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THE COZY CORNER
April 12, 1896

 

TO CORRESPONDENTS -- When writing letters to Big Hat's department for publication, write on one side of the paper only. Printers never turn their copy, and the editor has no time to rewrite half, or even part, of your letters. Give your full name and address. Anonymous letters are never printed. These rules are imperative.


JOE DAWSON, Italy, Ellis Co., Tex. -- Well, cousins, hasn't Miss Wilhemina Johnson taken a start? She "supposes" that I am a very good boy; well, I "suppose" she is the first girl that ever thought so, although I am not a bad boy by any means, only the girls don't get charmed with me as readily as they do with other boys who are more handsome than I. But as soon as they find I'm a good sort of a boy, why then it is all right.
     I have received several complimentary letters since my last appearance in the Cozy Corner, one from Liverpool, England, which I appreciated very much, because I had no idea that what I wrote would be read so far away. I sometimes wonder if the cousin who writes of his loving pets ever stops to consider whether his pet, unless a freak indeed, will be of any interest to the other cousins. We should think of this in writing and write something that will benefit ourselves as well as others.
     Cousins, I have a suggestion to offer (if Mr. Big Hat will pardon me, and I think he will and also will indorse it). It is this: Suppose we organize a literary club, with one officer, whose sole duty shall be to give to certain members of the club at the beginning of each year, a book or author upon which he is to write an essay or sketch to contain not more than 1500 words, or about one column. This would give us about 52 sketches a year, and would induce the cousins to become more interested in literature and good books. I think Mr. Big Hat would not only gladly grant us the space but would co-operate with us in the way of giving some invaluable advice as to choosing subject matter. And after a while, when it is well under way, he might feel inclined to offer a prize for the best sketch. I've no doubt but the majority would feel more like writing if given a certain topic, who otherwise might feel "all at sea" as to a subject to write upon; and I feel sure it would have a good effect upon them in the way of literary research. This would give them, also, a greater desire to write something of interest. Perhaps Mr. Big Hat could secure for us such books as might be discussed from time to time, at decidedly reduced rates, provided ten or more persons wanted the book. I think it would give us a great opportunity for gaining a better knowledge of authors, especially our own country, and would be one that we can not afford to miss, if Mr. Big Hat approves, and will grant space. However, we would like to hear what he thinks of its practicability. Perhaps it might interfere with his purpose in giving to the young people of Texas a page in which to write and improve their abilities in composition.


INA CLICK, Abilene, Taylor Co., Tex. -- My dear friends: Having read your charming letters for many months, I find myself unable to longer resist the temptation of writing for admittance. If this escapes Peggy's monstrous jaws I shall deem myself most fortunate and my effort not in vain. Cousins, did you know that Washington, Garfield and Harrison were the only presidents who were church members, and that all, one excepted, were men who revered Christianity? Adams married a minister's daughter and was inclined to Unitarianism. Jefferson was not a believer, at least while he was chief magistrate. Madison's early connections were Presbyterian. Monroe is said to have favored the Episcopal church. John Quincy Adams was like his father. Jackson was a Presbyterian and died in the communion of that church. Van Buren was brought up in the Reformed Dutch church, but afterward inclined to the Episcopal. Harrison leaned toward the Methodist church, and Tyler was an Episcopalian. Polk was baptized by a Methodist preacher after his term of office expired. Taylor was inclined toward the Episcopal communion. Filmore attended the Unitarian church, and Franklin Pierce was a member, but not a communicant, of a Congregational church at Concord. Buchanan was a Presbyterian, as is also Benjamin Harrison. Gen. Grant attended the Methodist church and President Garfield the Church of the Disciples. Jesse Q. Locke, do you know many people in Palo Pinto? I was born there Nov. 4, 1879. Myra L. Brown, [y]our letters are exceedingly interesting and I sincerely hope you will write often. I have been sick for about a year and consequently am very pale and thin. I suppose you strong, healthy girls would be shocked could you see my pale face. I had my picture enlarged, not a great while ago, from one taken in Mineral Wells when I was quite small and plump. It is very cunning. Do any of the cousins travel much? I travel a great deal, as much as I am able. As it is very late and all have retired and I am away off here in the library by myself, fearful of seeing ghosts or worse, I will close by asking a few questions, then scamper off to bed: Where is the oldest church in the United States? How did the twelve apostles die?


