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The elder, in his poolpit high, said, as he slowly SAM WALTER FOSS.
“Our organist is;kep' to hum, laid up ’ith roomaR. SAM WALTER FOSS, journalist, was
tiz, born in the little town of Candia, N. H.,
An' as we hev no substitoot, as brother Moore ain't June 19th, 1858. Through his ancestor, Stephen
here, Bacheller, he claims kinship with Daniel Webster,
Will some 'un in the congregation be so kind 's to the poet Whittier and William Pitt Fessenden. He
volunteer?" worked on his father's farm till he was fourteen
An' then a red-nosed, drunken tramp, of lowyears of age, when the family moved to Ports
toned, rowdy style, mouth, N. H. In that place he remained until he
Give an interduct'ry hiccup, 'an then staggered up was nineteen, attending the high school, from
the aisle ; which he was graduated in 1877. A year later he
Then thro' thet holy atmosphere there crep'a sense was graduated from Tilton Seminary, Tilton, N.H.,
er sin, and shortly afterwards entered Brown University,
An' thro' thet'air er sanctity the odor uv ol' gin. taking his degree four years later. In the latter institution he was obliged to work his way, and did
Then Deacon Purin’ton he yelled, his teeth all sot it nobly by writing for the press and doing janitor's
on edge : work. Young Foss had a hard time of it, but
“This man purfanes the house er God! W'y, this showed pluck, and by perseverance his efforts were
is sakerlege !" crowned with marked success. Soon after leaving
The tramp didn'hear a word he said, but slouched the university he embarked in journalism. With
'ith stumblin' feet, another young fellow he bought out the Lynn
An’sprawled an' staggered up the steps, an'gained Union. That paper did not prove a financial suc
the organ seat. cess, and his partner withdrew, leaving him to run it alone. It was in Lynn he first took to writing He then went pawrin' thro' the keys, an’soon there humorous poetry, and here began his reputation as a riz a strain poet. In 1886 he sold out the Union. The follow
Thet seemed to jest bulge out the heart, an' 'lectrify ing year he assumed editorial charge of the Yankee the brain; Blade of Boston, a position he adequately filled for An' then he slapped down on the thing 'ith hands nearly six years. Since 1886 he became known as 'an head 'an knees,a poet by profession, writing for all the humorous He slam-dashed his hull body down kerflop upon papers, Puck, Judge, Life, Tid-Bits, the Detroit
the keys. Free Press, and many of the more important papers and syndicates. His poems are as well The organ roared, the music flood went sweepin' known in Canada, England and Australia as in this high an' dry, country. Mr. Foss published a collection of his It swelled into the rafters, 'an bulged out into the poems in 1892, entitled “Back Country Poems." His style is peculiar, and entirely his own. It The ol' church shook an’ staggered, an' seemed to shows strong individuality combined with genius.
reel an' sway, Generous in thought, charitable in word, he has An' the elder shouted “Glory!” an' I yelled out won for himself the deserved praise of the public. “Hooray!"
I. R. W.
An' then he tried a tender strain thet melted in our
Thet brought up blessed memories an' drenched THE VOLUNTEER ORGANIST.
'em down 'ith tears ;
An' we dreamed uv ol' time kitchens, 'ith Tabby The great big church wuz crowded full uv broad- on the mat, cloth an' uv silk,
Uv home an' luv an' baby days, an' mother, an' all An' satins rich as cream thet grows on our ol' that!
brindle's milk; Shined boots, biled shirts, stiff dickeys, an’ stove-An' then he struck a streak uv hope-a song from pipe hats were there,
souls forgiven, An' doods 'ith trouserloons so tight they couldn' Thet burst from prison-bars uv sin, an' stormed the kneel in prayer.
gates uv heaven;
a gun, An' they rushed me off to prison till their wretched
work wuz done.
He knocked down bureaus, beds, and stoves, and
chandeliers, And a grand piano, which he swore would “last a
He rattled out the crockery, and sold the silver
ware, At last they passed him up, to sell, a little baby's
Then was I lonely, and the way grew dreary ;
I grimly fought with fate,
Dead love and living hate.
I sought his grave to whom my heart was mated
My friend, the good and brave;
Bent, weeping, o'er his grave.
“How much? How much? Come, make a bid ; is
all your money spent ?" And then a cheap, facetious wag came up and bid,
"One cent!" Just then a sad-faced woman, who stood in silence
there, Broke down, and cried, "My baby's chair! My
poor dead baby's chair !" “Here, madame, take your baby's chair," said the
softened auctioneer, “I know its value all too well-my baby died last
yearAnd if the owner of the chair, our friend the mort
gagee, Objects to this proceeding, let him send the bill to
And then he told me that, in all the city,
[pity, From all the throngs that needed God's sweet
He had no friend or foe.
And now we live within the self-same city,
No other friends we crave ; Our love is strong that sprang from hum an pity,
Above the dead man's grave.
Gone was the tone of raillery ; the humorist auc
tioneer Turned shamefaced from his audience to brush
away a tear; The laughing crowd was awed and still, no tear
less eye was there When the weeping woman reached and took her
little baby's chair.
Natur', the good old schoolmarm who pities our
distress, She gives her children each year a glad recess ; An' ol' gray-headed boys an’ girls, they feel their
hearts thaw out, An' life flows on as music'ly as water from a spout.
An' now the Ingin Summer time, 'ith all its rest, is
here, A piece of sweet meat stuck between the slices of
the year; ! A sorter reign er jubilee 'twixt snow an' thunder
showers; A chunk of sweetness sandwiched in between the
frost and flowers.
I lived alone within a mighty city,
The crowds that come and go; 'Mid all its throngs, the foolish and the witty,
I had no friend or foe.
Come to me from the throng ;
The other's hate was strong.
Passed through the selssame gate;
The look of love and hate.
The Prince of the Power of the Air goes off on his
vacation, The Devil jest holds up a spell an' stops his agger
vation ; An' Natur' an' the heart er man, unriled by heat or
flood, They jest lay back an' hol' their breath, an' feel
that God is good.
So, many months within that mighty city
I loved my friend full well ; But him, my foe, for him I felt no pity
But the deep hate of hell.
Now w'en we breathe we jest take in great gulps er
happines, We drink the air, like apple juice from Natur''s
cider-press; It jest comes tricklin' down thro' space from
Heaven's great vats above, An’ fills our lungs 'ith oxygin, an' slops our souls
One morning, in the twilight, o'er the city
There came an icy breath : My friend had passed beyond my love and pity,
The border-land of death.