Tugg Martin.

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley


Tugg Martin's tough. - No doubt o' that!
And down there at
The town he come from word's bin sent
Advisin' this-here Settle-ment
To kindo' humor Tugg, and not
To git him hot -
Jest pass his imperfections by,
And he's as good as pie!


They claim he's wanted back there. - Yit
The officers they mostly quit
Insistin' when
They notice Tugg's so back'ard, and
Sorto' gives 'em to understand
He druther not! - A Deputy
(The slickest one you ever see!)
Tackled him last - "disguisin' then,"
As Tugg says, "as a gentlemen!" -
You 'd ort o' hear Tugg tell it! - My!
I thought I'd die!


The way it wuz; - Tugg and the rest
The boys wuz jest
A-kindo' gittin' thawed out, down
At "Guss's Place," fur-end o' town,
One night, when, first we knowed,
Some feller rode
Up in a buggy at the door,
And hollered fer some one to come
And fetch him some
Red-licker out - And whirped and swore
That colt he drove wuz "Thompson's" shore!


Guss went out, and come in agin
And filled a pint and tuck it out -
Stayed quite a spell - then peeked back in,
Half-hid-like where the light wuz dim,
And jieuked his head
At Tugg and said, -
"Come out a minute - here's a gent
Wants you to take a drink with him."


Well - Tugg laid down his cards and went -
In fact, we all
Got up, you know,
Startin' to go -
When in reels Guss aginst the wall,
As white as snow,
Gaspin', - "He's tuck Tugg! - wher's my gun?"
And-sir, outside we heerd
The hoss snort and kick up his heels
Like he wuz skeerd,
And then the buggy-wheels
Scrape - and then Tugg's voice hollerun', -
"I'm bested! - Good-bye, fellers!" . . . 'Peared
S' all-fired suddent,
Nobody couldn't
Jest git it fixed, - tel hoss and man,
Buggy and Tugg, off through the dark
Went like the devil beatin' tan-


What could we do? . . . We filed back to
The bar: And Guss jest looked at us,
And we looked back "The same as you,"
Still sayin' nothin' - And the sap
It stood in every eye,
And every hat and cap
Went off, as we teched glasses solemnly,
And Guss says-he:
"Ef it's 'good-bye' with Tugg, fer shore, - I say
God bless him! - Er ef they
Aint railly no need to pray,
I'm not reniggin! - board's the play,
And here's God bless him, anyway!"


It must a-bin an hour er so
We all set there,
Talkin o' pore
Old Tugg, you know,
'At never, wuz ketched up before -
When - all slow-like - the door-
Knob turned - and Tugg come shamblin' in,
Hand-cuffed' - 'at's what he wuz, I swear! -
Yit smilin,' like he hadn't bin
Away at all! And when we ast him where
The Deputy wuz at, - "I don't know where," Tugg said, -
"All I know is - he's dead."

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'Tugg Martin.' by James Whitcomb Riley

comments powered by Disqus

Home | Search | About this website | Contact | Privacy Policy