WIT INSPIRATIONS OF " T"'0-YEAR-OLDS." 77
I tried it once or twice, but it was not popular.
The family were not expecting brilliant remarks
from me, and so they snubbed me sometimes, and
spanked me the rest. But it makes my flesh
creep and my blood run cold to think what might
have happened to me if I had dared to utter some
of the smart things of this generation's " four-year-
olds" where my father could hear me. To have
simply skinned me alive and considered his duty
at an end would have seemed to him criminal
leniency toward one so sinning. He was a stern
unsmiling man, and hated all forms of precocity
If I had said some of the things I have referred to,
and said them in his hearing, he would have
destroyed me. He would, indeed he would, pro¬
vided the opportunity remained with him. But
it would not, for I would have had judgment
enough to take some strychnine first and say my
smart thing afterward. The fair record of my
life has been tarnished by just one pun. My
father overheard that, and he hunted me over
four or five townships seeking to take my life.
If I had been full-grown of course he would have
been right; but, child as I was I could not know
how wicked a thing I had done.
I made one of those remarks ordinarily called
" smart things " before that, but it was not a pun.
Still, it came near causing a serious rupture