Monday, April 07, 2008

The Duel

by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

Images copied from
The Bumper Book
by Watty Piper
Illustrated by Eulalie

I'm pretty sure we had this book when I was growing up, but it would not garner the $50 some used booksellers are asking. That's because it was really used, truly read, and probably is *damaged*.

Funny how *children's* poetry is ageless.

Here are the words, in case the ones above are illegible.

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t' other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I was n't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went "Bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "Mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Now mind: I 'm only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw---
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate---
I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)

Here's a link to the Quilter's Muse page where I copied the apron:

The catalog is called, Premium Art Book, Richardson Silk Company, Chicago. On page 44, There is a "Cat and Dog Apron" with the first two lines of Eugene Field's poem, all to be embroidered on Blue Gingham (No. 2408), or on Pink Gingham (No. 2409). The kits included "Stamped Apron, Two Stamped Pieces of Cat and Dog to appliqué, and Lesson with complete instructions for embroidering. Requires (5) skeins Grecian Silk Floss or four (4) skeins Mercerized Cotton Floss."


  1. I remember reading this poem as a child. I loved it! Maybe that's why the book is so worn out :-)

  2. Oh, I love that one still. It's one of my favorites.

  3. I still think that children's literature and poems are amongst the most enjoyable. They're happy to read, like this one :)