O Ye Jigs & Juleps!


The other day I walked into Book People to interview the owner, and lo and behold, a copy of O Ye Jigs and Juleps! was sitting on a front table.  While saying hello to Mrs. Erb, my hand shot forth to pick up one of my favorite books from childhood I’m sure I read every year.  A family favorite, a copy is still out at my Dad’s house so it is nice to have one for my own library.

I think if Virginia Cary Hudson had taught Sunday school, more people would grow up and become regular churchgoers or clergy.

O Ye Jigs & Juleps! is a collection of essays written in 1904 by a 10-year-old for her teacher at an Episcopal boarding school.  The book was discovered in a trunk and later published.  Miss Hudson weighs in on everything from Sacraments and Etiquette at Church to Everlasting Life and Personal Appearance.   The essays are charming and hilarious – imagine the voice of a turn of the century Eloise – and Miss Hudson is wise beyond her years.  To this day I cannot turn around and gawk at church without thinking of O Ye Jigs and Juleps!; Miss Hudson says “we can sit and look around just a little bit.”  So I wait ‘til they finish the gospel procession, bringing the good word to the people, before I glance at the crowd.

This small book also has charming pen and inks of the likes of toddlers being christened in rain barrels by Virginia and her friends, Virginia dancing with the Bishop, and Virginia roller skating down The Great Wall.

Some of Virginia’s observations:

The Library: “The Library is where my father took his checkbook when I broke the window.  I was only trying to kill a fly.  It would take too long to tell you what my mother said.”

On Religions:  “My grandmother says the Catholics are just scared to death the old Priest will send them to Hell.  I don’t believe the one on our street would. I like him but I like his pup better.  My grandmother says the Episcopalians are stuck and some of them can strut sitting down.  My grandmother says the Methodists are happy and sing loud and shout.  Just plain noisy. My grandmother says the Baptists are narrow.  Miss Clara Fitzpatrick is not narrow.  She takes up the whole seat.”

Everlasting Life: “There sure is going to be a lot going on in Hell.  Nero, and Herod, and Judas, and Jezebel with all be there.  You sure will meet a lot of interesting people.  I sure hope I don’t get a horn stuck in my leg.”  (She goes on to talk of the hole she does have in her leg from a bull, wearing her red sweater, not making it over the fence in time; she charged children .5 to see it for her mission box and the Bishop is so impressed he gives her a quarter.)

As Virginia writes; “O ye Sun and Moon, oh ye beans and roses, oh ye jigs and juleps, Bless ye the Lord, Praise Him and Magnify Him Forever.  Amen.”


About Author