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FUNNY FRIDAY – Observations and advice for children from an 1875 newspaper

Observations and advice from an 1875 newspaper about life

(Transcribed from The Athens Post Apr 2, 1875)

Some Short Observations for Children

When a boy on a sled slides down hill on the snow and goes clear through a fence, that’s gravity; but when the sled has to go up the hill again, that’s the boy’s muscle which pulls it by a rope. Gravity only travels one way on a sled.

If you stick a pin through a bumble-bee into the window-sill, it will buzz on with its cheerful music all the same like it was out of doors over a flower; but if you will pinch your small brother when he won’t mind you, then, maybe, you had better take your hat and go out and split some wood, or something, and whistle careless.

They say there is a ‘lectricity in a cat’s back; but if you rub a strange yellow one long enough to try to find it, maybe you had better let the ‘lectricity went. Anyway, that’s my advice to children

If all the forest trees would grow crooked and with hard knots in, then your father would have to hire a man to split the wood; but there wouldn’t be so many pine rafts to swim on the outside of in summer, and you would have to carry in more coal in winter, and so it would be about even.

When you go off a fishing and bring home only a long string of small chubs, if you ask your mother to let you cook ’em, there will be a dreadful fuss. But when she has got company for tea, then I wish you would please listen to hear her make a bigger fuss when your father forgets to bring home a box of sardines. That’s a curious way.

The best way for certain to find out if ice will bear you, is to coax a bigger boy to go on first, and then lend him your skates when you have got to go home before dark.

If Mr. General George Washington did almost ruin a cheery tree with a sharp hatchet, he had the sand to own it up to his father when he was a small boy; but I would like to see some Louisville hair-pins nowadays as would do it.

You can go to the minstrels half-price for twenty-five cents, if you have got the quarter, but there has been a brass band concert from Boston at Public Library hall which it took fifty dollars to buy a ticket and go in. Minstrels is good enough for me, and so I’d rather save up the rest of the money, when I get it, and buy a steamboat and a circus.

A school-teacher will always stick to it that water always runs down hill; but then what is the reason that sugarwater will run up a tree?

It’s a sure fact that if you feed a small black-and-tan pup on whisky he won’t grow any bigger, because I tried with a spoon on my Coly, and he’s dead.

When you go to bed and dream tranquil that you have got a new pair of boots with square box-toes and red tops, and then have to put on your old shoes when you get up in the morning, it will disappoint you so rough as to make you miserable and nearly sick.

A small piece of round cork dipped in the black ink, with some horse-hair legs in, and the whole business tied to a fine thread, is a good enough dead spider to drop down quiet and easy before a boy’s nose which is smaller than you and timid.

There was a poet named Jim Johnson, but he’s dead, because they say that poets most usually die when they’re small. When they had prayers one morning in school, a mouse ran up the bell-rope and Jim made some poetry so loud that the teacher heard him. This was the first verse:

There was a mouse in time of prayers,

Went up a rope for want of stairs.”

Here the teacher got mad and told him that she should trounce him a few if he didn’t get off another verse, and so he said:

Here I stand afore Miss Blodget,

When she strikes I’m going to dodge it.”

And so Jim got off with a whole skin and was thankful.


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NEWSPAPER ABSTRACTS from The Florence Times October 6, 1905

GENEALOGY QUERIES published in 1940

ALABAMA GENEALOGY NOTES: Volume V (Kindle Edition)

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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