August 30, 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 now sew, paste or pin the sheets together. These rules must be observed to insure publication.
LENA M. WIESE, Jones' Prairie, Milam Co., Tex. -- Hoping to slip in by the window while Peggy is enjoying her midnight slumbers, I will make one more attempt to write to the Cozy Corner. It has been so long since I have written, or, I should say, so long since Peggy let a letter slip by her, I can see the cousins, both old and new, staring at me through the corners of their eyes and wondering who that ugly girl can be. But, I am not quite a stranger, having written several times before. I don't wonder that nobody remembers me; there are so many new cousins, and they do write such charming letters! One never tires of reading the cousins' page now. School has closed now, and I will have more time to read. Maud Carson, I suppose you are enjoying vacation, too? Please don't forget the letter you promised to write us as soon as you had the leisure. I have been looking for it. I believe I have read every letter you have written to the Cozy Corner, and thought them superior to most, and equal to any, in the department. If I could make my contributions as interesting as yours, I would steal an opportunity every month or so. Sometimes, when I read the long bright letters in the Corner, always alive with interest, I think I will not write any more letters -- my letters are not interesting to the cousins and it seems I'll never improve any, but every time I get to thinking this way, those little lines come across my mind to encourage me:
then, be up and doing,
L. C. Fountain must have forgotten us entirely. Lilly Rowe doesn't seem to be the least bit inclined to favor us with another chatty epistle. I guess the ghosts got her. Ludie Sanders, let me congratulate you on your good luck. Like Othello C. Robertson, I am already wishing for a step-brother, too. So, Herbert Taylor has turned poet. Well, I for one, think he is more successful poet than philosopher. Rudolph Bollier, you are welcome any time you choose to honor us with a visit. Mr. Big Hat, why was not my contribution to the memorial stone fund never printed? Peggy, please, please, don't eat this letter. I'll cook you a nice Thanksgiving dinner, if you won't.
[Mr. Big Hat's
EURETTA BICKHAM, Melissa, Collin Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: It is so very warm up here that I thought I would visit the Corner, as it is a cozy corner, for I know if it is cozy, it must be nice and cool in summer and warm in winter. I have written to the Corner twice before, but I never saw either of my letters in print. Mr. Big Hat, in the second letter, I sent 10 cents for the fund. Did you get it? Mr. Big Hat, you are kind to let us have a flower as an emblem of our corner. I will choose the sweet, modest and retiring violet. It always seems to be trying to hide away. It is less in brilliancy than the rose, and not as showy, yet, it is not less in fragrance, and it is sweeter than all the roses. I think all the girls should try to be modest and sweet like the violet. It is the emblem of modesty. Say, cousins, what has ever become of Dora Bennett, our little invalid cousin? Mr. Herbert Taylor, I think you will be a celebrated poet sometime, if you keep on. Won't Mr. Big Hat be proud, though, when he turns out a poet and a "genius-ess," as Joe Farmer fixes it? Mr. Herbert, please write something else about riding on buzzards' and whales' backs. Mary Agnes O'Rourke, write again. Poor Peggy, we don't do anything but run him down all the time. We all say Peggy is such a mean mule, and we want our letters to choke him. Peggy, don't be afraid of me; you are a pretty, fat mule, and you have long, pretty ears. I won't hurt you, on account of your beauty. I am sending you something to eat now. Just see these sheets of paper, all scratched up with pen marks! Come on, Peggy, dinner is ready! Have some letters? Have some envelopes? Help myself, Peggy. I would like to correspond with some of the cousins of the feminine gender about my age (12). Good-bye, Mr. Big Hat.
