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

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

Woman’s Rights

From “Complete Works of Artemus Ward”

I PITCHED my tent in a small town in Injianny one day last seeson, & while I was standin at the dore takin money, a deppytashun of ladies came up & sed they wos members of the Bunkumville Female Reformin & Wimin’s Rite’s Associashun, and thay axed me if they cood go in without payin.

“Not exactly,” sez I, “but you can pay without goin in.”

“Dew you know who we air?” said one of the wimin—a tall and feroshus lookin critter, with a blew kotton umbreller under her arm—“do you know who we air, Sir?”

“My impreshun is,” sed I, “from a kersery view, that you air females.”

“We air, Sur,” said the feroshus woman—“we belong to a Society whitch beleeves wimin has rites—whitch beleeves in razin her to her proper speer—whitch beleeves she is indowed with as much intelleck as man is—whitch beleeves she is trampled on and aboozed—& who will resist henso4th & forever the incroachments of proud & domineering men.”

Durin her discourse, the exsentric female grabed me by the coat-kollor & was swinging her umbreller wildly over my hed.

“I hope, marm,” sez I, starting back, “that your intensions is honorable! I’m a lone man here in a strange place. Besides, I’ve a wife to hum.”

“Yes,” cried the female, “& she’s a slave! Doth she never dream of freedom—doth she never think of throwin of the yoke of tyrrinny & thinkin & votin for herself?—Doth she never think of these here things?”

“Not bein a natral born fool,” sed I, by this time a little riled, “I kin safely say that she dothunt.”

“Oh, whot—whot!” screamed the female, swingin her umbreller in the air. “Oh, what is the price that woman pays for her expeeriunce!”

“I don’t know,” sez I; “the price of my show is 15 cents pur individooal.”

“& can’t our Sosiety go in free?” asked the female.

“Not if I know it,” sed I.

“Crooil, crooil man!” she cried, & bust into teers.

“Won’t you let my darter in?” sed anuther of the exsentric wimin, taken me afeckshunitely by the hand. “O please let my darter in,—shee’s a sweet gushin child of natur.”

“Let her gush!” roared I, as mad as I cood stick at their tarnal nonsense; “let her gush!” Where upon they all sprung back with the simultanious observashun that I was a Beest.

“My female friends,” sed I, “be4 you leeve, I’ve a few remarks to remark; wa them well. The female woman is one of the greatest institooshuns of which this land can boste. It’s onpossible to get along without her. Had there bin no female wimin in the world, I should scarcely be here with my unparaleld show on this very occashun. She is good in sickness—good in wellness—good all the time. O woman, woman!” I cried, my feelins worked up to a hi poetick pitch, “you air a angle when you behave yourself; but when you take off your proper appairel & (mettyforically speaken)—get into pantyloons—when you desert your firesides, & with your heds full of wimin’s rites noshuns go round like roarin lions, seekin whom you may devour someboddy—in short, when you undertake to play the man, you play the devil and air an emfatic noosance. My female friends,” I continnered, as they were indignantly departin, “wa well what A. Ward has sed!”