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

Artemus Ward (Charles Farrar Browne) (1834–1867)

On ‘Forts’

EVERY man has got a Fort. It’s sum men’s fort to do one thing, and some other men’s fort to do another, while there is numeris shiftliss critters goin’ round loose whose fort is not to do nothin’.

Shakspeer rote good plase, but he wouldn’t hav succeeded as a Washington correspondent of a New York daily paper. He lackt the rekesit fancy and imagginashun.

That’s so!

Old George Washington’s Fort was not to hev eny public man of the present day resemble him to eny alarmin extent. Whare bowts can George’s ekal be found? I ask, & boldly answer no whares, or any whare else.

Old man Townsin’s Fort was to maik Sassyperiller. “Goy to the world! anuther life saived!” (Cotashun from Townsin’s advertisement.)

Cyrus Field’s Fort is to lay a sub-machine telelgraf under the boundin billers of the Oshun, and then have it Bust.

Spaldin’s Fort is to maik Prepared Gloo, which mends everything. Wonder ef it will mend a sinner’s wickid waze. (Impromptoo goak.)

Zoary’s Fort is to be a femaile circus feller.

My Fort is the grate moral show bizniss & ritin choice famerly literatoor for the noospapers. That’s what’s the matter with me.

&., &., &. So I mite go on to a indefnit extent.

Twict I’ve endevered to do things which thay wasn’t my Fort. The fust time was when I undertuk to lick a owdashus cuss who cut a hole in my tent & krawld threw. Sez I, “My jentle Sir, go out or I shall fall on to you putty hevy.” Sez he, “Wade in, Old wax figgers,” whereupon I went for him, but he cawt me powerful on the hed & knockt me threw the tent into a cow pastur. He pursood the attack & flung me into a mud puddle. As I arose & rung out my drencht garmints I koncluded fitin wasn’t my Fort. Ile now rize the kurtin upon Seen 2nd: It is rarely seldum that I seek consolation in the Flowin Bole. But in a certain town in Injianny in the Faul of 18—, my orgin grinder got sick with the fever & died. I never felt so ashamed in my life, & I thowt I’d hist in a few swallers of suthin strengthnin. Konsequents was I histid in so much I dident zackly know whare bowts I was. I turned my livin wild beasts of Pray loose into the streets and spilt all my wax wurks. I then bet I cood play hoss. So I hitched myself to a Kanawl bote, there bein two other hosses hicht on also, one behind and anuther ahead of me. The driver hollerd for us to git up, and we did. But the hosses bein onused to sich a arrangemunt begun to kick & squeal and rair up. Konsequents was I was kickt vilently in the stummuck & back, and presuntly I fownd myself in the Kanawl with the other hosses, kickin & yellin like a tribe of Cusscaroorus savvijis. I was rescood, & as I was bein carrid to the tavern on a hemlock Bored I sed in a feeble voise, “Boys, playin hoss isn’t my Fort.”

Morul.—Never don’t do nothin which isn’t your Fort, for ef you do you’ll find yourself splashin round in the Kanawl, figgeratively speakin.