[Mr. Big Hat's
JOHN W. CRIDDLE, Waxahachie, Ellis Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Thinking it would be of interest to you, I have decided to write and tell something of the books I have read. "Evangeline" is a pathetic story in verse. It is connected with the history of the heroine's native island, Nova Scotia. A clergyman who had tried in vain to induce Hawthorne to write the story, gave Longfellow its synopsis. The poet set to work, and soon afterward, "Evangeline" was published. "Life and Labors of H. W. Grady) contains the biography and speeches of that great southern orator. His motive in life was to endeavor to make the north and south friendly once more, but it is, as a certain write says, "The south received wounds in the late war which only time can heal." "Memoirs of Stonewall Jackson," as the title would suggest, is a biography of that able southern general. Mary Anna Jackson, its author, as well as "Stonewall's wife, is no less able with her pen than her worthy husband was with his sword. "The Story of Our Continent" is a young folks' geology, telling of the various stages through which our continent passed, and the animals and vegetable that inhabited its waters and islands. "Enoch Arden" is one of Tennyson's best poems. It narrates how Enoch wedded Anne, who had been his sweetheart from infancy. He then engaged as a sailor, hoping to make a better living for his family, which consisted of his wife and three children. but, he was shipwrecked on a lonely island, and, like Robinson Crusoe, all his companions perished. Enoch not returning, Philip, another of Anne's lovers, wooed and wedded her. After many years of waiting, Enoch sighted a vessel, which came to his island to obtain water. He boarded her and returned to England, where he heard of Philip's marriage, but did not disturb the happy couple. Soon after his return, he sickened, and, calling in Miriam Lane, at whose house he stayed, he told her of his misfortunes, she having first sworn not to mention them to anybody till after his death. Three days after his confession, he died. Lauretta Faust, I like your suggestion, "that the boys write up the girls, and the girls vice versa." I shall "write up" your biography. I expect you are about 16 years of age, rather small and have only one sister, who is about 12 years old, and a brother, whose name is Jim. I imagine you are rather fond of delicacies, such as "ox tail" soup and "pig tail" jelly. Unlike Herbert T., who is our future poet laureate, you will surpass Plutarch and win the title of "prince," or rather "princess of biographers," but remember that:
"If at first you don't succeed,
As a few of the cousins give the biographies of some of America's greatest men, I thought I would give a brief sketch of John C. Calhoun's life. He was born at the close of the revolutionary war. When 13 years of age, his father died, "leaving the family in moderate circumstances." In 1802, he entered Yale college and graduated there two years afterward. In the course of several years, he married his second cousin. He was a strong advocate of states' rights. In other words, he believed that the states had the power to "nullify," or set aside any act of congress which they disliked. Calhoun held many high positions of trust and honor, one of which was the vice presidency. This he resigned to take a seat in the senate. In 1816, congress was asked to raise the tax on imported goods, so that our country might afford to manufacture. This is called protective tariff. Calhoun led in supporting it, Webster in opposing it. But, the New England states soon became manufacturing centers of the United States, and the south took up agriculture. Calhoun, as well as Webster, changed his opinion as to protection. Calhoun opposed it. Webster favored it. The bill was put before congress and passed by a large majority. As a result, South Carolina, Calhoun's native states, called a state convention, which declared this act of congress not enforceable after February, 1833. Fortunately, peace was restored. Calhoun's death is thought to have been caused by his over-fatiguing himself in replying to one of Webster's speeches. Although this loyal son of South Carolina has been dead forty and six years, he has never been forgotten, and will ever be remembered as one of the greatest and best men of America.
[Mr. Big Hat's
THERASEA BERTRAND, Clifton, Bosque Co., Tex. -- Miss Big Bonnet: Here I come again. Please let me in; I will come often now. We are picking cotton now. We have about half a bale out now. I think some of the cousins write very interesting letters. I would like to write such nice letters. I hope Peggy will be in the pasture when you get this letter. I milk five cows and mamma milks four in the evening and five in the morning. We have lots of work to do. My sisters gets in the wood and kindling, and gets supper and breakfast, and one of my sisters ropes the calves while mamma and I milk. My oldest brother shucks the corn and feeds the hogs and papa slops the hogs. I have two brothers and three sisters. One of my sisters is too little to do any work, and so is my little brother. Miss Big Bonnet, did you ever pick any cotton? I have not picked any cotton for two days. I have a sore foot and can scarcely walk. I guess I will pick to-morrow if my foot is not sore. We want to hurry and get a bale out. I guess I must stop and let some of the others have a chance. Miss Big Bonnet, can I get your picture by sending a two-cent stamp and an envelope?
