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January 19, 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.

LAURETTA FAUST, Floresville, Wilson Co., Tex. -- Dear Cozy Corner: It hasn't been long since I wrote to you all, and I reckon you think I come rather often, but I'll just tell you the facts: I love the dear old Cozy Corner so well I just can't possibly keep away, although I reckon Mr. Big Hat wishes I would keep away long enough to find something interesting to write about. It has been right cold for the last two or three days and it makes me feel like "the last rose of summer." Well, Mr. Big Hat and cousins, what have you been doing Christmas vacation? I've just been having a beautiful time playing Christmas tricks on folks and going to parties. I started a diary Jan. 1. I know it's going to be a fine (?) one. I've been awfully interested in the Cousins' league lately, as they are discussing the question, "Do Girls or Boys Make the Fastest Progress During the First Year of School?" The boys of course say they make faster progress and the girls vice versa. Really I think the girls progress faster during the first year and every other year, too. I have seen enough in my own and neighboring schools to convince me of that. Of course there are exceptions, but generally the girls take the lead. Cousin T. S. of Rice, I will write to you now if you'll write again. Mr. Big Hat, whatever became of your peglegged chicken? We have one that got on of its legs dislocated and it has to hop on one foot. If you want him I will send him to you. He might make you famous some day, who knows? We have a young puppy that is a terror. I am taking lessons in double-entry bookkeeping, and the other day I was looking over my daybook and I laid it down beside my chair and went to get a drink and when I got back the puppy had just riddled the backs of it. There are three boys in here while I am writing, and they make such a noise they give one the nervous "jimjams." Well, I suppose I have written enough, if not too much, so I will stop. I would like some boy correspondents between 16 and 20 years old. I am still 16.

ANNIE GRIMES, Jefferson, Marion Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: You said the mail box was empty, so I thought I would write again. I had a fine time during the holidays. We had no school for two weeks. I like to go to school, but I like the holidays, too. I play all day with little brother Joe. He will be 5 years old the 2d of February. I laughed so much at Willie Burns' letter. Write again, Cousin Willie, you write such funny letters. Louise Groce, you write nice letters, but I was very sorry indeed to hear that you hurt yourself and hope that you can walk by this time. But now I must tell you about a sad thing that happened here in Jefferson last Sunday. A schoolmate of mine, a sweet little girl named Geanie Westerday, was burned nearly to death. She is still alive and mamma has promised to take me to see her to-day. She was so bright and smart, every one loved her. Mr. Big Hat, I am going to do as you told us to about our faults. Mamma has told me one already, but I will not tell it to you.

LELIA SIMMONS, Rio Vista, Johnson Co., Tex. -- Dear Mr. Big Hat and cousins: This is my first attempt to write to you and as I stand knocking for admittance to your Cozy Corner I seem to see you all sitting around the fire warming and talking about Christmas. I hope you spent Christmas happily. But I spent a sorry one. Mr. Big Hat, I would write a longer letter, but my brother stands around and watches me.

HUGH B. CUSHMAN, Greenville, Hunt Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: I have just finished the cousins' letters and like them very much. I think that Gen. Sam Houston deserves a fine monument. If it had not been for him perhaps Texas would have been under the control of Mexico. If he had not come to Texas I myself don't believe there would be half the population there is now. I have read the Texas history and I guess most of the cousins have. I don't believe there was a braver general fought in the Alamo. I inclose 10 cents for the Sam Houston memorial stone fund.

BESSIE SMITH, Whitney, Hill Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and Cousins: I am in school to-day. My teacher does not like us to write letters in school, but I don't think he will care if I write to The News. Well, cousins, how did you enjoy Christmas? It was pretty dull here. Mira Brown, I saw your letter in The News and I was rather surprised to see a letter from you. I will ask a riddle: What is that which is composed of five letters, that by taking away two leaves one? We had two weeks' holiday here Christmas. Some of the cousins are telling their favorite author. My favorite authors are Miss Rosa Carey and Elizabeth Wetherell. I have read "Nellie's Memories," "Our Bessie," "Only the Governess' Uncle," "Max" and "Theroit's Choice," by Miss Carey and a good many of Miss Wetherell's. Mr. Big Hat, I have been trying to get a few of my friends to write to The News, and so I now bring two, Maud and Grace Melear. They are in my room and in my classes. My sister came home from college Christmas and stayed three weeks. I would like to correspond with some girl cousins near my own age, which is 11. Herbert Taylor, I hope you have reached earth. You had quite a ride. Our school will last three months longer, if not more. Cousins, which of your studies do you like best? I like history. Come again, Maud Carson. Your letters are real good. Rosa Lee Hamblen, did you receive May Smith's letter? She wrote to you. She is my cousin.

