MR. BINKS FOUND INVENTION SUCCESS.
But He Will Improve It When He Gets Well, At His Daughter’s Request.
Ellis Parker Butler.
Author of “Pigs is Pigs,” etc.
Randolph Binks of Betzville , is passionately fond of reclining in a hammock, but up to the present he has never reclined in one to any great extent. Mr. Binks is an excellent citizen, but is more rotund than any other man in this county, and when he reclines in a hammock so much of him rotunds upward that it overthrows the equilibrium, and the hammock quickly but gracefully turns over and drops Mr. Binks on the ground with a thud. Any man less passionately fond of reclining in a hammock would have given it up long ago, but Mr. Binks said in our hearing that he would be blamed if he would let any hammock in creation get the best of him. He says he has gently climbed into the hammock over 8,902 times, put his head back carefully, grasped the edges, and that each and every time the hammock has revolved half a revolution suddenly, and spilled him on the hard, hard ground. He says that at about the eight thousand nine hundred and third time he decided that be had been attacking the hammock too gently, and that it must be taken roughly, like the nettle, to be handled properly, so he stood back and made a leap, landing in the hammock. This was almost successful, except that the hammock acted like a springboard and, taking Mr. Binks, threw him six feet against the fence, head first, breaking three pickets. In his temporary anger Mr. Binks arose and kicked the hammock, which then grabbed him by the foot, yanked his other foot off the ground, and bumped him down on the back of his head.
When he became calm Mr. Binks went as far away from the hammock as he could get and sat down on the ground and studied it, and he came to the conclusion that what the hammock needed was a counter-weight. If there was a greater weight attached to the underneath of the hammock when Mr. Binks got into it, it could not turn over. He said he wondered that no one had ever before thought of putting a keel on a hammock, and he immediately began looking about for a good, heavy weight. The best thing he could find was an old millstone, and he built up a solid wall of loose brick underneath the hammock. On top of this he laid the millstone, and then he pressed the hammock smoothly against the millstone, and, warming two quarts of glue, he poured it into the hammock and went away to allow the glue to harden in peace.
That evening Adelia, Mr. Binks’s daughter, and her fiancé, young Wilfred Doppelgang, went quietly into the back yard to sit in the hammock and spoon. They sat.
About three hours later Adelia raised her head from Wilfred’s shoulder and said, “It don’t seem like you hug as hard as you used to. Wilfred!” She said this in a reproachful tone of voice, implying that perhaps Wilfred did not love her as of yore and Wilfred, who did love her as of yore, tried to take his arm from about her waist, and get a new strangle hold, but, alas! he could not! He could not get his arm loose for that hug. In the course of three hours the glue had hardened and the hug had become a permanent, guaranteed fast embrace. He had undoubtedly allowed his sleeve to repose a moment or more in the glue, and Wilfred’s sleeve and the back gores of Adelia’s shirt waist had become one and inseparable. This is desirable in a union of states, but it is not recommended for all purposes.
With consternation Wilfred then started to leave the hammock. So did Adelia. Instantly, without a moment’s hesitation, they did not leave. Reader, have you ever been glued to a large, round, sandy complected millstone? Have you ever seated yourself upon a millstone well buttered with glue, with the girl of your choice beside you, and then sat there until the glue hardened and you became, as you might say, two souls with but a single thought? Wilfred and Adelia could not arise; they could not even sidestep. They were glued to the millstone, and the millstone was glued to the hammock, and the hammock was tied to two large trees, and the roots of the trees extended many, many feet into the soil. There was but one thing to do.
Cautiously leaning forward, Adelia and Wilfred began to remove the loose pile of brick from beneath the millstone, until all the bricks were gone. Then, wrapped arm in arm, they began to joggle the hammock. It was a trying moment. Suddenly, as out of a clear sky, there was a sound of ripping, breaking, tearing, and then a thud. The millstone had fallen to earth, taking with it the central portion of the hammock. This left a large hole in the hammock. It also took with it— Pardon me, I should say it also left a large___ At any rate Wilfred and Adelia sped hastily toward the house.
