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´╗┐Title: Watch Yourself Go By
Author: Field, Al. G. (Alfred Griffith), 1852-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Watch Yourself Go By" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

[Illustration: AL. G. FIELD, COURT AND SCOTT]





Copyrighted by Al. G. Field, 1912

Illustrated by Ben W. Warden



    Just stand aside and watch yourself go by;
    Think of yourself as "he" instead of "I."
    Note closely, as in other men you note,
    The bag-kneed trousers and the seedy coat.
    Pick the flaws; find fault; forget the man is you,
    And strive to make your estimate ring true;
    Confront yourself and look you in the eye--
    Just stand aside and watch yourself go by.

    Interpret all your motives just as though
    You looked on one whose aims you did not know.
    Let undisguised contempt surge through you when
    You see you shirk, O commonest of men!
    Despise your cowardice; condemn whate'er
    You note of falseness in you anywhere.
    Defend not one defect that shames your eye--
    Just stand aside and watch yourself go by.

    And then, with eyes unveiled to what you loathe--
    To sins that with sweet charity you'd clothe--
    Back to your self-walled tenements you'll go
    With tolerance for all who dwell below.
    The faults of others then will dwarf and shrink,
    Love's chain grow stronger by one mighty link--
    When you, with "he" as substitute for "I,"
    Have stood aside and watched yourself go by.

        S. W. GILLILAND, in _Penberthy Engineer_.

"To whom will you dedicate your book?" inquired George Spahr.

Well, I hinted to my wife and Pearl that I desired to bestow that honor
upon them. They did not exactly demur, but both intimated that I had
best dedicate it to some friend in the far distance who would probably
never read it, or to some dear friend who had passed away and had no
relatives living.

Several others approached did not seem to crave the honor, therefore I
herewith dedicate this book to Court; not that he is the best and truest
friend I ever possessed, but for the reason that should the book not be
received with favor he will respect me just the same. He will hunt for
me, he will watch for me, he will love me all the more devotedly, serve
me all the more faithfully, though the book were discredited. The more I
see of dogs, the better I like dogs.

It is claimed there is a kind of physiognomy in the title of a book by
which a skilful observer will know as well what to expect from its
contents as one does reading the lines. I flatter myself this claim will
be disproved in this book.

I am proud of the book, not that it contains much of literary merit, not
that I ever hope it will be a "best seller," but for the reason it has
afforded me days of enjoyment. In the writing of it I have communed with
those whom I love.

If those who peruse this book extract half the pleasure from reading its
pages that has come to me while writing them, I will be satisfied.

    AL. G. FIELD.

Maple Villa Farm,
  July 4, 1912.




    Trust no prayer or promise,
      Words are grains of sand;
    To keep your heart unbroken
      Hold your child in hand.

"Al-f-u-r-d!" "Al-f-u-r-d!!" "Al-f-u-r-d!!!"

The last syllable, drawn out the length of an expiring breath, was the
first sound recorded on the memory of the First Born. Indeed, constant
repetition of the word, day to day, so filled his brain cells with
"Al-f-u-r-d" that it was years after he realized his given patronymic
was Alfred.

[Illustration: The Old Well]

"Al-f-u-r-d!" "Al-f-u-r-d!"--A woman's voice, strong and penetrating,
strengthened by years of voice culture in calling cows, sheep, pigs,
chickens and other farm-yard companions. The voice came in swelling
waves, growing in menace, from around the corner of as quaint an old
farm-house as ever sheltered a happy family. In the wake of the voice
followed a round, rosy woman of blood and brawn, with muscular arms and
sturdy limbs that carried her over grass and gravel at a pace that soon
brought her within reach of the prey pursued--a boy of four years, in
flapping pantalets and gingham frock.

The "boy" was headed for the family well as fast as his toddling legs
could carry him. Forbidden, punished, guarded, the child lost no
opportunity to climb to the top of the square enclosure and wonderingly
peer down into the depths of the well. To prevent his falling headlong
to his death--a calamity frequently predicted--was the principal concern
of all the family.

As the women folks were more often in the big kitchen than elsewhere,
it became, as a matter of convenience, the daily prison of the First
Born. The board, across the open doorway, and the eternal vigilance
of his guards, did not prevent his starting several times daily on a
pilgrimage towards the old well. The turning of a head, the absence
of the guards from the kitchen for a moment, were the looked-for
opportunities--crawling under or over the wooden bar, and starting
in childish glee for the old well.

Previous to the time of this narrative, the race invariably resulted in
the capture of "young hopeful" ere the well was reached. The shrill cry:
"Al-f-u-r-d!" "Al-f-u-r-d!" always closely followed by the young woman
who did the scouting for the other guards, brought him to a halt. He was
lifted bodily, thrown high into the air, caught in strong, loving arms
as he came down, roughly hugged and good-naturedly spanked, and carried
triumphantly back to his prison--the kitchen. Here, seated upon the
floor, he was roundly lectured by three women, who in turn charged one
another with his escape. It was never _his_ fault. Someone had turned a
head to look at the clock, or the browning bread in the oven, turning to
look at the cause of the controversy, not infrequently he was found
astride the prison bar, or scampering down the path.

That old well, or its counterpart, was surely the inspiration of "_The
Old Oaken Bucket_." However, their author was never imbued with
fascination as alluring as that which influenced the First Born in his
desire to solve the, to him, mystery of the old well.

The more his elders coaxed, bribed and threatened, the more vividly they
depicted its dangers, the more determined he became to explore its
darkened depths. The old well became a part of the child's life. He
talked of it by day and dreamed of it by night. The big windlass, with
its coil of seemingly never-ending chain, winding and unwinding,
lowering and raising the old, oaken bucket green with age, full and
flowing; the cooling water oozing between the age-warped staves,
nurturing the green grasses growing about the box-like enclosure. How
cooling the grass was to his feet as on tip-toes peeking over the top of
the enclosure down into that which seemed to his childish imagination a
fathomless abyss, so deep that ray of sun or glint of moon never
penetrated to the surface of the water. The clanging of the chain, the
grinding of the heavy bucket bumping against the walled circle as it
descended, and the splash as it struck the water, were uncanny sounds to
the boy's ears. The desire to look down, down into the old well's hidden
secrets became to him almost a frenzy. The echoes coming up from its
shadowy depths were as those of a haunted glen.

He reasoned that all men and women were created to guard the well and
that it was his only duty in life to thwart them.

Balmy spring, with its song birds, buzzing bees and sweet-smelling
blossoms, coaxed every living thing out of doors; everything, except the
First Born and his guards.

Such was the situation when the bees swarmed. The guards "pricked up
their ears," then, with eyes looking heavenward, and snatching up tin
pans which they beat with spoons, sleigh-bells and other objects, they
rushed from the kitchen to work the usual charm of the country folk in
settling the swarming bees.

Thus unguarded, the little prisoner, carrying a three-legged stool that
aided him in surmounting the bar across the kitchen door, trekked for
the old well. Planting the stool at one side of the square enclosure, he
looked down into the cavernous depths; leaning far over, reached for the
chain, with the intention of lowering the bucket, as he had often seen
his elders do.

"Al-f-u-r-d!" "Al-f-u-r-d!"

And the sound of hurrying feet only urged the boy on. He had caught hold
of the bucket and was leaning far over the dark opening when he felt a
heavy hand upon his shoulders, and himself lifted from his high perch,
only to be dropped sprawling on the ground with a shower of tin pans
rattling about his devoted head. Then the women, half fainting from
fright, fell upon him, each in a desperate effort to first embrace him
in thankfulness over his rescue from falling into the well.

When the women recovered their "shock" the First Born was lustily
yelling for papa. Mamma had him across her knee and was administering
the first full-fledged, unalloyed spanking of his childish existence. He
scarcely understood at first, then the full meaning of the threats the
guards had used to cure him of his one absorbing mania began sifting
into his brain through another part of his anatomy. He promised never,
never again to peep into the old well. The guards believed him and for
days thereafter he lived blissfully on their praises, while everyone,
directly or indirectly interested, conceded that mamma's "spanks" had
finally broken the charm of the old well for the boy.

However, the little prisoner was removed to another cell--the big, front
room upstairs--the door securely locked. A large, open window looked out
upon the front yard and below the window near the house was the old

One evening the men, returning from the field, halted to slake their
thirst at the well, the up-coming of the old oaken bucket brought from
its depths a half-knit woolen sock and a ball of yarn. A strand of yarn
reaching to the window above told the story.

Later, a turkey wing, used as a fan in summer and to furnish wind for an
obdurate wood fire in winter, was found limply swimming in the bucket.
Indeed, for days thereafter, divers articles, missed from the big, front
room, accompanied the bucket on its return trips. When one of grandpap's
well-worn Sunday boots was brought to the surface, it was believed that
the last of the missing articles from the big room had been recovered.
However, the disappearance of grandma's little mantelpiece clock was
never explained.

Uncle Joe and Aunt Betsy stopped their old mare in front of the house
and in chorus shouted "Hello!" as was the custom of neighbors passing on
their way to or from town. The whole family, including "Al-f-u-r-d,"
betook themselves to the roadside to gossip. "Al-f-u-r-d," busy as
usual, clambered up over the muddy wheels into the vehicle. He was
praised by uncle and aunt for his obedience, and promised candy when
they returned from town. Clambering down he missed his footing and
narrowly escaped being trampled upon by the old mare who was vigorously
stamping and swishing her tail to keep off the flies.

Dragged from under the buggy he was soon out of the minds of the
gossiping group, curiosity drew him to the old well. Circling it at a
respectful distance, he said:

"Naughty ole well, don't thry to coax me 'caus I won't play with you,
nor look down in you never no more. There!"

Passing to the side farthest from the unsuspecting guards, the handle of
the windlass was within his reach. Instinctively the desire seized him
to lower the bucket, pulling out the ratchet that held it, the old oaken
bucket began its unimpeded descent. Slowly at first, gaining momentum
with each revolution of the windlass, down it fell, bumping against the
sides of the well, chain clanging and windlass whirring. It struck the
bottom with a splash that re-echoed, followed by a woman's scream so
piercing that the old mare started forward.

It flashed on the minds of all that at last their predictions were
verified. It was all up with "Al-f-u-r-d." They pictured him falling,
falling--down, down--his bruised, bleeding body sinking to the
bottomless depths of the old well.

[Illustration: Uncle Joe and Aunt Betsy]

Uncle Joe's feet caught in the handle of a market basket as he leaped
from the buggy and the greater number of his dozens of fresh eggs
reached the roadside a scrambled mass. The women guards gave vent to a
series of screams that brought the men hurrying from the fields.

"Al-f-r-u-d" was found, limp and apparently lifeless, his head tucked
under his body, clothes over his head, exposing the larger part of his
anatomy--a pitiable lump, lying in the sandy path twenty feet from the
well. The handle of the windlass had caught him across the shoulders,
sending him flying through the air. For days thereafter "Al-f-u-r-d" was
swathed in bandages and bathed with liniments; for a time, at least, the
family was free from the cares of guarding the old well.

The old well has given way to a modern pump, the old house has been
remodeled, but the impressions herein recorded are as clear to the
memory of the man today as they were to the child of that long ago.


    Trouble comes night and day,
      In this world unheedin',
    But there's light to find the way--
      That is all we're needin'.

"Al-f-u-r-d-!" "Al-f-u-r-d!" Al-f-u-r-d!"

Town life had not diminished the volume of Malinda Linn's voice. It was
far-reaching as ever. Malinda was familiarly called "Lin"--in print the
name looks unnatural and Chinese-like. Lin Linn was about the whole
works in the family. Her duties were calling, seeking and changing the
apparel of "Al-f-u-r-d", duties she discharged with a mixture of
scoldings and caresses.

When the family moved to town to live, Lin became impressed with the
propriety of bestowing the full baptismal name upon the First Born, and
to his open-eyed wonderment, he was addressed as "Alfred Griffith." But
when Lin called him from afar--and she usually had to call him, and then
go after him--it was always "Al-f-u-r-d!"

A bunch of misery, pale and limp, was lying in the family garden between
two rows of tomato vines, the earth about him disturbed from his
intermittent spasms. A big, greenish, yellowish worm was crawling over
his head, his tow-like hair whiter by contrast; upon his forehead great
drops of perspiration.

[Illustration: The First Cigar]

He heard Lin's calls but could not answer. He half opened his eyes as
she approached him. Berating him roundly for hiding from her, bending
over him, the pallor of his face frightened her. Her screams would have
abashed a Camanche Indian. Tenderly taking up the almost unconscious
boy, she hastened toward the house, frightened members of the family and
several nearby neighbors attracted by her screams.

Crowded around "Al-f-u-r-d" all busied themselves in assisting in
placing him in bed. His hands were rubbed, his brow bathed, the air
about agitated with a big palm-leaf fan while the doctor was summoned.

When the family doctor arrived "Al-f-u-r-d's" shirt-waist was opened in
front and a big, greenish, yellowish worm fell to the floor. This, and
that sickening smell of green tomato vines, assisted the good doctor in
his diagnosis. To know the disease is the beginning of the cure. Hot
water and mustard administered in copious draughts, the little
rebellious stomach, made more so by this treatment, began sending up
returns. Thus was relieved "the worst case of tomato poisoning that had,
up to that time, come under the doctor's observation."

At that time the tomato had not long been an edible. Indeed many persons
refused to consider them as such, growing them for merely ornamental
purposes, displaying them on mantels and window sills. Tomatoes were
commonly called "Jerusalem" or "Love Apples." On this occasion the
doctor dilated at length on its past bad reputation and the lurking
poison contained in vine and fruit.

The blinds were lowered and Alfred slept. The nurses tiptoed from the
room, to return, tip-toeing to the bed to see how he was resting, then
returning to the kitchen to advise the anxious ones there that he was
resting easy.

Poor Lin was "near distracted" no sooner was it announced that
"Al-f-u-r-d" was out of danger than she began gathering the "green
tomattisus" lying in irregular rows on various window sills to ripen in
the sun, giving vent to her pent-up "feelings" thus:

"Huh! Tomattisus! Never was made to eat. They ain't no good, no-way.
Pap's right. They're called Jerusalem apples 'caus they wuz first
planted by the Jews, who knowed their enemies would eat 'em an' git
pizened an' die of cancers, an' Lord knows what else."

She carried the offending fruit to the family swill barrel, where the
leavings of the table were deposited. As she raised one big tomato to
drop it into the barrel, her hand paused, as she soliloquized:

"No, If tomattisus will pizen pee-pul, they'll pizen hogs. They ain't
fit for hogs nohow. They ain't fit fer nuthin' but heathens an' sich
like, as oughter be pizened."

Turning to one of several neighbors, whose looks denoted disapproval of
wilful waste, she benevolently emptied the tomatoes into the woman's
upheld apron, remarking:

"Lordy. Yer welcome to 'em if yer folks like 'em an' ain't carin' much
when they die. Take 'em. Ye kin have 'em an' welcome."

While the father was yanking the noxious tomato plants out by the roots
and sprinkling the ground with lime, "Al-f-u-r-d" began showing symptoms
of returning life. After the nurses had tiptoed from the room,
supposedly leaving him in deep slumber, he threw back the linen sheets
and slid from the bed on the side farthest from the open door leading to
the kitchen. Cautiously creeping to where lay his trousers--inserting a
hand in the deep pocket, which had been put in by Lin by special
request--he drew out two long, dark, worm-like objects, holding them at
arm's length gagging anew at even the sight of them. Staggering to the
cupboard dropping them into a box half filled with similar worm-like
objects, he staggered back to bed as quickly as his weakened condition
would permit, suppressing another upheaval of his stomach with greatest

Notwithstanding the objects mentioned were Ed. Hurd's best
three-for-a-cent stogies, and "Al-f-u-r-d" had smoked less than four of
the six inches of one of the big, black cigars, the stub of which he had
buried near the spot where Lin found him, it was several days before he
took kindly to food, or, as was generally supposed, had wholly thrown
off the baneful effects of the tomato poisoning.

While convalescing, afternoon walks were taken near home, circling the
Episcopal Church, back through the old, green graveyard, or a little
lower down the hill where the village boys could be seen and heard
swimming and splashing in the river. To take part in this sport, to get
to the river, to plunge into its cooling depths, "Al-f-u-r-d" had a
soul-yearning, even more powerful than that of the old well. But he had
been sworn, bribed, placed upon his honor and threatened with dire
tortures, should he even venture nearer the river than the top of the

The yearning would not down. It grew in intensity. He would stand on the
front rail of his trundle bed, night and morning, with arms extended
above him, palms together, to dive, to split the imaginary water, take a
header into the soft, downy tick; then thresh his arms about in swimming
fashion as he had seen the big boys cavort in the river.

Nearer and nearer to the river his newest allurement carried him, until
one day he found himself on a strange path leading into a large yard in
which stood a neat, white house, with green blinds. Purling at his feet,
bubbling from an invisible source, was a brook of clear, cold water.
Very cold it felt to his bare feet as he waded up and down over it's
sandy, pebbly bed, the water reaching barely to his ankles. Wading
nearer to the fountain head, the depth gradually increased. Here was
young hopeful's long-sought-for opportunity to dive, swim and otherwise
disport himself as did the big boys. Off came pantalets, waist and
undercoverings, through the pure, cold water he waded. With teeth
chattering and flesh quivering, holding his hands above his head, under
he went.

He was having the time of his life, and so busy was he at it that his
attention was not attracted by the opening of a door in the nearby white
house and the sudden appearance of an elderly, grim-looking woman behind
a pair of gold-rimmed spectacles; brandishing a long, swinging buggy
whip, with broad, bright bands here and there along its length. Rushing
toward the boy, she angrily shouted:

"You little scamp, I'll skin ye alive!"

"Al-f-u-r-d," with a cry, bounded from the water, grabbed for his
clothes, missed them, and started on a race at a pace that left no doubt
as to the winner. A big dog and another elderly woman--the counterpart
of her-behind-the-spectacles--joined in the chase, the dog's deep bays
greatly accelerating the already beat-all-record-time of the terrified

As he neared the parental roof, he let out a series of yells with
"Mother!" "Lin!" "Help!" "Murder!" sandwiched between. The nearer he
drew, the louder the yelps, for he knew he would need sympathy, even
though the gold-rimmed glasses and the other elderly pursuer had been
distanced by many lengths.

Lin said when she first heard the screams, she "thought it was only the
old crazy woman under the hill havin' another spell. But when they come
gittin' nearer an' nearer, she knew it was "Al-f-u-r-d" an' somethin'
turrible had happened." It was then Lin, mother and several neighboring
females rushed to the front door as "Al-f-u-r-d" flew in at the gate, up
the path and into his mother's outstretched arms, endeavoring to pull
her apron about his nudity.

"Where's your clothes?" demanded the frightened mother. "Where are
they?" "Who took them off you?"

"She did! She did!" howled "Al-f-u-r-d," jerking his head toward the
gate, just as the elderly woman behind the spectacles entered. Trembling
with fear she began to explain and apologize to Lin and the mother,
frequently turning to "Al-f-u-r-d" to entreat him to come to her,
assuring him that he need not fear her. But the big buggy whip, with the
silver bands, dangled above his head and the more she entreated the
louder his yells and the further he forced himself into his mother's

[Illustration: She Did! She Did!]

Lin grabbed his clothes from the spectacled lady berating both soundly,
giving them but little opportunity to explain. Others joined in the
wordy attack, much to the elderly woman's confusion and shame. The fact
that they were old maids, living alone and associating with but few of
their neighbors, lent bitterness to the invectives hurled at them, the
climax was reached with a parting shot from Lin:

"Drat ye!" she exclaimed, "if ye had yungins of yer own--which is lucky
for 'em that ye haven't--ye'd have some hearts in yer withered old

The spectacled maiden, apparently more frightened than the other, began
to feel what a monster she was, what an awful crime she had committed,
following an embarrassing pause, the effect of Lin's final shot, mother
again demanded the cause of "Al-f-u-r-d's" nudity.

"I s'pose I ought to have pulled down the blinds," she began
apologetically, "and let him have his swim out. Likely it wouldn't have
hurt the spring much. Still a body doesn't like to drink water out of a
spring that a boy's been swimmin' in, no matter if his folks are clean
about their house-keeping."

She was certainly sorry and so anxious to caress "Al-f-u-r-d" that she
and the mother made it up, then and there, and many an afternoon
thereafter did the two spend together bemoaning the evil spirit that had
prompted the boy to make a swimming hole of the family spring.

Kindly invitations nor the promise of sponge cake ever induced
"Al-f-u-r-d" to again visit the grounds, or the white house with green
blinds, a buggy whip with silver bands on it, a big dog and two old
maids who, according to Lin, "didn't know nuthin' 'bout children."


    In the heydey of youth
      He was awfully green,
    As verdant in truth
      As you have ever seen;
    But he soon learned to know beans
      So it seems.

"There's shorely sumthin' 'bout water that bewitches that boy," often
remarked Lin. "I never seen the like of it. I'll bet anything he'll be a
Baptis' preacher some day, jes' like Billy Hickman."

There never was a boy reared in Brownsville whose heart does not beat a
little faster, whose breath does not come a little quicker, whose cheeks
do not turn a little redder when his mind goes back to the old swimming
place near Johnson's saw-mill, where the big rafts of lumber were moored
seemingly for the pleasure and convenience of every boy in town. The big
boys had their spring-boards for diving on the outside where the current
was swifter, the water deeper, the little ones their mud slides and
boards to paddle about and float on in the shallow, still water between
the rafts and the bank.

There may have been factions and social distinctions as between the
inhabitants of the little town when garbed and groomed, but in the
nudity of the old swimming place there was a common level, and all met
on an equal footing.

James G. Blaine, Philander C. Knox, Professor John Brashear and many
others, who have climbed the ladder of Fame, were boys among boys in
this old swimming hole. It was here they were given their first lessons
in courage and self-reliance.

A balmy afternoon in late June the boys of the town were in swimming;
"Al-f-u-r-d" could plainly hear their shouts of glee as he sat in the
front yard at home. How he longed to participate in their sports. What
wouldn't he give to be free like other boys? Was there ever a boy who
did not feel that he was imposed upon, who did not imagine he was abused
above all others? Such was the feeling of "Al-f-u-r-d".

He had been subjected to a scrubbing. Lin had unmercifully bored into
his ears with a towel shaped like a gimlet at one corner, assuring his
mother he was "dirtier 'an the dirtiest coal digger in town." He was
arrayed in a clean gingham suit, topped with an emaculate white shirt,
flowing collar and straw hat. Lin spent a long time in curling his hair
despite protests. Those curls were "Al-f-u-r-d's" abomination. The more
he abominated them the longer they grew. They reached down to the middle
of his back. Arranged in a semi-circle, extending from temple to temple,
they made his head appear so abnormally large his slender body seemed
scarcely able to support it. He seemed top-heavy with his long curls.


"Al-f-u-r-d" was to go alone to grandfather's and escort him home to
dinner. There was to be company, and Lin was determined that
"Al-f-u-r-d" and his curls should appear at their best.

The road of life starts the same for all of God's children. The innocent
babe, fresh fallen from heaven to blossom on earth, sees nothing but the
beautiful at the beginning of the journey. The road is strewn with
flowers and it is only when the prick of the thorn is felt that one
realizes one is on the wrong road.

For just one short block "Al-f-u-r-d," on the occasion referred to,
traversed the right road. There the right road turned abruptly to the
left. There was no road "straight ahead," but the river was there. The
sound of boys' voices shouting in high glee came floating up from the
old swimming place. School had let out and every boy in town was in
swimming. "Al-f-u-r-d" blazed a new trail to the river. Climbing over
the paling fence surrounding the burying ground, through back yards,
descending the steep hill, he found himself standing on the bank of the
river gazing at a spectacle that stirred his young blood--half a hundred
nude boys diving, splashing, swimming and shouting were in the river

[Illustration: The New Boy in Town]

His appearance was greeted with yells and laughter. He was a "new boy"
in town. "Al-f-u-r-d" was abashed by the reception accorded him. Of all
the howling horde in the water below there was but one familiar face,
that of Cousin Charley.

"Take off your curls and come on in, Sissy," shouted one of the
swimmers. A dozen of them assured "Al-f-u-r-d" the water was "jest
bully." Entreaties of "Come on in," came from dozens of boys. Advice of
all kinds came from others.

The reference to the curls made "Al-f-u-r-d" wince. He had long felt
that those curls were the one great impediment in his life--the one
something that made him the butt of the jokes and gibes of other boys.
He hated those curls. His first swimming experience doubly intensified
his hatred for curls.

Evening was drawing near. The big yellow sun had dropped behind Krepp's
Knob, the shadows of the hills almost reached across the ruffled surface
of the river. The river bottoms at the base of the hills, with their
waving grasses and tassled corn, extending beyond the bend in the river
opposite Albany, the old wooden bridge farther up the river, the high
hills behind him, presented a scene of beauty all of which was lost upon
"Al-f-u-r-d." The boys in the river held him entranced. He was absorbed
in the scene, and, for the moment, he even forgot his curls.

Writers frequently refer to the Monongahela River as "murky"--but
where's the boy who ever basked in its cooling waves who will not
qualify the statement that its waters are the clearest, its depths the
most delightful, its ripples the softest and its shores the smoothest?

Jimmy Edmiston intimated to the writer that the Monongahela was only
clear during a "Cheat River Rise." (Cheat is the name of a small stream
of Virginia emptying into the Monongahela above Brownsville. Its waters
are never muddy, no matter how heavy or protracted the rains along its
course. When the Cheat River pours its transparent flood into the
Monongahela the latter rises without riling. Hence the expression:
"Cheat River rise.")

Jimmy has so long lived away from Brownsville that his memory is
defective. Associated with the muddy Missouri he labors under the
delusion that all rivers are muddy--even the Monongahela.

[Illustration: The Old Swimming Hole]

"Al-f-u-r-d" was rudely caught from behind by several boys, undressed in
less time than it took Lin to hang the hat on his curls. Nor had he
barely been reduced to a state of nudity when some unregenerate in the
river below let fly a lump of soft, mushy mud, large as a gourd. The mud
landed squarely on the broader part of his slight anatomy. With a yelp
he wiggled loose from his captors and bounded up the hill. His slender
legs and body, topped with the large crop of atmospherically agitated
curls, made him a figure so ludicrous that the boys yelled in ecstacy at
the sight.

"Al-f-u-r-d" was recaptured by two stout-armed boys, one on either side.
They carried him to the top of the "mudslide." "Slick 'er up," came the
cry from all sides. This had reference to the slide upon which fell a
veritable cloudburst of water splashed up from the river by the hands of
a dozen devilish youngsters.

"Al-f-u-r-d" was elevated to the height of the heads of his tormentors.
In chorus from the mob at the words, "One, two, three," he was dropped
to the slide, striking its soft, slick surface in an angular attitude,
with feet and legs waving a strenuous protest above his head. The fall
gave him a momentum that sent him over the slippery surface at a speed
that rushed him into the river with eyes and mouth wide open. With a
splash, under he went, forcing great gulps of water down his throat.
Strangling and choking, he came to the surface, spouting like a whale

[Illustration: The Slippery Slide]

What a shout of merriment went up from his tormentors. Barely had he
taken in a full breath than a bad boy--they were all bad, at least
"Al-f-u-r-d" so informed Lin afterwards--again forced his head under

"Duck 'im agin!" someone shouted as his curls floated on the surface of
the water above his hidden body.

For the third time "Al-f-u-r-d" ducked--or rather, was ducked,
swallowing another quart or two of Monongahela. Coming up cork-like, he
tried to make his escape. Up the bank he ran choking and crying.
Unfortunately, he took the track of the slide. Half way up his feet flew
from under him, landing him upon his stomach. Back he slid, feet first,
his nose plowing up the soft mud, his mouth filling with the same
substance. Terrified beyond expression, under the water he went,
choking, strangling, struggling. He felt that his time had come.

Popping to the surface, one of the older boys stood him upon his feet,
washed the mud from his mouth and nose and, by sundry "shakes,"
partially emptied him.

Fearing they had gone too far with their hazing, some of the larger boys
led him further into the stream, handling him as tenderly as they had
roughly, assuring him of perfect safety. He was caused to lie on his
stomach and, with Cousin Charley holding his broad, calloused palm
against his chest, "Al-f-u-r-d" was given his first lesson in swimming.
One boy declared, even before "Al-f-u-r-d" had moved a muscle, that he
had already learned to swim.

It was the consensus of opinion that the only thing that prevented his
swimming was his curls. To overcome this handicap his hair was braided,
tied and cross-tied and his top-heaviness reduced to a dozen scattered
knobs and knots--knots pulled so tight they glaringly exposed the white
scalp between, and the tying of which brought tears to his eyes.

Even this rearrangement did not prevent his sinking time and again as
the lesson progressed and finally, the mischievousness of his
instructors appeased, he was led, half-dead, out of the water, up the
steep bank to where he had been disrobed. As he stooped to gather up his
rumpled garments a most welcome sound came to his ears:

"Al-f-u-r-d!" "Al-f-u-r-d!"

Contrary to his usual custom, the second syllable was not off the lips
of Lin until, in his loudest tone, he shouted: "Yes,'m!"

When he called for Lin to "come and get me," all the boys took a header
into the river, only their faces and hair-covered heads appearing above
the surface; they treaded water, or swayed around on the bottom. As
"Al-f-u-r-d" looked back on them they seemed like so many decapitated
heads floating in space, a sight that dwelt in his memory long

When "Al-f-u-r-d" gathered his garments into his arms, endeavoring to
hide his nudity, and started toward the voice, a laugh went up that made
the valley echo. Lin declared: "If the tarnel critters had been dressed,
she'd have thrown every last devil of 'em off the raft into the river."

Owing to conditions she hid behind Mrs. Hubbard's house and not until
"Al-f-u-r-d," in his unrecognizable appearance rounded it, did he come
face to face with his rescuer. Crying and sobbing he fell into Lin's
arms. Firing a volley of imprecations upon the horde that had wrought
the wreck before her, Lin kept up a continuous tirade against the boys
in the river; and addressing herself to "Al-f-u-r-d" between speeches,
she said:

"Fur gracious, goodness sake, ef you don't look like Granny Gadd with
yer hair braided over yer head like this; hyar ye air trapesin' through
town agin, mos' naked like ye did las' week. The hull town'll be talkin'
about ye. Ye'll give us all a bad name. Why didn't ye put on yer

"Al-f-u-r-d" sobbingly informed Lin of the cruelties heaped upon him in
which Cousin Charley had taken part. Lin's anger increased as the boy
talked. When he told of them throwing him down in the water times
without number, Lin's indignation burst all bonds. Shaking "Al-f-u-r-d"
violently she fairly yelled as she demanded to know what he was doing
while they were throwing him down. "Al-f-u-r-d" between sobs, answered:

"I wasn't doin' nuthin'; I was gettin' up all the time."

Lin's answer was a jerk that lifted the boy off the earth. As she
smacked her palms together, she defiantly hissed:

"Ef ye had my spunk, ye'd hev knocked hell's delight out of some of

The defiance of Lin, the thoughts of the cruelties practiced upon him,
or some other force, changed the boy's manner instantly from sobbing and
supplicating. He became screamingly aggressive. Flying to the roadbed,
which had a plentiful supply of loose stone on it, he began a fusillade
on the enemy below that drove the whole horde from the raft into the

"Al-f-u-r-d" had practiced stone throwing since he wore clothes and,
like all boys of that period, his aim was most accurate, as several of
those in the old swimming hole on that eventful day will testify. A rain
of stones fell on the raft; one boy, more venturesome than the others,
started up the hill but "Al-f-u-r-d's" fire repulsed him.

Lin, hidden behind the house, had changed her manner and was now
pleading with "Al-f-u-r-d" to desist.

"Ye might crack some of their skulls and then they'd git out a warrant
and Rease Lynch (referring to the town constable), would be after ye."

"Al-f-u-r-d" left the line of battle only when exhausted. That first
swimming lesson and the fusillade of rocks that followed engendered
animosities that involved "Al-f-u-r-d" in many rough and tumble
encounters afterwards.

Lin, catching up the clothes the boy had dropped upon the ground, soon
discovered why he had not put them on. The sleeves of the waist were
dripping wet and tied in knots as tight as two big, strong boys could
pull them. The pantalets were first unraveled, reversed, pulled over the
sand-covered limbs of the boy, the waist wrapped about his shoulders,
(the knots in the sleeves could not be untied), his hat pushed down on
his head owing to the arrangement of his hair until it rested on his

The procession started homeward, up alleys, through back yards to
prevent being seen by the neighbors, until Lin hoisted the boy over the
fence at the lower end of the garden. The whole family had congregated
in the back yard, all greatly disturbed over "Al-f-u-r-d's" absence. As
he dropped into the garden from the top of the fence he began crying, as
was his wont, to create sympathy.

[Illustration: Lin and "Al-f-u-r-d"]

As he wended his way up the garden walk, the mother shouted:

"Lin, where on earth has he been?"

"In the river over his head. It's a wonder he wern't drowned to death."

The mother breathed a silent prayer that he had been preserved to them.
Father deftly slid his hand into his left side trouser's pocket and,
pulling forth a keen-bladed knife, cut a slender, but tough, sprout from
the black-heart cherry tree. Tenderly taking the boy by the arm, he
slowly led him to the cellar and introduced another innovation into the
fast unfolding life of the First Born.

The pilgrimages of father and son to the recesses of that dark, damp
cellar became frequent. The innovations of town life were so many,
"Al-f-u-r-d's" unknowing feet fell into so many pitfalls, the father,
affectionate, even indulgent, felt he was in duty bound to use the rod.

In fact, the old cellar, the rod, the boy and the father, were a cause
of comment among those familiar with the family. Uncle Jake said:

"John never asked what 'Al-f-u-r-d' had done when he returned home, but
simply asked, 'Where is he?' escorting him to the cellar and chastizing
him on general principles."

Lin said: "Habits will grow on peepul, and even when 'Al-f-u-r-d' does
nothin', he jes' goes to the cellar and waits to be whipped."


    From the sweet-smelling Maryland meadows it crawled,
    Through the forest primeval, o'er hills granite-walled;
    On and up, up and on, till it conquered the crest
    Of the mountains--and wound away into the West.
    'Twas the Highway of Hope! And the pilgrims who trod
    It were Lords of the Woodland and Sons of the Sod;
    And the hope of their hearts was to win an abode
    At the end--the far end of the National Road.


Do you not know where it is located? Do not ask any human being who ever
lived in Brownsville as to its location on the map--that is, if you
value his friendship. Your ignorance of geography will be exposed and
you will be plainly informed: "We do not want anything to do with a
person who does not know where Brownsville is located."

[Illustration: Market Street, Brownsville]

Strange as it may seem, though many excellent histories have been
written, there is none extant that has given any full and adequate
description of Brownsville's early days and people--quaint, curious,
serious, humorous, wise and otherwise--good people all.

Brownsville was the most important town on that "Modern Appian Way," the
National Road, or pike, extending from Baltimore, Maryland, to the Ohio
River, and lengthened beyond, in after years, to Cincinnati and
Richmond, Indiana.

Brownsville was founded soon after this country gained its independence,
although it had been an established frontier post long before known as
Red Stone Old Fort. It was the center of the Whiskey Insurrection,
during which George Washington gained his first military experience in
the West, experience that would have saved Braddock's defeat and death,
had he taken Washington's advice, and might have changed the entire
history of this nation. But that England should control the American
colonies is but repeating history.

England is the only country in the world that has successfully colonized
her foreign possessions. Therefore, Brownsville was founded, and mostly
settled, by the English, and to this day her foremost citizens are
Englishmen. This statement of facts does not detract from the estimable
qualities of the Low Dutch who have drifted in from Bedford and Somerset

Brownsville outputs--"Monongahela Rye Whiskey" and Chattland's crackers
are world-famous food essentials.

Brownsville was at the head of navigation on the Monongahela River in
the palmy days of the old "pike."

Unlike the Appian Way, of which there is no connected history but only
glimpses of it in the Bible, the old "pike" is embalmed in history, in
poem and prose. It commemorates an epoch in history as fascinating as
any recorded. A highway so important, so largely instrumental in the
country's early greatness and development that it strengthened the ties
between the states and their peoples. Its legends so numerous, its
incidents so exciting that their chronicles read like fiction.

Brownsville grew and prospered while the old "pike" was at the height of
its greatness. It was here the travellers from the East or the West
either embarked or disembarked from the river steamers or the overland
stage coach.

In the year 1868 the writer spent four days and parts of as many nights
in a stage coach journey from Wheeling, West Virginia, to Baltimore,
Maryland, over the National Road. In August, 1910, the same distance was
covered in an automobile in a little over a day and a night, with many
stops and visits to historical spots marked by recollections of the old
days and nights of this King's Highway.

Brownsville, in the halcyon days of the National Pike, was of greater
commercial importance than Pittsburg, her banks ranking higher and her
manufactories more numerous. This supremacy was maintained from 1818 to

When the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was opened to the West, the glories
of the old "pike" began to fade. The mechanical establishments,
especially the boat-building and marine engine shops, among the biggest
interests of Brownsville, kept in the lead until well into the days of
the Civil War.

Now, reader, will you not be a bit abashed to ask: "Where is

To Henry Clay belongs the credit of first urging Congress to appropriate
funds to build the National Road, but to Albert Gallatin, who was from
the Brownsville section and achieved great distinction while Treasurer
of the United States, belongs the honor of its conception. He was the
first to advocate the great benefits that would accrue to the country if
such a road were constructed.

Washington, when a mere youth, sent to England a report urging the
advisability of a military road from the coast to the Ohio River. He
suggested the Indian trail across the Allegheny Mountains. This trail
was afterwards named Braddock's Road. It should have been called
Washington's Road, as he, at the head of a detachment of Virginia
troops, traversed it one year before Braddock's disastrous invasion of
the West.

All roads led to Brownsville in those days.

Did you ever hear of Workman's Hotel in Brownsville? It stands today as
it did one hundred years ago, at the head of Market Street. It has
housed Jackson, Harrison, Clay, Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, James K.
Polk, Shelly, Lafayette, Winfield Scott, Pickens, John C. Calhoun, and
hundreds of others of less note.

James Workman, the landlord of this old house of entertainment, was
noted for his hospitality and punctuality. When "Old Hickory" Jackson,
on his way to Washington to be inaugurated President--for be it
remembered the old "pike" was the only highway between the East and
West--was Workman's guest, the citizens of Brownsville tendered the
newly elected President a public reception. The Presbyterian Church was
crowded, the exercises long drawn out. During their progress, Jimmy
Workman stalked down the middle aisle. Facing about, after passing the
pew in which General Jackson sat, he said, in a voice plainly heard all
over the church:

"General Jackson, dinner is ready and if you do not come soon it won't
be fit to eat."

So great was Workman's devotion to his guests that he imagined the
dinner was more essential than speeches or prayers, and such was the
respect for the famous landlord that the services were curtailed.

Brownsville and Bridgeport were boroughs separated by Dunlap's Creek,
spanned by the first iron bridge built in America. It is standing today
as solid as the reputation of the old burgs it joins together.
Brownsville had the first bridge that spanned the Monongahela River. In
fact Brownsville had a bridge long before Pittsburgh. While Bill Brown
and his progenitors were ferrying Pittsburgh inhabitants across the
river in a skiff, Brownsville folks were crossing on a "kivered"
bridge. And were it not for further humiliating Bill Brown, the
discoverer of Pittsburgh, still greater glories could be recalled for

James G. Blaine was born on the west bank of the Monongahela River. The
land on which the Blaine house stood was the property of an Indian,
Peter by name. He sold the land to Blaine's grandfather, Neil Gellispie,
the price agreed upon being forty shillings an acre, payable in
installments of money, iron and one negro man, a slave. Ye gods! How did
the "Plumed Knight's" detractors in the "Rum-Romanism-and-Rebellion"
campaign overlook the fact that the Blaines once bought and sold slaves?

[Illustration: James G. Blaine's Home]

Philander C. Knox was born on the hill on the east side of the river.
Professor John Brashear was born on the western edge of the town.

Elisha Gray, the original inventor of the telephone, was from
Brownsville; as were John Herbertson, builder of the first iron bridge
in the United States; John Snowden, builder of two iron gunboats for the
Civil War, and Bishop Arnett, of Ohio.

Brownsville first promulgated a word of slang that has greatly
beautified the English language.

But let it be recorded to the old town's credit, the evil was propagated
without malice aforethought. Brownsville's borough limits show its shape
to be somewhat like that of a hot-air balloon--a big body with a neck;
and the narrow strip of land between the river and Dunlap's Creek
stretching toward Bridgeport from time out of mind has been designated
by the inhabitants of either side of the creek as the "neck."

Brownsville had a temperance revival. Strict observance of the liquor
laws was being enforced. Jack Beckley was haled to court on a dray, too
oblivious of everything to answer any charge. The burgess, before
committing him to the lock-up, questioned the watchman, Jim Bench, as to
where Jack got his liquor.

"Did he get it on the hill?"

The officer truthfully answered:

"No, he got it in the neck."

The town took up the phrase and thereafter any person who met with any
sort of mishap "got it in the neck."

[Illustration: A National Pike Freighter]


    No wonder Cain went to the bad
      And left no cause to praise him;
    No neighbors, who had ever had
    Boys of their own, came telling Ad
      And Eve how they should raise him.

"Al-f-u-r-d" learned with his first swimming lesson that kinship does
not lend immunity; in fact, Lin asserted that Cousin Charley's kinship
was only a cloak of deception. However, the more Cousin Charley teased
the younger boy the greater "Al-f-u-r-d's" admiration and yearning for
his companionship.

Lin cautioned "Al-f-u-r-d" to shun Cousin Charley as he would a "wiper."
Lin could never pronounce her v's. When she went to the grocery and
asked for "winegar," the young clerk laughed outright. The next visit
Lin simply said:

"Smell the jug and gin me a quart."

When the mother admitted she feared Cousin Charley would ruin
"Al-f-u-r-d's" disposition, Lin followed with the declaration that
Cousin Charley "layed awake nights makin' up lies about "Al-f-u-r-d" to
git his pap to whup him."

Lin said: "Why, he don't do a thing all the live-long day but git
'Al-f-u-r-d' in scrapes and muss his curls."

After the swimming hole experience "Al-f-u-r-d's" parent forbade Cousin
Charley the house. Uncle Bill, who was responsible for Cousin Charley's
being, also ordered Cousin Charley to seek a home elsewhere, enforcing
the order by advising Cousin Charley that he had done all that he
intended to do for him.

In forceful words Cousin Charley was told that he must "dig for
himself," that "he could not stay anywhere no matter how good the job,
that he always got into some kind of a scrape and his father was tired
of it."

"Go out in the world and dig for yourself like I did. Then you'll hold a
job when you get one."

Cousin Charley took genuine delight in being thus exiled. He endeavored
to work on the sympathies of all with whom he conversed, reporting that
Uncle John and Aunt Mary had driven him from their house and that his
father had driven him from home, advising him to dig for himself.

Charley dwelt so upon the phrase "dig for yourself" that it became a
sort of cant saying.

Cousin Charley called at "Al-f-u-r-d's" home to gather his essential
personal effects. His woe-begone looks so touched "Al-f-u-r-d" that
tears more than once filled his eyes as the elder boy continued his
preparations to leave. "Al-f-u-r-d's" sorrow so touched the mother that
she began to relent.

But Cousin Charley, like many other persons who have injured their
family when taken to task, felt a sort of pride in doing something he
imagined would cause them further pain. Cousin Charley was obdurate to
any overtures towards a reconciliation, or at least pretended to be. Go
he would. He had poor "Al-f-u-r-d" entirely miserable as he listened to
the recitation of the many wrongs he declared he had suffered.

"I've worked harder than any boy in Brownsville. I never knowed anything
but work. Pap lets Jim and George do as they durn please. If I crook my
fingers I ketch the devil. I kin go out and dig fer myself and they'll
be sorry for the way they have treated me."

"Al-f-u-r-d" clung to the bigger boy, begging him not to leave. The
sight affected both Lin and the mother, and the latter ventured the
prediction that she might prevail upon Pap to allow Cousin Charley to
remain if he would solemnly promise to be a better boy. Cousin Charley
was not to be mollified. He thanked the mother for her kindly interest
in him but added that he could not remain under Uncle Johns' roof after
the cruel manner in which he had been treated. (As a matter of fact his
treatment had always been of the kindest). Cousin Charley knew this full
well but he knew also that he had the sympathy of the two women excited
and he chose to work it to his evil nature's content.

Continuing, he added insinuatingly:

"You'll see. Wait 'til 'Al-f-u-r-d's' a little older. Uncle will keep on
whaling him in the cellar and some day you'll find him missing, curls
and all."

This reference to curls touched Lin's sympathy. The reference to
"Al-f-u-r-d" leaving home also touched the mother as the tantalizer
intended it should, and she further argued with the boy to remain at
home with his family.

"No I can't. I've made up my mind to dig fer myself. I'm goin' West.
You've always treated me right and I'll write you often and let you know
how I'm gettin' along and maybe if 'Al-f-u-r-d' is driven from home like
I've been I'll have a place fer him."

The mother turned a trifle resentful as she said spiritedly:

"Charley, you have not been driven from home. Your father has become
tired of your conduct and it would be better if you apologize for your
behavior and promise to become a better boy."

Cousin Charley hinted at some deep and dark wrong that would ever
prevent his approaching his father and he prepared to leave. Both women
entreated him to linger yet another day. But Cousin Charley began
bidding them good-bye, the crocodile tears coursing down his cheeks as
he sobbed:

"I'll never fergit you two. You've always been good to me." (As a matter
of fact, Lin threatened to scald him that morning.) "I know I may be
half starved to death before I git work but I'll stand it. And durn them
all, I'll show them I'm somebody afore they see me agin."

At the reference to starving, Lin rushed to the big kitchen cupboard.
The larger part of a roasted chicken, a dozen doughnuts, pickles,
rusks, enough to feed an ordinary man several times, was done up in a
neat package and handed to Charley by Lin as she pityingly remarked:

"Ef the bakin' was done I'd gin ye more fer I'll warrant it'll be a long
time 'fore ye'll eat cooking like ye've hed here. Fer vagrants never
know what they're eatin'."

Charley's leave-taking was most affecting. "Al-f-u-r-d" begged to be
permitted to accompany him a little ways on his journey. Five minutes
the boys walked hand in hand.

Into Sammy Steele's deserted tannery, through a long, dark room with
dust and rubbish covering the floor, into a smaller room, more dismal if
imaginable than the larger room but much cleaner.

[Illustration: The Exile]

Three boxes, the larger used as a table, the two smaller ones as seats,
made up the furniture in the room. A small blaze of fire in the
old-fashioned soft coal grate gave a faint light. Cousin Charley
whistled a time or two, and Lint Dutton, the son of the leading dry
goods merchant of the town; and Tod Livingston, the son of the dry goods
man's head clerk, put in an appearance.

It was not long until "Al-f-u-r-d's" sympathetic heart was touched with
the wrongs of the three exiles. It seemed the trio had all been driven
from home and were going out into the world to dig for themselves.
Charley explained there were many things to adjust ere the exiles
departed and the room in the old tannery would be their retreat until
they left the town for good.

To impress "Al-f-u-r-d" with the fact that provisions were the one thing
necessary, Lin's contribution was spread out on the larger box and all
proceeded to devour the viands. Even "Al-f-u-r-d" enjoyed the repast.

"Al-f-u-r-d" was sworn to secrecy as to the retreat of the exiles and
adjured to bring all the eatables he could secure. The sight of Cousin
Charley consuming a dried apple pie such as were made in those days,
plenty of lemon peel and cider to juice the apples; Charley holding the
pie in his hands, the juice running down his cheeks as he expatiated on
the wrongs that had been heaped upon him in general and by
"Al-f-u-r-d's" and his own father in particular, so worked on
"Al-f-u-r-d's" sympathy that nothing cooked or uncooked that was
eatable, that he could smuggle to the exiles, was too good for them.

For the first time since Lin came into the family the mother suspected
her of dishonest practices. A coldness sprang up between the women. This
unpleasantness almost drove the boy to confession, but the fear of the
exiles kept him from exposing them.

[Illustration: The Exile's Retreat]

The father set a watch on "Al-f-u-r-d." He was seen to fill his pockets
and a small basket, hide the basket in the coal shed until the shadows
of dusk. The father followed the smuggler to the exiles' camp. Several
other boys who had learned of the pies, pickles, preserves, doughnuts,
and other good things that "Al-f-u-r-d" carried to the old tannery, had
gone into exile and were always conveniently near when "Al-f-u-r-d"
appeared with his food contributions.

The father was close onto "Al-f-u-r-d" when he entered the larger room
of the old tan house. "Al-f-u-r-d" set the basket with the coarser food
in it on the box that served as a table while he began issuing the more
dainty contributions from his pockets. Handing Cousin Charley a doughnut
from one pocket he was in the act of pulling a handful of pickles from
another when the irate parent rushed into the little room. The exiles'
camp was broken up, and the exiles driven out into the cold world.
"Al-f-u-r-d" was escorted home then to the cellar where the seance was a
trifle more animated than usual, at least "Al-f-u-r-d's" cries so

Lin's denunciations of those who had devastated her pantry of the coarse
as well as her daintiest cooking, was of the strongest. Lin was very
proud of her skill as a cook. When the truth came out and she learned
that "Al-f-u-r-d" was the culprit, she immediately began making excuses
for the boy, and when his screams from the cellar penetrated the
kitchen, Lin's sympathy was fully aroused. With the rolling pin in one
hand, flour to her elbows on her bare, muscular arms, she rushed into
the cellar, with flushed face and confronted the parent:

[Illustration: "Lin"]

"Hold on yer, hold on! Ye've whipped that boy enough and you're whippin'
him fer nothin'. Ef it hadn't bin fer them low, lazy skunks "Al-f-u-r-d"
a-never teched a thing in this house. They never had nothin' to eat at
home. Their folks is too lazy to fry a doughnut or put up pickles.
"Al-f-u-r-d" jes pitied 'em, that's why he took things to 'em to eat."

This reasoning mollified the parent, besides Lin had a gleam in her eyes
that intimidated him. Lin had threatened to skedaddle, as she put it,
several times of late, and one like her was not often found.

Therefore Lin's reasoning decided the father to wreak vengeance on those
who, through "Al-f-r-u-d's" generosity, had depleted the pickle barrel.
Grabbing his heaviest cane he stalked toward the door, vowing he would
wear out every last one of the boys who had made him so far forget
himself as to punish one whose age and inexperience made him their dupe.

[Illustration: Hold On! Hold On!]

The mother and Lin, thoroughly frightened at the anger displayed by the
man, used their strength and arguments to prevent him doing something
terrible. The mother pointed out the danger of the law and the disgrace
attached to an arrest by the borough constable.

Lin reminded him that he might do something rash, that all the boys had
papas and several men might jump on him if they caught him abusing their
off-spring. The father swore he could lick the daddies of all the boys
one at a time.

Meanwhile "Al-f-u-r-d" made his escape to the garret to ruminate upon
the unreasonableness of parents in general and his father in particular.

Uncle Bill was even more obdurate than when he first declared Charley
must "dig for himself." Cousin Charley was looking for work, fearing he
would find it, and secretly hoping his father, under pressure of the
mother, would soon open the door of home to him. But Cousin Charley was
compelled to look the world in the face in a serious manner for the
first time in his life.

Captain Lew Abrams, a retired steamboat man, big of frame, kind of heart
and fond of a joke, informed the exile that he would give him an
opportunity to follow his father's advice literally, namely, to dig for

"I have a big potato patch, the crop is a heavy one and it don't seem my
boys will ever get the potatoes dug. I will give you a job digging
potatoes by the bushel or on shares."

The Captain did not care to hire by the day. Cousin Charley figured
mentally that digging potatoes on shares, a custom prevalent in those
days, would bring quicker returns.

Charley began to "dig for himself" the very next day. After a long, hard
day's work, he presented himself at the back door of "Al-f-u-r-d's"
home, sunburnt and hands blistered, clothing torn, full of beggars-lice
and Spanish needles. He explained that the offer of Captain Abrams was
temptingly profitable and that he would remain in the neighborhood for a
few weeks longer digging potatoes on the shares.

Lin at first looked upon him with suspicion. But when she noted his
sunburnt face and blistered hands and when Charley carefully laid on the
table a half dozen big brown-colored potatoes with that peculiar purple
around the eyes, a color so highly prized by growers and consumers, Lin,
glancing sympathetically at Charley through the kitchen door as he ate
as only a hungry boy can, whispered to the mother:

"His pap's too hard on him. He's not so ornery as he's cracked up to be.
It's the devilish clique he runs with that's spiled him," and, with
this, carried another helping of food to the boy.

Half in earnest, half in fun, Lin said: "Durn ye, ye can be good ef ye
want to, but it jes' seems like ye don't want to. Ef ye ever do another
thing to 'Al-f-u-r-d' I'll scald all the hair off yer freckled head."

Cousin Charley laughed and chided Lin into further good humor, confiding
to her the interesting information that he was going to work from
daylight to dark. This declaration captured Lin. She highly regarded
anyone who labored.

Cousin Charley kept up a continual talk. Among other statements he said
that after he dug Captain Abram's potatoes, if he could effect as
advantageous arrangements with other farmers, he would soon be wealthy.
He even insinuated that he had over-reached the Captain in his contract
for digging potatoes but if the Captain showed any tendency to "back
out" he would hold him to it.

"A bargain's a bargain," said Charley and Lin nodded approvingly. She
never guessed that Cousin Charley possessed so much sense.

Charley picked up the largest of the potatoes he had deposited on the
table and requested that Lin roast it in wood ashes for breakfast.

"It'll jes' bust open and is as dry as powder. Sech taters you never et,
they melt in yer mouth."

