August 16, 1896
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 not sew, paste or pin the sheets together. These rules must be observed to insure publication.
PAULA P. EVANS, Nocona, Montague Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: This is a very warm evening to go visiting, but I think I will come in and have a little chat with the cousins. I think Miss Big Bonnet is just as pretty as she can be in her new dress and hat. I wish the cousin who asked, "What was the Xenophen of the Texas revolution," would please answer it, for it seems to be a hard question, as no one has answered it. Cousin Fletcher Rogers, why don't you write to the Cozy Corner again? I always like to read letters from my old home. Cousins, how have you been amusing yourselves these long summer months? I have been reading some. The last book I have read is "Elsie Dinsmore," by Martha Finley. I wish I could read, "Mill on the Floss," but I haven't it, and I don't know where to get it. Bessie Smith, I think you were wrong in calling George Eliot a man, but I have made the same mistake. The summer normal is being taught here now. I had thought of attending, but I am not. Gertrude Milam, are you acquainted with Jessie Lenier? She is my cousin. Cousin Herbert Taylor, I enjoyed your account of your ride on the buzzard's back, and also on the whale. I wish you would write and tell us more about it. I think the ride on the whale's back must have been more fun than the one [on] the buzzard. I believe Peggy would not get our letters half so often if we did not talk so much about him. Of course, nobody likes any one who talks about them, so I'll not talk any more about Peggy, for I don't want him to eat my letter. Ludie Sanders, I'm very glad you have a chance of going to boarding school.
LAURETTA FAUST, Floresville, Wilson Co., Tex. -- Dear Cozy Corner: It has been a long, long time since I visited you last, and I am going to write now while I'm inspired (?). I would write oftener, for I love to write to the corner, but my letters are always so dull and uninteresting, that I hate to impose them upon the cousins. Mr. Big Hat, you criticized my last letter pretty severely, but nevertheless, I have gotten over it and am here again, and while I think of it, let me vote for my favorite flower, which is the white chrysanthemum. Well, Mr. Big Hat, I think that will be very interesting , writing a "biography" of one of our corner heroes and heroines. I think the boys should "write up" the girls, or girl, I should have said, and the girls vice versa. Acting on that proposition, I will write my imagination of our traveler -- excuse me, I mean our Cozy Corner minnesinger, Mr. Herbert Tayl"or." I imagine he is rather tall, about six feet, and that he is dark complected, has gray eyes, weighs about 160 pounds, and is rather thoughtful, but full of fun. I think he must be about 19 or 20 years old. He is so very full of mischief that, very likely, his papa and mamma had a "time of it" bringing him up, and methinks, from what he wrote in a previous letter (pretty "previous," too), that his papa came very near resorting to "hickory oil" to remind him that he shouldn't stick the pitchfork in the calves to see them jump, nor to the fire-crackers to a cat's "handle," but, I don't suppose he'd do that, as he has such a horror of all kinds of "tails," "tales" or "Tayls." I think his papa's getting after him one day was what prompted him to take that famous ride on old Go Ahead. It wasn't his intention to go on an excursion through the air that day, but when his papa got after him with the broom and a pair of scissors, he (Herbert) did something that eventually led to the "excursion." I imagine when Herbert came down on the ship, that the crew looked something like the Indians did when Columbus landed in America. I expect "ox tail soup" and "pig tail" jellie were rarities in Columbus' time. But, I'm getting off the subject, so will say that I think Herbert lives in the country, on a farm, and has several sisters, whom he delights in tormenting (that's a boy, you know), and I think he has a brother or two younger than himself. My brother has just come to the house from the apiary, and he is making such a racket, I can't tell which way is east or which, west. I'll bet if all the girls in the Cozy Corner had a brother or two like him, it would turn their hair gray in a month. Mamma is trying to get him to go to the bee house for something, but he can't stop long enough to hear her. I wish he would hurry and go back, so I could finish this in peace. Mr. Big Hat, I can't tell you how much I did enjoy the last News (July 31). Didn't Herbert surprise us, though? Herbert, methinks you'll be poet laureate yet "in the sweet bye and bye." Well, well! I think it is time I was saying adios, as the sun is going to roost. The sun will be a rooster in about fifteen minutes, and I must stop and go take a walk. This evening is too pretty to miss it. There goes Jim with the harp, playing "Sweet Marie." I wish a cyclone would strike all the harp manufactories and I'd never hear another harp. I think an old French harp makes the ugliest music I ever heard. Jim won't take lessons on the piano. I think it is as nice for a boy to know how to play on a piano, as it is for a girl. I have several boy and young men friends that play on the piano, and a "especially nice one" plays for us when we have entertainments. He performs well on the piano. My sister has a piece of his own composition. It is a waltz song entitled "Annie's Love." My sister plays and sings it, but I have never learned it yet. She is my only sister, aged 12. It is getting so dark, I can't see the lines, and I know I am writing the last part of this letter for the waste basket.
