"He Could Whip His Weight In Wildcats"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The poet, assuming the role of a rough Westerner, tells of going with his friend Three-Fingered Hoover to see a play in Denver, a play with "Modjesky as Cameel," Modjesky being the Polish actress Helena Modjeska, who toured the country performing in Alexandre Dumas' Camille as well as in other plays. During the performance Three-Fingered Hoover, always ready to assist the helpless, steps onto the stage and throws the hero through the backdrop for doing "a woman dirt." Hoover proposes marriage to the heroine and says he will forget her "record." By this time the audience becomes restless, but the narrator pulls his pistol, and the audience scatters. The manager arrives and scolds the two for their actions. The narrator continues: "An', while Modjesky stated we wuz somewhat off our base, / I half opined she liked it. . . ." Concluding his tale the poet says:

I haven't seen Modjesky since; I'm hopin' to again.
She's goin' to show in Denver soon; I'll go to see her then.
An' may be I shall speak to her, wich if I do 't will be
About the old friend restin' by the mighty Western sea,–
A simple man, perhaps, but good ez gold and true ez steel;
He could whip his weight in wildcats, and you never heerd him squeal; . . .