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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Edward Waterman Townsend (1855–1942)

Chimmie and the Duchess Marry

From “Chimmie Fadden”

“LONG time since ye seen me? Cert. Don’t ye know de reason? Why, I was married. Sure! I knowed ye’d die when I tole ye. Yes, it was de Duchess; I guess ye knowed dat. Well, lemme tell ye. It was de corkin’est weddin’ dere ever was, wid such mugs as me an’ de Duchess doin’ de principal event er de evenin’.

“Say, I never taut dere was so much flim-flam ’bout gettin’ ready to be married. I near got de rattles oncet, an’ was goin’ t’ make de gran’ sneak; but I took a brace, ’cause I was t’inkin’ dat if I snook dat it would queer Miss Fannie’s game, an’ I wouldn’t queer Miss Fannie’s game if I had t’ set up a funeral ’stid er a weddin’.

“Well, de fust fake wot paralized me was de Duchess sayin’ dere must be wot she called a marriage contract. Say, it was worse dan gettin’ outter jail on bail. I guess wese wouldn’t be married yet if it wasn’t fer Mr. Burton, wot’s Miss Fannie’s felly. ’E an’ Miss Fannie, dey was bote near crazy ’bout our weddin’, an’ was fussin’ ’bout it more dan dey is ’bout deir own.

“Well, Mr. Burton ’e sent fer me an’ tells me t’ come t’ ’is chambers. ’E says t’ me, says ’e, ‘Chames,’ ’e says, ‘come dis evenin’ t’ me chambers. I calls me ’partments me chambers fer dis ’casion only,’ says ’e, givin’ me de wink, ‘’cause dis is a legal matter, an’ in de ten years I’ve been ’mitted t’ de bar,’ says ’e, ‘dis is de fust time I ever had a case.’

“Dose was ’is very words, wot’s de way ’e talks when ’e is jollyin’, which ’e mostly is.

“So dat night I chases meself t’ ’is rooms, an’ say, ye otter see dem t’ings ’e’s got. It’s worse dan dat artis’ mug’s studio wot I was tellin’ ye of. Dere was pelts an’ hides an’ skins an’ furs an’ guns an’ swords an’ boxin’-gloves an’ dinky pipes, wot dey smokes in schools in for’n parts where Mr. Burton was, an’ steins an’ pictures, an’ more t’ings dan dere is in a store.

“‘Well,’ ’e says t’ me, perlite as a actor, says ’e, ‘Mr. Fadden,’ ’e says, ‘dis evenin’ youse is me client, an’ not Miss Fannie’s footman, which ’fords me de op’tunity of offerin’ ye a glass er whisky an’ water an’ a cigarette, which I am tole is de first t’ing t’ do in beginnin’ de practise er de law. Havin’ somewhat neglected me practise, I may be permitted t’ offer ye two glasses er whisky an’ water if youse is so disposed,’ says he.

“Say, did ye ever hear such langwudge like dat? Ain’t ’e a chim-dandy?

“Den ’e goes on an’ gives me a long song an’ dance ’bout as how Hortense, wot’s de Duchess, bein’ French, she has dinky notions ’bout marriage contracts, an’ as how ’e is ’er lawyer as well as mine. Says ’e: ‘Bein’ de lawyer fer bote sides in a case is not ’cordin’ t’ de strick rules er practise,’ ’e says, ‘but a strugglin’ young bar’ester like me,’ says ’e, givin’ me de wink, ‘must be permitted t’ cut bait while de sun shines.’

“Say, did ye ever hear such a jollier like ’im? ’E’s up t’ de limit. Sure! I t’ink ’e was havin’ fun wid himself as well as jollyin’ me.

“Den he says: ‘Hortense comes t’ ye wid one t’ousan’ dollars. Do ye raise de ante, or do ye only see it an’ call de loidy?’

“Say, den I was dead paralized. I taut de Duchess was makin’ a farmer of me. I felt like a quitter. Sure! I says t’ ’im, says I, ‘Wot t’ell!’ says I, like dat, I says: ‘Wot t’ell!’ ’cause I couldn’t say nottin’ else. ‘Wot t’ell!’ See? Den I scraped tru me pockets, an’ all I could cough up was sixty-five cents.

“Mr. Burton looked at it, an’ all of a suddint he jumped up an’ went in anodder room. ’E must have had a fit in dere, er somet’n’, from de noises. When ’e comes back ’e had on a dinky white wig wid a tail t’ it an’ a blue bag in ’is hand wid papers in it. ’E was as sober as a Judge in de Tombs, when he says: ‘Our case is not so bad as it looks. In fact, I would not just say it is a case of wot t’ell. Youse have never drawed no wages from Miss Fannie,’ ’e says.

“‘No,’ I says. ‘She gives me room, me grub, an’ me close. Ain’t dat enough?’ says I.

“‘She t’inks not,’ says ’e, ‘an’ wid ’er help at figurin’, in which I never took no prize,’ ’e says, ‘I find dat dere is one hundred an’ fifty dollars wages comin’ to ye which she ’as saved for ye.’

