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Publié par Moicani - L'Odéonie

 

A San Francisco street scene from The Most Peculiar History of the Chewing Gum Man, a self-made book by Gelett Burgess, 1894.

THE PECULIAR HISTORY OF THE
CHEWING-GUM MAN.

O

WILLIE, an’ Wallie, an’ Huldy Ann,
They went an’ built a big CHEWIN’-GUM MAN:
It was none o’ your teenty little dots,
With pinhole eyes an’ pencil-spots;
But this was a terribul big one—well,
’T was a’most as high as the Palace Hotel!
It took ’em a year to chew the gum!!
And Willie he done it all, ’cept some
That Huldy got her ma to chew,
By the time the head was ready to do.


Well, Willie he chewed it for days ’n’ days;
They brung it to him in gret big drays;
An’ fast as he got it good an’ soft,
Then Wallie he come and carried it oft.
Then he’d roll it into a gret big ball,
An’ he made a-more’n a MILLION in all!
Then Huldy Ann she spanked ’em flat
An’ pinched an’ poked, an’ the like o’ that,
Till she got it inter a gret big hunk—
My! didn’t Huldy have the spunk!
And then she sliced one end half-way
To make the laigs (’cause they never stay
When you stick ’em on in a seprit piece—
Seems like the ends was made o’ grease);
And she slit an arm right up each side,—
I couldn’t a done it if I’d a tried!
O’ course, her brothers they helped her, though,
An’ rolled the arms an’ laigs out, so
They all was smooth with roundin’ bends
An’ chopped the fingers inter the ends!
An’ when their mother had chewn the head,
She went an’ stuck it on, instead!

 

An’ then, when the man was almost done,
They had an awful lots o’ fun.
A-walkin’ down his stummick was best
To make the buttons onter his vest!
They struck big cartwheels in him for eyes;
His eyes was both tremendous size;
His nose was a barrel—an’ then beneath
They used a ladder, to make his teeth!
An’ when he was layin’ acrost the street
Along come their daddy, as white ’s a sheet,—
He was skeert half outer his wits, I guess,
An’ he didn’t know whatter make o’ the mess,—
But Huldy she up an’ begun to coax
To have him down town, to skeer the folks!
So her dad he grabbed him offen the street,
An’ Willie an’ Wallie they took his feet,
An’ they dragged him clean down to the Cogswell fountain,
An’ stood him up as big as a mountain!
You’d orter seen him a-standin’ there,
A-straddlin’ Market street in the air!

Well, he stood up straight for a week ’n’ a half
An’ the folks, Gee! didn’t they yell ’n’ laff:
The boys clum up his laigs quite bold—
The gum was so soft they got good hold;
The cars run under him day an’ night,
An’ the people come miles to see the sight!
Well, after he’d stayed as stiff ’s a post,
With his head on top o’ the roofts almost,
The sun come outer the fog one day
An’—well, I guess you can see the way
That gret big feller begun to melt;—
Imagine how Willie and Wallie felt!
For first he cocked his head out some,
An’ when the heat got inter the gum
He slowly waved his arms ahead
An’ slanted forred, just like he was dead!

 

An’ all day long he leaned an’ bent
Till all expected he would have went
An’ pitched right over. They roped the street
To keep the crowd away from his feet.
I tell yer he was a sight; my soul!
Twicet as high as a telegraft pole,
Wavin’ his arms an’ slumpin’ his feet
An’ a-starin’ away down Market street.

Then, what did I tell yer—that blame old head
Their mother had made a-seprit, instead,—
It fell right off an’ squashed a horse!
(’T was so soft, it didn’t kill him, o’ course.)
When his hands got so they touched the ground
A hundred policemen they come around;
They stuck a cable-car to his feet,
An’ one to his head, a goin’ up street,
An’ then they pulled him opposite ways,
An’ they pulled him for days ’n’ days ’n’ days,
An’ they drored him out so slim an’ small
That he reached a mile ’n’ a half, in all.

An’ that was the end o’ the CHEWIN’-GUM MAN
For Willie, an’ Wallie, an’ Huldy Ann.
They come along with an ax next day,
An’ chopped him up, and guv him away.

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