LANTIE V. BLUM,
Durham, Borden Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I am so
glad that Mr. Big Hat has let us choose for us a flower -- a
department flower. As I am to count the votes and conduct the
balloting, I shall make the following rules:
BESSYE SMITH, Whitney, Hill Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Here I come again. I hope you all will excuse the mistake I made in my last letter in thinking George Eliot a man. Many of the cousins have corrected my mistake. One more month till school commences. Cousins, what do you think of that? Miss Big Bonnet, you are not Miss Big Bonnet any longer, since you wear a cap. Mary Cartright, you were talking about "Elsie Dinsmore." There are twenty of the Elsie books. I have read nine of them and have eight myself. I like them very much. I am reading "Uncle Tom's Cabin" now. I like it very much. We had a picnic in Whitney on the 23d. I went and had a fine time. Herbert Taylor, I suppose you had a hard time making up your tale, but perhaps you read something that helped you out. E. Eugenia Shaw, the answer to one of your riddles, is "One is hard up, and the other is hard down." Mira Lee Brown stayed two days with me, week before last. She writes to the Cozy Corner. Jimye Hammack, write to The News. I know you would write such interesting letters. Roxie Horton, Mr. Big Hat paid you a nice compliment; don't you think so, cousins? I can just hear you say that I am talking about books I have read, when I don't even know George Eliot was a woman, so I won't say anything more about what I've read.
DAISY REYMAN, Alvin, Brazoria Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: As I have never seen any letters from Alvin, I thought I would get up some courage and take the opportunity of addressing the enterprising writers of this instructive and entertaining page. It is indeed, a Cozy Corner, and is appreciated by a great many, both far and near. Ludie Sanders, you write very interesting letters. So do others, but I can not remember all of their names. Cousins, how many of you intend to join the summer school? I don't think I can, for with all the efforts of my mind and pen, I couldn't scratch up enough words to make one sentence of a poem, story or essay. So, I will leave it to those who have a larger amount of knowledge than I. Ludie Sanders, when are you going to start to school? Ours was out about the 1st of March and will not commence till September. I am very anxious for it to begin. I don't work in the field, but I love to be out doors and work among flowers. I planted a lot of seeds this year, but it was so dry, that none of them lived, but my vines. We had a nice rain not long ago, and the vines are growing nicely now. I would like to correspond with some of the cousins about my age (15.) Mr. Big Hat, what is the average number of letters you receive each week? Nebraska is my native state. We have lived here nearly two years. We live on a pretty little bayou, about three miles and a half northeast of Alvin. We have been living in the country about eight months. Maud Foy, you did well with your hen. I wonder how many more of these business-like cousins there are? Mr. Buzzard Rider, do you ever intend to start on such another venturesome journey, or will you now lead a peaceful life at home, rolling around in a sack? I hope we will again hear from our celebrated Central American cousin. I will ask you some conundrums: What day of the year do women talk the least? When the clock strikes thirteen, what time is it? Why does a chicken, when it is three weeks and two days old, go across the street? Cousins, don't you think it would be nice if we could send Mr. Big Hat our photographs and have him print on in the paper each week? Lo and behold! there cometh Peggy, and if his mule-ship doesn't make way with this (my first letter), I may come again; but cousins, don't look for me till you see me.
