James Whitcomb Riley
Down On Wriggle Crick
'Best time to kill a hog's when he's fat.' --Old Saw.
Mostly folks is law-abidin'
Down on Wriggle Crick--,
Seein' they's no Squire residin'
In our bailywick;
No grand juries, no suppeenies,
Ner no vested rights to pick
Out yer man, jerk up and jail ef
He's outragin' Wriggle Crick!
Wriggle Crick hain't got no lawin',
Ner no suits to beat;
Ner no court-house gee-and-hawin'
Like a County-seat;
Hain't no waitin' round fer verdick,
Ner non-gittin' witness-fees;
Ner no thiefs 'at gits 'new heain's,'
By some lawyer slick as grease!
Wriggle Cricks's leadin' spirit
Is old Johnts Culwell--,
Keeps post-office, and right near it
Owns what's called 'The Grand Hotel--'
(Warehouse now--) buys wheat and ships it;
Gits out ties, and trades in stock,
And knows all the high-toned drummers
'Twixt South Bend and Mishawauk'
Last year comes along a feller--
Sharper 'an a lance--
Stovepipe-hat and silk umbreller,
And a boughten all-wool pants--,
Tinkerin of clocks and watches:
Says a trial's all he wants--
And rents out the tavern-office
Next to Uncle Johnts.
Well--. He tacked up his k'dentials,
And got down to biz--.
Captured Johnts by cuttin' stenchils
Fer them old wheat-sacks o' his--.
Fixed his clock, in the post-office--
Painted fer him, clean and slick,
'Crost his safe, in gold-leaf letters,
'J. Culwells's Wriggle Crick.'
Any kindo' job you keered to
Resk him with, and bring,
He'd fix fer you-- jest appeared to
Turn his hand to anything--!
Rings, er earbobs, er umbrellers--
Glue a cheer er chany doll--,
W'y, of all the beatin' fellers,
He Jest beat 'em all!
Made his friends, but wouldn't stop there--,
One mistake he learnt,
That was, sleepin' in his shop there--.
And one Sund'y night it burnt!
Come in one o' jest a-sweepin'
All the whole town high and dry--
And that feller, when they waked him,
Suffocatin', mighty nigh!
Johnts he drug him from the buildin',
He'pless-- 'peared to be--,
And the women and the childern
Drenchin' him with sympathy!
But I noticed Johnts helt on him
With a' extry lovin' grip,
And the men-folks gethered round him
In most warmest pardership!
That's the whole mess, grease-and-dopin'!
Johnt's safe was saved--,
But the lock was found sprung open,
And the inside caved.
Was no trial-- ner no jury--
Ner no jedge ner court-house-click--.
Circumstances alters cases
Down on Wriggle Crick!
James Whitcomb Riley's Other Poems
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