D. BARTON SCOGGINS, Roxboro, Person Co., N. C. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: If you will allow me I will write to this department again. How did you all enjoy Christmas? I did not enjoy it at all. I don't think there was much in this state. I do enjoy reading the cousins' letters. We have just received The News for Friday. Mr. Big Hat, isn't it hard to be the devil of a print shop? "That's just what I am." I think all of the cousins ought to think when writing to write with pen and ink, not with a pencil. I want to correspond with some of the cousins. Who will correspond with me, now? It is very cold here to-day. I will be glad when summer comes again.

EMMA ROBBINS, Armour, Limestone Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: As it has been some time since I wrote to your department I will write again. Christmas was very dull. Nearly everybody had the measles around Armour. Our school has been closed on that account. I am just able to be up. There were seven cases at our house at one time. I will be very glad when school opens again, for I am so fond of going. I have so many nice playmates. The Baptists and the Masons are building a nice house. We will then have two very nice churches. I hear so many children talking about pets. I have no time to play with pets, and I think if we would spend more time with our books we would be more benefited by it. A happy New Year to you and the cousins.

MAUD MELEAR, Whitney, Hill Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and Cousins: I have long been a silent admirer of the Cosy Corner. I am in the sixth grade. I sit with my sister. I study algebra and like it very much. Maud Carson, come again. Christmas eve night I went to the Christmas tree. Mr. Big Hat, let Miss Big Bonnet write often. She writes such interesting letters. I have four sisters and two brothers. I go to the Presbyterian Sunday school. I am in the same room that Bessie Smith is at school. I am always glad when the News comes. I am 12 years old.

GRACE MELEAR, Whitney, Hill Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I have been reading the cousins' letters a long time, but never wrote before, but as Cousin Bessie Smith is writing and wants me to write I will do so. I am going to school now and am in the sixth grade. I have four sisters and three brothers. There was a Christmas tree and a Fort Alamo here Christmas. I went to the Christmas tree and received two presents off of it. We have had a good deal of rain here lately and it is not dry yet. I think the department is improving fast. Mr. Big Hat, why don't you let Miss Big Bonnet come oftener? Her letters are so interesting. Maud Carson, come again. I think your letters are very interesting. There are three different churches here. I attend the Presbyterian. My age is 11 years. My brother Willie is agent for The News here. My Sister Maud and I started over to an old hackberry tree two or three weeks ago and some horses got after us and we ran through a freshly plowed field and had a dreadful time before we got home. I have always been afraid of horses, and especially iron gray horses, as I have had two scrapes with them. Although I was hurt with neither one, I was scared very badly.

MYRTIE KIRK, Forney, Kaufman Co., Tex. -- Dear cousins: I greet you this morning with a happy New Year and good wishes for all. In this, the very opening of the new year, may we all form resolutions, place our aspirations higher and strive harder to make this the most successful year of our lives by exerting an elevating influence, which it is our privilege to wield, and by modeling a character which is unstained by the world and worthy the imitation of all. We all realize to a greater or less degree that sad hearts and tear-dimmed faces are oftimes occasioned by the approach of Christmas holidays. Into each home, into each heart, comes sorrow and disappointment, different in kind, but the sting is there. But if we can not overcome we can endure bravely, which is necessary to happiness, and every person that will cultivate the "spirit within" will be the possessor of true happiness. Reversed circumstances will never wreck homes where the inmates have learned to make the best of difficulties and seek the bright side of life under all conditions. We can all rise superior to the changing financial world and make our panorama bright with faith, hope and love. Time is a sure and swift traveler. The years pass quickly away, yet they are freighted with golden opportunities. How many of us during the year that is past have grasped these and spoken the kind words that cheered some poor heart and will last throughout time and in eternity reap a golden harvest? The person that would accomplish good must remember that nothing is gained by delay and in the future there is little likelihood of the restoration of lost opportunities. Let us all resolve that in the beginning of the ensuing year we will set in motion some good work that will not only benefit us alone, but rise to a higher standard of living, morally and mentally all those with whom we are associated. It seems Mr. Big Hat has my address wrong. It is Forney, and not Bryan. In connection with this missive I forward my story, "Brownie Goolsby." Hoping you all will be lenient with me, as this is my first attempt at story writing. Happy Christmastide to the readers of this department.