It was then the mother was called in, Lin explaining it was a good
chance to buy potatoes cheap. Cousin Charley explained that his share of
the crop he was digging would be so big he would have to sell as he went
along even if he didn't get full price for them. He assured the women
that the samples were not culled: "Jes' took as they come."

[Illustration: Cousin Charley]

The mother bought several bushels at much less than the retail price at
Murphy's store. At the low price at which Cousin Charley sold potatoes
he had taken several orders before reaching "Al-f-u-r-d's" home. When
"Al-f-u-r-d's" mother purchased he suddenly concluded he'd better begin
delivering right away.

When the mother reminded him that it was almost night Cousin Charley met
her with the argument "Ef a feller wants to git along in this world he's
got to hump night and day. That's the way old Jeffries got rich."
Jeffries was the business competitor of "Al-f-u-r-d's" father.

Cousin Charley finally prevailed on the mother to loan him the horse and
wagon to deliver his potatoes. The father was out of town for the night,
and the mother consented reluctantly. Lin wanted the potatoes badly
after Charley's description. "Al-f-u-r-d," as usual, cried to go with
Cousin Charley. Cousin Charley's seeming industriousness had reinstated
him in Lin's good graces. After the boys had driven off, following Lin's
caution to the older boy to "Be keerful of 'Al-f-u-r-d'," she remarked
to the mother, referring to Charley:

"He'll fool old Bill yet. Some peepul may want Charley to dig fer 'em
'fore the winter's over. I'd thought more of old Bill ef he'd lathered
Charley good an' plenty stid of turnun' him out to dig fer himself. I do
hope he'll sell plenty pertaters."

Meanwhile, Cousin Charley, his delivery wagon, "Al-f-u-r-d" and all,
arrived at Captain Abram's house. The family were visiting a neighbor.

Cousin Charley was evidently an adept at loading potatoes as well as
digging. It was surprising the quantity he claimed for his share of the
day's digging.

"Al-f-u-r-d," Cousin Charley, and a load of potatoes soon arrived at
"Al-f-u-r-d's" home. Several large sacks were quickly carried into the
cellar, Lin assisting the boy. Lin took this excuse to inspect the goods
as her confidence in Cousin Charley was not entirely free from
suspicion. As Lin watched the boy carrying the heavy potato sacks she
half hated herself for doubting him. This feeling prompted Lin to accept
the potatoes.

"They're not zackly as big as the ones he fetched first but they're nice
taters, better'n we git at the store an' besides a body feels better
helpin' a poor devil that's workin' his head off to do right."

Jane McCune, Tommy Ryan and Jim Bench had bought potatoes while they
were cheap. These deliveries were soon made and Cousin Charley had money
to distribute. "Al-f-u-r-d" and Lin both came in for a nice piece of it.
As Lin remarked:

"Cousin Charley was not close when he was doin' well."

[Illustration: The Boys Had a Full Load]

The women invited Charley to remain all night but, showing the old exile
spirit, he declined, adding:

"I like you and Lin, but I'll never stay under Uncle John's roof until
he apologizes fer what he done to me. I'll dig fer myself. There's money
in this potato business fer me, I'll show them who I am."

The boy jingled the big coppers and little dimes in his pocket until
"Al-f-u-r-d's" eyes sparkled with admiration.

The next morning Captain Abrams clanged the big, old fashioned iron
knocker on the front door. The father started up stairs to answer the
knock, and "Al-f-u-r-d" and the other children whooped up the path
beside the house to peep at the early caller.

The door opened. "Howdys" and hand shakes. The Captain, puckering up his
funny little mouth, not unlike that of a sucker fish, addressing himself
to the father, inquired:

"John, where's Bill's Charley?"

The "I don't know" answer surprised the Captain.

Looking at "Al-f-u-r-d" in a quizzical manner, he said:

"I thought he was staying with you all."

The father replied spiritedly, and he seemed to be addressing himself to
"Al-f-u-r-d" as much as to the Captain:

"No, he ain't here any more. I wouldn't permit him to enter my house;
he's so infernal ornery that his father had to drive him out. Bill jes'
told him to go out and dig fer himself. We've washed our hands of that
boy. His end will be the House of Refuge."

"But John," and the Captain looked serious, "who sent Alfred and Charley
out on a foraging expedition last night with your old mare and wagon?"

Both men looked hard at "Al-f-u-r-d."

With a consciousness born of innocence, "Al-f-u-r-d" pulled himself up
to his full height, running his thumbs under his first pair of elastic
suspenders, a present from Cousin Charley, who had remarked as he
adjusted them: "None of my relations will run around here with one
gallus when I've got money."

"Yes, sir," chirped "Al-f-u-r-d," "we was out to your house but you
weren't at home. Cousin Charley went after his pertaters. He wanted to
bring mother hers and Jane McCune and Tommy Ryan."

The Captain was nodding his head approvingly at "Al-f-u-r-d,"
encouraging him to go on. The father was so confused he could not listen
longer, and casting a look at "Al-f-u-r-d" that boded him no good, the
mother and Lin were called into the room, and the Captain, in a half
apologetic manner explained:

"Charley came to me with a long story about his father driving him from
home and telling him he would have to go out and dig for himself. He
used the phrase, 'dig for himself' so often that I, in a half joking
way, arranged with Charley to dig potatoes on shares. He dug one day. I
don't know how many potatoes he dug as me and my folks were visiting the
Lenhearts. Afore we got home last night, Charley came out there with
your horse and wagon and hauled away all the potatoes he dug during the
day and all my boys had dug and sacked the past week. I don't know how
many he took but old man Bedler at the toll gate said the boys had on a
full load."

Then "Al-f-u-r-d" counting on his fingers, said: "Yes, mother got seven
bushels, Tommy Ryan got eight bushels and he's to get two more bushels
tomorrow night, and Jim Bench five bushels and will take all Cousin
Charley kin bring him. And Jane McCune got five bushels and she didn't
have the money. But Charley says if she don't pay him he'll steal her

The Captain was laughing heartily but politely. The father and mother
looked as if they had been convicted of larceny.

Lin jerked out: "Well, ef that don't beat the bugs. A-stealin'
pertaters. I'd as soon be ketched stealin' sheep. I tell ye now, that
Charley's headed fer the pinitentiary."

This speech seemed to crush the father and mother. They felt somehow as
if they were implicated. But Captain Abrams apologized in every way for
annoying them. They all seated themselves, the blinds pulled down and a
solemn compact entered into that the matter never be referred to again.
The father paid for the potatoes, taking "Al-f-u-r-d's" figures.
"Al-f-u-r-d" was warned if he ever mentioned the affair outside of home
that he would be sent to the House of Refuge.

The family felt that they were everlastingly disgraced. The mother felt
it most keenly. The father was half disposed to hold "Al-f-u-r-d" partly
responsible and a trip to the cellar was strongly threatened. But Lin
interfered by saying:

"Why, his mother and me is wus than 'Al-f-u-r-d'. Any grown body'd
knowed Charley couldn't dig that many pertaters in a week, let alone a

Time wore on and the potato episode was seemingly forgotten. The family
felt that the disgrace had been lived down and all were thankful the
matter had not become the talk of the town.

Uncle Bill, Charley's father, was a good talker, fond of argument and
usually the center of a group, particularly when political or religious
subjects were under discussion. A long bench in front of Bill Isler's
tin shop, ranged close up to the building. The town pump stood across
the ten feet wide sidewalk opposite.

It was a pleasing sight to look upon this gathering of inequality of
rank and property and equality of intellect discussing all questions,
the affairs of their neighbors in particular.

[Illustration: Uncle Bill and the Boys]

There was a full bench: Joe Gibbons, Barney Barnhart, Jase Baker, Billy
Graham, Birney Wilkins, and George Muckle Fee. Fee was a peculiar
character, with an unusual deformity, since his neck was bent like a
huge bow, not unlike a limb with the knee bent, his face looking to the
ground. To look to either side he must turn his entire body. The only
human being he ever thought kindly of was his wife, Susan. He always
spoke of her respectfully. Some people he hated more intensely than
others. Uncle Bill was an especial mark of his vituperation. When they
passed on the street George would turn his body half way around to
mutter and curse him--however, not that Uncle Bill could hear.

George's usual position at the gathering in the evening was back against
the old pump facing those seated on the bench, with lowered face and
upturned eyes, looking from one speaker to another, scowling or smiling
as the remarks met with his approval or otherwise.

The subject under discussion was "boys." A number of boys of the town,
almost grown men, had been apprehended stealing scrap iron.

Uncle Bill, as usual, had the center of the stage. He had about
concluded a lengthy discourse as to the management of boys, bad boys in
particular, and as usual concluded by relating for the hundredth time,
how he managed his boys.

"I just called 'em up and says: 'Boys, I've raised you up to what you
are and I've done for you all a parent could do. You're strong and able
to do for yourselves and don't depend on me longer. Go out in the world
and dig for yourselves.'"

Fee, squirting a flood of tobacco juice with the words, said: "Yes, and
ef they'd all dig like Charley did, you'd had purtaters to last you a
life time."

The roars of laughter that went up were convincing proof that there are
no secrets sacred in a small town.


      Blessings on thee, little man,
      Barefoot boy with cheek of tan;
    With thy turned-up pantaloons
    And thy merry, whistled tunes;
    With the sunshine on thy face
    Through thy torn brim's jaunty grace;
      Outward sunshine, inward joy,
      Blessings on thee, barefoot boy.

Alfred's parents concluded it would be good for the boy to send him to
the country for a time, freeing him from the influence of town boys.
Therefore they sent him to Uncle Joe's, a prosperous farmer, a little
inclined to take too much hard cider or rye at sheep-washing or
hog-killing time, fond of fox chasing and hunting and shooting at a

Uncle Joe went to town at least once a week when Aunt Betsy accompanied
him. He observed the proprieties and respected his good wife's wishes.
Long had she labored to get him to join the church of which she was an
exemplary pillar. Thus far she had not succeeded.

A neighboring farmer, the leading member of the church, was the barrier.
Uncle Joe and this neighbor, "Old Bill Colvin," as Uncle Joe designated
him, had been at logger-heads for years over line fences and other
trifles that farmers find excuses to quarrel over.

[Illustration: Alfred at Nine]

Uncle Joe's prejudice was so strong that when questioned as to whether
he did not want to go to heaven, he defiantly informed the minister,
"Not if Old Bill Colvin is there."

If a cow strayed, hog died or turkey was lost, it was attributed to Old
Bill Colvin. When the bees swarmed and Uncle Joe with the fiddle
scraping out "Big John, Little John, Big John, Davy," Aunt Betsy beating
a tin pan with a spoon, poor old granny, bent with age, following slowly
jingling a string of sleigh bells, and in feeble, squeaky voice asked
Uncle Joe if the bees were going off, although no swarm had ever left
the place, Uncle Joe, vigorously scraping the fiddle, walking under the
cloud of circling bees, not heeding granny's query, would say:

"Look at 'em, look at 'em, they're leaving; we can't get 'em to settle.
There they go. Look at 'em, look at 'em. Dam 'em, headed for Old Bill

Uncle Joe was noted for his honey, watermelons, peaches, turkeys,
maple-sugar and sweet potatoes and loud voice. He was the loudest voiced
man in Red Stone township. Every living creature on the farm stood in
fear of Uncle Joe's voice. If the stock jumped the fence into another
field, Uncle Joe's voice awed them into jumping back again. Fence rails,
hoes, rakes or anything that came handy had so often been wielded by his
powerful arms on them that his voice was sufficient almost any time to
frighten horse, cow or hog into seeking safety in flight when he

The day for Alfred's going to the country arrived. Aunt Betsy had the
neuralgia and Uncle Joe came alone on horseback. Meeting former friends,
he tarried long at the Tavern. When under the influence of stimulants he
became even louder. John Rathmell, the town watchman, endeavored to
quiet him. Finally, he ordered Uncle Joe to go home or he would arrest

Uncle Joe was riding Black Fan, his fox-hunting mare. She was seventeen
hands high, mostly legs, a natural pacer. She could jump over anything
under the moon. Her hind legs the longer,--they seemed to be the
propelling power and appeared to move faster than her front legs. When
at top speed she traveled sort of sideways. This seemed a wise
provision of nature as it prevented her running over herself, or like a
stern-wheel boat, with too much power going by the head.

Uncle Joe obeyed the order of the officer of the law. Tardily, leisurely
and tantalizingly mounting Black Fan, taking Alfred up behind him, he
headed the mare in the opposite direction from home. Alfred feared he
was going down the hill into the "Neck" to get more liquor and he almost
decided to get off and go back home.

[Illustration: "You Can All Go to H--ll"]

At a pace as respectable as ever a funeral cortege traveled, Uncle Joe
rode until opposite the old market house, there turning the mare around
heading her homeward. Straightening her out in the middle of the road,
rising in his stirrups to emphasize his contempt for the law in the
person of the watchman, Uncle Joe gave vent to a yell that brought
store-keepers to the doors, pedestrians to turn around and drivers to
pull to the side of the street.

He gave the mare her head. At the sound of the voice nearer and
consequently louder than ever before, she shot forward at a speed never
equalled on that street. At every revolution of her hind legs her body
under Alfred rose and fell like a toy boat on a ruffled bay. Uncle Joe
rose and fell with the movement and at every rise he yelled even louder
than before.

[Illustration: The End of the Ride]

The minion of the law and several idlers, always seeking an opportunity
to meddle, rushed to the middle of the street, but as well might they
have attempted to arrest the wind. The shoes of Black Fan struck the
flinty limestones on the pike, the sparks flew, and her trail was a
veritable streak of fire. As the mare rounded the turn at Workman's
Hotel, Uncle Joe, as a parting shot, yelled:

"You can all go to h--ll."

How Alfred maintained his hold he never knew nor did the mare slacken
pace greatly until home was reached. Alfred is of the opinion to this
day that Uncle Joe forgot he carried a handicap.

The corn-cob stopper in a large bottle which Uncle Joe, (as was the
custom of farmers in those days), carried in his right hand overcoat
pocket, came out, the contents splashed in Alfred's face and saturated
his clothing. Alfred was almost stupefied with the fumes of the liquor
and had the distance been further he surely would have fallen from his

As the mare halted, Uncle Joe vigorously threw his leg over her back to
dismount, sweeping Alfred from his seat as though he had been a
rag-doll. Down he fell head first and no doubt sustained bodily injury
had not Providence, or a kindly cow deposited a cushion as soft as
velvet for his reception, and curls. His yells and calls brought the
family to the rescue. Alfred was not received as courteously as on
former visits; however, after a bath in a tub of not overly warm water,
the family were a trifle less distant.

The wife was very much provoked over the husband's actions.

Reinforced by Billy Hickman, the preacher, and several church members,
renewed her efforts to have Uncle Joe ally himself with the church.
Uncle Joe assured one good brother that if sheep-washing time was
over--it was then September and sheep are washed in May or June--he
would join the church. He explained that he felt he must have a little
"licker" sheep-washing time or he would "ketch the rheumatiz."

The District Fair was on, Black Fan was entered in the free-for-all
pace. She was considered a joke by horsemen and the knowing ones. But
Alfred would have bet all he had that Black Fan was the fastest goer in
the world. Ike Bailey's Black Bess, John Krepps' Billy, John Patterson's
Morgan Messenger, were the other entries, all under saddle except Morgan
Messenger. Patterson drove him to a sulky, the only sulky in the county,
the wheels higher than the head of the driver. It was the idea of the
builder the larger the wheels the greater the speed.

Black Fan had much the worst of the get-away and it looked as if she
would be left in the stretch. It was a half-mile track. Twice around
completed the heats. The crowd laughed themselves hoarse at Uncle Joe's
entry and rider.

[Illustration: "Git Up, Fan!"]

The other riders leaning forward, holding their bridle reins close down
to the bit, seemed to lift their horses as they sped away from Black Fan
whose rider was leaning back holding the briddle reins at arm's length
as if he feared she would go by the head.

There was no grandstand, the populace standing thick along the track,
separated from it by a rough board fence.

As the horses neared the starting point on the first turn, Black Fan far
in the rear, Uncle Joe was seen pushing through the crowd, towering
above the multitude. He made his way to the side of the track, climbing
up on the fence-board next to the top, he stood erect.

The leaders flew by and, as Black Fan got opposite, he raised his arms
as if to throw a stone or club at her, at the same time, in stentorian
tones, yelling: "Git up! Git up! Git! Git out of that, you Black B----
h! Git up Fan. Gin her her head! Don't hold her, dam her! Let her go!

[Illustration: "Give Her Head! Don't Hold Her!"]

As the last yell left his lips over he went onto the dusty track
head-first. Black Fan surely imagined Uncle Joe was after her, she shot
forward, her hind legs going so fast she looked in danger of running
over herself, taking up nearly the width of the course. John Patterson
and his high-wheeled sulky were swept off the track. Black Bess jumped
the fence, ran off with her rider and was disqualified. Only John Krepps
kept his little horse on the track, but Black Fan had the race in hand.

Great confusion reigned. Several fights started, Uncle Joe being in the
midst of all of them. Everybody surrounded the judges, and the other
horse owners protested the race. As the judges were all farmers with the
usual fairness pervading decisions as between town folks and country
ones, Black Fan was given the race.

[Illustration: After the Race]

Uncle Joe led the mare all over the fair grounds with Alfred mounted on
her, and notwithstanding the boy was surfeited with ginger bread, cider
and other District Fair delicacies, he importuned the uncle for more.
Finally the uncle impatiently handed him two cents, "So there go eat
ginger bread till you bust." Uncle Joe celebrated his victory all
afternoon. When he advised Alfred that they would soon start home and
that he could ride behind him on Black Fan, Alfred slid down and
requested a neighboring farmer to permit him to ride home in his dead
axe wagon.

Uncle Joe did not get home until very late, claiming that he did not
know that Alfred had gone before and that he was searching the fair
grounds for him. Alfred's aunt gently chided him and advised that when
he went anywhere with his uncle thereafter he must remain until his
uncle came, but to urge his uncle to come early.

Uncle Joe was very sick the next day. Aunt Betsy said it served him
right. She hoped he'd "puke his innards out." Alfred was busy carrying
the afflicted man water by the gourdful from the spring. Uncle Joe would
not permit him to bring it in a pail: he wanted it cold and fresh.

"Dip her deep, son," he would say as he emptied the gourd and sent the
boy for more.

The sufferer grew worse and finally Aunt Betsy's womanly sympathy
impelled her to go to the sick man. She began by saying:

"I oughtn't to lift a hand to help you. Any man that will pour licker
down his stomach until he throws it up is a hog and nothing else."

Catching a whiff of that which had come up, she turned up her nose and
contemptuously continued:

"I don't see how any one can put that stuff down them."

She held her nose and turned her head in disgust. The sick man raised
his head and feebly answered:

"Well, it don't taste that way going down. Go away and let me die in
peace. I deserve to die alone; I don't want any of ye to pity me. Just
bury me is all I ask."

[Illustration: She Asked Him If He Were Not Afraid to Die]

The woman's sympathy entirely overcome her anger as the man well knew it
would. She begged to be permitted to do something for him. He was
obdurate. He was "not worthy of being saved"; all he desired was to "die
alone and be forgotten."

She asked him if he were not afraid to die.

"No, no" he answered, "I'm not afraid to die but I'm ashamed to."

Feeling his heart was softening, she begged to do something to relieve
him, a cold towel for his head or hot tea for his stomach. No, nothing
could do him any good, so he declared.

"If you don't have something done for you, you might die."

"Let me die, but if I ever get over this one, it's the last for Joe. I
hope every still house in Fayette County will burn down afore night and
all the whiskey ever made destroyed."

The wife exulted greatly at these words and renewed her entreaties to do
something for him.

"Well, if you insist on doing something for me", and he hesitated, "but
I know it will do no good--go down to the kitchen, fill a big coffee cup
half full of bilin' hot water, dissolve a lump of loaf sugar in it, drop
in a little lump of butter 'bout as big as a robin's egg. Then reach up
in the old cupboard in the hall, top shelf and way back in the corner,
you'll find a big, black bottle. Pour quite a lot out of this bottle
into the cup, fill it up. Grate a little nutmeg into it and fetch it up

Then holding his hands to his head as if suffering great pain, dropping
his voice to a faint whisper as if he were about to collapse, he said:

"Bring it up here and if I don't want to take it you jes' make me."

Not long afterwards the whole neighborhood was talking of the conversion
of Uncle Joe and the day of his baptism marked an epoch in that section.
The lion and the lamb were roaming together. Old Bill Colvin and Uncle
Joe were making cider on the shares. Many were the strange tales told
of how the conversion of Uncle Joe came about.

The day of baptism saw the largest gathering in the history of Red Stone
meeting house. Alfred, Cousin Charley and all the country folks round
about were there and many from town. Many were the conjectures made by
the idle gossipers as to whether Joe would hold out. Tom Porter
prophesied that the first time Joe got on a tear he would lick the
preacher. Billy Hickman, the preacher, was a mite of a man, while Uncle
Joe was a giant in comparison.

[Illustration: Alfred's Ride]

Uncle Joe had never been ducked or put under water but once, that the
writer knows of. It was sheep-washing time. The sheep in a pen on the
bank of the creek. Uncle Joe and another man in the creek up to their
middles washing the sheep. Alfred and another boy in the pen catching
the sheep dragging them to the bank as the workers called for another
sheep. There was one old bell-wether that was too strong for the boys.
After futile attempts to drag him to the creek Alfred decided to ride
him. Jumping astride of the animal it made frantic efforts to free
itself from the burden. Round the pen, bleating and panting it ran. It
started for the creek and from a height of several feet it plunged,
hitting Uncle Joe square between the shoulders.

[Illustration: They All Follow]

Its weight and Alfred's sent the powerful man under the water. Where one
sheep leads another will follow. As he attempted to rise, sheep after
sheep hit him on head or back. Under he went again as often as he arose
until the whole herd were out of the pen.

This experience probably accounted for Uncle Joe's actions the day of
the baptism. Grouped on the banks of the creek, in fence corners, some
lying on the grass under the red haw trees, were the rabble--all there
out of curiosity.

Standing near the creek, chanting a familiar hymn as only an earnest
congregation of good people can sing, were the church members. Walking
slowly from the church was the preacher and Uncle Joe, the disparity in
their size all the more marked as they waded into the water.

Uncle Joe seemed ill at ease and it appeared as though he was sort of
holding back. By the time the minister was in up to his middle, the
water only flowed about Uncle Joe's knees. The little preacher paused,
folded Uncle Joe's hands across his breast. Uncle Joe looked behind him
as much as to say:

"It's a long ways down to the water."

The minister began the solemn baptismal service. At the last word he
attempted to lay Uncle Joe back, immersing him in the usual manner but
Uncle Joe resisted. Alfred said afterwards he "knowed Uncle Joe was
skeered, that Hickman couldn't rise him up after he got him under."
Alfred explained that it was hard to keep from strangling when you went
down backwards. "That's the way I nearly drowned. They ought to baptize
'em forward," was his conclusion.

The silence was oppressive. The minister sort of squirmed around and
began the service over. At the last word he made another effort to
immerse the sinner. Again his strength was insufficient, both men
jostled around.

Sam Craft, who was watching the proceeding from a fence corner, at the
failure of the second attempt to dip the penitent, drawled in a voice
thick with hard cider:


Uncle Joe quickly took hold of his nose with thumb and finger; stooping,
he put his face under water to his ears, left the preacher standing in
the creek as he rushed out, not to the church members but to his old
cronies, until led to his proper place among the congregation.

The conversion of Uncle Joe made Aunt Betsy happy. Alfred had liberties
he never enjoyed previously. He rode Billy, the pony, when and where he
chose. He ran rabbits, chased through the woods until the scant wardrobe
he brought from home was in rags and tatters.

The great Civil War had just begun. All the country was marching
mad--soldiers passing and repassing along the pike. Aunt Betsy and Lacy
Hare, the hired girl, decided that Alfred should have a soldier's suit
that would surprise the natives. Neither had ever been blessed with
children, neither had ever attempted to make a garment such as they
fashioned in their minds for Alfred.

The original that Alfred's suit was patterned after was a military
uniform worn by John Stevenson in the War of 1848 between Mexico and the
United States.

As the faded garment was brought from the garret and Alfred, with
wood-ashes and vinegar brightened up the ornaments and medals, he
thought John had been a mighty general, judging from the medals he wore.
When he learned John was only a fifer his admiration for him greatly
increased and often he coaxed John to play the old tunes that cheered
the warriors on to victory in the many battles John graphically
described not recorded in history.

Lacy with a pair of sheep shears cut out the coat, while Aunt Betsy held
the pattern down on the heavy grey cloth. The goods were of the
home-made quality, known as "linsey-woolsey," a material worn by farmers
almost universally in those days. The household scissors were too dull
to cut it, hence the sheep shears were pressed into service by Lacy.

The coat cut, Alfred had to stand out in the entry while the women used
his nether garments to pattern by. The door a little ajar, Alfred
impatiently watched the two women cut out the pants. Lacy remarked,
after he had asked for his pants twice:

"Land sakes! Have a little patience. You climb trees, run through
thickets, till you're rags and tatters, and I hope when we get these
clothes done you'll settle down and save them to wear when you go

The women decided, or rather endeavored, to make the suit after the cut
of the uniforms worn by the soldiers. Lacy insisted that a blouse would
not look well on Alfred and it was decided to make him a jacket at the
bottom "close fittin'" as Lacy expressed it.

Nothing like this suit was ever seen before or after the war. Angles and
folds were, where should have been smoothness; too short at the bottom,
too high at the top, too tight where they should have been loose and
vice versa. The jacket was short in the waist and high in the neck. Lacy
remarked as they basted the thing that there seemed too much cloth in
some parts but she thought it would take up in the sewing. The surplus
cloth in the west side of the pants hung to the boy's calves, covering
the limbs that far down. Therefore, it was difficult to decide at a
distance where the jacket ended and the pants began. In fact, the boy,
from a backside view at a little distance, seemed to be wearing a
long-tailed coat.

Going from you, Alfred looked like a grown man; coming towards you he
looked more natural. Wherever there appeared a bunch or angle that
seemed out of place, Lacy endeavored to modify the over abundance by
tacking on one of the ornaments taken from the old uniform of which a
great number were used. The shoulders of the jacket seemed to fit to
suit Lacy, therefore she used the epaulets from the shoulders of the old
soldier's uniform elsewhere. The seat of the pants hanging so low, Lacy
said looked too bare, whereupon she tacked the epaulets on that part of
the pants, with the yellow and red fringe hanging down.

There was a very large lump resembling "Richard the Third's" hump; on
this Lacy perched a brass eagle with wings spread as if about to fly off
with the coat. Red and yellow stripes ran up and down the outside seam
of the pants.

Lacy said they "looked so purty it was a shame the folds of the cloth
kivered so much of the stripe"; she "allowed it was too bad that more of
the folds had not found their way into the seat of the pants cos it
wa'n't noticed there, the epaulets hid it."

Lacy had such a great quantity of this yellow and red material, she
insisted on running a double row around the cuffs of the coat and
around the bottom of the pants. Aunt Betsy gently dissented but Lacy
seemed the moving spirit in the project and the elder woman deferred to
her. The aunt said the only fear she had was that folks might think the
suit too gaudy. Aunt Betsy said she feared they had not sewed the braid
on straight or the pants wouldn't pucker so at the knees.

All the ornaments, space could not be found for elsewhere, were tacked
on the cap. The vizor or brim was the only disappointment to the women.
No stiff leather procurable, they used cardboard and blackened it with
shoe polish. This soon broke and crumpled. Lacy remarked:

"The blame rim spiles the whole outfit."

It dangled in Alfred's eyes all the time, hence he generally wore the
vizor behind.

The soldier clothes were to Alfred a thing of beauty and joy until he
went to town. Alfred collected all the country boys he could enlist and
called them the "Red Stone Blues." He found an old, rusty sword, its
scabbard a load, yet he carried it wherever he went. Others of his
company had corn cutters, old scythes and muskets.

Alfred attempted to drill the boys as he had seen the home guards and
Sam Graham's Zouaves do in town. Two old stove pipes were mounted on
wheels for cannon.

It was Alfred's ambition to ride at the head of his command as did the
commander of the Ringold Cavalry, but Lacy had attached the epaulets to
the seat of Alfred's trousers as they came from the shoulders of the old
coat, and the tin shape frames prevented Alfred assuming any attitude
while in the uniform than that of standing. When Alfred spoke to Lacy as
to the advisability of changing the location of the epaulets she
explained that they had nothing suitable to replace them. When Alfred
complained he could not sit down, Lacy said:

"Law sakes, you shouldn't think of it. Them 'air things are too purty to
kiver up."

The battle of Bull Run had been fought. The country was ablaze with
excitement, war and rumors of war, war stories, war talk. Everybody was
up in arms, soldiers moving everywhere, as the locality was not far from
where battles were soon expected.

Uncle Joe and Aunt Betsy went to town to hear the news. Alfred, left
alone, marshalled his hosts in battle array.

In the romance of Pierce Forrest, a young knight being dubbed by King
Alexander, he was so elated he galloped into the woods, cut and slashed
trees until he eased his effervescence and convinced the army he was a
most courageous soldier.

Alfred at the head of his army, strode down the column as Jupiter is
said to have strode down the spheres as he hurled his thunderbolts at
the Titans.

Alfred and his army charged and recharged, Uncle Joe's hedge fence. On
and on they charged, coming on the enemy standing ten deep in line,
asking or giving no quarter; the enemy fell bruised and bleeding. Every
stalk of Uncle Joe's broom corn patch lay on the ground, not one stalk
standing to tell the tale.

How vain are the baubles of war. Alfred standing in the midst of the
field of slaughter--he could not sit down--heard a roar that froze his
hot blood and scattered his army to the winds of anywhere and to the

Uncle Joe, returning, had witnessed the slaughter of his broom corn from
the top of the hill by the big shell-bark hickory nut trees. His yells
not only struck terror to Alfred's heart but Black Fan and other stock
broke from the fields into the big road where they stood trembling.

[Illustration: Alfred's Redstone Blues]

Lacy said she hadn't heard Uncle Joe chirp since he was baptized. When
he hit his finger with a hammer she felt certain he would "break out,"
but he stuck to his religion.

As he crossed the apex of the hill and saw the broom corn falling before
Alfred and his minions, the roar that floated across the flat sounded
very much like:


When Alfred saw Ajax drawing nearer, his sword fell from his hand and
Alfred fell on the broom corn, an object of abject fear. Ajax grabbed
him by the nape of the neck and seat of his uniform, nearly ruining one
of the epaulets.

Never was warrior so ignobly driven or dragged from a field of victory.
Aunt Betsy could find no excuse for Alfred. Broom corn was a necessity
in the household work. Every farmer made his own brooms.

After a very short trial by court martial it was decided that the
country was too quiet for Alfred and that he should be transferred to
town at once.

Although tried and found guilty, Alfred, to his delight, was permitted
to retain his side-arms and wear his uniform. The next day, standing
between Aunt Betsy and Uncle Joe in the old buggy driving the old mare,
he began the journey home. He was arrayed in full regimentals, the brim
of the cap turned behind, his yellow hair hanging in strings, (it had
never been curled since he went to the country).

Everyone they met cast admiring glances at Alfred's uniform. The aunt
was proud of the attention attracted. Passing through Sandy Hollow, Sid
Gaskill, the roughest girl in the neighborhood, motioned the buggy to
stop. As Sid inspected Alfred she requested him to turn around. Looking
him over she asked:

"Who made 'em?" referring to the uniform.

Alfred promptly replied:

"Lacy Hare helped Aunt Betsy make 'em."

The aunt's face showed her satisfaction. Not even when Sid inquired if
the clothes were made to wear in a show did the aunt's pride in Alfred's
suit diminish, although the inference is that it was the military
character of the clothes rather than the cloth or fit, she was proud of,
as Aunt Betsy was very patriotic.

All the way to town she was picturing what a surprise the suit would be
to Mary and John, and it was.

Alfred was driving the old mare as she had not been driven in years.
Uncle Joe made him slow down. Uncle Joe sometimes exceeded the speed
limit leaving town but usually went in at a respectable gait.

Alfred's desire to see the loved ones at home was so strong that he
jumped out of the buggy as they entered the town. Running ahead of the
buggy he passed Uncle Bill's: Waving a welcome to Martha and Hester, who
stood in the front yard, he regarded their laughter as evidence of their
pleasure at seeing him back home again.

When Martha shouted, "What devilment are you up to now?" he never
imagined it was his appearance that so amused the girls.

Over the fence, across lots to the rear of the house he scampered. Lin
was out mopping the floor of the back porch. Perched on the top of the
fence he caught sight of her.

"Hello, Lin? How-dye?"

Lin heard the voice. She did not recognize the speaker at once.

"Hello, Lin?" he shouted again.

Lin shaded her eyes, gazed hard at the boy, dropped the mop, and Alfred
heard her call:

"My Gawd, Mary! Come out here, quick!"

The mother appeared as Alfred neared the house. Looking curiously at
him, she covered her face with her apron and began to laugh. Lin ran
into the house screaming and laughing. The boy stood abashed. The mother
motioned him to approach her, pushing him into the house. She obtained a
view of the rear of the warrior's uniform and a fresh outburst of
laughter prevented her even speaking to him. Lin and the mother clasped
each other in their arms as they swayed, weakened with laughter. Lin was
the first to recover her speech. The boy's feelings were hurt.

"Where's your regular clothes?" Lin first asked, "you bin in a-swimmin'
agin and lost 'em, I reckon."

The children came romping home from school, Sister Lizzie rolled on the
floor as she caught sight of the boy and asked Lin, between screams:
"Who dressed brother Al up like that?"

The mother ordered him to remain in the room until they got other
clothes for him. They did not want the neighbors to see him dressed as
he was.

The boy's spirit began to assert itself.

"Laugh, if you feel like it. Lacy Hare and Aunt Betsy made me these
clothes, they're regular soldier clothes. I'll bet if you laugh at them
when Aunt Betsy comes she will tell you something. I don't see nothin'
to laugh at."

"Landsakes," spoke up Lin, "step in the parlor and look at yerself. Ef
you don't laugh you're not the kind I took ye fer."

Alfred did laugh and he got out of the clothes mighty quickly. Lin was
delegated to explain to Aunt Betsy why they changed Alfred's clothes so

Aunt Betsy informed them:

"The boy had jes' romped until he was most naked. They didn't want to
send to town for clothes for him, so Lacy and her jes' banded together
and made him the suit. They had plenty of time and they concluded to
make him a suit different from any other boy's. And it warn't much
trouble to trim it up and make it nice rather than to make it plain. It
took two days more to trim it than it did to make it."

Lin told the good, honest soul they could not think of Alfred wearing
the clothes every day in town. "We'll keep 'em off him 'til the next
battle and when the peepul are all sad over their friends that's been
killed, we'll dress him up and send him down the street."

Many years afterwards, the writer, rummaging through the garret of the
old home, the odd garments fashioned by Lacy Hare and Aunt Betsy were
discovered. Recollections of the mirth they aroused when first brought
to the notice of the family, prompted the carrying of the old musty
outfit to the sitting room below.

But somehow the odd looking suit failed to excite any merriment. It was
rather regarded with reverence. The sight of it sent the thoughts of all
traveling back to other and happier days. The mother thought of those
whose kindly hands had fashioned the fantastic garments; of an elder
sister who had filled a mother's place in the family. She remembered a
happy home, its like unknown in all the country about, where hospitality
was liberally dispensed, visitors always welcome. She thought of the
first wife's passing, the coming of another to the big house. The
lowering of the family name by the second marriage. The shunning of the
old home by friends and relatives; of the rapid decline of the master;
evil associates whom he preferred to those who had honored and loved
him; the estrangement of family and friends.

In her mind she could see in him a bent old man, prematurely old,
leaving his home to seek shelter with strangers, lost to the sight of
former friends, his whereabouts known only when the final summons came
to him; his identity made known by his last request:

"I have left money with George Gallagher to bury me. Bury me beside

And in her mind she saw two graves side by side, one with a marker
reading "My Beloved Wife," the other unmarked.

The mother softly said as she folded the coat and nether garments:

"Put them away again."


    Backward, turn backward, oh, time in your flight,
    Make me a child again, just for tonight.

"Help is mighty skeerse an' ye got to take what ye kin git," was Lin's
answer to the query of a neighbor as to why they had re-employed Cousin
Charley after the confusion he had created in the family of Alfred.

Cousin Charley was sent to the country on an errand that was supposed to
consume a couple of hours.

It was Circus day. The head of the family gave the boys sufficient money
to pay their way from side-show to concert.

That they might not miss any of the sights of Circus day, Charley
arranged with Lin to serve breakfast by 5 a. m., to give him an early
start, enabling him to return by 8 o'clock and take Alfred to the circus
grounds to remain all day, the custom of the country folk in those days.

Many families brought their lunch with them and picnicked on the show
grounds. Among them was Abner Linn, a large man noted for his appetite
and great strength. Abner was making his way through the crowd on Circus
day, clearing a path, as it were, for his delicate little wife and more
than half a dozen children. The frail little woman carried a large
basket filled with eatables. The basket was more than a load and the
little woman struggled to keep near her muscular husband. Glancing back
and noticing the wife faltering, he relieved her of the basket and
started forward at a faster walk than before.

Gentle Harry Mason admiringly complimented him by saying:

"Abner, that was very kind and thoughtful of you to carry that heavy
basket for your wife."

Ab, with a leer, said: "Gosh, I was afeard she'd get lost."

Alfred cried to go to the country with Charley. Lin said:

"Ye'll be so tired ye can't enjoy the show ef ye walk out thar an' back
so early in the mornin'."

Go Alfred would. Up Town Hill, through Sandy Hollow, through the old
toll gate to Thornton's Lane where the boys were to turn off the old
pike. But they did not turn off. They lingered under the big locust
trees throwing stones at birds and against the high fence surrounding
the Fair Grounds where Black Fan had won her famous race. The circus was
coming in on the old pike from Uniontown. All circus travel was overland
in those days.

Cousin Charley argued if they did not see the show come in they'd miss
one of the big sights of the day: they had plenty of time. The show
would pass that way soon and Alfred was only too willing to linger.

The dew, sparkling like diamonds as it lay on grass and plant, had
disappeared; a summer's sun was pouring its direct rays on the old pike.
Cousin Charley prevailed on the younger boy to continue the journey
further eastward on the pike until they met the wagons. Cousin Charley
explained that he was familiar with a short cut to their destination,
and as they crossed the creek they would have a swim.

This met with the hearty approval of Alfred. The boys walked out the old
highway, passing Captain Abram's fine farm where Charley had dug
potatoes on the shares, on beyond Uncle Jack's big stone house, nearly
to Redstone School-house ere the circus wagons were met. As the wagons
rolled by, the boys conjectured as to what each contained. There were no
animal vans as the menagerie had not combined with the circus in those
days. The big, gold-mounted band wagon, followed by a dozen passenger
wagons, buggies and hacks, a half dozen led ring horses and ponies,
passed, and the cavalcade was lost in the dust.

Striking across the fields the boys were soon on the banks of Dunlap's
Creek. Instead of the gently flowing stream in which they expected to
bathe their heated bodies, they found a raging, muddy torrent, fast
flowing, spreading over bottom lands, water half way up the stalks of
the growing corn.

Cousin Charley declared the water too muddy for bathing purposes; but he
would undress, construct a raft of the plentiful rails that had lodged
along the banks of the creek, and seating Alfred on the raft, he would
swim, pushing the raft across the creek.

Cousin Charley began constructing the raft near the creek bank proper,
where the water was backed into the field. He dragged the rails through
the water, sometimes lying down and swimming, at other times diving
under the water. Alfred could not resist the temptation to undress and
assist with the raft.

[Illustration: The Life Raft]

When completed, Cousin Charley seated Alfred on the top of the raft, the
clothing of both boys being piled on his lap that they might not get
wet. The raft was pushed off, Cousin Charley insisting that he was a
stern wheel tow boat, kicking his feet out of the water to imitate the
splash of the wheel. The boat did not make great headway but backed and
went ahead as the raft floated down the creek. The banks were steeper on
either side, therefore, the tow boat decided to go down the stream a
little further ere landing. In fact, the towboat was having such a good
time he did not fully realize the current was carrying his tow rapidly
towards the old mill dam. Neither did the passenger on the raft realize
this until he noticed a changed expression on the face of the tow boat.
He further realized that the tow boat was laboring powerfully.

In rounding a bend in the stream the tow actually swung around in the
current, the tow boat not having power to prevent it. The younger boy
for the first time noticed the roaring of the old dam, a fact the boy
doing the towing had been aware of and terribly worried over for some

In his excitement, the younger boy stood up on the raft.

"Set down! Set down!" frantically yelled the boy in the water.

Another alarming fact presented itself at this juncture. Several of the
under rails had worked out and were only connected to the raft by one
end. This caused the raft to settle on the port side and the younger boy
could no longer keep his seat, fearing he would tumble off backwards
into the stream.

The boys became more and more excited, the roar of the old dam grew
nearer and nearer. Louder and louder came the noise of the waters
tumbling over it. Both boys pictured themselves being swept over the dam
into the whirlpool below. No victim of Niagara's treacherous tides ever
neared his doom with greater terror. Down, down, floated rails and
cargo; Cousin Charley struggling as he never did before; Alfred
screaming as he never did before or since.

When Cousin Charley began shouting for help, the younger boy became
hysterical. The roar of the rushing water seemed to drown all other
sounds and Cousin Charley's voice, though he shouted at the top of his
lungs' strength, sounded to Alfred's ears like a voice in the distance.

"Set down! Set down! For God's sake, set down! You'll fall off. Set
down!" yelled Cousin Charley.

Instead of obeying, Alfred clambered higher and higher on the rails,
waving his shirt frantically and shouting for help. The shirt served as
a signal of distress.

Morg Gaskill was in the field above the Young House. He saw the shirt
waving. The roar of the waters drowned the boys' voices. Gaskill,
rushing to the saw-mill, grabbed a log hook and ran up the banks of the

The boys could see the break of the water as it rushed over the crest of
the dam and the white, foamy splashes as it bounded up from where it
fell below. Cousin Charley was barely holding on to the tow; Alfred was
sinking down on the almost disintegrated raft.

Gaskill, muscular and active, rushed into the water up to his middle,
shot the pole out. The hook caught over the rails, but they pulled out.
Alfred fell on them as the raft drifted apart. Down went all of
Charley's wearing apparel excepting his big straw hat and one shoe which
Alfred clutched unconsciously in one hand. As Alfred fell forward on the
rails he grabbed the hook or pole and held on for dear life as Gaskill
pulled him ashore, more dead than alive.

The elder boy was floated off holding onto two rails. It was but a
moment until the strong young man had both lads ashore. They dragged the
hook along the bottom of the creek but not a vestige of the clothes of
either could be found. Charley had one shoe and a large straw hat.
Alfred had a shirt, rather long, and a hat.

Explanations were gone into. Gaskill went into the house, returning with
an old rubber boot, a calico shirt and a pair of corduroy pants. Many
patches made their original material a matter of doubt. He explained
that was the best he could do for Charley and said:

"I don't know what we will do for the chap," scanning Alfred, "unless he
wears one of Hannah's dresses," which Cousin Charley endeavored to
persuade Alfred to do.

Alfred declared he would sneak home as best he could with only the
shirt. The boy realized that Cousin Charley would never cease teasing
him if he wore the dress.

Alfred's body was covered with mud, Cousin Charley insisted that he go
down to the water's brink and wash the mud from his body but Alfred
could not be prevailed upon to go near the creek.

A large pail of very cold water was fetched from the well. With a
mischievousness little short of cruelty, the water was poured on
Alfred's head, streaming down over his body, his teeth chattered, his
lips turned blue.

The women folks of the house were coming, so Alfred ran into the high
grass to hide; while Cousin Charley and Gaskill renewed their search of
the creek for the lost clothes. The house had been searched and nothing
suitable to clothe Alfred could be found. There were no boys in the

There was a whispered consultation and one of the women hastened to the
house. Returning, she handed Gaskill a white linen garment. He walked
towards Alfred, his face distorted, endeavoring to suppress his

Gaskill, unrolling the something made of muslin, commanded Alfred to get
into it. As he put one foot through the upheld opening, he caught sight
of Cousin Charley's face and his attempted concealment of laughter. This
so exasperated Alfred that he did not notice the garment he was being
encased in. He upbraided Cousin Charley for his unseemly levity:

"Yes, laugh, you durn big fool! Laugh! You was skeered more than I was.
Dog-gone ye, it was all your fault. If we had drowned you would have
been to blame, then I reckon you'd laughed tuther side of your mouth.
You big fool, you."

By this time Gaskill had the muslin garment fastened on Alfred. The
waistband, which was too wide, Gaskill doubled over and pinned it. The
legs were the same size all the way down, extending only a little below
the knees. The seat seemed to have a surplus similar to the uniform
Lacy Hare had fashioned, although this part of the garment stood off
from his person, not clinging like the heavy material of the military

Alfred, surveying himself as they walked towards the house where Mr.
Young had invited them to have a bite of dinner, "after their skeer,"
began to realize that the linen garments he wore were similar to those
that Lin washed last and never hung on the line in the front yard where
the men came in. This discovery did not prevent him laughing at himself.

[Illustration: "I Won't Go Through Town with Them Things On"]

Alfred hesitatingly entered the house. Gaskill and Cousin Charley were
tittering and laughing. Gaskill inquired: "Well, how are you going to
git home?"

Charley replied: "I reckon I'll have to hide him out 'til after dark or
send him on ahead for, by the eternal, I won't go through town with him
with them things on."

Old Mrs. Young, gently leading the abashed boy to the table, spoke words
of assurance, reproving the men for their levity.

The Youngs were of the Dunkard faith, a religious sect numerous in the

On their way home Alfred was the more hilarious of the two. In a spirit
of bravado he declared he intended to walk right down the main street
crowded as it would be on circus day. He further declared his intention
to tell Pap and Mother the whole story--just how it happened.

Alfred seemed to have the better of the bigger and older boy. In fact,
during the past year Alfred had been gradually gaining the mastery of
Cousin Charley insofar as mind was concerned.

It has been said that each mind has its own method, no two reason and
think alike. Alfred seemed to think quicker than Cousin Charley and
often turned the tables on the older boy in a mental contest. On this
occasion Cousin Charley finally gained the mastery by his threats not to
take the younger boy to the circus.

It was agreed that Cousin Charley should tell the folks of the day's
adventure. As they neared home their mirth diminished as their fears
increased: how to run the gauntlet, as it were. So far they had avoided
the highways, skulking through thicket and fields. As they neared the
old Smouse place, now occupied by Mart Massie as a dairy farm, the
milkman was hitching up preparatory to making his usual rounds.

Cousin Charley, perhaps feeling it would be a good rehearsal, recounted
the story he had concocted to relate to Alfred's parents. The milkman
was greatly interested in the thrilling narrative and consented to store
the boys in the back end of the milk wagon, delivering them when he
delivered the milk to their folks. The boys thought it a very long milk
route. Alfred had Cousin Charley as nearly nervous as his nature would
permit by more than once threatening to get out and walk home.

When they neared home, passing through Church Street, Alfred made a move
to leave the wagon, crawling over the end gate backwards, his limbs
dangling outside, his head and body hid by the closely drawn curtains.
Cousin Charley, after struggling, pulled him into the wagon under cover.

[Illustration: "If Ye Ain't Lyin' About This and I'm Hopin' Ye Air"]

Several women had caught sight of the limbs and the unmentionable
garments. While the driver was entirely ignorant of the cause, he was
forever disgraced on this part of his route. An old Scotch lady declared
to several of her neighbors the "shameless hussy was bare to the kilt."

Arriving in front of Alfred's home, Cousin Charley hustled him into the
house the front way as Lin came up the path from the back part of the
house in answer to the bell of the milkman, who was of the gossiping
kind, and managed to give Lin the outlines of Cousin Charley's story as
he drew the milk and cream from his large cans.

Lin could scarcely wait until he poured the milk into her pitcher.
Giving the milk vendor a withering look, she slammed the gate and

"I'll bet a fippennybit that's another of Charley's durn lies."

Hurrying into the kitchen she seized a rolling pin, her favorite weapon.
Two stairs at a time she bounded, reaching the room where Cousin Charley
had related about half of the harassing details of the rescue of Alfred.
This was his story:

"He had stopped to rest. Alfred got out of his sight in some way. He
heard screams from the creek. He saw Alfred floating down the stream on
a log which he had been paddling around in the shallow water. It was but
the work of a moment to disrobe. Plunging into the raging torrent he had
to swim for dear life to overtake the fast floating boy on the log. He
had just managed to land him before the dam was reached. A moment later
and they would both have been carried over the dam to certain

The mother was faint with nervousness and sadly shook her head as she

"That boy will be the death of me yet. His disobedience is something I
cannot understand. No wonder his father is out of patience with him."

Lin was watching Charley closely, occasionally casting side glances at
Alfred. She had a gleam in her eyes that made Charley falter more than
once in his narration.

Charley was still in the details when Lin interrupted him with:

"Durn yer pictur', ye nivir take this boy anywhar yer not back with a
cock and bull story. Next ye'll be fightin' Injuns or gypsies to save
Alfurd and it all amounts to Alfurd gittin' whupped an' somethin, fer ye
to laff over."

Here she brandished the rolling pin over Charley, raising herself higher
as the boy shrank from her threatening motions.

"Ef ye ain't lyin' 'bout this, an' I'm hopin' ye air, we ought to be
mighty thankful to ye. But I'm boun' to hev the truth. Set down, or I'll
knock ye down."

"'Al-f-u-r-d,' I want ye to stan' up like a little man. Ye nivir tol' me
a lie 'cept when ye stol' us hungry carryin' vittles to this houn'," as
she pointed to the thoroughly frightened Charley, who whined:

"That's all the thanks I git for risking my life."

"Shet up," Lin almost yelled, "ye'll not tell one word of this to Mr.

"Stan' up 'Al-f-u-r-d' an' look this helgrimite in the face an' shame
the devil. Didn't he push ye in the creek?"

"No, ma'am," falteringly. "I went in myself."

Charley began to look triumphant.

"Did he pull you out?"

"No, ma'am, Morg Gaskill pulled us both out."

Lin fairly hissed: "I knowed ye was lyin'."

Thus encouraged, Alfred graphically related the adventures of the day,
not omitting any of the details save the dangling of his limbs out of
the milk wagon.

Charley was taken aback and thereafter his credibility was destroyed in
so far as the mother and Lin were concerned. He pouted and endeavored to
deny portions of the younger boy's recital but was met with such
positive assertions from Alfred that he retired entirely discomfited.

Lin's only comment was: "Durn ye; I'd be afeard to put my head in a
circus, much less a church." Lin looked upon one with as much reverence
as the other.

The boys missed the afternoon performance but were there early for the
night show. At the opening note of the hand organ in the side-show
Cousin Charley and Alfred were inside. The orator had eloquently
described the curiosities pictured on the long line of banners in front
of the side-show. But the most alluring object had not been mentioned,
namely, a long show case filled with jewelry, symbolic numbers, bank
notes of all denominations. A dice box on top of the glass-covered case
was the means by which the yokels were assured they could extract the
jewelry, bank notes, etc.

The father had given Charley ample funds to cover admission fees to all
shows and a liberal allowance for refreshments. Alfred was very much
interested in the big snake and the lady whom the lecturer introduced as
a snake charmer.

The lecturer announced that the performance was over, but another would
be given in fifteen minutes. All those wishing to remain for the next
performance were privileged to do so. Those congregated around the show
case whereon the dice rattled were the only ones to remain.

Alfred heard the man behind the case saying: "Try your luck again, young
man. You were within one number of the capital prize. You can't win it
every time. Try again."

Charley did try again and again. He did not win the capital prize but in
lieu of $4 he had two brass rings, a pair of brass cuff buttons and a
lead pencil with a sharpener on the end of it.

The shades of night were falling. The lights in the big tent could be
seen over the side wall. Hundreds of candles on a pyramid-shaped
candelabra made of boards. Think of it, ye modern Ringlings, candles the
only lights!

The band playing, Alfred imagined the show going on: the horses going
around. All the glories and beauties he had been anticipating for weeks
would be lost to him. He implored Cousin Charley to hurry up and
purchase their tickets.

Hundreds were buying tickets. The big red wagon was open, the ticket
seller handling the pasteboards with lightning-like rapidity. It was Ben
Lusbie. He was the lightning ticket seller of the circus world. Such was
his dexterity that Forepaugh afterwards lithographed him as an

Alfred's urgent appeals to "hurry and get our tickets" were lost upon
Cousin Charley. He was seemingly dazed. The man at the big door shouted:
"Everybody hold their own ticket; all must have tickets."

The hustle and confusion made Alfred still more impatient. He gave the
older boy's arm a rough jerk as he urged him to get their tickets.
Cousin Charley seemed to wake up and the awful truth was
revealed--Cousin Charley had been robbed. Alfred must stand right there
until he took the jewelry back to the side show and recovered his money.

Alfred stood right there. Hundreds passed him, laughing and crowding
into the big show. The longer Alfred waited the more miserable he
became. Despair came over him. He waited, Cousin Charley did not come.
The crowd thinned out; deeper and deeper Alfred's heart sank within him.

Anger began to take the place of disappointment. He would beat Cousin
Charley black and blue with the first thing he could lay his hands on.
He would expose all he had been concealing in a hundred mean things
Charley had been guilty of.

The band played louder in the big tent. The feeling that he was missing
all came back to him stronger than ever, bringing the hot tears to his
eyes. They rolled down his cheeks until it seemed they would dampen the
earth at his feet.

