my leave with some questions: What celebrated philosopher, when a boy, went without meat to buy books? Of what president was it said, "If his soul were turned inside out, not a spot could be found upon it?"
LULA LISEMBY, Hubbard, Hill Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat, Peggy and cousins: It has been about five months since I last wrote to The News. If I could write as nice and interesting letters as some of the cousins do, I would write oftener. Among the writers I admire, Hattie Simmons, Florence Giddens, Gene. Myrdock and Herbert Taylor. There are a good many others, but I can not think of their names. We have been having some dry weather in this part of the country, but we are getting a beautiful rain this evening. I notice that some of the cousins are speaking about learning how to swim. I know that I will never learn to swim, for I am too afraid of water. I went to a reunion at Mt. Calm the 7th of August, and had a nice time. Oh, how I wish some of the cousins were here to help me pick cotton. We would run a race, and I know that I would beat. My age is 17 years. I picked cotton on my birthday, the 28th of August. How many of the cousins like to go to singing school? I do. I went to one this summer. Lantie, I was just about to forget to vote for the Cozy Corner emblem. I will vote for the red velvet rose, which I think is the sweetest flower that the sun ever did shine upon. Some of the cousins are speaking about education. I think that is one of the greatest things that anybody could have. I haven't much of an education, but it is just because I didn't try to get it, but, I am sorry now that I didn't, and I am going to do my best, from this on.
EFFIE REESE, Longview, Gregg Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I, again, take my seat among you all, after an absence of eight or nine months, to have a little chat with Mr. Big Hat and the merry cousins. I would write you oftener, if I could write interesting letters like Herbert Taylor, Johnnie Price, Maud Carson and many others. What has become of Rudolph Bollier? Off hunting, I suppose. I enjoy reading the cousins' letters very much. I saw my last letter in the News and was very glad. Miss Big Bonnet, I think you are very pretty. Donia Cordell, Joe Farmer, Joe Dawson, Minnie Rogers, Ludie Sanders, Nettie McKay and Hattie Simmons, come again. If Peggy gets this letter, I will not stop writing, but will venture again; it will hurt my feelings, but what will that amount to? Miss Myrdock, your letter was splendid. Come again. Mr. Big Hat, I think your paper the best in the United States. Peggy, you write very well for a mule. I will not tell how many brothers and sisters I have, or tell how many pets I have, but if this is not fit for publication, take it, Peggy. This is my second attempt to write to the department.
MYRTLE MARCH, Wills Point, Van Zandt Co., Tex. -- That's right, cousins, jump up and straighten things around. Sweep up the Cozy Corner and dust the chairs, for company is coming, sure. But, before going any further, perhaps, as I am a stranger, I'd better introduce myself, making my prettiest bow. I beg leave to inform you that I am nothing more, nor less, than the great, the grand, the illustrious "chum" of Gene Myrdock. May be those adjectives should modify Gene, instead of "chum," but I'll not change them now, if you please, I should like to have a seat by Mr. Farmer. I want to tell you, Joe (I soon get acquainted), how much Gene thinks of you. "Your letters are splendiferous (I'm quoting her now), so full of quaint humor or touching pathos." Well, I agree with her, and more, too, for if you are as cute as your letters, why, you are nearly equal to somebody whose name isn't Joe. Gene has just spent ten days with me, and, if ever a poor creature needed sympathy, I needed it, then. Such a course of sprouts as she put me through! I am going to spend two weeks with her soon, and if I don't pay her back, my name's not Myrt March. The very first day she came, we went shopping. I told her about the handsome young clerk and tried to impress on her that she must behave, so I could make a good impression, but her firs remark in the store was "Say, Myrt, where's that clerk with the charming eyes?" Then, she asked for shoes, "I am afraid I can't suit you in shoes, but we have a lovely line of ties," began the clerk. "But, I don't need any ties," interrupted that awful girl. "I've got one of brother's four-in-hands that he never wore but once, and Cousin Tom gave me two lawn ties, and -- " Well, when I got her home, I locked her in the closet and kept her there until she vowed "honest Injun," she'd behave ever afterward. But, I must tell you about the monkey dance. A crowd of dagoes had been tramping the town with a monkey, but for some reason, they missed our next door neighbor. Gene and I decided "twas too bad for our neighbors to miss such a treat and we arranged to make what compensation we could. We let one of the other neighbors into the joke and borrowed from her, a pair of her son's trousers. Arrayed in these duds, old coat and the slouchiest hat I could find, Gene declared I needed nothing but a touch of dirt and soot to make me a perfect representation of a dago boy. She wore a very "shaggy" green skirt, a basque that was in style ten years ago, and an immense red shawl over her head, besides an apron made of oat sacks. We didn't stop to think that our costumes were rather warm for the season of the year, but went on with our fixing. We had our monkey ready, a brown flannel one that belonged to the baby. I needed a tambourine, so we took the ribbons off the one in the parlor and hoped no one would notice the flowers painted on it. We tied a red cord to the monkey