August 2, 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.
HERBERT TAYLOR, Monaville, Waller Co., Tex. --
CALLIE KILGORE, Hondo, Medina Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Here comes a little country girl to join your happy band. I have been a silent reader of your department heretofore. My mother is dead and papa lives out on the farm. He has only two children, sister and myself. We keep house and make all our clothes. We are going to attend the Pearsall school this year.
OTHELLO C. ROBERTSON, Seymour, Baylor Co., Tex. -- Dear cousins (or Peggy): After an absence of 1000 years, I will again grab the pen to inform you I am still alive and kicking, and very much of both. Seeing so many nice letters, I feel somewhat backwoodsy in addressing the Cozy Corner. There is such a numerosity of good writers, I can not tell which is the best. Shinpapur A. Wallplaster, you should not try to bring your name in by yourself. I nearly fainted when I first saw it. But, I have a cousin whose name is Breechloader G. Barefooted. Marie C. Taylor, I think you are good-looking. I won't brag on my looks, as I wear a 27 shoe. They say I can squelch anything by looking at it. I once stopped an eight-day clock by looking at it, and I have never tried to tell the time of day since. Gene Murdock, you are in a sad predicament by being a genius, whether you were a man or not. Herbert Taylor, I guess you will ride to the gubernatorial chair on old Go-Ahead, if you can find him. You should have him staked out. Ludie Sanders, if you haven't gone to college yet, I wish you would sing something some evening. Perhaps I could hear you, as you have such a long voice. I wish you had not said anything about going to college, for I am already wishing for a stepbrother. Patsy Goodenough, I would say you are a boy. Now, I will ask you (or some other cousin) the same question. If our editor requires us to give our ages, I will say that I am between 13 years of age. All the cousins talk of an education. I have not got one yet, but I hope to be able to get one. Well, as I live in the "jumping-off place," I haven't much chance to get rich off my education. Mr. Big Hat, who writes those enigmas, etc., headed "Knots to Untie," in Tuesday's issue? I wish you would send me the list of rules which govern the sending of such puzzles. Who is the editor of that department? Joe Farmer, when you think a real thought, please tell us what it is. Well, if I write any more, Peggy will choke, especially if he gets it crossways in his throat. Success to the summer school!
LAURITA KELSEY, Houston, Harris Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: I have been a silent admirer of you and the cousins for some time, and will write to you, hoping to see my letter (if it is worthy) in the columns of the page devoted to "Little Men and Women." I hope that the cousins will kindly receive me, for I do not know any of them, but have enjoyed exceedingly their letters, particularly those of the older cousins. I honestly think that The News is one of the best (I was going to say the best, but you know one must be loyal) papers of the Lone Star state. I think that the suggestion of Charles Allen of Madera, Cal., is a good one. I refer to his saying that he thought it would be nice for Mr. Big Hat to select one of the cousins, and for the rest to tell what they think that cousin would be like, and then for that cousin to tell in a letter what he is really like, and see who comes nearest to the truth. I will answer Waldemar Schroeder's question: It is 120 years since the declaration of Independence was adopted. Also, Floy Elliston's: The citizens of the city of Washington will not vote for president. I will ask a question: When, where and by whom published, and what was the name of the first newspaper? As my letter is getting awfully long, I will close, with Genevieve Myrdoch's advice in mind about not speaking about Peggy.
JACOB HUGLEY THRELKELD, Iowa Park, Wichita Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I will write you a few lines. I am 9 years old. I'll wager that none of you can guess my name. I was named for a Campbellite preacher and one of the best men who ever stood in a pulpit; but some people seem to think he had a peculiar name, for they laugh when I tell them mine. One fellow made fun of my name, while his is something like axle grease. I am not a Campbellite, however, neither a Methodist nor a Baptist. I think I belong to that class usually called hypocrites. My parents died when I was very small, but a kind lady adopted me and I have lived with her ever since. I love her as if she was my own mother. I have a big sister and two brothers in Missouri, where I was born. I write to them occasionally. I have a mischievous cat named Thomas Didymus Christopher Holmes Peter Bewaller Cadwoller Jones, who has a fight on our tin roof most every night with his neighbor, and wakes me up in a fright. I pet the chickens, but they do not appreciate it. If Peggy gets this, I hope mine and my cat's names will choke him. Maybe some time I will tell you about my visit back to Missouri.