HORACE WYLIE, McKinney, Collin Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I have often thought of writing to the cousins, but was afraid my letter would be thrown in the waste basket. I like to read the letters, and some are just splendid. I have no brothers, but two sisters, one older than I and one younger. The older one is 13 years old, and the younger is 2 years old. I will be 10 the 16th of January. I have no pets, but I have a horse that is as gentle as gentle can be, and I can drive very good. I ride in the buggy when the roads are good, and when it is muddy I ride horseback. I will tell you what I got for Christmas. Sister gave me a bicycle game. My big sister and mamma gave me "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and papa give me three packages of firecrackers and three roman candles, a 20-shooter and two 16-shooters. Our school commenced Thursday.

MAGGIE M. MERCER, Grand, Day Co. > Ellis Co., Okla. -- Little Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I thought I would attempt to write to you, as I never wrote to a newspaper before. I like the "Little Men and Women" department the best of all the newspaper. Our school commenced Nov. 25, and our father is the school teacher. My studies are history, grammar, arithmetic, spelling and geography. I like to go to school. I spent Christmas with our relatives in Grand, about eight miles from our place. I will close by asking an easy question: What is the capital of Ireland?

JENNIE BARR, Bailey, Fannin Co., Tex. -- Good morning, Mr. Big Hat and cousins. Here I come again. I guess you have all forgotten me, for it has been some time since I have written to the dear old News. I am going to school now. Some of the cousins talk about their quilts. I have pieced three. How does that do for a 10-year-old girl? Mr. Big Hat, why don't you let Miss Big Bonnet write again, or has Peggy thrown her off and broke her neck? What has become of Cousins Rudauph? He has not written in a long time. Florence Giddings, why don't you write oftener?

MYRTLE SEABOALT, Astonia, Ellis Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: This is my first attempt to write to The News. I went to a Christmas tree Christmas night and got a doll. Mamma is dressing it to-day. I have three sisters and two brothers. I can't write, so I get my brother to write for me. I have a cup and saucer that I got last Christmas. I can't read, but I can count to twenty. I am 3 years old. I have six little kittens and a little pet chicken.

ROSA LYNCH, Grand Saline, Van Zandt Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I have not written in a long time before. How interesting some of the cousins' letters are! I enjoy reading them very much. I like the Woman's Century splendidly. I enjoy reading the little stories. What has become of Bessie Bee? I believe the Cozy Corner has improved a great deal lately. I am going to school now. There is a large school here. Papa works a large salt works. I will close by asking a question: Who was called Honest Dave?

CARRIE TRIBE, Shepherd, San Jacinto Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: As my last letter was published I will write again. I have a little sister. Her name is Vide. I love her dearly. I used to write to Aunt Ruth's paper in San Antonio. I liked it there very much. I have a brother living there now. Mr. Big Hat, I hope you had a very pleasant Christmas and I hope you will have a happy New Year. I go to school every day and study reading, history, grammar, spelling, arithmetic, geography and writing. I like reading very much and read whenever I can.

TOT ADAMSON, Weston, Collin Co., Tex. -- Little Mr. Big Hat and Cousins: I am 11 years old. Your paper is read with interest in my home. The cousins' letters have interested me the most. Lizzie Parish of Joy, Tex., is good at picking cotton. It made me feel a little embarrassed to think she could beat me. I can do several kinds of work, and make an average hand at play when the time comes. I have generally been on good terms with Old Santa Claus, as he always comes Christmas. But he has got so he is a little careless and a little too economical. I count myself pretty good on the hunt, nearly equal to Buffalo Bill. But pa has to kill a hog once in awhile to keep us in meat. I have two brothers and two sisters older than I am. I belong to the church and love to go to the Sunday school and to church. My resolve is to live honest and sober and do right every day of my life.

