The Tomb-Stone Agent: 1904

salesman sample white bronze tombstone
Salesman’s sample white bronze tombstone.

The Tomb-Stone Agent.

A monumental salesman

With his monumental gall,

On an unsuspecting farmer

Unexpectedly did call.


“Good morning, Mr. Williams;

The sad report is rife

That you’ve lost your loved companion,

Your dear, devoted wife.


“As I view your great, broad acres,

And behold your mansion grand,

You’ll grant, no doubt, that much is due

To her ever-helping hand.


“And I presume, as custom dictates,

As a last mark of respect,

To one so loved and worthy

Fitting tribute you’ll erect.”


“Wa’l, craps is awful porely,

An’ cattle’s mighty low,

An’ taxes gittin’ higher,

An’ everything is slow.


“Nothin’ ‘ud please me better,

But es things now appear,

I can’t perform that duty

Much afore another year.”


“Now the truth is, Mr. Williams,

Or it seems to me at most,

You value far too lightly

The treasure you have lost.”


Then up rose the honest farmer,

The much vexed and worried host,

And he kicked that tombstone agent

Where he sitteth down the most.


“I’ll show ye, drat yer picture,

How to throw yer slurs around;

You measly brass-checked agent.

Now git out an’ off my ground.”


But the agent, still undaunted,

Like Poe’s visitor of yore,

Never once thought of decamping,

But still lingered in the door.


“It’s been hinted, Mr. Williams,

Well the fact is, I am told,

That you are short on sentiment

And not very long on gold.


“Although you make a showing

That would indicate success,

There’s talk among your neighbors

That your wealth is growing less.


“I know I hev some enemies.

Who told you? That d—n Jones?

I’ll show ’em that I ain’t broke,

Let’s see some of your stones.”


“With pleasure. I’ve some nice ones,

And the price within your reach.

Here’s one for fifty dollars,

And, by Jove, it is a peach.


“Fer fifty dollars? Nothin—

I want the best you’ve got:

I don’t want no cheap jim-cracks

Disgracin’ of my lot.”


“Five hundred! That just suits me;

I guess I’ll let ’em know

That I’m no measly bankrupt,

As Jones is tryin’ to show.”


J. P. ASHBY, Oklahoma City, Okla.

The Monumental News, Volume 16, 1904: p. 556



Chris Woodyard is the author of The Victorian Book of the Dead, The Ghost Wore Black, The Headless Horror, The Face in the Window, and the 7-volume Haunted Ohio series. She is also the chronicler of the adventures of that amiable murderess Mrs Daffodil in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales. The books are available in paperback and for Kindle. Indexes and fact sheets for all of these books may be found by searching Join her on FB at Haunted Ohio by Chris Woodyard or The Victorian Book of the Dead. And visit her newest blog, The Victorian Book of the Dead.

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