[Mr. Big Hat's
HERMAN GRAMMAR, Kirk, Limestone Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Will you admit a little 6-year-old boy to your Cozy Corner? I live one mile and a half from Kirk. Kirk is just a little country town, but is a real pretty little place. It has a Methodist and a Baptist church, two drug stores, two dry goods and grocery stores, one blacksmith ship and a postoffice. I haven't any sisters or brothers to play with, these long, sultry days, and you may know I get very lonesome. I had a sweet little brother, but he died the 18th of May. I go to Sunday school sometimes with Aunt Mat. She is very kind to me, and I love her very much. For fear you will be worn out or Peggy will get this and choke, I will bid you adieu.
FANNIE WRIGHT, Mansfield, Tarrant Co., Tex. -- Dear Mr. Big Hat and Miss Big Bonnet: Here comes another girl to join your nice Cozy Corner? I am at my friend's house. Her name is Eva Ralston. Eva and I thought we would write to you all. I would have written to you before, but I thought Peggy would get it. I have no pets except a little brother, and he is the sweetest little thing I ever saw. This is the first time I ever tried to write, so I don't want Peggy to get it. I am 10 years old.
MYRTE NELSON, Advance, Parker Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat, Miss Big Bonnet and many unknown cousins: I have just finished reading the cousins' letters and thought I would join the happy circle. We have been picking cotton this week, and like two more hundred having a bale. My sister wrote some time ago, and he letter was printed in this week's paper. The answer to Eddie Hartman's riddle is a wagon. I went to a singing school this summer. That made three I have been to. Katie Simmons, come again. Your letters are nice. Little Miss Big Bonnet, you look cute in your brother's chair. Our school was out last April. I have six studies, but like United States history best. I will ask a question: What celebrated statesman was killed in a duel? Mr. Big Hat, please give Peggy some hay before this reaches you. My age is 15 years.
JOHNNIE PRICE, Kingwillow, Navarro Co., Tex. -- Dear cousins: A greeting to all! After an absence of several months from your happy corner, devoted to young peoples' interest, I come again (I hope I am welcome), and will endeavor to entertain you a short time, this beautiful sunshiny day. I am exceedingly glad to see so much energy being put forth for the usefulness of our department. I notice that our cousin Herbert Taylor has completed his voyage on the buzzard's back, (old Go a-Head.). He tells some things which are very romantic. Was he journeying for pleasure, or in the interest of our corner? Miss Big Bonnet, you are real handsome! I do not say this to discourage our honorable editor, but am of the opinion that you fill his place quite well. I congratulate most of you, cousins, as you have made vast improvement in our department since I discontinued my communications. Well, cousins, a number of us have finished school for this year; how are we to spend vacation? In idleness? I trust not. We are a progressive people; therefore, unless we be up and doing during vacation, as well as when in school, we shall fall short in gaining our portion of the thing that should be most sought -- knowledge. We should spend vacation in preparing ourselves for the great fight during school months; improve ourselves, both mentally and physically. If we do this, we must spend our time in a useful way, not lay our books away, and say: "We have nothing scarcely to do; why should we work during vacation? We have a certificate, promoting us into next year's work!" This is the very reason we should study during vacation; the certificate is only an encouragement. Will we not be encouraged? Shame on you who disregard this as a matter of seriousness! I merely mention this because I heard one of my classmates say, prior to the examination of our school, that school would soon be at an end, then he would have a nice time during vacation. "I will be free from bother over these old text-books," etc. I trust he's an exception and not the rule. I would be pleased to know that every member of the department will, if not now, some day be good and honest students. I wrote an article for the department while in school. I suppose Peggy must have been tempted by its fragrance (now delightful to Peggy), and could not overcome the temptation. I'll forgive you, Peggy. Where are the old writers? Have they lost interest in the Cozy Corner? Where's the cowboy newsboy, etc? Come, all ye veterans, let's make "pleasure" in the department, for a time, at least. My old stand-by who made the gin, where are you? Come, "old man," cheer up! Give us one of your jolly "write-ups." I wonder if Mr. Big Hat will teach another summer school, or has he devised something more instructive to the little "peacemakers?" Cousins, did any of you ever experiment with an old turtle? I never [did], but my teacher of physiology once cut into two turtles and exposed their hearts. They lived two days and nights. Had they been kept quietly to themselves, they would have lived longer. They can live as long as most any thing after being hurt, I think. Miss Big Bonnet, sister says: "Come to see me. I have a great large doll and it can go to sleep. Ask for Hattie Price when you come to Kingwillow. Be sure and come." Fearing that I have already tired your patience, I make my exit.