LUTA JONES, Rice's Crossing, Navarro Co., Tex. -- Dear cousins: As some one has requested me to come again, I'll now take advantage of this dull lonesome day and chat with you cousins awhile. I know Rosa D. Hauser is thinking that the whole circle will be bored to death now by my telling about picnics, and picnics, and more picnics, but I'll surprise Rosa and all the rest of you by not describing a single picnic, nor telling a single fish story. I know you'll think something dreadful has happened. Yes, and something has happened! And, before your curiosity reaches a white heat, I'll tell you. To be very poetical, " 'tis only this and nothing more." Our stepmother left us last week to make an extended visit among her friends and relatives way back in dear old Alabama. In her absence, sister and I have the house-keeping to do, and that is the reason why I'm wearing such a long face, and feeling so dejected that I can't even relate a fish story. Did any of you girls ever read the poem entitled, "A Housekeeper's Tragedy?" The heroine of this poem was a poor woman, who, all her lifetime, was continually battling with dirt, and at last, in her old age, she gave up in despair, rolled down her sleeves, her apron she folded, then laid down and died, and was buried in dirt! There is a great deal of truth in this poem, and I'd like very much for you cousins to read it. Ludie Sanders, I hate to own up, but I feel awfully jealous of you, and I think you are certainly fortunate in having such a noble-hearted brother. What do you cousins think of a country girl who builds "air castles?" I fear your condemnation will be very strong, but nevertheless, I've built a great "air castle," in which I intend to sail up to Boston to take a year's course in art. It's a beauty, too! You see from the shuttle of determination I intend weaving for it a double tier of wings that will convert it into a regular flying machine. And, I know the whole thing will have a provoking attraction for Rice's Crossing, unless you cousins will, by encouraging words, help me to decrease the force of gravity and buoy the immense structure up into a current strong enough to sail in. Will you do it? To make myself plainer, will you all express yourself as to whether you would, or would not condemn me for canvassing in order to secure the necessary funds for a year's course in art, and thereby receive a year's course in art in Boston? Tell me, truly, do you think there would be anything unwomanly about canvassing, when there is so great an object in view? I certainly do love art, but can't accomplish much studying here at home. I'll not weary you cousins and Mr. Big Hat any longer with this lengthy letter. I thank the cousins very much for writing to me, and regret that my small amount of leisure time prevented me from answering all their letters.
MESQUITE LORAINE, New Orleans, Orleans Parish, La. -- Little Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Will [you] permit a maid from the Pelican state to enter your band? I have two cousins who were born and raised in different parts of Texas, and to hear either of them talk, you would think that there was but one state in the union worth speaking about, and its symbol was the Lone Star. I spent last summer in Texas with my girl cousin, and we all went on a wagon trip, following the line of the Central. One day, my cousin and I, who were walking in advance of the wagon, took a notion to explore some of the numerous little trails that branched off from the main road in every direction and led to all sorts of mysterious looking glens and thickets. So, we started down one, picking flowers as we went, branching off from one little path to another, and never noticing where we were going until we suddenly became conscious of being tired, hungry and thirsty. Then, when we tried to retrace out way, we couldn't, for those innocent-looking little trails formed a perfect labyrinth, and the further we went, the more thoroughly lost we became. In the end, we had a genuine adventure, about which I may tell the cousins some day, but "All's well that ends well," and we eventually got back to the rest of the party. Later on in the summer, I went to see my boy cousin, who lived near the Red river, and his family took me with them on a visit to friends in Kansas. While there, I strolled off in a corn field and got lost again. Wasn't than an eventful summer for a girl who had never seen the west before? But, I think the state of Texas is simply magnificent, and I would love to live there. Since last summer, my girl cousin has come here to live, and my boy cousin has gone to Mexico. By the by, Miss M. M. of V. M., if you still belong to the department, I have a message for you from one of them. Do any of the cousins speak French? My Texas cousin is just learning, and you would die of laughter to hear the way she twists it about. Speaking of French reminds me: Mr. Big Hat, I should like to tell the cousins about some of the quaint old institutions and terms peculiar to this state, and about our carnival processions, as well as about the lovely water flora of our sleepy bayous. I think it would interest some of the cousins who live in the interior and western portions of your state. May I? And now, just one more question: Is there a branch of the S. P. C. A. in Texas? Cousin Beth says there is not, so far as she knows. She is president of a large band here, and would like very much to see one organized in her own state. With love to all, I will say in conclusion, that I am going on 16, and am a high school intermediate. French is my mother tongue. I like to go to school, and am sorry I have only one year after this. I hate big cities and love small towns and the country. This is as through a self-description as I can think of. Would like very much to correspond with the cousins who live in central, western and northern Texas. Will exchange photographs.
