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Ossawatomie Brown (XHTML)


An 1859-60 essay by Charles Farrar Browne, writing as Artemus Ward. Digitized by the Antislavery Literature Project.


Source: Charles F. Browne, Artemus Ward: His Book (New York: Carleton, 1862)


[page 157]


I don’t pertend to be a cricket, & consekently the reader will not regard this ere peace as a Cricketcism. I cimply desine givin the pints & Plot of a play I saw actid out at the theater tuther nite, called Ossywattermy Brown, or the Hero of Harper's Ferry. Ossywattermy had varis failins, one of whitch was a idee that he cood conker Virginny with a few duzzen loonatics which he had pickt up sumwhares, mercy only nose whare. He didn't cum it, as the sekel showed. This play was jerkt by a admirer of Old Ossywattermy.

First akt opens at North Elby, Old Brown's humsted. Thare's a weddin at the house. Amely, Old Brown's darter, marrys sumbody, and they all whirl in the Messy darnce. Then Ossywattermy and his 3 suns leave fur Kansis. Old Mrs. Ossy-

[page 158]


wattermy tells em thay air goin on a long jurny & Blesses em to slow fiddlin. Thay go to Kansis. What upon arth thay go to Kansis fur when thay was so nice & comfortable down thare to North Elby is moren I know. The suns air next seen in Kansis at a tavern. Mister Blane, a sinister lookin man with his Belt full of knives & hoss pistils, axes one of the Browns to take a drink. Brown refuzis, whitch is the fust instance on record whare a Brown deklined sich a invite. Mister Blane, who is a dark bearded feroshus lookin person, then axis him whether he's fur or fernenst Slavery. Yung Brown sez he's agin it, whareupon Mister Blane, who is the most sinisterest lookin man I ever saw, sez Har, har, har! (that bein his stile of larfin wildly), & ups & sticks a knife into yung Brown. Anuther Brown rushes up & sez, "You hav killed me Ber-ruther!" Moosic by the Band & Seen changes. The stuck yung Brown enters supported by his two brothers. Bimeby he falls down, sez he sees his Mother, & dies. Moosic by the Band. I lookt, but couldn't see any mother. Next Seen reveels

[page 159]


Old Brown's cabin. He's readin a book. He sez freedum must extend its Area & rubs his hands like he was pleesed abowt it. His suns cum in. One of em goes out & cums in ded, havin bin shot while out by a Border Ruffin. The ded yung Brown sez he sees his mother and tumbles down. The Border Ruffins then surround the cabin & set it afire. The Browns giv then-selves up for gone coons, when the hired gal diskivers a trap door to the cabin & thay go down threw it & cum up threw the bulkhed. Their merraklis scape reminds me of the scape of De Jones the Coarsehair of the Gulf—a tail with a yaller kiver, that I onct red. For sixteen year he was confined in a loathsum dunjin not tastin of food durin all that time. Then a lucky thawt struck him! He opened the winder and got out. To resoom—Old Brown rushes down to the foot lites, gits down on his nees, & swares he'll hav revenge. The battle of Ossywattermy takes place. Old Brown kills Mister Blane, the sinister individooal aforesed. Mister Blane makes a able & elerquent speech, sez he don’t see his mother much,

[page 160]


and dies like a son of a gentleman, rapt up in the Star Spangled Banner. Moosic by the Band. From Kansis to Harper's Ferry. Picter of a Arsenal is represented. Sojers cum & fire at it. Old Brown cums out & permits hisself to be shot. He is tride and sentenced to be hung on the gallus. Tabloo— Old Brown on a platform, pintin upards, the staige lited up with red fire. Goddiss of Liberty also on platform, pintin upards. A dutchman in the orkestry warbles on a base drum. Curtin falls. Moosic by the Band.