HATTIE SIMMONS, Chillicothe, Hardeman Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and Cousins: Once more comes the mighty inspirer and poet to grace the page for "Little Men and Women," and once more am I inspired to seize my pen and write. Weren't you all inspired to know that we had among our writers, a "sure enough" poet? I hope I shall be as agreeably surprised again, as it is a triumph to us to have something and somebody so ornamental. But, as Cousins Hattie Friend says, I will not praise our sage so much, as it might produce an effect quite the reverse to my intentions. As I sat listening in the waning moonlight, sweet linguistic music was wafted to me by the gentle breezes, and methinks I heard the soft voice of Nellie Fallon. Gentle it comes, as if borne along by the flowing waters, telling of the beautiful twilight that is now so wonderfully pictured by Goethe. In the evening, when all sounds are hushed, and when the silvery moon is throwing her faint rays over this dark world, then is the time when we are so wonderfully inspired, and when we can picture everything so beautifully in our minds. But, the sun is an eraser to all dreams, blotting out the sweet thoughts that hover around us in the soft moonlight. Luta Jones, you write an excellent letter, and one would think, that instead of your feeling sad and dejected, you had just been laughing over the witty sayings of some humorist. Do not fail to write again. Well, after many "longings and lookings," I have just seen that wonderful name of the "Austin cousin." My eyes were seriously injured by climbing over all of those ridges and descending again into the gorges beneath. I hope that we shall have letters more often from him, as they are very entertaining, indeed. Well, cousins, what do you think? I've been trying to learn to swim. But alas! it was all in vain. With the bravery of an Indian warrior, I marched into the water, but as the bravest persons have their weaknesses, I quailed and was, with difficulty, carried into water over my height. After much pitiful pleading, I was permitted to start for the shore, but on being released, I fell into the water. It was quite pleasant and cool under the water, but so much so, that I did not care to say any longer than possible, so, according to the law of the buoyant force, I rose to the top with a scream that brought immediate help, and, as you see, was not buried in the deep, deep sea, where the wild sea waves will roll o'er me. "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." This motto was put into practice in my swimming career, but all to no avail. I am quite discouraged, being told by those wiser than myself, that swimming was one art that I could not accomplish. But, in my broken down spirits, I have been encouraging that expression, "that swimming is one (only one, mind you), that I couldn't accomplish," until it has grown to be monstrous in my eyes, and I feat that I am growing conceited. But, now to the description of our "sages." Had I the pen of our great blind poet, Milton, I might, by bringing into full play, all my mental faculties, describe with vividness and beauty, this difficult subject. But, as that is impossible, I can only attempt it in my simple language. First, I will say with almost certainty, that the cranium of our poet is not in proportion with other parts of the body, but that overplus of cerebrum makes the forehead broad and high, giving the face more of an oval shape. Black hair and eyes that contrast well with the fair complexion; tall, slender and straight, with a carriage that betokens command and
on his front engraven
Now to the "Maid of Orleans." Just "sweet sixteen." I suppose, with eyes so blue and golden ringlets glistening in the sunlight; complexion fair, features smooth, of low stature and rather slender form, and an expression on the fair face that betokens ambition, zeal and knowledge. Knowing that many are now tired of perusing this epistle, I will immediately retire.
T. E. CORNELIUS, Mountain Peak, Ellis Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins (Peggy, also): It is with a feeling of timidity that I approach Peggy's sacred precincts, knowing as I do, that all poorly composed letters will be the victims of his monstrous jaws. My! How our corner is growing. We have several foreign writers, all of whom we gladly welcome, especially our Central America cousin, who entertains us so well. Miss Lutie Jones, I think your "air castle" an excellent one, and, of course, there is nothing unwomanly in your canvassing with so great an object in view. Dr. Herbert T., I think it is time you were entertaining us with the details of another buzzard ride, but perhaps you haven't recovered from the effects of your last ride yet. Mr. Big Hat, is there any limit to the age of your writers? I see they can be found anywhere between 3 and 20. My age is 17 years. But, now to the task of trying to picture Miss Ludie. I guess the cousins will have her fixed up in good style by the last of August, and doubtless, no two will picture her alike. I imagine she is a girl of medium height, weighing about 120, with dark-brown hair, blue eyes, disposition very amiable, jovial and pleasant. Velma Scott, I would like to know what the initials N. P. U. S. C. E. stand for. If I was to judge the society by its name, of course, I would say it was a good one, as it has such a long name. It is very hot and dry in this part of the country. The air is calm and still, except for an occasional whirlwind that carries with it a cloud of dust and trash. Don't you all think we have the best corner in the state? Some of its writers certainly have talents. Some are talented in essay articles, some in poetry and some in describing their ups and downs as a professional buzzard or turtle rider. But, if I am talented in anything, I haven't been able to discover it. As it is customary to give a sketch of some noted person, I have selected Eugene Field, a noted poet and humorist. He was born in St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 2, 1850. His father was a lawyer and one of the counsel in the famous Dred Scott case. Eugene developed a love for books in his boyhood days. He traveled abroad a great deal, and when he returned, he had nothing except experience and a large number of books and curious objects. He then took to journalism, in which he was very successful. He began as reporter on the St. Louis Evening Journal, but it was in 1883, while assistant editor of the Chicago News, that he attracted wide attention as a poet and humorist. "Jest 'Fore Christmas" and "Wynken, Blynken and Nod" are some of his most popular poems, especially among the little folks. He died Nov. 4, 1896. I will close by asking a question: How many soldiers did Texas furnish in the civil war? Is the Sam Houston stone fund complete?
