by Eugene Field
What conversazzhyonies wuz I really did not know,
For that, you must remember, wuz a powerful spell ago;
The camp wuz new 'nd noisy, 'nd only modrit sized,
So fashionable sossiety wuz hardly crystallized.
There hadn't been no grand events to interest the men,
But a lynchin', or a inquest, or a jackpot now an' then.
The wimmin-folks wuz mighty scarce, for wimmin, ez a rool,
Don't go to Colorado much, excep' for teachin' school,
An' bein' scarce an' chipper and pretty (like as not),
The bachelors perpose, 'nd air accepted on the spot.
Now Sorry Tom wuz owner uv the Gosh-all-Hemlock mine,
The wich allowed his better haff to dress all-fired fine;
For Sorry Tom wuz mighty proud uv her, an' she uv him,
Though she wuz short an' tacky, an' he wuz tall an' slim,
An' she wuz edjicated, an' Sorry Tom wuz not,
Yet, for her sake, he'd whack up every cussid cent he'd got!
Waal, jest by way uv celebratin' matrimonial joys,
She thought she'd give a conversazzhyony to the boys,--
A peert an' likely lady, 'nd ez full uv 'cute idees
'Nd uv etiquettish notions ez a fyste is full uv fleas.
Three-fingered Hoover kind uv kicked, an' said they might be durned
So far ez any conversazzhyony was concerned;
He'd come to Red Hoss Mountain to tunnel for the ore,
An' not to go to parties,--quite another kind uv bore!
But, bein' he wuz candidate for marshal uv the camp,
I rayther had the upper holts in arguin' with the scamp;
Sez I, "Three-fingered Hoover, can't ye see it is yer game
To go for all the votes ye kin an' collar uv the same?"
The wich perceivin', Hoover sez, "Waal, ef I must, I must;
So I'll frequent that conversazzhyony, ef I bust!"
Three-fingered Hoover wuz a trump! Ez fine a man wuz he
Ez ever caused an inquest or blossomed on a tree!--
A big, broad man, whose face bespoke a honest heart within,--
With a bunch uv yaller whiskers appertainin' to his chin,
'Nd a fierce mustache turnt up so fur that both his ears wuz hid,
Like the picture that you always see in the "Life uv Cap'n Kidd."
His hair wuz long an' wavy an' fine as Southdown fleece,--
Oh, it shone an' smelt like Eden when he slicked it down with grease!
I'll bet there wuzn't anywhere a man, all round, ez fine
Ez wuz Three-fingered Hoover in the spring uv '69!
The conversazzhyony wuz a notable affair,
The bong tong deckolett 'nd en regaly bein' there;
The ranch where Sorry Tom hung out wuz fitted up immense,--
The Denver papers called it a "palashal residence."
There wuz mountain pines an' fern an' flowers a-hangin' on the walls,
An' cheers an' hoss-hair sofies wuz a-settin' in the halls;
An' there wuz heaps uv pictures uv folks that lived down East,
Sech ez poets an' perfessers, an' last, but not the least,
Wuz a chromo uv old Fremont,--we liked that best, you bet,
For there's lots uv us old miners that is votin' for him yet!
When Sorry Tom received the gang perlitely at the door,
He said that keerds would be allowed upon the second floor;
And then he asked us would we like a drop uv ody vee.
Connivin' at his meanin', we responded promptly, "Wee."
A conversazzhyony is a thing where people speak
The langwidge in the which they air partickulerly weak:
"I see," sez Sorry Tom, "you grasp what that 'ere lingo means."
"You bet yer boots," sez Hoover; "I've lived at Noo Orleens,
An', though I ain't no Frenchie, nor kin unto the same,
I kin parly voo, an' git there, too, like Eli, toot lee mame!"
As speakin' French wuz not my forte,--not even oovry poo,--
I stuck to keerds ez played by them ez did not parly voo,
An' bein' how that poker wuz my most perficient game,
I poneyed up for 20 blues an' set into the same.
Three-fingered Hoover stayed behind an' parly-vood so well
That all the kramy delly krame allowed he wuz the belle.
The other candidate for marshal didn't have a show;
For, while Three-fingered Hoover parlyed, ez they said, tray bow,
Bill Goslin didn't know enough uv French to git along,
'Nd I reckon that he had what folks might call a movy tong.
From Denver they had freighted up a real pianny-fort
Uv the warty-leg and pearl-around-the-keys-an'-kivver sort,
An', later in the evenin', Perfesser Vere de Blaw
Performed on that pianny, with considerble eclaw,
Sech high-toned opry airs ez one is apt to hear, you know,
When he rounds up down to Denver at a Emmy Abbitt show;
An' Barber Jim (a talented but ornery galoot)
Discoursed a obligatter, conny mory, on the floot,
'Till we, ez sot up-stairs indulgin' in a quiet game,
Conveyed to Barber Jim our wish to compromise the same.
The maynoo that wuz spread that night wuz mighty hard to beat,--
Though somewhat awkward to pernounce, it was not so to eat:
There wuz puddin's, pies, an' sandwidges, an' forty kinds uv sass,
An' floatin' Irelands, custards, tarts, an' patty dee foy grass;
An' millions uv cove oysters wuz a-settin' round in pans,
'Nd other native fruits an' things that grow out West in cans.
But I wuz all kufflummuxed when Hoover said he'd choose
"Oon peety morso, see voo play, de la cette Charlotte Rooze;"
I'd knowed Three-fingered Hoover for fifteen years or more,
'Nd I'd never heern him speak so light uv wimmin folks before!
Bill Goslin heern him say it, 'nd uv course he spread the news
Uv how Three-fingered Hoover had insulted Charlotte Rooze
At the conversazzhyony down at Sorry Tom's that night,
An' when they asked me, I allowed that Bill for once wuz right;
Although it broke my heart to see my friend go up the fluke,
We all opined his treatment uv the girl deserved rebuke.
It warn't no use for Sorry Tom to nail it for a lie,--
When it come to sassin' wimmin, there wuz blood in every eye;
The boom for Charlotte Rooze swep' on an' took the polls by storm,
An' so Three-fingered Hoover fell a martyr to reform!
Three-fingered Hoover said it was a terrible mistake,
An' when the votes wuz in, he cried ez if his heart would break.
We never knew who Charlotte wuz, but Goslin's brother Dick
Allowed she wuz the teacher from the camp on Roarin' Crick,
That had come to pass some foreign tongue with them uv our alite
Ez wuz at the high-toned party down at Sorry Tom's that night.
We let it drop--this matter uv the lady--there an' then,
An' we never heerd, nor wanted to, of Charlotte Rooze again,
An' the Colorado wimmin-folks, ez like ez not, don't know
How we vindicated all their sex a twenty year ago.
For in these wondrous twenty years has come a mighty change,
An' most of them old pioneers have gone acrosst the range,
Way out into the silver land beyond the peaks uv snow,--
The land uv rest an' sunshine, where all good miners go.
I reckon that they love to look, from out the silver haze,
Upon that God's own country where they spent sech happy days;
Upon the noble cities that have risen since they went;
Upon the camps an' ranches that are prosperous and content;
An' best uv all, upon those hills that reach into the air,
Ez if to clasp the loved ones that are waitin' over there.
Last updated January 14, 2019