Смешные рассказы / The Funny Stories, стр. 3

“After that we had a most tranquil season during three months. The bill was impressive, of course, and I had said I would not pay it until the new machinery had proved itself to be flawless. The time set was three months. So I paid the bill, and the very next day the alarm went to buzzing like ten thousand bee swarms at ten o’clock in the morning. I turned the hands around twelve hours, according to instructions, and this took off the alarm. But it happened again at night, and I had to set it ahead twelve hours once more to get it to put the alarm on again. That sort of nonsense went on a week or two, then the expert came up and put in a new clock. He came up every three months during the next three years, and put in a new clock. But it was always a failure. His clocks all had the same defect: they would put the alarm on in the daytime, and they would not put it on at night; and if you forced it on yourself, they would take it off again the minute your back was turned.

“Now there is the history of that burglar alarm – everything just as it happened. Yes, sir, and when I had slept nine years with burglars, and maintained an expensive burglar alarm the whole time, for their protection, not mine, I just said to Mrs. McWilliams that I had had enough; so with her full consent I took the whole thing out and traded it off for a dog, and shot the dog. I don’t know what you think about it, Mr. Twain; but I think those things are made solely in the interest of the burglars. Good-bye: I get off here.”

To Raise Poultry

[Being a letter written to a Poultry Society that had conferred a complimentary membership upon the author.]

Seriously, from early youth I have taken a special interest in the subject of poultry-raising, and so this membership touches me. Even as a schoolboy, poultry-raising was a study with me, and I may say that as early as the age of seventeen I was acquainted with all the best and quickest methods of raising chickens, from raising them by burning matches under their noses, down to lifting them off a fence on a frosty night by putting the end of a warm board under their heels. By the time I was twenty years old, I really suppose I had raised more poultry than any one individual in all the section round about there. The very chickens came to know my talent by and by. The youth of both sexes stopped to paw the earth for worms, and old roosters stopped to crow, when I passed by.

I have had so much experience in the raising of fowls that I cannot but think that a few hints from me might be useful to the society. The two methods I have already touched upon are very simple, and are only used in the raising of the commonest class of fowls; one is for summer, the other for winter.

In the one case you start out with a friend along about eleven o’clock’ on a summer’s night (not later, because in some states – especially in California and Oregon – chickens always wake up just at midnight and crow from ten to thirty minutes, according to the ease or difficulty they experience in getting the public waked up), and your friend carries with him a sack. Arrived at the henroost (your neighbor’s, not your own), you light a match and hold it under first one and then another bird’s nose until they are willing to go into that bag without making any trouble about it. You then return home, either taking the bag with you or leaving it behind, according to the circumstances. N. B. – I have seen the time when it was appropriate to leave the sack behind and walk off with considerable velocity, without ever leaving any word where to send it.

In the case of the other method mentioned for raising poultry, your friend takes along a covered vessel with a charcoal fire in it, and you carry a long slender plank. This is a frosty night, understand. Arrived at the tree, or fence, or other henroost (your own if you are an idiot), you warm the end of your plank in your friend’s fire vessel, and then raise it and ease it up gently against a sleeping chicken’s foot. If the subject of your attention is a true bird, he will return thanks with a sleepy cluck or two.

The Black Spanish is an exceedingly fine bird and a costly one. Thirty-five dollars is the usual figure, and fifty is not an uncommon price for a specimen. Even its eggs are worth from a dollar to a dollar and a half apiece. The best way to raise the Black Spanish fowl is to go late in the evening and raise coop and all. The reason I recommend this method is that, the birds being so valuable, the owners do not permit them to roost around promiscuously, they put them in a coop as strong as a fireproof safe and keep it in the kitchen at night. The method I speak of is not always a bright and satisfying success, and yet there are so many little articles of interest about a kitchen, that if you fail on the coop you can generally bring away something else. I brought away a nice steel trap one night, worth ninety cents.

But what is the use in my pouring out my whole intellect on this subject? I have shown the Western New York Poultry Society that they have taken to their bosom [4] a member who is not a chicken by any means, but a man who knows all about poultry, and is just as high up in the most efficient methods of raising it as the president of the institution himself. I thank these gentlemen for the honorary membership they have conferred upon me, and shall stand at all times ready and willing to testify my good feeling by deeds as well as by this hastily written advice and information. Whenever they are ready to go to raising poultry, let them call for me any evening after eleven o’clock.

The Siamese Twins

I do not wish to write of the personal habits of these strange creatures solely, but also of certain curious details of various kinds concerning them. Knowing the Twins intimately, I feel that I am peculiarly well qualified for the task I have taken upon myself.

The Siamese Twins are naturally tender and affectionate indisposition, and have clung to each other with singular fidelity throughout a long and eventful life. Even as children they were inseparable companions; and it was noticed that they always seemed to prefer each other’s society to that of any other persons. They nearly always played together; and, their mother was so accustomed to this peculiarity, that, whenever both of them chanced to be lost, she usually only hunted for one of them. She knew that when she found that one she would find his brother somewhere in the immediate neighborhood.

As men, the Twins have not always lived in perfect accord; but still there has always been a bond between them which made them unwilling to go away from each other. They have even occupied the same house, and it is believed that they have never failed to even sleep together on any night since they were born. [5] The Twins always go to bed at the same time; but Chang usually gets up about an hour before his brother. Chang does all the indoor work and Eng runs all the errands. This is because Eng likes to go out. However, Chang always goes along. Eng is a Baptist, but Chang is a Roman Catholic; still, to please his brother, Chang agreed to be baptized at the same time that Eng was, on condition that it should not “count.” During the war they were strong partisans, and both fought – Eng on the Union side and Chang on the Confederate. They took each other prisoners at Seven Oaks, but the proofs of capture were so evenly balanced in favor of each, that a general army court had to be assembled to determine which one was properly the captor and which the captive. The jury agreed to consider them both prisoners, and then exchange them.

Upon one occasion the brothers quarreled about something, and Chang knocked Eng down, and then tripped and fell on him. Both began to beat each other without mercy. The bystanders interfered, and tried to separate them, but they could not do it, and so allowed them to fight it out. In the end both were carried to the hospital.