MATTIE INGRAM, Cedar Creek, Bastrop Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Will you admit a country girl in your Cozy Corner? If you [will], I will step in this beautiful morning and talk awhile. Miss Big Bonnet, I wish you were here to go plum hunting with me. We would have such a nice time. And, I wish you were here to help me eat peaches, also. Say, Mr. Big Hat, don't you feel proud of so many bright letters that you are publishing week after week? I thought that when the warm weather came, the cousins would not have the energy to write such interesting letters. But, they keep right on, as if there wasn't any end to their fund of knowledge. Cousins, let's try to make our column more interesting and not talk about pets so much. I haven't any, and if I did, I wouldn't write about them. I have two brothers and two sisters. Both of my brothers are older than I am. How many of the cousins like to work in the field? I don't, for one. I don't think it is right for girls to work in the field. What are boys for, if they are not to work in the field? If a girl does the work at the house, she will have enough to keep her busy. I will ask some riddles: Why is beauty like a $10 bill? What letters of the alphabet are the most sagacious? I hope Peggy will be asleep when this gets there. My age is between 8 and 16 years, success to Mr. Big Hat and The News!
JOE FARMER, Rutherford, Gibson Co., Tenn. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Again, I come. Like the hot weather and the busy little summer fly, I am with you once more. And, I'll not complain this time if you give me a cold reception -- yes, with ice cream and a glass of lemonade on the side, if you feel so disposed. Anything cold will be very acceptable, if it is only a cold criticism. Well, I believe it is in order to slander the weather just a little before undertaking to say anything else. I think that is the custom when it gets about this warm. Of course, you all know this is the hottest summer we have ever had. The mercury stands 95 degrees in its sock feet in the shade, and the ordinary cow has to eat a great deal of chipped ice to give as much ice cream as we relish. Everybody we chance to meet has a valuable speech to make about the weather, that is startlingly original and intensely interesting. Everybody that talks, talks about the weather now. I suppose all this is necessary to sustain society and civilization, and to absolutely keep down devastating wars and scourging pestilence. We have to "vent our spleen," say our say, and case our mind on something these hot days, and it doesn't affect the weather, unless possibly it frees too large quantities of gas upon it. But, seriously, this weather is warm. I call it "furnaceously hot," and I am all dank and bedewed with perspiration, my vital fluids all dried up, my hair scorched brown, and my cranial cavity, that fitting receptacle for pure solid brain matter, is filled with hot, sloppy, semi-liquid, and I am otherwise and variously overcome with the extreme humility and lukewarm stupidity. You must not expect me to write an intelligent letter while I am using a quart of dish water for a cerebrum. Under such circumstances, I fear I never shall become a genius with my pen, like Genevieve Myrdock. I believe, though, she says she cannot be a genius till we have the dictionary changed. Well, I suppose we might call her a "genius-ess," till we could see Mr. Webster and make some arrangement about it. I hope, in the meantime, she will tell us some more about that pet, and if changing the name of his catship has, in any way, been conducive to industry in his feline calling. No, Miss G. M., I did not have the pleasure of reading that letter wherein you asked me a question, for I have missed a great many numbers of The News. But, I would like to know what the question is, and would gladly answer it, if I could. I hope our California friend will tell us something of that country. I wonder how many of the cousins have thought anything about what they are going to make of themselves when they become men and women. I say "make of themselves," because if one ever becomes anything, he must do it of himself. I think we should early select our ideal and begin at once to work toward it, gradually, but surely. I don't mean to say that we could make much progress now, but we should be studying to some end, laying the foundation for some future work, goodness or greatness. I think to make the most of life and our profession, we should be settled upon our calling at least by the time we are 18, if not before. There is nothing like getting a good start in anything. Longfellow says:
"Happy, thrice happy, every one