IVY PYLE, Wieland, Hunt Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat, Little Miss Big Bonnet and cousins: I live one mile southeast of Wieland, but only about 200 yards from the school. Papa has a very pretty farm, with a five-acre orchard. On this farm is a good barn and house. The house is right among the peach trees, grapes and blackberries, but there is a pretty grove of postoak trees on the west side of the house. The house fronts the south, with a flower garden in front. There are peach trees on the west and north. We have a gentle gray pony that my sister and I drive to the buggy, and also some other horses. There are two cows, but we are milking but one, and I am always glad when papa will let me milk her. She gives plenty of milk to supply butter for the family, which consists of six persons -- papa, mamma, sister and myself an two teachers who are boarding here. One of my big brothers is visiting home now. He is a graduate of Sam Houston normal institute, and I asked him to contribute to the cousins' monument for Sam Houston. He said: "The family of Houston would not let the Sam Houston normal institute put up a monument, nor it wouldn't let Walker county put up one, that his family said he was the state's hero and would not allow any private part to put up a monument, but that the state could put up one." I appreciate Miss Big Bonnet's best love very much. Our school will be out in about three weeks. Our teacher has been sick a good deal this year and I had to take her place. She is a sweet lady and I am always glad to accommodate her. If Peggy gets this I will send her some mixture that won't be easily digested next time. My age is 14 years.

[Mr. Big Hat's response]:
     Ask your big brother if he doesn't think Mr. Big Hat's cousins represent the state about as well as any class of persons he could mention. They are certainly not limited to the pupils of the Sam Houston normal nor to the residents of Walker county alone, but are scattered all over and in every county, city and town of this broad empire state. A memorial stone (not a monument) placed by them at the grave of Houston will represent a sentiment just as comprehensive as regards area, and certainly no less sincere, than if the gift came from the coffers of "the people" instead of the nickels and dimes of the children -- the future state. And Mr. Big Hat has been assured that no testimonial could be more appreciated by the general's family.


STELLA STONE, Cochran, Austin Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: My diploma has been received, for which accept many thanks. I have never written to Mr. Big Hat before, but have enjoyed reading the many nice letters for a long time. I am a farmer's daughter. My home is near the Brazos river. We live twelve miles from Bellville, the county seat. It is a small town. Hempstead is seven miles distant. We have to cross the river in a ferryboat to go over there, but we will soon have an iron bridge. They are building on it now, but are not getting along very fast on account of the late rise. My home is in a dense grove of oaks. It is so nice to play croquet under their lovely shade. Spring is coming. Everywhere are evidences of her near approach. Fruit trees are in full bloom and they do look so pretty with their beautiful pink and white blossoms. Cousins, do any of you like to dance? I am very fond of dancing. I went to a dance every night during Christmas week, and oh! how I did enjoy it! We are having some dreary, rainy weather, and it is very lonesome. I have read everything that is in the house. Have just finished reading "Thelma," which is very good, but not as good as "St. Elmo" and "The Missing Bride." I had rather read good books than do anything else. Mr. Big Hat, I invite you down to help eat chickens this summer. We have lots of them, and if you like them as well as I do I am sure you will come. Stella Oliver, I am a twin, too, and my twin sister's name is Della. We all each other Sissie. Both of us are blonds, but do not favor each other at all. Miss Big Bonnet, come again, but take off your bonnet so that we may see your pretty face. My! wasn't Peggy loaded down with letters last week. Mr. Big Hat, if you still have my examination paper I will send you postage if you will send it to me.

[Mr. Big Hat's response]:
     Mr. Big Hat preserved the examination papers for some, but was compelled to destroy them finally to make room for other manuscript.


WALLPAPUR A. SHINPLASTER, Austin, Travis Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I am a new cousin; in fact, very new. Though I have not long been a reader of this department of The News, yet I have come to regard it as one of the distinctive as well as one of the most interesting features of that great daily. Indeed, it were hardly possible for one to read the instructive and highly entertaining letters of the cousins without feeling a desire to enroll his name among those of the young wits that seem to be native to the prairies of Texas. Who can measure the possibilities of this great state or foretell the destiny of its many evidently talented lads and lassies? The young lady of persimmon fame and the maid of Itasca, who so eloquently derided the art of fashion, and others that I might mention, have facile pens and accordingly should give us poor mortals so slighted of Pegasus more of their compositions. The last issue of Cozy Corner was brimful of excellent, Peggy-proof letters. May the little girl who had been "begging" her mamma for a long time" to write to The News write again soon. There is so much in her letter that may be read "between the lines." Wilson of Kosse, let me shake hands with you. I notice that two of the cousins say "let's quit talking about pets." One says that we should "use our shallow allowance of brains" for some other purpose, while another calls such description "disgusting." Now, I think if these cousins had taken a second thought they would have taken a more charitable view. What can delight the cousins of from 5 to 10 summers more than writing about their own pets or reading about the pets of others? I think that I fully appreciate the view that these cousins have taken and would be quick to champion their cause were this department not headed "For Little Men and Women." Doubtless many of the cousins have observed that almost all of the letters to this department come from towns that the average citizen never heard of, while the large cities, such as Galveston, Houston or Dallas, have rarely if ever a contributor to its columns. This may be accounted for on the part of the city girl or boy because to them everything except the latest amusement, the theater, the ball, the drive is commonplace, while the boy or the girl of the country town or of the farm has but the single newspaper, perhaps, to connect him with the outside world, and hence by them its arrival is eagerly anticipated, its very contents almost imagined beforehand. If Peggy eats this letter, name and all, she will never bother you more. Cousins, I happen to be 20 years old.