Alfred saw a large man pushing his way to the ticket wagon. It was
Doctor Bob Playford, the biggest whole-souled friend any boy ever had.
When the circus came, it was the custom of Bob Playford to wait until
the crowd got in, then, collecting all the boys on the lot who could not
command the price of admission, make a contract with the door-keeper and
put them all in the show.

There are scores of men now, boys then, whose prayers have gone up that
kind hearted Bob Playford found it as easy to enter the gates above as
he made it for them to enter that heaven to a boy below--the circus.

Alfred knew full well that Doctor Playford would buy him a ticket but
his pride would not permit him to ask this.

Accompanying the Doctor were Willie Playford, his son, and Bob Kennedy,
his nephew. The boys, recognizing Alfred, asked if he were going in the
show. Endeavoring to swallow a big lump in his throat, his voice choked
as he answered: "No."

"Were you there this afternoon?"

Again Alfred answered: "No."

No longer able to restrain himself he told of Charley's folly. The
Doctor, approaching, Alfred's story was repeated, as it progressed,
Alfred's sobbing and crying increased.

The Doctor, giving him a sympathetic look and a rough shake, said: "Now
stop crying, stop crying, you dam little fool. When the circus comes to
town you always come to me and I'll see that you get in."

The big Doctor, Alfred and the boys were seated long before the
performance began, Alfred forgetting Cousin Charley, the raft, the
garments he had dangled out of the milk wagon; in fact all the trials
and tribulations of life were as fleeting dreams. Happiness lingered
within his whole being. The sights and wonders, the clowns were all
flitting before him. The evening was one of bewilderment and enchantment
to the boy.

The old clown was his especial delight. He fairly shouted at his quips
and antics. When the mules were brought in and $5 offered to the boy or
man who could ride one of them, Alfred was tempted to make the trial. He
felt certain he could do better than those who were being cast off like
babies by the agile animals.

The show over, they started with the crowd toward the door. A whistle
sounded, the walls of the tent fell as if by magic. The Doctor and the
boys stood a long time watching the tents lowered.

As they passed up the narrow passage leading from the show lot to the
street, Cousin Charley met them, his appearance evidencing his shame and
disappointment. The Doctor began chiding him.

Charley, in his illuminating way, explained that he went into the side
show, and the man coaxed him to shake the dice. He shook and came within
one every time he shook of winning the capital prize. He left the game,
was induced to go back and shake again and the first dash out of the box
he won the capital prize. They refused to give it to him, grabbed the
money he had in his hand and put him out of the tent. He had been up on
the hill to see Squire Wilkinson to swear out a warrant for their arrest
but the Squire was at prayer-meeting. (They always have prayer meeting
when the circus comes to town). He ran back to find the man who took his

"If I'd found him, I'd licked him or he'd licked me," concluded Charley.

The big Doctor playfully straightened out his powerful arm, pushing
Charley backwards. Gazing at him in a humorously contemptuous manner as
he said:

"Look here, my boy, you lie. You were gambling? No one but a country
Jake would try to beat that game. I lost two dollars on that eight dice
case myself. Now let me give you a little advice: 'Don't bet on another
man's game unless you have money at home, for you are sure to lose all
you have with you.'"

Alfred and Cousin Charley wended their way home Alfred endeavored to
express his sympathy in detailing the wondrous sights he had witnessed
in the circus. Alfred was sorry for Cousin Charley and while his
intentions were commendable his descriptions of the circus only added to
the disappointment and chagrin of the elder boy.

That night Alfred dreamed of heaven in his happiness. He dreamed that
heaven was one big circus, with angels in pink tights and clowns
capering on the golden streets. Peanuts and candy were heaped in piles
invitingly, free to all. He dreamed of a big, blue-eyed man who stood at
the Golden Gates and passed all the boys in free and when they
did not come of their own accord he beckoned to them. He seemed to enjoy
the happiness of the boys more than the boys themselves.

Next morning at breakfast the wonders of the circus were gone over
again. Alfred did not breathe a word as to Cousin Charley's loss of the
money at the gaming table.

Since the night of the circus Alfred had busied himself preparing to
give his first show. The costumes and a place to give the exhibition
seemed to worry him more than the entertainment he was to offer.

Lin was his assistant. It might be more proper to state that Lin was the
prime mover, and the director of the proposed exhibition, although Lin
kept her activity concealed from the other members of the family. She
explained her participation in the coming show thusly:

"Well, it's better fer a body to keep yer yungins to hum even ef it does
clutter up the house to hev their fun. Alfurd's mos' crazy 'bout bein' a
circus clown an' ye'd die laffin' to see the little cuss cuttin' didoes.
I'd rather see him doin' it than hev him trapesin' the streets like
Bill's Charley."

Lin never lost an opportunity to cast a reflection on Charley.

Alfred, Lin and the mother were seated at the breakfast table,
discussing Alfred's show. Ways and means were the subjects. The mother
was an interested listener, although a quiet dissenter. She could not
understand how Alfred, even with Lin's aid, could offer anything in the
way of a show to entertain even children.

The price of admission was to be two ten-penny nails. The boat building
industry was thriving and the boys often went aboard a new boat picking
up the nails the carpenters let fall in their work. The nail idea was
Lin's and we must accord her some degree of originality.

"Pins had always been the equivalent for cash for admission to amatoor
shows." Lin said "our show." She always said "our show" when talking to
the neighbors. When the show was referred to at home it was "Alfred's

Costumes were the perplexity of Alfred. He desired "purty" clothes: it
made the acting look better.

Lin added: "Purty duds makes a lot in a show, or in meetin'," meanwhile
looking mischievously at the mother. She said to Alfred: "Ye've got a
tolerable good start fur as ye're concerned yerself, with the two suits
ye fetched hum lately--the soldier suit Lacy Hare and Aunt Betsy made ye
an' the one Mrs. Young lent ye."

Morg Gaskill had requested the return of the latter mentioned garments
but Alfred's climbing of fences, running through briar patches and
dangling out of milk wagons had pretty well used the garments up. The
mother therefore in return sent similar garments.

Alfred insisted that the unmentionables Mrs. Young loaned him should be
the basis of his clown suit. Although Alfred has worn many grotesque
costumes since, none ever more strongly appealed to the risibilities of
an audience than did those same garments. Lin said they were "the
funniest fit she ever seed an' she wondered to gawd who they ever wuz
made fer. Two meal sacks fastened together would fit jes' as well."

The show passed off as amateur shows generally do, with a great many
hitches, accidents and quarrels. The night was a stormy one, without and
within. The audience all came early and stood around the kitchen stove
while Alfred and the other performers robed themselves, for there were
no dressing rooms. Lin commanded the audience to turn their faces and
look toward the stove while the actors were dressing.

The audience were compelled to go through the kitchen to gain entrance
to the place of exhibition, the cellar. On Lin would fall the labor of
cleaning up next day; therefore, as each auditor appeared at the kitchen
door, Lin shouted: "Wipe yer feet 'fore ye come in."

That the show might go on without hindrance, or for some other reason,
the father and mother visited a neighbor that night. This was a great
relief to Alfred and Lin.

Lin said: "Ef Mary ever sees this kitchen afore I git at it in the
mornin' she'll hev a fit of the conniptions."

The show was very unsatisfactory to Alfred. He was dissatisfied with his
company and declared they "couldn't do nuthin'." One or two weakened at
the last moment. When looked for to take their place in the ring they
were found seated or standing among the audience and no persuasion from
the manager or the audience could induce them to go on with their part
of the performance. This was exasperating to Alfred. He either enacted
their roles or explained the part they were expected to perform.

Lin went wild over his impersonations of Daniel Boone, Santa Anna and
Davy Crockett. Lin said: "I tell ye what, Lacy Hare's soldier suit come
in jes' right."

Young Bill Colvin, a nephew of Uncle Joe's neighbor, was seated near the
ringside. He plucked at one of the epaulets while Davy Crockett was
supposed to be holding the cabin door against the wolves. This ruffled
the temper of Davy to such an extent that he smote Bill. Bill smote
back. Over and over they rolled on the cellar floor. Davy might have
been a mighty man pitted against the wolves, but Bill Colvin was getting
the better of him until Lin rushed to the rescue.

Parting the combatants, young Colvin was rushed to the door, flung half
way across the street by Lin and the door slammed in his face. Lin was
more loudly applauded than any other part of the show.

She made a speech:

"Ef there's any other freckled faced willun here thet's goin' to do
anythin' to bust up this show, now's the time fer 'em to wade in while
I'm het up. Huh, Bill Colvin thinks caus' his daddy's rich he kin do
anythin' he wants to, but he'll find he's up agin a stump when he starts
a fuss in this shanty."

Lin's sunny disposition was rarely crossed by shadows, but she was
terribly angry and the best of order was maintained for the remainder of
the evening.

Although there was no visible evidence of the mud and dirt tracked into
the kitchen by the audience, the next morning the mother forever put the
ban on future shows in so far as the cellar or kitchen were concerned.

Lin had constructed a rude candelabra after the style of the one in the
circus. It was left hanging in the cellar. Lin lit them up when Aunt
Betsy came on Saturday to show her how "purty" they were. Afterwards, in
the absence of Lin, the mother confidentially imparted the information
to Aunt Betsy that "Lin was crazier over such things than Alfred, and it
was pretty much all her doings."

       *       *       *       *       *

Lin had been busy for weeks, in fact, ever since the show in the cellar,
patching, sewing, and putting together old rag carpet, canvas, heavy
with paint, that had been ripped from the hurricane deck of an old

Alfred was to give another show, this time on Jeffries' Commons and
under canvas, or rather, inside of canvas. Since the night the side wall
fell as Dr. Playford and he were leaving the tent, the boy had been
revolving this plan in his mind. He felt certain he could collect, with
the aid of the boys, sufficient material to encircle the ring which had
been long constructed and used to practice in. A center pole with side
poles planted in the ground like fence posts. A top for the tent was out
of the question but nearly sufficient material had been collected to
encircle the poles, making a sidewall nearly ten feet high.

Lin had announced the price of admission at one cent and had so
extensively advertised the show by word of mouth that the children were
already visiting Alfred's home to buy tickets of admission. This
aggravated the mother more greatly than even the cellar show. The mother
feared the neighbors would think that she was interested in the show,

Lin said: "Let 'em think what they durn please. Some of 'em's in a
mighty big hurry to pay fur their tickets. Ef they'd pay back the
saleratus, salt, sugar, tea, coffee, an' sich they've borryed from us
we'd be better off. But some peepul will spend money quicker fer fun
than they will fer vittles or religion."

It was the night before the show. A consultation was held in the tent
between Alfred and his aids. There was an opening of at least ten feet
in length in the side of the tent and no canvas or other material to
close it up. Turkey Evans had brought the last strip of an old rag
carpet he had taken surreptitiously from an unused room of his home. The
two old quilts Tom White had stolen from Betsy Smart were in place with
half moons, hearts, diamonds, and sunflowers worked on them in raised
figures. They gave the tent the appearance of an Indian tepee.

Win Scott had contributed all the coffee, grain or salt sacks he could
secure by rummaging every building on Stable Street. Some of the boys
had even appropriated the aprons worn by Nimrod Potts, the shoemaker. As
Mr. Potts was of goodly size the two aprons from his shop went a long
ways toward making a partition between the tent and the dressing room.
Spliced to the bed tick Bindley Livingston had thrown out of the third
story window of his father's house, the aprons closed up the opening

But the big opening near the door was still a gaping void. After all had
confessed to their inability to furnish another yard of material, Alfred
advised that in the garret of his grandfather's home there was a large
cedar chest filled with whitest linen, three pieces of which would close
up the opening but he knew grandpap would not let him take it "caus' he
was a Baptis' and agin shows."

Win Scott argued that it would be no harm to take the linen. The fact
that it had lain there unused was proof positive they would never miss
it. Just as soon as the show was over they would take it back and no one
would ever know it but themselves.

Alfred being entirely familiar with grandfather's house it was planned
he should creep upstairs, open a window and throw sufficient of the
linen out of the garret into old man Morehouse's back yard where the
others would station themselves, carry the linen to the old school house
and secrete it until the following morning.

Alfred's limbs trembled so he could scarcely stand as he opened the back
door of the big stone house. Up the long flight of stairs he crept, the
creaking of a loose board startling him so he nearly fainted. Although
not a light burned in that part of the house, so familiar was he with
its interior that he had no difficulty in finding his way.

As he reached the top of the stairs leading to the garret, still on
hands and knees, the old furniture, odds and ends piled around
indiscriminately, took on the grotesqueness of imps, demons and other
fantastic figures. So wrought up was his imagination that nothing but
the fear of ridicule from his confederates forced him on. Crawling along
the dirty, sooty, begrimed floor, he soon located the old cedar chest.

Raising the lid, the aroma of camphor and rose leaves nearly overcame
him. Even in the dark he could discern the folds of whitest linen.
Counting out five pieces, he tiptoed to the window. With the signal--a
soft whistle--down floated the first sheet, caught by one of the boys
ere it touched the ground. The next sheet hit the brick pavement with a
thud. Partly unfolding the next two Alfred followed their fluttering
course to the earth with his gaze. He could see the white objects moving
off like specters floating through space.

They appeared so ghost-like the sight almost paralyzed him. Shaking with
nervousness, the last sheet left his hands accidently catching on the
window fastening. It spread out like a great, white bird with flapping
wings and slowly fluttered to the earth.

A door opened below. Alfred nearly collapsed. Tip-toeing across the room
he stumbled over an object on the floor causing a great racket. Falling
on the floor he crawled behind a number of old quilting frames and lay
there ever so quiet expecting momentarily to hear some of the family
ascending the stairs.

Crawling slowly to the stairs he softly descended, opened the door and
shot out into the darkness of the night. The perspiration streaming down
his face. Wiping it away with his soot begrimed hands, so blackened his
countenance his companions scarcely recognized him when he reached the
rendezvous, the old school-house on the commons.

When the last sheet fluttered down from the garret, Win Scott stepped
under it. Tommy Morehouse's back door opened. With the sheet fluttering
about him, Scott ran down the garden path and out through the barn into
Stable Street.

Nearly opposite the stable from which he had just emerged was the big
stable of the Marshall House, a tavern kept by Isaac Vance, the uncle of
Ike Stribeg, the afterwards noted circus agent.

Baggy Allison and Hughey Boggs, characters of the town, were seated on a
bench outside the door of the big stable. Scott, pulling the sheet more
closely about him and waving his arms wildly, quickly crossed the street
towards the two worthies, thinking to have some fun with them. Both
caught sight of him at the same instant. One corner of the sheet,
fluttering high in the air, it certainly was a skittish looking object
that floated down upon the two superstitious men. Over went the bench, a
chair or two, Allison stepped in a tin pail as he arose, his foot
entangled in it. The clattering of Baggy's foot in the pail added ten
fold to the terror of Hughey. He swore afterwards he could feel the
clutch of the long, bony fingers of the ghost on his neck.

[Illustration: He Could Feel the Clutch of Long, Bony Fingers on Him]

The hostlers flew, both trying to enter the narrow door of the tavern.
Wedged in the doorway, each thought the other holding him. Fighting,
cussing, scratching, they were pulled into the big tap room filled with
guests. All imagined the two hostlers were fighting and endeavored to
separate them.

Baggy Allison was very slow of speech; Hughey Boggs stuttered painfully.
After they were separated they kept up their clawing and waving.

Baggy, pointing toward the stable, blurted out: "Ghost! Ghost! Ghost
after us! Ketch it! Ketch it!"

Hughey stuttering more terribly, owing to his fright had, only got to
"Gh--gh--gh--gh," when Baggy had finished explaining the cause of their

Bud Beckley, old Johnny Holmes and Jim Hubbs, the town constable, were
the first to run towards the stable, but nothing was to be seen in any
direction. Baggy and Hughey were unmercifully scored for their
cowardice, and were ridiculed for days afterward.

Win Scott was as badly frightened as the two hostlers. The flight of the
men caused him to redouble his speed. On down Stable Street to
Playford's Alley, out along the high stone wall enclosing Nelson
Bowman's castle, on to Jeffries' Commons, formerly an old graveyard.

Here, according to report, the spook sank into a sunken grave. Albert
Baker's mother saw the apparition as did Sammy Honesty, one of Bowman's

       *       *       *       *       *

Saturday morning, the day of the show, was one of those days that nature
often bestows on Brownsville: not the fleck of a floating cloud in the
firmament above. Even the winds slept that they might not ruffle the
tranquility of the scene or Alfred's tent.

Lin was greatly disturbed over the opening in the tent. She declared:
"Every dadratted, stingy critter in the neighborhood would jes' stan'
outside and peek in fer nuthin'; and jes' to think, we got all the other
places kivered only that plague-goned old hole right by the door."

When Win Scott arrived with the white linen sheets, Lin was greatly
surprised. She feared they were not come by honestly. The boys assured
her they had borrowed them, promising to return them as good as they

Lin was finally persuaded to tack and sew the sheets on the tent. When
completed, she surveyed her work for a moment and said: "We're all
hun-ki-dora now"--a slang phrase in those days signifying "all right."

Jeffries Commons swarmed with children. So impatient was Alfred to open
the circus that he refused to eat dinner. Lin fetched him a pie which he
devoured as he worked.

Win Scott was the door-keeper and treasurer. Lin had a wordy war with
the treasurer soon after the doors opened. Willie Shuman, who was lame,
wanted to sit on the treasurer's seat, a soap box near the main
entrance. Win objected solely on the grounds that real shows did not
permit patrons to sit where they pleased but made them stand around. Lin
secured another soap box and Willie was given the kind of seat he
desired "up high," as Lin expressed it, "so nobody could stan' in front
of him."

Lin insisted on counting the receipts several times while the audience
was assembling and when they reached sixty-eight cents, she concluded it
was too much money to entrust to any one connected with the show.
Emptying the pennies in her pocket, she pinned it up, remarking: "Ef
there's no trouble comes up about them there new linen sheets, we'll
give another show tonight. I hev all the lights hangin' in the cellar

The ghost seen the night before had been the talk of the town and that
it disappeared on the old commons near the tent was whispered about
among those in attendance at Alfred's show. Lin heard whispers of the
reports and somehow she could not entirely dispossess her mind of the
idea that the new linen sheets were connected in some way with the
ghosts. However, so deeply interested was she in the manifold duties she
had imposed upon herself that ghosts and linen sheets were, for the
time, forgotten.

Sitting on a soap box holding two children on her lap, so they could see
it all, Lin was calling on Alfred to come back into the ring and repeat
a twisting about trick he had just performed. Lin said the children
wanted to see him do it "agin."

Encores were numerous from Lin, no matter whether the major portion of
the audience desired them or not; if the children expressed a wish to
see any feat repeated Lin simply commanded that it be done and if the
performer hesitated to take a recall, Lin sat the children off her lap
and marched the performer out and compelled him to comply with the
children's wishes.

Although it was balmy spring, there was a tinge of chill in the air that
touched one. Many of the boys were compelled to undress to don their
costumes, and Joe Sandford's costume especially was not conducive to
comfort and warmth.

Alfred had strongly impressed it upon all who participated in the
performance that they must have real show clothes. Many and surprising
were the costumes. Tom White's father had been a member of the Sons of
Malta. Young White wore his father's regalia, a cross between the
make-up of Captain Kidd and Rip Van Winkle.

Joe Sanford's costume made Alfred slightly jealous. Lin had trimmed the
garments loaned Alfred by Mrs. Young. She had made him a body dress from
an old patch quilt, the figures worked in yellow and red. Yet the colors
were not as bright as those in the costume of Joe.

It was spring time, house-cleaning and wall-papering time. Mrs. Sanford,
being of an inventive turn of mind, collected the wall paper scraps,
particularly the red border paper. Fashioning a suit out of the paper,
she pasted it together. The costume was after the style of Napoleon, as
we have seen him in pictures. Joe was without clothing of any kind
except the pasty wall paper suit, stripes on the trousers running up and
down and on the jacket encircling. As Joe walked about the dressing room
to keep warm the paper suit rustled and swished. He was the admiration
of all the performers.

Although Joe was not to appear until later he insisted that he be
permitted to perform his feats at once, that he was almost frozen. Lin
was advised of this fact and said: "Oh, well, let him do his showin'. Ef
he ketched cold he would hev the tisic, (phthysic)." Joe was subject to
this affliction.

Joe's part of the performance was hanging on a horizontal pole a little
higher than his head, skinning the cat, then sitting upright on the bar,
clasping his knees with his hands, revolve around the pole. Joe had
performed this feat a thousand times. But he had never attempted it in a
show costume constructed of wall paper.

[Illustration: Joe's Wall Paper Duds]

The wall-paper suit began to give along the pasted seams even while Joe
was skinning the cat. Lin said afterwards: "He was so durned skeered and
a wheezin' with the tisic he didn't know whether he was a-foot or
a-horseback. I seed the rips openin' every time he stirred."

Joe was evidently uncertain as to the strength of his show clothes.
Despite a parting of seams he squirmed upon the horizontal bar, gripped
his knees with his hands. Thus doubled up the strain on the wall paper
was greater than ever. Joe ducked his head forward. The first
revolution, the greater part of the wall paper suit was scattered over
the saw-dust ring. Joe started on the second revolution but when he got
under the bar he hung there swinging backwards and forwards. Lin said:
"He jus' clung thar doubled up like a toy monkey on a stick, jus'
swinging like the pendulum of a stoppin' clock."

The red flowered belt and a sort of collar around the neck remained. Joe
had on very white stockings; however, they only reached below the knee.
As he had lost his hat at the beginning of his stunt he was almost
devoid of clothes. The vast audience giggled and shouted "accordin' to
their raisin'" as Lin expressed it afterwards.

Joe, through shame or stage fright, made no effort to release himself.
The situation became embarrassing to the few grown ones present. Mothers
took occasion to look down at their children, smoothing their hair or
straightening their clothing. The big girls looked another way but the
greater part of the audience yelled with delight.

Lin "jus' couldn't stan' it any longer." Dropping the children, she
rushed to poor Joe's rescue. She was compelled to unclasp Joe's hands
from the bar. In his fright and confusion he had a vise-like grasp on
it. In the position in which he hung his face was hidden. Lin said that
"his old wall-paper duds was all off him" and she reckoned "long as his
face was kivered he'd hung thar 'til he fainted or fell."

When Lin stood the poor fellow on his feet after relieving him from his
perch, he was confused. Instead of going into the dressing room where
all the boys were yelling with laughter, poor Joe ran out of the tent
across the commons and crawled into Jeffries' coal house.

The door-keeper, Win Scott, hurried his regular clothes to him, but Joe
left for home and never thereafter did he essay to become an actor.
Every child carried home as a souvenir a remnant of Joe's wall-paper
show suit.

Meanwhile, Alfred was changing the clown suit for Lacy Hare's military
uniform in which he always appeared as Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone.

Someone called to him: "Alf, here comes all yer grandpap's family."

Alfred peered through a hole in Mrs. Evans' rag carpet and his blood
froze in his veins. Heading the procession was grandpap, wide flowing,
white collar, hat in hand. He appeared to Alfred an avenging nemesis.
Following closely, came Uncle Ned, stern, and solemn Aunt Sarah. Cousin
Charley and old Tommy Moorehouse brought up the rear of the advancing

Alfred felt the tent swaying as if in a gale. The tent swayed again. Lin
sat the children down quickly, "thinkin' it was some of the tarnel brats
that had pestered the show tent ever since Alfred started it." At the
door she came face to face with the angry grandfather.

"You're more to blame than the boy" was all Alfred remained to hear.
Half naked, half dazed--for Alfred feared his grandfather's wrath
greatly--down the big hill the boy fairly flew, through the Jimson
weeds, their prickly pods stinging his bare breast and arms until the
blood flowed. Nor did he slacken his pace until the old coal road was
reached. Then along the dusty road to Krepp's coal bank; into the dark
tunnel penetrating the hill, nor did he stop until so far under ground
that the opening to the coal mine, although large enough to admit a
horse and cart, appeared to the sight as a ring of daylight no larger
than an eye.

Realizing that the white and red clown paint Lin had smeared on his face
would be difficult to explain to the miners should he encounter them,
Alfred endeavored to remove it by washing it with the yellow sulphur
water standing in the cart tracks where it had dropped from the damp
sides of the old mine. He only spread it with the yellow water; his face
presented a sight similar to an Indian's in full war paint.

His fears subsiding, he retraced his steps towards the entrance. The
opening darkened and he could discern a figure standing out against the
sky beyond.

Hastening on he whistled shrilly. The answering whistle he recognized as
that of his treasurer, Win Scott. When they met, Win gave Alfred the
particulars of the wrecking of the tent by Uncle Ned and imparted the
information that all Grandpap's family, with the linen sheets, had gone
home excepting the grandmother, and he had a message requesting that
Alfred come to her at once, with the assurance that he would not be

The grandmother had frequently interceded in Alfred's behalf and he was
greatly pleased to receive her message. He felt so good over the turn of
affairs that he could scarcely walk up the long hill so weak was he with
laughter over Joe's wall-paper circus clothes, nor did his good humor
forsake him until they approached the spot where the tent, the work of
many weeks, lay on the ground teetotally wrecked.

Win gave Alfred a graphic description of Uncle Ned's wrecking of the
tent, the escape of the audience, of Lin's offering to pay for the
sheets and her subsequent anger. Lin endeavored to appease Uncle Ned's
wrath. "But the more she talked the wuss he raved."

When Alfred entered the kitchen, Lin's face was still red from anger and
weeping. Looking angrily at Alfred, she began:

"Why did ye run? By golly, I'd stood my ground ef they'd all piled on
me. Ef it hadn't been fur grandmother, I'd licked Ned myself."

Alfred explained that if he'd been dressed he'd stayed, but being "mos'
naked he jus' knowed Uncle Ned would pull the tent down caus' he always
wants to tear things up by the roots. I didn't want to be ketched naked
like Joe."

At the thought of Joe's mishap his laughter broke out again. Lin's good
nature began to assert itself. Suppressing her smiles she placed her
fingers on her lips which implied silence. Jerking her head toward the
sitting room door she informed the boy his grandmother was "thar waitin'
fer ye," adding: "Ye needn't be skeered, she's got more religion and
more sense than the whole caboodle of 'em put together. Go on in."

Softly approaching the door leading to the room he heard voices, his
father's among them. He was half inclined to flee again. Timidly rapping
on the door he heard footsteps leaving the room. Lin took him by the arm
and led the boy into the large room.

It was growing dark. His grandmother sat alone. They halted in front of
the gentle lady, Lin addressing Alfred in an encouraging manner, said:
"'Al-f-u-r-d,' tell grandmother the truth. Don't stan' up and lie like
Cousin Charley does, caus' he allus gits ketched up in it."

The boy looking into the kindly face of the quiet old lady felt no fear;
however, his shame was most intense. Drawing the abashed boy nearer to
her, she put her arm about him, softly saying: "I greatly fear you have
been led by those older than yourself to do things you would not have
done had you had proper advisors. I fear you will get into serious
trouble if you do not follow your father's and mother's advice. Now,
Alfred, listen to every word grandmother says to you. You will not be
punished for taking the sheets more than your conscience reproves you.
You are a good boy and everyone loves you. It is only your father's love
for you that influences him to be severe with you at times. Your playful
spirit, your mischievousness leads you into many actions that pain us
all greatly but I am sure you do not intend to be bad. You are not
vicious, only mischievous. Now tell me, Alfred, who prompted you to take
the linen out of the chest?"

"No one. I was all to blame. Lin has sixty-eight cents and I have nearly
three dollars Uncle Joe gave me and I'm going to give it all to Uncle
Ned to pay for any tearing of the sheets and Lin will wash and starch
them. They'll be as good as new."

With this speech the boy broke down completely. Kneeling, he buried his
face in the old lady's lap. She stroked his head gently, and in a tone
more soft and quiet than heretofore, she asked the contrite boy if he
was aware of the reverence in which the family held the linen contained
in the old chest.

The boy assured her that he supposed the old chest and its contents were
cast off or unused articles the same as other goods stored away in the

When the grandmother informed the boy the family held the contents of
the old chest as almost sacred, that the linen was the last winding
sheets of those of his family who had gone to the great beyond, his
shame brought a flood of tears that nothing the grandmother could say
would stop.

It was the custom that persons who died in those days were covered with
whitest linen and this linen was ever afterwards preserved by the family
as sacred.

The grandmother in gentle tones reminded the boy of loved ones whom he
held in sweetest remembrance, and when he fully realized that the linen
in the old chest had been their last covering the tears of the boy and
the aged woman mingled as he solemnly promised to so conduct himself in
the future that his behavior would never wound her feelings more.
Thereafter the boy always found a loyal defender in the grandmother when
troubles came to him.

"I'll jes be durned ef ol' gran'muther ain't got more sense in a minute
than her son Ned will have ef he lives twict es old es Jehu Adams," said
Lin, referring to the oldest man in the neighborhood. "Why, jes' see
what she hes dun fer that boy. He's a perfec' little angel since she
hauled him over the coals. Bet he'd never teched them sheets ef he'd
knowed they wus fer layin' out dead peepul in. He'd got others somehow,
an' I'd been sort a lazy like 'bout sewin' 'em on the tent ef I'd knowed
what they'd bin used fur. It's no wonder Baggy Allison and Hughey Boggs
got skeered. Durned ef they warn't purty near ghosts, enny how."

"Ef it had been left to gran'muther she'd let the show go on es long es
we had the sheets hung up. They warn't hurtin' nobody. No, by golly,
it's jes' like Ned; he's jes' like his daddy an' the other Baptusses.
They don't hev any fun and they hate to hear a body laugh. Huh, ef it
had been a prayer meetin' or somethin' mournful for the Baptusses'
meetin' house to git money fur, Ned ud never tore down the tent. Durn
him! His heart ain't bigger'n a rat pellet and it's twict es hard. He
don't know nuthin' but to eat an' pray. Let him kum yere fer another
meal of vittles and I'll not cook it fur him; I'll jes' tell Mary and
John so. Why, grandmother's talkin' to him done Alfurd more good than
all the whippin's he ever got in his born life."

"It jes' worries Ned to deth to see a boy, a boy. He gets a heap of
pleasure out of not havin' any fun in life."


    Though the road be long and dreary,
      And the end be out of sight,
    Foot it bravely, strong or weary,
      Trust in God and do the right.

The realities of life are continually changing. Persons can retain a
hobby or an illusion for a time or for all time. An illusion may live in
our minds, even become a part of our lives. Life is but thought.
Pleasant illusions are, as a rule, weapons against meanness and
littleness. Illusions, when based upon the sensible and material things
of this life, are uplifting.

It is said genius and common sense never dwell in the same mortal. The
lives of all of those of genius of whom the world has been informed have
been governed to a very great extent by illusions not fanatical fads,
not an illusion that impels one to endeavor to solve improbable

The centralization of ideas on some particular project or profession
that appeared impracticable at first, often leads to an inspiration, the
enthusiasm created by the illusions leading to success. Illusions have
side-tracked many life-failures.

You may endeavor to persuade yourself that you have no illusions. Search
your mind. Is there not a recollection of something you have worked and
hoped for? You may not have attained that which you aimed at, yet the
illusion enriched your imagination. Is there not something that you
dreamed of in youth, forgotten for years, that has come to you later on?

Hug your illusions if they are pleasant. Treasure them, they make you
cheerful, they sun your soul.

The father and mother of Alfred had different ideas of the boy's future.
The father was wedded to his calling and fondly hoped the boy would
follow in his footsteps in mechanical pursuits. It was the mother's hope
that the son would become a medical practitioner. The grandfather prayed
that the boy would embrace the ministry as had two of his sons.

Consequently, when Alfred seriously announced that he had determined to
become a clown in the circus, the family were greatly shocked, but the
boy's declaration was regarded as a harmless illusion. This idea had
taken complete control of his boyish imagination. Urged on by illusory
hopes he was constantly practicing tricks and antics that led him into
many heartbreaking escapades that made the cellar sessions more
frequent. But nothing could suppress his good nature and innate love of

There was but one human being in the world thoroughly in sympathy with
the boy's ambitions. She it was who bought the rouge and red that
painted his face in his first attempts to become a clown. She it was who
cut up one of her best red skirts to complete the costume of which Mrs.
Young furnished the foundation in the garments Alfred was sent home in
the day of the rescue from the raft. And it is a fact that to this day
the costumes of clowns and near-clowns have been patterned after those
self-same garments and they are as strikingly funny to spectators today
as they were in the days Alfred first wore them, a tribute to Lin's

Lin often remarked: "Alfurd will come to town some day a real clown in a
circus and the whole country will turn out to see him, and Litt Dawson
(the Congressman) won't be so much when Alfurd gits a-goin'. Why, he kin
sing eny song and do ent cut-up antik eny of 'em kin. He's the cutest
boy I ever seed. They'll never whup his devilishness out of him."

Lin was always an appreciative audience for Alfred. When he learned to
do head-sets, hand-springs and the like she urged him on to greater
acrobatic achievements. When he attempted to walk on his hands she
followed his zig-zag course, steadying him when he threatened to topple

When Bent Wilgus, a Bridgeport boy, came up to Jeffries' Commons and
entered the ring that was once enclosed by Alfred's tent, and performed
a dozen feats that Alfred had never even witnessed, thereby winning the
applause of the crowd of boys, both Lin and Alfred remained silent. When
he did a round off a flip-flap and a high back somersault, a row of
head-sets across the ring, finishing by doing heels in the mud, Alfred
turned green with envy. He felt his reputation slipping away from him
and realized he was deposed as the boys' and girls' idol, as an actor.

Lin felt like driving the usurper off the commons. Later, she consoled
Alfred with the statement that Bent Wilgus had gum in his shoes that
made him bounce so. "His daddy keeps a shoe store an' thet's where he
gits bouncin' shoes from. I'll git ye a pair ef I hev to send to
Filadelphy fur 'em."

The Quaker City was the metropolis of the world to the good people of
the town in those days. New York City was never considered in the same
breath with old Philly.

Brownsville had but one representative in the show profession so far as
any one knew. He had left the town many years before and it was reported
had become a great actor. Alfred had never heard the word actor save in
connection with a circus performer. He had never witnessed or even heard
of a dramatic actor. He had gotten his idea for his impersonation from a
rider, who, standing on a broad pad on a horse's back in the circus
ring, impersonated noted characters such as Richard III, Daniel Boone,
Davy Crockett and a shepherd boy.

The reputation of Tony Bailles, the only actor Brownsville ever
produced, was folklore in his native place. Tony had never appeared in
his home town. And that which greatly enhanced the reputation of the
great actor in the minds of the people in his home was the oft repeated
stories of his prowess as a fighter.

In those days every man and boy was judged by his personal courage.
Courage was the supreme test by which all males were gauged. The man or
boy who did not have the bravery to uphold his dignity with his fists
was not worthy.

In the tales told of Tony Bailles' great prowess with his fists and
feet, it was asserted that he more often used his feet than his fists
and that his adversary rarely got near him. As they advanced upon him
Tony kicked them under the chin just once. One kick and all the fight
was out of them.

Tony was one of Alfred's illusions. He desired to imitate him, travel
all over the land and become a great actor, a greater actor than even
his heroic model, as Alfred had never heard Tony's great feats
described. The kick under the chin was Tony's only feat impressed
strongly enough on Alfred's mind to have him imitate.

Tommy White, Lash Hyatt and Jim Campbell were either housed up or
walking about with stiff necks and swollen jaws ere it was discovered
that Alfred was imitating Tony Bailles. Lash Hyatt's folks, feeling sure
the boy had the mumps, sent for the doctor. It was then revealed that
Alfred did not fight fair but "kicked you under the chin before you
could raise a hand," as the boys described it.

Alfred tried the Tony Bailles' high kick on big, husky George
Herbertson. The kick started as it had with the other boys but instead
of reaching the chin at which it was aimed, a big, husky blacksmith's
helper checked it. Alfred sat down so suddenly he imagined the earth had
"flew" up and hit him. While the blacksmith helper held his leg aloft
Alfred, as he lay on his back, saw a big fist coming straight for his
face. He has no distinct recollection of when it reached its landing

Uncle Ned Snowden assisted Alfred home, where he remained in doors
several days with two parti-hued eyes.

While housed up, Alfred promised Lin he would always thereafter fight
fair. Consequently, he thereafter carried two big limestones, one in
each coat pocket for George Herbertson. Somehow the blacksmith boy was
always too quick for Alfred and the next time they met, which was on the
Bridgeport wharf, the blacksmith boy trimmed Alfred again. And thus it
was that the old iron bridge, the first of its kind constructed in the
United States and built by John Herbertson, the father of George, became
the dead line between the boys of the two towns.

If a boy from one town was found in the other he was compelled to fight
or flee.

[Illustration: The First Iron Bridge Built in the U. S.]

The word "actor" to the good people of those days always referred to a
circus performer as mentioned previously. It is related of Joseph
Jefferson, the dean of the dramatic profession, that while visiting his
plantation near New Iberia, Louisiana, he walked over the grounds
accompanied by an old, colored field hand. He talked in his usual manner
with the old negro telling him of the many cities in which his contracts
compelled him to act ere he would again visit his beautiful southern

The old negro said he was sorry "kase all de folks, white uns an' black
uns, was jes mos' crazy for to see massa Joe ak." As they walked and
talked the old negro informed Mr. Jefferson that Dan Rice's circus was
"dere a while back, jes on the aidge ob kane cuttin' time, an' dey had
some mighty fine actuhs but nuthin' like de actin' ob Massah Joe."

The old fellow, growing more confidential at the pleased manner in which
Mr. Jefferson received his compliments, added that he would gladly walk
to New Orleans to see him act. When the great actor advised the old
fellow that he would not appear in New Orleans that year, the old fellow
said: "Now des look at dat. I'll nevah git to see you ak, Massa Joe."

The actor assured him that at some time in the future he would have that
pleasure. The old negro said: "No, no, I'm an ole man. I ain't got much
futhah to go, an' I des doan wan' to die fo' I see you ak."

Mr. Jefferson assured the earnest old negro that he would be glad to
arrange some plan whereby not only he but all of his friends in the
parish might witness him act.

The old negro began in an entreating tone: "Massa Joe, I knows you'd
like to ak fer all ob us but Lor' only knows when it'll be. I'se mos'
f'raid to ax ye but de grass out yar is so sof' an 'nice I jes' thought
maybe ye'd ak out a little fer me. Jes' twist about an' turn a couple of
summah-saults fer dis pooh ol' nigger."

This was the only idea Alfred had of acting. He longed to see Tony
Bailles act, that he might catch an idea. He felt it would be so much
easier for him to learn to act by seeing Bailles than it would be to see
others, that Bailles was more like himself, not a superior being, as
other actors were regarded.

Cousin Charley was even more elated than Alfred when they read and
re-read the joyous announcement, to them, that Van Amburg's Great Golden
Menagerie and Zoological Institute was headed for Brownsville.

The startling news was spread that Tony Bailles was with the show.
Alfred scanned the bills, no names appearing on them or descriptions of
the great feats their owners performed, and his youthful mind could not
comprehend this omission in advertising. Animals of all species were
pictured but the graceful bare-back rider, high in the air above the
horse's back, throwing a back somersault through a paper balloon, was
not there. The lady rider on the back of a fast flying steed, one foot
pointing to six o'clock, the other to high noon, was searched for in

Alfred finally arrived at this explanation of the oversight in not
advertising the circus actors--that the menagerie was so immense the
circus was a secondary consideration. He argued that they never
advertised the side-show but it was always there.

Circus day dawned, the crowds came, the old town was a scene of bustle
and activity. The town people were all agog, all the older ones seemed
to be seeking Tony Bailles. Alfred and Charley followed his brother Joe
up through Bridgeport to the new show grounds. The advertisements gave
it that the old bottom, the usual show grounds, was too small for the
big show.

When the grounds were reached a large man with a very red nose announced
from the top of a wagon the program of the day:

First, Mlle. Carlotta De Berg would ascend a slender wire from the
ground to the apex of the grand pavilion. After this thrilling free
exhibition the Grand Annex containing one thousand animate and inanimate
wonders would throw open its doors. As this was a new name for the
side-show, Cousin Charley and Alfred began to get their money ready.
(Alfred carried his own money this show day).

But when the front of the tent was reached and the same old gaudily
painted pictures swayed in the breeze, both boys involuntarily halted as
they realized the Grand Annex was that deadfall known as the side show.
Cousin Charley swore he "seen the same feller standing in the door of
the tent that swindled him and so many others at the last show." Cousin
Charley said: "He dodged back when he seen me."

In the verdancy of his suckerdom, Charley imagined the fakir who had
done him had preserved as keen a recollection of the transaction as
himself. He learned afterwards that there is a sucker born every minute
and the crop of fakirs is nearly as great.

A tall, black-haired man, with rather a heavy face, black velvet vest,
stood at the door. A long gold watch chain was around his neck and
running across the velvet vest it made the chain appear the most
conspicuous thing about the man. Of course he wore other articles of
clothing but the above description stands out in Alfred's mind to the
exclusion of his other apparel unless it be the flat-top hat and the
white bow tie. The hat and tie gave the wearer a sort of clerical
appearance. He had the appearance of a respectable gambler, such as were
on river steamers in those days.

And this was Tony Bailles, the actor-athlete of Alfred's dreams and
talks. Alfred was simply bewildered. His hero stood aloft pacing to and
fro on an elevated platform, describing the wonders of the great moral
exhibition especially for ladies and children.

Alfred argued to Charley that this was Tony's home and his oratory would
appeal more strongly to the people than a stranger's and he was only of
the side show for the day. He disliked to have the hero of his dreams
discredited so prematurely and he still hoped to see his idol in
spangled tights in the big show performing all kinds of wonderful feats.

But the big show was an animal show, pure and simple, not an actor, not
a clown, not a rider, not a horse, not even a ring. Two ponies and a
little cart introduced in the show could not dispel the gloom that had
settled over the disappointed gathering in the big tent.

The only excitement of the day was when Bill Gaskill, Mart Claybaugh, Ab
Linn, and two or three Washington County men engaged in a fight. When
Tony Bailles rushed in to quell the disturbance and did not kick one or
more of the combatants under the chin, the boy's admiration gradually
turned to disgust and he was ready to leave the tent although all were
admonished that the most astounding and greatest treat in natural
history was about to be brought to their notice. The mammoth of
mammoths, the behemoth of Holy Writ was about to be exhibited, the only
one in captivity, something to tell your children and your children's
children of. The hippopotamus was brought from his cage and waddled into
the roped enclosure in the center of the tent. Bob Ellingham, the
lecturer, talked long and learnedly on the habits and capture of the
animal. The name hippopotamus was mentioned at least twenty times in the
lecture as a dramatic climax. Ellingham rubbed a piece of white paper
over the animal's back. Standing on a stool above the heads of the
multitude he held the once spotless sheet of paper in his left hand,
pointing his right forefinger at the paper, now discolored with the
matter that oozed from the animal's body, he dramatically exclaimed: "He
is truly the behemoth of Holy Writ. See, he sweateth blood!"

As he stood motionless, still holding the paper aloft, Old man Hare,
Lacy's father, who had stood a most interested listener during the
lecture, looked up into the lecturer's face and, in a querulous tone
asked: "What fer animal did ye say it was?"

"A guinea pig, you dam old fool," flashed back Ellingham, as he stepped
off the stool, while the crowd yelled, "Bully for Hare."

The old fellow felt greatly grieved although the shouts of approval from
the crowd partially appeased him. How he talked back to the show man
made him quite a hero among the country folks for a long time

It is safe to assert that a more disappointed audience never left an
exhibition than filed out of the big tent. Even the ministers, and they
were all admitted free, were not satisfied. Bob Playford did not gather
up the boys on the lot and pay their way in.

As the audience filed out the man with the big red nose stood on top of
the wagon and invited everybody into the tent where Christy's Original
Minstrels were about to offer the good people of Brownsville the same
choice and amusing performance they had won fame with in the principal
theatres in New York City. Songs, glees, choruses, banjo solos, pathetic
ballads, side-splitting farces, the whole concluding with a grand walk
around by the entire company.

Bob Playford and Dan French made all manner of fun of the big man with
the red nose. Playford laughingly shouted: "Pay no attention to him, he
don't belong to the show, he lives out in the country. He's a neighbor
of old man Hare's."

Cousin Charley and Alfred were won by the man's eloquence or the
twanging of the stringed musical instruments that could be heard in the
tent. They were soon inside. A platform on a wagon served as a stage,
and a curtain with a cabin and woods as a background hung at the rear of
the stage. The entire company of seven persons attired in shirts and
trousers made of bed-ticking material, were seated in a semi-circle on
the improvised stage.

This was Alfred's first sight of a minstrel first part. "Gentlemen, be
seated." The opening chorus was not half over before Alfred was laughing
as heartily as ever boy laughed. The antics of the fellow with the
tambourine who hit the singer sitting next to him on the head with it in
time with the pattering of the sheepskin on his knees, hands and head,
the assumed anger of the singer as he again hit him a resounding thwack,
the finish, where the man with the bones and tambo worked all over the
small stage and seemed in danger of upsetting it with their antics, had
the crowd wild with their enthusiasm.


The songs, the jokes, the final farce, "Handy Andy," pleased Alfred so
greatly that he remained for the next performance as did Lin and her
beau, Cousin Charley and several of Alfred's friends. He bought a song
book containing only the words. He caught several of the airs and sang
them all the way home.

It was difficult to convince Alfred that the performers were white men
blacked up. At supper Van Amberg's Great Moral Menagerie received a
lambasting that boded no good for its future in Brownsville. Lin said:

"It was jes a show for Baptusts and sich and they was all thar. Huh,
they let the preachers in free gratis, an' they ought to let everybody
in fer nuthin' caus it warn't wuth nuthin'. Durned ef I walk to the
grounds to see seven shows like it. The niggers in the side show beat
the big show all holler."

Alfred declared that outside of the animals _his_ show was better than
Van Amberg's. Lin added: "Yes, ef Joe Sanford's wall-paper suit wus out
of it."

The supper was not over ere Lin and Alfred were in the parlor with the
melodeon endeavoring to sing the songs of the minstrels. They had the
book and hot were the arguments as to whether they had the tune right or

Lin, Cousin Charley, Alfred, Billy Woods, and Bill Hyatt decided to go
back to the minstrels at night. Alfred sang the songs under his breath.
He drank in every word of the jokes and the farce he committed to

When they reached home the melodeon was started up again, and its
strains swelled out on the night air until the father closed the
rehearsal abruptly by ordering all to bed.

The seed had been sown; even the chaff had taken root. The clown
illusion still clung to Alfred but the minstrel idea seemed nearer
realization. Did ever a party of amateurs decide to assault the public
that they did not use a minstrel performance as their weapon?

Despite the protests of the parents, the old melodeon, notwithstanding
its age and other infirmities, was worked overtime. Alfred sang and
resang the songs they had learned or deceived themselves into believing
they had learned at the minstrels.

Billy Woods had a good ear for tunes. As Lin put it, Billy caught more
of the tunes than any of the others. Billy became a nightly visitor.
Billy's flute and the melodeon did not harmonize as the melodeon had
only three notes left in it. Lin just waited when a note was missing
until the next measure and then "ketched up" as she expressed it.

Amity Getty was another addition to the little band. He was really a
good performer on the guitar. Alfred's especial favorite in the
minstrels was the fellow who handled the tambourine. The mother said
there was not a pie pan in the house they could bake in, Alfred had them
so battered and dented thumping them on his knees, head and elbows.

"I declare, I believe the boy is going crazy; I don't know what we will
do with him," often said the mother.

Cousin Charley was of an inventive turn of mind. He had become greatly
interested in the nightly singing and fashioned a tambourine out of an
old cheese box by cutting it down. Dennis Isler put tin jingles in it
and put on a sheepskin head.

The instrument in Alfred's hands became a terror to the household. He
was banished to the commons where, surrounded by the children of the
neighborhood, he did his practicing to the delight and danger of his
audience as he persisted in finishing his antics by thumping one of the
audience on the head with his instrument of torture, which generally
sent the recipient of his thwack home, holding his head and crying. This
usually brought a complaint from the victim's parents and Alfred's
visits to the cellar accompanied by his father became so frequent that a
boy with less ardor would surely have lost interest in his instrument.

Alfred repeatedly advised Lin that they never could be minstrels if they
did not have bones. He selected Billy Storey to perform on these
necessary adjuncts to the minstrels. When Lin brought home from John
Allison's meat shop a rib roast, the mother, astonished at the size of
it, said: "My goodness, Lin, that roast is big enough for any tavern in

The fact was Lin had not closely studied the bone player's instruments.
She was of the opinion it required eight bones instead of four, hence
the magnitude of the roast.

The little band made the big front room the mecca for pilgrims nightly.
The mother was nearly frantic; after every concert of the embryotic
minstrels she solemnly admonished Lin and Alfred that that would be the

Lin in turn would accuse Alfred of being the cause of all the din and
racket. "Ef it hadn't been fer Cousin Charley makin' Alfurd thet
infernal head drum (Lin could never say tambourine), Mary would never
sed a word as she jus loves music es well es eny body else."

Lin asserted that "the durn jingling contraption, jes spiled the hull
thing and ye don't make good music with it nohow." Lin's deductions
could not be controverted. Alfred did not make good music with his
tambourine but it is a fact that he succeeded in drowning a great deal
of bad.

It was a night never to be forgotten; one of those nights that will
linger long in fondest remembrance by any who have enjoyed them. It was
the night of one of those old time parties, one of those healthful,
pleasure giving affairs, an old fashioned family party. Relatives, near
and distant, uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces, cousins and friends,
came by invitation to the old home.

Games and recitations, blind-man's buff, button, button, who's got the
button, Uncle Joe, blindfolded, pursuing the prettiest girl at the
frolic, brought roars of laughter from everyone but Aunt Betsy. Lin,
sitting on a crock endeavoring to pass a linen thread through the eye of
a cambric needle; Uncle Jack, blindfolded trying to pin the tail on the
proper place on the paper donkey stuck against the wall. When he stuck
the pin in the keyhole of the parlor door the laughter shook the sash in
the windows.

The young folks formed in a circle holding hands, slowly revolving
around a bashful young man standing in the center of the circle. As they
circled they sang that old ditty so dear to the youth of those days:

    "King William was King George's son,
    And from a royal race he sprung;
    And on his breast he wore a star,
    That marked his bravery in the war.
    Go choose your East, go choose your West,
    Go choose the one that you love best."

Here the young man tagged the girl of his choice. Of course, the girl
broke from the circle and ran but was easily captured. She was led to
the center of the circle which again revolved and the song continued:

    "Down on this carpet you must kneel,
      Just as the grass grows in the field;
    Salute your bride and kiss her sweet,
      And you may rise unto your feet."

When the bashful young man received a thumping thwack from the girl of
his choice in return for the kiss he planted on her rosy cheek, the
laughter was renewed tenfold.

All this may look cold in print to the young folks of today but it made
the hot blood of the boys and girls of those good old days flow faster
than the patter of their feet to the tune of the songs they sang.

Sis Minks sang "Barbara Allen" with such telling effect that the
assembled multitude became "as subdued as a Quaker meetin'" as Lin
described it.

Sis was an old maid and lived in the country; her dog had followed her
to the party. The standing of every family in those parts was rated by
the number of dogs they possessed. Sis's people had stood high for many
years but their canine possessions had decreased. When questioned by a
neighbor as to the number of dogs in his possession, the father of Sis
ruefully replied: "Wall, I hev a house dog, a coon dog, a fox dog an' a
'feist'--it just seems like I can't git a start in dogs again." It was
the house dog that had followed Sis.

Sis always sang "Barbara Allen" with her eyes shut. Lin said: "Becaus'
she'd furgit it ef she looked."

Sis was in the midst of Barbara's woes when someone opened the door
slightly. Her dog slipped in. Seeing his mistress before him and hearing
her voice, the dog instinctively crept towards her. As her voice grew
more tremulous describing Barbara's sad fate, the dog, encouraged by the
kindly tones, crept nearer. Rising on his hind legs he drew his long,
red tongue across her face and mouth. Sis opened her eyes and sat down
in confusion and no entreaties could induce her to continue. Lin said:
"I'll bet a fippennybit she thought she'd bin kissed by some feller."

Alfred did not greatly enjoy the party. He whispered to Lin: "Let's

[Illustration: Sis Opened Her Eyes and Sat Down]

Lin ran her fingers over the keys of the melodeon. The others wanted to
be coaxed as amateurs always do. There is no backwardness that requires
as much persuasion to appear before an audience as that of an amateur,
but when once persuaded there is no cheerfulness that exceeds that of an
amateur in responding to an encore.

It was not long before the little band began their concert. As they had
been rehearsing for several weeks, the opening chorus, with musical
accompaniment, was rendered with such vim that the assembled guests were
carried off their feet. Alfred's antics with the tambourine, Storey's
manipulation of the bones, the singing, the instrumentation, were a
revelation to the good people.

Alfred's reputation as an actor was known to all the guests. Urgent
requests were made that he should don his costumes and perform his
feats. Alfred and Lin hastened to his room, returning soon, Alfred in
his clown make-up, Mrs. Young's lowers and Lin's body dress. Prolonged
laughter and applause greeted his appearance.

First he essayed to sing a clown song entitled "The Song of All Songs"
which runs thusly:

    "The subject of my song you have seen I dare say,
    As you've walked along the streets on a fine summer's day;
    On fences and railings wherever you go,
    You will see the penny ballads pasted up in a row.
    I noted them down as I read them along,
    And I've put them together to make up my song.
    There was Abraham's daughter going out on a spree
    With old Uncle Snow in the cottage by the sea.
    Do they think of me at and I'll be easy still,
    Give us back our old commander with the sword of Bunker Hill."

