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Dad Barker's Ghost

by R. C. Canterbury

WHILE I ain't got no serious objection to anybody's particular brand of religion, (began Sonora Bill), the same being peculiarly their own affair, like their particular brand of licker or terbaccer, I shore maintains it as my firm conviction and belief that the fakes and false prophets hooked up with several of the current and popular brands who are going up and down the country, seeking what they may devour along about dinner time, are some numerous and ought to be suppressed a whole lot for th' good uh th' order.

Which same is not said in a spirit of carping criticism, as I may say; me being ready to extend th' right hand uh fellowship to any hombre, whether he be Methodist, Protestant or Suffragist. Th' only thing I inquires about being said hombre's honesty in his peculiar belief, which same I reserves likewise for myself.

Which th' case I has in mind calling forth these few remarks is that of this two-legged he person over in Cerdo who calls himself a spiritualist or clairvoyant or something like that. I confesses here and now that my attendance at churches has been some few and far between, and likewise my sabe of the finer p'ints of the game some vague and nebulous, as I may say: but when it comes to bringing up spirits uh th' departed, I shore perfesses to qualify as an expert.

This locoed galoot who's at present extracting pesos from the pockets of th' proletariat of Cerdo is not th' first uh th' breed it's been my happy fortune to bump up against, and, I may say with truth, the first application shore took good and plenty.

I wouldn't believe in a ghost if he carried his own burial certificate 'round with him and brought three more spooks along as witnesses. And even at that I ain't saying but what there may be honest spooks, but th' only ones I ever see shore were liars, and th' truth was not in 'em.

I never does figger it out in my own mind who starts it, whether it were Bob Hawkins, or Sam Kinney, or Sile Cooper, or maybe it was old Dad Barker begins it when he croaks. But anyway, she starts, and she shore assumes some large proportions muy pronto. Which she happens like this:

Me and Bob Hawkins finishes cuttin' hay on Colonel Borden's place down th' valley, and drifts over to town to lay up for a spell. I reckon we puts away about a million bales uh hay that season, and she's shore some job; but I maintains th' hardest of it is havin' to live for three or four months with Bob Hawkins. I can't just name off-hand any single hombre as I'd enjoy hearing th' sound uh his voice exclusive for that length uh time, but if I was to make up a list of th' humans that I'd shore hate to be thrown in company with for that long. Bob Hawkins' name would head th' list.

Somehow I gather that Bob kinda thinks th' same about me for some reason.

Well, we tells each other everything we know and a thunderin' lot we don't in th' first few days, and then we starts argufyin', and durned if I ever see sech a argufyin' cuss as Bob. We argufies about everything we can think of, beginnin' with th' price uh hay and th' Mexican sitiwation, and finally windin' up on ghosts. I always maintains, and always will, that there ain't no sech animal; that she always turns out to be a white cow, or a rock, or a union sui...

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