AGNES ASTON, Red Branch, Grayson Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I am so much interested in the children's department that I will write again. Mr. Big Hat, I am very thankful to you for publishing my letter. None of us should become offended if our letters are not printed, for I believe Mr. Big Hat will treat our letters according to their merits. I am going to school and learning very fast. We use Swinton's word speller and I get more head marks than any one in my class. Mamma thinks I am a wonderful speller. We should all strive to get an education. We will reap its good fruits in the future. We do not have to be in school all the time to get an education. It is an individual matter with us and it all depends on our earnest efforts. There is no one but what has more or less leisure time, and if we will employ it studying good books we will become educated men and women. Abraham Lincoln carried his books about with him by day and studied at night by a candle. Henry Clay achieved his great name as an orator by speaking alone in the woods. Robert Burns composed some of his best poems while working in the field. Cousins, we can not be educated by fine college edifices and eminent teachers alone; we must do most of the work ourselves. There is nothing better and more elevating than reading the works of our distinguished poets. We should familiarize ourselves with Longfellow, Bryant, Whittier, Shakespeare, Pope and others. I think Alice Cary ranks with the best poets. I never let a poem from her pass unnoticed. I don't think any of the members spend much of their time going to parties, especially dances. There is nothing elevating about a dancing party or dancing in any way. There is nothing intellectual about it. A dog, an elephant, a monkey can learn it. Highly cultured people are never found at a dance; it is a relic of the dark ages and is rapidly disappearing in most parts of the United States. I would like some of the cousins to give their views on dancing parties. Papa subscribed for The News a few days ago and a young man living with us takes it, so we get four copies each week. Miss Big Bonnet, I like to read your letters; come again. Pearl Wood, I will answer your question: The first steamboat was sailed on the Hudson river by Henry Hudson. I will ask a question: Why did Daniel Webster oppose the annexation of Texas to the union? I send 15 cents for the Sam Houston state fund.


JENNETTE CLINE, Chicago, Cook Co., Ill. -- Mr. Big Hat, Miss Big Bonnet t and cousins all: Having finished reading all the cousins' letters, and seeing that some requested me to write again, I do so with pleasure, and will try to make my second attempt real interesting. It snowed yesterday morning, and as it was Sunday I felt like posting, but when I was dressed for church it had ceased snowing and was rather pleasant the rest of the day, only very windy, as it is always in the month of March. Oh, I did feel so envious when I read of some of the cousins going violet-hunting! It is real cold here yet, and we can't go out unless we are all dressed up good and warm. Della Oliver, I hope you don't think that I dislike the doings of the "Texas boys and girls," for I am very much interested in you all, and most sincerely seek your acquaintance and correspondence. The Chicago boys and girls do not like school as much as you all do, and I just wish you could hear the shouting that goes on when school lets out. We have school from September until May. St. Patrick's day was celebrated with parading through the streets, but we had school, so I could not see it. I dearly love school, for I like to get at the head of the class in my lessons. Well, I will tell you about the city a little now. As you all know, it is very large and there are so many amusements, such as theaters, parks and circuses and such things. I gave a party on my birthday and many of my friends attended it. I have a brother who plays the violin, one who plays the mandolin and another who has a shoe store. I can play on the autoharp, and it is very simple to learn. I love music. There are many little Italian boys selling newspapers down town in Chicago, and some of them are so tiny that I can't but pity them. Their mothers and fathers are so cruel to them. Do any of you ride a bicycle? Oh, it is just lovely to have one -- that is, after you can ride it -- and it is very good exercise. Speaking about pets, the only one I have is a little dog and a canary bird. Florence Cahoon and Carrie Wright, I think you both for welcoming me to your happy band. To-day the sun is shining and it is a little bit warm, around 35 or 40 degrees above zero. What do you say to calling that "rather warm?" Eula Wood, I laughed when I read of your nearly being "roasted," and must say I prefer our cold-weather to such a warm climate as yours. Nevertheless, I would like to visit you all. A word to "much beloved Peggy" before I depart. If you make a meal of this letter, as I half suspected you would of my former one, I won't do or say anything unpleasant, but to spite you I will try again. But please, please, don't munch this, as I would, after all, feel a little sorry.