SADIE KEBELMAN, Weatherford, Parker Co., Tex. -- Little Mr. Big Hat: I wish you and all the cousins a very happy New Year! Last night when the glad bells rang out telling one and all that a new year had come I believe I was more sorry than glad. Cousins, were you sorry when they turned a new leaf over on poor old '95? Cousin Ollie D., were you asleep when you rode out six miles from Weatherford, and did you dream you saw rocks everywhere? If not, you must be joking. We have some quarries where they get the beautiful sandstone that is shipped all over the state, and all the buildings of any importance in our city are built of rock and are very substantial. But the green hills around Weatherford are covered with trees, mostly live oaks. If you examine your petrified wood you will find it is only the hard walnut that is shipped from here to Europe. I have never seen white dewberries, but I have seen [a] Keiffer pear tree 5 years old bear about four bushels of pears, each one weighing nearly one pound. Apples, peaches, grapes and most all kinds of fruit grow here in abundance. I wish Mr. Big Hat and all the cousins would come and live in Weatherford. What a large school we would have, and, as the people never die here, we would be happy ever after.

V. S. STANEART, Oberlin, Allen Parish, La. -- Mr. Big Hat : As I have not intruded myself into this happie circle for some time, I have taken up my pen (I mean typewriter) to again ask for admittance. Christmas has come and gone, and innumerable good dinners, pleasant parties and sweet times have gone with it; but, like my little brother, who divides the year into four seasons, viz: Christmas, Easter Sunday, Fourth of July and Thanksgiving, I will try to take consolation in the coming of Easter with its feast of eggs. Cousins, can't we persuade Bessie Bee to come again, also Genevieve Murdock? I think that their letters are much more interesting and instructive than those ludicrous hunting fables which have been used until they begin to have the unmistakable odor that never fails to appear with the coming of old age, but which does not, like wine, become the better for it. Mr. Big Hat, you will have to excuse all my mistakes, as I received my typewriter as a Christmas present, and I have not become very proficient in handling the "keys" yet, but I hope to do better after a little more practice. I, as well as some of the other members of the league, am a printer, and am employed on the Oberlin News. For fear of wearying Mr. Big Hat and choking "the donkey," I will close. Correspondence solicited.

RAY HILL, Blossom, Lamar Co., Tex. -- To Mr. Big Hat: Here comes another 13-year-old Texas girl, wanting a place in the cousins' corner. Oh! how I do love to read the cousins' letters, and I do hope Mr. Big Hat will think enough of my letter to publish it. My pa takes The News, and what a great paper it is! I wonder how many of the cousins can cook. I am my mamma's cook. How nice it is to have people say: What a nice dish! And then the table -- how nice and clean! I have a place for everything and I keep everything in its place. And you see it is not so much trouble after all to cook. We have a house full when we are all at home. I nearly forgot to say that I can perform on the piano, and I think that I am improving fast. My sister, Lalla, teaches music and she played several pieces at the teachers' institute concert, and oh! how the audience applauded! As for pets, we have got three white rabbits and some little white rabbits. They have red eyes. I like them better than I do cats. Little sister Lewie takes them up by the neck and carries them about, and when she puts them down they seem to think it all right, even if she does choke them a little. My brother Robert met with such a bad accident last fall. In getting off his pony his gun went off and shot him through the foot. We all thought his foot would have to be cut off, but I am happy to say that he is hobbling about on his crutch. Thursday is his birthday, and we are going to kill a big fat turkey. I have two more brothers, Howard and Noble. I would be so glad to have Mr. Big Hat and some of the cousins come and dine with us. I agree with some of the cousins as to the great shame in not building a monument in memory of Gen. Sam Houston. Is it not strange that the people of Texas would treat Gen. Houston so shabbily, after he fought such a great battle, gaining our independence? His memory is enshrined on the tablets of our hearth; his fame is as enduring as the ages. My uncle Henry told me to ask the cousins this question: What two famous men of Texas (men who have held the highest office in the gift of the people of Texas) died without a country they could claim as their own, or in which they could claim the rights of citizenship? Ask your pa about it.

