Best American Humorous Short Stories HTML version
"Mein Gott, den, vat a vool you bees for dat!" replied one of the most remarkable voices I
ever heard. At first I took it for a rumbling in my ears--such as a man sometimes
experiences when getting very drunk--but upon second thought, I considered the sound as
more nearly resembling that which proceeds from an empty barrel beaten with a big stick;
and, in fact, this I should have concluded it to be, but for the articulation of the syllables
and words. I am by no means naturally nervous, and the very few glasses of Lafitte which
I had sipped served to embolden me a little, so that I felt nothing of trepidation, but
merely uplifted my eyes with a leisurely movement and looked carefully around the room
for the intruder. I could not, however, perceive any one at all.
"Humph!" resumed the voice as I continued my survey, "you mus pe so dronk as de pig
den for not zee me as I zit here at your zide."
Hereupon I bethought me of looking immediately before my nose, and there, sure
enough, confronting me at the table sat a personage nondescript, although not altogether
indescribable. His body was a wine-pipe or a rum puncheon, or something of that
character, and had a truly Falstaffian air. In its nether extremity were inserted two kegs,
which seemed to answer all the purposes of legs. For arms there dangled from the upper
portion of the carcass two tolerably long bottles with the necks outward for hands. All the
head that I saw the monster possessed of was one of those Hessian canteens which
resemble a large snuff-box with a hole in the middle of the lid. This canteen (with a
funnel on its top like a cavalier cap slouched over the eyes) was set on edge upon the
puncheon, with the hole toward myself; and through this hole, which seemed puckered up
like the mouth of a very precise old maid, the creature was emitting certain rumbling and
grumbling noises which he evidently intended for intelligible talk.
"I zay," said he, "you mos pe dronk as de pig, vor zit dare and not zee me zit ere; and I
zay, doo, you mos pe pigger vool as de goose, vor to dispelief vat iz print in de print. 'Tiz
de troof--dat it iz--ebery vord ob it."
"Who are you, pray?" said I with much dignity, although somewhat puzzled; "how did
you get here? and what is it you are talking about?"
"As vor ow I com'd ere," replied the figure, "dat iz none of your pizziness; and as vor vat
I be talking apout, I be talk apout vat I tink proper; and as vor who I be, vy dat is de very
ting I com'd here for to let you zee for yourself."
"You are a drunken vagabond," said I, "and I shall ring the bell and order my footman to
kick you into the street."
"He! he! he!" said the fellow, "hu! hu! hu! dat you can't do."
"Can't do!" said I, "what do you mean? I can't do what?"
"Ring de pell," he replied, attempting a grin with his little villainous mouth.