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December 29, 1895

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.

FANNIE DUNAGAN, Farrar, Limestone Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I have been reading the cousins' letters for a long time, and have often wished that I could write such letters. As this is my first attempt to write to the Cozy Corner, I will not write much, for fear Peggy will get it. I am 12 years old and am studying Texas history, grammar, arithmetic, spelling and geography. Now I will answer that riddle asked in the last News. It is the looking glass that everybody asks the same question, and it tells them all the truth, but tells no two people the same thing. I want to ask a question, and if no one can answer it I will explain in my next letter. What is it that was born without a soul and died without a soul, but lived to have a soul?

ROSA LEE HAMBLEN, Moody, McLennan Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I am at school to-day, and as I have my lessons I thought I would write to you all. I am 13 years of age. I study algebra, arithmetic, grammar, composition, spelling and writing. We had a fire in Moody about two weeks ago. It burned two buildings. I live in the suburbs of the town. I would rather live there than in the very heart of the city. Moody has about 1200 inhabitants. We used to live in the country, but moved to town last January. Bessie Bee, why do you not come again?

BRUCE ANDERSON, Sherman, Grayson Co., Tex. -- Good morning, Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Here comes another little 7-year-old boy who wishes to see his letter in print. I want to tell you about my pets. I have a little white poodle dog, named Trix, and a kitty whose name was Truce. Papa named him because he had a white spot on the end of his trail. I had a chestnut colt whose name was Rex. Mamma used to sing for me:

          "I have a kitty whose name is Truce,
              I have a colt whose name is Rex.
            I have a dog whose name is Trix,
              And the boy who owns them, his name is Bruce."

     I made some poetry two years ago. I suppose you've all heard the piece, "The boy stood on the burning dock," etc. Well I said:

          Trixy lay down by the river,
              Eating a big piece of liver,
          Brucie called him but he wouldn't go,
              'Cause he loved his liver so.

     Now don't give Peggy this, for there is too much cats and dogs about it. I expect Santa will bring me a tricycle.

LEILA DU BOSE, Bruceville, McLennan Co., Tex. -- Little Mr. Big Hat and cousins: As I am through with all my lessons to-day, I will write a short letter to The News. Cousins, don't you think Mr. Big Hat's plan to put a stone over Houston's grave just grand? I think all of the cousins ought to give something, even if it is a very little. Mr. Big Hat, don't you think it wonderful how our side of the paper is improving? Most of the cousins write good letters, but some write just splendid letters. Cousins, if you will listen I will tell you what a nice time I had the other evening. Several of us school girls had come to the conclusion that we wanted some black haws, so we said we would go haw hunting Saturday evening. My chum, Belle Shelton, came by after me, and then we went after two more girls to go with us. We started about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and soon came to the woods, which are a short distance from town. After going a ways into the woods we found an abundance of black haws, but instead of staying there and getting all the haws we wanted, we kept going further into the woods. I think each one of us had some fear of being lost, but not one of us wanted the others to know it. After going a piece this way and then that way we heard the shrill whistle of the evening train, which told us we were not far from town. We soon gathered our aprons full of haws and started for home. We got back to town just as the sun was setting, and as some of us lived a good piece, we had to hurry to get home before dark. I think all of us came to the conclusion that we had a delightful time. Boys, I think you are trying to excel each other in telling hunting stories. Well, you are all doing admirably, but I don't think any of you can come up with Herbert Taylor yet. While Herbert is on his northern expedition some of you boys will have to give us a real interesting hunting story. Cousins, don't you think the piece headed "Number Fifteen" was nice? Mr. Big Hat, what has become of Florence Giddings and Nell Morris? They dropped out of the Cozy Corner as suddenly as they dropped in.