ARTHUR HALTON, Jeddo, Bastrop Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and Cousins: This is my second attempt to write to the Cozy Corner. I had a fine time this Christmas visiting my relatives in Fayette county. I am now living at my aunt's in Bastrop county. She is a widow and has seven children living; two of them are married, while the oldest son is single and is a teacher in shorthand and mathematics. I also understand arithmetic a little and think there is nothing better for a boy to take a course in than mathematics. Just think, it is our guide for all kinds of business, such as farming, merchandising and black-smithing. Now lets all of us, cousins, give each other problems a while instead of so many riddles and songs. I don't say riddles and songs are not nice, but let's have a change occasionally. History questions are nice to give. I will solve Cousin Ducia Wiatt's problem. Cousin Ducia, your age is 16. I will now give the solution. The difference between your age and your father's is 66 2-3 per cent of your mother's. Your mother is 42 years, then 66 2-3 per cent of 42 is 28. So your father is 28 years older than you. The difference between your father's age and your mother's is 7 1-7 per cent of the difference between your age and your father's: 7 1-7 per cent of 28 is 2. Well, 2 years is 12 1/2 percent of your age, while 100 per cent gives your age as 16 years. I will now give a problem. A coast costs $32, the trimmings cost 70 per cent less, and the making 50 per cent less than the cloth. What did each cost? My age is 16.

ADDIE and ANNIE CONNERY, Berclair, Goliad Co., Tex. -- Little Mr. Big Hat: We are twin sisters, 8 years old, and read the many nice letters from the cousins every week. Will you allow us a place in the corner? We want to tell the cousins what old Santa Claus brought us -- dolls taller than little baby brother, shoes, candy, oranges, toys, etc. We have four brothers. Arthur is the oldest and is going to school. We have a turkey hen that was hatched last June, and brought off a nice brood of little turkeys Dec. 31. Did any of the cousins ever heard of the like before? Papa and mamma read The News every night, and we all like it. We wish Mr. Big Hat and the cousins a happy New Year!

CASSIE DICKERSON, Granger, Williamson Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I am going to school at the Denson schoolhouse. My teacher is a good teacher. My deskmate is Pearl Rudasill. She is a good girl. I saw a letter in The News from Lillie Fields. I go to school with her. I think she writes a nice letter. I live three miles west of Granger. It is a right pretty little town. Herbert Taylor, why don't you tell the rest of your buzzard ride? Rudolph Bollier, why don't you write again? I will answer Alice Valentine's question: Isn't it a broom? Marie Taylor, you write a nice letter. I will ask a question: Above the earth, below the sky, not on a tree; what can it be? Alice Valentine, see if you can answer it.

EULA DUNCAN, Murphy, Collin Co., Tex. -- Good evening, Little Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I will write to The News again, as Peggy got my other letter. My papa takes The News, and we think there is no other paper. I am 9 years old. I go to school. My studies are Texas history, geography, grammar, arithmetic and spelling. Maud E. Trees, Balboa discovered the Pacific ocean, but I do not know in what year. I will ask a question: Who invented the first steamboat?

ANNIE LAGOW, Roscoe, Nolan Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Peggy got my other letter. I love to read the cousins' letters. Cousins, I bet I know what Peggy is. It is a blaze of fire. I go to school. I study arithmetic, geography, United States history, English grammar and spelling. I am 11 years old. I have four brothers and one sister at home. I walk two miles to school every day.

PRINNIE TUCKER, Kerby, Hill Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Happy New Year to all! Well, another year is gone.

              "Ring out the old,
                   Ring in the new;
               Ring out the false,
                   Ring in the true."

     I went to the Christmas tree at Kirby and Kris Kringle brought me some candy, a pretty little box and a calendar, and New Year's morning he brought me an apple. I had a fine time Christmas day. Mr. Big Hat, the last time I wrote to you I told you to come and I would give you a little cat, but it got killed. I can't go to school this winter, and I am so sorry.

MARY SEABOALT, Astonia, Ellis Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and Cousins: I am a little girl 6 years old. I went to a Christmas tree Christmas night and got a big doll. I saw old, old Santa Claus. I have a gold ring that I got last Christmas. I have two brothers and two sisters. I have 35 cents. I don't pick cotton. I am going to school next year.