NELLIE FALLON, Flemingsburg, Fleming Co., Ky. -- Mr. Big Hat and merry cousins: 'Tis a beautiful night, every sound is hushed and mother earth seems to be asleep. Thoughtful feelings come to us in the hush of a moonlight night. The soul longs for immortal life, for the presence of God and the beauties of heaven. Our pleasures of this life are always something wanting, and that something is the presence of God, which alone can satisfy our immortal souls. The light is dying in the sky, the sun has set, and the air is full of dreams; so my mind is filled with fancies and I can not help thinking of the beautiful words of Goethe concerning twilight --
I notice we have a great many new cousins. I am so glad of it. Let us never forget to extend a friendly hand and give a smile of welcome to our new cousins as they enter "our happy corner," and thus encourage them to come again; and, let us always remember our dear invalids. Cousins, once on entering the beautiful abode after dark, I stumbled over something, and guess what it was? Nothing but the waste basket, but that was enough for me! I fled, half frightened out of my wits; but this time, instead of the waste basket, I am surrounded by happy, smiling faces, to bid me welcome. Oh, what a cozy spot, and there the big arm chair (like girls, I love rockers) is vacant. I will be seated. I believe I heard some one say: "Good for the afternoon!" That may be so, for I am a noted chatterbox. Dora Murchison, you are ever so welcome. Come often, and tell us about "beautiful fairy land," way out in California. but, oh! just visit our "land of milk and honey," and you will love the "golden state" no more. Come, Florence Giddens, and let us go hand in hand to decorate Thomas Stewart's grave, for he surely must be dead -- "nit." Now, Cousin Tommie, you surely will come after that. And, if there doesn't sit Herbert Taylor and Wilhelmine Clark, side by side, rocking to and fro, telling us glorious descriptions, which make us almost hold our breath. Hattie Simmons, what a lovely letter! I am sure you can beat me writing, and I am an "old writer," for this makes the fifth letter I've written. Cousins, doesn't Miss Big Bonnet look sweet? No, "Little Missie," I, for one, will not ask you to put on your bonnet, for I love to look at your face, for somehow you remind me of a dear little friend I once had. Shall I tell you about her? I can almost hear your answer, "Yes." She is very delicate and has her invalid's chair placed by the window, so that she may see her friends as they pass. Yesterday, I walked by the window. The invalid chair was in the same place; but alas! it was empty, and I looked in vain for the slender little figure that was wont to occupy it. I went in. Her mother said Lillie was sick; wouldn't I step in to see her? The little invalid lay in her bed, her sunny curls all tossed about her fair, sweet face. Her eyes looked unnaturally large and bright, I thought, and she seemed to be suffering, yet she gave me the old, glad smile of welcome. She told me she had suffered intense pain that day, and she smiled and added, "but it won't be for long." And, as she said this, she raised her eyes to heaven, and I fancied I saw her lips move in prayer. The sweet face bore traces of suffering yet, and such a look of resignation beamed from her beautiful eyes, that somehow, she looked like an angel to me, and tears come to my eyes when I think that I may never see that sweet face at the window, that little form in the invalid's chair again! But there, "Little Missie," I've tired you. I forgot you was a wee, wee girlie, instead of a grown up cousin. All in the house are in the land of dreams save me, and I must bring my letter to an abrupt close.