GENEVIEVE MYRDOCH, Owlet Green, Van Zandt Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Do you all know why Van Zandt county is called the "free state?" There are several legends, the one most popular with Van Zandt's people being as follows: Van Zandt county, which originally comprised a much larger area than now, was first settled by men who were greatly opposed to slavery. When, at the beginning of the civil war, Texas seceded from the union, Van Zandt objected. Seeing that their protestations were of no avail, the men met in convention. "If," said they, "a state has a right to secede from the union, then a county has the same right to secede from the state." So after "resoluting and resolving," officers were elected, or selected, and lo and behold, we had the "free state of Van Zandt." The governor of Texas sent a company of militia to the scene, and though the free state died, the name still lives. And let me tell you right here, Van Zandt county is the center of what was known in the first stages of the world, as the "garden of Eden." Joe Dawson, I wish I could correspond with you, but my mother doesn't believe in school girls and boys corresponding, and she won't hear of my writing to a boy with whom I am unacquainted. Suppose, if Mr. Big Hat doesn't object, we correspond through the columns of "Little Men and Women?" Please write a long letter and tell us about your collections of minerals. I'm sure it would be interesting. I am very fond of reading, and used to read anything and everything, but now I confine myself to the works of standard authors. I am fond of ancient history, and often wonder if our history will seem as strange and unreal to future generations. Certainly our great men have more true nobility than did the famous men of bygone times. Dickens is my favorite novelist, and of some of his books I don't believe I would ever tire. Mr. Big Hat, who are considered the best living writers of fiction? I remember seeing the question "Was Lucile ever married?" asked in these columns not long since. In the fourth division of the third canto the writer in speaking of Lucile says: "The girl, by that grim maiden aunt, had been married to a dreary old count, who had suddenly died, with no claim on her tears -- she had wept as a bride." Cousins, I once had poetical aspirations, but -- I'll tell you about it. You see, I have half a dozen brothers and cousins, who when they are not "gallivantin and actin' nice" to somebody else's sisters and cousins, put in most of their time teasing and tormenting their own. They have just that "winning way" about them, though, and just before they ask a favor of me, can be so nice that I'd be willing to annihilate anybody who should even hint that they weren't the dearest creatures in existence. Now, at one of these times I grew strangely confidential and offered to entertain them by reciting a selection of my choicest poems. Humph! Phew! You've heard street melodies? Well, I'd rather hear "Little Annie Rooney," "After the Ball" and "Boom-de-ay" at the same time and all the time, than to get those boys started on any of my poetry again. They recited it for my edification at breakfast, sung it from then till noon and chanted it in melancholy tones from then till bedtime. If I woke or if I slept, those words rung in my ears. Since that memorable time I confine myself to prose. Say, Mr. Editor, if you publish this before Christmas, how do you know I will not send you something nice? Try it and see.
     Alas! Mr. Big Hat never gets a chance to look at the letters till they are several weeks old, there are so many always ahead. Isn't it too bad to be thus cheated out of perhaps his only chance at a present? The great living authors are getting too numerous to mention. Suppose we all name one we like, man and woman. Mr. Big Hat enjoys Frank Stockton's and Mary E. Wilkins' stories. Perhaps they are not altogether his preferences, but they are favorites, and they furnish good reading for young people.

HARRY STRONG, Iredell, Bosque Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I have been reading the letters in The News and see so many good ones, and the cousins are having such a jolly time, that I can not stay away any longer. So you must let me join your happy band. I live in the northwestern part of Bosque county, not far from the corner of Bosque, Hamilton and Erath counties. This is a real pretty country, as there is a mountain range north of our ranch. They are called the Duffau mountains. They are not very high, but they make the country look as pretty and in the fall they are just red with wild plumbs. There are deer, wolves and wildcats on them, and we have a big time going hunting. Mr. Scales has a pack of hounds and whenever we (that is my brother Roy and myself) hear him blowing his horn, we know there is going to be a hunt, and we saddle our horses so that we can catch up with him before he gets to the mountains. Well, not long ago we heard him blowing his horn about sunrise, and we knew that there was going to be a big hunt, so we got ready in a jiffy and were going at a gallop toward the mountains. We caught up with them just as they had come to a path that led up on the mountain. It was a beautiful sight, you may be sure, the sun coming up and throwing its soft rays over the sleeping earth, and the hounds, about fifteen in number, running to and fro eager to find the trail of some wild animal that had been down to the valley during the night. The other gentlemen were with Mr. Scales and had brought some hounds with them, there was quite a large pack. The dogs did not strike the trail of anything until we had got on top of the mountain, when all at once old Music, one of the best dogs of the pack, bawled out and went running through the brush as fast as she could. In an instant all the dogs were on the trail, and barking at the top of their voices, and running so fast that one had all he could do to keep in hearing. But, oh! what a beautiful sound the barking of the hounds are to the hunters' ears and I know that Mr. Big Hat would have enjoyed it if he had been there. We rode about half a mile over brush and rocks till we came to the side of the mountain, and looking across a little valley we saw a deer just going into a bunch of brush at the foot of another mountain, and the dogs in a long string about 200 or 300 yards behind. It was a beautiful sight, but it did not last but a moment, and soon we were dashing down the mountain side after the hounds. We ran the deer about five miles, till the dogs caught it. My brother and I were the first to get to it, but the dogs had killed it, but had torn its flesh very little. It was what they call a 2-year-old buck. Well I must stop writing for I fear Peggy, for I know she will get this.

