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

Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw) (1818–1885)

The Gote

From “Complete Works”

THE GOTE iz a koarse wollen sheep.

They hav a split hoof and a whole tail.

They hav a good appetite, and a sanguine digestion.

They swallo what they eat, and will eat ennything they kan bite.

Their moral karakters are not polished, they had rather steal a rotten turnip, out ov a garbage-box, than tew cum honestly bi a pek ov oats.

The male gote haz two horns on the ridge ov hiz hed, and a mustash on hiz bottom lip, and iz the plug ugly ov hiz naberhood.

A maskuline gote will fite ennything, from an elephant down to hiz shadder on a ded wall.

They strike from their but-end, insted ov the shoulder, and are az likely tew hit, az a hammer iz a nailhed.

They are a hi seazoned animal, az mutch so az a pound ov assifidity.

They are faithful critters, and will stick tew a friend az long az he livs in a shanty.

They kan klime ennything but a greast pole, and kno the way up a rock, az natral az a woodbine.

They are az certain tew raize az yung ones, sum familys are haff gotes, and the other haff children. They are good eating when they are yung, but they leave it oph az they git stronger.

They are alwus poor in the boddy, but phatt in the stumick, what they eat seems to all go to appetight, yu mite az well agree tew phatt an injun-rubber over shew bi filling it with klam shells, az tew raize enny adipoze membrane on the outside bust ov a gote.

A phatt gote would be a literary curiosity.

They use the same dialekt az the sheep, and the yung ones speak the language more fluently than the parients do.

Thare iz only two animals ov the earth that will eat tobakko—one iz a man and tuther iz a gote, but the gote understands it the most, for he swallers the spit, chaw and all.

The male gote, when he iz pensiv, iz a venerable and philosophy looking old cuss, and wouldn’t make a bad proffessor ov arithmetik in sum ov our colleges.

They are handy at living a long time, reaching an advanced age without arriving at enny definite konklusion.

How long a gote livs without giving it up, thare iz no man now old enuff tew tell.

Methuzeler, if hiz memory waz bad at forgetting, mite giv a good-sized guess, but unfortunately for science and this essa, Methuzeler aint here.

Gotes will liv in enny klimate, and on enny vittles, except tanbark, and if they ever cum to a square death, it iz a profound sekret, in the hands of a few, to this day.

I wouldn’t like tew beleave enny man under oath who had ever seen a maskuline gote acktually die, and stay so.

Speaking ov Methuzeler, puts me in mind ov the fackt, if a man should liv now daze, as mutch az he did, and only hav one eye tew see things with, he would hav to hav an addishun bilt onto the back ov hiz head tew sto away things into.

The femail gote iz either the mother, or sister, or cuzzin ov the male gote, ackording tew the prevailing circumstansis in the case, or else i labour under a delusion, i forget witch.

They giv milk intuitively about a quart, before it iz watered, in twelve hours, which iz the subjickt ov nourishment in various ways.

This milk, whitch is extrakted from the female gote, iz excellent tew finish up yung ones on, but is apt to make them bellycose, and fightful.

It iz not unkommon for a babe, while inhaleing this pugnashus fluid, to let oph hiz left colleckshun or diggit and ketch the nurse on the pinnakle ov the smeller, and tap it for claret.

This iz a kommon fakt amung irish babes, and explains the reazon whi, in after life, these same babes make such brilliant hits.

In writing the history ov the male and female gote tew adorn the pages ov futer times, i flatter miself that i hav stuck tew the truth, and haven’t allowed mi imaginashun tew boss the job.

A grate menny ov our best bilt historians are apt tew mistake opinyuns for facts, this iz an eazy mistake tew make, but when i strike a goose, or bed bugg, or gote, yu notis one thing, i stay with them.—Finis.