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

Edgar Wilson (Bill) Nye (1850–1896)

The Garden Hose

IT is now the proper time for the cross-eyed woman to fool with the garden hose. I have faced death in almost every form, and I do not know what fear is, but when a woman with one eye gazing into the zodiac and the other peering into the middle of next week, and wearing one of those floppy sunbonnets, picks up the nozle of the garden hose and turns on the full force of the institution, I fly wildly to the Mountains of Hepsidam.

Water won’t hurt any one, of course, if care is used not to forget and drink any of it, but it is this horrible suspense and uncertainty about facing the nozle of a garden hose in the hands of a cross-eyed woman that unnerves and paralyzes me.

Instantaneous death is nothing to me. I am as cool and collected where leaden rain and iron hail are thickest as I would be in my own office writing the obituary of the man who steals my jokes. But I hate to be drowned slowly in my good clothes and on dry land, and have my dying gaze rest on a woman whose ravishing beauty would drive a narrow-gage mule into convulsions and make him hate himself t’death.