Return to site

E.E.Bower: Bad Girl's Diary

"Always happy to be bad."

broken image

Laugh-out-loud historical novel for teenage girls is a diary of Eliza Jane Smith. She lives in the US in the 19th Century and has one “little” problem - she can’t follow the rules. Fully aware of that, she admits:

“I am not a good girl, never was, and never will be. I can’t follow the rules, and there is no point in trying.”

Bro. Smith is Head Center of this institution, and when he examined me to see if I knew anything, I was so nervous I just gave the first answers I thought of. Expect I'll be put down in the ABC class, but I don't care. I'd be glad to see even Sally Ann or Aunt Nancy. I'll write down that examination, to look at when I graduate.

What are the principal productions of the United States?

Politicians, saloon-keepers, and tramps.

Name the President and Vice President.

Jay Gould and Frank James.

Where is the center of the earth?

St. Joseph, Missouri.

How is the Western Continent divided?

Into Democrats, Republicans, and Prohibitionists.

How many pounds in a ton of coal?

Depends upon who you deal with.

Where is genuine butter made?

Nowhere. It is one of the lost arts.

How many cents in a dollar?

If gold, 100; if silver, 85; and if city shinplaster, just what the groceryman sees fit to give.

Who was the author of secession?

Adam. He seceded from the Garden of Eden.

Who discovered North America?

Noah, during a big rain, and his ship rests on Pike's Pik, with a United States flag at the top.

Where did Solomon get the silver and gold for his temple?

From California, Arizona, and Nevada.

What is a quarter of two?

Forty-five minutes past one.

Who is the most noted man of nineteenth century?

Jesse James.

What is an unknown quantity?

The verdict of a jury.

Ma says I am almost a young lady; J.H. calls me “Sis”, and pa says I am a “cross between an angel and a panther”. Set their blood circulating the other day, though. Ma was having a general clean up of the parlor, and she looked like one of Shakespeare’s witches, with her old loose dress, a towel over her head, and a beauty spot on her nose. She told me not to let even the President in, until she was through, but to tell callers she had gone to the country, and wouldn’t be back for a week. She boxes my ears when I lie on my own account, and I wa’n’t going to lie on hers - not muchly, Hanner Maria. I told everybody the honest truth, and it did seem like people were possed to call that day. At last I got tired, and when the minister called, showed him in. You should have seen ma. She will take a smoke now and then when very tired, and no one around, and there she sat in a big easy chair, smoking a two-for-a-cent clay pipe as happy as a clam. The minister raised his hands, and ejaculated (that’s another dictionary word) “Sister Smith!” so horrified; and ma tried to apologize, but I just got another pipe, filled it with her “Good Cheer”, lit it, and offered it to him, remarking that “nothing was so social as a good smoke, especially for old people”. Ma looked a whole United States arsenal at me; but when I calmly produced a snuff-box and offered each of them a pinch, taking one myself, she went into spasmodic paroxysms, and ordered me out of the room. He made a short call, and didn’t know, until he got home, that I had stuck that pipe in his hat band. He was so upset he didn’t notice.

At tea ma told pa, and he laughed; said the minister was the most inveterate smoker on earth; that his wife never combs her hair till callers come, and she takes snuff by wholesale. Ma wanted to know how he knew so much, and he told her that one of their boys clerks for him. Pa kept laughing so he couldn’t hardly eat any supper, and when he went down town slipped a gold dollar in my hand, and whispered that if I’d offer the parson a pack of cards, next time he called, he would give me a new silk dress, and I am bound to have the dress. They went to college together; and were both pretty wild, I guess.

I must go and spend my dollar for a neck ribbon and some candy; it has burned a hole in my pocket long enough.

The other girls chew gum; but my jaws get tired enough talking. When I was at Uncle Charlie’s, the cows all chewed a cud, and since then I never see a girl with her mouth full of gum but I want to call, “Bossy! Bossy!” John Henry says I have one sensible streak about me, and that I am like a singed cat - better than I look.

After I come back from the store I must get the dictionary, and study up meaning of the big words I have written lately. They look well at any rate.