There was a great deal more of this jingle of words, ringing in the
titles of all the songs of the day. Notwithstanding, Alfred had sung it
without pause or hesitation night after night with only his associates
as an audience, yet at "the sword of Bunker Hill" his voice faltered and
a stage fright that could not be conquered overtook him. The words of
the song had left his mouth, the tongue was paralyzed.

As many an older actor has done before and since, Alfred endeavored to
conceal his confusion by stalling. It was really Alfred's first
appearance before a heterogenous audience.

Alfred learned even at that early age that there is a difference in
audiences. Notwithstanding his failure, with the density of perception
that usually pervades an amateur's mind, Alfred changed his costume to
Lacy Hare's military togs. He mistook the shouts of laughter aroused by
this suit as approval of his acting. Lin relieved the situation by
leading Alfred out of the room ere he had presented half of his famous

Lin said afterwards: "I don't know what got inter thet boy. Why I allus
said he had brass enuf in his face to act afore a protracted meetin' but
be durned ef he warn't es bad es Joe Sanford when he stuck on the pole.
I never been more cut up in my life, fur I would a swore he was too
spunkey to git skeered."

The remainder of the program was more than successful. Everyone
acquitted themselves creditably excepting Alfred. Lin sang the pathetic

    "Out in the cold world, out in the street,
    Asking a penny of each one I meet;
    Shoeless I wander about through the day,
    Wearing my young life in sorrow away.
    No one to help me, no one to love,
    No one to pity me, none to caress,
    Fatherless, motherless, sadly I roam;
    A child of misfortune, I'm driven from home."

Lin had a deep, sweet voice, almost a baritone. She was full of
sentiment and magnetism. Deeply in earnest she sang the song with
telling effect. A tear, a heartfelt tear, came from the eyes of more
than one of the sympathetic group.

Uncle Joe and Uncle Jack and one or two of the elder men had been led to
the cellar several times during the evening, for a more pleasant purpose
than Alfred generally went there for. The hard cider was kept in the
cellar, the sweet cider upstairs. Uncle Joe was as mellow as a pippin.
At the end of Lin's first chorus he threw her a handful of change. The
other men threw coppers or small silver pieces. Lin, like a true artist,
stood unmoved and continued her song. Alfred picked up the money and
handed it to her. She disdained to receive it. How the fires of jealousy
burned within Alfred's breast as he noted the triumph of Lin. How the
men could become so affected as to throw her money he could not

Before the next song, Lin lectured Alfred before the entire company,
saying: "The fellur with the head drum (tambourine) in the circus
minstrels never beat it in the sad tunes, only in the comic ones. Es
long as ye've bin showin', a body'd think ye knowed thet much."

This calling down further humiliated Alfred.

Bill Storey followed in a tuneful baritone, singing:

    "Oh, the old home ain't what it used to be, de banjo and de fiddel
        am gone,
    An' no more you'll hear the darkies singing among de sugar cane
        an' corn.
    Great changes hab come to de poor colored man, but dis change
        makes him sad an' forlorn,
    For no more we hear de darkies singing among de sugar cane an'

Then all sang the chorus:

    "No, the old home ain't what it used to be, (etc.)"

This number met with great approval. Professional jealousy surged
through Alfred's breast. He hated everyone who had been successful.
Thoughts of all kinds of revenge ran through his mind. He would tell
mother that the ten pound rib roast was bought only to get eight bones
for Bill Storey and four bones was all he could rattle on at one time.
Alfred felt that the whole company had conspired against him, that they
were the cause of his not being appreciated.

Supper was announced. Yes, supper, and they all sat down to a table;
none of your society lunches, juggled on your knees, as served at the
fashionable functions of today. When Uncle Wilse called down blessings
upon all, even those sitting around the fire in the other room, who
could not find places at the first table, bowed their heads reverently.

Cold roast chicken, pickles, sweet preserves, doughnuts, jellies, fine
and red, cold claw, beets, hot mince pie, pound cake, layer cake,
apples, tea, coffee and cider.

It took mother and Lin all day to prepare the repast. Fun and jokes were
passed at and upon one another and everybody was happy, everybody but
Alfred. With jealousy gnawing his vitals he sat between two big,
grown-up men, unnoticed save when he requested some edible passed to
him. He almost made up his mind to forsake the amusement profession and
take his mother's advice to study to become a doctor.

Supper over, good nights were said. Guest after guest departed. One
garrulous gentleman remained; he was noted for his staying qualities. He
would visit a family in the country near his home and keep them up until
after midnight, which was a terrible breach of etiquette in those days
when country folks went to bed with the chickens and town people who
stayed up after eleven were looked upon with suspicion.

The mother had caught herself nodding several times, the father was
yawning, Lin could scarcely keep her eyes open, and Alfred had taken two
or three naps. The prolonged visit had become almost unbearable to all
except the lone guest who kept up a commonplace conversation, just
sufficiently animated to keep him awake. In the middle of one of his
dryest sentences Lin jumped up and said:

"Come on folks, let's go to bed, I expect Uncle Wilse wants to go


    Never mind the pain
      For gladness will outlive it.
    When your neighbor needs a smile
      Don't hesitate to give it.

Then came sorrow into the life of Alfred. The father was ill for many
months; war came with its blighting influences, bringing ruin to many,
prosperity to a few.

The father's family were Virginians, the mother's Marylanders. True to
their traditions they believed in the people of the South, not favoring
secession, however. In the white heat of continued controversy relatives
became enemies.

To add to their troubles Brownsville was visited by the most disastrous
fire in its history. Alfred's folks lost everything, even to their
wearing apparel. Alfred was the most fortunate member of the family. He
entered and re-entered the burning home after he had been warned not to
do so. At every return from the blazing house he carried some of his
boyish belongings.

Lin, in recounting the thrilling scenes of the night of the fire, said:
"Ef the men hed hed any sense all the things could hev been got out. Jim
Lucas and Tom Brawley jes piled the bedsteads, bureaus, looking glasses
and arm-cheers out of the third story winders an' durn ef I didn't see
Tom Brawley kum out of the house with a arm load of pillurs wrapped up
in a blanket. Hit takes a fire or a dog fight to show whuther peepul hev
got eny judgment or not."

On his last trip out of the house Alfred carried his dog "Bobbie," two
pet frizzly chickens, the uniform Lacy Hare and Aunt Betsy fashioned,
Mrs. Young's part of his clown suit and the head-drum or tambourine.

Lin fairly snorted when she saw the boy approaching; "Now look at the
dratted, fickle boy, leavin' his Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes to perish
fur them ole show duds. Hit beats the bugs jes to think thet boy 'ud run
into thet house blazin' like a lime kiln from top to bottom. A body'd
thot he'd tried to save somethin' thet would a done us good. But no; all
he thinks about is them ole show things. It's a wonder he didn't try to
get the melodeon out eny way."

The condition of the family was changed in one night from prosperity to
near-poverty. The mother resolutely refused all proffered aid from
relatives with whom relations had been strained. To Uncle Joe's and
Betsy's offer she returned the message: "If we were Southern
sympathizers before the fire, we are not beggars now."

Lin was as defiant as the mother: "Huh, yes. Ef we'd let 'em help
us now, the fust election kum up they'd throw it up to us. Uncle
Billy is a candidate fer county jedge, I reckon he wants a few
votes. The Lord will purvide a way." She added: "Jus tell Joe an'
Betsy an' all the rest of 'em thet we'll hoe our own row yit a
while. No siree-horse-fly-over-the-river-to-Green-County, we don't
want no abolishunist to help us."

Alfred could not fully comprehend the feelings that influenced the
members of the family in the stand they took, but anything his mother
said or did always met with his loyal support.

The proud, strong-minded mother guided the destinies of the family
through the troublesome times that followed. The strictest economy was
practiced in all things. Brownsville has ever been noted for the
hospitality of its people and the plenteous supplies found on the tables
of all. Therefore, when the usual good things were missing from the
table and the mother explained that it would not be for long but for the
time being it was imperative to live sparingly, Alfred put all in a good
humor by calling on Muz, (the children's favorite name for the mother),
"Muz, cook it all up at once and let's have one good, big meal like we
used to have, then starve right."

Uncle Jake and Aunt Betty and all their family were steadfast friends
during all the days of distress, as were Uncle William and grandfather
and his family. Even Cousin Charley exerted himself to be of assistance.

Lin afterwards declared that the Biblical prophecy, "Meny shall be
called an' only a few kum," had found verification in Charley's changed
conduct. Since Lin "jined" church, she often attempted to quote

Among other offerings that Cousin Charley bestowed upon Alfred were two
hounds with a colony of lively fleas. This gift was greatly appreciated
by Alfred as the dogs were good coon hunters. It was not long ere the
news came to Alfred's folks that Cousin Charley had stolen the hounds
from Turner Simpson, a colored man who lived near the town, and noted
for his superior hounds and numerous children. When the mother firmly
commanded that the dogs be returned to their owner Alfred was greatly
disappointed. Lin informed the boys that the dogs had to eat and that
the mother had enough mouths to feed "without runnin' a dog's boardin'
house. Why ye durned little fool ye, don't ye know Charley's jus put
them dogs yar to git 'em kept. They'll jus keep 'em yar till they want
to hunt coon an' then they'll take 'em. Ef it wur a hoss or hippotumas
es was in thet sorry animile show, an' Charley 'ud gin it to ye, I'd
feel ye could call it yer own. But a houn' dog, never. He'd never part
with a houn'. Some fine mornin' the houn's'll turn up missin' an' ye'll
find Dr. Playford hes bought 'em fur about five dollars."

Lin's reference to Dr. Playford gave Alfred an inspiration. He was on
his way to Dr. Bob Playford's with the hounds chained together and
nearly pulling him off his feet, so eager were they for exercise. The
sporting doctor's eyes glistened as he looked the dogs over and noted
their good points. Alfred explained that they were a present from
Cousin Charley, that he prized them greatly but his mother would not
permit him to retain them.

The doctor purchased and paid for the dogs, handing the boy a crisp five
dollar greenback bill. Although greenbacks were greatly depreciated in
value at that time, no bill of like denomination has ever before or
since had the purchasing power that that five dollars had for Alfred. He
could scarcely contain himself until he arrived at home, that he might
hand the money to his mother. The doctor informed Alfred that he would
give him an additional dollar if he would deliver the dogs to Turner
Simpson, adding: "Simpson keeps all my hounds; he has a pack of them
there now and these two will be all I'll need for a while. Be careful of
the dogs, almost anybody will steal a hound dog and brag about it

When requested to deliver the dogs to Simpson, Alfred was dumbfounded.
He was soon on his way with the dogs. They did not have to drag the boy
as on the way to the doctor's house. When they struck the old road above
the tannery, Alfred gave the hounds a run, until Turner Simpson's house
came into view.

Their arrival brought hounds from under the old log house, the porch and
the stable. Kinky, woolly-headed, barefooted pickanninnies peeked
through broken window panes and out of half-opened doors. The baying of
the hounds brought old Simpson out to the road.

Alfred advised him that Dr. Playford had paid him one dollar to deliver
the hounds and sent instructions that they be properly cared for.

"Oh, shucks. You jes tell Bob I allus takes good keer ob his dawgs,"
spoke the old negro in a half joking way. "An' you say to de Doctor, dat
when he wants to take a pair ob houns away from yar agin he better jes
tell me. I done sarch four days fuh dem houns. I neber dream de Doctor
hed 'em. I nearly hed a fite wid John McCune's boys kase I cused dem ob
kidnapin' de houns. Now I mus' go ober an' tell John de Doctor hed de
dawgs all de time."

The six dollars were given to the mother. Lin declared Alfred the best
boy in the world and one who, "ef he had the chance, could take keer of

A few days later Cousin Charley brought Alfred a fine pair of white and
blue pigeons in a nice little box. After talking on many subjects
Charley came to the real object of his visit. He stated that he had
bought the two hounds from a man whom he did not know. He paid the man
the cash for the dogs. Now he had learned that the dogs had been stolen
from Turner Simpson and he felt it his duty to restore them to their
rightful owner.

Lin was washing dishes at the beginning of Charley's talk. She seated
herself on the table--a favorite position of Lin's--and nodded approval
at the end of every sentence Charley uttered. When _he_ concluded, Lin

"I'll be tee-to-tall-y dog-goned ef this haint the mos' curious
sarcumstance thet's ever kum up. Now a man--and Lin emphasized each word
with the laying of the forefinger of her right hand into the palm of her
chubby left--stole Turner Simpson's houns. Ye say ye bought 'em--nodding
at Charley--ye didn't know they wus stole. Ye gin the houns to Alfurd.
Now ye kum after the dogs; ye has to gin the houns back to Turner
Simpson. Ye furgit who ye got the houns from an' can't git yer money
back, ye're out jus thet much. Now s'posin' Alfurd sole them air houns
to Doctor Bob Playford--Charley crimsoned--an' the Doctor says 'Yere
Alfurd, yers a dollar, carry the houns to Turner Simpson's' an' Alfurd
'ud do hit, then yer conscience 'ud be easy, wouldn't hit?'"

"Yes um," meekly answered Charley, "but I don't think Bob Playford wants
to buy any houns, he has a plenty, 'bout twenty I reckon."

Lin smiled as she informed Cousin Charley that "he hed twenty-two by
this time. An' let me tell ye sumthin' further: Ef ye're tradin' in
birds or pigins or whatever ye call 'em, ye better fin' sum other feller
to handle 'em kase Alfurd's got on a swappin' canter an' it'll be hard
to head him." Lin laughed long and heartily. Cousin Charley mumbled
something about the principle of the thing as he left the house.

It developed that Cousin Charley had been doing quite a business in
hounds. The pair Alfred had, or a similar pair, had been sold to Doctor
Playford, at least twice during the past six months. When Charley needed
a little money, he just sold the Doctor a pair of his own hounds.

The Doctor took it all good naturedly as he remarked: "Charley has
stolen more hounds for me than he has sold me, therefore, I still owe

The mother, when the facts came out, forthwith sent Alfred to the Doctor
with the five dollars. The Doctor laughed and said: "Alfred, go home and
tell Mary (his mother) that I gave you the five dollars for keeping the
dogs. And say--If Charley steals them again you just grab them, come and
tell me and I'll give you five dollars more."

Alfred played spy on Charley for some time but Charley seemed to have
lost interest in the hound business.

After the old play-ground, Jeffries Commons was abandoned, Sammy
Steele's tan-yard became the favorite practicing place of the
athletically inclined boys of the town. The soft tan bark was even more
suitable for tumbling, leaping and jumping than the old saw-dust ring on
the commons.

The owner of the tan-yard, Sammy Steele--no one ever called him
Samuel--was thought, by those who did not know him intimately, to be
hard and severe. And so he was to those who fell under his displeasure.
Only a few of the boys of the town were permitted to enjoy the
practicing place. Alfred was one of them. To Alfred, the dignified, hard
working, honest tanner, was always kindly.

Alfred performed many errands and did many chores with quickness and
willingness for the owner of the tan-yard. The willingness of the boy
caught the fancy of the industrious man. One day he called Alfred up to
his office.

The big, earnest man began by saying, (he always repeated his words)--:
"Little Hatfield boy, little Hatfield boy, you are not big enough to do
much work, much work, but you are willing, you are willing, to do all
you can. You are here a greater part of your time, the greater part of
your time. The bark is thrown down, thrown down, from the loft to the
mill, to the mill, where they grind it; I say grind it, little bits of
bark fly off, fly off on the ground bark. I want the ground bark kept
clear of the unground, of the unground bark. You are spry, I say you are
spry. It will take you but a little while morning and afternoon to clear
the ground bark pile of the unground pieces, of the unground pieces. For
this I will pay you twenty-five cents a day, twenty-five cents a day."

Alfred wended his way home in high glee. The prospect of earning money
was pleasing to the boy. Long before the family arose in the morning he
was up and waiting for his breakfast. Although it was but a few moment's
walk to his place of employment, he insisted that he had best carry his
noonday lunch. This the mother would not permit.

[Illustration: The Bark Mill]

Active as a squirrel the boy scampered over the bark pile picking up the
bits of unground bark. The work was but play.

The noon hour found him on the tan bark pile practicing. As the bell
rang calling the men to work he was at his place with the most
industrious of them.

During the many years that have begun and ended since he worked in Sammy
Steele's tannery, Alfred has received some pretty fair weeks' salaries,
but no pay ever brought the happiness the one dollar and fifty cents he
received for that week's work in the old bark mill when he presented it
to his mother.

Not many days elapsed before his industry was rewarded by an increase of
wages to three times the amount he had previously received. His work
took wider range, upstairs to the big finishing room and the office
where he came in constant contact with the owner of the tannery. He made
himself more useful to the man higher up, and when his pay was increased
to one dollar a day, it seemed a fortune was in sight.

The illusion still clung. The present was but the means to an end and
beyond lay his hopes. To become a great clown in the circus was the
goal. Nor were the little band of minstrels, whose rehearsals had been
checked by the fire and the loss of the melodeon, lost sight of. The big
finishing room found the little band of amateur minstrels rehearsing
almost every night, strange to say, the straight laced old tanner did
not object. When several of the nearby neighbors complained of the noise
and din, he simply gave orders to limit the rehearsals to 10 p. m.

Lin said: "Huh! ef enybody but Alfurd was at the head of it, Sammy
Steele would a histed every one on 'em long ago."

Lin was peeved. She could not imagine how the singing could be anything
without her voice and the melodeon. A tan-yard hand who played the
violin by ear had supplanted Lin. She declared he could only "fiddle fer
dancin', he couldn't foller singin'. Ye can't foller a fiddle an' sing,
ye got to hev a melodeon or accordion. A fiddle wus never made to sing
with, hit's all right fer dancin'. Lor', ye never hear any real music
less ye got a lead. That's the reason ye never hear any good singin' in
Baptus meetin'. They're agin manufactured music, they haven't got
enythin' to go by."

Lin had joined the Campbellite Church for the reason that it was the
furthest from the Baptist belief, so she claimed. Alfred always believed
down deep in his heart that Lin had allied herself with that particular
denomination for the reason that her vocal abilities were appreciated in
the little congregation and for the further reason that the church had
an organ.

Lin felt her exclusion from the minstrel rehearsals more than she cared
to reveal. Alfred did all he could to comfort her. He assured her that
Charley Wagner, the violin player, was not nearly so satisfactory as

"But s'pose I had saved the melodeon"--(Lin always attributed her
rejection by the minstrel band to the loss of the melodeon)--"you
couldn't a-used it in the tan-yard, it's too damp there and it would
spoil the tune of it. Why, it's most ruined my tambourine. Beside,"
concluded Alfred, "regular minstrels are all men, they don't have any
women folks in 'em."

His explanation was plausible but it did not satisfy Lin. "Huh! I wasn't
good enuf fur yer ole tan-yard pack. I s'pose when ye got a lot of
patchin' and sewin' to do, ye'll be callin' on me but ye won't fin' me
in. Good bye, Mr. Clown, minstrel. Next time ye try to ak out afore
folks I hope ye'll do better en ye did the nite uv the big party."

This was a home thrust, it pierced to the quick. Alfred was over
sensitive. Often, when the remembrance of the failure alluded to by Lin
troubled his mind, he had soothed himself with the hope that few had
noticed his failure. But Lin's remark forced the awful feeling upon him
that, like Cousin Charley's potato deal, it was known and talked of by
the whole town.

Unexpected happenings brought the rehearsals of the minstrels in the old
tan-yard to an abrupt ending.

It was during the dark days of the reconstruction period, immediately
following the war. Only those of the south can fully realize what those
days meant to a people already impoverished by the _most gigantic war of

Colonel Charlotte, once wealthy, now reduced to almost want, (we will
place his residence, oh anywhere, in Virginia, Georgia or Alabama); his
once productive plantation neglected for want of tenants and help to
cultivate it, stock and products confiscated. Many and earnest were the
conferences held by the Colonel and his unfortunate neighbors, to devise
ways and means to recuperate their lost fortunes. After each conference
with his friends the Colonel would wend his way homeward to confer with
his good wife, who was a most sensible and therefore a lovable woman.

When the Colonel was most despondent the wife was most buoyant, cheering
him as best she could. After the Colonel had given vent to his feelings,
recounting for the hundredth time his helplessness in the face of the
oppressive laws rigidly enforced by the carpet-bag officers; after he
had delivered himself of a tirade against those who were responsible for
the condition of affairs, the good wife said: "Colonel, I know if the
Christian people of the North were aware of the sufferings of our
people, we would get relief. I pity you in your troubles and do hope we
may see a way to help ourselves. We are out of corn, the meal is almost
gone and we have very little bacon left. Our children should be in
school but I cannot bear to send them with the toes out of their shoes
and their shabby clothes."

The Colonel would compress his lips, cussing every Yankee on earth. He
would find his way to the country store to while away another day in
useless conference with his neighbors. The same persons met daily and
dispersed nightly to carry their woes to their homes. Time and again
Colonel Charlotte informed the patient little wife that he was without

"Don't give up," encouraged the wife, "I know it looks dark but it is
always darkest before dawn; let us look toward the east and pray for
light. I know something will come to us, but for my part, I would not
care. I can stand it, but the children, poor innocents, should not be
made to suffer; no shoes or clothes fit to go to school or church in.
The winter is coming on and our provisions are scant. I worry only on
account of the children. Colonel, do the best you can; that is all
mortal can do, the Lord will do the rest."

The Colonel left his fireside early the next morning resolved to find
something to relieve the wants of his family. Returning home later than
usual he was in a towering rage. The good wife was alarmed.

"Why, Colonel, what has disturbed you so?"

"Wife, I'm mad clar through and if Captain Barbour warn't an old friend
of the family, I declar' to God I'd assaulted him today."

"Heaven forbid," pleaded the wife, "I know Captain Barbour surely would
not wound your feelings intentionally."

The Colonel explained that they were talking over their troubles,
bewailing their helplessness, when Captain Barbour said: "Why Colonel
Charlotte, you're better off than any of us, you have the means at your
command to not only make a living but to lay a little money by."

"And wife, when I asked him how, what do you think he said? That I had a
carriage and horses and I could open a livery stable. Open a livery
stable!" And the hot blood of the Charlottes' reddened his temples again
as he clinched his fists and walked up and down in his anger. "Me, a
Charlotte, engage in the livery business. Why, wife, I could scarcely
keep my hands off him. Me, a Charlotte, in the livery business. Pollute
that old family carriage that bears on its panels the crest of the
Charlotte family, whose blood runs back to the men of Cromwell."

The facts are the old family carriage was about the only relic of the
Charlotte family's former greatness; imported from England years before,
held as almost sacred by succeeding generations of the Charlotte family.
To have one intimate that the sacred old vehicle should be used to
convey the common herd was a heavy blow to the pride of the Colonel.

"Well, Colonel," soothingly spoke the wife, "I know your pride has
been hurt, I know just how badly you feel. I know you are proud and
I really fear that Captain Barbour in his zeal to assist you was
indiscreet. He should not have spoken so abruptly but should have
given you time to consider the motive that prompted him. I
his advice. Can't we talk it over?" As she approached him, looking
up into his face with a half smile and a half cry, she pleaded:
"I would hate to say one word that would humble your pride,
but--but those children--you know they ought to have schooling.
And I declare, Colonel--I do not know--what we're going to do for
something to--to--eat." And here the wife broke down.

The Colonel folded her in his arms as he soothed her, stroking her hair.
He declared he would sacrifice all the pride of the Charlottes that she
and his did not suffer.

The negroes were sent to the corn patch to fetch the old horses, pluck
the burrs out of manes and tails, smooth them up by currying the long
hair off their shaggy coats. The old family carriage was hauled out of
the shed, washed, the brass mountings brightened, the coat of arms, the
panels scoured until they shone again.

The sting was somewhat removed from the Colonel's feelings by the
painter making the sign read "Liberty Stable." The word "Livery" was
not in the painter's vocabulary. When he assured the Colonel that the
sign was proper the Colonel was more satisfied.

Four or five days wore away. The Colonel, from his seat in front of the
store, like Enoch Arden patiently watching for a sail, grew more
despondent each day.

One November evening, the rain gently falling from the weeping clouds
seemingly in sympathy with the Colonel's dismal feelings, a young negro
was seen coming towards him. Colonel Charlotte recognized Sam, a former
slave, the son of an old house servant.

The Colonel returning the salutation in a manner none the less cheery
said: "Why, Sam, how you all has growed up. I declare I wouldn't knowed
you only your voice is so much like your father's. How's all? Whar you
livin' and what you a-doin' for yourself? Come on boy, tell me about
you eh?"

Sam explained to the Colonel that "he was working on de new railroad
buildin' down Raleigh way an' wus doin' tolerable well. A dollar a day,
not countin' Sundays an' I gits my fodder."

"Well, Sam, if you can stow vittles away like you all done when I fed
you, you're gettin' well paid."

The Colonel laughed at his own joke, the first laugh he had indulged in
for days. Sam was encouraged by the Colonel's good humor. Doffing his
hat, he addressed the Colonel in a sort of patronizing manner:

"Cunnel, I dun heard you all gone into the liberty business."

This flattered the Colonel slightly and he straightened up, replying:

"Yes, Sam, I just got tired of seeing my horses and vehicles around
doing nothing and I wanted something to occupy my time. I don't count
much on what I'll make but it will keep me from rusting out."

"Well, Cunnel, I'se jus come all de way down yar to see you. Dar's gwine
to be a dance down to Townsley's tonight an' me an' my company an' my
friend an' his gal wants to go, an' I kum to ask you all how much you
gwine fur to ax us to carry us all to de dance an'----"

Like a flash the Colonel jumped to his feet, the old rickety,
split-bottom chair was hurled after Sam with the words:

"You dam black scoundrel, I'll break every bone in your black body if I
get hold of you."

This speech was hurled after the thoroughly frightened Sam as the
Colonel pursued him. Giving up the chase the Colonel stalked home. His
wife observed his anger as he entered.

"Wife, I've never in my life sustained a worse shock than today. To
think of it after all these days of waitin', after I have been in the
liberty business all these days, the first human being to come to
me"--and the Colonel choked with rage--"the first human being to come to
me to hire that old family carriage, was a dam nigger."

Then the Colonel in more moderate language described the scene between
himself and Sam. The good wife listened to the Colonel until he
concluded. Then in a conciliatory tone, she said: "Well, Colonel, it
does seem as though fate is cruel to you. I do hope you will bear up
bravely. I think it just awful that the first customer should have been
a nigger. I do hope we will have others soon."

Then after a pause, she resumed, "Insofar as I am concerned I would
willingly die before I'd ask you, a Charlotte, to sacrifice your pride
further. But when I think of our children I don't know what to say.
Colonel," and she trembled as she spoke, "do you--do--you think--Sam had
money to pay for the hire of the carriage?"

"I done heard the money jingle in his pocket when he run."

"Well, Colonel, I wouldn't even suggest that--that--you carry those
niggers to the ball, but if--if we only had the money--it would do us so
much good. Those children--."

The Colonel waited to hear no more. Out into the chilly autumn evening,
more briskly than he had moved in weeks, stalked the Colonel. Reaching
the Liberty Stable, he ordered one of the boys to locate Sam. "Make
haste," was his parting order.

The boy soon returned escorting Sam who seemed somewhat afraid to get
too near the livery stable proprietor. The Colonel assured Sam that he
desired to talk with him. Leading the way he walked until well out of
hearing of his stable boy.

He began inquiringly, "So there's a big ball at Townsley's tonight. It's
the fust I've heard of it, an' you an' your company wants to go. Well
Sam, you work hard fur your money an' you ought not to spend it too
freely because winter's coming on and these reconstruction laws the
Yankees have put on us will make it hard on all of us."

"About how much do you reckon it will cost you all to go to the ball in
a first class livery turn out?"

"I dunno sah," meekly answered Sam.

"How much you got?" was the Colonel's next question.

"Five dollars," and Sam jingled the coin in his pocket, showing a set of
ivories that would have been the envy of any society belle in the land.

"Give it to me," and the Colonel reached his long arm out towards Sam,
the palm of his hand up. Sam placed the five dollars in it.

"Sam, I want to see you have your pleasure. Five dollars is less than I
ever charged for a carriage to a ball before. Being's it's you I'll let
it go fer that figure providin' you never mention to any person on earth
that you hired a conveyance from Colonel Charlotte."

"Yes, sah. I'll promise an' I'll neber tell airy livin' soul 'bout it,"
answered Sam, showing signs of fright.

The Colonel looked about to assure himself that there were no witnesses
and commanded Sam to raise his right hand and kneel on the ground. Sam
hesitated, the ground was wet and he had on his new store pants, but
down he knelt.

"Now swear by all the laws of reconstruction that if you ever tell you
rid in Colonel Charlotte's kerrige, you will be whipped by the Ku-Klux,
haunted by ghosts and burned by witches until you are dead and buried in
a grave as deep as hell."

The thoroughly frightened boy assented to the oath. The Colonel ordered
him to arise, get his company together, "mosey" down to where the big
road crossed the branch and wait until the carriage arrived.

The Colonel never entered the livery stable, content to leave the
conducting of the same to his help. However, he was not content to trust
the old family carriage to them. Ordering the horses hitched to the
sacred vehicle, the Colonel hastened to the house, "to plant the tin,
afore some dam Yankee carpet-bagger grabbed it," as he expressed it.

He returned to find the carriage ready for him. Two tallow dips burning
dimly in the big, old-fashioned lamps on either side of the driver's
seat were the admiration of the boys who lighted them. The Colonel
ordered them to "blow them thar candles out," saying that they only
blinded him. The real reason was that the Colonel did not desire any
light shed on the transaction that would disclose his part in it.

Once down the hill he halted the team under the big oak tree where four
dusky figures, two males and two females, stood. In a voice he intended
to sound other than his own, the Colonel ordered the waiting group to
"git in quick, pull down the curtains and don't airy dam niggers poke
your heads out till we git to Townsley's."

The horses moved off, the Colonel soliloquizing as they trotted along
the sandy road: "S'pose I meet a white man an' he asks me where I'm
goin', what will I tell him? Was there ever a white man, was there ever
a Charlotte put to this test before. If ever a Charlotte knew that I
engaged in this business what would I say to him? Did I ever think I'd
come to this? Me, Colonel Charlotte, hauling niggers to a ball." And he
again cussed the reconstruction laws.

Arriving at the country store the dance was already under full headway.
The fiddles and scraping of feet could be plainly heard.

The voice of the caller, "Swing your partners; all hands around; first
gent lead off to the right," floated out on the damp air.

"Git out," was the Colonel's orders to his fares. "Now, don't stay all
night or you'll walk back," were his last words to Sam and his company
as they ran upstairs to the ball room.

Tying the horses to the fence, the Colonel lighted his pipe, walking to
and fro to warm his chilled blood, he gave way to his gloomy thoughts
again. "What would Captain Barbour, Colonel Woodburn and Major Hinkle
say if they found out that he, Colonel Charlotte, was engaged in
carrying niggers to a ball. Ef I was to be ketched yar by a white man,
what explanation could I make that would protect the honor of my

For himself the Colonel felt that he was eternally disgraced and had
reached the point where he was willing to be ostracized but hoped to
protect the family name.

Sam returned to the carriage to find a wrap or other article the women
had forgotten. The air was very chilly. "Sam, have you all got any fire
upstairs," asked the Colonel.

"Yes, sah, dars a roarin' fire up yander Colonel. Jus walk up sah an'
warm yoself."

Pulling his hat down over his eyes, turning his coat collar up to
disguise himself, the Colonel climbed the narrow stairs. Peeping
through the door at the whisking dancers he skulked along the side of
the room until he reached the big, open wood fireplace. The warmth was
very grateful to his benumbed frame. He had not the assurance to look
around at the dancers; while his front side was thoroughly warmed, the
rear of his anatomy was still numb. About the time he had determined to
about face, the dance ceased. He heard several remarks not intended for
his ears:

"Who is dat ole white man 'trudin' yar? Whar did dat ole white man kum
frum? Who fetched him up yar?"

The Colonel couldn't bear it longer. Stalking out, he descended the
stairs, asking himself if he could sink lower. In the depths of
degradation, what could happen that would sink him lower. A Charlotte
ordered out of a nigger ballroom.

The cold air pierced him more quickly since leaving the ballroom. The
big wood fire influenced him to return to its comforting warmth. By this
time the fire had heated up the room. The heat from the over-heated
revellers, the aroma permeating the atmosphere, was not unfamiliar to
the Colonel's sense of smell yet none the less unpleasant.

It impelled the Colonel to seek fresh air more quickly than the side
remarks had previously. Out in the chilly air he gave way to his
thoughts as before, thoughts tinged with even more bitterness.

The fire had made him more and more susceptible to the cold and it was
not long ere the Colonel started on his way to warm himself again. Sam
met him at the foot of the stairs. Bowing and scraping, he began by
apologizing profusely:

"Cunnel, I declars I hates to tell you all but the gemmen dat runs de
frolik jus tol' me I has to. I'se been pinted a committee to tell you
dey hes made a good hot fire in de back room down stairs fer you. You
kin go in an' warm yerself. Dey all doan wants you to kum in de big room
up stairs eny more. De fak is, de ladies up dar objecks to de oder ob de
stable on yer clothes."

The facts are that a tannery is not as pleasant to the olfactory senses
as Pinaud's perfumes, but Alfred, unlike Col. Charlotte, had exposed
himself to objectionable odors by working over the vats and leather by
day, and thumping the tambourine by night in the big finishing room. But
no complaints ever came to his ears of the unpleasant odor of the
tannery he carried home with him until Lin was discarded by the minstrel
band. Therefore, when the mother, backed by Lin, informed him that he
would have to give up his tan-yard affiliations, the boy felt in his
heart that as in the Colonel's case, it was not the odor but prejudice.

He almost wished he had arranged that Lin might have retained her place
as leader of the singing. But there were other reasons why he was
ordered to leave the tanning business.

The Workman Hotel was but a few steps from the old tannery. The new
landlord was giving the place a cleaning up. Cal Wyatt, the son of the
hotel man, came over to the tannery and requested Alfred, John Caldman,
Vince Carpenter and several others to go over during the noon hour to
the cellar and give them a hand in stacking up sundry barrels and kegs.

All complied. The barrels were quickly lifted on top of each other. A
tin cup full of some sort of fluid was passed around several times. All
sipped from the cup, much as folks do from a loving cup nowadays. As the
barrels were piled higher, the tin cup went around again and again.

Alfred had sipped from a large spoon a little of the same sort of
tasting stuff when Grandpap Irons made a little toddy before breakfast.
But never had his lips sunk into a tin cup filled with the stuff
previously. A feeling came over him such as he had never experienced,
and it seemed as if all in the cellar were similarly affected. Those of
the tan-yard hands who had never been known to raise their voices in
song, essayed to sing the minstrel songs. Those so awkward that they
could not walk naturally endeavored to dance.

Ordinarily Alfred would have laughed himself weak at the hilarious
attempts of the tan-yard hands, and their imitations. Under the
influence of the tin cup's magic fluid he held them in that contempt
that only the professional can feel for the jay who endeavors to imitate

[Illustration: The Tin Cup Went Round Again and Again]

Alfred stood motionless, or as near motionless as he possibly could.
John Caldman, who was known and respected as the one quiet and
unobtrusive person in the tannery, and from whose lips a loud word never
escaped, stood erect and immovable as the singing, dancing tan-yard
hands whirled about him. With compressed lips and haughty mien he seemed
not to notice them.

Suddenly he spoke and in a voice so loud and unnatural that all were
awed into silence. The quiet man had changed so completely he seemed
another person. Alfred gazed at him in astonishment. He hurled epithets
and denunciations at those whose names he had never before mentioned
aloud. He recalled insults and abuse heaped upon him by all connected
with the tannery; he invited, he insisted that the biggest and
strongest of those about him come out and fight. He dared the whole
crowd to jump on him.

None accepting his dare he declared his intention to go to the tan-yard
and clean out the old shebang, following his threat with a movement
towards the tannery followed by the wobbling crowd.

Entering the big finishing room Alfred saw the infuriated John standing
in the middle of the room, an iron hook in one hand, a lump of coal in
the other, while the workmen were flying upstairs and down stairs.
Alfred endeavored to follow those who went down stairs. He remembered
starting from the first step at the top. Vince Carpenter afterwards
informed him he never hit another step in his descent.

[Illustration: Sammy Steele's Mule Kicked the Boy]

Gathering himself up in time to hear Vince shout: "Here comes Mr.
Steele," as badly scared as his dazed senses would permit him to be,
Alfred fumbled and scrambled about for a moment. He spied a large
wheel-barrow overloaded with cows' ears and other by-products of green
hides that go into the refuse and find their way to the glue factory.
This slimy mess was just out of the lime vat.

Alfred grabbed the handles and started with the wheel-barrow he did not
know where, his sole object being to stall and make the boss believe he
was at work. Along a narrow plank walk he pushed the gruesome load,
weaving, wobbling at every step, threatening to go off one side or the
other at any moment, headed for the dump where all the water-soaked,
discarded tan bark was deposited.

Reaching the dumping ground, standing between the handles of the
wheel-barrow, Alfred attempted to overturn it. The handles overturned
Alfred. Down the steep incline, rolled Alfred, wheel-barrow and contents
in one conglomerate mass, Alfred under the avalanche of cows' ears,
tails, etc.

Mrs. Hampton witnessed from her back porch the race down the dump pile.
Calling a couple of boys the lady led the way to where Alfred lay,
digging him from under the slimy mess. The boys loaded the soaking
figure into the wheel-barrow and carried him home.

Sammy Steele used as motive power in his bark mill a fine white mare and
an iron grey mule. When Alfred could not get the use of the white mare
he rode or drove the mule. Alfred's parents and others continually
cautioned him to beware of the mule, that it was vicious and would
surely kick him.

When the boys arrived at Alfred's home and Lin saw them assisting the
almost senseless boy into the house, she began: "Well, fur the luv of
all thet's holy, what's the rumpus now? I'll bet a fip Sammy Steele's
mewel's kicked thet boy."

The boys did not reply, depositing their burden on the floor, hastily
departed. To Lin's persistent inquiries, Alfred admitted that the mule
had kicked him. In a maudlin way he stuttered: "L-o-o-k-o-u-t, Lin,
she'll k-k-i-c-k you." Then he laughed a silly laugh.

Lin was convinced that the boy was out of his head, delirious from the
mule's kick, sent for the doctor who came in haste. Lin explained that
she was "skeered nearly to death. I wus yar all alone an' they kum
draggin' him in. I tried to talk with him but he's plum out of his head.
His mother an' his pap an' me an' all of us hes warned him time an'
'gain that that mewel would be his death, but he jus kept a-devilin'
aroun' hit; now ye see what kum of hit. He's jus like he had a stroke of
palsy, hit's a wonder the mewel hedn't killed him stun dead. Ef hits
palsied him he mought jus es well be dead."

Thus Lin ran on as the old doctor carefully looked the patient over. The
doctor had long practiced in Brownsville. Tomato vine poisoning cases
were rare. Alfred's ailment on this occasion was common. He made no
mistake in diagnosing the case although he did not inform the family of
his conclusions. However, he assured them that "the boy would be all
right in a day or two. His appetite might not come to him at once but he
would be all right in the morning. Just let him sleep, don't wake him,
and when he gets out caution him to--keep away from the mule," added the
doctor dryly.

Lin said: "Be durned ef hit ain't the queerest case I ever seed.
Alfurd's jus es sick es he kin be an' the old doctur didn't gin him

A few days later it was whispered among the neighbors that Alfred and a
number of the tan-yard hands broke into Bill Wyatt's cellar and drank up
all his liquor and Alfred, "little as he wus, drinked more'n eny of em."
George Washington Antonio Frazier 'lowed that Alfred "drinked so much he
wouldn't want another drink fer a month. I wouldn't ef I'd hed his
cargo," he concluded.

Lin threw her head up in disgust as she denied this rumor: "Huh, all ole
Frazier is peeved 'bout is bekase he didn't git his ole hog belly filled
up fur nuthin'."

Alfred slept he knew not how long. It was night when he awoke. Half
awake, he would doze and dream--now he was carrying gourds of water to
Uncle Joe, hastening back to get a gourdful for his own parched lips. He
would invariably drop the gourd or have some other mishap--he never got
the water to his lips.

He realized that there were others in the room, the lamp was too low to
distinguish them. He listened endeavoring to hear what they were talking
of. The old clock down-stairs struck two, then the little clock on the
mantelpiece chimed twice.

A figure arose, softly crossing the room and a hand was laid softly on
the boy's forehead. His eyes were closed but he knew it was his mother's

"He is a little less feverish, Pap, you had best go to bed. I'll call
Lin early and lie down. Now go on, you have to work and you won't feel
like it, if you don't get your sleep. Go on now, if he gets worse, I'll

"Gets worse I'll call you." Alfred repeated the words over and over in
his mind. He imagined at first that he had been sick a long time. He
gathered his thoughts--the old tavern cellar came into his mind, the
antics of the tan-yard hands after they had quaffed from the tin cup.
Alfred got no further in his ramblings than the tin cup; only a ray of
thought, yet it was of sufficient power to cause the boy to retch and
strain as though he would heave his stomach up.

The mother was holding a vessel in one hand and supporting the very sick
boy with the other arm.

"Muz, Muz, what's the matter with me--how long have I been sick--d-do
you th-i-n-k I'm goin' to die?"

The mother soothed him and persuaded him to go to sleep. Alfred closed
his eyes and pretended to sleep. He heard footsteps and, peering out of
the corner of his eye, he perceived the form of his father bending over

Softly walking over to where the mother sat with bowed head, the father
began: "I thought I heard him talking. Was he awake?"

"Yes," answered the mother.

"What did he say?" eagerly inquired the father.

The mother informed him.

The father, looking toward the bed, remarked half to himself:

"I hope he will be sober enough to talk to me before I leave the house."

"Why, John," hastily began the mother, "you speak as if he were an old

"Well, Mary. I did not mean it that way. But I have been worried ever
since that minstrel crowd has been gathering at the tan-yard. Of course,
I never knew Alfred to drink whiskey but they all drink more or less and
Alfred is not the boy to pass anything by there's any fun in."

"But they had no business to give a boy whiskey," argued the wife, "and
I would see about it and I would make an example of them if I were

"I will do all of that and more," warmly answered the father. After a
pause, he resumed: "They tell me they were all in Wyatt's cellar and Cal
Wyatt drew a tin cup of high proof whiskey. Alfred put the cup--"

Alfred was following the father's words. At the mention of the word
"cup," his stomach rebelled again. His father was holding a vessel, his
mother supporting the boy's head.

Turning his head, the father ejaculated: "Phew! If that isn't rot-gut I
never smelt it."

Alfred pretended to go to sleep and the father and mother talked long
and earnestly. Their solicitude for the erring boy, touched Alfred to
the heart. He had not realized until this moment the meanness of his
actions. When Alfred fully realized the misery and suffering he had
caused his parents, he was impelled to crawl to them and kiss the hem of
their garments, promising never to cause them pain from the same cause

Let it be recorded he did not realize immediately when he drank from the
cup, that it was whiskey. After the first swallow or two he became
oblivious to his danger. He felt that he was forever disgraced. He
thought of getting out of bed and fleeing, he cared not whither, only to
get far away from the scene of his disgrace.

We do not know that the boy resolved that he would never touch, taste or
handle whiskey again. We do not know what resolutions he made to
himself, but we do know that whisky never passed his lips again until he
was more than a man grown and then rarely and in very small quantities.

Alfred slept. When he awoke it was daylight. The sun was shining
brightly. His first thought was that he would be late for work. Then he
heard the voice of a neighbor woman, one whom the mother disliked, one
who was noted for her tatling propensities. As an excuse to call she had
brought fruit for Alfred. The boy overheard her inquiries as to his
condition. She whispered long and earnestly with Lin. The latter,
looking down at the pale face of Alfred began questioning him:

"Well, I see ye're alive yit, I gess ye'll kum out of hit. I s'pose the
hull durn town'll be laffin' at me. I never dreamed ye wus jus corned.
Ef I'd knowed, I'd brot ye out uf it quicker; I'd jus made a hull tin
cup uf hot mustard--"

Alfred heard no further than "tin cup." Flopping over on his stomach,
endeavoring to hold down the last remnants of his innards, he begged to
be left alone. But Lin kept on:

"An' yere I sends fur the doctor es innercent es a baby an' up an' tole
him Sammy Steele's mewel hed histed ye. An' when he was feelin' roun' ye
I thot he was feelin' fur busted bones, an' durned ef I ever knowed even
when ye begun throwin' up on the carpit thet ye wus jus drunk."

Lin continued: "Ef I hadn't sent fur the doctor it wouldn't be so blamed
green lookin' in me. I'll never hear the las' uf hit. I'll bet Sammy
Steele's mewel's ears will burn, the hull town'll be talkin' 'bout thet
mewel. They'll say he's a powerful kicker," and Lin laughed despite

"Why, fur weeks after Joe Sandford got into thet fix with his wall-paper
show clothes folks would laff when I went into meetin'. I could tell
what they wus thinkin' uf the minnit they'd smile. Un the wust part uf
hit is I went over to Mrs. Todd's an' we cried fur two hours. Mrs.
Todd's brother got kicked in the spinel string (cord) with a mewel an'
he died the same nite. He never moved after he wus kicked. He wus
ossified from head to fut."

Alfred laughed. Lin corrected herself by saying: "Thet's what Mrs. Todd
sed ailed him, but I knowed she meant 'palsified'."

Alfred again laughed. Lin knew she had made a mistake; she was sensitive
and it nettled her to notice the smile on Alfred's face. In tones quite
testy she advised him to "hold his laff 'til he could feel hit. Ye
needn't git so peart, ye hain't out of danger yit, ye're liable to have
anuther collapse or sumthin' else. Ye'll never look as white aroun' the
gills when ye're laid out in them linen sheets ye stole fur yer show."

Lin "wondered what gran'muther would say when she heard of his
'sickness'." At the word "sickness" Lin winked with both eyes.

"I'll bet a fip Uncle Ned will say: 'Well, he's another notch nearer

Alfred did not consider the reference to Uncle Ned, but grandmother came
up in his mind and he determined to go to the old lady and tell her the
whole truth. And this he did and, instead of condemnation, he received
advice that strengthened him in avoiding many of the same sort of
pitfalls thereafter.

The tin cup incident ended Alfred's connection with the tan-yard but
Alfred never regretted his experience. The work was most health-giving
and muscle developing. The examples of industry and integrity learned
from Sammy Steele have been a guiding post in the life of the boy.
Alfred had not been in his employ long until he was permitted to
conduct small trades with the customers who visited the tannery.

One day a highly respected farmer brought in a hide. Alfred weighed the
hide and figured up the amount due the farmer when Mr. Steele entered
the room, passing the compliments of the day with the farmer. The hide
was spread out on the table. The tanner folded it over as if to
ascertain if it had been damaged in the skinning process. At the first
touch of the hide he looked into the farmer's face, and in a careless
tone, asked:

"Been killing a beef?"

"Yes," drawled the farmer.

"Eh, huh, eh, huh," nodded the tanner, "what did you do with the

"Oh, we found a market at home for it. We got a big family," replied the

"Eh, huh" assented the tanner. Reaching over, he took up the slate,
rubbed out Alfred's figures, figured the hide at about two-thirds the
amount Alfred was about to pay the farmer.

To Alfred's surprise the farmer accepted the cut in price and hastily
took his leave. The tanner looked after him in a contemptuous manner,
turned to Alfred and inquired if he knew the farmer.

Alfred answered: "Yes, he's a neighbor of my uncle. He belongs to the
Baptus Church and I heard the preacher say if God ever made an upright
man, he was one."

"Yes, yes," answered the tanner, "God made all men upright but a murn
hide will warp most of them."

A murn hide is one taken from an animal that dies of a disease. The
sensitive touch of the old tanner detected the diseased hide

Alfred has applied this incident to many deals in his life and a murn
hide became one of his pet references to a crooked transaction. The tie
of friendship between Alfred and Sammy Steele lasted while the tanner

Sammy Steele had not acquired a fortune in all the years of his hard
labor. A skilled workman, he respected labor. No employe of his was ever
tricked out of his wages. He was as fair to the poor as to the rich and
both trusted him. In an uncouth world he was a gentleman; he bowed as
courteously to a wash-woman as to an heiress.

An honest man, he was Alfred's boyhood friend, his friend in manhood.
Alfred loved him while he lived and respected his memory after he was

If there were more like Sammy Steele in this world there would be better
boys and better men.


    If every man's eternal care
      Were written on his brow,
    How many would our pity share
      Who raise our envy now?

Lest those who read these pages through feelings of sympathy for the
author, or influenced by curiosity, may gain the impression that the
people of Brownsville were not as staid as the exacting proprieties of
society demanded, it must be pointed out that there was not a bar-room
in the town. The two bakeries, William Chatland and Josie Lawton, sold
ale by the glass. Every tavern sold whisky by the drink from a
demi-john, jug or bottle that was kept locked up. The landlord carried
the key and served his customers from a glass or tin-cup. He poured out
the drink, limiting the amount to the condition of the one served.

Alfred would never admit Pittsburg in advance of Brownsville except in
one thing--the mirrored palaces where only cut glass was used in serving
the thirsty.

[Illustration: Bill Brown]

It is peculiar how one's environments will influence his actions in
after years. Bill Brown continues to send cut glass goblets to his
friends. He boasts that _his_ friends drink only out of cut glass. This
boast does not arouse Alfred's envy as he has friends in Brownsville who
can drink out of the bung hole of a barrel.

With going to school five days in a week and hunting Saturday, Alfred
was kept within bounds.

Kate Abrams--everybody who knew him addressed him as "Kate" (none ever
called him Decatur)--Captain Kate Abrams was the beau ideal of a man in
Alfred's estimation. Brave, gay and companionable, a man who loved boys
and hated hypocrites, a riverman, one who had plyed the southern rivers
from mouth to headwaters, as well known in St. Louis or Natchez as in
his home town, high strung and generous, he was just the kind of man
that boys love and respect.

To go hunting with Kate was a pleasure Alfred esteemed above all others.
He was the first wing shot Alfred ever hunted with. It was the custom of
the hunters of that section to kill all their game sitting.

When Alfred was permitted to handle and shoot the double-barreled gun
Captain Abrams had purchased in St. Louis, he experienced thrills known
only to an ardent hunter when a gun, the like of which he had never seen
before, comes into his hands.

"You can't miss shootin' that gun", was Alfred's comment.

Captain Abrams generally killed all the game, furnished all the
ammunition and divided even with the boys.

The Captain, Daniel Livingston and Alfred had been out one Saturday but
bagged only two rabbits; the boys were figuring in their minds how two
rabbits could be divided among three persons. When they arrived at the
parting point, the Captain remarked, "I know you boys would rather have
a half dollar each than a rabbit." With this he handed each a bright
half dollar.

Alfred had gone but a few steps toward home when a stranger halted him,
inquiring as to the location of the office of the _Clipper_, the weekly
newspaper. Alfred obligingly directed the man to the office.

The stranger had Alfred greatly interested. He was a journeyman printer.
Harrison was his name. Harrison was only one of the many who roamed over
the country in those days. They roamed from one spree to another,
sometimes looking for work and never keeping it long if found.

Harrison was an editorial writer. There were many of them in those days;
their enunciation of their political faith was abuse of all who dared
dispute them. They wrote for many years and not one line of their output
serves as a true mark of the times or people of the days in which they

[Illustration: Harrison and Alfred]

Harrison had walked from Uniontown. He had been working on the _Genius
of Liberty_, had left the paper before it ceased publication, as he put
it. He borrowed Alfred's half dollar. He promised he would meet Alfred
at the _Clipper_ office early next morning.

Alfred was there early but Harrison did not arrive until noon. Alfred
learned afterwards that high noon was early for Harrison, he always did
his work between twelve o'clock midnight and bed-time.

Alfred never liked the man from the time he failed to keep his
appointment and repay the half dollar, although for the next year he was
in closer touch with Harry Harrison than any human being on earth. But
he soon discovered that Harrison had knowledge of many things that he
wished to learn. Of course, he got a great deal of chaff with the grain,
but it was all enlightening.

Harrison had no difficulty in arranging with Mr. Hurd as editor,
foreman, pressman, reporter and general manager of the _Clipper_, issued
every Thursday. He had come from the _Genius of Liberty_ published in
Uniontown, a paper savagely opposed to the _Clipper_.

Alfred's father was a reader and an admirer of the _Genius of Liberty_,
a Democratic paper, a hater of the principles of the _Clipper_ and not
very friendly toward the owner thereof. When Harrison called at Alfred's
home to induce the parents to permit Alfred to ally himself with the
office force of the newspaper of which Harrison was the head, the father
bluntly told him that he did not have any faith in a Democrat who
espoused the principles continuously enunciated by that Abolitionist
sheet, the _Brownsville Clipper_, and he would not permit a child of his
to work for the paper.

Harrison advised the family that although he was a Democrat he was above
all a newspaper man, and newspaper men were compelled often times to
sacrifice principles to exigencies. That it was not a matter of the
present but of the future. Alfred should be fitted for a career that
would bring him honor and renown. Harrison declared the boy was
precocious beyond his years, all he required was training, and he,
Harrison, was in a position to offer the boy opportunities that might
never knock at his door again.

Notwithstanding the fact that the _Brownsville Clipper_ had on many
occasions praised the business competitor of Alfred's father and, while
Uncle Billy was a candidate for county judge, not only assailed his
loyalty but referred to all his family in uncomplimentary terms, Alfred
became an attache of the paper.

According to Harrison's statement Alfred was to be one of the business
staff, although there was no written agreement to that effect. However,
Harrison made mention of this fact several times in conversation with
the family. As Harrison was editor, reporter, foreman of the composing
room, and also the compositor, pressman, etc., the only opening for
Alfred was in the business department.

