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Two Inland Noodles at the Sea

Mtiss Sunnyhopes she waded out a-looking nice and sweet
(Shle'd had her dress made to the store, and trimmed from head to feet);
And I went next, and grabbed their rope just as she told me to,
And Wife came third, a-looking scared, scarce knowing what to do.
Then Sister Sunnyhopes a smile of virgin sweetness gave,
And said, "Now watch your chance, and jump -- here comes a lovely wave!"


I must have juinped, I rather think, the wrong time of the moon;
At any rate the "lovely wave" occurred to me too soon!
It took me sudden, withl a rude and unexpected shock;
I'd rather meet the stoutest pair of horns in all my flock!
And then to top the circus out, and make the scene more fine,
I tried to kick this "lovely wave," and let right go the line.

On county fairs and 'lection days, in walking through a crowd,
I'm rather firm to jostle 'gainst -- perhaps it makes me proud;
But if it does, that wave just preached how sureniess never pays,
And seemed to say, "How small is man, no odds how much he weighs!"
It kicked and cuffed me all about, in spite of right or law,
With all the qualities they give an average mother-iii-law!

And then it set nme on the bank, quite thankful for my life,
And looking 'round I give a gaze to find my faithful wife;
Eut she had kind o' cut this wave withl all the edge shle had,
And stood a-looking 'round for me, uncommon mioist and sad;
Whiile Sister Sunnyhliopes with smiiles was looking sweet and gay,
A-floating on her dainty back some several rods away!

She looked so newish pretty there -- (she knowed it, too, the elf!) -- 
The crowd was all admiring her, and so was I myself;
And while I once more grasped the line, beside my wife of truth,
My eyes would rove to Sister S. -- her beauty and her youth;
When all at once a brindle wave, uncommon broad and deep,
Came thrashing down on Wife and ine, and flopped us in a heap!


Heels over head -- all in a bunch -- my wife across of me,
And I on some misguided folks who happened there to be;
My hat untied and floated off, and left my bald head bare –
When I got out, if I'd have spoke, 'twould warmed up all the air!
We drank 'bout two-thirds of the sea -- my gasping wife and I --
While Sister S. still floated soft, a-gazing at the sky!


We voted that we'd had enough, and got right out the way
Before another wave arrived, and bid the sea good-day.
We looked as like two drownded rats as ever such was called,
With one of them a dumbed old fool and most completely bald.
But, like a woman true she says -- my shivering wife to me
"We will not mind; there's others here looks just as bad as we."

Now, Sister Sunnyhopes, by'm-by, came back into our tent,
As sleek or sleeker than before, and asked us "When we went'?"
Said I, "My dear good Sister S., please do not now pretend
You did not see our voyage through, and mark its doleful end.
If you would play the mermaid fair, why such I'd have you be;
But we're too old to take that part -- my faithful wife and me;

"Some folks may be who ocean waves are fitted to command,
But we've concluded we was built expressly for the land.
And when I want amusement for an uncompleted day,
I guess I'll go and take it in some good old-fashioned way;
And will not stand upon my head 'fore all the folks that's there,
And wildly wave my dumbed old feet in all the neighboring air!"

From CITY BALLADS by Will Carleton, Harper Brothers, 1885.
Reprinted online courtesy of


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