ANNIE SEABOALT, Astonia, Ellis Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and Cousins: I am going to school. I went to a Christmas tree the other night and got a big doll. I saw Santa Claus. My two brothers have a set of gold cuff buttons. They received them for a Christmas present. Papa says if I will stand head in my class he will get me a gold ring, and I will try hard. My teacher puts some of the children in the closet some times.

KATIE NORTON, Rusk, Cherokee Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Here I am again, but will promise not to detain you very long, for all of the family have retired but me, and I expect every minute to see a ghost. Genevieve Myrdock, write again, and not again but often. Maud Carson, Burett Gouger and Abner Williams, your letters are just splendid. One of the cousins says she will admit that girls are afraid of bugs and mice, but that none of us are afraid of a toad. I am not afraid of bugs nor toads either, although I would not touch a toad for-- well, not for anything. And mice -- I don't know about mice. I got after a mouse in a box one day and caught him and the first thing he did he bit me, and you can just believe I turned him loose. I have never tried to catch another mouse, nor do I want to. Listen! There comes the ghost. No, that's my brother snoring. I enjoyed Christmas firstrate. We had a Christmas tree here, and plenty of mud. What has become of Margaret Virginia Jones and C. L. Greer, and I wonder where Herbert Taylor is? Emma Miller, write again. Cousin Dora Bennett, I am sure your letters are always welcome. I have a nephew who is like Cousin Dora, and will be a cripple for life, and now at 19 years of age is 12 or 13 in appearance. He has not walked a step in a number of years, but seems to be contented and happy. Go to see him when you may, he is cheerful and in good spirits. Johnnie Price, I hope you won't forget to write to the Cozy Corner when you go to Louisville, Ky. Joe Dawson, you write splendid letters. Rudolph Bollier, have you been hunting lately?

REBA E. SMITH, Sherman, Grayson Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I am a new writer to this Cozy Corner, but for some time past I have been a reader of many entertaining little letters, and I want to join this happy band. Allow me to compliment Mr. Big Hat on his diplomacy. It is very nice in him to urge this kind of work among the boys and girls; it may prove to be useful to some of us by and by. I am sure all, including myself, appreciate his kindness. I attend school at the Sherman female institute and like it very much. My studies are hard. Perhaps I shall finish school next year. My average for the month of December was 96 1/2. I attended a reception given by the school New Year's eve. We had refreshments and I was called upon to deliver a toast. Perhaps some of you would like to hear it. It ran as follows: "Man is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. Tomorrow, sisters, issues in leap year; we may then unfurl the banner of emancipation and our undismayed efforts to procure for us one of these copies a thing of beauty! Oh, man! Thou art great! You stand foremost, a noble work of God." I will tell you more about myself and home in my next letter if you wish. I want to be a good friend to all the cousins. I hardly know which of the letters I like best. Don't you think Louis Hunter writes a splendid letter? If he don't object seriously, I wish he would tell us more about himself in his next letter. How many of the cousins will send to my address a photograph of themselves? I would like so much to have one of each of you. It would more than please me to correspond with any of the contributors to this corner. I am 16 years of age. My next birthday will be the 21st of October. As I do not visit on Sunday afternoon, I have spent some of my time in writing to you, and it has been spent very pleasantly, indeed. Good-bye, my dear little friends. May each and every one of you enjoy a bright and prosperous New Year!

NELL MORRIS, Corsicana, Navarro Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: A happy New Year to all! How many of the cousins are keeping a diary? I have kept one since my tenth birthday, and think the idea a good one, for it causes us to think of the way the day has been passed and teaches us composition. Then, how interesting it may prove in our old age! Or, if we should die -- but perhaps it is better not to have kept on in that case. I have just been reading what I have written on each New Year day. It gives me a very strong desire to make this the most profitable year of all. Lella Du Bose, the reason I "dropped out so suddenly" was, as Sam Jones says, "ignorance." Mr. Big Hat asked me to tell about the "blue stockings," who were farmers' daughters, and I didn't know who they were, and (though I asked every school teacher in the county) I couldn't find out. Our sweet poets, Alice and Phoebe Cary, were born in the Miami valley on a farm. Mary Mapes Dodge made her home at Mapes farm, near Waverly, N. J. Alice French (Octave Chanet) passed her winters at a plantation on the Black river in Arkansas. Charles Egbert Craddock (Mary Murfree) lived for many years on her father's farm near Beersheba, a village in the Tennessee mountains, where she made the studies subsequently utilized in her works of fiction. Olive Chorn Miller spent many years in the country, as is evidenced by her books and articles descriptive of birds and their habits. Mr. Big hat, I know of no subject that could be of more interest to us than this same one on which you have kindly invited me to write, and as I know that I can not do it justice, please, Mr. Big Hat, tell of them yourself. Genevieve Myrdoch, I like you. Herbert Taylor, you are a favorite of mine, and Levi, give us a good New Year's letter. Florence Giddens, I love you dearly. Why do you not write?