“Say, dat broke me all up, ’cause I never taut I was wort’ more dan me keep; but I couldn’t say nottin’, an’ Mr. Burton ’e goes an an’ ’e says: ‘Miss Fannie’s fadder, dat time ye licked de villa’n wot ’sulted Miss Fannie, ’er fadder put $500 in de bank fer ye, an’ I figure dat makes $650,’ ’e says.

“Well, I was knocked silly, an’ Mr. Burton ’e got up an’ went in de odder room ag’in, an’ comes back wid a long black kinder nightgown on. ’E sets down ag’in, an’ says: ‘Bein’ de ’torney in de case for youse an’ Hortense an’ Miss Fannie an’ ’er fadder, I feel dat de dignity of de position requires all de legal fixin’s, which is why I wears de gown an’ wig.’ See?

“Say, de nex’ fake was de funniest of all. ‘Hortense,’ says ’e, ‘has sometimes borried small sums from ye, she tells me.’

“’E was meanin’ de times de Duchess pulled me leg fer de boodle wot I touched mugs fer, wot I was tellin’ ye ’bout.

“‘Well,’ Mr. Burton goes on, ’cause I was so silly I couldn’t chip in, an’ ’e says, ‘Hortense has saved up dose sums, an’ dey make $65 more, which we adds t’ de ante, an’ dat makes $715,’ says ’e.

“‘Hold on,’ says I. ‘Does dat all belong t’ me? Wot t’ell will I do wid it all?’

“‘We’ll talk ’bout dat later,’ says ’e. ‘We’re shy on our ante yet. Miss Fannie an’ me,’ says ’e, ‘loans ye ’nough t’ make up de t’ousan’, an’ ye pays back outter yer wages as me walley.

“Den ’e gets out a lot er papers an’ I signs me name, an’ de nex’ day Miss Fannie an’ de Duchess an’ me all chases down t’ Mr. Burton’s rooms, where was a mug dey calls a not’ry public, an’ ’e asts a lot er questions, an’ fixes dinky red stamps on de papers, an’ everybody swears an’ signs names, an’ dat ends de circus.

“Say, I had t’ pinch meself an’ say, ‘Chimmie, is dis youse, or is ye dreamin’?’ ’cause de whole bisness near sets me crazy.

“Well, de nex’ night was de weddin’. Say, it was great. Miss Fannie an’ Mr. Burton dey was fussin’ and fixin’ de whole day in de dinin’-room, an’ jollyin’ an’ orderin’, an’ makin’ bluffs at gettin’ mad, an’ den makin’ up, ’till I says t’ meself, says I, ‘Chimmie, ye’re not in it.’ But den I had t’ get busy an’ say dose words wot’s in de book wot Mr. Burton read, pretendin’ ’e was de parson, so’s I wouldn’t make no bad break when de real weddin’ was.

“Well, after dinner all de help, an’ de folks, ’is Whiskers, Miss Fannie, an’ Mr. Burton, wid de parson, chases in de dinin’-room. ’Is Whiskers’s walley was me second.

“’Bout dat time I didn’t know wedder me name was Chames ’r Dennis. T’ings was kinder goin’ on widout me.

“All of a suddint de Duchess sails in, wid Maggie de maid chasin’ after ’er. Say, ye should ’a’ seen ’er! She was all rigged out in white, wid flowers on ’er head, an’ a veil a mile long, an’ she was a wonder, sure.

“Miss Fannie gives ’er a smile, an’ ’is Whiskers steps up an’ hands ’er over t’ where me an’ de parson was, an’ so we was married.

“After de parson was all tru, wot do ye t’ink ’e did? ’E braces up an’ gives de Duchess a kiss; an’ say, ’is Whiskers waltzes in an’ ’e gives ’er a kiss, an’ holy gee! I t’ink Mr. Burton was goin’ t’ take a hand in de game, but Miss Fannie gives ’im a look, den ’e didn’t.

“Den ’is Whiskers goes up t’ de big punch-bowl wot Miss Fannie had fixed wid claret an’ oranges an’ dose t’ings, an’ de butler passes all hands a glass, an’ ’is Whiskers says, ‘I drinks t’ Mr. an’ Mrs. Chames Fadden,’ ’e says.

“All hands drinks, an’ den de folks goes away. Miss Fannie she went last, an’ when she passed where we was she says t’ de Duchess, ‘Ye look very pretty, Hortense.’

“She didn’t say nottin’ t’ me, but she shook hands wid me. I was glad she did dat. I never touched ’er hand before.

“Well, after de folks left, all de help dey began jabberin’ an’ jollyin’ like a lot er dinky magpipes, an’ makin’ speeches, an’ gettin’ funny, till ye couldn’t rest.

“’Is Whiskers sent fer de butler an’ tole ’im not t’ let de punch-bowl get empty, an’ ’e never did, but ’e had t’ keep ’imself busy. Sure!

“After dat we started on our weddin’ journey. Say, dat was great. It was t’ Niag’ra Falls. Ever hear er dem? Say, I’d only been t’ Coney Island an’ Albany before, an’ I taut de Pacific Ocean was only a little way furder dan de Harlem River; but, holy gee! ye don’t get no more dan started when ye cross de Harlem.

“Can’t tell ye ’bout dat trip now, ’cause I’ve got t’ go an’ help Mr. Burton get ready fer ’is weddin’. Tell ye ’bout de trip some odder time. S’long.”