Lin said that Harrison was the "most nicest man that ever kum from
Uniontown, thet they was nearly all 'mountin hoosiers' but she would bet
Harrison kum from a good family and she hoped Hurd's would feed him
right." In those days it was the custom for the employer to board his

The first three days Alfred was in the business department he carried
two tons of coal in two big pails from the cellar to the third
story--the press room. Harrison declared it was not possible to publish
a clean sheet unless the room was kept at an even temperature. Harrison
had reference to the mechanical part of the paper, not the literary.

On press day, Baggy Allison, the town drayman, helped out. He worked the
lever of the hand-press. It required heft and strength to pull the lever
as it was necessary to press the form heavily to give the type the
proper impression on the paper.

Alfred was the roller. Two gluey, molassy, sticky rollers about four
inches in diameter with handles on them, not unlike a small lawn mower
without wheels, was first run over the ink smeared on a large flat
stone, then over the form lying on the press after each impression.

Press day was a big day in the little printing office.

Harrison had inaugurated reforms and improvements in the paper. He had a
catchy style in writing up the news. For instance: When Polly Rider and
Jacob Rail were united in marriage, the groom requested a nice mention
of the wedding, it was promised him. The following appeared in the
_Clipper's_ next issue:

    "On Wednesday evening in the presence of a large and respectable
    gathering of the quality of Bull Skin Township, Jacob Rail and
    Polly Rider were married by a duly qualified squire. The affair
    was held at Tom Rush's Tavern. All following the bride and groom
    a-horseback made a crowd as long as any that ever attended an
    infair or any other public outpouring in this neighborhood. Rush
    sets the best table on the old pike twixt Brownsville and
    Cumberland. At this infair he outshone all others; many claimed
    it was the best meal they ever sat down to. Mine host is not a
    candidate for any office we know of but he can get anything he
    wants in this county insofar as the support of this paper goes.
    And we know whereof we write. Two baskets filled with dainties
    and a demi-john came to this office. The whole office wishes the
    happy landlord 'bon vivant' until we can do better by him. The
    bride wore red roses and other posies; the groom wore a new
    black suit which he bought at Skinner's round corner clothing
    store. Everybody wishes them a pleasant voyage through life, as
    does the CLIPPER."

The two baskets of dainties had not been received when the article was
written but a copy of the paper found its way into the hands of the
landlord before the ink was dry and the baskets and demi-john were in
the office soon thereafter. Folks were just as susceptible to favorable
mention then as now.

In the same column of the _Clipper_ appeared this voluntary tribute:

    "T. B. Murphy, the handsome and polite ladies' man, the artistic
    grocer, has just gotten in a large supply of everything in his
    line. Murphy is just a little cheaper and a great deal better
    than other grocers. Among the toothsome goodies which the boys
    of the CLIPPER dote on are the fresh Scotch herring all ready
    for eating and the sugar crackers. They go together and make a
    snack fit for a king to gorge on."

Harrison never tired of sugar crackers and Scotch herring. The herring
kept him continually thirsty, hence Jose Lawton came in for favorable

    "Jose Lawton, the oldest and best baker in the town this day
    received a dray load of Spencer & McKay's Cream Ale. Spicy and
    brown, it is a nectar fit for the gods and spurs on ye editor in
    his untiring labors for that great moral inspiration, the

All that day the business department of the paper was very busy with a
large coffee pot carrying inspiration from Lawton's to the press room.

Harrison carried his reforms and innovations to the editorial pages of
the paper. In his first editorial he attacked those who held the
offices and those who aspired to them, that is, those to whom the paper
was opposed. Uncle Billy Hatfield was a candidate for county judge. The
_Clipper_ said:

    "The office holding habit is so strongly imbedded in the
    family," (Uncle Billy had been a justice of the peace, another
    uncle a constable and Alfred's father burgess for one term),
    "that if the voters of this county defeat them, as they surely
    will do as the CLIPPER is in the fight to stay, and they were
    sent to the Island of Ceylon, where the natives have no clothes
    on, they wouldn't be there long before they would hold all the
    offices. And thus, like here, have their hands in the pockets of
    the naked voters."

Press day Harrison would fly fold and what not until a dozen copies had
been run off that looked right to him. With these he left the office,
the drayman and business department struggled along with the printing of
the paper. The circulation was nine hundred and it generally took the
day and far into the night to work off the edition.

Harrison carried the copies containing complimentary write-ups of
various enterprises and persons in town to the persons themselves and
frequently returned with articles contributed by the recipient of the
write-up. He would bestow them on the office force, a pair of suspenders
to Alfred, a pair of gloves to Baggy Allison, cigars, cheese, Scotch
herring, sugar crackers and tobacco, were distributed and kept on hand
at all times, that is all times near press day.

Harrison generally celebrated for three days. Press day was Thursday; he
kept it up until Sunday when he was generally very sick.

On this, Alfred's first press day, Baggy Allison, the pressman, grew
very tired when three hundred of the edition had been worked off. The
pressman proceeded to take a nap. That the great preserver of public
morals might not be delayed in delivery, Alfred essayed to work the
press. The foot rest was too far away for him to reach the lever. The
first time he pulled it towards him while on a tension, the lever
slipped from his slender grasp, and flying back, snapped one of the
small springs in the press.

Harrison was sought and finally found but was too effulgent to realize
the calamity. He recommended the press be shipped to Philadelphia and
the office closed for two weeks. He was evidently feeling so good that
he could not entertain the idea of getting back to the regular life in
less time.

Mr. Hurd, the owner, insisted that Davy Chalfant, "the best blacksmith
in the country," could repair the spring. Alfred was dispatched with the
broken bits to Davy's shop. Davy was not only noted for his mechanical
skill but for his likes and dislikes. He had a great admiration for
mechanics who labored with heavy tools or machinery and greater contempt
for all who were engaged in lighter labor. Davy could shoe horses, weld
tires or axles as no other blacksmith in those parts.

[Illustration: "What Does Hurd Take Me Fur, a Damned Jeweler?"]

Kaiser, the town jeweler, a German of delicate physique and features, a
skilled workman, was held in special contempt by the big blacksmith who
never passed the jeweler's shop that he did not hurl, under his breath,
contemptuous words at the delicate little jeweler sitting in his window
with a magnifying glass on his eye, plying his trade.

When Alfred handed the blacksmith the broken bits of the spring he took
them in the hollow of his big palm and said: "What's these?"

Alfred explained that the press was broken and it would be impossible to
print the paper until the spring was repaired and Mr. Hurd said he knew
that he, Mr. Chalfant, could fix it.

Davy turned the bits of broken steel over in his palm with the
forefinger of his other hand as he musingly said: "So Hurd said I could
fix this thing, did he?" And here he handed Alfred the broken bits.
"Well, you take it back to Hurd an' ax him what he takes me fur, a
damned jeweler?"

Someone suggested that Gus Lyons, the machinist and piano tuner, could
repair the spring, which he did after several hours work.

Harrison celebrated longer, with the result that the remainder of the
edition was not worked off until after the regular edition of the
following week. The edition of the week before went out with the regular
edition with an added note at the top of the page explaining the
terrible accident to the press which caused the delay.

It was one of the onerous duties of the business department to deliver
the paper in three towns, Brownsville, Bridgeport and West Brownsville.
To the houses on the hill above Workman's Tavern he generally sent the
paper by a boy; the subscribers along Water Street, down toward the coal
tipple, were served by somebody Alfred met going that way.


When Alfred took charge of the business department he was furnished a
list of the subscribers in the three towns. It was not long until he
lost the list; in fact, he never was guided by the list. None of the
Democrats of any prominence in the town took the paper, but every week,
those holding office would be touched up in the paper. The business
department always took pains to deliver a copy of the paper to one thus
mentioned. If the article were pretty severe Alfred saw to it that all
the family of the one roasted received a copy of the paper.

This kept things stirred up around the office and the town. Alfred
generally distributed the papers to every family whether they subscribed
to it or not. From the outlying districts there came many complaints of
the non-delivery of the paper. The owner of the paper hired a horse and
buggy to trace the business department in its work.

Bob and Mrs. Hubbard owned a malt house and made excellent ale, so it
was said. They were subscribers to the paper. The owner of the paper
visited the Hubbards. The Mrs. was the business end of the firm. After
visiting a little while and sampling a goblet of the ale, the owner of
the paper announced the object of his visit:

"We have a new boy, complaints have come to the office that our readers
are not receiving their papers regularly. How about yours?"

Mrs. Hubbard looked at the owner rather surprised, as she informed him
that she "'adn't noticed the paper around the 'ouse in several weeks."
She said: "I thought you 'ad stopped printing it."

This nettled the owner, who was proud of his paper. "No ma'am! We have
never stopped it but you won't lose nothing, we will run you five weeks
over on the next year's subscription." And he took another glass of ale.

The owner expressed his disappointment that the paper had not been
delivered regularly. He remarked as he sipped at the fresh goblet of
ale the lady had insisted on him taking, "You shall have your paper
regularly hereafter, I shall bring it down myself every Thursday

"Oh Lor', no, Mr. Urd," the good woman began, "Oh Lor', 'Urd, we
wouldn't 'ave you trouble yourself for hennything. Never mind the paper,
we never reads hit enyhow."

Alfred did not fancy Harrison but was constantly associated with him.
There was a charm about the man for Alfred that was stronger than his
dislike. Harrison knew, or pretended he did, all the showmen of the day,
he would discuss them for hours while Alfred sat in open-mouthed wonder.
There was one feature Alfred studied over greatly--Harrison's
acquaintance with all noted showmen was brought about in nearly every
instance by Harrison having assisted them financially at some time.
Alfred had never thought of a clown or a minstrel except as one rolling
in wealth. When Harrison related how he had assisted Dan Rice out of
Louisville when in distress and Sam Sharpley out of Maysville when
creditors oppressed him, Alfred's respect for the man was still more
lessened. But it influenced him to look upon actors with a feeling less
exalted than previously.


Alfred learned in after years that the hallucinations of Harrison as to
assisting actors financially were common in the minds of those who lived
a roving life.

Harrison gave Alfred the first copy of the _New York Clipper_ he ever
read, probably the only amusement paper in the United States at that
time. Alfred was all of one rainy Sunday reading that copy of the
_Clipper_. He kept it hid in the cow stable fearing his father would
object to the paper.

Alfred became an authority on sports and amusements. The town people
marveled at his knowledge. Frank McKernan, the sporting shoemaker,
referred every argument that came up in his shop as to actors or prize
fighters to him.

Harrison presented Alfred a book on stage management. It contained just
such information as he had been seeking. The band of minstrels were
busily rehearsing in the back room of Frank McKernan's shoe-shop.
Harrison elated Alfred with the information that after the troupe became
perfectly rehearsed they could give performances every Saturday night in
Jeffres Hall and money would roll in on them.

John and Charley Acklin, splendid singers from the Methodist church
choir, joined the troupe when the minstrels serenaded Alfred's family.
Lin acknowledged, "the singin' wus purty an' ye git along right good
although hit mought be better."

Harrison pronounced the troupe perfectly rehearsed and ordered Alfred to
secure Jeffres Hall for the following Saturday night. Then came trouble.
Harrison assumed to be manager and treasurer. Win Scott, Alfred's
dearest pal, had always been the door-keeper. Win was intensely jealous
of Harrison. Alfred required Harrison's aid with the newspaper and to
have a few handbills printed. He loved old Win and he was greatly
disturbed as to how to appease Win and satisfy Harrison.

Harrison had become very much interested in Lin. The lady had not given
him any encouragement. Lin had a beau to whom she was loyal. Harrison
continually quizzed Alfred as to Lin's attitude toward him. Alfred
truthfully advised Harrison that Lin had never referred to him.

Harrison, in addition to his impecuniosity, had other peculiarities of
which vanity was not the least. Alfred persuaded Lin to accompany
Harrison to the proposed show. As Lin's "steady" was employed in a
distant town and she was very anxious to witness the first minstrels
performance, she sort of half way promised to permit the itinerant
printer to escort her to the show. But she decidedly declared, "Ef he
kums near me with the smell of licker on him I'll sack him quick."

Alfred felt that he was playing a desperate game but he had a great deal
at stake. The fact is, in all his other shows he had never enjoyed the
luxury of a treasurer. He did not fully comprehend the meaning of the
term; a door-keeper was all he required and when Harrison continually
talked of the treasurer as the one who held the destinies of the troupe
in the hollow of his hand, it was displeasing to Alfred.

In fact, Alfred had inwardly resolved that Harrison should not handle
the funds. Win Scott, his boyhood friend, should keep door and take in
the money as heretofore. Alfred resolved, though Lin even refused to
accept the invitation of Harrison, that he would declare himself at the
last moment as to the treasurership.

Alfred called on Mr. Jeffres, the owner of the hall, the only one in
town, stated his business, inquired as to the rental for a single night,
intimating to the fidgety little Englishman that the hall would be
rented many subsequent nights if the price was satisfactory.

Alfred has experienced many rebuffs but none so overwhelming as the
refusal of Mr. Jeffres to consider his proposition. He was smothered
with astonishment, chagrin and several other emotions that no
appropriate names have been found for.

The parting words of Mr. Jeffres kept ringing in his ears as he
sorrowfully walked homewards, his heart so heavy he could scarcely lift
his feet from the ground: "Hi do not care to rent my 'all to
hirresponsible persons. Hi 'av no desire to 'ave you an' your scalawags
ha-running about my 'all naked as some of you did the day you 'ad your
grandfather's coolin' sheets tacked hon the hold rag tent hin front of
my 'ouse." Jeffres bowed Alfred out of his house as he concluded his

Lin was up in arms. "Huh! Let ole Tilty go to blazes with his ole 'all
(mimicking Jeffres). I'll git ye the Campbellite meetin' house, see ef I

The true inwardness of the refusal of the hall was that Jeffres was the
business competitor of Alfred's father. Captain Decatur Abrams was
building the steamboat "Talequah." Jeffres greatly desired the contract
and felt sure that he would get it. Captain Abrams was the father's
friend through all the vicissitudes of those troublesome days and the
contract went to Alfred's father.

In after years, when the old gentleman, whose feelings had softened with
age, invited Alfred to appear in his hall, Alfred met the astounded man
with a courtesy and consideration that made the two men friends ever

Spurred to greater activity in furthering his scheme to produce his
first minstrel enterprise, Alfred, without consulting anyone, walked out
the old pike to the Redstone School-house. He waited outside until the
noon hour. With the sound of the children's voices in their happiness at
play disturbing his interview he made his errand known to the teacher.

Miss Lenhart, the teacher, was the sweetheart of his cousin Will,
although Alfred was not aware of it nor did he know of the influence
this had in securing him the school-house until long after the couple
were wedded.

Washington Brashears, the president of the school directors, gave his
permission and thus was the school-house secured. All the scholars, the
teacher and the school directors were to receive free tickets for the

The mother, remembering the boy's mishaps in similar attempts, was very
earnest in her efforts to dissuade him from giving the exhibition,
particularly when she was informed by the enthusiastic showman that the
price of admission would be twenty-five cents for grown folks and a levy
(twelve and a half cents) for children.

Harrison wrote up Jeffres in the _Clipper_ as "one who would impede the
progress of civilization. The discourager of genius and talent." Hurd
toned down the article somewhat. However, it had the effect of
advertising not only Alfred but his great moral exhibition.

Lin loaned Alfred the last cent she had in the world and accompanied him
to the dry goods store that he might not be imposed upon in the purchase
of red calico to be used as a curtain.

"I'll be thar from the time hit opens 'til it's over an' thar'll be no
wall-paper show clo's in it nuther, ye see ef thur is. Mary, ye needn't
be skeered, jes res' easy, I'll see hit's all es proper es eny meetin'
or Sunday School an' ef they don't like it, be dog-goned ef I don't make
Alfurd gin the money back."

This last declaration did more to allay the worry of the mother than
anything that had been said before. The mother actually so forgot her
fears that she assisted Lin in sewing the curtains.

Old man Risbeck, a neighboring farmer, not only loaned Alfred the lumber
to build the platform, or stage, but assisted in building it.

Park McDonald, another farmer, a little the worse for hard cider, also
assisted, with a great deal of advice which was not followed.

The teacher dismissed school at noon Friday that all might be in
readiness for the big show Saturday night. Alfred was not altogether
pleased with the idea of Lin bossing the whole job, fearing that many
members of his troupe would be disgruntled over her domineering manner.
However, she was so enthusiastic and inventive he refrained from doing
or saying anything that would impair her usefulness. Lin was very
sensitive and somehow Alfred felt that the success of the great
undertaking required Lin's help.

Alfred had worked all night setting type and working off a small, square
bill, printed in black ink on pink paper. He would have used red, blue
or any other highly colored ink if it had been in the office.

The bill read:

          25 CENTS FOR
          MEN AND WOMEN
          FOR CHILDREN.

[Illustration: Alfred as a Bill Poster]

Alfred not only set up and printed the bills announcing his first
minstrel show but distributed them, tacking them up in conspicuous

The first bill was tacked on Mart Claybaugh's blacksmith shop near the
old Brubaker Tavern. Alfred then continued out the pike to Searight's
Tavern. At Uncle Billy Hatfield's a great display was made on barn,
blacksmith and harness shop. When Uncle Billy returned home and read the
bill headed "Hatfield and Storey's Alabama Minstrels," he first imagined
that his political enemies were working something off on him. Cousin
Will's explanation did not satisfy him and he ordered the bills removed,
fearing they might jeopardize his political chances.

Alfred visited Plumsock, Cook's Mill, Joshua Wagner's cider press. Even
at that early day Alfred had the advertising idea pretty well developed.

Press day the paper was worked off more promptly than usual and Alfred
had the entire edition delivered by dark. Harrison had a longer list of
complimentary mentions than usual, hence he celebrated more copiously
than ever.

Lin learned of this through Alfred. She remarked: "Durn him an' his
drinkin'. I'll jes fool him; I'll go out with you all."

This was another jolt for Alfred as Charley Wagner, the violinist of the
company, was one of those obstinate Dutchmen who had to be treated "just
so," otherwise he would "pack up his wiolin und scoot," as he expressed
it. Wagner was fully informed as to the insinuations Lin had indulged in
reflecting upon his ability and more than once he had advised Alfred,
"If dor beeg Wirginia gal gets anyting to do mid dis troupe, yust count
me out."

George Washington Antonio Frazier, the town teamster, had been engaged
by Alfred to transport the troupe and properties to and from the little
red school-house. A good sleighing snow covering the ground, the
teamster had provided a big bob-sled well filled with straw to keep the
feet warm. The start was to be made at 1 o'clock.

Alfred finally prevailed upon Lin to walk to the top of Town Hill and
get in the sled there. He argued to her that she being the only woman in
the party it would not look well for her to ride through town. Lin
finally agreed to do as Alfred desired.

Then came another embarrassment. Alfred's brother Joe insisted on going.
He followed his elder brother up and down stairs crying all the while.
Finally it was decided to take the little fellow along. Customs cling to
a family the same as other entanglements. Alfred's little brother was
handicapped with a crop of curls exact imitations of those that had so
embittered the early days of Alfred's life.

When the sled was loaded and all the troupe comfortably seated therein,
it was discovered that the driver was not in sight. Alfred knew where to
find him and was at his side in a moment. The old fellow was in the act
of raising a large glass of whiskey to his lips as Alfred touched him on
the arm and politely announced that the sled was loaded and all were
waiting for the driver.

Lowering his arm, with the liquor untouched in his hand, the driver
began: "Look yer, young man. You agreed to give me four dollars to carry
you out to Redstone School-house an' back. My team'll hev to be fed thur
an' I'll hev to eat supper somewhar. Ye'll hev to pay up the money afore
I move a dam foot."

With this he raised the liquor to his lips and swallowed it with one
gulp. The bar-room was crowded, as it usually was at that hour of the
day. For a moment Alfred was confused; he did not possess one cent of
money and it flashed through his mind that no one in the troupe would be
likely to have any. For just one moment his heart started downwards; the
eyes of all were upon him. Pulling himself together and straightening
himself up to his full height, he said: "Mr. Frazier, I hired you to
haul us to the school-house and return and insofar as your horse feed is
concerned, that was not mentioned. I always intended you to eat supper
with us at Eliza Eagle's. When you get back to town and complete your
part of the bargain I will pay you, and not before."

This speech caught the crowd and took the old teamster somewhat by

"Wall, ef you'll put up the money with the landlord, I'll take ye out
an' ef ye don't ye can hoof it," was the teamster's reply. Turning to
the bar-tender, he said: "Give me a little more licker."

The last demand of the teamster was not an unreasonable one and it would
not look well to refuse it. Alfred hotly replied: "You'll get your money
when you do your work; I would not put up five cents for you while you
are drinking whiskey."

This angered the old fellow. He sneeringly replied: "I pay fur my licker
an' it's nun uf yer dam business how much I drink uf it."

Through the window Alfred discerned a team and sled driving by. Rushing
out he discovered that it was his Uncle Jack Craft. The two families
were not on speaking terms and had not been for a long time.

Alfred shouted: "Ho, Uncle! Ho, Uncle! Hold on; pull up, I want to see

The uncle seemed more than glad to have Alfred approach him. He did not
even wait to hear the whole of the story Alfred had to tell of Frazier's
meanness. Driving his much larger and more stylish conveyance alongside
Frazier's rig, the passengers and baggage were transferred before
Frazier realized what had transpired. As he emerged from the hotel he
was met with jeers from the troupe as they started off up the old pike,
not so rapidly as Alfred and Uncle Joe once traversed it on Black Fan,
but at a pace that put all in good humor.

Alfred sat on the front seat holding his little brother and Charley
Wagner's violin. It was not solicitude for the safety of the instrument
that prompted him to persuade Wagner to permit him to hold it. He
figured that if Wagner balked when Lin got in the sled at the top of the
hill he would be better entrenched to argue with the obstinate leader
with the violin in _his_ hands.

When Lin hailed them by shouting: "How-dye, how's the minstrels?" all
greeted her cordially. Alfred had his eye on the leader. While he was
not as cordial in his greetings as the others, he smiled and returned
Lin's salutations.

Alfred explained jokingly that Lin came along to take care of little Joe
and to help Lize Eagle out with the supper.

The party was a merry one and everyone they met was the butt of their
mirth. Old man Bedler at the toll gate passed the party free and wished
Alfred all kinds of good luck. The old German's voice trembled and a
tear rolled down his bronzed cheek as he shook hands with Alfred and
said: "Good luck! Ef my poor Billy was only here he'd be with you."

He referred to his only son who was drowned a few months previously.
Alfred had assisted in recovering the body and the old toll-gate keeper
had the kindliest feelings for him.

It did not require long to arrange the stage and place the few
properties. Lin was everywhere busy at all times.

The widow Eagle's humble home was only a short distance from the
school-house. Supper was called and Lin and Charley Wagner were seen
coming from the school-house together joking and laughing. Lin had
captivated the leader. Lin refused to sit at the first table, she
declared she would wait and eat with Mrs. Eagle and Mary Emily, the
daughter. Meanwhile, she busied herself waiting on the table. She was
markedly attentive to the leader, filling his plate even when he
protested that he had more than enough.

The leader was an old bachelor. When he got the wishbone of the chicken
all insisted that Lin and he pull it. When the leader got the short
piece all laughed and joked him; all the party was jolly. No. There was
one who was not, although he endeavored to conceal it by laughs and
remarks. Lin knew that Alfred was nervous and worried. He was in doubt
as to the receipts covering expenses; he was in doubt as to the show
pleasing. In fact, he was suffering the tortures all have endured--who
have a conscience--who ever produced a public entertainment.

The curtain went up, or rather was pulled aside, on Alfred's first
minstrel show. Seated in the semi-circle were Billy Storey, bones and
stump speech; Amity Getter, interlocutor or middleman, vocalist and
guitar player; the Acklin Brothers, vocalists; Billy Woods, flute and
piccolo, guitar and vocalist; Charles Wagner, violin; Billy Hyatt, clog
and jig dancer; Tommy White, clog and jig dancer, and Alfred, singer,
dancer, comedian, stage manager, property man and superintendent of

The little school-house was packed--sitting, standing and leaning room
was all taken, even the window-sills were occupied.

Lin, seated near the stage, was lost in amazement at the improvement in
the troupe. Her head nodded and foot patted in time with the tunes with
which she was familiar. When Storey and Alfred concluded their double
song and dance, (this was a new number to Lin), she led the applause and
hustled Uncle Jack back of the scenes requesting the boys repeat the
number. Alfred had profited by reading the book Harrison had presented

The song and music made a very great impression on Lin. Late and early
you could hear her voice as she went about her work singing:

    "I feel just as happy as a big sunflower,
      that bows and bends in the breezes,
    And my heart is as light as the winds that
      blow the leaves from off the treeses"

There was but one mishap that marred the evening's performance. The
front curtain was run on rings, on a small, tight wire stretched across
the entire width of the school house. The curtain that formed a
background of the stage, and behind which the performers dressed, was
much too heavy for the small nails with which it was secured. Someone
pulled on the curtain and down it came. Alfred and one or two others
were changing their costumes. Alfred with surprising nimbleness jumped
into a large trunk, concealing himself so quickly that the audience
caught sight of only his feet as he plunged head first into the trunk.
The other two members were completely confused and ran into a corner
turning their backs to the audience.

[Illustration: Hatfield and Storey]

Dr. John Davidson and Othey Brashears were seated in the front row,
grabbed the curtain and held it head high until all were costumed. It
was then replaced and the show went on.

Lin, in commenting on what Alfred considered the most unfortunate
accident that ever befell his show, said: "Well, ye jus couldn't call
hit a back-set to the show, kase peepul laffed more about hit then
anythin' else in the hull thing."

When the last note of the walk around had died out, the audience
remained seated, waiting for more, (printed programs were unknown in
those days). Getty went before the curtain and announced that the show
was over. The crowd began to disperse; the boys from town and some of
the country folks forced their way behind the scenes to congratulate
Alfred, all declaring that it was the best entertainment they had ever

One over-enthusiastic young fellow offered the leader two dollars to
have fiddlers play for a dance; in fact many of the young folks desired
to turn it into a dance. This seemed like desecration to Alfred and
forever after he respected the dignified farmer, Washington Brashears,
who, standing stately and tall, with the beard of a patriarch, in a
voice mild but firm, said: "We have been entertained by our young friend
and his companions in a way that it falls to the lot of but few to
enjoy; only those in Filidelphy have the privilege of enjoying such
exhibitions as we have enjoyed here tonight. As the chairman of the
board of school directors, I can say that we permitted the use of this
school-house for the entertainment. It is our only meeting house now,
and there will be preaching here next Sunday evening, therefore we
cannot permit dancing tonight."

The nearly ice cold, spring water influenced Alfred to go home with the
black on his face. The little party and belongings were soon loaded into
the roomy sled. Bidding goodnight to the few friends who remained to see
them off, they headed homeward.

It was a happy party that sped along the old pike. Lin led in the
singing of songs long since discarded by the minstrels. Even Uncle Jack
entered into the jollity of the occasion. He was greatly elated over the
success of the show.

The spirited team was traveling much faster than safety demanded. At a
turn in the road there was a treacherous, slippery place, the sled swung
around sideways--skidded would explain the motion--one runner slipped
over the edge of the bank, the sleigh turned upside down throwing out
the cargo of human freight.

Lin's scream could be heard half a mile. Alfred's only solicitude was
for his brother Joe. Uncle Jack held on to the team which was released
from the sled by the breaking of the pole. After the occupants
extricated themselves it was found that the only serious damage suffered
was the breaking of Amity Getty's fine guitar.


It required the combined strength of all to right the sled and get it up
the steep bank to the roadway. The tongue or pole was made fast to the
sled with rope and the journey resumed. Up hill, all could ride; down
hill all were compelled to walk and hold the sled off the heels of the
horses, as the broken pole would not permit the team to hold back.

It was two o'clock in the morning when the welcome lights of the town
shone on the belated minstrels. Alfred was too tired and sleepy and the
water too cold to wash the black off his face. He crept upstairs to the
big room rarely occupied. Not answering the breakfast bell, Sister
Lizzie was sent up to call him. One glance at the black face on the
pillow sent her scampering down the stairs.

"I believe brother Alfred has brought a darkey home with him. There's
one in the big bed any way."

This sent the father upstairs by bounds. Alfred was unceremoniously
yanked out of bed and shoved down stairs. When he appeared in the
kitchen such laughter as greeted him would have pleased him greatly the
night before. Alfred explaining all the while that it was too cold to
wash the black off his face the night before and that he couldn't get it
off with cold water "no how."

The father insisted that he go to the back yard and scrub his face with
cold water as punishment for going to bed blacked up.

To Lin's question as to how much he had made the night before Alfred
gave evasive replies. Hastily eating his breakfast he was quickly on his
way to Win Scott's home.

Before he had proceeded far on his way he met his pal Scott on his way
to Alfred's home. Alfred judged from the size of the audience that there
was not only sufficient money in Win's hands to pay all obligations but
also a handsome surplus. He was simply crushed to learn that the
receipts amounted to just $16.75.

Alfred felt that he would be everlastingly disgraced when he announced
that he was not able to pay the debts incurred. The boys conferred long
and earnestly. Win proposed that they pay Lin and Uncle Jack and then
run off; go to the newly discovered oil country and make their fortunes.

This proposition was rejected by Alfred. To go to the oil regions was a
pet idea of the older boy and it was not long ere he left the old town
to seek his fortune and Alfred never saw him afterwards.

Alfred took the money. When he reached home he settled with Lin in full.
Uncle Jack was handed his four dollars by Alfred with the air of a
millionaire. After paying Lin and Uncle Jack, Alfred had $6.75 left,
with debts to the amount of $31.75 pressing him, or they would be the
next day.

He retired to his room. He could plainly hear Lin describing and
praising the performance. She dwelt at length on the high quality of
the gathering, saying that all the best people in Red Stone section were
there. When Lin wondered what Alfred would do next, now that he had
money, Alfred felt like rushing from the house to seek his pal and flee
to the oil regions.

He opened the front door and walked out without any idea of where he was
going. He walked aimlessly and found himself on Church Street where
Sammy Steele overtook him on his way to church.

The Reverend Kerr was pastor, the father of E. M. Kerr, afterwards noted
in the minstrel profession as E. M. Kayne.

When Mr. Steele asked Alfred if he were on his way to church, Alfred
answered: "Yes." The two walked to the church together and home after
the sermon was over. On the way the tanner described in detail the
improvements he was making in his plant and invited Alfred to accompany
him to the tannery to look over the work under way.

In those days everybody ate dinner at high noon. Alfred was impatient at
the seeming delay of Lin in serving the meal. Lin remarked: "Ye're jus
like every man thet gits to makin' money, figity."

Alfred arrived at the tannery long before the owner. The suction pumps
and other labor saving devices were examined and explained to Alfred who
pretended to be deeply interested. After all had been explained, they
found themselves in the big finishing room where Alfred had passed so
many pleasant days and evenings.

The boy wished that he was back in the tannery free from the cares
hanging over him. Finally, he looked his former employer full in the
face and, in a voice full of earnestness, asked the big, dignified man
for the loan of thirty dollars, promising to work it out night and day
until it was paid in full.

He dwelt at length on the shame that would come to him if he could not
meet his obligations. "If you will help me out of this I will never
forget you and you will never regret it," concluded Alfred.

The straightforward man of business complimented Alfred for his anxiety
to pay his debts, at the same time pointing out to him the danger of
contracting debts he could not meet; that an honest man never had peace
of mind when in debt; that a man was never as brave or useful to himself
or family as when free of the haunting fear of losing his standing
through debt.

He told Alfred to meet him at 7 o'clock the next morning and he would
give him his answer. After a sleepless night Alfred was at the tannery
on time. Mr. Steele was there when he arrived and greeted him kindly.

Noting Alfred's worried expression, he said: "There is no use worrying
over affairs of this kind; the proper course is to steer clear of them,
which I think you will do after this."

Alfred assured him that he would be sure to do so. The tanner handed
Alfred a paper, requesting him to read it carefully. Alfred could
scarcely believe his eyes as he read:

    "In consideration of $30 to me in hand paid, the receipt of
    which is hereby acknowledged, I hereby agree to bind myself to
    work for Samuel Steele for a period of two months, performing
    such duties as he may direct...."

Alfred studied a moment and said: "I do not mind any work you may put on
me and I will work all day and part of the night, but if you would only
let me have the money I can pay you back much sooner out of what I make
at Hurd's. I want to get out of debt and you are the only person in the
world I can go to. I don't want my folks to know of this."

"Then you will not sign the paper?" questioned the tanner.

"I don't like to and it don't seem hardly fair after the wages you paid
me before. Give me a dollar a day and I'll sign it."

Mr. Steele took the paper from Alfred's hand, tore it up and threw it
into the open grate as he said: "My boy, I was only trying you. I wanted
to show you how those in debt are in the power of anyone who is
unscrupulous. If you had signed the paper I would not have had
confidence in you. In fact, I did not intend to permit you to sign it if
you had shown a willingness to do so. I will loan you the money and you
can pay it back to me as you earn it, without interest. Settle with your
creditors and keep out of debt. And furthermore, tell no one that I
loaned you this money, and never borrow another dollar unless you see a
way to pay it."

The advice given Alfred by the old tanner has saved him heart aches and
much money.

All the outstanding bills were met. When the members of the troupe
gathered at their room and the final statement laid before them there
was deep silence for a moment. It was a commonwealth arrangement insofar
as the profits were concerned, a one man concern as to the losses.
However, none ever expected a deficiency, each expecting to get quite a
little money for his share.

The members of the troupe sympathized with Alfred. Charley Wagner, who
was the only salaried member, consoled him thusly: "Yah, und ef you ever
go to dot Redstone School-house mit your troupe again you'll git him all
back." How many times Alfred has heard like statements since!

Win Scott explained the small receipts and the large crowd. All the
school directors and their families were to be admitted free. No tickets
were used, the money was taken in at the door. When anyone appeared and
said "school director" or "school director's family," Win passed them
in. It was afterward learned that some of the directors had as many as
thirty in their families the night of the show.

Harry Harrison came forward at this critical period of the minstrel
enterprise and took upon himself the management. Although Alfred had his
misgivings, he was glad to be relieved of the responsibility and to
have the concern continued.

Not a line appeared in the _Clipper_ as to the first show but glowing
accounts of what was to follow were printed weekly. Harrison prevailed
upon the shoemaker to build a small stage in the room the troupe had
rented for rehearsing purposes. Also to move a partition, giving the
minstrels quite a large room which was provided with heat and light.

The announcement was sent forth that the Evening Star Minstrels would
give entertainments every Saturday night at McKernan's Hall, at Barefoot

Harrison gave no explanation as to why he changed the title of the
company. Story was angry. Alfred was pleased, inwardly congratulating
himself that future deficiencies would have to be made up by Harrison.

The next Saturday night and the following Saturday night saw the little
hall packed. And thus another pang of jealousy will be added to the
heart of Bill Brown, that Brownsville enjoyed the distinction of a
permanent minstrel hall while Pittsburg never had such an institution,
traveling minstrel shows appearing there for only one or two nights in
Masonic Hall.

After several nights of big business several members of the troupe made
inquiries as to the funds and their disposition. At first Harrison was
very courteous and explained that the establishing and opening of the
hall was expensive; that later on when well established, Jeffres Hall
would be secured and nightly dividends would be paid.

Charley Wagner, true to the traditions of history handed down from the
days of Babylon, namely, that musicians are the first to stir discord,
laid down his fiddle and bow and declared: "No more music until we get
our money." It then developed that nothing had been paid in the way of
salaries or other expenses since Harrison had assumed the management.

At this juncture Harrison became insolvent. The landlord locked up the
hall with all the belongings of the troupe nor would he release the
goods until the rent was paid in full. Harrison was appealed to. He
sneered at the impecunious minstrels and taunted them by saying: "Now go
get your stuff out. If you all hadn't been so peart I'd seen you

Each minstrel was compelled to pay his proportionate share of the amount
due for rent and lights. His private property was then delivered to him
by the sporting shoemaker.

When he had collected the rent due him he sent for Harrison, escorted
him into the deserted hall and demanded that he (Harrison) have the
partition replaced in its original location. When Harrison angrily
refused, the shoemaker proceeded to give him a drubbing.

Harrison did not collect anything that week from those to whom he gave
favorable mention in the paper as two black eyes compelled him to keep
close to the office.


    And I would learn to better show
      My gratitude for favors had,
    To see more of the good below
      And less of what I think is bad.
    To live not always in the day
      To come, and count the joys to be,
    But to remember, as I stray,
      The past and what is brought to me.

Lured by that feeling which impels the criminal to visit the scene of
his crime, Alfred began a pilgrimage to the little red school-house.
Walking along the old pike the sound of a horse's hoofs beating a tattoo
on the road reached his ears. He recognized in the rider, Joe Thornton.

The white pacing mare which Thornton bestrode had one of those peculiar
high-lifting gaits, that, from the sound of the hoofs on the roadbed,
caused one to imagine that she was going at a very rapid gait, while in
fact she was not doing much more than pounding the road. Uncle Joe said
of her: "She'd pace all day in the shade of a tree."

When opposite Alfred, Mr. Thornton slowed up and made numerous inquiries
as to the minstrel show, expressing regret that he was not able to
attend; he intended going, having received an invitation from one of the
school directors. He requested Alfred to advise him of the next
performance; he would be there sure.

Then, as if to make up for the few moments lost conversing with Alfred,
he gave the mare the word and she pounded the pike more heavily than
before. Alfred admired the big, handsome rider and the white mare; he
longed to bestride her and kept his eyes on horse and rider as they
traveled on before him.

Alfred noticed a black looking object fall to the dusty pike. At the
distance it seemed a large sized shoe. Alfred kept his eyes on the
object as he neared the spot where it lay. Bending over he discovered a
very large, black book. Picking it up he saw bills, money, more money
than the boy had ever held in his hands before. He trembled as he turned
over bill after bill.

He had dreamed that he would be rich--some day in the far future--day
dreams. His riches were always to come. They had come suddenly,
unexpectedly. Mother would have a new cooking stove; Lin declared daily
that the old stove would not bake on the bottom. Brother Joe would have
toys and a sled, Sister Lizzie anything she wanted, Brother Will
anything he needed, a melodeon for Lin. Sammy Steele would be paid with
the same flourish with which Uncle Jack was paid. Harrison would be
deposed, the minstrel troupe would go out, travel to distant parts and
make money, more money than Alfred wanted; he would divide it with all
his best friends, he would make all happy.

With these thoughts flying through his mind he walked on in the
direction the rider had gone. Suddenly realizing that the money was not
his he cast a glance ahead, expecting every moment to see the rider
returning post haste to claim the treasure.

When he reached the lane leading off the pike to the Thornton house, he
hesitated, opened the book again and looked at the money, turning over
the neat layers of bills, fives in one section, tens in another,
twenties in a third, legal looking papers in a fourth, tied about with a
thin, red ribbon.

He thought of concealing the book. No, he would hasten home and conceal
the money in the cow stable. He was opposite the gate of the yard in
which stood the big Thornton house. Should he enter?

Alfred looked long and anxiously for the man on horseback; instead he
noticed a proud looking, elderly lady walking about the flower beds. He
nodded respectfully but the lady did not make a sign of recognition.

However, in quite a loud voice he inquired if Mr. Thornton were at home.

"Which Mr. Thornton? There are two Mr. Thorntons, Russell and Joseph."

"Joseph Thornton," answered Alfred, "is the gentleman I am looking for."

Alfred felt his importance. From down the lane toward the barn there
came the sound of horse's hoofs clattering on the road. Alfred's ears
told him that it was the white pacer.

As the rider caught sight of Alfred he dismounted. Running toward the
boy, his long beard flowing on either side of his neck, he began: "Mr.
Hatfield, did you see--." Here Alfred held up the book to his view.

As he fairly bounded forward, he grasped the book in one hand and threw
an arm around Alfred. He exclaimed: "Where the h--ll did you find it?
It's a good thing for me that you came out the pike; if almost anybody
else had found it I'd never have gotten it back, that is the money; I
never could have traced that. The papers could have been traced. No one
who loses money ever gets it back."

As the man turned the book over in his hand he inquired: "Did you open
it?" Then a little ashamed of the question continued: "Of course you had
to open it, otherwise you wouldn't have known to whom it belonged. Now
see here Alfred, I want to do the right thing by you. I will call at
your house tonight. I want to meet your mother; your father I am well
acquainted with. Your Uncle Will has told me that he is too hard on you
and you're a dam nice boy and you ought to be treated right."

At this insinuation Alfred fired up. "My father always treats me right,
but I've been a pretty bad boy. He has his notions and I've got mine. He
never hits a lick amiss. He never hurts me when he does whip me. It's
always a big laugh to me. He's the kindest pap in Brownsville."

"Oh, you did not understand me. I did not mean to say that your father
whipped you. I heard that he did not give you credit for your--your,
that he--he--er hampered you in your--your--er--."

"Oh, I understand pap," interrupted Alfred, "he's all right, we get
along all right."

Then Mr. Thornton made inquiries as to where Alfred was going. When the
boy informed him, he said: "That's too far to walk; come on out to the
stable, I'll loan you a horse. You can ride him home and I will get him

They walked toward the white mare. Alfred asked what kind of a saddler
she was. "Good," answered the man, "would you like to try her?"

"Why, yes, if it's all the same to you."

By this time Alfred was shortening the stirrup straps to the length of
his limbs as measured by his arms. Alfred's thinking gear was working
faster than the white mare's hoofs ever pounded the earth. As he was
about to mount he said: "Mr. Thornton, I'll bring this mare home. I
don't want to trouble you to call at our house."

[Illustration: Joe Thornton and Alfred]

"Why? I want to see your parents and I want to reward you."

Alfred, sitting on the horse's back, leaned far over toward the man and
detailed the sad results of his first venture in minstrelsy.

"Whatever you give me will be applied on the payment of my debts. If our
folks know that you gave me money they'll want to know what I did with

The man grasped the situation, but informed Alfred the money in the book
belonged to his mother. He had withdrawn it from the bank to pay a note.
He would help Alfred out but must go to town before he could do so.

"From whom did you borrow money," asked Mr. Thornton.

Alfred hesitated and said: "Well, there's where I made another promise
not to tell, but I'm going to tell you, I borrowed it from Sammy

"Well, I'll be damned if you ain't a good one. Why, Sammy Steele is the
tightest man in Brownsville. How did you come to go to him?"

Alfred explained all. Mr. Thornton insisted that he ride the white mare
home, adding that he would get her that night. Alfred rode off, visiting
not only the school-house but many old friends. He arrived home as it
was growing dark.

Entering the house he found Mr. Thornton there; he had told the family
all. He informed Alfred that he had left an order on Jake Walters, the
town tailor, for a suit of clothes, the material to be selected by the

While the clothes were more than acceptable, Alfred was disappointed. He
feared he would not be in a position to pay the Sammy Steele note,
although he was bending every energy, even dunning Harrison for the
fifty cents loaned him at their first meeting.

The next week's issue of the _Brownsville Clipper_ contained a lengthy
article, as follows:

    "One of Fayette County's most prominent citizens lost a
    pocket-book containing a large amount of money and valuable
    papers. The book was lost on the old pike somewhere between the
    borough line and Thornton's lane. Fortunately for the loser, one
    of the CLIPPER'S most trusted employes traveling on the pike,
    found the valuable book. The finder is one who has been trained
    under the vigilant eye of the editor of this valuable paper.
    Through the influence of the editor of this paper the money was
    returned to the owner in less than one hour after its loss was
    discovered. The finder was suitably rewarded and will soon be
    advanced to a more lucrative position on this paper."

Harrison, in addition to his promised reforms in the editorial columns
of the paper, introduced innovations in the advertising department. The
_Pittsburg Gazette_ was the only daily paper on the _Clipper's_ exchange
list--this fact compels the admission that Pittsburg was a little ahead
of Brownsville in the newspaper field, boasting two papers at the time,
the _Gazette_ and _Post_. Both papers carried display advertisements of
Hostetter's Stomach Bitters and Dr. Jayne's Liver Pills for grown people
and vermifuge for children. Those were the only patent medicines that
advertised at that time.

Harrison, in his illuminating way, wrote to the concerns soliciting
advertising. Dr. Jayne's representative wrote, requesting the weekly
circulation of the _Clipper_ and the localities wherein it was

Harrison answered giving advertising rates, with unlimited reading
notices and concluded his letter by advising that "the _Brownsville
Clipper_ goes to Greene, Washington, Westmoreland and Bedford Counties;
it goes to Pittsburg, Cumberland and Washington, and before I took hold
of it the owner had all he could do to keep it from going to h--ll."

Something in Harrison's letters appealed to the medicine men as
advertisements were secured from both the concerns. In conformity with
the custom of the times, part payment for advertising was to be taken in
trade. Big boxes containing bottles of the stomach bitters, smaller
boxes containing pills and vermifuge were received. Small quantities of
both medicines were, with a great deal of persuasion, exchanged with
country stores for farm products. After the first effort none of the
bitters were offered for sale or trade insofar as the _Clipper's_ supply
was concerned.

Like the farmer who endeavored to sell the tanner the murn hide,
Harrison had found a market for the bitters at home. They contained
about 60% alcohol, therefore it was a panacea for all ills that
Harrison was afflicted with, and he had many. The bitters were a pill
for every ill.

That was a hard winter. Sugar crackers, Scotch herring and cheese were
Harrison's principal food and a few of the liver pills were used, but
the vermifuge stood on the shelves in the press room covered with dust.
Mr. Hurd ordered Alfred to get rid of it even if he had to give it away;
not to destroy it; if he could not sell it to give it to the subscribers
to the paper with the compliments of the editor. Alfred covered his
route with renewed vigor, a bundle of papers under his arm and both coat
pockets filled with pills.

Alfred was personally acquainted with nearly every family in the town;
he was familiar with the habits and health of all the boys.

Red haws, green apples, may apples, green chestnuts, in fact, everything
that grows which boys devour more greedily before than after maturity,
were plentiful in the country around Brownsville.

Alfred did a fine business for a time. The paper was published only
weekly and Alfred was ordered by Mr. Hurd to dispense the medicine only
when the paper was delivered. Alfred was doing so well that he intimated
to Harrison that the paper should be semi-weekly, at least. Alfred was
receiving a commission on all pills he sold.

Alfred looked over the medicine stock; about the only thing in stock was
liver pills. There were large quantities of liver pills lying on the
shelves. Alfred figured that the pills would do Johnny's cow no harm and
possibly might help her, as the cow was very sick.

Alfred did not wait until the paper was printed as the case was an
urgent one. He made a special call, carrying nearly a pint of the liver
pills in a paper collar box. (Harrison always wore paper collars and a

Alfred assured Johnny that the pills were specially prepared for just
such disorders as his cow was afflicted with. There was some question
as to the number of pills that constituted a dose for a cow. As the
printed directions gave no information on the matter, Alfred thought a
teacupful of the pellets would be about right.

It required a great deal of hard labor on the part of both Alfred and
the owner to compel the cow to swallow the pills. However, a goodly part
of the cupful of pills was administered to her.

At first the cow appeared a great deal worse and her owner feared she
would die. Squire Rowley, the best cow doctor in the neighborhood, was
sent for. He administered blackberry tea and other astringents and the
cow recovered.

[Illustration: "A Cow's Dose Is a Teacupful"]

When Lin heard that the boys were addressing Alfred as "Doctor," usually
prefixing the title with the word "Cow," she said: "They needn't try to
plague Alfurd, caus' it wus a durn good joke an' besides it cured the
cow and it wus about time Hurd's paper done somethin' good."

Alfred had saved sufficient money to cancel the note of Sammy Steele.
With a light step he ran up the stairs leading from the street into the
large finishing room. Greeting all cheerily he inquired for the boss.
Mr. Steele entered.

Looking curiously at Alfred, with a twinkle in his eye, the old tanner
remarked dryly: "Hurd--Mr. Hurd--Mr. Hurd--must be gettin' mightily
pushed when he starts his hands to peddling pills."

Mr. Steele's remark made the boy redden and he mumbled something about
the pills being received in trade and had to be sold by somebody.

The tanner laughingly continued: "I expected to see Johnny McCan coming
in with a murn hide. How many of Hurd's pills constitute a dose for a

Cooney Brashear added to the jollity by suggesting that Alfred "give
Sammy's mewel a dose the next time he kicks you." This reference to the
"mewel" was only a reverberation of the town talk as Lin had predicted.
In fact, the reference to the "mewel" kicking Alfred became, and is
still, a by-word in the old town.

Mr. Steele, to the surprise of Alfred, refused to count the dollars and
dimes he poured from the old leather purse on the desk. Instead the man
bid the boy "keep the money until the note was due, then bring it here,
not a day before nor a day after. If you think you are going to die,
leave directions to pay the debt. The man who pays beforehand shows
himself a weakling, he is afraid of himself, he is afraid he cannot hold
the money. He usually spends his money before he earns it."

It was a great day for Brownsville and the leading journal of the town,
the _Brownsville Clipper_. Two circuses were headed for the town;
Rosston, Springer & Henderson's and Thayer & Noyse Great American

The agent of the first named show was first in, Andy Springer, "Old
Rough Head." The agent was aware of the coming opposition although he
never mentioned it. His contract for advertising space in the _Clipper_
had a clause to the effect that no other circus advertising or reading
matter should appear in the columns of the great family paper prior to
the date of the exhibition of the R. S. & H. aggregation.

Harrison made this "slick contract" as he termed it. He charged the
circus man double the usual advertising rates, working the agent for
unlimited free tickets. The genteel word "complimentary" had not become
associated with show tickets as yet.

In making up the free list Harrison was as liberal to the families of
the force as the school directors had been on the occasion of Alfred's
exhibition. The editor and owner's family received sixteen free tickets;
there were five in his family all told. The managing-editor, Harrison,
and his family received fifteen free tickets. He distributed all of his
tickets within two hours after they were counted out to him. (In those
days the agent distributed the tickets, not by an order on the show as

Harrison sought the circus agent at the hotel explaining that since he
received the tickets he had consulted his family and they desired to go
to the show twice, afternoon and night. The agent, knowing that there
was opposition in sight, stood for the hold-up and Harrison celebrated
most gloriously the next few days, with free tickets to the circus.

The foreman of the composing room was to have ten tickets. He was a poor
man, Harrison advised, and had a lot of children. The circus wouldn't
lose anything as they would not pay to go nohow.

The pressman and his family were to receive ten free tickets. The devil,
Alfred, was to receive six free tickets. He managed to get two that
Harrison carelessly dropped while changing his clothes.

Scarcely had the first agent cleared the town before Charley Stowe,
agent for Thayer & Noyse arrived, brisk, bright and beaming. Entering
the _Clipper_ office he found Alfred the only person in. Mr. Stowe was
very gracious. He won the boy to his side ere he had conversed with him
five minutes.

The agent was in a great hurry, he desired to get to Pittsburgh at
once--most agents are in a great hurry to get into a big city from a
small town. Alfred informed the agent that he did not know where
Harrison could be found. "Please sit down and look over our paper," said
Alfred, and he left to seek Harrison, who was diligently distributing
circus tickets and judging from his condition, getting value received.

Alfred was almost overcome with the thought of two circuses coming to
town. He imparted the information to everyone whom he met who was
interested enough to listen. Another circus coming, bigger and better
than the first one, was Alfred's guarantee. He was prompted to this
through the fact that the newly arrived agent had been courteous to him.
Probably the twenty-five cents and two free tickets had something to do
with Alfred's leaning towards the second show.

Harrison was finally located at Bill Wyatt's, a place he had not
frequented in a long time as the slate bore figures that had been
written on it about the date Harrison struck the town. Harrison had
partially squared the score with circus tickets. Harrison was just able
to walk with Alfred's assistance. As they wobbled down wide Market
Street Alfred imagined the man in a mood to be approached. He reminded
Harrison of the half dollar long over due, and obligingly offered to
take it out in circus tickets.

Harrison scorned the proposition. Straightening himself up he endeavored
to push Alfred aside as he proudly exclaimed: "I don't want you to take
anything out in circus tickets. I'll pay cash after the circus."

It required all of Alfred's powers to make Harrison understand that
there was another circus agent in town, another circus coming. Harrison
persisted in the belief that it was the same agent with whom he had done

Stowe meanwhile, as all intelligent agents do, had gone to headquarters.
As Alfred, with his tow, entered the office, the owner of the paper
turned on the managing editor, foreman of the composing room, etc., and
let loose a tirade of abuse such as Alfred had never heard the like of

[Illustration: "Put Up Your Things and Git!"]

"You damned little shriveled up, whiskey soaked, tobacco smoked,
copperhead. What in hell do you mean by making a contract like this for
my paper? I'll cram it down your jaundiced jaws, you whelp of hell,
you!" And the rage of Hurd, who was a very large, fat man, caused his
face to turn purple. "Pack up your things and git, or I'll slap you into
the bowels of the jail. I know enough about you and your record on that
traitor sheet, (he referred to the opposition paper, the _Genius of
Liberty_), to have you and all connected with it sent to Johnson's
Island. Git out of yere!" yelled Hurd.

Harrison pulled away from Alfred and in the effort fell partially over a
settee as he sputtered out: "I'm a gemptman, what-smatter with Hanner."
He intended to use the cant phrase, "That's what's the matter with

Hurd shook a purplish looking bit of paper in Harrison's face: "What do
you mean, you shrimp, by entering into a contract to the effect that no
other circus can use my paper?"

Harrison attempted to look indignant but he was a bad actor, he could
only look drunk. On this occasion he could not dissemble. His effort to
do so only made him appear more drunken.

