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[Detail] Emigrants Crossing the Plains. 1869.

Descriptive Writing | Journal Writing | Tall Tales and Humor

3) Tall Tales and Humor

The collection is strong in the presentation of local color sketches and vernacular forms, including the tall tale.

Search on humorist and sketches for texts such as:

crossing the platte

Crossing the Platte in '58, p. 35 California Revisited, T.S. Kenderdine, 1898

The Platte was "up," they said--which made me wish I could see it when it was down, if it could look any sicker and sorrier. They said it was a dangerous stream to cross, now, because its quicksands were liable to swallow up horses, coach and passengers if an attempt was made to ford it. But the mails had to go, and we made the attempt. Once or twice in midstream the wheels sunk into the yielding sands so threateningly that we half believed we had dreaded and avoided the sea all our lives to be shipwrecked in a "mud-wagon" in the middle of a desert at last. But we dragged through and sped away toward the setting sun.

Samuel Clemens, (Mark Twain), Roughing It, Chapter VII, p. 61


CALIFORNIA is called the land of flowers, and the first fellar that called it so, was no liar. He must have been a native--a truthful man, and likewise a "Booster." You never heard a native knock California--no--sir--ree. They're always a boosting, and crowing, and swelling out like pouter pigeons, as soon as they begin to see us sit up and take notice. Huh! dont they love to see our eyes stick out, and our mouths come open, while we gap at some of the glories of California--the land of sunshine--the land of gold. And when we get homesick and say "Good bye, we're going home," they only laugh at us--and Bill, its a kinder mean laugh, too--and they'll say "Oh, you'll come back, they all do. I'll give you just six months at the most, and I'll bet you'll come back with all your relations, and stay next time for good."

Mina Deane Halsey, A Tenderfoot in Southern California, Chapter XVII, p. 147