LENA BUMPAS, Oak Cliff, Dallas Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: It has been a long time since I wrote to Mr. Big Hat, and he may have forgotten me, but I think I'm one of the cousins, if I don't write regularly. Cousins, did any of you see the destruction of Pompeii at the fair grounds? I think it was the best part of the fair. How many of the cousins know where Pompeii was and when the city was destroyed? I go to school, and I study history, geography, arithmetic, grammar and spelling. I live on a farm five miles from Dallas. Mr. Big Hat, you must come out to see us Christmas. My Christmas present last year was a large doll. I have it yet, and my little sister wants to play with it, so I give her my other toys to play with, but I seldom give her my doll. Come again, Minnie Derricks. I saw a letter in Mr. Big Hat's department from a real cousin of mine, Minnie High. Write often, Cousin Minnie. I enjoyed reading your letter very much. I am expecting my uncle and aunt from Toledo, O., to visit us this Christmas. I will ask a question: What is Queen Victoria's name? I am 10 years old.

JACQUETTE RYPINSKI, Bryan, Brazos Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Good morning, Mr. Big Hat! What have you been doing with yourself lately? What do you want for Christmas, Mr. Big Hat? I want one or two things, but I will take anything I can get. All of the cousins are talking of their dolls, and I will tell you a little about my doll. I have a doll, which has only one leg; the other was cracked when mamma got it for me. I got it for my birthday, December, 1894. So it was a year old Dec. 2, which was my birthday. I played with the doll for a long time and then the leg came off, and I played with it for two or three months and when school began I put it away. I want to keep it as long as possible. I was 13 on my birthday. Our school lets out Friday, Dec. 20, for the Christmas holidays, and takes up on the 6th of January. No one ever answered my riddle, so I will answer it myself. The question was: What is it that never slew anything and yet slew twelve? It was a crow, which ate the flesh of a poisoned horse, and was taken to a hotel and was eaten by twelve robbers, who died from eating it. As no one answered my first riddle I will ask another. It is not a riddle exactly, but it has an answer to it. "Come to me neither dressed nor undressed, neither walking nor riding, and neither in the road nor out of the road." I have been reading a great many good books in the last five or six months. I have read five or six of Louise Alcott's books, and I like them very much. I read one of E. V. Roe's books this summer. The name was "Miss Lou." I think he is a very good author. At times I would rather read than eat. Cousins, hasn't the Cozy Corner grown in the last six or eight months? Wishing the cousins and Mr. Big Hat a merry Christmas and happy New Year, I will say good-bye.