FERDIE HOWARD, Whitewright, Grayson Co., Tex. -- Dear Little Men and Women: At Mr. Big Hat's request, I will tell you how much the department has grown since I last wrote. Perhaps you will remember that the number of cousins was 331, and that Texas had representatives from 2338 towns. Mr. Big Hat, Miss Big Bonnet and Big Ears are included. Waxahachie has eight correspondents, which places her at the front of the procession. I was not aware until our editor told me, that we had a correspondent from Wales. I would like to learn more of that land across the sea, as it is the home of my forefathers. I join several of the other cousins in welcoming those who write from distant lands. There are still many cozy nooks in the Corner which are vacant. Some of you who live on the coast write and tell us "What the wild waves are saying." C. Fowler, tell us more of Central America. I am going to betray my ignorance to the public by asking you what the word "Charitas" means in the heading of your letter? Many thanks, Mr. Big Hat, for your words of encouragement; they were much appreciated. Edgar Craighead, call often; your letter was interesting. Charles Allen, you should remember that Texas is the largest state in the union; comprising so much territory, her scenery is varied, and you should see the whole state before expressing your opinion. Don't forget to tell us about that lovely mountain scenery. As several have expressed an interest in the great poets, perhaps a sketch of the life of our greatest poet would not be inappropriate. On Feb. 27, 1807, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Me. He obtained his education at Bowdoin college, Brunswick, and finally became professor of modern languages in the very college where he had been a pupil. He held the same position at one time in Harvard university. He was proficient in Spanish, French, German, Latin, Danish and Greek. We an not all make our name a household word, nor in
"Departing have behind
but we can, like the great poet, make the most of our opportunities. He did not idle his time away at college, for McAlpine says of him: "The poet's youth was noted for industry and close application to study." We do not understand how industrious until we read that "While at college, he became noted for his poems and criticisms and contributed to periodicals." The following are some of his most noted works: "Copias de Manrique," "Sketches from Beyond the Sea," "Hyperion, a Romance," "Voices of the Night," "Poems on Slavery," "The Spanish Student," "Poets and Poetry of Europe," and the "Belfry of Bruges." "Evangeline," probably the most widely read and admired of any of his writings, was published in 1847. Longfellow had that gift rare, even in a poet, of weaving beautiful thoughts around the most commonplace objects, and thus, he moved the hearts of the people deeply. The house which was formerly occupied by Gen. Washington as his headquarters is doubly dear to the American heart, because Longfellow spent his last days there. He died in Cambridge, Mass., March 24, 1882, having lived five years over the allotted three-score and ten. He has gone to his final reward, and is now singing "the song of the silent land."
LANTIE V. BLUM, Durham, Borden Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Well, how are you all to-day, especially Miss Big Bonnet? What do you think, cousins, of our department? I tell you what let's do. Why can't we choose us a flower to represent our department? I think it would be so nice. Let's hear from the cousins on it, and what has Mr. Big Hat and Miss Big Bonnet to say? If Mr. Big Hat has not time to count the votes, why, I will do it. As I don't [know] what else to tell about, I will describe Borden county. Borden is bounded by Lynn and Garza on the north, Dawson on the west, Howard on the south and Scurry on the east. The eastern part of the county is rolling, and it is, more or less, rocky in the west. It is watered by the Colorado river, through the southern portion, Hull creek, Gabbet and Red Mud in the east, and Tobacco and several prongs of Bull creek to the north, with Hullan and Mesquite in the central. The population is about 300 or 350 souls. The principal towns are Durham and Gail. Gail is the county seat, and is a little north of the center of the county. Durham is eleven miles east of Gail, on a little branch called Crawfish, which is noted for its springs. The Bull creek valley is a very fertile country, and if we had a little more rain, this country would be a rich farming country. Cotton, mito[?] maize, sorghum and Johnson grass do well here. However, this is mostly a stock country. The nearest railroad is the Texas and Pacific, in Mitchell and Howard counties. The county officers are Judge J. M. Searcy and Sheriff T. D. Love. The latter, with Sheriff McMurray of Mitchell county, were instrumental in bringing that noted desperado, Bill Cook, to justice. The county clerk is W. D. Nevils; treasurer, W. H. Hale, and assessor, L. E. Skinner. Mr. Big Hat, I wish to correct a mistake you made. My sister, Barbara M. Blum, who wrote you a couple of weeks ago, lives in Durham, not Graham.