Half an hour later Mr. Randolph Binks strolled home, and all was silence. As has been said, he is passionately fond of reclining in a hammock. He has since remarked to Uncle Ashdod Glute that his invention of a non-tipping hammock was a success.
Formerly, when he entered a hammock one thing always happened — the hammock reversed itself and threw him out. But now Randolph Binks walked up to his hammock and threw himself into it with confidence.
The hammock did not, Mr. Binks says, throw him out. Mr. Binks merely walked up to the hammock in the dark and threw himself into it. Mr. Binks says that in passing through the hole that had been torn in the hammock he thought very few things worthy of reproduction by the press. He says he merely passed through in a simple, unconventional way and met the millstone quite informally, saluting it with the back of his head. He says it was a mere love tap—for the millstone.
Mr. Binks claims that his hammock was a success on three counts: First—The hammock did not turn over and drop Mr. Binks on the ground with a thud; he fell through. Second–The hammock did not drop him on the ground with a thud; he hit the millstone. Third—The hammock did not drop him with a thud: the noise was clean and sharp, like the iron rim of the millstone. Mr. Binks says he can think of only one improvement. Hereafter when he wishes to glue anything under a hammock he will choose a feather bed rather than a millstone.
(Copyright. 1909. by W.G. Chapman.)
New York [NY] Daily Tribune, 24 October 1909: p. 8
Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Hammocks, as we have seen, can be instruments of seduction, although in this case, the attractive qualities of the object were entirely the result of two quarts of well-warmed glue. While we can but admire Mr Binks’s “make-lemonade” spirit about the success of his invention, we urge him not to quit his usual day-time employment.
The malign disposition of the hammock was well-known, as this poem celebrates:
THE INIQUITY OF THE HAMMOCK.
Josh Wink, in Baltimore American.
Consider now the hammock, how it lurketh like a snare.
To grab the unsuspecting man and throw him in the air.
Yea, verily, the hammock hath a look of innocence, but it may take the strongest man and throw him to the fence.
The hammock hangeth to the trees with meek and humble look,
And tempteth foolish man until he cometh with a book.
And climbeth in and stretched out and openeth the page,
And then the wicked hammock getteth up its fiercest rage.
It turneth like a serpent, and it taketh such a clutch
Upon the feeble victim that he gaspeth very much.
It whirleth him about the air and swingeth him around, and when he opens his eyes again he’s slammed upon the ground.
O, surely, surely, this is so, yet over him the while
The hammock swayeth quietly and seemeth then to smile.
But yet again the man doth get within the hammock there, and thinketh he will read the book and banish all dull care.
And then again the hammock jumps before a page he’s read,
And ere he knoweth what is up he standeth on his head.
Yea, verily, and then again a hammock in the shade
Will cunningly exert itself and lure a foolish maid
To seek to rest within its folds, and when she sitteth in
The hammock, it will almost seem to wear a happy grin.
It seizeth on the maiden fair and chuckleth at her shriek;
She spraineth both her dainty wrists and moaneth “O, alas!”
And findeth that her hammock sways with truly pleasant gall,
And seemth to inquire of her “good sakes! Did some one fall?”
O, yes, my son, and on a time, when Cupid holds his sway,
And some enamored youth comes round to learn the happy day,
‘Tis then the hammock taketh them and in the air doth hump,
And giveth both their foolish heads a most terrific bump.
And slingeth them about the place until it getteth tired.
And when it wearieth at last across the yard they’re fired;
The man descendeth in a heap upon the garden walk;
The maid hath hairpins in her eyes and is too mad to talk;
And then the wicked hammock waits in most unholy glee
To hear the racket that it knows is very sure to be;
For when the maid regains her breath she riseth to her feet,
And voweth that the man himself is full of all deceit,
And that he pulled it down himself ad that she never more
Will see his face, and wisheth that he’d gone an hour before,
And that she’ll never, never, be his bonnie blushing bride,
And so he getteth to his feet and far away doth ride.
My son, beware the hammock when it swings itself aright.
For it can make the proudest man a truly humble sight.
The Ottawa Journal [Ontario Canada] 29 August 1901: p. 4
Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes
You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.