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Modjesky as Cameel
by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

Afore we went to Denver we had heerd the Tabor Grand,
Allowed by critics ez the finest opry in the land;
And, roundin' up at Denver in the fall of '81,
Well heeled in p'int uv looker 'nd a-pinin' for some fun,
We told Bill Bush that we wuz fixed quite comf'table for wealth,
And had n't struck that altitood entirely for our health.
You see we knew Bill Bush at Central City years ago;
(An' a whiter man than that same Bill you could not wish to know!)
Bill run the Grand for Tabor, 'nd he gin us two a deal
Ez how we really otter see Modjesky ez Cameel.

Three-Fingered Hoover stated that he'd great deal ruther go
To call on Charley Simpson than frequent a' opry show.
"The queen uv tragedy," sez he, "is wot I 've never seen,
And I reckon there is more for me in some other kind uv queen."
"Git out!" sez Bill, disgusted-like, "and can't you never find
A pleasure in the things uv life wich ellervates the mind?
You 've set around in Casey's restauraw a year or more,
An' heerd ol' Vere de Blaw perform shef doovers by the score,
Only to come down here among us tong an' say you feel
You'd ruther take in faro than a' opry like 'Cameel'!"

But it seems it wur n't no opry, but a sort uv foreign play,
With a heap uv talk an' dressin' that wuz both dekollytay.
A young chap sparks a gal, who 's caught a dook that's old an' wealthy,---
She has a cold 'nd faintin' fits, and is gin'rally onhealthy.
She says she has a record; but the young chap does n't mind,
And it looks ez if the feller wuz a proper likely kind
Until his old man sneaks around 'nd makes a dirty break,
And the young one plays the sucker 'nd gives the girl the shake.
"Armo! Armo!" she hollers; but he flings her on the floor,
And says he ain'ter goin' to have no truck with her no more.

At that Three-Fingered Hoover says, "I 'll chip into this game,
And see if Red Hoss Mountain cannot reconstruct the same.
I won't set by an' see the feelin's uv a lady hurt,---
Gol durn a critter, anyhow, that does a woman dirt!"
He riz up like a giant in that little painted pen,
And stepped upon the platform with the women-folks 'nd men;
Across the trough of gaslights he bounded like a deer,
An' grabbed Armo an' hove him through the landscape in the rear;
And then we seen him shed his hat an' reverently kneel,
An' put his strong arms tenderly around the gal Cameel.

A-standin' in his stockin' feet, his height wuz siz foot three,
And a huskier man than Hoover wuz you could not hope to see.
He downed Lafe Dawson wrasslin'; and one night I seen him lick
Three Cornish miners that come into camp from Roarin' Crick
To clean out Casey's restauraw an' do the town, they said.
He could whip his weight in wildcats, an' paint whole townships red,
But good to helpless folks and weak,---a brave and manly heart
A cyclone could n't phase, but any child could rend apart;
Jest like the mountain pine, wich dares the storm that howls along,
But rocks the winds uv summer-time, an' sings a soothin' song.

"Cameel," sez he, "your record is ag'in you, I 'll allow,
But, bein' you 're a woman, you'll git justice anyhow;
So, if you say you 're sorry, and intend to travel straight,---
Why, never mind that other chap with which you meant to mate,---
I 'll marry you myself, and take you back to-morrow night
To the camp on Red Hoss Mountain, where the boys 'll treat you white,
Where Casey runs a tabble dote, and folks are brave 'nd true,
Where there ain't no ancient history to bother me or you,
Where there ain't no law but honesty, no evidence but facts,
Where between the verdick and the rope there ain't no onter acts."

I wuz mighty proud of Hoover; but the folks began to shout
That the feller was intrudin', and would some one put him out.
"Well, no; I reckon not," says I, or words to that effect,
Ez I perduced a' argument I thought they might respect,---
A long an' harnsome weepon I 'd pre-empted when I come
Out West (its cartridges wuz big an' juicy ez a plum),
Wich, when persented properly, wuz very apt to sway
The popular opinion in a most persuasive way.
"Well, no; I reckon not," says I; but I did n't say no more,
Observin' that there wuz a gin'ral movement towards the door.

First Dr. Lemen he allowed that he had got to go
And see a patient he jest heerd wuz lyin' very low;
An' Charlie Toll riz up an' said he guessed he 'd jine the Dock,
An' go to see a client wich wuz waitin' round the block;
John Arkins reckollected he had interviews to write,
And previous engagements hurried Cooper from our sight;
Cal Cole went out to buy a hoss, Fred Skiff and Belford too;
And Stapleton remembered he had heaps uv work to do.
Somehow or other every one wuz full uv business then;
Leastwise, they all vamoosed, and did n't bother us again.

I reckollect that Willard Morse an' Bush come runnin' in,
A-hollerin', "Oh, wot two idiots you durned fools have been!"
I reckollect that they allowed we 'd made a big mistake,---
They otter knowed us tenderfoots wuz sure to make a break!
An', while Modjesky stated we wuz somewhat off our base,
I half opined she liked it, by the look upon her face.
I reckollect that Hoover regretted he done wrong
In throwin' that there actor through a vista ten miles long.
I reckollect we all shuck hands, and ordered vin frappay,---
I never shall forget the head I had on me next day!

I have n't seen Modjesky since; I 'm hopin' to again.
She 's goin' to show in Denver soon; I 'll go to see her then.
An' may be I shall speak to her, wich if I do 't will be
About the old friend restin' by the mighty Western sea,---
A simple man, perhaps, but good ez gold and true ez steel;
He could whip his weight in wildcats, and you never heerd him squeal;
Good to the helpless an' the weak; a brave an' manly heart
A cyclone couldn't phase, but any child could rend apart;
So like the mountain pine, that dares the storm wich sweeps along,
But rocks the winds uv summer-time, an' sings a soothin' song.

 

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