LOUISE GROCE, Waxahachie, Ellis Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: You do not know glad I was to see my little letter in print. Auntie, who lives in Corsicana, said they all read it, and my little friends all had it read to them. Last Monday I started to get up off the rug where I had been sewing, when I stuck a needle in my knee. The doctors chloroformed me this morning and cut it out, all but the point; they could not find that. Little cousins, I had an experience with my needle, and I hope you will be more careful with needles when you use them, so you won't get hurt. Now, sister pushes me around in a little rolling chair we have, for the doctors do not want me to walk for a while. Before the doctors chloroformed me I amused myself drawing on a little writing tablet that a gentleman gave me. As the children are all talking about smart cats, I want to tell about mine, named Kate. She was such a good mouser, but every time she caught a mouse she would bring it to sister and me, and we would rub her and praise her before she would eat it. At first she brought them alive, but sister and I would let them get away sometimes. Then she would kill them before she showed them to us. One night my little sleepy-headed sister and I had gone to bed, when I heard Kate meow, me-ow. Sister was asleep, of course, but I wasn't, and when I opened the door, there she was with a mouse. One day we knew she was trying to tell us something, but we could not understand cat talk, so we followed her and she led us right to the woodhouse, and there were four little kittens! When it turned cold she took them, one at a time, by the neck and hid them where do you think? In the wardrobe in our room. Kate died of a very bad cough. One day she coughed very hard and up came a little rock. Please do not let Peggy get this, for I'm afraid I've written too long a letter. I hope you'll have a nice Christmas.

BURETT GOUGER, Red Oak, Ellis Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: The many nice pieces recited by my fellow schoolmates, and the many interesting letters written by the dear cousins in the last two issues of the Semi-Weekly News, have had a great deal of influence over me while I was at school. I always enjoy having good lessons when I go to school, and consequently if I had taken up my time writing or spent it in some other way, idleness, I would not have known my lessons. But, as this is our week for a happy Christmas vacation (and many others), I know of nothing better for me than to write you all a letter. Cousins, we all are preparing to enjoy Christmas. We still have a Christmas tree at Red Oak, if the weather is favorable. We had quite an entertainment at our schoolhouse last Saturday night a week ago, "Ten Nights in a Barroom." Probably you all have seen it. If so, you certainly enjoyed it well, for I can assure you of that, if acted nicely. We will have negro minstrels at Red Oak to-night. Cousins, I wish you could be there and also at our Christmas tree. Mose Stepken, in regard to the question which you asked me some time ago, I will say in reply that all of my sisters are living, and I have no connection whatever living at or near Baylor. Wesley Rowley, Red Oak, the village near where I live, is in Ellis county. It is a beautiful little place, situated on the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railroad. It has several nice dwelling-houses, six or seven stores, one livery stable and wagon yard, three shops, lumber yard, church and a schoolhouse. Ducia Wyatt, if I understand your problem, your age is 16. Christmas gift to you all! Et amici.

ALICE VALENTINE, Joshua, Johnson Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat, Miss Big Bonnet and all the rest: Here I come knocking again. I fancy I see Mr. Big Hat frown and say: "The Cozy Corner will not be very cozy this time." But nevertheless I am going to stay awhile, anyhow. I stayed all night with one of my friends last night and had a good time. She and I have "jubilee times." She lives just across the garden from me and the garden is not very big, either. Cousins, don't you wonder what has become of Cousins Hugh and Johnnie Brooks? I am afraid that they have got fastened in the briars or something worse. Mr. Big Hat, have you any married sisters? I have three. How many of the cousins like to read? In the summer just give me a fan and a book that is good and that is all I want. I am going to school now. I am in the schoolroom now and my class will be called directly. I enjoyed reading Cousin Isadore Miller's letter. Mr. Big Hat, you must be awful smart; are you? How many of the cousins read "Trif and Trixy" in The News? I did and thought it rather foolish. Miss Big Bonnet, let me tell you what I would do with my pet kittens. I would sack them up when papa started to town, and would give them to him and tell him to tell them and to sell them and get me some candy; and then he would bring me some candy. You see I had plenty of them. My little niece got badly burned the other day. Her face was burned real bad. I will ask some questions. They are very important and I hope some one will answer them. What is it that walks with its head down? What is it that goes all over the house several times a day and sits in the corner at night?