"I'm--a--man--of--h-honor--I'll stan'--by--anythin' I do." Here Harrison
fell down, full length on the settee, muttering and shaking his fist at

"Get him out of this house!" was Hurd's order to Alfred.

Alfred pulled and pushed Harrison to the bottom of the stairs leading up
to his room. Harrison fell on all fours and began a slow ascent of the
stairs, Alfred pushing him as he had seen deck hands shove refractory
cattle when loading them on a boat.

He returned to the room. Hurd was very crusty. He hinted that Alfred
should not have permitted the first circus agent to induce Harrison to
sign the shut-out contract.

Stowe, the circus agent, further endeared himself to Alfred when he
informed Mr. Hurd that Alfred should not be blamed.

Alfred, in the brief interview between the second agent and himself, had
informed him as to the contract made by the first agent, the price
charged for advertising, the free tickets extorted and other information
that was valuable.

The agent was very diplomatic. He began by calming Hurd: "Now, Mr. Hurd,
I know the value of your paper to us, I know you to be a man of honor,
and I would not offend you by even insinuating that you could find a
way to carry our advertising and reading matter as I know you would not
violate the contract made with the other concern, although it is evident
that contract was obtained by fraud. There is only one way around this;"
here the circus agent placed his hand on the shoulder of the big editor,
"we will have to get out an extra edition, their advertising and reading
matter to go in the regular edition, mine in the extra."

The editor beamed on the agent, the beam expressing more strongly than
any words: "You're a daisy--but, but," stammered Hurd, "we haven't got
matter enough for our regular edition. I've been working all morning;
Harrison's been drunk all week an'--"

"Never mind," interrupted the agent, "don't you worry, let me do the
work and the worrying also. Where can we get a little something to clear
the cobwebs out of our tonsils?" And they left the office arm in arm,
but not until the circus agent had asked Alfred if he knew where all the
office force could be found. Alfred answered "No, sir." And he was
truthful; as he was not certain whether he was on the stairs, on the
landing, at the top of the stairs or had rolled back to the bottom.

When the agent ordered Alfred to get the office force together and
inform them that they would have to work all night but would be paid
double time, Alfred ran upstairs, as was his custom, four steps at each
bound. Harrison was not on the stairs nor at the top landing. Running
into the press room, Alfred found Harrison sitting in the coal box,
sleeping soundly.

After vain efforts to arouse him, Alfred hastened to the residence of
Bill Smith who had once worked on the paper. Cal Wyatt had also served
some time setting type, and Baggy Allison was notified to repair to the
office instanter.

All were on hand when the circus man returned. Cal Wyatt, advised Alfred
to fill Harrison's mouth with salt, that it was a never failing remedy.
It did bring Harrison partly around, just enough to make him a pest, in
the way of all with both person and talk. He slobbered over copy and
case, hiccoughed, cursed Alfred for trying to doctor him; informing
Alfred that he wanted no "dam cow doctor to fool with him."

Stowe, the circus agent, laughed until his sides ached. He was informed
by the others that Alfred was a great minstrel and he volunteered to
find him a place with some first class minstrel organization the coming
winter. Stowe played the banjo and carried the instrument with him. All
the local minstrel band were introduced to him. He played and sang with
them and within twenty-four hours he owned the town, including the
printing office.

The type-setters did not have to wait for copy; Stowe had quantities.
The printers were not compelled to decipher the peculiarities of
anyone's handwriting; Stowe's copy was printed and punctuated.

Such copy had never been worked from in the office before. Of course all
the agent's copy treated of Thayer & Noyse Great Circus.

Harrison got to himself finally. He could make himself very agreeable
when he so desired.

Hurd insisted that there should be other matter written up. In this
Stowe acquiesced. He scribbled off political, local and other matter at
a rapid rate, nor did he stop there. He gave the contract to Isaac Vance
of the Marshall House to feed all people and stock with the circus.
There were no stable tents in those days nor did anyone stop on the lot.
Canvassmen, hostlers and actors--all in the hotels. Vance got a big
contract; Stowe secured a half column advertisement for the paper, as he
did from several others.

The extra appeared, at first glance, as fat as the regular edition. When
Baggy Allison tired, Stowe worked the press. He rolled, folded and fed
until the extra edition was off the press and ready for distribution.

Among his printed matter was a quarter sheet, with the portraits of
Thayer and Noyse, and a small amount of reading matter printed on one
side only. He dug up a can of red ink from some unexplored recess where
it had lain since the presidential campaign of 1860. He had three or
four funny mule cuts. He wrote a funny line or two, made a rude cut
resembling Hurd, informing the public that Hurd would ride the trick
mule circus day. This bill was printed without the knowledge of Hurd. It
was folded in the extra and thus distributed.

This fact makes valid Alfred's claim of another honor for Brownsville,
namely: that the _Brownsville Clipper_ was the first paper in this
country to issue a colored supplement. Of course the word "supplement"
was not in a newspaper's vocabulary at that time.

Another merit this supplement possessed, it was really humorous, and the
humor was apparent, even to the people of that day, and that is more
than the colored supplements of today can lay claim to.

Charley Stowe was not only the prime mover in all that pertained to the
issuance of the extra but he hired a horse and buggy and a boy to assist
Alfred in its distribution.

Brownsville was advertised as it had never been before. Charley Stowe
following a precedent established by the first agent that ever traveled
ahead of a show, promised many persons to return to Brownsville the day
of the show. And, unlike the first agent and almost all agents in all
times since, he kept his promise and came back.

It was a great day for Brownsville, it was a great day for Thayer and
Noyse, it was a great day for Alfred. Charley Stowe had another faculty,
shy in most agents, memory. He remembered the editor and the office
force, particularly the latter. He gave Alfred his first sight of the
inner sanctorum of the show world, namely, the dressing rooms. He
introduced him to big, good-natured Dr. Thayer, to natty little Charley
Noyse, to the elder Stickney and his talented son Bob, to J. M. Kelly,
the long distance single somersault leaper, to little Jimmy Reynolds,
the clown, to Mrs. Thayer and her charming daughter. It was the
unfolding of the scenes of another world to the lad. His recollection of
that day is as of a night of enchantment.

The circus had a very sick horse, a beautifully marked mare, sorrel and
snow white with glass eyes, as they are termed. The beautiful creature
was housed in the stable of the Marshall House. The animal was evidently
one of value to the circus folk as many of them visited the stable; all
seemed anxious as to the mare's recovery. After the afternoon
performance, Dr. Thayer, his wife and daughter were in the stable
administering to the sick horse. The circus man was completing
arrangements to have the tavern keeper care for the mare and send her on
to the show, if she were able to travel by the time the company reached

Isaac Vance assured the circus people that everything possible would be
done for the mare, and turning to Alfred, laying both hands on the boy's
shoulders, facing him toward Mr. Thayer, said: "And here's the lad who
will take your mare to Uniontown. He can ride any horse or mule you
have. You should have this boy with your show, he is an actor right. Our
people swear by him, he can beat anything you have in the nigger
minstrel line."

Then Alfred, with a freshness born of ignorance, said: "Yes, Mr. Thayer,
you have a fine circus but your minstrels ain't much, not as good as
those with Van Amberg's Menagerie, and everybody says so."

Mr. Thayer and his wife both seemed greatly amused at the frankness of
the boy. The showman quizzed Alfred as to what he could do in the
concert. Alfred, as all other "rube" amateurs have done and always will
do, wanted to engage to give the entire concert. Thayer had more
patience then than Alfred has now as he listened to the boastful
assumptions of the boy.

Finally he said: "If you will get a letter from your father granting me
permission to employ you, I will give you the opportunity of your life,
but do not come to me without the permission of your parents, as our
show does not employ minors. It's against the law."

It was further arranged that Alfred should take the Lilly mare to
Uniontown the day the show exhibited there. Mrs. Thayer led Alfred to
one side and, pressing two dollars into his hand, charged him to visit
the sick horse several times daily, and no matter if those in charge
asserted that they had given her sufficient water, Alfred was to offer
the animal drink. She so charged the stable man, stuttering Hughey

After the night show Alfred called at the stable. The mare seemed very
sick. He offered her water which she refused; he felt of her ears, they
were cold; he stroked her satin-like coat; she opened her eyes and
appeared almost human to Alfred as he petted her.

Arriving at home he went to his mother's room and gave her a detailed
account of the day's doings, not forgetting the sick horse or the
arrangements made by Mr. Vance for him to deliver the mare to the show
folk in Uniontown.

Alfred had been careful not to reveal any of that part of the
conversation touching on the offer of the big showman to employ him
providing he could obtain the father's written consent. Somehow the
mother's fears were aroused, she felt that there was more behind the
delivery of the mare than was revealed and she strongly objected to the

The mother communicated her fears to Lin and that worthy was quite
ingenious in quizzing the boy. She questioned Alfred as to his
intentions. "I tole yer mother ye wouldn't run off with thet ole show
while yer pap wus away from hum. Mary sed 'They mout coax ye off.' Did
they coax ye? Did they offer to gin ye a job?" And she looked at Alfred
very hard and earnestly.

Alfred had been revolving in his mind a plan that included having Daniel
Livingstone forge a letter signing Alfred's father's name to it,
granting the boy permission to join the show. Alfred felt very guilty
and hung his head when Lin's questions grew pointed.

Alfred was giving the sick show horse all the attention promised and
even more. The second day following the mare died. Notwithstanding, all
seemed to sympathize with Alfred, who had become greatly attached to the
beautiful horse, it was apparent that all were greatly relieved that
Alfred had been released from the agreement to deliver the mare to the
circus folk.

Alfred wrote Mrs. Thayer a long letter, giving the particulars
concerning the death of her pet, to which he received a prompt reply,
ending with a standing invitation to visit them at any time, either
while they were traveling or at their home.

The boy was very proud of this letter and read it to all his friends.
Lin, in commenting on the death of the mare quoted Scripture, after her
own interpretation: "The Lord gins us an' the Lord takes hosses es well
es peepul. Uv cos ye kin buy hosses ef ye got money but ye can't buy
peepul. Ef ye'd run off with a show an' dide, w--, ye--"

Here Lin stuck. She could not find words to complete the sentence; but
after a moment's pause, she continued: "The'd not miss ye es much es
the' will thet hoss. Bet we'd miss ye every--time--we sot--up

In the vernacular of the show profession of today, Rosston, Springer &
Henderson took up the stand and did not appear in Brownsville. They were
advertised to play in Pittsburg.

Mr. Hurd sent Alfred to Pittsburg to collect the newspaper advertising
bill. Harrison was having his troubles with those to whom he had sold
tickets. The holders of tickets held Harrison personally responsible for
the non-appearance of the circus. Since the day Frank McKernan had
pummelled Harrison, various and divers persons had been threatening him
with similar treatment. Harrison staved off hostilities by promising to
have the tickets redeemed when Alfred collected the paper's indebtedness
from the circus.

The circus had no band wagon. The musicians were mounted on horses. This
was all there was of the parade. Alfred has since learned that this
feature was introduced into the circus as an expediency. G. G. Grady, an
impecunious circus proprietor, found his colossal aggregation without a
band wagon and no funds to purchase one. He hit upon the idea of
mounting his band on horses. The innovation was heralded as a feature
and to this day circuses advertise the mounted band as a novelty of the
"highway, holiday parade."

John Robinson's circus boasted a steam calliope, which dispensed "biled
music." Grady, not strong enough financially to annex a calliope,
altered an old animal cage that resembled the exterior of a calliope. He
installed a very large and loud hand organ inside the imitation calliope
wagon, with a stovepipe poking out of the top, plenty of damp straw
inside, a man to feed and burn it. In a stove inside, the volumes of
smoke issuing from the stovepipe, a strong man turning the hand organ,
the greatly improved steam calliope was calculated to astonish the
public. If the music were not so vociferous as that his rival's
instrument sent forth, it must be admitted that Grady's was more tuneful
and therefore less objectionable.

Grady's steam piano came to an untimely end almost before its career
began. The man inside the calliope, the fireman, was too industrious. He
filled the stove with damp straw, poured kerosene oil over it and
applied a match. The parade was in the midst of the public square, in
Canton, Ohio. Thousands had congregated to witness it. The whole
interior of the calliope was ablaze, smoke issuing from every crack and
crevice. The show people grasping the situation, broke open the back
door. The damp straw, the old stove, the two men and the hand organ were
dragged from the smoking wagon. Grady's attempt to rival John Robinson
was the joke of the circus world.

Alfred had quite a little difficulty in collecting the printing bill,
which was grudgingly paid him.

The circus people tore up Harrison's order for payment for the tickets
given. The treasurer said something about the paper being a "wolf."

When Alfred returned Harrison endeavored to spread the impression by
insinuations that he had collected for the tickets and not made returns
to him as yet. He was cornered, it was his only way to square himself
with those who were pressing him for a settlement. Although Alfred knew
full well that Harrison did not intend to injure him, the reports became
so annoying and the insinuations so galling that Alfred took Harrison to

Harrison flew into a rage and threw a small shovel at Alfred. Things got
lively for Harrison in a moment. No telling where it would have ended
had not the entire Hurd family rushed into the room and separated the
combatants. Harrison was much the worse for the encounter. To drown his
grief he started the rounds but Jim Bench, the town watchman, locked him
up. When he sobered up he shook the dust of Brownsville from his feet
forever more.

Years afterward Alfred met Harrison in a far western city, leading the
same life.

The mother entreated Alfred to forever give up the idea of becoming a
newspaper man. She had cherished the hope that the boy would yet turn to
the study of medicine. Old Doctor Playford, Bob's father, informed
Alfred's uncle that if the boy were so inclined he would take him into
his office and see what there was _in him_.

The Doctor had three good horses, his son Bob had a large pack of
hounds. Alfred's duties did not keep him in the office very steadily. He
was on horseback a greater part of the time, by day delivering medicine,
by night fox or coon hunting.

It was a part of Alfred's work to compound medicines in the small
laboratory in the doctor's residence. A copy of materia-medica and a
Latin dictionary were the only guides to the beginner of a medical
career in those days. There were no prescriptions sent to the drug
store, every doctor filled his own prescriptions. Alfred became very
quick at compounding prescriptions.

A dose of medicine was prepared for Mr. Hare. This particular dose of
medicine did not have the effect the doctor desired, or rather, it had
more effect than the doctor or Hare desired.

The old doctor was a very resolute man, fiery and game, nearly everyone
feared him. Bob, his son, was one of the few who dared brave the old
doctor's wrath. The young doctor espoused Alfred's cause when his father
charged Alfred with carelessness. Bob swore that old Hare was a
notorious liar and that it was not the medicine that made him so sick.

The old doctor was very practical, therefore a successful practitioner.
Alfred protested that he had prepared the medicine for Hare as per the
formula furnished him. Some time after the above argument Alfred was
summoned to the doctor's room. Holding in one hand a glass of water, the
doctor handed Alfred a lump of darkish color, ordering the boy to
swallow it. Alfred mechanically swallowed the lump, the doctor handing
him the water to take the taste out of his mouth.

As Alfred drank, the doctor, with a humorous glance, ordered him to hang
around until he could determine the effects of the medicine. "It's the
same dose you fixed for Hare. I'll see whether Hare lied or not."

Alfred had a keen sense of the ridiculous. He had swallowed the pill ere
he realized what he was doing and knew full well he would be dreadfully
ill, yet he laughed immoderately.

"Ef Hare suffered more than Alfurd, he sure wus sick," was Lin's
comment. "No, Alfurd wus not sacked by the ole doctur, he jus naturally
did not like doctorin'."

Mr. Todd replied: "I dunno nuthin' 'bout it, only what I've heard. They
do say thet since Alfred nearly pizened Mr. Hare, most of Doctor
Playford's patients has gone to Doctor Jackson. Folks is jus naturally
afeared to doctor with Playford since they found out Alfred mixes the
medicine. John McCune's two children, ole Lige Custer an' Dave Phillips
wus all took sick jus like ole Hare an' nobody but Alfred ever mixed the
medicine they took. You know it takes a man thet's hed practus to mix
medicines an' Alfred ain't hed no chance to learn."

Lin contended that Alfred hed plenty of practice. "He mixed paint in his
Pap's shop an' he mixed ink in the printin' offis an' Lord, he could
certinly mix a few squills an' a little castor ile an' sich, that's all
Playford ever gives. Alfurd cud a kep on doctorin' ef he'd wanted to,
but the ole doctor sed when he took him thet he would see what wus _in
him_, an' I s'pose he did."


    A man may be defeated
      Half a score of times or more,
    His prospects may be darkened
      And his heart be bruised and sore;
    But let him smile triumphantly--
      And call Misfortune's bluff.
    For no man's ever conquered
      Till he says: "I've got enough?"

Hans Christian Andersen, the famous Danish poet, says: "The life of
every man is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Carlyle says: "No
life of a man faithfully recorded but is a heroic poem."

With all the advice and experience one can acquire or have thrust upon
him it is passing strange how easy it is to go wrong in this world. It
forces one almost to the belief of him who wrote: "The aim is the man's,
the end is none of his own." Someone has said that the only guide a man
requires in this world is to side-step wrong doing. But like many prize
fighters, some of us are deficient in foot work.

If life is a mission and any other definition of it is false and
misleading, fate has certainly picked out some men as the hammer and
others as the anvil, some men for door-mats and others for those who
walk thereon.

Alfred claimed to have an aim in life but his entire family and a
township of relatives differed with him. Alfred's most ardent apologist
was compelled to admit that even though he was exerting himself greatly
to hold his course he was drifting.

The minstrels were back in the old quarters, Frank McKernan's shoe-shop,
rehearsing nightly.

At this time there came a proposition from a man of the town who had
recently failed in business. It is a peculiarity of human nature or the
fore ordination of fate that when a man fails in a commercial business
he engages in show business or life insurance. If he be not mentally
equipped to carry to success the business in which he failed, he
generally engages in a business that requires ability of a higher order
than that in which he was unsuccessful.

And so it was of the man who entered into an agreement to finance the
minstrels. He possessed a little money and a mother who was well
supplied with it. He spent money liberally in equipping the minstrels
for their first road venture. All preparations were quietly consummated
by order of Mr. Eli, as that gentleman had numerous creditors whose
feelings would have been terribly lacerated had they known that he was
soon to take himself away from them. Alfred soon had every arrangement
completed. He was very happy he was to realize the ambitions of his
life's dream. He had been relieved of all financial responsibility.
There would be wood cuts, printed bills, an agent and all that goes to
make for a real show.

The three-sheet bill depicting Alfred as a plantation negro dancing "The
Essence of Ole Virginia," was his especial pride. Many times daily he
unrolled this bill and secretly admired it. Alfred learned to dance "The
Essence of Ole Virginia." Although Billy Hyatt or Tom White danced "The
Essence" much more cleverly, Alfred argued that, owing to the bill
bearing his name, consistency demanded he execute the dance.

The stock bill was from the Jordan Printing Company of Boston, wood cuts
in two colors, red and yellow. The imprint "Boston" on the bills, it was
argued, would give the company prestige, that is, after they reached
Greene County and other far away points on their proposed itinerary. All
were instructed to spread the impression that the troupe was from

It was rumored that the minstrels were to travel afar, visiting
Baltimore, Washington and other cities. The mother was very greatly
disturbed, she questioned Alfred frequently as to the rumors.

Lin, in some way known only to herself, had fathomed Alfred's plans; she
even knew the backer's name. Alfred begged her to keep it secret, that
it would ruin everything to have it known. To Alfred's surprise she
advised that he leave home surreptitiously if he must, with the consent
of the mother if he could obtain it. Lin argued that he would never do
any good at home with "them yar show notions flyin' through yer head.
Durned ef I wouldn't go an' show 'em I cud be sumthin'."

This was the first time Lin had ever advised Alfred to disobey his
mother and, while her advice was pleasing to him insofar as furthering
his ambitions was concerned, it was displeasing in other ways, and
lowered Lin in his estimation.

The mother objected strongly to the boy's connection with the minstrels,
arguing that the father was absent; that Alfred should not leave home
until the return of the father.

Alfred argued with the mother that he had accepted money from Eli and
was in honor bound to work it out.

Uncle Thomas was called into conference. Uncle Ned came in without being
called. Grandpap threatened legal proceedings to restrain the boy if he
attempted to leave the town.

Consternation reigned in the minstrel camp. Eli was frantic. Without
Alfred the show could not hope to succeed; so declared all. Alfred grew
desperate, declaring, since his mother so strongly opposed his going,
that he would remain until his father arrived, explain the matter; then,
come weal or woe, he would join the show.

Thus matters stood. Eli endeavored to drown his disappointment; he was
not visible for a day or two. Meanwhile Uncle Ned was a frequent visitor
"to keep an eye on Mr. Alfred that he did not run away," as he expressed
it. Alfred boldly declared that Uncle Ned was interfering and further
that they could not hold him; even if they did estop him from going with
the minstrels, he would run off to the oil regions.

Another visit from Uncle Ned precipitated a war of words. As the
meetings between Alfred and the uncle became more frequent Alfred "grew
more tantalizing and impudent," so the uncle asserted. Finally, Alfred
informed the uncle that he was meddling and that his meddling was not
appreciated. A quarrel followed. Alfred's powers of vituperation were a
surprise to the mother and uncle and a delight to Lin, who informed Mrs.
Todd: "Lor! I expektid tu see Alfurd mount him enny minnit; he shook his
fingur under Ned's nose an' mos' spit in his face. I hed the rollin' pin
redy, I'd bin in h'it ef h'tit hed kum to a klinch. I tell ye Alfurd's
lurned somethin' since they shaved his kurls off. He combed Ned es he'd
nevur been combed afore, an' Mary jes stood an' luked 'til Ned got her
riled up then twixt her an' Alfurd's bumburdment, he mighty nur forgot
his religion an' his hat."

The uncle in reply to one of Alfred's keenest thrusts permitted his
anger to get the better of his judgment. He reflected strongly upon
Alfred's father and the manner in which he had reared Alfred and
concluded by declaring that he, Alfred, had been a disgrace to the
entire family and that if his parents were powerless to control him
"we'll take a hand in it."

The entrance of the mother into the verbal battle at this juncture was
so sudden, so earnest, so swift, that Uncle Ned left the house, almost
forgetting his hat. The mother ended the scene by turning on Alfred:
"You have almost broken my heart, you are a constant source of trouble
and worry to me and as if that were not sufficient, your father's people
must force themselves into our affairs as they always have done since I
married into the family. Now if you have promised this man to go with
him, if you have accepted money from him, you keep your word, you go and
I will stand between your father and you insofar as any of his family
are concerned. You go with this man until the money you owe him is paid;
then you come straight home. If you do not it will only be the worse for
you, I will send Rease Lynch, the Constable, and have him bring you

Alfred's elation by the victory over the uncle was not lowered in the
least by the fact that the mother's consent was given only to emphasize
her displeasure at the interference of the father's folks.

Eli was positively informed that Alfred would be compelled to return
home if the mother sent for him; that he was only permitted to leave
home that he might discharge the debt.

Eli suddenly recalled the fact that he had advanced Alfred one dollar
and seventy-five cents. He realized that it would not require many days
of labor ere the debt would be cancelled. He therefore suddenly decided
to make a further advance of money on behalf of Alfred's services and,
to make it more binding, pay the money to the mother.

Cousin Charley interfered with this plan by calling Alfred aside and
whispering: "If Eli goes over to your house and gives Aunt Mary any
money, and she sees he's been drunk, she'll hist him higher then
Gilroy's kite. You better let him gin it tu Lin." And so it was

Eli went to Lin, saying: "Mrs. Linn, I owe Alfred thirty dollars. He's a
minor. I do not want to pay him the money as I know it is not legal, so
I told him I'd give it to his mother, she can do as she likes about it.
But if I wus her, I'd keep it; he will git enough to do him, he's a good
boy, he don't drink, smoke or chew. I wouldn't have a drinkin' man in my
troupe. I didn't know his mother was out. When will she be back? Well,
Mrs. Linn, you jus sign this receipt, it will be all the same. Now
there's thirty dollars and here's a dollar for you to buy yourself some
sugar kisses. No, no, sign his mother's name, not yours. Now, good-bye,
Mrs. Linn. I forgot to ask, are you any relation to the Linns out on
Redstone. Well, I thought not, you're too good lookin'. If I wern't
married I'd be after you."

Lin opened the door, she jerked her head toward the opening, as she
said: "Now, say, does yer muther know yere' out? Run along sonny. Don't
git mushy."

Lin reckoned: "The reason Eli wouldn't tulerate drinkin' peepul in his
trupe is bekus he is afeared the supply will run out."

Alfred calling on Mr. Steele to pay the note, produced a roll of bills.
Mr. Steele smiled approvingly. Counting out three ten dollar greenbacks,
the boy requested the tanner to figure up the interest on the note.

"There's no interest to pay and there's no note to pay; here is the
cancelled note paid in full." As the man pushed the note toward the boy
he was written in red ink across the face, "Paid", and also the date.

Alfred demurred. "No, Mr. Steele, I never paid the note, I won't have it
that way."

"Well," replied the tanner, "I am not in the habit of taking that which
is not coming to me. A friend of yours called sometime ago and informed
me that he owed you money and that you was desirous of paying off the

"Joe Thornton!" guessed Alfred, without a moment's hesitation.

"Yes, he was the man. How did Mr. Thornton know that I held your note?"

"Well, that's where I broke my word with you, but I couldn't very well
get around it. I did Mr. Thornton a favor, he told me he wanted to
reward me. I told him I was in trouble, I owed money and I had no way to
pay it and I would apply whatever he gave me on the note. He gave me an
order for a suit of clothes but he never mentioned the note. I am as
much surprised as you; I never dreamed he would pay the note for me."

"Then you did not borrow the money from Thornton?"

"No sir, I did not."

"Well, I would not contract the borrowing habit. The borrower is always
a servant to the lender."

The mother was troubled. "How did it come that Eli paid for services in
advance? Others never paid their employes until they performed their

Alfred airily informed her that it was the custom in the show business
to pay in advance, that is, the good actors always drew their pay in
advance. In fact, he assured the mother that it was the only way to keep
good actors, keep them in debt to you; even then, sometimes, they'll run
off with another troupe.

"Well, what do you purpose doing with this money Mr. Eli left here for
you?" enquired the mother.

"Oh, I want you to keep it for me. I'm going to send you all my money;
you use whatever you please, use it all if you want to."

"I will keep this money for you," she said, "something seems to tell me
you will need it later on."

Lin allowed that Alfred would never need money thereafter. "Ef ye git a
good start ye'll jes hev cords of greenbacks, an' I believe yere on the
right road. I jes tol' yer muther, I ses, 'Mary,' ses I, 'Alfurd ain't
fit fer nuthin' only minstrel showin', he's gittin' more un more like a
nigger every day.'"

The mother did not relish the compliment. Lin advised that Alfred keep
up his clownish pranks, "then ye kin nigger hit in winter an' clown hit
in summer."

Alfred declared that if he attained his hopes and ambitions, inside of
ten years he would be the possessor of a farm and live on it the
remainder of his days. In his boyish buoyancy he grew enthusiastic; he
pictured how Mother and Pap would enjoy country life.

Alfred knew the mother had confidence in him, no matter how strongly she
opposed his ways. He knew she had faith in him and it has been the
saddest regret of his life that she was not permitted to remain on earth
until his boyish dreams were fully realized.

A few days later Alfred was seated on all his earthly possessions, a
hair trunk with big brass tack heads as ornaments, in a big heavy wagon,
waving a last good-bye to mother, Lizzie, Joe, the baby and Lin.

Lin shouted as the wagon moved off: "Good luck! Good-bye! I know ye'll
bring the koon skin hum."

It was twelve miles to Bealsville on the pike. The big wagon, the small
trunks and big boys were too much of a load for the two ordinary horses.
The minstrels walked up the hills to lighten the load.

"Handy Andy," Alfred's favorite farce, in which he impersonated the
character of the awkward negro who breaks the dishes, was the closing
number on the program. Alfred, always a stickler for natural effects,
prevailed upon one of the boys to borrow his mother's china tea set. For
safety these dishes were carried in a large carpet-sack.

[Illustration: "And Ask Fer Licker," Added the Old Stage Driver]

When the edge of town was reached the team was urged into a smart trot
that the advent of the troupe might appear business-like. The minstrels
were instructed as to the proper manner in which to conduct themselves
that they might appear experienced in traveling--jump out of the wagon,
carry their belongings, entering the tavern briskly, "and ask fer
licker," added the old stage driver who had been an attentive listener
to the instructions.

At the edge of town the team was halted to freshen them up for the
finish. The minstrels perched themselves picturesquely on the trunks,
posing as if for a photograph. The old horses were urged into a trot by
jerking and slapping the lines and wielding the whip. The pace was kept
up until the tavern was reached.

Charley Guttery, the landlord, was there to greet the minstrels. Mrs.
Guttery was a Davis before marriage, the sister of Uncle Bill's wife.
Therefore, Alfred was welcomed by the entire family.

All jumped out of the wagon except Tom White; he began unloading the
parcels, tossing them on the sidewalk. Out came the carpet-sack loaded
with chinaware. It struck the ground with a crash.

"There goes mother's china teapot smashed all to h--ll," piteously
whimpered the boy who furnished the dishes. He began to climb into the
wagon, vowing he would throw Tom White out quicker than he threw his
mother's teapot out. Tom was ready for fight and Eli had all he could do
to keep the boys apart.

All this was great amusement for the natives. "Let 'em go," one shouted,
"Let 'em fight; we'd ruther see the fight then yer show."

The large room of the tavern was filled with minstrels and town folks.
"Purty long ride ye hed fur such a big load," remarked one towner. Ere
Alfred could reply, a big gawk chimed in with: "By the dust on their
britches laigs I callerate they didn't ride much." Then all the crowd

The pike was very dusty and the minstrels showed the effects of their
contact with it. "Well, ef they haint got a good show we'll gin 'em a
ride they won't furgit. Yes, an' the rail'll be three cornered. How many
monkeys has they?" yelled another. Then came quickly, "I dunno, I haint
counted 'em yit." This sally brought the biggest laugh yet heard.

Alfred's blood was boiling; he could stand it no longer. His fist shot
out and immediately there were legs and arms sprawling all over the
floor; the crowd trampled each other as they stampeded, all endeavoring
to exit through the one door at the same time. Once outside, several of
them, more bold than the others, began making threats and movements to
re-enter and bring Alfred out. At this juncture the old stage driver and
Eli waded into them and soon there was not one of the rowdies to be

Alfred was hustled upstairs and into a room and ordered to remain quiet
until further developments. The constable was soon on the scene with
warrants for Eli and the old driver. They were taken before a justice of
the peace and, by the advice of Mr. Guttery, they requested a
continuance of the case until the following morning. This was granted.

A few moments later, three or four of the minstrels were arrested. Not
one of them had engaged in the disturbance; they demanded an immediate
trial, feeling certain of acquittal. No evidence was offered as to their
participation in the fight. Several residents of the town swore
positively that none of the accused had engaged in the row in any way.
One witness testified that they had just stood around doing nothing.
This he emphasized by repeating at intervals in his testimony, "They
just stood around doing nothing."

The evidence all in, the justice of the peace addressed them somewhat as
follows: "You have been arrested charged with disturbing the peace. The
evidence goes to show that you are not guilty of that crime; therefore,
on that count I will discharge you, the borough to pay the costs. But it
appears by the testimony of one of your own witnesses, one of our most
reliable citizens that you were standing around doing nothing.
Therefore, I will fine you two dollars each and costs for loitering."

By the advice of the landlord the costs were paid by Mr. Eli and the
fines were to be paid the next morning when the other cases were called.

The minstrels that night were slimly attended.

In the middle of the night Alfred was rudely disturbed by someone
awakening him. "Git up, git up, quick! We've got to git out of this town
or it'll take all the money I've got to square the fight you started
yesterday. Git up quick!"

It was Eli's voice and he was very thick tongued; he had been up all
night. The team was harnessed and hitched to the wagon. The landlord was
there to see the sleepy minstrels off. The last good-byes were scarcely
spoken ere the door of the big room was closed by the landlord and the
lights put out. It was inky dark to Alfred as he sat on the high seat by
the driver and heartily wished himself home.

It came out later that the landlord and one or two others advised Eli to
get the minstrels into Greene County ere the eyes of the law opened the
next morning. Hence the 3 a. m. exodus.

Arriving at Carmichael's Town after a long and tiresome ride, the
minstrels found Tom Kerr, the jolly landlord of the tavern, with a
dinner ready that changed their minds from gloom to gayety.

The minstrels were well advertised. Winn Kerr, Lias and Dee Flannigan
had witnessed their entertainment previously, hence the town turned out
to welcome them. Wealth flowed in upon Eli and all went merry as a
dinner bell. But Eli had great difficulty in tearing himself away from
old and new found friends.

The regular minstrel wagon was not large enough to carry Eli the next
morning, consequently Jim Kerr carried Alfred and Eli to Waynesburg in a
private rig. Again the crowd was too large for the courthouse; again
Eli made friends who detained him after the departure of the troupe.
Alfred refused to remain behind with Eli but left with the minstrel

Eli failed to arrive in the next town in time to open the doors. The
crowd was more than ample to fill the hall. Alfred took the door and
made settlement of bills. Eli arrived during the night. The next morning
Alfred and two others advised Mr. Eli that they had received word from
home that their engagement with the minstrels must end.

When Eli came to his senses he appealed to Alfred to explain why they
had decided to quit. Alfred said: "Because you have been drunk ever
since the show left Brownsville and the boys are afraid you will not pay

That night Eli invited all the company to meet him in his room at the
tavern. By the time the boys arrived Eli was so saturated he forgot that
which he desired to say to them. Instead he insisted on drinking with
each one individually, he scorned to drink with the company as a whole.

"I want you all to know me. If you want money, I've got slathers of it."

All wanted money and they got it. And they spent it. Gaudy bows and
ties, striped shirts, congress shoes and other dependables never
possessed by the wearers previously, began to make their appearance. Eli
was voted the best ever. Those who had threatened to leave because Eli
imbibed too freely were termed Methodists and back-biters.

Fairmount reached, the old stage driver and his team left for home. From
this point the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was to be the mode of travel, a
change hailed with delight. Some began figuring on how many days it
would be until the minstrels invaded Baltimore.

Two nights were played at Fairmount; the first night a large, well
pleased audience attended. More invitations to Eli's room, more liquor
ladled out and more money handed around to the company. On the second
night there was a very light attendance; a long hunt to find Eli ere
bills could be paid and the company could move on to Grafton. Eli had
decided to remain in Fairmount until the next train.

Morgan, the advance agent, accompanied the minstrels to Grafton. Morgan
took the night's receipts. The next morning he could not be located nor
did Eli make his appearance. The minstrels watched and waited; the day
wore along. Finally, it was decided that the performance would be
repeated that night.

A man walked over the town, ringing a bell as he went. Halting at short
intervals he loudly announced the second exhibition of the minstrels at
early candle light. The landlord of the tavern volunteered to look after
the financial end of the enterprise. After the exhibition he called the
boys together and advised that after his bill and other expenses were
deducted, there would be enough left to pay their railroad fare to
Fairmount and that they would probably find Eli there.

Arriving at Fairmount it was learned that Eli had left for Baltimore the
night before. It came to light that Morgan had left on the same train,
boarding it as it passed through Grafton. Some members of the company
contended that Eli had gone on to Baltimore to arrange for their coming
and that they would hear from him or see him soon. Others, that he had
left for good.

The four musicians, men who had seen more of the world than the
ambitious amateurs, boarded a train for Wheeling. Alfred decided that he
and his followers would make their way to New Geneva and there board the
boat for home. Loading their few belongings, including Alfred's hair
trunk with the brass tack ornaments, into a farm wagon drawn by two big
bay mules, the homeward journey was begun. Not in dejection, as one
might imagine, the boys were too full of spirit to be cast down greatly.
One or two began to fret but the jibes of the others soon had all in
good humor.

The roads through the hilly, muddy country were not as firm as those
previously traversed, a contingency the boys had not taken into
consideration. At times the mules were unable to move the wagon, even
though all the minstrels were pushing or prying to the extent of their
muscular power. Instead of dust, as on the first day out, the minstrels
were covered with mud, from shoes to hats.

Arriving at New Geneva, mud bespattered, tired and hungry, they
congregated on the old wharf boat until the steamer was heard coming
below the bend. When the boat hove in sight, her prow cutting the water,
it was the most welcome sight Alfred ever remembered witnessing. Safely
aboard, it was found that not in the whole party was there enough money
to pay the fares to Brownsville. Therefore deck passage had to be taken
and without meals.

George Warner, the colored steward, knew every one of the boys. One by
one they were smuggled into the pantry and a meal that was never
excelled given each one.

It was two o'clock in the morning when the boat touched at Brownsville.
Alfred determined to carry his trunk home with him. Hoisting it on his
broad shoulders he began the walk up the hill homewards; every little
ways lowering the burden to the ground, he would seat himself upon it
pondering as to the tale to tell of the ignominious ending of his dream
of prosperity. He thought of Lin's parting words: "I hope ye bring the
koon skin hum," and he could not suppress his laughter.

He brought the big iron knocker down rather lightly, hoping only Lin
would hear it. He did not care to face his father or mother until he got
a little more courage. Again the knocker was raised and lowered, a
little louder than before. The window sash above was raised and the
father's voice, gruffer than Alfred had heard it in a long time,
demanded, "Who's there?"

Alfred hesitated to give his name.

"Who's there?" louder and more gruffly than before, impelled the boy to
answer: "It's me."

"Who's me?" came from the window quickly.

"Oh, come on down, Pap, let me in. It's me, Pap, don't you know me?"

Alfred was so crestfallen and ashamed that he could not bear to speak
his own name. "In a minute, Alfred," came in a more kindly tone as the
father's head was withdrawn from the window. Then the father's voice was
heard informing the mother, "The boy's back."

It flashed through the boy's mind that the conditions that brought him
home so unexpectedly were known only to himself and he could stave off
unpleasant explanations for a time at least.

The door opened, the father shook his hand heartily. "How are you? How
have you been? We've been expecting you. How did you get out of the
trouble in Bealsville? The _Clipper_ says you were all jerked up and
slid out between two days."

The mother and all the children were up. Lin insisted on setting out a
pie and making a hot cup of coffee. Alfred was highly complimented that
he had kept his promise to return. Alfred accepted the praises with a
conscience stricken feeling that kept him miserable under his assumed

The first time Lin and Alfred were alone in the kitchen, she turned full
on him as she asked in a deeply interested way: "How much did ye make
outen yere trip?"

The question was so direct and without warning that Alfred dropped his
gaze and began stammering. Lin continued: "There's somethin' ded about
yer; I smelled a mice the minnit I seen yer face. Jes let hit out, ye'll
feel better. I'll help ye. Where's Eli? Where's the other boys?"

Alfred gave Lin the whole miserable story, neither adding to it nor
concealing anything. Lin summed up the matter thus: "Ef ye're out
enything ye kin sue Eli. His muther'll settle."

They figured it up, Alfred was a little in Eli's debt. "Then what ye
palaverin' 'bout, ye've done all right?"

"But it's the disappointment of the thing, the way it wound up and it
looked so promising," whined Alfred.

"Well, ef ye never git hit harder then Eli hit ye, ye'll need no
poultices," consoled Lin. "Why don't ye gin Redstone Skule-house another
try? Charley Wagner an' everybody else sed ef ye'd go back that ye'd
make all back ye wus shy afore."

Alfred was on his way in less time than it takes to record it, notifying
the boys that they would go to Redstone School-house next Saturday
night. The school-house secured, the music was the next important
matter. Charley Wagner had a sore throat, so he informed Alfred. All
others approached were affected in the same way. It looked very much as
if the exhibition would have to be given up.

Cousin Charley suggested that Alfred go to Merrittstown and hire the
blind Hostetler family. All were blind excepting John, who had one eye.
There were three brothers and a sister--two violins, a double bass
violin, the girl sang and in time with the music manipulated two large
corn-cobs, much in the manner of a minstrel's cracking the bones. A
contract was entered into with the family whereby they were to receive
ten dollars for the night, and their suppers.

The school-house was packed, there was some thirty-seven dollars in all.
When the performance was nearing the end, Cousin Charley made his way
behind the curtain and in a whisper informed Alfred that the constable
had seized all the money and properties of the minstrels and that he,
Alfred, was to be arrested and put in jail. Alfred's acting was not so
spirited as in the opening. Those who were aware of the load that
oppressed him, sympathized and condoned with him until he was nearly

The suit came up before a justice of the peace. Eli's creditors had an
attorney, Alfred and the minstrels had none. The plea that Eli was not
interested in the venture, that it was Alfred's show, was offset by the
fact that Alfred, in his dealings, informed every one that the show
belonged to Eli. And there was the advertising matter. Did not all bear
the words, "Eli, Owner and Manager." Alfred had designedly and against
his pride ordered Eli's name placed on the bills to relieve himself of
all responsibility and worry.

The evidence was conclusive. At least that's what the lawyer, Isaac
Bailey, said. Lin said: "It was boun' to go agin Alfurd. Limpy Bailey
cud make black white an' Squire Wilkinson's agin' evurythin' but the
Methudis' Church."

There were numerous little bills unpaid, including five dollars to the
blind family. Chapters of truths and unfounded rumors, were in the
mouths of the gossips as to how the troupe stranded in West Virginia,
compelled to walk home, traveling as deck passengers on the steamboat.
It even went the rounds that they would have starved if George Warner
had not fed them surreptitiously on their way home.

Alfred was crestfallen. He was ashamed to visit his old haunts in the
town. He evolved plan after plan only to be persuaded by Lin to abandon
them as soon as they were broached to her. The father rubbed salt into
his wounded feelings at every reference he made to the minstrel business
and the lowness of those connected with it, holding Eli up as a terrible
example of what minstrel life would bring a man to.

Berated, brow-beaten, driven to the wall, Alfred answered his father in
kind following one of his most bitter arraignments of show people:
"Father, what are you talking about? Something you know nothing of. Eli
was not a showman, not a minstrel man. He was only with an amateur
minstrel show eight days. Nothing in his associations made him lower
than he was before he left."

"Then why did you go with him?" sternly demanded the parent.

"I wanted to make money."

"Yes, you wanted to make trouble and disgrace for your poor mother and
myself," was the father's rejoinder.

"How sorry I am I did not do differently. How sorry I am that this ever
happened and I planned it all so differently. I felt I was protecting
myself and I'm into it deeper than before." Thus would Alfred reason
with himself.

But the judgment of regret is a silent witness of the heart to the
conviction that some things are inevitable. With Alfred it was a
confession hard to make--another battle lost that seemed won. The words,
"disgrace to the family, to your mother and myself," kept ringing in his
ears and he resolved to leave the town, go to the oil regions, go west,
go anywhere, get rich, come back and make his people retract all their
cruel reflections.

Lin adjured him to "furgit the sore spot; es long es ye pick hit, it'll
never heal. Why, ye cud go to Capt. Abrams, Sammy Steele ur Joe Thornton
an' borry enuf to pay every durn cent ye owe; though ye don't owe
nuthin', everybody ses so thet knows enythin' bout hit. Thet Eli's in
fur hit all. He ought to pay hit. Thur's thet blin' family, he'll nefer
hev no luck ef he don't pay 'em."

This allusion to the blind family was the last stone. Alfred felt that
he and he alone was responsible for the amount due the blind family.
This obligation brought him more regrets than all his troubles. He crept
upstairs, he fell on his knees and prayed, yes, prayed fervently,
earnestly. No penitent, no prisoner, no saint, no sinner ever beseeched
guidance and assistance with a more contrite heart.

It was announced that Uncle Thomas was to preach to the young people of
his congregation. Alfred went early. He was ill at ease. He imagined all
the congregation gazing at him and when two or more bent their heads and
whispered, he imagined that it was he who was under discussion.

The song services ended, the minister arose, opened the Bible and very
slowly read the text selected--"Honor thy father and thy mother."
Raising his eyes from the book, looking over the congregation as if to
select some one to whom to direct his words, he repeated, "Honor thy
father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise. Honor
thy father and mother, that it may be well with thee, and that thou
mayest live long on earth."

Then followed a lengthy discourse as to the duties of children to their

As the sermon progressed, the preacher said: "Rebuke not an elder but
entreat him as a father. Rebuke not an elder but treat all your elders
with that respect you would others should exhibit toward your parents.
Show me the young man who is disrespectful to his parents or elders,
disregards their admonitions and I will show you a boy who is without
the pale of content."

Uncle Tom seemed to look straight at Alfred as he let fall the words.
Alfred felt sure that he referred to the quarrel between himself and
Uncle Ned.

In the next quotation Alfred was slightly reassured: "An angry man
stirreth up strife and aboundeth in transgressions, for he that is slow
to anger is better than the mighty and he that ruleth his spirit than he
that taketh a city."

Alfred said to himself, he is touching up Uncle Ned. He wanted to turn
his head around to see how the Uncle took his medicine, but the preacher
had his attention. Alfred was sitting erect, looking straight at the
speaker. His attitude seemed to say: "If you are going to hit them all I
can stand it but don't hold me up as a lone example of all that's sinful
in this congregation."

Then the speaker waded into the popular frivolities of the times; cards,
dice, gambling, drinking, dancing and other pastimes. As Alfred was
immune from all of the above sins he sat up still more straight and even
ventured to look around at some of the society young folks of the
congregation. He began to feel that Uncle Tom was a very good preacher.

After a moment's pause as if to pull himself together for the final
onslaught upon all that was sinful, the preacher resumed: "I do not
hesitate for a moment to condemn show life and all who are aware of its
iniquity that engage in it. The circus, the theatre, the actors therein,
the proprietors, those who, for sordid gain, place these terrible
temptations before our young people." Alfred felt himself sinking in the
pew. "I do not hesitate to condemn the theatre as one of the broadest
roads that leads to destruction. Fascinating no doubt to the young of
susceptible and impressionable feelings, on that account all the more
dangerous. Show life is a delusion. It holds out hopes never realized;
it poisons the mind and diseases the soul; it takes innocence and
happiness and repays with suffering and misery. It separates families;
it desolates homes; it makes wanderers on the face of the earth of those
who are allured to it. Once let a young man acquire a taste for show
life and yield himself up to its wicked gratifications; that young man
is in great danger of losing his reputation. He is rushing headlong to
certain ruin."

Alfred was sitting straight up. His cheeks burned like fire but there
was no shame in his face, he even looked about him; he met the gaze of
those who stared and held it until the eyes of the others dropped.

The preacher continued: "All the evils that can blight a young life,
waste his property, corrupt his morals, blast his hopes, impair his
health and wreck his soul, lurk in the purlieus of this abominated show
life that is threatening some of the best beloved and most talented of
our young people. Folly consists in drawing false conclusions from just
principles; and that is what the theatre does. Men may live fools but
fools they cannot die. The instruction of fools is folly; therefore, the
actor cannot teach wisdom or morality. He that refuseth instruction
despiseth his own soul; but he that heareth reproof getteth

The parting admonition, delivered to the young people in general and,
Alfred felt, to himself in particular, was: "Choose a good name; a good
name is rather to be chosen than great riches and loving favor rather
than silver and gold."

Alfred felt that the latter part of the sermon was directed at his
ambitions to become a clown, get rich and buy a farm. He wondered who
had informed the preacher of his ambitions.

When the congregation stood up and sang, Alfred's voice could be heard
above those around him. When the plate was passed he placed his last
dollar on the coppers and dimes on it.

When the minister requested that all the young people who desired the
prayers of the congregation for their future guidance, stand up, Alfred
remained seated. There was no contriteness in his heart; no impression
had been made upon him. He forgot his surroundings; he felt no
embarrassment that all stared at him, their looks seeming to say: "Well,
how did you like it? Hit you pretty hard, did it not?"

Alfred forgot the sermon, forgot the surroundings; other thoughts swayed
his mind. "I'll make Uncle Tom, I'll make this congregation, I'll make
this whole town acknowledge my worth. I've not done anything I'm ashamed
of." Then the five dollars he owed the blind family flashed upon his
mind. "I'll pay them, I'll pay every cent I owe."

He passed out of the church unconscious of the gaze of a half hundred
young men lined up on either side of the door waiting for the girls to
run the gauntlet, each one offering an arm to the girl he fancied; if
rejected he was termed "sacked" and the rejected one felt the ridicule
of his fellows for many days thereafter. Lucy Fowler "sacked" John
Albright that night. Lin was so full of this affair that she seemed to
forget the sermon in her eagerness to recount the other incident. Alfred
interrupted her by sneakingly inquiring as to how she liked the sermon.

Lin forthwith straightened up: "Well, ef I wanted tu tell jes what I
thot, I'd say he gin ye particular fits, but preachin' is preachin',
nobody takes hit to tharselves, they jes think hit's fur everybody. Now
I reckon ye think the hull blast wus fer ye. S'posen he'd preached on
dram drinkin'. I reckon the fellur thet guzzles wud take hit all tu
hisself. No, sonny, religun's fur everybody an' ye kan't thro preachin'
bricks ye don't hit somebody. So don't take a foolish powder kase a
preacher workin' at his trade handed ye a few. Hit done ye good, ye
never looked so purty in yer life, yer cheeks wus red es cherries an' ye
sung like a exorter."

Alfred asked: "Didn't you think he took a shot at Uncle Ned?"

"Well, ef he did he never teched him fur Ned never winced. Ye know them
church members never take nuthin' to tharselves; no, they jes believe
when the preacher ladles out spiritual feed hits fur sinners on the
outside uf the church. They think they're above suspishun. Ye know the
Pharisee thanked Gawd he wus not like other peepul, 'an he was _jes
awful_. Of course a great many say thet the sermon fit yer kase. Hit's
the best praise ye ever got, hit's better'n a piece in the newspapers.
Thur's a heap uf peepul in this town never knowed ye amounted to enuf to
be preached about. Es long es ye hain't stole nuthin' er caused anybody
misery er shame, yer on the safe side. Yer troubles hain't nuthin', ye
jes think they are. Uncle Tom's got more trouble on his min' now en ye
ever had."

"I'll bet if I ever get out of this trouble, I'll steer clear of it
hereafter," mused Alfred.

"Yes ye will. Let me tell ye, sonny, the minnet ye begin to feel yer
troubles at a end ye'll begin to look fer more en ye wouldn't be wuth
cracklins ef ye didn't. I wouldn't gin four cents fer a man thet didn't
git into truble; hit trys 'em out an' ye ken tell what they're made uf.
Look at all the men ye know who don't know enuf to make truble. What do
they amount to? Why they ain't got enuf grit in 'em to suck alum."

She continued:

"Onct thur wus a new preacher kum to a place to take charge of a church.
A member uf the church called tu pay his respeks an' afore he left he
said, confidential like: 'Parson, ye preach yer first sermon Sunday. Now
I want to tell ye this fer yer own good: We hev a good many members thet
plays ole sledge, ten cents a corner. Thar our best payin' members an' I
wouldn't, ef I wus ye, say anythin' 'bout card playin' in my fust
sermon, they mought think ye wus pussenal.' Another member called. After
talkin' 'bout the weather an' crops a bit, he sed: 'Several uf our best
payin' members sell whiskey wholesale, they're agin dram drinkin' but ef
ye preach agin whiskey right away it mought make 'em mad, so I wouldn't
say anythin' agin whiskey in yer fust sermun nex' Sunday.' The preacher
began to git a little shaky but he thanked the man. A little later
anuther member called. When 'bout tu leave he sed: 'Parson, ye preach
yer fust sermon Sunday; I want ye to start right. We hed a good many
dances through the winter, and our peepul is very fond uf dancin'.
Thur's two ur three big dances to kum off soon. These members thet dance
is all willun workers an' liberal givers; ef ye pitch into dancin' en
frolikin' in yer fust sermon hit's sure to raise a click in the church
thet'll be agin ye. Therefore I wouldn't mention anythin' 'bout dancin'
in my fust sermon ef I wus ye.' Soon another called. After he'd talked a
spell, he kum to the pint: 'Parson, we got some mighty fine hosses an'
most uf 'em belongs to the leadin' members uf yer church an' we has hoss
races an' we bets on 'em, an' ef ye preach 'bout anythin' uf thet kind
in yer fust sermon it'll hurt the hoss bizness an' put some uf the best
members uf the congregashun agin ye.' The preacher raised his hans in
holy horror, as he said: 'I can't preach agin the frivolities of
fashun, dancin' an' sich; I can't preach agin drunkenness; I can't
preach agin gamblin'. Fur heavin's sake, what kin I preach about?' 'I'll
tell ye,' volunteered the caller quickly, 'preach about the Jews, jes
gin 'em hell, thar's only one in town.'"

Lin concluded, "Maybe Uncle Tom figgered the same way on yer kase," and
she roared with laughter as she gave Alfred a playful push.

After the boasting Alfred had indulged in previous to going on tour with
Eli, he could not face his friends. He borrowed five dollars from Lin
and in a careless way, informed the family that the next day he would go
up to Uncle Jake's for a couple of weeks' visit. He packed up his
belongings, bade the family an affectionate good-bye and ran away, like
many another coward has done before and since. He was not in debt to any
extent, it was simply his vanity, a false pride that would not permit
him to face the little world in which he lived. Those who should have
advised him censured; those who had influence for good held aloof. He
went to a big city, to Pittsburg, to seek his fortune among strangers,
return rich, reward all who were kind to him and humble all who had lost
faith in him.

He went aboard the boat bound for Pittsburg. He slept soundly and was
only awakened by the clanging of bells and the blowing of whistles.
Peering out of the stateroom ventilator, his eyes met a sight such as he
had never witnessed before. Fire in long-tongued flashes blazed up a
hundred feet out of blackened chimneys, shadowy demons working over
fiery furnaces, boiling, white hot lava flowed in streams, the air was
filled with smoke and sparks.