[Mr. Big Hat's
ANNIE JAMISON, Angleton, Brazoria Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Good morning! I beg permission to join your happy band. I have been a silent admirer of you and the cousins for quite a while. Miss Big Bonnet, I see you have had your picture taken again. The last one is much prettier than the first. I wish you would write oftener. Cousin Herbert Taylor, please write again, for I enjoy reading your letters very much. Cousins, how many of you love to read books? I do. I take several papers of my own. I read the Youth's Companion, Good Stories, The News, Golden Days and Sun Beams. The books I have read are: "A Hardy Horseman," "The Danbury Home," "Dr. Henson," "John Halifax," "Claiborne," "George Moncton" and "Robinson Crusoe." I think Mr. Big Hat is very kind to give us one whole page for the Children's Department. I will invite some of the cousins to write to me, for I would be glad to receive a letter from any from the age of 12 to 15. Cousins, hasn't it been awfully warm this month? But, autumn will soon be here with chilly winds. Then, we can say:
"The ripened nuts are dropping
Both my parents are still living, so is my grandfather, but my grandmother is dead. I have five brothers and one sister. We live a few miles from the village of Angleton, in the country. We live eleven miles from the Gulf of Mexico. A person can travel in a buggy and get there in half a day. We also live a few miles from the town of Brazoria. I was born and raised in Brazoria county. We have never moved. Cousin Nellie Fallon, please write again; you write such nice, long letters. To-night is a beautiful moonlit night. There is not a sound to be heard but the merry chatting in the Cozy Corner. The pendulum sways back and forth, while the hands of the clock points nearly to 12, and I should be at rest, but will stay and chat with you a while longer. Come, Hattie Friend, let's you and I go and find Miss Big Bonnet, so she may come and write again. She must be visiting relatives at the north pole. Please notice and find her. Cousins, how many of you love to live in large cities? I like to live in a country village, where you can raise plenty of fruit. We don't ever buy any fruit, we raise it. The other night, as I was taking a walk, I heard a peculiar noise. It sounded like the bray of a donkey. I looked up and saw in the top of a tree, Mr. Big Hat, on that "interesting beast," with a large lot of Newses. Some in bags, and some in baskets. I guess we will have plenty of news next week. We have on e large pet deer. She is very gentle. We feed her from the table. I am having my summer vacation now and having a nice time. My school will begin in the fall -- the month of September -- and will end in the early summer. I haven't a very good education for my age, but mean to try and learn as much as some of the cousins that write about it. Mesquite Loraine of New Orleans, please write another interesting letter. Thomas Stewart, where are you? come, make your appearance again. Don't sulk away like a naughty boy. Cousins Nellie Fallon, I would like to know your age, but I have better manners than to ask you. I have seen several of your letters in the papers and they are nice, indeed.
EVA RALSTON, Mansfield, Tarrant Co., Tex. -- Dear Mr. Big Hat and Miss Big Bonnet: Here comes another girl to join the Cozy Corner. I would have written before now, but I was afraid that Peggy would get it. Now, Peggy, if you get this, I will give you a good spanking, do you hear that? Papa has been taking The News all my life, and I claim the Cozy Corner. I have no pets at all. This is the first time I ever tried to write to your department. I will write a better letter next time. One of my little friends stayed all night with me last night, and we had lots of fun. My age is 10 years.