OLLIE B. COBB, Van Alstyne, Grayson Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Would allow an old north Texas cousin to enter your Cozy Corner for a few moment's chat? Well, I am not so awfully old, either. I have never been called an "old maid" yet, but it has been quite awhile since I last visited you. In my last letter to The News I solicited correspondence, and of course received quite a number of well-composed and very interesting letters, but it was impossible to answer so many, so I trust those that did not receive any reply will not think hardly of me for so doing. Cousins, what has become of Odis C. Riddle (the high wire walker and the ventriloquist)? His letters are quite interesting. Come again, "Gene" Myrdock. Who was your emanuensis, or dictator, I should have said? I would like to have been somewhere near when you and your chum were returning from your lark. That brings fresh to my memory a little incident that happened once upon a time, when I was playing the "new woman" style, and was going to have some fun with our dog. He was very large and muscular. As I started out of the house and into the yard, behold! he took me to be a stranger and just made for me in full speed. Well, you may know I did my part of the running. A wire fence was the first object I spied, and the next time I was in my right mind I was sitting upon a fence post. That was my last time at playing the "new woman." Some one asks if any of the cousins have planted any flowers. I have planted forty-seven different beds of flowers. Some have been up for three weeks and are growing nicely. I am a great lover of flowers, music and all kinds of art work. I think we should finish a course in the culinary department, first, of all arts. Girls, did you ever think what a grand art cooker is? Learn how to cook, girls, and learn how to cook well. What right has a girl to marry and go into a house of her own unless she knows how to superintend every branch of housekeeping? And she can not properly superintend unless she has some practical knowledge herself. It is sometimes asked, sneeringly, "What kind of a man is he who would marry a cook?" The fact is, that men do not think enough of this; indeed, almost every man married without thinking whether the woman of his choice is capable of cooking him a meal. And it is a pity he is so short-sighted, as his health, his cheerfulness, and indeed, his success in life depend in a very great degree on the kind of food he eats; in fact, the whole household is influenced by the diet. Let all girls have a share in housekeeping at home before they marry. Let each superintend some department by turns. It would not occupy half of the time to see that the house has been properly swept, dusted, and put in order, to prepare pudding and make dishes, that many young ladies spend in reading novels, which enervate both mind and body, and unfit them for every-day life. Women do not, as a general rule, get pale faces doing housework. Their sedentary habits, in overheated rooms, combined with ill-chosen food, are to blame for bad health. Let the present generation add to its list of real accomplishments the art of properly preparing food for the human body. Well, cousins, do you like to read? I am very fond of reading and writing, and read everything I chance to get -- good reading, of course. I never read trashy novels or stories, nor indulge in dancing or parties, and am fond of any exercise that works upon the mental faculties. One of my friends presented me with a year's subscription to the Youth's Companion, which I appreciate highly. I have been deprived of my country life quite two years, and you can not imagine how I regret it. My age is still 16.


ODIS RIDDLE, Crowley, Tarrant Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I have just recovered from a well-developed case of imported measles. When I was taken sick, all the landscape was brown and bare, and when I recovered, vegetation was putting forth in all its glory. One warm day, my folks let me go out to play and, O, the fun! It was the first time in four weeks that I had had an opportunity to play. Cousins, perhaps you that have never had the measles think you would as soon have them as to eat sugar. I used to think so, too, but now I will take the sugar. Before I was taken sick, I attended a singing school at Old Caddo and the singing we had would have made Showalter turn emerald with envy. Excepting the bass, tenor, alto and soprano, the other parts were sung fluently. Some sang miserably and others terribly. I had subscribed to another school that began at Rock Creek, but I took sick and alas! all hope has fled. When the freeze came, our garden truck was just coming out of the ground and "it never came back any more." Ma planted some poultry, but the chickens scratched it up before the freeze came. I am proud of the fact that I have been around a good deal lately -- that is, around home. Pa says if I will be a good boy and not pull brother's hair any more, he will take me over to the back of the field to see the big stump that stands by the "tater" patch. I see some of the cousins are inviting Mr. Big Hat to pay them a visit and go fishing with them. I would ask Mr. Big Hat to come up and eat scrambled eggs with me, but for the fact that we only get fourteen eggs a day, and my appetite aspires to sixteen eggs a meal, I will defer the invitation. Then, too, if he should come up to see me, people around here would say that he was as good as I am and these people up here talk of a two-thirty gait for quite a distance, especially for the girls, when they think that you will buy them some chewing gum. Since I said farewell to the measles, I have been carrying corn in my pockets to keep the geese from catching me. My hair turned red whenever the wind blows from the east, and I have discovered that one of my ears is larger than the other, a thing that I didn't know before. Nevertheless, I am somewhat stuck on myself from the fact that I can write a letter, listen to the band playing "Annie Rooney" and to a lecture on "Woman's Rights" all at the same time. May The News live long and prosper, as it were!

 

- April 12, 1896, The Dallas Morning News, p. 14, col. 5-7.
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