Alfred imagined he had died in his sins and was now nearing the place of
eternal torment. He could liken the scene before him to nothing on
earth. It must be Hell, and he felt that the lid had been lifted for his
especial benefit.

There was a rap on his stateroom door and a voice called: "All out for
Pittsburg." Alfred hustled into his clothes and walked out in the cabin,
not desiring to leave the boat until after daylight. He inquired of the
clerk as to how long the boat would remain there. "We leave at eight
o'clock," replied the clerk.

"Eight o'clock what? Morning or night?" asked Alfred.

"Eight o'clock morning," replied the man.

"Why, when does it get daylight in Pittsburg?" inquired the bewildered

The clerk laughed as he answered, "Tomorrow, if the sun shines."

Alfred hastened ashore. The old National Hotel, Water and Smithfield
Streets, had sheltered him before. Therein he entered. Changing his
clothing he wandered forth aimlessly. He entered the Red Lion Hotel,
looked over the circus grounds and then to Ben Trimble's Theatre; from
there to the old Drury Theater, Wood and Fifth Avenue. He took in all
the sights of the big city.

Then he began to make plans as to the future. The hotel rate was one
dollar and a half a day. When Alfred settled, which he did at the end of
the first day, he had but thirty-five cents left. He left his baggage
with the hotel people and began a search for work.

Were you ever in a strange city, broke and without a friend, without the
price of a bed, without the price of a full meal? Did you ever feel the
loneliness, the forsakedness of this condition? You may say, "Well, I'd
get a job; I'd do anything; I'd dig ditches; I'd--" Well, they do not
dig ditches in winter, and when they do dig them you must have a vote
before you can get a job even at that labor and you cannot get a job at
any kind of laboring work unless your physique and clothes look the

You say there's no excuse for any man being broke or out of a job these
times? Well, there may be no excuse that will satisfy you but there are
men in this condition all over this land--and good honest, willing men,
willing to do any kind of work to earn a living. When they apply to you
encourage them even though you do not hire them.

Alfred applied to a large concern that employed many men. He was told
there was nothing open. The wholesale drug stores were all supplied with
help. Another place had a sign out--"No help wanted." Alfred failed to
notice it as he entered. When he made his errand known the oily haired
youngster in the place impudently asked him if he could read, and
pointed to the sign.

At another place he felt sure he had landed when the boss told him they
wanted a married man and that he was too young looking. At the
headquarters of a great fraternal society, the principles and teachings
of which are mercy and charity toward all mankind, the officer or
secretary in charge was particularly unkind and actually spoke and
behaved towards the boy as though he had been guilty of some offense,
instead of seeking honest employment.

After walking more than four miles to a large factory, the head of which
stood high in the councils of one of the great political parties of the
day, one who had lately issued a statement to the country that the only
difficulty his firm was having was to secure men to do their work, he
met the great man coming from his office and appealed to him in person,
and was informed that they required no more men at that time, but
intimated that a factory in a city several hundred miles distant
required help. He did not mention that it required several dollars to
pay railroad fare to the town referred to.

His experience in seeking employment caused Alfred to resolve that no
man or woman, no weary soul, no matter what the conditions, applying to
him for employment or aid should be turned away without a word of
encouragement and advice. Some philosopher has likened kindness as
lighting a neighbor's candle by our own by which we impart something and
lose nothing. Try a little kindness upon the next applicant who calls
upon you.

Walking down Fifth Avenue Alfred read a sign hung on a door: "Wanted.
Two boys over fifteen years of age." It was the White House saloon.
Alfred walked in and asked for the position. He learned it was setting
up ten pins in a bowling alley. The proprietor, John O'Brien, was very
kindly spoken and, looking curiously at Alfred, he inquired: "How did
you come to ask for this job? You look too well groomed for such work?"

"Well, I'm broke and I've got to do something."

Alfred was given the job and started to work at once setting up the
pins. It was pay day in Pittsburg; the big, husky iron workers hurled
the balls down the alleys with such tremendous force that the pins were
scattered in every direction. At times the bowlers, in their haste and
excitement, would not wait for the pins to be set up before hurling the
balls and it required quick action on the part of Alfred to keep out of
harm's way.

Closing up time came and as the dollar and a half was passed to Alfred
he noticed that the game keeper was a brother of Eli's. Pulling his hat
over his eyes that he might not be recognized, the star of Eli's
minstrels fled the place.

The barkeeper at the National Hotel, Dick Cannon, had befriended Alfred
before. When he learned that Alfred was living on doughnuts and coffee
at the little stand in the market house, Cannon took him in and fed him
until he secured a position. It was through Cannon that Alfred finally
secured the position of night clerk in the hotel.

That a saloonkeeper and a bar-tender, the very people whom Alfred had
been so constantly warned against, should be the only ones who took an
interest in him when in distress, was most surprising to the boy. Surely
it was not from the fact that he patronized their establishments, as he
never entered the place of one and was in the house of the other for
only a few hours.

John W. Pittock, the founder of the _Pittsburg Leader_, was also
proprietor of a book store at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Smithfield
Street. The _Leader_ was the first paper, that the writer has knowledge
of, to print a sporting page. Pittsburgh, then as now, was strong for
athletic sports. Aquatic sports were the most popular; Jimmy Hamill, the
champion single sculler of the world, was at the zenith of his career.
The day following Alfred's experience in the ten pin alley the city was
all excitement over a sporting event. Alfred was sent to the _Leader_
office to procure a number of copies of the paper for numerous guests of
the hotel. The following Sunday morning Alfred sold over two hundred
copies of the paper.

The superintendent of the Smithfield Street bridge was a friend of
Alfred's father. He permitted the boy to establish a news-stand at the
end of the bridge. From 5 a. m. until noon hundreds of copies of the
_Leader_ were sold. With his wages from the hotel the minstrel was
making and saving money.

Alfred was homesick often but determined in his mind not to return to
Brownsville until he had a stated amount of money. The father wrote him
to return at once. Alfred replied that he had a good position but would
return by a certain date.

It was a holiday in the smokey city. Alfred cleaned up over forty
dollars on papers alone. That night he visited Brimstone Corner, a
Methodist Church. No man or boy who ever lived in Pittsburgh but
remembers its location. It was a revival; the church was packed, the
sermon eloquent and it made a deep impression upon Alfred.

The minister read the text as follows: "And he said, A certain man had
two sons; and the younger of them said to the father: 'Father, give me
the portion of goods that falleth to me.' And he divided unto him his
living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together
and took his journey into a far country and there wasted his substance
with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty
famine in that land and he began to be in want. And he went and joined
himself to a citizen of that country and he sent him into his fields to
feed swine. And he would feign have filled his belly with the husks that
the swine did eat, and no man gave unto him. And when he came to
himself, he said: 'How many hired servants of my father have bread
enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger.' I will arise and go to
my father and will say unto him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven
and before thee and am no more worthy to be called thy son; make me as
one of thy hired servants.' And he arose and came to his father. But
when he was yet a great way off his father saw him and had compassion
and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said unto him,
'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight and am no more
worthy to be called thy son.' But the father said to his servants,
'Bring forth the best robe and put it on him and put a ring on his hand
and shoes on his feet; and bring hither the fatted calf and kill it and
let us eat and be merry. For this, my son, was dead and is alive again;
he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry." The preacher

"Who can say what the causes that led to the young man's leaving the
luxurious home of his father to wander, an outcast, over the earth? The
vagaries of the human mind are beyond our understanding. The prodigal
son may have had illusions; he may have had ambitions. He may have been
induced by illusions born of ambitions to make something of himself
other than a plain farmer's boy. The dangers that lay along his pathway
were not known to him. That he fell in with evil associates and did not
have the will power to free himself from them is obvious.

"We cannot all live in one city; we cannot all live in one country or on
one farm. It is but natural that boys will stray away from the old
fireside. Read the history of this country; it was settled by hardy
yeomen, possessed of that desire for changed conditions. Look at the
great and growing West, settled by the descendants of those first
settlers of New England and Virginia.

"That boys leave home, as did the prodigal son; that boys fall from
grace, as did he who ate husks with the swine, should not shake our
faith in the future of a young man who has fallen by the wayside. He is
to be reclaimed, not by the mighty hand of the law, not by the
chastisement of the father, but by the love and pity that man should
exhibit not only for the good but for the lowest of God's creatures. We
should extend to them the helping hand; we should prove by our actions
that they have our love and pity.

"Pity is a mode, or a particular development, of benevolence. It is
sympathy for those who are weak and suffering. Hence, our compassion for
the erring one. We have affections for men who are good and noble, men
who are prosperous, strong and happy. But for those who have been beaten
down by the storms of life, for such we should feel that pity the father
displayed for the prodigal son.

"If those who have strayed and forgotten the father's advice and the
mother's prayers come to us, we should not receive them with reproaches
and rebuffs but with open arms; always remembering that the Father of
all has gladness for those who are glad and pity for those who are sad.

"When the erring one returned, envy filled the heart of one of the
family and he said to a brother of the prodigal: 'Thy brother is come
and thy father hath killed the fatted calf because he hath received him
safe and sound.' And the brother was angry and would not go in to the
feast. Therefore came his father out and entreated him to enter. And he
answering, said to his father: 'Lo, these many years do I serve thee,
neither transgressing at any time thy commandments and yet thou never
gavest me at any time a fatted kid that I might make merry with my
friends. But as soon as this, thy son, came, which has devoured thy
living, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.' And the father
answered, 'Wealth killeth the foolish man and envy slayeth the silly
one. There is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not.
It is good for a man he beareth the yoke in youth.'

"It is sympathy in this world that must reclaim the fallen. It is
sympathy in the return of the erring that must reunite families and heal
the mother's sorrow for him who has wandered from the fireside and, like
the prodigal, returns to be elevated to a life that might been have
wasted had not the father's love prevailed to welcome his return.

"If this world is to be bettered, if the children of men are to be
uplifted, it must be by a love that is as strong as that of the father
for the son, the mother for her children.

"Young man, if you have wandered from home, if you have felt you were
abused, return to your family, start life over, reconcile yourself to
what you may have imagined were wrongs. If they have wronged you, their
love, won by your obedience, will atone for all. If you have wronged
anyone, make amends.

"Fathers, mothers, friends, stretch out your right hands for the
salvation and preservation of our young men, for in their hands lies the
greatness of the future."

The river was low, the boats were not running. The next morning a train
bore Alfred to Layton Station on the Youghiogheny. A stage coach landed
him at the door of his father's home in the middle of the afternoon.
There never before was the happiness in Alfred's heart that filled it on
his home coming. The father was proud of his boy, the mother overwhelmed
with her emotions. The children clung to him as though they feared he
would fly away from them. Lin baked and cooked as she never had before.

When it became known that Alfred had laid one hundred dollars in his
mother's hand and that he "hed plenty more," as Lin informed all, the
boy could feel a difference in the atmosphere when he mingled with the
people of the town.

Cousin Charley and Alfred hired a horse and buggy and drove out to
Merrittstown, passing the Thornton home, the old mill, the dam and the
home of the Youngs. The blind musicians were paid the five dollars yet
due with five dollars added for interest.

There was only one incident that marred the happy home-coming. Alfred
licked Morgan, Eli's agent. Eli was a very ill man; his excesses had
brought him near death's door. Alfred forgot the past and no more
attentive friend had Eli in his last illness.

The fight with Morgan was regrettable but, as Lin expressed it: "Hit let
the kat outen the bag an' klarified matters in general an' some mighty
big peepul tried to krawl into some mighty little holes, but they stuck
out wuss then ef they hed stood up an' sed, 'Well, we tuk Alfred's money
but we thought we wur right but we find we were wrong.'"

Of those who levied on the money at Redstone School-house, but one
returned the amount he had illegally received. Fred Chalfant, the
liveryman, was that man.


    Forgot is the time when the clouds hid the sun.
      And cold blasts the earth forced to shiver.
    For such is the power of one warm spring day
      From winter's whole spell to deliver.

Alfred was unconsciously broadening in his knowledge; life in its
various phases was unfolding to him, and he was profiting by his
experiences. His faults appeared very great to others, were only an
incentive to him. He had learned thus early that it was not the being
exempt from faults so much as to have the will power to overcome them.

In early life he had it very strongly impressed upon his mind that some
men were perfect, others hopelessly vile. Experience and observation
forced Alfred to the conclusion that none were so good but that some
thought them bad, and none so vile but that some thought them good.

We generally judge others as to their attitude towards us, agreeable or
otherwise. Our estimate of another depends greatly upon the manner in
which that person affects our interests. It is difficult to think well
or speak well of those by whom we are crossed or thwarted. But we are
ever ready to find excuses for the vices of those who are useful and
agreeable to us. Therefore, he is a mighty poor mortal who is not
something on his own account.

Alfred had graduated in that dear old school of experience, wherein
education costs more but lasts longer than that acquired in colleges,
that it is with the follies of the mind as with the weeds of a
field--those destroyed and consumed upon the place of their growth,
enrich and improve that place more than if none had ever grown there.

The boy had been so continually advised against evil associates that he
began taking a mental inventory of every stranger at first meeting.

Harrison was his estimate of the bad; Mr. Steele of the good.

Alfred had arrived at that stage where he not only stood aside and
watched himself go by, but he was also watching the other fellow go by.

He was out of newspaper business, out of the tannery, had abandoned the
practice of medicine. Charley's father, who was very strict with his
boys, advised the parent to "give Alfred more tether, not to stake him
down too close. Give him a little more rope, there's something in that
boy." All of which was communicated to Alfred by Cousin Charley, and
Uncle Bill was thus greatly elevated in Alfred's estimation.

Alfred's father was little short of a genius in a mechanical way; he had
a peculiar temperament, mild and easily influenced. He was a creditable
artist; many meritorious paintings from his brush in both oil and water
adorn the walls of the residences of his friends. He was greatly
interested in mechanical pursuits, particularly if of an artistic

When Uncle Joe prepared to build a house, "Pap" made the plans; when
Sells Brothers built a tableau car or an animal van of an elaborate
character, "daddy" made the drawings; when Aunt Betsy desired patterns
to make a quilt to take the premium at the fair, "pap" made the drawings
or figures.

He became acquainted with an artist from Philadelphia and was completely
taken with the man's talents. The artist informed him in confidence that
he had expended the greater portion of his man life on a work of art
that would astonish the world, the father became even more interested in

The father was the only person who had ever been permitted to look upon
the wonderful creation of his genius; yard after yard of art was unwound
for the admiration of the father. When he returned from his second visit
to the art gallery of the Philadelphia artist, he interested the family
greatly by his description of the wonderful scenes the painter had
wrought on the canvas.

The sufferings and privations endured by the man while creating his work
seemed to make as profound an impression upon the father as the painting

The father predicted that the talented painter would come into his own;
the painting would be exhibited all over the world, admiring throngs
would rush to see it to praise its incomparable beauties.

The father made weekly visits to the home of the great painter, he
desired frequent conferences with the father as he required his advice,
at least, he so stated.

After one of his frequent visits to the art studio the parent
inadvertently let fall the remark that the great painting was about
ready for exhibition but that the artist did not have money to complete
it. He also hinted that if Alfred were a boy of proper ambitions he
might become attached to the exhibition of the picture, but no,
"Alfred's ambition did not rise above saw-dust and burnt-cork."

These few words aroused Alfred's curiosity. By adroit questioning he
ascertained that the great work of art was a panorama illustrative of
"The Pilgrim's Progress," to be exhibited in churches, schools and such
places, at twenty-five cents for adults; children, half price.

The mother wondered that the artist did not exhibit his wonderful
painting in the art centers, Philadelphia, Boston, New York City,
instead of Butler, Pittsburg, Perryopolis and Muttontown. The father
explained that after the professor got the rollers to working smoothly
and the lecture down pat, he intended visiting Philadelphia, Boston and
New York.

Alfred began to realize that the picture was some sort of a show and he
marvelled that his father favored it. Lin said:

"So fur es I kin kalkerlate it es some sort of meetin' house show,
nuthin' but picturs. Hit may be good, but durned ef I ever got much
satisfaction out uf a cirkus lookin' at the picturs. But I s'pose peepul
will want to look at the feller thet made hit. They say thet he nurly
starved to death to git hit done. Ye know, they'll run to see him. Mor
en they will his pictur--I reckon he has long curley hair an black eyes,
they all has, them sufferin' fellers that due wunderful things."

Lin glancing mischievously at the mother in a tone she pretended to be
only for the mother's hearing but really delivered for Alfred's
annoyance. "Well, I hope he kums to Red Stun' Skule-house. It's whur all
the big shows gits thur start; they allus git a crowd, the skule
direkturs sees to thet an' ef they don't make muny, Sammy Steele'll hulp
'em out."

How did she know about Sammy Steele and his loan? It was long afterwards
that Alfred learned that Joe Thornton had confidentially imparted to
Bill Wyatt, the tavern keeper, the part that he and Steele had played in
Alfred's show life Wyatt, in turn, confidentially imparted the story,
with a few additions, to Uncle Bill. The uncle confided the story to the
family and Cousin Charley gave it to the town--but what's the use.

Professor Palmer, the artist, was to visit the family the following
Sunday. When there appeared a smallish, Yankee looking individual,
wrinkled face, a tuft of beard on his chin, similar to that bestowed
upon the comic cartoons of the face of Uncle Sam, a beaked nose, very
dirty hands and iron grey hair, sparsely sprinkled over his acorn-shaped
head, Alfred thought a farmer or stock breeder had called on his father.

When introduced by the father as "My son, Alfred, Professor Palmer,"
Alfred was taken off his feet and his idea of art dropped away down. The
only attraction of the professor was his eloquence, his ability to talk
entertainingly. This he did continuously with a pronunciation so correct
and studied that it sounded pedantic. The professor kept up his talk, as
affected at times as the hand-cuff king's stage announcements or those
of the middleman in a minstrel show.

After dinner the professor expressed a desire to take a walk with
Alfred. They walked far, the professor talked long, and became
annoyingly confidential. He said: "Your father has told me a great deal
about you and I must admit that you are a mighty smart young man. You
don't belong in this one-horse town, you should get out in the world
where there are opportunities waiting for all such as you. You could
live in this town a thousand years and you'd be just what you are now.
You have had some experience in the show line but in a line that is
beneath you; your place in the show business is higher up. I want your
advice," he continued insinuatingly. "Now, I offered John (he referred
to Alfred's father), the best thing of his life. He has worked hard all
of his days; he is deserving of something better. I have offered him a
half interest in my show. ("Holy Mother of Moses!" thought Alfred). I
have borrowed a little money from him but I need nine hundred dollars
more to put me out right. Now Jack is considering the matter. I wish
you, who know more about the show business than both of us put together,
(Alfred knew he was being flattered), would talk to him, use your
influence with him."

Notwithstanding Alfred's life's ambition to become a showman, the idea
as presented by the professor filled him with disgust. His father going
into the show business! He had pictured show life in his illusions as
one long, summer day's dream, but now it seemed the meanest of careers.
The idea of his father associating himself with such a calling was
repugnant in the extreme. Alfred could scarcely restrain his thoughts
from taking expression in wrathful words.

The man continued, not noticing Alfred's changed expression: "You could
sing and dance in this entertainment, do just what you pleased, it would
make it all the better. I'll deliver the lecture and your daddy, (he was
becoming insultingly familiar), could sit at the door and rake in the
money. Hasn't the old man talked to you about it? I've been talking to
him for six months."

"Talking to my father about going into the show business and he did not
knock you down. If he didn't he is a hypocrite." This is only what
Alfred thought; his reply was: "No, sir." He did not realize whether
"No, sir" was the answer to the professor's question or the announcement
of the decision he had come to in his mind as to the show business in so
far as his father was concerned.

The professor rattled on: "Now, you get your old man away from the women
folks and talk it over with him. It's the best thing ever offered him;
he'll get his nine hundred dollars back before a month is out. I'm going
to do business with churches and preachers wherever I can. I preached
four years in Missouri and had to give it up on account of my health; I
got stomach trouble from eating rich food. I know just how to work this
thing, and if you and your daddy go in with me we will not only make
money but have a hell of a good time."

They had arrived at the door of Alfred's home. The professor, as they
passed in, admonished Alfred to "Think it over and let me hear from

The professor was soon in the midst of a description of a scene he
intended introducing in his church entertainment wherein he used living
figures. Alfred did not follow his conversation; he was trying to think,
but could not think connectedly. He could not talk to the professor, he
answered him by nods or shakes of his head. The more reticent Alfred
became the more voluble the professor grew.

At leave-taking time, the professor admonished Alfred: "Do not forget
what I told you." Alfred promised that he would not and he was sincere;
he could not have forgotten had he tried.

The professor gone, Alfred hurried to his room. Was it possible that his
father had even partially entertained an idea of joining the man Palmer
in a show scheme, the father, who had berated, abused and condemned all
and everything pertaining to shows, now favorably considering engaging
in the show business himself.

Alfred endeavored to find excuses for his father--"He was generous,
sympathetic, he was listening to the professor only to encourage him."
Alfred had never been subjected to the influence of a promoter; this was
a leaf of life yet unturned by him.

Alfred felt certain that his father had entered into some sort of an
arrangement with the professor. He felt certain the panorama man was
endeavoring to induce his father to invest money in the panorama and he
finally resolved that it should not be.

The more he thought the matter over, the more distasteful show life
appeared to him.

Then the illusion came back to him. He had dreamed by night and prayed
by day; he had lived for years with the wish, the hope that he might,
after a few years of show life, earn enough to gratify his life's
desires, to possess a farm, to own fine horses, to plant fields, to reap
harvests, to live near nature.

He figured over several sheets of white paper. He would be compelled to
labor forty years in the tannery to acquire sufficient money to buy a
farm and nearly one hundred years in the newspaper office.

Jimmy Reynolds, the clown with Thayer & Noyse Circus, received one
hundred dollars a week, board and lodging, so Alfred had been informed.
Alfred felt in the innermost depths of his soul that he was a much
better clown than Jimmy. He would secure the position now held by
Reynolds--one hundred dollars each week for thirty weeks, three thousand
dollars a year; ten years, thirty thousand dollars. Ten years a clown,
then a farm. Show business was improper for the father but the means to
attain the end for the son, as he reasoned.

When Lin found the figures and writing on the many sheets of scribbling
paper in his room, she pondered long and confusedly over them.

"What in the world hes thet consarned boy got intu his punkin' agin?
Thirty years a clown, ninety-nine years in a nusepaper, furty years in
the tan-yard, and a farmer all the rest uf my life." Then she laughed.
"He must think he'll be as ole as Methusulus got." She carried the paper
to the mother.

They confronted Alfred with the sheets on which were scribbled the
hieroglyphics. Alfred laughingly said it was a new way to tell fortunes.

Alfred decided to talk to the father the first opportunity that offered.
Father and son were seated in the front room. "Father"--Alfred rarely
addressed the parent as "father;" "Pap" was the every-day appellation
but the present matter was of greater importance--"Father, I would like
to talk to you privately and want you to answer me truthfully."

The father had his feet on a stool reclining in the big, easy chair. At
the words "answer me truthfully," the father's feet fell to the floor,
his cigar dropped until it lay on his chinbeard; the man looked at the
boy to convince himself he had heard aright.

"Why, what the h--ll tarnation do you mean?"

Alfred was frightened, his voice trembled and sounded unlike his own,
but he was determined.

"Father, I want to talk to you, come upstairs to my room."

If Alfred had not been so earnest, the scene would have been a laughable
one, as it was like burlesquing many similar scenes when the parent
addressed the boy in the same words. Alfred walked up the steps very
slowly, hoping thereby to cause the parent to follow. It was a long time
(to Alfred) ere the father entered the room.

"What's the trouble now?" began the man, as he gazed inquiringly at the

"Who is this man Palmer whom you are so greatly taken up with?" inquired

"Why, what's that to you? He's a friend of mine."

"Has he a show?" was the boy's next query.

"A show? Not a show like you know anything of. He has a painting, a work
of art, that will be exhibited soon."

"Father, you have always berated, abused and condemned shows and show
people. Did this man Palmer borrow money from you?"

The father was confused. He reddened as he stammered: "No--no--not much.
You see he is a poor devil of an artist, he would rather paint than eat;
he has spent years of his life on a painting. He has a fortune almost in
his hands and I loaned him a little money to buy glue and colors to
finish his painting. I tell you, he is a genius; why, the roller the
pictures work on is one of the most ingenious contrivances you ever saw
and it's simple, it can be applied to other uses. No man but a genius
like Palmer would have thought of it."

This and much more information he gave Alfred. By his manner Alfred
could readily see that the parent was greatly interested in Palmer and
his scheme--for Alfred felt such it was.

"Well, then, father, you have changed your mind as to shows?"

"Who said I had? No, I have not changed my mind as to shows! Who told
you I had? But your Uncle Will, who thinks more of you than you think he
does, has persuaded me to give you your own way a little more and if you
want to go with Palmer I will consent to it after I see Palmer and put
you under his charge. He must control you just as I want you controlled.
He is a man who knows how to manage boys; he is a man you can depend
upon and I don't mind you going with him if it can be arranged to suit
me and your mother. I am glad you asked my consent and did not run off,
like you threatened to do with the nigger minstrels." And he emphasized
"nigger minstrels" to strongly convince Alfred of his disgust with that
branch of show business.

The father was so completely wrapped up in Palmer, so totally captivated
by the eloquence of the man that he had altogether mistaken the
questions of the boy.

"Father, has Palmer tried to get nine hundred dollars out of you? Did he
want you to buy a half interest in the show?"

"Well," hesitatingly he answered, "Palmer has got to raise some money
and he asked me to help him out. I haven't said whether I would or not.
If you go with him you could look after money matters for----."

Here Alfred interrupted the parent: "Have you said anything to mother
about this? You know when you went into the patent wash-board concern
with Niblo and grandpap, you never told mother and when you got took in
with Uncle Thomas on the patent shoe blacking, you said you would never
enter into anything outside your business without asking mother's
advice. And now you're dickering with this man Palmer about a show,
something you know nothing about. Now Pap--."

The wash-board and blacking were two of the father's investments that
were losses, so he became very much irritated at mention of them and
checked the son.

"Now you hold on, young man! If you tell your mother anything of this,
you and I will have trouble. You're meddling with matters that don't
concern you. I thought you called me in to ask my permission to go with
Palmer. Now you set yourself up to pry into my business. I'm your
father, I've always taken care of you and I am able to take care of
myself. I don't want a green boy to look after me."

"Well, Pap; I'm not trying to nose into your business. You told Palmer
that I knowed a heap about the show business, and you recommended me
highly as a showman."

The father was sizzling. "Who told you so?"

"Why, Palmer himself. Now, I don't want to brag on myself," continued
Alfred who had gained confidence as the interview progressed, "but I've
seen a great deal of this show business and you've got to know what
you're doing when you get into it. Why, look how many men have lost all
their money." And here Alfred mentioned the names of several men, the
details of whose losses in show schemes he had read in the _New York

"Why," he continued, in an outburst of confidence, "I"--and he
emphasized the "I"--"I lost money on my last show." He should have
added, "my first and last show." But the boy felt that he had pap going.
"I had to borrow money from Sammy Steele to pay my debts."

The father gasped. "So you've been borrowing money to get into the show

"No, I had to borrow money to get out of it and that's why I don't want
you to loan Palmer money without you ask mother."

Alfred knew full well that this reference to the mother would bring the
father to terms.

"Now look here, my boy; I warned you once before not to blab my business
to your mother to make trouble in the family--"

"Well, I'm going to tell her," broke in the boy.

"You're going to tell her what?" threateningly asked the father.

"I'm not going to tell her anything about you," replied Alfred somewhat
subdued, "I'm just going to tell her that Palmer is trying to borrow
money from you."

The mother was no different from other women. The father knew full well
that her first remark would be: "So Palmer wants to borrow money! So
that's what brought him here! He is a slick one, you could tell that by
his talk. John, I hope you are not fool enough to loan that man money."
"No, Mary, don't worry yourself, he'll get no money out of me, I could
see through him the first time I met him."

This line of conversation had been heard so often in the family that it
was stereotyped on the memory of all. The father therefore capitulated,
and in a tone intended to pacify the boy he said: "Now there's no use
in stirring up anything over this matter. If you want to go with Palmer
I will gain your mother's consent. I'll tell her you have asked my
permission. I will permit you to remain there as long as you do right.
You know more about this business than I do and I'll leave it all in
your hands and I'll tell Palmer so," the father resignedly concluded.

His father had outgeneraled him; he was not the diplomat he imagined
himself. He was left in deeper doubt than before the interview.

Letters came from Palmer. Alfred knew by the postmark that they were
from him. He was tempted to open them. The father read the letters and
placed them in the desk, never mentioning Palmer's name. This was very
perplexing to Alfred.

It was reported that Palmer's great panorama was coming. It was also
reported that Alfred's Uncle Thomas, the minister, Uncle Ned, Uncle
Will, grandpap, and all of Alfred's relatives who had opposed his show
ambitions previously, sanctioned his going with Professor Palmer's

Uncle Thomas explained that Palmer was a retired minister, that the
surroundings, instead of being degrading, would be uplifting; taking it
all in all, John and Mary had acted wisely in giving their consent to
Alfred's joining Professor Palmer's Panorama of Pilgrim's Progress.

Somehow it got out that Alfred was not anxious to go. Lin, in referring
to the latter phase of the matter, said: "I jes can't understan' hit.
Uncle Thomas ses hit will satusfy Alfurd's ambishun an' possibly settle
his min'. But Alfurd don't seem to want to go. Maybe hit's his muther.
Alfurd is a great muther's boy, ye wouldn't think hit either, he's sech
a tarnel devil ketcher, but he is. I guess he don't like the idee uf
this prayur meetin' show an' the show fellur thet painted hit he jes
disspises. I bet ye a fip ef hit wus a show with hosses an' gals ur
singin' niggurs he'd bust a biler to go. Be durned if he ain't the
queerest cuss I ever seed. Why, it tuk the hull kit uf us tu head him
frum runnin' off with a show a while back. Now, be dog-goned ef ye kin
chase him off with a pack of Bob Playford's houn's."

It was announced by the father that Palmer would be the guest of the
family for a day.

Alfred determined to have a heart-to-heart talk with Palmer, pretend he
was in full accord with his plans, engage to go with the panorama and
thus protect the father in his dealings with the man.

Palmer arrived and with him an open faced, honest appearing Pennsylvania
Dutchman, from Bedford County, whom Palmer introduced as Jake. Jake had
a continuous smile. Sometimes it expanded but never contracted. The
smile was a fixture and it became Jake greatly. He rarely spoke, the
smile sort of atoned for his reticence as it assured those addressing
him that Jake was not deaf, even though dumb.

It was not necessary to question Palmer; he was a willing subject,
volunteering all the testimony necessary to set Alfred's mind at rest.

In answer to the query as to whether father had concluded to take an
interest in the panorama now that he, Alfred, had decided to go with it,
Palmer rolled off his reply so rapidly that Alfred could scarcely follow
his words.

"I hope John will not be angry with me, I offered him first chance and
held off until I almost lost the other fellow. John's all right but he's
too conservative. He's afraid of his wife and he'll never make money as
long as he continues in business in this town. This Dutchman, Jake, had
the money, he is anxious to travel, he has never been outside of Bedford
County. Jake has a team, a fine team. We can't stick anywhere. He'd sell
the team if I said the word. He will haul the whole outfit. I am going
to buy another team and a good one, then I can take my wife and you and
go ahead and have all the arrangements made before Jake arrives with
the panorama. Of course if John talks his wife into it he will want to
come in later. We can easily get rid of Jake, he's a "gilly." This is
the very business for John. He is a painter, he could paint the
panoramas; all he requires is a little experience with water colors.
Why, look at those flags on the old fellow's barn out the pike; no one
but an artist could shade and color like that.[A] Those flags are
painted so naturally they appear to be fluttering in the wind. John and
me could go in together, and paint panoramas of Bull Run and other
battles and sell them or send out a half a dozen. This war will make the
panorama business good. Your daddy is good on flags and eagles and sich;
that's where I am weak. We could make all kinds of money."

The exhibitions would be confined to churches and educational
institutions; therefore, it was most fortunate for Alfred that he should
be privileged to become attached to an exhibition that possessed the
elevating and refining influences of the great moral entertainment of
Professor Palmer.

The father, instead of requesting the minister to ask the blessing, as
was his custom, nodded to Palmer. All bowed their heads as Palmer, in a
loud voice, called down a blessing upon the food, the father, the
mother, and the boy about to go out into the world to seek his fortune;
he also prayed for Lin. He called down a blessing upon the panorama and
that it might attract thousands that the great moral lesson it was
designed to teach might be carried to the furthermost corners of the

Alfred could not resist the impulse to raise his eyes. The very beard on
Palmer's chin was quivering with the fervor of his beseechings. All were
bowed in respectful reverence except Jake--he was gazing nowhere, the
smile a little more expansive.

After the men had retired from the dining room, Lin, the mother and
Alfred remained seated. Lin turned a cup in the tea-grounds. She read
that Alfred would wander a long way off and "maybe kum back with a great
bag of gold, at eny rate, he wus carryin' a heavy load."

Finally Lin, turning to the mother, inquired: "What did ye think uf the

"It was very fervent," absently answered the mother.

Lin sniffed. "Well, I'd swore afore a volcany uf fire thet I smelled
licker on both uf 'em."

The mother communicated Lin's suspicions to the father. He admitted that
Jake might be addicted to liquor. Palmer, as an artist, used a great
deal of alcohol to dissolve the shellac used for sizing the canvas
preparatory to painting and the fumes of alcohol would pervade a man's
clothing a long time after being subjected to its permeating influences.

Lin, with a twinkle in her eye, declared in a loud whisper as the father
left the room: "Well, durned ef I wus him ef I wouldn't change my
clothes afore I asked a blessin' agin."

The mother was very much worried. She communicated her fears to Uncle
Thomas and Aunt Sarah. Uncle William, the county judge, was called into
conference. He advised that since Alfred seemed inclined to a roving
life it would be better for him to be connected with a religious show
than with a worldly one for he would be free from the vicious
surroundings of a circus or minstrel show, and suggested that a binding
contract be made with Palmer.

Grandfather secured a copy of the contract under which his brother, the
judge, had been apprenticed, and had a copy made to fit Alfred's
engagement to Palmer.

The following is an exact copy of the indenture which bound Uncle
William to learn the trade of a blacksmith. It is now on record in the
county courthouse at Uniontown, Pennsylvania:

    THIS INDENTURE WITNESSETH: That William Hatfield, of the
    Township of Union, in the County of Fayette, State of
    Pennsylvania, hath put himself by the approbation of his
    guardian, John Withrow, and by these presents doth voluntarily
    put himself an apprentice to George Wintermute, of the township
    of Redstone, county and state aforesaid, blacksmith, to learn
    his art, trade or mystery he now occupieth or followeth, and
    after the manner of an apprentice to serve from the day of the
    date hereof, for and during the full end and term of five years,
    next ensuing, during all of which time he, the said apprentice,
    his said master shall faithfully serve, his secrets keep, his
    lawful commands everywhere gladly obey; he shall do no damage to
    his said master, nor suffer it to be done without giving notice
    to his said master; he shall not waste his master's goods, nor
    lend them unlawfully to others; he shall not absent himself day
    or night from his master's service without his leave; he shall
    not commit any unlawful deed whereby his said master shall
    sustain damage, nor contract matrimony within the said term; he
    shall not buy nor sell nor make any contract whatsoever, whereby
    his master receive damage, but in all things behave himself as a
    faithful apprentice ought to do during said term. And the said
    George Wintermute shall use the utmost of his endeavors to
    teach, or cause to be taught and instructed, the said apprentice
    the trade or mystery he now occupieth or followeth, and procure
    and provide for him, the said apprentice, sufficient meat,
    drink, common wearing apparel, washing, lodging, fitting for an
    apprentice during the said term; and further he, the said
    master, doth agree to give unto the said apprentice, ten months'
    schooling within the said term, and also the master doth agree
    to give unto the said apprentice two weeks in harvest in each
    and every year that he, the said apprentice, shall stay with his
    said master; also the said George Wintermute, doth agree to give
    unto the said apprentice one good freedom suit of clothes. And
    for the true performance of all and every the said covenants and
    agreements, either of the said parties binds themselves to each
    other by these presents.

    In witness whereof, they have interchangably put their hands and
    seals, the first day of April, one thousand, eight hundred and

    JOHN WITHROW,      (Seal)

    Witness present:


    May the 29th, one thousand eight hundred and sixteen, before me
    the subscriber, one of the justices of the peace, in and for the
    said county, came the parties to the within indenture and
    severally acknowledged it as their act and deed. Given under my
    hand and seal the day and year above mentioned.

        BENJAMIN ROBERTS,  (Seal)

A copy of the paper binding Alfred to George Washington Palmer is on
record in the county courthouse at Leesburg, Loudoun County, Virginia.
Grandfather argued that if his brother, the judge, could accumulate
farms and town property and raise himself to the dignity of a judge,
Alfred certainly should do equally as well.

It was not many days before Alfred's duties would take him away from
home and he began a round of visits to bid all good-bye.

[Illustration: The Taffy Pulling]

Cousin Mary Craft gave a cotillion party in the country. Cousins Hester
and Martha gave a party in town. Frank Long gave a taffy pulling. The
hot plates of taffy were placed outside the kitchen door on the brick
walk to cool before the taffy was pulled. Archibald Long, Frank's
father, not knowing of the taffy's location, walked out of the house in
his stocking feet, as was his custom ere he retired. In the darkness he
planted one foot, then the other, in a plate of the hot taffy. This
caused him to jump several feet in the air. He started to run. At each
step his feet found another taffy plate. Gobs of the hot stuff sticking
to his feet, pressing up between his toes, the old man introduced a
dance--a high kicking dance that would have won him fame and fortune on
the stage. The hot gobs of taffy clinging to his expansive, woolen
sock-encased feet caused him such intense pain, the old man endeavored
to introduce a new stunt, namely, to throw both feet in the air at the
same time.

All the boys and girls ran from the dining room at the first sound of
the yells of the old man. The lamps within enlightened the weird scene

When both feet were flung in the air simultaneously the old man sat down
suddenly. He sat on the largest plate, with the hottest gob of taffy in
the collection. His seat had barely touched the plate, the taffy had
scarcely squashed through his jeans pants, until he made an effort to
rise again. Failing in this he flopped on his stomach, clutching and
tearing at his seat of latest misery, taffy stringing from his fingers.

Rearing his rear end high in the taffy laden air he planted his head in
another plate of taffy which, was still tenderly clinging to the few
straggling hairs on the old man's pate, as they carried him into the
house, the taffy plate on his head like the crown of the old king.
Gradually dangling, it descended to the floor, only to be trampled in
the dust by the rabble.

The old man was put to bed. Poultices of apple butter, sweet-oil and a
whitish-bluish clay dug from the bottom of the spring were applied to
his blistered parts.

The taffy pulling party, the scene of gayety so suddenly transformed to
one of suffering, lives in the memory of Alfred by the recollection of
long threads of amber colored taffy shimmering in the soft moonlight as
they clung to the plum tree branches where the old man's vigorous kicks
had landed them.

It was maple sugar making time. Uncle Jacob Irons, who lived near
Masontown fifteen miles away, had a large sugar grove. A visit to Uncle
Jake's was always one continued round of pleasure. The staid uncle,
jolly Aunt Bettie, Kate and Tillie, Joe and George, John and Wilson,
were always delighted to have Alfred visit them.

It was a day that marked the passing of winter and the coming of spring,
after a night of light freezing with a white frost, the morning sun
shining all the brighter that he had been hazed so long by winter's
shadows. The earth, the trees, appeared even more brown and barren by
contrast with the splendors of the sky. Here and there a patch of snow,
left sheltered by tree or fence, seemingly endeavoring to hide from the
sunbeams that came out of the south, to pour its flood of warmth on it
until it melted and mouldered away.

It was springtime, the boyhood of the year, when half the world is rhyme
and music is the other. It was springtime in the country, far from the
city and the ways of men. The mountains in the distance, brown colored
in spots, the peaks, like winter kings with beards of snow, seemed to
say: "'Tis time for me to go northward o'er the icy rocks, northward
o'er the sea. Come the spring with all its splendor, all its buds and
all its blossoms, all its flowers and all its grasses."

It was a day that awakened feelings that seemed sacred. Have you ever
lived in the country? Have you ever visited in the country in
springtime? Have you ever asked yourself: "I wonder if the sap in the
sugar trees is stirring yet? Is the sugar water dripping?" Have you ever
worked in a sugar camp, such as there were in old Fayette County in
those days?

Nearer the south than bleak New England, the trees more full of sap, the
sap sweeter than it flows anywhere on earth. The trees in the camp
tapped, the spiles driven, the sweet water dropping; the boys and girls,
the men, yes, the women too, gathering the sap. The day is warm, the run
a big one; to save it, all must hustle the big barrels loaded on the
sleds as the horses move from one tree to another, turning over the
mosses and dried leaves, exposing the Johnny-jump-ups and violets as if
they were just peeping up through the ground at the busy scene.

The redbird is singing in the tree, his plumage all the brighter for the
winter's bleaching. The day is not long enough, the night is consumed.
The boys from all the country about gather at the camp. The moon was a
book and every star a word that read fun and frolic to the jolly crowd
at the camp at Uncle Jake's that night.

Alfred sang songs, and told jokes.

They had sugared off, made a big kettle of sugar. Some dipped big
spoonfuls of the thickened syrup from the kettle, and poured it slowly
into tin cups filled with ice cold water. As it cooled the large lump of
wax was pulled out of the water with the fingers. Some, with buttered
hands, worked the wax until they had whitish taffy, others filled their
mouths with the wax as it came from the water.

The writer will engage to cure any case of stomach trouble that ever
worried man or woman with this maple wax.

The night wore on, the fun flagged. Ben Paul, a husky country boy,
proposed that two or three go to Nick Yonse's still house and procure a
little "licker." Cousin Wilson frowned upon this proposal but as the
boys were his guests he did not further protest. It was impossible to
awaken anyone to get the matured article from the distillery; therefore,
with the aid of a clothesline fastened to a jug which Ben lowered into a
vat filled with corn juice distilled the day previous, a supply was
secured. Ben returned to the camp. He was truthful when he explained
that the offering he brought was no old stale stuff such as they were
accustomed to, but something new and fresh.

Its newness did not deter the boys from helping themselves to big swigs
from the jug, smoothing out their wry faces with draughts of sugar
water. Cousin Wilson refused to participate as he busied himself with
his work. The sight of a tin cup made Alfred fearful that he would spill
his sugar. He also declined. After the custom that had prevailed in the
tavern cellar, the tin cup went round and round, the result was the same
or nearly so as at the tavern. Some sang, others danced, one or two
slept, some wanted to fight. Alfred attempted to pour melody on the
troubled revellers but the only effect of his song was to encourage Ben
Paul to knock the bottom out of a new tin pail endeavoring to keep time
to the song as he had seen Alfred do with the tambourine.

Cousin John, unnoticed by Cousin Wilson, was chief among those who
passed the tin cup around. John was of a friendly disposition and, not
to be rude to his guests, sent the cup around often. Several of the boys
retired into the shadows of the trees just beyond the glare of the
furnace fire to regret their mixing corn and sugar.

[Illustration: The Night at the Sugar Camp]

Wilson plainly informed John that this thing had gone far enough. It was
John's idea of courtesy, or rather his confused notion, that a host's
guests should be permitted to conduct themselves as best suited their
pleasure. Several of them wanted to fight. John said, "All right, let
them fight." Wilson interfered.

John stepped out of the circle and invited any one or all present to
come out. "Any of you excepting Alfred, he's all right. I can lick any
of you with one hand tied behind my back," and John spat on both hands.
"Come out yer," he pleadingly invited Wilson, "or anyone excepting

John, when he invited any or all of the others out, had evidently
forgotten his courtesy to his guests or probably he desired to further
increase their pleasure. Perhaps that was the way he reasoned it, as
several had declared they would rather fight than eat. John did not wish
them to go home feeling they had missed anything.

As a last request, John just pleaded with Wilson to step out. He seemed
more anxious to have Wilson tackle him than any other. As a last
declaration of what he wouldn't sacrifice to have Wilson step out, he
concluded as he slapped his hands together: "Step out, ole feller, just
step out yer. Will you? I'll fight you anyway, I'll fight you now. Come
on; I don't care a dam if I have my Sunday pants on, I'll fight you

The shouts of the boys could be heard re-echoing up and down the hollows
as they wended their ways homeward. The moon had gone down, the night
was darkened; it was nearly dawn. The fire had gone down in the furnace,
the steam ceased to rise from the kettles, the hoot of the old night
owl, after the scenes of the night, made it seem even more quiet.

How to get John into the house that Uncle Jake and the family, might not
be awakened, concerned both Alfred and Wilson. To Alfred was delegated
the task of conducting John home. John led quietly until a shout of
laughter from those bringing up the rear was heard which he chose to
construe as derision directed at him, and then he balked. Alfred would
get him quieted and thus they finally reached the house.

Here John balked again. Alfred and Wilson were both over sensitive. If
the folks discovered John's condition it would reflect upon them. Alfred
greatly feared that Mrs. Young and Uncle Jake would blame him for John's
downfall. They had about made up their minds to carry John to the barn
and stow him away in the hay mow but it had turned uncomfortably cool
and this plan was abandoned. Alfred opened the door leading to the
stairs, partly pulling and pushing him upstairs. He landed John in the
room, where he fell over on the bed.

John muttered and mumbled, flapping and flinging his arms wildly about
his head--he arose to a sitting posture. Alfred endeavored to lay him
down. His face and head were covered with cold perspiration. Alfred knew
the symptoms of the distressing effects that follow the circulation of a
tin cup. He hustled John out of bed. John floundered away from him in
the darkness, and found his way into an unused room. Alfred could hear
him but could not locate him. Groping his way in the darkness Alfred
kept calling in a muffled voice: "John, John, John, where are you? Come
to me."

Just then the house seemed to shake from roof to cellar as John and his
two hundred pounds fell over Uncle Jake's home-made sausage stuffer. The
stuffer was ten feet long. Stuffer and John carried a big rocking chair,
a tin boiler and several other reverberating pieces of household junk
with them.

Ere Alfred could rescue John from the mass of ruins under and on which
he was piled, John began to realize how difficult it is to retain what
you have no matter how strongly you desire to do so. Alfred had to get
out of hearing of John's sufferings to suppress his feeling. He felt
very deeply for John from the very bottom of his stomach; in fact, the
bottom of his stomach seemed disposed to come up. He endeavored to
divert his thoughts but they went back to a tin cup, a wheel-barrow,
cow's ears and other things.

Uncle Jake came out of his room. "What's the matter, what's up? You boys
trying to tear down the house? What's the trouble anyway?"

"Oh, John's drunk too much syrup and it's made him deathly sick," Alfred
began to explain. Uncle Jake interrupted him, saying, as he backed into
the room and closed the door: "Oh, I thought Sammy Steele's mule had
kicked some of you."

The wings of fame fly slowly, reputation travels faster. It is said that
remorse is the echo of a lost virtue. Alfred felt that remorse of
conscience that can come only to one who has fallen and lived on in the
happy illusions that no one heard him drop.

Governor Tener, Doctor Van Voorhis, Mr. Daly and others of John's
friends will no doubt be surprised at this leaf in his life. In all the
years that John and Alfred have lived since, neither has ever forgotten
his first experience with a tin cup that was loaded.


[A] The flags referred to were painted on the upper doors of James
Fouts's barn, situated on the old pike three miles east of Brownsville.
The flags were very brilliantly colored and naturally draped. They were
the admiration of all travelers over the great thoroughfare. As the war
progressed the Confederates raided near that section several times. The
owner feared that the flags might imperil the safety of the barn and
other buildings on his farm. He therefore sent an order to Alfred's
father to paint the flags over, who desiring to cover their brilliant
colors with one coat selected dark Prussian blue. Very soon after the
flags were painted over, their colors began to appear through the blue.
Not many hot summer days had gone by until the flags were almost as
distinct as when first painted on the big doors of the barn. The
reappearance of the flags was regarded as a phenomenon or a miracle by
the country folk. The "Brownsville Clipper," in commenting upon the
miracle, declared: "It is an omen of victory for the Federal armies; you
cannot efface the Star Spangled Banner, it still waves on Fouts's barn."
The paper criticized the owner for having the flags daubed over and
intimated that Fouts was lacking in loyalty. (Fouts was a Democrat.
Three weeks later the owner of the paper ordered Danny Stentz to pull in
the big flag that hung out of the third story window of the "Clipper"
building; the Confederates were reported as but fourteen miles away. The
chemical properties of the coloring matter in the paints was the cause
of the reappearance of the red bars of the flags through the blue paint
that was spread over them.)


    The man who borrows trouble
      Is always on the rack,
    For there's no way, by night or day,
      That he can pay it back.



    We got here safe and sound. This is a pretty place. Palmer lives
    on the edge of the town; it's an old house; one end of it is all
    taken up with his "art studio," he calls it. He biles glue and
    the smell goes through the whole house. You and Lin thought I
    stunk when I worked in the tannery, you ought to smell Palmer
    and his art studio.

    He has another preacher helping him. His wife is very quiet; she
    is making the clothes for the panorama; they have a pile of
    clothes to make. He asked me if I had read "Pilgrim's Progress."
    He knows the book backwards, so I have to read it and learn it

    The way he talks this is a regular show, but he won't let you
    call it a show. The painting looks awful to me but Palmer says
    it looks all right under the lights. He is about done and wants
    Pap to come over to see it. If he comes don't let him bring any

    Tell Lin to get my shotgun from under the feed trough in the cow
    stable. She'd better get it quick. Turkey Evans knows where it
    is and he'll steal it. Answer and let me know if he has stole it

    Tom White is too short. If Cousin Charley was a few inches
    taller I could get him this job. It takes tall people to be
    characters in Pilgrim's Progress, especially "Christian," "Help"
    and the "Evangelist." Jake's goin' to be somethin' in the

    They don't live very well; maybe Mrs. Palmer didn't know we were
    coming and didn't fix for us. They have had no meat any meal
    yet, only flitch.[B] Palmer works all night and sleeps all day.
    He talks the rest of the time. His wife don't say nothin'; just
    wears a sun bonnet. Maybe she has the newralgy.

    Give my love to all. Your affectionate son,


    P. N. B. Don't forgit the gun. Turner Simpson promised me when
    Queen had pups to give me one. If he brings it you'll keep it,
    won't you Muz?



    The livin's no better, it's flitch every meal; they haven't had
    pie or cake since we came. Palmer says when they get the thing
    going we'll live on the fat on the land. His wife don't say
    nothin', just sews and cooks and wears a sun-bonnet. They've got
    two children somewhere. I heard Palmer say they'd have to stay,
    that they'd be too much trouble on the road. This seemed to make
    Mrs. Palmer more quiet, I reckon you'd call it sad. She ought to
    say somethin', then a body would know what ails her. I don't
    think it's newralgy. I told her mustard plasters always helped
    Aunt Susan and she just looked at me.

    I hope he gets her goin' soon, I'm hungry. If this show is good,
    as he says she is, he ought to make enough to buy something to
    eat besides flitch, corn meal and potatoes. He's got two more
    scenes to paint, then we're ready to show her up.

    Tom tried to help Mrs. Palmer wash the dishes, he broke two
    plates. Palmer says he's all thumbs and mouth.

        Your affectionate son,

    P. S. Was the gun gone? The pup's a hound but it's bound to be
    pretty, the children will like it. You keep it till I get home.



    Palmer's the awfulest worker I ever saw. He knows his business
    but he ain't got any money. We're waitin' on Jake to come.
    Palmer owes everybody in town, they won't let him have anything
    until he pays. The flitch gave out last night, and we had
    nothin' but corn pone, buttermilk and potatoes. Palmer said he
    ketched the gout once from high livin', and he did not want to
    see another human suffer like he did. I guess his wife's dietin'
    too, as she don't set down to eat with us.

    Palmer is a wonderful man. He's got his lecture all wrote out
    and all the characters and all the costumes for them. He's going
    to begin the rehearsals tomorrow. Practicin' we called it. I
    looked in the dictionary, rehearsing is to recite, to recount,
    to relate, to repeat what has already been said, to recite in
    private for experiment and improvement before a public

    I have learned more from Palmer than anybody I was ever with.
    The old preacher, Reverend Gideon, writes letters all day; he
    has the names of all the churches and preachers and we know
    where we are to be weeks before hand.

    Jake came today and brought his two horses. They're nice horses
    but he won't let you drive them, he wants to drive himself.
    Palmer went to the stable while Jake was unhitchin' and I seen
    him get money from Jake. We had beefstake for supper, fried, but
    it was too dry. She did not make any sop.[C] We had hot biscuits
    and good butter, but no pie and cake.

    I got acquainted with a boy, Will Peters. He invited me over to
    his house several times. I want to go but am ashamed to; they
    have pie and cake three times a day just like we all do at home.

    Mrs. Palmer talks a little to me now. She still wears the
    sun-bonnet but I don't believe it's newralgy that ails her. She
    asked me if your name warn't Mary Irons before you married Pap.

    I finished the Pilgrim's Progress last night. It's a great book,
    you ought to read it. The one we got at home is not complete,
    borrow Uncle Tom's.

    I'm glad Turkey Evans did not get hold of my shotgun. Palmer's
    done all his "work of art," as he calls it. Tonight he reads the
    whole thing over to us and then we got to learn our parts. Jake
    is going to be "Christian;" that's what I wanted to be but
    "Christian" carries a heavy load on his back and Palmer says I'm
    not strong enough. Me and Tom must double a dozen different
    characters. Mrs. Palmer tried all the clothes for everybody on
    me. One of the suits I do not like; it's just like you had
    nothin' on but a shirt; it's for "Faith" to wear. I told Palmer
    it would not look right before women and children and he said
    the costume was patterned after the original plates. I don't
    know what he meant but he'll not put "Faith's" clothes on me,
    plates or no plates.