LALLA CLEMATIS, Bridgeport, Wise Co., Tex. -- Good morning, Mr. Big Hat: I have just been reading some very interesting letters in the Cozy Corner, and thought I would take my pen and see if I could write anything of interest. Joe Dawson has asked every one who is interested in education to write. I will try and comply with the request, as I am very much interested. You will soon discover that I am not educated, but it is my greatest desire to become "well read," and, if possible, well educated. I think an education is one of the greatest necessities for a successful life. The grave is not the goal of the life that is patiently and earnestly spent in behalf of the upbuilding and reformation of poor, insignificant humanity, even though the time be mostly spent in cultivating self and improving the talent given us. I have been thrown a great deal into the society of learned people, and, not being educated myself, I feel the importance and value of an education. Joe is right about poor boys and girls, for being poor is not always an excuse for being ignorant. It is not wealth that leads one to prominence, but that stability of character, that strong will power, energy and ambition which aids us in whatever undertaken. I say, dear cousins, set a mark and aim at it. Press onward and upward, and strive to reach the mark of our high calling, and if you are patient and overcome the trials that do test your zeal, you will come out conquerors in the end and enjoy the thought of having gained the victory. But we will find that often one has to be deprived of many of the luxuries of this life to obtain what will prove substantial pleasures in after life. Bridgeport is a very lively little town. We have a nice school building, a Methodist church, and the people are now engaged in erecting a Baptist church. Mina Derrick asked the question, "What 'bus has found room for the greatest number of people?" I guess that it is the 'bus that you see as often in the parlor as anywhere else. Is that it? Am glad to hear of so many of the cousins attending school. I am going to start to school soon. I enjoyed Genevieve Myrdock's letter, and I would like to correspond with her.

OLIVE HENRY, Quanah, Hardeman Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: It is Sunday and real cold to-day. I have just come in from feeding mamma's white Pekin ducks. They are so pretty. They come to the house every morning and evening to be fed. I saw a pet crow in the Indian Territory. It could talk so well, but did not have its tongue split. Bad nights they would let Dick (the crow) sleep in the house, and if the old gentleman did not rise with the rest of the family Dick would get on the head of his bed and say "Hello!" and if he did not wake Dick would scream out as loud as he could, "Hello!" I was 9 years old the 19th of this month.

MARIE TAYLOR, Avalon, Ellis Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Like Artemus Ward, I sometimes "seize opportunities" and this is the grandest ever presented to me -- an opportunity of telling the cousins that such in insignificant person as myself lives in the same great Lone Star state, breathes the same fresh air as they, yet wholly unknown. Receiving such a "lofty" inspiration from the flowing pen of Mary West in the great world of fairy imagination. I am with her in her fishing excursion, seeing the bright, dazzling side of life; and the startling contrast -- the death of one of their happy number. Sunshine followed by shadow! I can relate nothing so entertaining and interesting although the same flowery path my feet have trod. I am very poetical, as you have discovered. Perhaps you may know it is my characteristic. Entering the gay circle I am attracted by many charming faces -- brunettes and blondes, some like the old familiar story, ever looking on the bright side; others, ever moping. It is another grand opportunity -- to study character. What a wonderful people we are. How much I would like to know the history of each. And Herbert Taylor! A thrilling experience you had! You look as if you viewed the golden gates of paradise in your air ascension on "flowery beds of ease." It is an experience equal to a Taylor. From "Old Rough and Ready" down the line, we have ever been counted among the geese or the buzzards. Please write more of that wonderful journey; tell us if you saw any fair angels, like you boys. You know girls have a great deal of curiosity and mine is excited to a very high degree by that strange story. Well, many choose a particular subject upon which to write. I am not very much concerned about my subject -- speak as if I were able to write upon any that might arise -- but we'll let that pass. But I should like to inquire how many cousins think that one can influence another, at any distance, by thought? I would like very much to hear some of the cousins' opinions on this subject, but of course I am not at all experimenting. and in the novel "David Copperfield," who is your favorite character, cousins? I admire Tommy Traddles from my very soul, also think Mr. Micawber (although a "victim of circumstances") a noble man, and Agnes the purest fancy ever conceived in an author's brain. I also laugh with Dora and Jip, and generally admire the intellectual ability of J. Steenforth. His career teaches us a true lesson.