CHRIS CRITTENDON, Aughterville, Indian Territory -- Mr. Big Hat: I have stood it long enough. This is said to be "the land of the free and the home of the brave," and since I live in this land I think I am at liberty to write to The News. Christmas has gone glimmering and our turkey is not "bilin'" like Otis', but it gobbles all the same. I have read The News ever since I was knee high to a duck and think Odis Riddle is the pie of the squad. If he lived in this country he would sleep with his head under cover sure enough. Now don't think that I am a bad man's dog because I live in the land of Bill Cooks and Cherokee Bills. I am simply a country clod hopper and would shake in my boots at sight of one of those bad men. We were to have a grand ball not far from here on Monday night before Christmas, but it commenced raining in the evening and rained all night, so the ball was a failure. Odis R., I have seen the old Caddo schoolhouse. I passed there one day and stopped for church. It was a fine house for the time it was built. I never played "laugh and go foot," but I have experienced "miss and go foot." That was at school, you know. I live not far from the celebrated Arbuckle mountains. It is fine sport to clamber over them. In them are natural caves, in which curious shaped stones are to be found. Streams of water also flow through them and when lighted by a torch they glitter as if they were set with diamonds. There was an abundance of persimmons up here this fall. I ate so many that I thought I had almost turned to a 'possum. I asked a man the other day what he thought of rats and he said he thought if I had a little more hair I would be one. Now wasn't that bad on a boy whose imaginary mustache is so heavy that it pains him to carry it? Now, Mr. Big Hat, if you want to spoil my New Year's pleasure just cast this into the waste basket. If not, just let me see my name in print and I will jump a ten-rail fence and come again.

ORA MAXWELL, Anson, Jones Co., Tex. -- Good evening, Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Here comes another little 11-year-old girl. I never read the cousins' letters until a few days ago. I liked them so well I thought I would try to write a letter to The News. I am going to school. My studies are arithmetic, grammar, United States history, geography and spelling. We have a long distance to go to school, but I don't get lonesome going. I have two brothers and one sister that go with me.

BEULAH LOCKHART, Cale, Indian Territory > Bryan Co., Okla. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: As to-day is windy and I haven't got much to do I will write you a letter from Cale. Cousins, our corner is improving lots I think. Well, old 1895 is out now and it is 1896. Who enjoyed Christmas? I did for one. Herbert Taylor, I hope you are on earth by this time, or you will freeze to death away up there. We had two weeks' vacation at our school. I will answer one of Alice Valentine's riddles. She asked what it was that goes all over [a] house several times a day and sits in the corner at night. It is a broom. I will try to describe the old fort of Washita in the Indian Territory in my next letter, if any of the cousins want to hear it.

ADOLPH DREYER, Shiner, Lavaca Co., Tex. Mr. Big Hat and cousins: As my last letter was in print I decided to write again. Christmas is over and if Mr. Big Hat and cousins enjoyed it as well as I did they cannot complain that it was not a jolly Christmas. The town of Shiner is a very live little place. It is surrounded by very rich farms, of which the average production of cotton is about one-half to two-thirds of a bale to the acre. Corn forty to fifty bushels. Besides there are large crops of potatoes produced. It has nice buildings and a very good school of about 200 scholars and there is also a school about a mile from town, which is well attended. It has nine business houses, two drug stores, two blacksmith shops, two lumber yards and three large gins, all of which have a large number of patrons. It has electric lights and water works. The nearest towns are Hallettsville, Moulton, Sweet Home and Yoakum, all beautiful little places.

- January 19, 1896, The Dallas Morning News, p. 14, col. 4-7.
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