and Gene took it in her arms. I took my tambourine and we bravely marched to the front gallery. "Twas after supper, and we expected to find no one at home, except two girls and their mother, so you can imagine our consternation when two boys, who were calling, came out with the girls on the gallery to see who the intruders were. There was no chance for retreat, so trusting to the semi-darkness to help conceal our individuality, I motioned to Gene to begin. "Want to see monkey dance?" she mumbled. Yes, they did. So, I gravely passed the tambourine for the free will offering, but they insisted on "show first, pay afterward," so, I began the music and Gene made "Jocko" exhibit his wonderful agility. She manipulated the cord, and how that flannel monkey did jump! "What a little monkey," said one of the boys, and "Look, their tambourine has pansies on it!" exclaimed one of the girls. "Why, if it isn't Myrt," she began again, but we waited to hear no more. Throwing the monkey and music machine at them, we took to our heels. Helter skelter, we went, with them right after us, but we outran them and locked them outdoors. I'll never hear the last of it. Everybody calls me "Jocko" and never forget to ask "Want to see munk dance?" Dad started to lecture me, but I told him 'twas just my animal spirits cropping out,' and he let me off. How many of the cousins have a bicycle? I am almost crazy for one. Have any of you girls ever cooked a midnight supper? If you haven't, I'll advise you to cook one right away. It is the best and surest way to have your fate sealed. Gene sends her love to Mr. Big Hat, Miss Big Bonnet and all the other bonnets.
BRAXTON RODGERS, Zephyr, Brown Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: As I have been absent for some time, I have prepared myself to make a salutation to the cousins. I can not say that I belong to the congregation of cousins, but I make a visit about once or twice a year. Being a visitor, I cannot help thinking you will take a friendly look at me. I am sure that you all have missed my letter, not because they contained great science and showed great intellect, but because they are the letters of that foolish Brack Rodgers. Mr. Big Hat, how long is it since you sheared Peggy? If it has been a great while, the butcher at Zephyr might buy him to frighten beeves to death. I believe that I have nothing of interest to say. I only expect pleasure in reading the letters of others. The crop is short here, and everything is dull. There is nothing to do but sleep and talk and work, and some might say eat, but, we do not have so much to eat. We, therefore, do without and stay within, when agreeable to pa. That school time is coming, is one great peace to mind. Then, the young ones will meet, and young hearts will be cheered, that have probably great hardships and sorrows endured. The young folks of Zephyr have started a debating society to collect their memories and give them a pleasant evening during the week. Since the cousins are describing one another, I am a little afraid to write, for fear some one might undertake to draw my picture in writing, and if so, it would be a beauty. To be with the crowd, I will undertake to pen-picture Gene Myrdock, in order that I may (though, it will be by accident) get that endless string of compliments she offers. In my mind, Gene, you are about 19 years of age, your weight is 120 pounds, your height 5 1/2 feet. Your face is sun-browned, though tolerably fair. You have a good business head. Your nose is straight, your lips come together straight and close, your eyes are greyish blue, eyebrows a little high above the eye, hair of dark brown color, and you wear No. 5 shoes, and stand tolerably erect, only when your mother reaches after the broom. You then lean to that wash tub. I am one who makes pen-pictures for the offered compliment, and, if anyone thinks that I will not try to pen-picture her, just offer me a compliment, or anything else nice, and I will respond, unless there are too many at once, which is unexpected. Boys, how are you getting along picking cotton this fall? Have you made any money? If not, poor boys! I have helped to pick two bales at home and made 75 cents picking away from home, before the 15th of September. Who's done better?
IDA KEBELMAN, Weatherford, Parker Co., Tex. -- Little Mr. Big Hat: How are you and all the charming cousins? You see I can not stay away any longer. I read all the letters. I think the boys write splendid letters. I am proud of our poet. Come again, Eula Wood, I wish I could have gone with you when you went fishing. I know I would like you, Cousin Lantie. I will vote for my favorite flower, the blue for-get-me-not. I think this is a very sweet little flower. It is almost sacred, for in the beginning:
LELAH LOIS HOUSE, Dallas, Dallas Co., Tex. -- Little Mr. Big Hat: If you have not quite decided which flower you will take for an emblem, I wish to suggest a calla lily. You have some nice letters. I have been reading your letters for some time, and I like them very much. This is my first letter to The News. I hope you will like it. I know one or two of the cousins. I was 10 years old the 4th day of July, and I am in the fifty grade. I inclose a stamp for Little Miss Big Bonnet's picture.
BIRTIE RICHARDSON, Egan, Johnson Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat, cousins and Peggy, also: Will you let another little Texas girl into your happy band? I am 11 years old, and can pick 125 pounds of cotton a day. I have no pets. My little pig that was given me, died. I have two brothers and four sisters. I read all the cousins' letters. Miss Big Bonnet, come again; your letters are so interesting.
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