CARRIE SPIKES, Kaufman, Kaufman Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: I write to ask you if you and the cousins will let another little girl, 11 years old, join your happy band. I am like Lantie V. Blum in one thing. I think it will be very nice to select some flower to represent the Cozy Corner. I select the magnolia. I take this flower because I think that it suits the department, or at least, I hope it does. It is sweet, and I hope all that write to this department are the same, and I hope that everybody's souls are as pure and white as the flower is. Come again, Herbert Taylor. I like to read your poetry very much. I want you to write again, Nellie Fallon. Jacob Threlkeld, I think that you are very smart to write such interesting letters, and to be no older than you are. I just love to read books. I think that Louisa May Alcott wrote splendid books.
WALLPAPUR A. SHINPLASTER, Dallas, Dallas Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: With apologies to you all for coming so often, I dismount from my, remove my sombrero, and once more, step across the threshold into you midst. Many subjects suggest themselves whose discussion would be of interest to many, and perhaps, to all of us, while we are spending this summer evening together. No doubt, the boys would prefer to talk of fishing excursions or base ball games, while, as for the girls, they are always most eloquent when they speak of -- well, anything (except boys). But, without discussing further, as to what is best to discuss, we will compromise by adoption the suggestion of the young lady from Itasca, that we talk about the English poets, as all know something about them, and therefore, can appreciate what is said. We might go back to the beginning of English poetry, to the first English one, "Beowulf," written some thirteen centuries ago, and find a very interesting topic therein. But, for the time being, perhaps it is better to leave the poetry and the poets of old England to the student of literature and come down to times nearer our own. On the very threshold, we meet Chaucer, "the father of English poetry." His niche in the temple of fame is among the most illustrious of our poets. His "Canterbury Tales," like Shakespeare's "Hamlet," or Milton's "Comus," is a legacy to all the ages. Coleridge, I believe, speaks of poetry as "a breeze mid blossoms straying," and had he had Chaucer in mind when he wrote it, it were hardly possible for him to have better described the lines of England's first great bard. It is well to know at least one of the great things that Chaucer did for English literature. He did for all English literature what Washington Irving did for American literature. He introduced the element of humor. But, here we leave Chaucer for one of his contemporaries. Sir John Mandeville, who tells us an interesting little story as to the origin of red and white roses. In his "Voyage and Travels," this author relates, that while he was journeying in the orient, he came across a number of people and their priests who had in their midst, bound to a stake, a beautiful young girl, condemned thus to die, since she had been accused, though unjustly, of wrong-doing. Branches were piled high about her and the torch was applied. As the flames began to ascend, she "made her prayer to our Lord" to save her, that all the world might know her innocence. The prayer had scarce ended, when suddenly, the flames went out. It was then seen that the branches, which a moment before, had been encircled with fire, were not encircled with red roses, while those branches that the flames had not touched, were now grown thickly over with white roses. Such, according to Sir John, is the origin of the rose. But, let us [move] away from Mandeville to Keats, for he is one of my favorites. How many thousands have repeated that so familiar line of his, "a thing of beauty is a joy forever," yet, how many know its author, and that it is the opening line of "Endymion." But, not only the public at large, but even writers themselves appear to be not too well read in our best authors. It was very recently that I read a short sketch which the writer ended with this quotation: "The falling out of faithful friends, renewing is of love," ascribing it to Tennyson. Now, the fact is, the line was written almost 300 years before Tennyson was born, by one named Richard Edwards, and therefore, the line is not to be found in Tennyson's writings, unless that author plagiarized. Of course, there is nothing very grievous in this little slip of the pen; presidential candidates forget even the quotation marks sometimes. Well, I suppose I have had the throttle of my literary engine open long enough, so, I'll whistle for brakes and start the sand going, for methinks I see in the distance, a red light swing vigorously across the track. I half suspect that it is Mr. Big Hat, who is doing the frantic waving just ahead. But, with what momentum my train of thought has left, I want to speak a few words to several kind friends. Miss Genevieve Myrdock and Othello C. Robertson, who fear I'll shatter my health as bringing in my name is a hod carrier's load. For their benefit, I'll state that I soon expect a breathing spell, because of a lighter load. In other words, I expect ere long to perfect arrangements hereby I shall be permitted to use occasionally, in place of my own, the name of the present Chinese ambassador, the Hon. Li Un-hung Chang. Othello, I accept your proffered sympathy with a tear of regret. Ye gods! why this stern decree? Why might I not have been known to the __tes, yet unborn under the mellifluous title of Breechloader Goze Barefooted? Miss Hattie Simmons, reading your letters has always given me genuine pleasure. I think you must be of a poetical turn. There is something in your last letter that causes me to ask whether you have not lately read "Evangeline?" Miss Addie Jones, I thank you for your compliment. Your letter, though brief, was well written. I would be obliged to Miss Ferdi Howard if she will tell me how man correspondents Dallas has now. It seems to me that the metropolis must be either leading, or a very close second. Well, what has become of Miss Marie Taylor, or, as the ancients would say, where does Cassiopeia ride? But adieu, the train has come to a standstill.