JOE M. DAWSON, Italy, Ellis Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I am not going to quarrel with you, Miss Genevieve (she is a big girl, you know, and you have to be polite to grown-up folks), so you can rest easy this time. I am perfectly willing to admit that you got the best of me. The boys around town called me "Mr. Webster," and many other horrid names, for a week or such a matter after your letter appeared. They honestly believe that I was pretty badly "done up," and they didn't mind informing me of the fact, either, notwithstanding, I tried my best to assure them that you meant no harm, but was just coming to us in the garb of a "prophetess." Now, Mr. Big Hat, has imposed a duty upon Miss Gene and myself, so I hasten to tell what I know before I am sent to the "foot of the class." And, I must confess, I am somewhat proud of the compliment passed by him. However, I am afraid some of my "home folks" would fain discredit the statement, and I feel kind of guilty to let Mr. Big Hat rest under that impression. But, I come back to the "Minnesingers. The Minnesingers were lyric poets, who flourished in Germany during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. German literature had then just had its beginning. "The Song of the Nibelunger" was one of its first literary productions, and was the great German mediaeval epic. It was about ancient German and Scandinavian legends written by some Homeric genius. The songs of the Minnesingers were tender, pure, refined, and chivalrous, and had much to do with softening the manners and customs of the German people, and with lifting their hearts to higher things. Miss Genevieve can probably tell you more about the "Troubadours of Germany" than I can; for I have gathered all I have told you from a general history which only gives a very brief account of them. Herbert does come singing with a melodious air. This is something new. We would be pleased to hear from him again. Mr. Big Hat, I think, is doing a great deal for the boys and girls of Texas, and just think, how many are taking advantage of the space placed at their disposal! In the last issue, many new cousins, all of whom gave us something interesting, came to join us. We can have an interesting page, if each one will contribute something of interest when he writes. Mr. Big Hat has been very kind and indulgent with us heretofore; let us do something to reward him for it in the future. I notice several old cousins have not written for some time. Marie Taylor, Ludie Sanders and Joe Farmer, it is time for a "reappearance." Mr. Big Hat says he wants us to express our views about whether all honest work is manly or womanly. I think so, and will give you some reasons for thinking that way in another letter, some time in the near future.
FLORENCE GIDDENS, Dundee, Archer Co., Tex. -- Good morning, cousins! I thought, while the spirit moved me, I would write you a letter. Nellie Fallon, are you not a little afraid that we can't find Thomas Stewart's grave to decorate? He has been absent a long time, but I hope he will have a letter in our Cozy Corner soon. Many thanks, Hattie Simmons, for your compliment, but did your brother ever tell you, among my other smart (?) things, of the affectionate salutation I gave him one day? My little nephew was standing out on the porch, and just as your brother stepped upon the porch to come in the office, I said: "Come in, darling." Of course, he was shocked, but I arose and waited on him, with one of Samantha Allen's calm "demeanors." How am I to keep up with everybody's plans? First, we must put an "X" at the close of our letter, that is, if we have written it without assistance. Then, the flower we like best, which reminds me that I was going to tell you which one was my favorite, by giving you a little piece of poetry, but as I have lost my poetry, I'll have to vote for the rose, Lautie. Then, here comes Laurita, wanting us to picture some one in the department. I'll say this much, that Ludie is a sensible girl. As to her looks, I hadn't thought how she looked, but I expect if I could get a peep at her, I would see a pretty face. As for Herbert Taylor, he is so many things, changes every time he writes, that I hardly know what to do about him. Cousins, I wrote you a great long letter yesterday, describing my trip to the "Cowboy reunion." After I got my letter done, I suddenly thought that perhaps I could send it in and try for the descriptive prize, so, as Mr. Big Hat said we must do, I condensed, condensed and condensed, until I am afraid nothing will be left to send in but a "cowboy.' If I had known that Mr. Big Hat wouldn't care, I would have sent the letter, also, for some of the cousins in the northern states have never seen a "Texas cowboy." I expect Mamma and I are going to Fort Worth in a few days, and we may possibly go on to Dallas. If so, look out for me, Mr. Big Hat. I couldn't afford to go to Dallas and not see you. I saw a letter from Othello Robertson of Seymour. We do not live very far apart, Othello. Wilhelmine, I did appreciate and enjoy our last letter so much, for I was about to think I would have to commit suicide or something to be noted(?), as I couldn't do much else worthy of notice. Nell Morris, we are still waiting patiently for another letter.
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