"Pete Whetstone's Last Frolic" by Charles F.M. Noland (1839)

Devil's Fork of Little Red, Jan. 9, 1859

MY DEAR MR. EDITOR,-Since the last time I writ you, I have had all sorts of times; I took a trip away out South. Well, when I got to the Rock, I was in a big hurry to keep on, so I walked up early in the morning to Goodrich and Loomis, thinking I would rig out in a suit of their best, but they hadn't opened their store; so I steps into another, and bought me a pair of red broadcloth britches. The fellow measured me, and put up a pair that he said would fit me to a shaving. So I stuffs them into my saddle-bags, and put out South. Well, when I gets out, I was asked to a party, and I rigged myself up; but oh, lordy! my britches were big enough for the fat man what was blowed up in the steamboat. I had my gallowses up to the last notch, but it wouldn't all do, for I could have carried a grist of corn in them without stretching the cloth. I hardly knew what to do; my old britches couldn't do at all, and my new ones hung like a shirt on a beanpole. Thinks I, there is no frolic for Pete; but just right at this time in pops Major Greene. "Well," says he, "Kurnel, ain't you ready to go?" Says I, 'I am thinking I won't go."- "Why?" says he. "Look at my britches," says I. Well, he commenced laughing; says he, "Them britches were made for Daniel Lambert."-"Well," says I, "Daniel Lambert is a stranger to me, but I know they are a pretty loose fit ... . .. Oh, never mind them," says he; "come, go, and nobody will notice them." So I went. I found lots of people, and an abundance of pretty gals. Well, there was no dancing, and the folks were all sitting round the room; so I slips in a corner, thinking I would hide my britches. Presently some gentleman asked a lady to sing; so up she gits, and he leads her to something in the corner, that looked like the nicest kind of a chest. Well, she opened the lid, and it was right chuck full of horseteeth; she just run her hand across them, and I never heard such a noise in all my life. I whispered to the next fellow to me, and asked what sort of a varmint that was? "Why, Kurnel," says he, "that is a pe-anny." Well, the young lady commenced, and I never heard such singing. I forgot my britches, and started to walk close up to the pe-anny, when I heard them tittering. "Daniel Lambert," says one-then I knew they were laughing at my britches. So I feels my dander rising, and began to get mad; I walked right up, bold as a sheep. There was a sort of a dandy looking genius standing by the pe-anny.- Says he "Now do, Miss, favor us with that delightful little ditty-my favorite-you know it." Then she commenced.

"When the Belly-aker is hearn over the sea,
I'll dance the Ronny-aker by moonlight with thee."

That is all I recollect. When she got through, up steps Maj. Greene, and introduces me to her. Says she, (and I tell you she looked pretty), "Col. Whetstone, what is your favorite?" Says I, "Suit yourself, and you suit me." And that made her laugh. Well, right at that, up steps a fellow that looked as if he had been sent for and couldn't go. Says he, "Miss, will you give me 'the last link is broken'? "-"Why," says she, "indeed, sir, I have the most wretched cold in the world."- "Why, Miss," says I, "you wouldn't call yours a bad cold if you had seen Jim Cole arter he lay out in the swamp and catched cold." "Why," says she, (and lord, but she looked killing), "how bad was his cold?" "Why, Miss," says I, "he didn't quit spitting ice till the middle of August." That made her laugh. "Well," says she, "Kurnel Whetstone, that cures my cold." So she commenced-

"The last link is broken that binds you to me,
The words you have spoken is sorry to I"

Well, arter the lady was over, they all went into supper; lots of good things. I sat next to a young lady, and I heard them saying, "Miss, with your permission, I'll take a piece of the turkey," and so on. I sees a plate of nice little pickles.-"Miss, with your permission, I'll take a pickle," and she said I might do so. I reached over and dipped up one on my fork-it was small, and I put the whole of it in my mouth. Oh, lordy! but it burnt;well, the more I chawed the worse it was. Thinks I, if I swallow, I am a burnt koon. Well, it got too hot for human nater to stand; so says I, "Miss, with your permission, I'll lay the pickle back," and I spit it out. Oh, lordy! what laughing. "Excuse me, ladies, if I have done wrong," says I, "but that pickle is too hot for the Devil's fork." Everybody seemed to take the thing in good part, but one chap; says he, I never seed such rude behavior in all my life." At this I turns round to him; says I, "Look here, Mister, if you don't like the smell of freshbread, you had better quit the bakery." Well, I tell you, that shot up his fly-trap quicker. Arter supper the party broke up. Oh, confound the britches! I wish the fellow that made them could be fed on cloth for twelve months. Even the little boys made fun of them, for I heard one singing-

"Mister, Mister, who made your britches?
Daddy cut them out, and mammy sowed the stitches."

Ever yours,
PETE WHETSTONE