FRANKIE ASSITER, Blum, Hill Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: It has been some time since I dared to present my letters among so many more interesting ones. I seldom write till I am moved by the spirit, then I am very slow about it. I saw so many good letters in last week's paper, I determined to write, however uninteresting my letter may be. I see that some of the cousins are very poetical, especially our famous bareback Buzzard Rider. Come again, Herbert. Your poetry is very good. Cousin Hattie Friend, I liked your letter. It was just splendid. It inspired me with new thoughts of history. Texas history is my favorite study. I dearly love to read of the grand men who fought and bled that they might gain our independence. Then, why should we wonder that we decorate the graves on each decoration day? We should strive much harder for an education, for it may fall to our lot some day to fill some of the important places they did. Cousin Lantie, I agree with you upon selecting a flower to represent our department. My favorite is the white rose. We are patiently waiting a letter from our Central American cousins. I will describe, [to] the best of my imagination, our great cousin, Herbert Taylor. He is very tall, about 6 feet and 1/2 inch, dark complexioned, brown eyes, and he weighs about 150 pounds. He is very mischievous, but there I will stop, as I am going to visit him in September. He is my own cousin, and I think I am highly honored to be related to such a distinguished gentleman as himself, don't you? As the dinner bell is ringing, I will retire for the present.
HASSIE EVANS, San Angelo, Tom Green Co., Tex. -- Miss Big Bonnet and Mr. Big Hat: Will you admit another little girl into your happy band? I have been wanting to write to you for a long time. My brother wrote to The News several years ago. I don't think Peggy ate as many letters then, as he does now. Perhaps Miss Big Bonnet will be out for a ride on him when this reaches you, at least, I hope so. I cut both of your pictures out to put in my scrapbook. Miss Big Bonnet, your cap looks like one my doll has, only, I guess yours is white, and my doll's is pink. You look awfully sweet, I think. I don't know which of you is the best looking. Mr. Big Hat, you would look much nicer if you didn't wear specks, but I guess that is from reading so many letters. I guess our school will begin in a month or so. We live within two miles of the schoolhouse. We never have over twenty-five pupils. We live near the Concho river. We go fishing sometimes, and catch nice catfish. Come again, Nellie Fallon, you write nice letters. I wish I could write as well as some of you do. I am 12 years old. My birthday was on Easter this year. I imagine I can see Peggy tasting this now, to see if it is good. Inclosed find 15 cents for the Houston memorial stone.
FRED LEWIS, Forney, Kaufman Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: After seeing my last letter in print, I have decided to come again. Peggy, I like the letter you wrote several weeks ago, and think it is real good for a mule. I am very sorry that you have nothing to eat but letters. I think that it is the duty of the cousins to take up a collection and buy you a bale of hay, occasionally, as a treat. We have splendid hay in Forney now. How many of the cousins will be glad when school commences? I will, for one. I am tired of vacation, as it is too warm to play out of doors, and boys do not like to stay in the house. Well, I will stop for this time, as I am afraid if Peggy gets this, it will be too hard to digest.
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