OLIVE ROGERS, Bonner, Freestone Co., Tex. -- Good evening, Mr. Big Hat and cousins! As I have never written to your paper I will now make my first attempt. We are having beautiful weather, but I hope it will snow Christmas time. I want to visit my brother in Comanche county if I can, and if I do I will tell you all about my trip. Do the cousins say recitations Friday evening at school? We have a real nice time every Friday evening. We have a very large school for a country school. Have already enrolled fifty pupils and expect many more to come in. Cousins, I will invite you to the exhibition we are going to have the last day of school. And I hope by the end of this school we all will have learned a great deal. I want to get an education if I can, for I think it real important; as I read in a story, it is like trying to go through the world with your hands tied behind you without an education. I think all, especially boys, should endeavor to acquire an education. I have a speech on "Knowledge," and I think it is real good. I think reading is real interesting. To a mind not altogether void of curiosity reading furnishes a great source of enjoyment. I have been reading a book, "The Arabian Nights." It is mostly fairy stories. I live on a farm, eighteen miles from Mexia and ten miles from Wortham. We raise most everything at home. My favorite task when I come home from school in the evening is to milk the cows. I haven't any pets, only sometimes I have to pet my colt, dog and my little baby sister. I believe my sister is the sweetest and smartest little girl that ever was. But my poor little cat got its foot burned. Papa went to get the gun down one night to shoot an owl and knocked a vase of flowers down, and it scared my cat and it jumped into the fire. I wonder if that mean old buzzard has returned to earth yet, so that Herbert can write again? I will close by asking a question: Who was called the American Fabius?

ROY NEBLETT, Stephenville, Erath Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: My schoolmate wrote to you not long ago and you published it, so I've decided to write and see if I can escape the waste basket. My little sister is 5 years old. Her name is Tommie. She went to school till she learned to read and write. She stays at home now to play with baby brother while it is so cold. My deskmate, Newton Miller, is a nice and good boy, I think, and we are in the same class in all our studies. We boys have great fun at recess playing with Mr. Hyatt's big Newfoundland dog, Jack. He comes to school with Ray, 4 years old. Jack seems to think he is one of the boys when we go to play. We put a long stick in his mouth and two boys catch hold, one at each end, one or two mount on his back, then off we start for a race. But Jack runs so fast he knocks us all down, and away he runs with our pole. Here is where the fun begins. He is a good dodger, but if we ever get close enough to catch him by the tail he stops immediately. Then we are soon ready for another race.

ANNA BELLE CLEMENT, Mount Pleasant, Titus Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Here comes a little girl to chat with you a little while. I go to school and study fourth reader, spelling, geography, arithmetic, language and physiology. I am sick to-day, and I thought I would write to you. We have a little kitten. We have a curiosity in our town. It is the red springs. It has red water and sulphur and clear water. We have about 1100 inhabitants in Mount Pleasant. This is my first letter to The News. My deskmate is Iona Caldwell, and I live close to her. I like my teacher very much. Come again, Abbie Brantley. I like to read the cousins' letters. I have been reading them for a good while. Where is Miss Big Bonnet? I live on the prettiest street in the town. I have a brother and a little sister. Have any of you ever seen a persimmon pond? We have one, and a crowd of children go out there and have lots of fun. I noticed one letter from a schoolmate, Isaac Williams. My age is 10 years.

CLAUDE L. JONES, Royse City, Rockwall Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: Seeing that through your department in The News a person could correspond indirectly with so many intelligent boys, I concluded to write to it. The town or Royse City is situated near the confluence of Bois d'Arc creek and Sabine river. It is surrounded by the finest land of which vast Texas can boast. It contains seventeen business houses, two large cotton gins and two blacksmith ships, all of which have a large number of patrons. It has a good school, containing about 200 scholars and four teachers. It has three christian churches, which do a great work for the supreme judge of the universe. My age is 16.

- December 29, 1895, The Dallas Morning News, p. 14, col. 4-7.
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