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The Bench-Legged Fyce

From The Birmingham Age Herald, June 7, 1913. By Eugene Field. feist, also fice, fyce. Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S. A small mongrel dog, especially one that is ill-tempered; cur; mutt.

 Speakin’ of dorgs, my bench-legged fyce
 Hed most o' the virtues, an' nary a vice.
 Some folks called him Sooner, a name that arose,
 From his predisposition to chronic repose;
 But, rouse his ambition, he couldn't be beat—
 Yer bet he got thar on all his four feet!
 Mos’ dorgs hez some forte—like huntin’ an’ such,
 But the sports o’ the field didn’t bother him much;
 Wuz just a plain dorg’ an’ contented to be
 On peaceable terms with the neighbors an’ me;
 Used to fiddle an’ squirm, and grunt, “Oh, how, nice!"
 When I tickled the back of that bench-legged fyce!
 He wuz long in the bar’l, like a fyce oughter be;
 His color wuz yaller as ever you see;
 His tail, curlin’ upward, wuz long, loose, an’ slim—
 When he didn’t wag it, why, the tail it wagged him!
 His legs wuz so crooked, my bench legged pup
 Wuz as tall settin’ down as he wuz standin’ up!
 He’d lie by the stove of a night an’ regret
 The various vittles an’ things he had et;
 When a stranger, most like a tramp, come along,
 He’d lift up his voice in significant song—
 You wondered, by gum! how there ever wuz space
 In that bosom o’ his’n to hold so much bass!
 Of daytimes he’d sneak to the road an’ lie down,
 An’ tackle the country dorgs comin' to town;
 By common consent he wuz boss in St. Joe,
 For what he took hold of he never let go!
 An’ a dude that come courtin’ our girl left a slice
 Of his white flannel suit with our bench-legged fyce!
 He wuz good to us kids—when we pulled at his fur
 Or twisted his tail he would never demur;
 He seemed to enjoy all our play an’ our chaff,
 For his tongue ’u’d hang out an’ he’d laff an’ he’d laff;
 An’ once, when the Hobart boy fell through the ice,
 He wuz drug clean ashore by that bench legged fyce!
 We all hev our choice, an’ you, like the rest,
 Allow that the dorg which you’ve got is the best!
 I wouldn’t give much for the boy ’at grows up
 With no friendship subsistin’ ’tween him an’ a pup!
 When a fellow gits old—I tell you its nice
 To think of his youth, and his bench legged fyce!
 To think of the springtime ’way back in St. Joe—
 Of the peach trees abloom an’ the daisies ablow;
 To think of the play in the medder an’ grove,
 When little legs wrassled an’ little hands strove;
 To think of the loyalty, valor, an’ truth
 Of the friendships that hallow the season of youth!

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