Citing As Incident Of The Southern Postal Service ; Interpolating As Impeachment Note From Washington, Aid A Vague Words-Worthian Parody; And "Conservtatively" Touching Upon The Presidentiai. Nomination Of The Last Mackerel General By A Classical Convention. chipmunk Court House, May 28, 1868.
During the late violent proceedings of the United States of America against the well known Southern Confederacy, our shameless military Vandals applied the torch of the incendiary to all the fine wooden public buildings of Chipmunk Court House; and I regret to say, my boy,-I mourn to observe, - that they attempted to justify this wanton act, upon the ground that a venerable female Confederacy had indignantly protruded her spectacles from a second-story window while the troops were passing, and hurled a hot rice-pudding at the principal brigadier. Taking advantage of the temporary demoralization produced in the ranks by this dreadful episode, she had also opened a scathing fire of saucepans and flat-irons upon the general army, which so excited the head of the garrison that he at once scraped the pudding out of his whiskers, removed the pudding-dish from his head, and ordered a speedy ignition of the Slave Pen, the Whipping-post and other public edifices. Owing to the fact that the local Fire Department was quite intoxicated at the time, and was advised by his physician to bandage his head with a wet towel before trying to remember where he had left his watering-pot, the flames spread fiercely to the post-office, and destroyed the latter before a single lottery-circular could be got out. Consequently, the present post-office consists of a former apple-stand with a green cotton umbrella spread over it; and thither I repaired from the chateau of the Munchausens, at an early hour this morning, to ask for my mail.
Donning the bottoms of two cologne-water bottles connected by a wire, which served him as spectacles, the aged postmaster searched the blue worsted stocking, which he used as a mail-bag, and says he, -
"'Pears to me I did have a letter to your address ; but I don't seem to remember where it is. I haven't shaved lately," says he, meditatively, - "I haven't shaved lately; so I couldn't have used it in that way; and we haven't lit a fire recently; so it can't have been burnt. 0-h-h," says he, suddenly brightening up, "I remember now. I let my wife have it last night, to take off the stove-lids with; just wait a minute, until I step to the house and look in the coal-scuttle".
Requesting me to mind the worsted stocking while he was gone, and see that no one rifled the mail, the venerable postal official placed upon his head the scooped rind of a watermelon, serving as his hat, and retired to the large sugar-hogshead which he used as a family villa. Presently, emerging from thence, with a gratified smile upon his countenance, he briskly handed me what I at first took for a crumpled piece of leather, but quickly found to be an envolope, scorched almost to a cinder.
"Upon my word," says I, dispiritedly, " this is a nice-looking letter to get from a friend. It may not have been inspired by ' thoughts that breathe;' but it looks as though it certainly contained 'words that burn.'"
The postmaster came flying out at me with a billet of firewood in his hand, and, says he, - "See here, young man, if you're going to talk sarcastically about the postal branch of the government, I shall have to chastise you for disloyalty. I've tried to make this matter pleasant to you," says he, parentally. " I've tried to get along with you without using passionate language; but you don't seem to know what gratitude means. White paper is very dear just now at the South," says he, explainingly; "and every day, when our oldest families around here want something to wrap a pound of butter in, or to put in the bottom of a cake-pan, or to paste over a broken window, they send to me, and I let them have the letters directed here to men from the Vandal North. Only yesterday," says he, with an injured look, "one of our first ladies came to me for some waste-paper to do up her curls with, and, instead of handing her your letter, I gave her a despatch directed to a military Yankee scorpion named Villiam Brown, Eskevire".
"What!" says I, hotly. "Do you dare to violate private correspondence in this free country?" He smiled a horrible smile, and says he, - "Your own Congress, young man, has just decided that an official of the United States of America has a right to do as he pleases with all private correspondence whatsoever; and I shall look into the next letter that comes here for you, to see what you do with all your money. And now," says he, passionately, making a pass at me with the billet of firewood, "if you don't go away, and stop disturbing the business of this office, I'll commit you for contempt of court".
I remembered, then, that our able and investigating Congress had, indeed, asserted the right to examine everybody's private telegraphic despatches, for the purpose of obtaining accurate information as to the family-matters of those members of their theatrical company who, at the last moment, had seceded from Impeachment upon the plea that it was an immoral drama. I realized how umpleasant it must be for some private gentlemen who had telegraphed a profane response to his mother-in-law's seventy-fifth un-prepaid lightning request that he would be sure and be careful about her daughter's cold, to have his despatch publicly discussed in legislative halls as having some probable occult bearing upon Impeachment; and I wished that Congress Hadn't!" *
*Mr. Butler's Congressional Committee for the investigation of supposed Senatorial corruption in the matter of Impeachment, had claimed the right to seize and use any private telegrams supposably bearing thereon.
Thoughtfully rubbing my head in the place where I had been struck by the billet of firewood, I retreated with great humility to my apartment in the chateau, and there succeeded in extricating my scorched missive from the ashes of its envelope. It was from the Conservative Kentucky Chap, at the Capital, and read thus: "Kentucky has enjoyed herself very much to-day, and will be grossly inebriated this evening. The great Transformation Scene, with which the drama concludes, failed, finally, to work. Don't write or telegraph to any of your female acquaintances for a week; or all your letters and telegrams will be read aloud in Congress, and published in every one of the excellent morning journals, as having aided to corrupt Fessenden and Grimes. Don't send any money to your mother-in-law by mail for a week, or it will be taken out to pay for Impeachment. Weed the nobs and bone the swag".