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The Real Diary of a Real Boy   By: (1856-1943)

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By Henry A. Shute


In the winter of 1901 02, while rummaging an old closet in the shed chamber of my father's house, I unearthed a salt box which had been equipped with leather hinges at the expense of considerable ingenuity, and at a very remote period. In addition to this, a hasp of the same material, firmly fastened by carpet tacks and a catch of bent wire, bade defiance to burglars, midnight marauders, and safe breakers.

With the aid of a tack hammer the combination was readily solved, and an eager examination of the contents of the box disclosed:

1. Fish line of braided shoemaker's thread, with perch hook, to which adhered the mummied remains of a worm that lived and flourished many, many years ago.

2. Popgun of pith elder and hoop skirt wire.

3. Horse chestnut bolas, calculated to revolve in opposite directions with great velocity, by an up and down motion of the holder's wrist; also extensively used for the adornment of telegraph wires, there were no telephones in those days, and the cause of great profanity amongst linemen.

4. More fish hooks of the ring variety, now obsolete.

5. One blood alley, two chinees, a parti colored glass agate, three pewees, and unnumbered drab colored marbles.

6. Small bow of whalebone, with two arrows.

7. Six inch bean blower, for school use a weapon of considerable range and great precision when used with judgment behind a Guyot's Common School Geography.

8. Unexpended ammunition for same, consisting of putty pellets.

9. Frog's hind leg, extra dry.

10. Wing of bluejay, very ditto.

11. Letter from "Beany," postmarked "Biddeford, Me." and expressing great indignation because "Pewt" "hasent wrote."

12. Copy book inscribed "Diry."

The examination of this copy book lasted the rest of the day, and it was read with the peculiar pleasure one experiences in reviewing some of the events of a happy boyhood.

With the earnest hope that others may experience a little of the pleasure I gained from the reading, I submit the "Diry" to the public.


EXETER, N. H. Sept. 23, 1902.


Father thot i aught to keep a diry, but i sed i dident want to, because i coodent wright well enuf, but he sed he wood give $1000 dolars if he had kept a diry when he was a boy.

Mother said she gessed nobody wood dass to read it, but father said everybody would tumble over each other to read it, anyhow he wood give $1000 dolars if he had kept it. i told him i wood keep one regular if he wood give me a quarter of a dolar a week, but he said i had got to keep it anyhow and i woodent get no quarter for it neither, but he woodent ask to read it for a year, and i know he will forget it before that, so i am going to wright just what i want to in it. Father always forgets everything but my lickins. he remembers them every time you bet.

So i have got to keep it, but it seems to me that my diry is worth a quarter of a dolar a week if fathers is worth $1000 dolars, everybody says father was a buster when he was a boy and went round with Gim Melcher and Charles Talor. my grandmother says i am the best boy she ever see, if i dident go with Beany Watson and Pewter Purinton, it was Beany and Pewt made me tuf.

there dos'nt seem to be much to put into a diry only fites and who got licked at school and if it ranes or snows, so i will begin today.

December 1, 186 brite and fair, late to brekfast, but mother dident say nothing. father goes to boston and works in the custum house so i can get up as late as i want to. father says he works like time, but i went to boston once and father dident do anything but tell stories about what he and Gim Melcher usted to do when he was a boy. once or twice when a man came in they would all be wrighting fast, when the man came in again i sed why do you all wright so fast when he comes in and stop when he goes out, and the man sort of laffed and went out laffing, and the men were mad and told father not to bring that dam little fool again... Continue reading book >>

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