Home  »  The World’s Wit and Humor  »  He Came to Pay

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

Andrew V. Kelley (Parmenas Mix)

He Came to Pay

THE EDITOR sat with his head in his hands

And his elbows at rest on his knees;

He was tired of the ever-increasing demands

On his time, and he panted for ease.

The clamor for copy was scorned with a sneer,

And he sighed in the lowest of tones:

“Won’t somebody come with a dollar to cheer

The heart of Emanuel Jones?”

Just then on the stairway a footstep was heard,

And a rap-a-tap loud at the door,

And the flickering hope that had been long deferred

Blazed up like a beacon once more;

And there entered a man with a cynical smile

That was fringed with a stubble of red,

Who remarked, as he tilted a sorry old tile

To the back of an average head:

“I have come here to pay.” Here the editor cried

“You’re as welcome as flowers in spring!

Sit down in this easy armchair by my side,

And excuse me a while till I bring

A lemonade dashed with a little old wine,

And a dozen cigars of the best….

Ah! Here we are! This, I assure you, is fine.

Help yourself, most desirable guest.”

The visitor drank with a relish, and smoked

Till his face wore a satisfied glow,

And the editor, beaming with merriment, joked

In a joyous, spontaneous flow;

And then, when the stock of refreshments was gone,

His guest took occasion to say,

In accents distorted somewhat by a yawn,

“My errand up here is to pay——”

But the generous scribe, with a wave of his hand,

Put a stop to the speech of his guest,

And brought in a melon, the finest the land

Ever bore on its generous breast.

And the visitor, wearing a singular grin,

Seized the heaviest half of the fruit,

And the juice, as it ran in a stream from his chin,

Washed the mud of the pike from his boot.

Then, mopping his face on a favorite sheet

Which the scribe had laid carefully by,

The visitor lazily rose to his feet

With the dreariest kind of a sigh,

And he said, as the editor sought his address

In his books, to discover his due:

“I came here to pay—my respects to the press,

And to borrow a dollar of you!”