HATTIE FRIEND, Harbin, Erath Co., Tex. -- Time's pendulum swings out and how does it find the young cousins of the Cozy Corner? I, too, like Cousin John Shepard, can not, when I take up my pen, write entertaining letters. I can sit and think, but my pen is resting lightly on the paper and all my thoughts are gone like a leaf in the wind. And, there I sit, like patience on a monument, a picture of abject despair! Peggy, I laughed heartily at your letter, although I thought it was a nice letter for a mule. Oh! cousins, I am going to have a nice time next winter. I am going to change my place of residence for about ten months. I am going to a school at Dublin, and I am going to study, O, so hard! I am anxious to go to a place where I can study and learn. Knowledge is so good. I was speaking to an old lady the other day, and she was rather skeptical on the subject of education. I don't see how people can say they don't believe in education, or how people who can't read, can pass the time agreeably. I believe I would go mad if I couldn't read. I pass many an hour in reading, and I think it improves the mind greatly in some things. I think reading aloud improves one's voice. Reading inspires the mind to better thoughts; that is, if it is not trashy stuff. I know I have been much benefited. Cousins, it looks like it is going to rain. I do hope it will. As I look over the parched fields, I fain would cry, "Give us rain!" Cousin Hattie Simmons, we must not praise our traveler too much, or he will think he is a greater explorer than those of medieval times. How many of our band like to study ancient history? I, for one, think it is a good study. It teaches us the customs of our ancestors and tells of their life ages ago. The times are so different now from then, that I think it is rightly termed the progressive age. It is a grand world. "What man has done can be done," is the old proverb, and in this age, it seems as if man can do anything. But, I think it is done with the help of the divine power. God certainly has put great things in man's minds. Without his help, nothing could be great and powerful. He puts the material in man's hand to be molded in to something useful. Hattie Simmons, I think you write a good letter. John Shepard, you are a riddle, and I will not try to tell you what your age is. Mr. Henry C. Somerville, I awarded you a place in my album, for your essay was very good. I think it was a good piece. I think such essays provoke us to study. It turns our minds back to history. Then, when we get our beloved Texas history and look over the dust-covered pages that we discarded two or three years ago to climb higher the latter of knowledge, we review the scenes of our brave Texas men that fought for the independence of grand old Texas! No wonder we honor the graves where they lie. We young people will some day be called upon to take important places in this world. Then, let us prepare ourselves, and not creek along like snails, but when the drum of duty beats its call, let us respond quickly. Agnes Weatherred, I agree with you that Scott is a good writer. I think some reading is profitable, while others is degrading. For instance, these low trashy novels containing nothing but romance and that is not elevating. Only this week, I read "The Scarlet Letter." It is considered a classical novel. There is not much romance in it; it is more like life than anything else. It is, I have heard, considered very deep. I have heard that it takes a brilliant mind, of course. I can't comprehend it. Marie Taylor, you write nice letters. I like to read them; also Cousin Genevieve Murdock's, Joe Farmer's, who caries us awe-inspired from country to country, Cousin Joe Dawson, Ludie Sanders, whose wit keeps us laughing, and many more too numerous to mention. Herbert Taylor, I invite you, with permission of the cousins, to write us another of the strange and dangerous predicaments in which you have been placed by your recklessness. I hope, though, you will "come out" as fortunately as ever. Well, Herbert, I have just come back from a drive, but nothing miraculous happened. My sister Bertha, my little brother and myself, all went out driving. We had not gone more than a mile when the awfulest looking cloud came up in the northwest, and you may guess, I drove fast. We just few along that road. It is trying to rain now, but I don't think it will succeed.
WILHELMINE M. CLARK, Fredericksburg, Gillespie Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Noticing the cousins speak of the fame of statesmen, authors, etc., has caused me to become interested on the same subject, although I may differ a little from some of them. How much has been written about kings, queens, princesses, statesmen, orators, geniuses, authors, artists, musicians and other individuals who have achieved success in this world of ours? It is, indeed, both interesting and entertaining to read and speak of persons of renown; to trace their career from the morning of life, or early childhood through the meridian of life to its close, and to mark the main events of interest therein -- most of all, to study their characters. Some of the great persons of earth had spotless characters; for example, "The Father of His Country." The biography of such a person will prove both beautiful, as well as profitable research. However, not every boy may rise, distinguish himself and acquire fame in the manner Washington did; nevertheless, all can have such a character -- free from stain or blemish. We have laid the foundations of our characters while quite young, and are adding to it day by day, be it good or the reverse. Our life can well be compared with a book, each day being represented by a clean white page therein, on which our deeds and words of the day are to be written. We can keep the pages neat and unsoiled, or they can be darkened with wrongs, thus forming our characters. Characters, once formed, are like wrinkles and lines which time makes; they are as graven in granite and can not be erased. Therefore, why not let it be good? Speaking of heroes, the greatest and most admirable hero, in my estimation, is the boy or girl with a frank, honest soul, one who never has belied his word, one who is faithful to his word, not minding obstacles if such should present themselves, but adhering to the truth. Truthfulness belongs to the making of a good character and is truly a virtue, no matter where found. People may sing and shout the praises of kings and warriors; they may endeavor to eternalize the fame of authors, but there is none grander or better than the little man or woman of the Cozy Corner, who is true to his word. This bit of selected verse contains my sentiments:
Don't you think so, Mr. Big Hat?
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