    [Illustration: "He'll Not Put Faith's Clothes On Me"]

    Is Pap coming over before we start? If he is, you have Lin bake
    a peck of doughnuts, put them in the big carpet-sack. I'm glad
    you got the gun. I wrote Turner Simpson to send you the pup when
    it was old enough to wean. Your affectionate son,


    P. S. Don't forget the doughnuts.



    It will be my luck to have Pap come to Mt. Pleasant with the
    doughnuts and find us all gone. We left last night. I wrote you
    we was going but I didn't know it until Palmer woke me up in the
    middle of the night. Reverend Gideon left two days before.
    Someone pulled me out of bed. I hollered, "Here, here, hold on!"
    Then I knew it was Palmer. I jumped up. He ordered me to dress

    I dressed and looked for Tom. I asked Palmer where he was. He
    said: "I've called him as often as I'm going to." I called Tom
    and had to wait so long for him to dress that when I got out
    doors there was Jake sitting up in the front seat of the wagon,
    and Mrs. Palmer beside him. She looked to me as if she was
    cryin'. Jake told us to "get in, she's going to go."

    Palmer was locking the doors. I heard something splash down in
    the well. His wife asked for the keys. "They're down in the
    well; old Lane, the landlord, can look for them." Mrs. Palmer
    looked very much worried. They left all their things excepting a
    few bedclothes and the sewing machine.

    Palmer spread the bedclothes on the panorama in the bottom of
    the wagon; Tom, me and him slept all the way here. Poor Mrs.
    Palmer set up all night beside Jake on the seat. If she ain't
    got the newralgy she'll katch it sure. Mrs. Palmer wouldn't get
    out of the wagon to eat breakfast when we stopped on the road at
    a country house, and Palmer spoke real cross to her and she
    cried. It's the only time I've seen Jake's face without a smile
    and he looks a different man when he ain't smiling. I like Jake
    and he likes me. He wants to see Pap.

    Reverend Gideon met us here. Palmer forgot his clothes and I
    heard him tell Gideon they'd have to go, he had flung the keys
    in the well and if Gideon went back after his clothes they was
    liable to fling him in jail.

    I believe Palmer's run off owing everybody. This thing's bound
    to make money. I'm sorry I came for twenty a month. If he does
    well he'll have to raise me.

        Your affectionate son,

    P. S. The hound was to be a dog, not another kind.

Palmer, the wife and Gideon, were a source of much speculation to
Alfred; he could not fix their standing in his mind. The facts were that
Palmer was one of those soldiers of fortune who had experimented with
many things and failed in everything. He fitted Dryden's description of:

    "A man so various, that he seemed to be
    Not one, but all mankind's epitome;
    Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong
    Was everything by starts, and nothing long;
    But, in the course of one revolving moon,
    Was chemist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon."

The only aim Palmer seemed to have in life was to create the impression
that he might have been worse. Store clerk, school teacher, politician,
preacher, scene painter, amateur showman; such were the pursuits he had
been engaged in, not successful in any of them. Abusive of all, save
that one he was engaged in, blaming the world for his failures. He
respected no man or woman. He approached no man save with a selfish
motive; could he but injure those with whom he dealt he was happy,
though he did not profit thereby. Yet he did not so speak, but all his
actions conveyed this impression of the man to Alfred. And thus his
character was impressed on the boy's intuitive mind as strongly as were
the scenes on the canvas of the panorama.

[Illustration: Palmer]

The wife was only another of that type of woman who has blasted a life,
one full of hope, by clinging to a man who was unworthy of one day of
her life. It was a pathetic spectacle to see the faded wife standing
helpless in the shadow of her husband's selfishness, having sacrificed
youth, beauty and everything that woman holds dear. It did not matter
to Palmer that she was once a school teacher, more than a fair musician,
courted by numbers who could have made her useful to society and happy
in her life. It did not matter to Palmer that she had burned up much of
her attractiveness over the cooking stove; that she lost more of it at
the washtub; in caring for and rearing the children that had
unfortunately come to them. The slaving she had gone through in all
their married life to help her husband to get on in the world was all
lost upon the selfish man who never gave a thought to her sufferings. He
actually treated her if as she had been the cause of his failures, and
seemed ashamed of her when younger and more attractive women were near.

Her two children, somewhere in Missouri in the keeping of her mother,
seemed her only hope in life and the only time the poor crushed soul
evidenced interest in anything was when tidings came from the children
or she could prevail upon their thankless father to send them a little
money. The mother's wardrobe was scanty that the darlings of her heart
might be better clad.

Aunt Susan wore a sun-bonnet almost continuously that she might better
keep in place mustard plasters and horse radish leaves to relieve the
neuralgia pains. Alfred presumed that Mrs. Palmer was similarly affected
since she always wore a sun-bonnet. That was before they left Palmer's
house. Afterwards he became convinced that the woman wore the sun-bonnet
to conceal the lines of sorrow in her once fine face.

Rev. Gideon was the last of the trio whom Alfred figured out. He had
married Palmer's sister. They went to a foreign country as missionaries;
Gideon's health gave way under the tropical climate. He returned to this
country and had since made his home with the Palmers. But little was
learned of the wife. She still lived, and if remittances were not
forthcoming, Gideon was on the rack. In fact, each one of her
complaining letters made Gideon turn more yellow in color, sit up later
and get up earlier than usual, no matter how poor Gideon suffered. If he
was ailing and Palmer noticed it, he would sneer and jerk out: "Huh! Got
a letter from Sis, did you? S'pose she wants you to go back to China.
Say Gideon, that must have been a hell of a job to instill the gospel
into heathen when you can't make an impression upon those who understand
what you say. It must have been discouraging to waste your eloquence
upon those copper-colored thieves. There's many a game to catch suckers
in this world but that foreign mission play is the rawest ever sprung.
Say, Gideon, how much did you get? So much for each sinner saved or did
you lump the job?"

Under such cynicism Gideon would turn about and walk off as though
nothing had been said to him. Palmer took an especial delight in teasing
Gideon as to his mission labors. Gideon never deigned to notice the
ridicule of Palmer, at least in words. Yet there was one thing that
impressed Alfred. Palmer always deferred to Gideon in any business
proposition under consideration; he would bluster and rave a little but
always in the end gave in to Gideon's judgment.

In addition to the receipts that came to him from the exhibition of the
panorama, Palmer had a large, framed, steel plate engraving of John
Bunyan which he sold while soliciting subscriptions for several
religious publications. He worked diligently. He never desisted when he
once went after preacher, deacon or the entire congregation, and he
generally sold what he offered or secured their names to one of his
numerous subscription lists.

He worked so adroitly that he made many his aides. Not infrequently a
minister would get up during an intermission in the Pilgrim's Progress
exhibition and announce one or more of Palmer's offerings. These
announcements invariably wound up with the statement that the proceeds
were for the benefit of a retired minister who had lost his health in an
endeavor to carry the gospel to the heathen in foreign lands.

Alfred became curious as to what effect these announcements would have
upon Gideon and he often peeped from behind the scenes to note it. But
Gideon was never in sight. He would step out of the door as the speaker
began. Alfred noticed that Mrs. Palmer always lowered her face over the
keys of the piano or organ when the announcement of this character was
being made. Palmer, behind the scenes, standing near the curtain his
head bent to one side his hand up to his ear. If the speaker's efforts
pleased him he would pull his tuft of beard with his free hand and
ejaculate: "Good! Fine! Capital! Good boy, go it old Beeswax. I didn't
think it was in you. Go it boots, you'll win in a walk. They're gittin'
their pocket books out now; Gideon will do well tonight, ha, ha, ha."
Did the speaker not measure up to his ideas, he would say: "Wade in!
Wade in! Wade in! Dam you, the water's not cold. Warm up now or you'll
freeze them to the pews. Oh, what you tryin' to git through you? Just
listen to that crack; he'll make them think he's going to take up a
collection for the foreign missions. You can't get seventeen cents. It's
been worked to death. Come off, come off your perch, you poll parrot!
Come off! Well you ought to be studying your primer instead of
preaching; you don't know as much as Gideon."

Palmer, through the influence of the church members, procured a half
dozen young girls, at each place visited, to represent the multitude
passing through the gates in the final scene of Pilgrim's Progress.
Although these girls were before the audience but a moment or two at the
very end of the panorama, amateur like, instead of remaining in front
witnessing the exhibition, they would repair to the rear of the curtain,
don their robes and stand around during the entire performance, to the
annoyance of everybody working the panorama, and, more frequently than
otherwise, be late for their cue.

One night, an old preacher was laboring with an announcement Palmer had
written and rehearsed him in, Palmer was most vicious in his comments.
The old speaker's daughter was one of the virgins, standing near she
heard every word uttered and there was enough and there would have been
more, had not Alfred, by a nudge and a whisper, checked him. Palmer
grasped the situation at once. He stepped nearer the girls. Then with a
start, he shaded his eyes, dramatically gazed at the girls and began:
"Oh, woman, lovely woman, nature made thee to temper man; we had been
brutes without you. Angels are painted fair to look like you. There is
in you all we believe of heaven, amazing brightness, purity, truth,
eternal joy and everlasting love."

He was never at a loss, his quick wit extricating him from embarrassment
at all times.

       *       *       *       *       *



    We showed, or we exhibited, last night. It was the most crowded
    church I ever seen. I did well, better than anyone. Gideon, Mrs.
    Palmer and all said so. Gideon said I saved the day, but Palmer
    held me back, he wouldn't let me sing or dance. I heard him tell
    Gideon: "I'll have hell with that gilly kid, he thinks it a
    minstrel show; I got to hold him down or he'll queer the fake."
    I don't know what he meant, only he meant me.

    Jake made some awful blunders but Gideon said it was like Palmer
    to put him in to play "Christian." Tomorrow's Sunday and I'll
    write you the full purceeding. I know the whole thing by heart
    and if Pap can paint a Pilgrim's Progress I can show it, exhibit
    it. Palmer will make a million. Lin could go along and play the
    organ like Mrs. Palmer. I tell you she can put in the music
    right, she fills out the thing just grand. Lin would have to
    learn to play with both hands and she must learn music. Mrs.
    Palmer won't play without the notes to lead her. I will take the
    whole Sunday to write you the full history of the first night.
    You better read "Pilgrim's Progress." Did you borrow Uncle

    Does Uncle Ned feel hard towards me? If anything happens to me
    and I get ruined it's their doings because I could have been
    with a minstrel troupe. You have to lie more here in a day than
    I did all the time I was with a minstrel show.

        Your very affectionate son,

    P. S. I looked at the dictionary. A "gilly" is a man attendant
    in the Scottish Highlands. A "kid" is a young goat. It don't
    tell what a "fake" is. Now I know Palmer will have to raise my
    wages. If Pap agrees to paint a panorama and take Lin along you
    can get Sis Minks to work for you.

[Illustration: "Oh! My Dear Hearers!"]

Palmer began the exhibition with a lecture:

"Ladies and Gentlemen: John Bunyan, the author of that wonderful work,
'The Pilgrim's Progress,' was an English religious writer, soldier and
Baptist preacher. He enlisted in the Parliamentary army very young. He
was so strongly impressed with the glimpse he caught of war that all his
writings, even things sacred, were strongly illustrative of fortresses,
camps, marching men, guns and trumpets. Bunyan was but seventeen years
old when he entered the army, hence the lasting impressions his
military life made upon his mind. He became famous as a Baptist preacher
and was flung into Bedford jail under order of the Restoration. He was
frequently offered his liberty on condition that he would desist from
preaching. This he refused; therefore, for twelve years he suffered
imprisonment for his conscience's sake.

"While in Bedford jail he began the book that has immortalized him. It
is the best allegory ever written and is the only book, excepting the
Bible, about which the educated majority have come over to the opinion
of the common people. The peculiar glory of Bunyan is that those who
hated his doctrines have acknowledged his genius by printing and using a
Catholic version of his parable, The Pilgrim's Progress, with the
Virgin's head in the title page.

"Oh, my dear hearers, how similar to the sufferings of the lowly genius
in producing his masterpiece were those undergone in painting the work
of art about to be unfolded for your inspection. For years he who
transferred the thoughts of Bunyan into almost real life, for years he
who wrought these fancies upon canvas, labored and suffered in secret.
No living eye was ever permitted to gaze upon his work save his own.
Night after night, by the dim light of lamp, the artist labored. Lack of
food, lack of sleep, did not deter him. He was inspired to produce that
which has been pronounced by men of highest learning as the greatest
painting the world has ever known, the greatest educator of the masses,
the greatest object lesson ever presented to the people of this country.

"The Pilgrim's Progress in living figures and realistic scenes, the
hills, the mountains, the sunny pastures, the soft vales, the
wilderness, the Shining River, the Beautiful Gates, the Celestial City.

"Like Bunyan, the painter had no idea that he was producing a

Here Palmer would step to the front of the platform and, after a modest
pause, in a lower tone, continue: "Ladies and Gentlemen: I was not aware
the printed bills had announced to the world that I, Professor Palmer,
D. D., was the author of this work of art, otherwise, I am sure I would
not have mentioned it."

Alfred could never disassociate this announcement from that of the clown
in the circus who, after singing his song, announcing the sale of the
books, assuring the audience that the proceeds of the sale of the book
were for the benefit of an orphan who was a long ways from home, without
money or friends. Hoping the charitably disposed would assist the orphan
by buying the song books. Bowing low, he would add: "I forgot to tell
you that I am the orphan."


    The first night is the most terrible thing one can go through.
    We had a hard time of it; Palmer became excited and cussed; Tom
    did well as long as I told him; Mrs. Palmer filled in all the
    stops with music and this helped but if it hadn't been for me it
    would have been a bad failure. It was all I could do to keep it
    going; I nearly worked myself sick. I'm going to ask Palmer to
    raise my wages. Palmer praised all of us, but I know he was
    lying because every time Jake or Tom made a mistake he cussed.
    Palmer does all the talking for all the characters; the way he
    can change his voice you'd swear there were several people
    talking. He is hid from the audience and of course they think
    it's the characters that talk. In spite of Gideon's advice,
    Palmer gave Jake the part of Christian. The first scene is a
    field. Jake, as Christian, is discovered standing in the middle
    of the field. Here is where the pilgrimage begins. Jake is
    supposed to be reading a book and asks: "What shall I do to be
    saved?" Jake held the book in his hand, not looking at it but at
    the audience, smiling. From behind the scenes Palmer hissed;
    "Look serious! Look worried! Read the book! Hold the book up! Oh
    you dam Dutch galoot look scared!" Jake only smiled louder. I
    know Jake didn't hear a word Palmer said. I could hear him
    breathing from where I stood. You know Christian is dressed in
    ragged clothes, he has a burden on his back. Palmer wrapped an
    old coffee sack about a big stone and this was fastened on
    Jake's back to represent Christian's burden.

    I was Evangelist. I had a long, white robe on and wore a wig
    with long curls; not yellow curls like you used to make me wear,
    but black curls, with a blue ribbon around my forehead. I walked
    solemn towards Jake; I looked at him a little while, then I
    raised my hand, pointing the roll of parchment and, in the most
    saddest way I could speak, I said: "Wherefore dost thou cry?"
    Jake said easy like, "Not by a tam sight." Palmer came right in
    with the proper speech: "If I be not fit to go to prison I am
    not fit to go to judgment and thence to execution. The thoughts
    of these things make me cry." Here Jake looked at me, then at
    Palmer; then he winked at me. I could scarcely go on with my
    speech: "If this be thy condition, why standest thou still?" "I
    don't vant to, I'd rather valk to Bedford dan stan' dis way
    still," was Jake's reply. A number of those nearest the platform
    overheard Jake but Palmer came in quickly with: "Because I
    knoweth not whither to go." I didn't give Jake any time, I just
    shouted at him: "Do you see yon wicket gate?" I pointed at the
    imaginary gate. Jake turned about, shook his head and answered:
    "No." I cut in before he could get further: "Do you see yon
    shining light? Keep that light in thy eye and go up directly
    thereto, so shalt thou see the gate at which, when thou
    knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shalt do."

    [Illustration: "Hold Her Down, Tom"]

    Jake was lost. He walked he knew not whither, Palmer pleading
    and swearing to guide him. The gate and shining light to which I
    referred were imaginary. I pointed off stage. Jake, in his
    excitement was trying to get away from the audience. He walked
    up stage; he pressed against the canvas, trying to force his way
    further. Palmer and Bedford Tom had all their weight against the
    frame of the panorama. When Jake felt resistance he put his
    powerful muscles to work. "Hold on! Hold on! Stop! You can't go
    further," cried Palmer. Jake kept on pushing. "Hold her down,
    Tom; hold her down." Then came a crash, the lights went out and
    over went Palmer, Tom and the panorama.

    Jake's breathing and his efforts to release himself from the
    heavy canvas covering him could be heard above the din and
    confusion. Palmer was here, there, everywhere, assuring the
    audience that a slight accident had befallen the mechanical part
    of the panorama. "Just remain seated, we'll give you a good
    show." He forgot himself and called it a show after all his
    orders to us not to speak the word "show." The strong arms of
    Bedford Tom, and Jake soon righted the panorama. Mrs. Palmer
    played the organ, and right there is where one of my songs would
    come in right. I sung for Jake and Tom last night and Jake
    declared: "The people in Bedford would like one of dem nigger
    songs better dan Palmer's hull tarn pictur show. De hull tam
    ting is a fraudt; no such a man as Bunjun was ever in Bedford
    yail. I and Tom knows every man dot's been in dot yail and dey
    don't put 'em in yail fur what he sedt." Jake's mixed up; he
    imagines Palmer refers to Bedford, Pa.

    The panorama worked along smoothly until Pliable and Christian,
    (I and Jake), fell into the Slough of Despond. You know, in the
    book, Pliable and Christian are traveling together; they fall in
    the Slough of Despond; Pliable struggles and gets out.
    Christian, owing to the burden he carries on his back, flounders
    about and is fast sinking when Help appears and asks: "What
    doest thou there?" Jake answered: "Noting." Palmer hissed: "Roll
    over! Roll over! Hold your head under the canvas; duck, you son
    of a gun, duck!" Palmer answered with the speech Jake was
    supposed to deliver, as Jake rolled over and over: "Sir, I was
    bid by a man named Evangelist, who directed me to yonder gate
    that I might escape the wrath to come and as I was going thither
    I fell in here." Then I come as Help; I say: "Why did you not
    look for the steps?" Jake is supposed to say: "Fear followed me
    so hard that I fled the next way and fell in." Then as Help, I
    lean far over, hold out my hand and say: "Give me thine hand
    that I may draw thee upon hard ground that thou might go thy
    way." Instead of Jake following the business as rehearsed, he
    arose, took the burden off his back, walked out the opposite
    side, back towards the City of Destruction.

    The audience, or some of them, tittered, others laughed
    outright. Palmer was prompting Jake: "Get into the pond!
    Complete the scene!" The more Palmer prompted, the more confused
    Jake appeared. "Get your burden, it's not time to drop it; get
    your burden." Jake, smiling, walked over the miry, muddy slough
    he was supposed to have struggled in a moment before, and took
    up the burden. Instead of putting it on his back he carried it
    under his arm, nodded at Palmer, as much as to say: "I'm ready
    for anything further, go on." Worldly Wise Man here appears
    before Christian and speaks to him: "How now good fellow;
    whither away after this burdened manner?" Christian answers: "A
    burdened manner indeed as ever, I think, poor creature had. And
    whereas you ask me whither away, I am going to yonder wicket
    gate, for there, as I am informed, I shall be put in a way to be
    rid of my heavy burden." Then Worldly Wise advises Christian:
    "Wilt thou hearken to me if I give thee counsel?" Christian
    answers: "If it be good I will, for I stand in need of good
    counsel." Worldly Wise then answers: "I would advise thee that
    thou, with all speed, get thyself rid of thy burden, for thou
    will never be settled in thy mind until then." Palmer answered
    with Christian's speech: "That is which I seek for, even to be
    rid of this heavy burden, but get it off myself I cannot, nor is
    there any man in our country who can take it off my shoulders."

    [Illustration: Jake As Christian]

    Jake, smiling more pleasantly than ever, answered, "I kin."
    Suiting the action to the word, he flung his burden into the
    Slough of Despond. The pond was a thin piece of canvas painted
    to represent the quagmire. The burden made a sound as of the
    house falling down. Jake wiped the perspiration from his face
    and, spitting a mouthful of tobacco juice to one side, he gazed
    on the audience and smiled. It was too much for even the staid
    old church members. The laughter was so great that Palmer pulled
    the curtain and announced an organ recital.

    Christian's burden was replaced on Jake's back, he was
    admonished to pay closest attention to Palmer's promptings. Jake
    continued the pilgrimage. In the next scene Jake, representing
    Christian on his journey from the City of Destruction to the
    Celestial City, must pass through the Dark Valley of Shadows.
    When Jake, instead of keeping to the right and following the
    straight and narrow path, boldly walked into the mouth of the
    burning pit, out of which Palmer was sending sparks and smoke.
    Palmer again pulled the curtain on the scene. Jake sat on a
    stage stump. Smoke was still coming from the pot of damp straw.
    Tears filled Jake's eyes, tears caused by the smoke. Palmer
    rushed back and forth, declaring Jake had made a farce of the
    most beautiful and inspiring scene in the entire exhibition. I
    was substituted for Jake. I knew every speech; I had learned
    them all and it went good to the last.

    The second book is even more impressive and instructive than the
    first. You should read it. As the young ladies walk in at the
    Beautiful Gate of the city, Pilgrim is seen through a gauze; one
    by one the sheets of gauze are pulled down until Christian fades
    away like a vision. It held the audience dumb; they never
    witnessed anything like it; neither did I. Palmer wouldn't let
    me speak the words; he said they must be delivered with great
    dramatic effect. The words are: "I see myself now at the end of
    my journey, my toilsome days are ended. I have formerly lived by
    hearsay and faith, but I now go where I shall live by sight."
    But glorious it was to see how the open regions were filled with
    horses and chariots, with trumpeters and pipers, with singers
    and players upon stringed instruments, to welcome the pilgrims
    as they went up and followed one another in at the gates of the
    Beautiful City. Here the young ladies, with lighted lamps,
    passed in. As Pilgrim disappeared, Palmer, with great effect,
    ended the scene with the eloquent words: "Now, while he was thus
    in discourse, his countenance changed; his strong man bowed
    under him and, after he had said: 'Take me, for I come unto
    thee,' he ceased to be seen of them."



[B] Bacon.

[C] Gravy.


    Do not believe all that you hear,
      For hot air men are hawking;
    And even keep a cautious ear
      When you, yourself, are talking.



    I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines hoping that they
    may find you as well as we all are here. Mother reads your
    letters to us at dinner time. I hope you are living better. I
    never knew a genius that cared much about his eating, therefore,
    I do not suppose Palmer ever gave it a thought that you were
    suffering. He is a good fellow and I know he will make out well,
    except in the eating line.

    You need not worry about your shotgun; I have it and will look
    after it until such time as I feel you should be permitted to
    handle dangerous weepuns. Turner Simpson says your Cousin
    Charley got that hound pup weeks ago; he claims Charley said you
    sent him after the pup.

    All your friends inquire about you. Bill Johnston told me he was
    sorry he had to have you arrested for overturning his hay stack;
    that he did not believe you was to blame, the boys with you led
    you into oversetting the haystack to catch the rabbit.

    Your Uncle Joe was in town Saturday, got tite and carried on
    high. He is getting worse as he gets older. Betsy is mortified
    to death. They were just at communion afore it happened.

    How is Palmer doing? Is he making money? Did he get my letter?
    Hoping to hear from you very often and that you will remember
    that your father and mother and all the children think of you
    daily and all look forward to the time when we shall see you

        Your affectionate father,
            J. C. H.

Alfred was living in a little world all his own. Jake, Bedford Tom, Mrs.
Palmer, Gideon, Tom White, were its inhabitants. Palmer was not of it.
He was not of the agreeable circle. Alfred often read letters from home
to Mrs. Palmer. She was greatly interested in the correspondence. Alfred
knew she desired him to read the father's letter to her. In a serious
manner he advised the letter was a business one. This seemed to make the
good woman even more anxious. She actually quizzed Alfred as to whether
the letter was not one demanding payment of money borrowed by her
husband. Alfred asked her if she knew the amount due his father. She did
not, but said she would ascertain; further, she would exert herself to
earn money to repay it. Alfred appreciated this and regretted he had
ever mentioned the flitch in his letters to the folks at home. He felt
that he had reflected upon Mrs. Palmer.

He re-read his father's letter that he might expunge the reference to
the scant living. He read to where Bill Johnston had apologized for
having him arrested; he did not care to have Mrs. Palmer know of this.

[Illustration: Palmer and the Wise Virgin]

Palmer, with his panorama and side issues, was making money, and there
was not a day, not an hour, that something coarse, selfish or mean, did
not show itself in word or deed of the man. The half dozen young women,
who took part in the final scene, were robed in long, pale blue gowns,
worn over their street apparel. It was necessary to fit the costumes on
the young ladies previous to the opening or first exhibition. In
arranging with the fathers or mothers of the girls, Palmer always
emphasized the statement that: "My wife, Mrs. Palmer will take charge of
the young ladies, show them their costumes." Mrs. Palmer was always
ready to do so but Palmer was always there. He insisted, he forced his
services in fitting the costumes. He would take an unusually long time
to smooth out the wrinkles on the waist and bust lines. All this was
done so unconcerned that none would ever suspect he was playing a part.
His wife would flush up, walk away and occupy herself with other duties.

If there was a foolish virgin among the damsels--and there were some
foolish ones in those days, though not so many as now--Palmer would
begin a flirtation, kept up until he departed. This was only one of the
many mean traits of the man that lessened Alfred's respect for him.

Palmer could not understand Alfred. Always full of fun and mischief,
always ready to laugh, yet at times the boy was positively rude to the
man nor would he permit any familiarity from Palmer.

One day in setting up the frame of the panorama, several members of the
church in which it was to be exhibited, entered the auditorium
unnoticed. Palmer, while driving a nail, miscalculated, the hammer came
down on one of his fingers. Flinging the hammer on the floor with all
the force he could command, he poured forth a torrent of profanity.
Gideon, by signs, gave Palmer to understand that others were near. With
a change as quick as a flash, Palmer grabbed Alfred by the coat collar,
nearly lifting the boy off his feet. With a voice that sounded as if it
were choking with indignation, he began: "You young scamp, I never heard
you swear like this before, and I never want to hear you again. How dare
you use such language in this house?" The onslaught was so sudden and
unexpected that Alfred was taken off his feet. He had been in high good
humor, laughing heartily at Palmer's mishap. Palmer led the intruders
out in the auditorium ere the boy gathered his scattered senses.

Jake exclaimed: "Huh! Balmur knocks his fingers und makes oudt Alfred
does der tammen." Shaking his head, he continued: "Balmur beats der

Alfred was savage with anger. He started after Palmer but Gideon
restrained him, standing in his pathway, holding him back, appealing to
Jake to assist him in controlling the boy. Gideon persuaded Alfred to
drop the matter for the time. Jake desired that the boy call Palmer to
account. He answered Gideon's appeals in a sort of careless,
I-don't-care way: "Vell, it's yust like Alfredt feels, if he vants to
yump Balmur, I tink he kann handle him, I von't interfere. It iss none
uf my biziness, yett."

[Illustration: Palmer Grabbed Alfred by the Collar]

It was late in the afternoon when Palmer again appeared in the church.
He entered, as was his custom, all hurry and bustle. "Hello, Alfred! I
thought you'd have the panorama all set. Waiting for the boss, hey?"

"Yes, I'm waiting for the boss and I want to tell the boss the next time
he tries to make a scapegoat out of me before a lot of church people
he'll hear something he won't like. I'm no clod-hopper to have you make
me appear a rowdy. You daddy your own cussing."

Palmer seemed greatly surprised at this and, as usual, in an argument
with his people, became greatly excited. He endeavored to win with a
bluff. "Here, my young man, you're always playing your jokes on Jake and
all the others; I was only having a little fun with you, I didn't intend
to hurt your feeling."

"Feelings! Feelings! What about my good name? What'll those men think of
me? I'm ashamed to face them again while I'm here."

"Oh, you're too soft to travel; you ought to be at home with your gilt
edge ideas."

"Well, I can go home," hotly retorted Alfred.

"I've got a written agreement with your father and I'll hold you to it,"
threatened Palmer.

"You'll hold me to nothing. You've got no writings that'll permit your
making me out a rowdy."

"Now see here, Mr. Minstrel," and Palmer assumed mock politeness, "I've
heard enough of your slack; dry up or I'll make you."

Alfred jumped to the middle of the platform and dared Palmer to lay his
hand on him. Palmer got so excited he could not talk. Gideon, as usual,
in his quiet, argumentative way, endeavored to smooth the matter over:
"Come on, let's get ready for tonight. We're going to have the best
business since we opened."

"I've quit," announced Alfred, "I'm going home."

Jake's smile fled; his under jaw hung down, giving his face an
expression Alfred had never previously seen it wear. Gideon turned even
more yellowish looking. Bedford Tom ejected a mouthful of tobacco juice
as he blurted out: "I pity Pilgrim's Progress."

Gideon continued his plea: "Well, if this company isn't demoralized I
don't know what I'm talking about. Now see here, boys, listen to me;
we're together, let's reason like honest people should: To have you,"
and he looked at Alfred, "quit thus abruptly would cause innocent ones
to suffer. See what an embarrassment it would be to Mrs. Palmer. Why, it
would kill her. She has sacrificed everything she holds dear in the
world; she has two children." (Gideon had won his point, it was not
necessary for him to say more). "She has not seen those children in two
years; she hopes to have them with her soon. See what a disappointment
it would be to her and the children. Alfred, as at present arranged, we
could not spare you. I will get Palmer and we will fix this matter up
satisfactorily to you."

Alfred was just a boy, not unlike any other boy. He did not desire to
quit; and he knew he was indispensable to the successful production of
the panorama. He also felt that he had won thus far. He did not yield,
outwardly at least, but agreed that he would await Gideon's interview
with Palmer. He had no preconceived ideas as to what to do or say
further, but, like all who are disgruntled, he could not bring himself
to say that he would.

While Gideon was seeking Palmer, Jake endeavored to console Alfred: "Ef
you do go out of der paneramy it vill be too tam bad; I will not acdt
out annudder time. I toldt Balmur delas' time. I'm no handt at paneramy
buziness und it's no more fur Jake to do it."

Bedford Tom put another blotch on the white pine floor as he patted Jake
on the back: "You're all yerself agin, ole man, your sensibilness is
kerrect; don't try to act in a panerammer or enythin' else. Ef ye hed
seen yerself with thet tume-stun, er whatever it wus, on yer back, an'
wallerin' in thet painted pond, ye'd never went back to Bedford. Ye
certainly made a muss of hit."

"Vell, I toldt heem I vus ashamed mit myself, end he sedt: 'Oh, hell yu
kann standt und look myzerbul, kan't yu?'"

Bedford Tom laughed in the honest Dutchman's face as he assured him he
looked "myzerbul enuff but his actin' was more myzerbul then his

"Vhy don'dt yu try it ef yu tink it ees so tam easy?" was Jake's answer.

Gideon walked in, beckoned to Alfred: "Come down to Palmer's room, he
wants to talk this whole thing over."

Alfred did not care to meet Mrs. Palmer. "Tell Palmer to come up here,"
was the message Gideon carried back. Alfred was feeling just a little
ashamed of the part he had played in the dispute; he felt that he had
gone a bit further than he should. But his instinctive dislike to Palmer
had grown day by day. The man's face, that index to character, had
repulsed him when they first met. There are lines in the face chiseled
by a sculptor who never makes a wrong stroke. The face is a truthful
record of our vices and virtues. It is a map of life that outlines
character so clearly that there is no getting away from the story it
tells. The face is a signboard showing which way the man or woman is
traveling, which of life's crossroads they are on. The face cannot
betray the years one has traveled until the mind gives its consent. The
mind is the master. If the mind holds youthful, innocent thoughts, the
face will retain a youthful appearance. And the more permanent are the
marks made by petulancy, hatred and selfishness thereon. The best letter
of recommendation ever written is an open fearless face.

Palmer put in an appearance, his face showing plainly that he was not at
ease. His manner was as flambuoyant as ever: "Where is this mainstay of
the only panorama on earth? Come here, boy, I want to talk to you like a

    "I was a boy not long ago, unthinking, idle, wild and young,
      I laughed, and danced and talked and sung."

The antics Palmer cut while delivering this couplet were truly amusing.
Palmer was an actor. Placing his hand on Alfred's shoulder, gazing into
his face, he continued:

    "Just at the age twixt boy and youth,
    When thought is speech and speech is truth."

Then quoting Christian in the Pilgrim's Progress: "I have given him my
faith and sworn my allegiance to him. How then can I go back from this
and not be hanged as a traitor?" Palmer pointed his long, bony finger at
Alfred and awaited a reply. It came:

"I was indeed engaged in your dominions but your services were hard and
your wages such as a man could not live on. For the wages of sin is

Palmer, a little discomforted, led the boy to one side, saying: "Now see
here, young fellow, I'm as old as your father; I don't look it, but I
am. Now you want to quit, eh? You wouldn't be at home four days before
you would wish yourself back here. You are not rich, your father is not
rich. You have to make a living. I'll give you an opportunity to make
money. You are learning this business, you have good ideas. You remain
with me, I'll make a man of you; I'll put you in a way to make more
money than you've ever seen."

Alfred intimated that he could not see himself making a great deal of
money at twenty dollars a month.

"Why, don't you count your board, as anything?"

"Well, I'm not satisfied. I'm worth more than twenty dollars a month to
you," stubbornly contended Alfred.

"But you and your father are both bound up to me in a written agreement.
Do you want to break it? Would that be right?"

"Well, you broke your written contract with the members of Rock Hill
Church. You said Gideon made the contract without consulting you.
Grandpap made this contract without consulting me."

Palmer laughed long and loud: "Egad, that's good! This kid finds me
skinning a couple of old duffers and forthwith he sets about to skin me.
The harvest truly is plenteous but the laborers are few; ask and it
shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be
opened to you." Pointing at Alfred, he continued: "But remember, the
love of money is the root of all evil. Say, what are you going to do
with all this money?"

"Buy a farm, some day," answered Alfred.

"How great a matter a little fire kindleth," quoted Palmer as he
pleadingly asked: "Say, kid, how much are you going to hang me up for?"

"Well, if you give me fifty dollars a month, I'll stick to you."

"Holy mother of all that's evil; the devil and Tom Walker! Say, who do
you take after? Not your daddy. He's easy. Fifty dollars a month? Say, I
worked two years and had a wife and two children to take care of and I
never cleared forty dollars a month. I've been a lifetime working myself
up to what I am and you jump into the game, inexperienced, green as a
cucumber, and want to hog the persimmons at the start. 'Taint fair,
'taint right; I'm an honest man; I want to treat everybody right. You're
taking advantage of me. It's the principle of the thing I look at."

"Well, get another boy, you can find one any day. If I stay with this
panorama I will get fifty dollars a month."

"Yes, and if I permit you to hold me up this time, the next move you'll
want the panorama. Your Uncle William served his time like an honest
boy, he has made a fortune. He has the best farm in Fayette County; he
has money, he is the judge of the county court. He never got where he is
by breaking written agreements."

"Yes, but that was different, Uncle William was learning a trade. He got
all kinds of chances to make money on the outside of his work."

"Hold on right there--I'll give you any opportunity you want to make
money on the side. You can sell the "Life of John Bunyan," "The
Pilgrim's Progress," "Paradise Lost," the steel engraving of the twelve
apostles or anything we sell and I'll allow you a good, big

The sale of the above mentioned articles was that which first turned
Alfred against Palmer. The sneaking, wheedling methods he employed, the
subterfuges, the lies in disposing of books and pictures, were the
things which made the man most repulsive to Alfred. He therefore felt
insulted when Palmer offered him the opportunity to make money from this
source. Alfred plainly informed Palmer that he would not have anything
to do with the sale of the books or pictures.

"Huh! I suppose you feel above selling books that are in the libraries
of the best people in the world. You'd prefer, no doubt, to sell pills."

A little abashed, Alfred came back with: "Well, if I did sell pills, I
sold them on the square and at a less price than they were worth and
they were sold to folks that needed them and if they needed them and
wern't able to pay for them they got them free and we didn't lie about
what we did with the money. We didn't pretend to send it to the

Palmer interrupted the boy: "Wait and see how you get along when you
strike your own gait, when you get your own show out. That's your idea;
that's why you are so unreasonable. I'm going to give you the money you
ask, not because it's right but because I want to do what's right. If
I'd let you go, you'd go back to Brownsville and it would not be a week
until you'd have some fool thing afloat that would bring all sorts of
trouble on your folks. I'm doing this for your people, not for you."

Alfred had won. He was not entirely free from the feeling that he had
not acted quite right but he stilled his conscience by arguing to
himself that Grandpap had no authority to enter into a contract for him;
besides hadn't his mother declared that no indenture was valid without
her signature, that no child of hers should ever be bound to anybody?
When she demanded to see the papers it was not convenient for those
interested to have them at hand. The mother had forcibly informed Palmer
that there must be no restraint upon Alfred should he become homesick
and that he must be permitted to return to his home at any time he
desired to do so. All of which Palmer had unreservedly agreed to.



    Your welcome letter came to hand today; glad you are all well
    and hearty. I've had a big fuss with Palmer. I wanted to quit.
    He coaxed me to stay and promised me fifty dollars a month. Is
    that paper he holds on me binding? Could he hold my wages if he
    wanted to. He told Gideon he was going to record the indenture
    when we got to Leesburg and it would always stand in evidence
    against me. He is not the kind of man Grandpap and Uncle Thomas
    crack him up to be. If Palmer don't pay the fifty, I don't stay,
    papers or no papers. He is gouging everybody and it is no sin to
    gouge him. Say Pap, now don't get mad; how much did he set you
    back? Tell me. If I get the fifty I think I can get yours. If
    Cousin Charley has my hound he'll have to give it up when I get
    home. If I get the fifty I'll buy me a new shotgun like Capt.
    Abrams has.

    My love to Muz and all the children and Lin.

        Your affectionate son,

    P. S. I am not afraid of Palmer; I could break him in two. But I
    don't like to break the law. Let me know about the paper he
    holds, he would do anything, law or no law.

       *       *       *       *       *

Since Alfred's experience with the law in the Eli affair it could not be
said that he had more respect for the law but undoubtedly he had more
fear for it as evidenced by his letter to the father.

Things went on much the same with the panorama. Palmer was more polite
and condescending toward Alfred in speech, but many little
inconveniences were put upon him that he had not experienced previous to
the unpleasantness.

Jake seemed to have fallen under the displeasure of Palmer and many were
the squabbles between them. At one place where the panorama exhibited
the church was too small. An old carriage factory was used instead. At
one end there was a large freight lift elevator. Palmer's inventive
genius prompted him to use the platform of the elevator for a stage. It
was about twenty by thirty feet in dimensions much larger than the
stages usually constructed for the panorama. When the elevator was in
place it formed a part of the floor of the room.

Palmer and Jake labored all day and into the night to elevate it about
two feet above the floor. When elevated thus it was pronounced by the
little company the best stage since the season began; just high enough
to show the effects to best advantage.

Jake said he hoped "dey vould strike more blaces mit dings like dis."
The building of a platform or a stage in the various churches had made
strenuous work for Jake.

All was set for the unveiling of the wonderful work of art. The old
factory was crowded. All went smoothly until the scene where "Faithful"
is adjudged guilty and condemned to the terrible punishment supposed to
be meted out to him. This scene is not visible to the audience but is
described by the lecturer, as "Faithful" is supposed to be burned to
ashes after being scourged and pricked with knives. Palmer had just
concluded the speech: "Now I saw that there stood behind the multitude a
chariot and a couple of horses waiting for 'Faithful', who, as soon as
his adversaries had dispatched him, was taken up into it, and
straightway, was carried up through the clouds with sound of trumpet."
Palmer sounded the trumpet. Tom White, in a long, white flowing robe,
with gauze veils over his face, is pulled up by a block and tackle, the
rope concealed by the long, white robe. With appropriate music this
scene was one of the most beautiful in the exhibition.

The trumpet sounded signaling "Faithful's" ascension. How what followed
happened no one will ever know. Palmer blamed Jake. Jake never admitted
or denied that he was the cause. When there should have been an
ascension there was a descension.

The elevator slipped a cog, or something; there was a slow, regular
descent, not too hasty. Down went the whole panorama, descending in time
with the music; down went the City of Vanity with its fair, its thieves
and fakirs painted on canvas, while poor "Faithful" dangled in mid-air.
As the elevator sank out of sight, as the characters, painting and frame
disappeared below the floor, the audience applauded approvingly at
first, then the absurdity of the scene struck them and approving
applause changed to aggravating laughter.

Jake stood manfully by the rope he was holding; Palmer was wild; Alfred
and Bedford Tom were doing all they could to suppress their laughter.
Suddenly the thing stopped, struck the floor in the room below. Jake,
grabbing the windlass, soon had the panorama slowly ascending. As it
came into view the audience applauded lustily. Mrs. Palmer kept the
ascension music going until the stage was back in its proper place when
Palmer, who was always seeking an opportunity to make a speech, walked
out in front of the curtain and explained that the panorama weighed
several tons, the great weight had broken the lift.

At this juncture Jake appeared with two heavy pieces of scantling;
unmindful of Palmer, he began spiking the props under the edge of the
platform. The strokes of the hammer completely drowned Palmer's voice.
When Jake sent the last nail home he arose from his knees with a "Dere,
tam you, I ges you'll holdt now."

Palmer was in a greater rage than at any time since the tour began. His
wife, Gideon and several others endeavored to pacify him. Everybody but
Alfred came in for a share of the abuse; even his poor wife, who was
really deserving of all praise for saving the scene, was more than

Alfred could not control his laughter; he fled fearing Palmer would turn
on him.

Palmer swore so loudly that Gideon came from the front to quiet him. He
swore at Gideon; he did not care if the whole town heard him curse. He
had worn his life out to produce the Pilgrim's Progress, and now a darn
clod-hopper, a Reuben, a gilly, a jay, had undone the work of a lifetime
and made him (Palmer) ridiculous in the eyes of the world. What would
people say? What would church people say? They would not pay him for
such an exhibition. Would he (Jake) furnish the money to pay the
expenses after ruining the business of the panorama?

Jake sat on a box, his eyes following Palmer as he walked from one side
of the platform to the other, busying himself all the while with some
part of the panorama, never looking toward Jake. Jake's smile was the
same, that is around the mouth; but looking more closely you could see
an expression in the deep-set blue eyes that betrayed feelings far
removed from those which cause smiles.

Palmer concluded his tirade by flinging a hammer on the floor and
declaring his belief that the mistakes were the result of a deliberate
attempt upon the part of the perpetrator to ruin him. "But I will not be
driven away from this work of my life by conspirators."

Jake had but a limited understanding of Palmer's language, yet
sufficient of what had been said sifted through his mind to convince him
that Palmer had made strong charges against him. Jake, in a tone of
voice that would have convinced anyone more reasonable than Palmer, of
his sorrow, inquired: "Vot I tid?"

"Vot I tid?" repeated Palmer, imitating Jake. "Vot I tid? Ha! Ha! What
didn't you do? From the night we opened it's been one round of breaks
and blunders upon your part."

Jake, in open-eyed surprise, repeated: "Breaks? Breaks? Breaks? Vot I

Palmer never ceased talking nor noticed Jake's questions. Pointing at
Jake, he said: "First you assumed the part of Christian, the most
important character to be impersonated. Every schoolboy or girl knows
the Christian makes a pilgrimage beginning at the City of Destruction,
from which he flees to the Celestial City. He carries a burden, of which
he is relieved at the proper time. He is supposed to encounter all sorts
of hardships and avoid pitfalls of danger, coming out triumphant at the
end of his journey. I ordered you to read the book. Alfred read it and
is familiar with every detail; you know nothing, positively nothing."

"Vot I tid?" again demanded Jake, a bit sternly.

"Vot you tid?" and Palmer pretended to tear his hair. "The first night,
the first scene, by holding the book you were supposed to be reading,
down by your knees, gaping at the audience like a baboon. You rolled
over on the floor in the Slough of Despond like a hog wallowing; you
throwed your burden in the Slough, then walked in the pond after it. The
pond you was supposed to be sinking into, drowning, you walked over it
as you would over a lawn or carpeted room, not sinking one inch in it.
You gathered up Christian's burden. Instead of replacing it on your back
you took it under your arm like a basket; instead of walking as you were
directed, towards the Wicket Gate, the Shining Light, you steered
straight into the bowels of Hell. Not being satisfied with going to Hell
yourself, you so arrange this lift, this platform that, at the very
climax of the most beautiful scene in the marvelous exhibition, you send
the whole panorama down to the lower story of the building, thus
conveying to the audience the idea that we are burlesquing Pilgrim's
Progress. Instead of steering for Heaven, steering for Hell! Bah! Every
last one in that audience will leave this building with the idea that
the entire panorama went to Hell."

Then in an injured, pleading tone, as if scared, Palmer continued: "If
this goes ahead of us it will surely ruin our business. I will sell my
interest in this show for one-half of what I'd taken yesterday." All
this was acting.

Poor Jake was completely confused, dumfounded. Most conscientious,
honest and sincere, without deceit, he scarcely knew what to say to
explain that he was unfortunate and all that had happened was

He said: "Meester Balmur, I'm werry sorry dot I haf you so much troubles
made. I haf neffer toldt you dot I cud do vork as Alfredt und Tom. I
cannot speek me plain und I did yust so goot as I cud. I am sorry I
kan't exbress my, my, my feelings mit dis ting, but I hope you must
exkuse me."

Palmer interrupted: "Oh, well; it's gone beyond my patience to stand it
longer. You are an incumbrance, you are a barnacle. I'll sell you my
interest in this enterprise and you can go on and run it; this
partnership business don't suit me." Palmer ended it by saying: "I'll
see you in the morning."

The little party with the panorama were generally quartered with members
of the congregation of the church in which the panorama exhibited. In
making contracts with the various churches, Palmer, whenever possible,
made it a part of the agreement that his people and horses were to be
boarded. One family would take Palmer and his wife, another a couple of
the others. When Palmer paid their board they were quartered in the
meanest, cheapest taverns or boarding houses in the town. At times the
company would lodge in a house the owners of which were very poor people
who were sorely in need.

It seemed to Alfred the more needy a family appeared, the more insistent
Palmer was in forcing pictures, books, etc., upon them. It was a trick
of his to hang a picture in the best room, place books on the center
table. If they insisted that conditions would not permit enjoying the
luxury of the books or pictures, Palmer would become insulting and
complain of the quality or quantity of the food.

Alfred and Jake were both so thoroughly ashamed at times they would go
elsewhere for their meals.

It happened that, when the trouble came up between Jake and Palmer, the
entire party were quartered at a modest little tavern kept by a
Pennsylvania Dutchman of large girth and little patience. Palmer had
failed to induce him or his good wife, who did all the cooking, to buy
pictures or books. "Ve vant no more picturs und ve don't reat der
pooks," was the argument with which the old fellow met all of Palmer's

After one of their arguments, Palmer, as usual, lost his patience: "What
sort of humans are you? You belong to no church. Where are you bound
for? Like Jake--hell, I suppose." Then he laughed sarcastically.

"Vell, ve haf got along always in Frostburgh und hell can't be much
vorse und if you vant to sell picturs und pooks to pay fur your bordt,
you besser stop mit Con Lynch (referring to a rival tavern). Ve don't
keep travelers to kepp oudt of hell, ve keep bordters to keep oudt of
der poor house."

Palmer answered the old fellow's argument with a reply that he thought
humorous: "Well, if I'd thought there was a poorer house in town than
yours I'd stopped there."

"Vell, it's not too late, gitt oudt, tam you, pack up your pooks und
picturs und gitt oudt purty quick or I'll trow you oudt on der rote."

Palmer, his wife and Gideon, sought quarters at the other tavern; Jake
and Alfred remained.

The next day was one of unpleasantness. Palmer never permitted an
opportunity to pass that he did not cast slurs at all, Jake in
particular. It was evident that Palmer was imbibing more freely than
usual. He constantly drank whiskey; he was drinking to excess. Mrs.
Palmer cried almost constantly. Gideon was more nervous than usual. He
was at Palmer's side constantly; everywhere Palmer went Gideon followed.
Long and earnest talks were engaged in, Palmer always obstinate, Gideon
pleading. When Palmer left the place where the panorama was on
exhibition, Mrs. Palmer stood in or near the door gazing out wistfully
until he reappeared; then seat herself in the furthermost part of the
room from her husband seemingly desirous of keeping out of his sight.

Alfred finally inquired if he could do anything for her. In a few words
she gave him to understand that her husband was of a very excitable
nature at intervals, took to drink and continued it until he fell sick.
She begged Alfred to have Jake apologize and not to quarrel or cross the
man, no matter what provocation he gave them, all of which Alfred
promised her. Jake readily agreed to do anything she suggested.

Alfred and Jake retired to their room where Jake took Alfred into his
confidence, informing the boy of the circumstances that led to his
connection with the panorama. Palmer had an advertisement in a newspaper
offering flattering inducements to a man with six hundred dollars. Jake
read the advertisement. Palmer visited Jake in answer to his letter. His
smooth talk won the honest German. Palmer was very sorry that Jake had
not written sooner as he had about concluded a deal with a man in
Brownsville and before he could arrange with Jake he must go to
Brownsville, see the man and make some sort of an honorable arrangement
to relieve him of the promises made. He induced Jake to accompany him to
Brownsville. Hence the visit of Palmer and Jake to Alfred's home.

Afterwards Palmer informed Jake that he was compelled to pay Alfred's
father two hundred dollars to release him from their agreement. The
honest German was thereby convinced that the panorama was a good
investment. He persuaded his mother to borrow six hundred dollars, all
of which was turned over to Palmer. Jake's understanding was that he
was to be paid thirty dollars a week for his team services. Jake was to
have charge of all moneys received, the six hundred dollars was to be
repaid from profits of the venture. Jake had received to that date
forty-one dollars. Drawing a paper from an old fashioned leather purse,
passing it to Alfred: "Here iss der writing vot vill tell you how it all

Alfred read and re-read the paper which was in Palmer's handwriting. The
legal phraseology was somewhat confusing, but his deductions, were that
Jake was to receive thirty dollars a week for the use of the team and
his and Bedford Tom's services; that Jake was to handle the money; that
he, Jacob Wilson, was to retain six hundred dollars from the profits and
that, when the said six hundred dollars had been paid, the terms of the
contract had been complied with. Such was Alfred's understanding of the

He became convinced that Palmer had in some way defrauded, or intended
to defraud Jake. The fact that Palmer had repeatedly asserted that he
could get rid of Jake--he so informed Alfred when urging the son to
influence the father to take an interest in the panorama--caused Alfred
to feel sure that Jake was being tricked.

Respecting Mrs. Palmer's request and owing to Palmer's condition, Alfred
decided to keep the matter quiet for the present. Ending the interview
with Jake, he returned the paper to the German with the advice that,
when Palmer got off his spree, to take the matter up, have the contract
examined by a lawyer.

Although Jake was quiet and undemonstrative, he was no easy man to
control when aroused. His limited experience in business, his
unsophisticated nature naturally made him suspicious and there was not
an hour while he was awake that he did not seek Alfred to talk over the
possibilities of Palmer absolutely dropping him without returning any of
his money.

The night following that of the scene between Jake and Palmer, after a
day that saw Palmer in front of the bar of the tavern at least twenty
times, the second exhibition of the panorama began. It was the first
town wherein the exhibition failed to attract a larger audience the
second night than that which witnessed the first exhibition. The facts
were Palmer's condition was apparent to all with whom he came in
contact. The talk went over the town that one of the preachers with the
show was on a tear and the other one couldn't hold him down. The church
people held consultations and it was determined to cancel the third

The second exhibition was even more ragged and uneven than the first
night. The lift, or platform, did not give way and carry the painted
pictures towards the lower regions; "Faithful" made the ascension as
scheduled; and the climaxes and tableaux were all more beautifully
presented than on the opening night. But the eloquent speeches were
delivered by Palmer in a thick-tongued voice; his pronunciation was so
imperfect that many of the most beautiful speeches were lost upon the
audience. Palmer did not complete his lecture.

All were nervous, all were laboring under great strain. The members of
the little party exerted themselves; not one made a mistake, not one
forgot a line.

But Palmer, the manager, the proprietor, he who should have been the
first in the work, Palmer was drunk, and the Pilgrim's Progress was
ruined, insofar as that town was concerned. Palmer had become frenzied
the night previous and cried over the excusable blunders of an honest
meaning man. Yet tonight he had ruined the entertainment, disgusted all
who heard him.

Palmer imagined the performance the most excellent yet given, he so
informed all. None had the heart to correct his bewildered imaginings.
When Gideon came back and informed him that the church officials would
have nothing further to do with the exhibition and that if it were put
on the next night they would announce to the town that they were in no
way responsible, he defied the church people, swore he would compel them
to comply with their contract, that he would show, (he always used the
word "show" when he was excited or drunk), the next night and several
nights thereafter. He left the scene for the tavern.

Jake and Alfred repaired to their lodgings. A long time after they had
retired, a timid rapping on the door aroused them. The door opened, and
Gideon and Mrs. Palmer were standing in the hall. The woman's face was
the picture of misery; Gideon was in a terrible state of mind.

Palmer had continued his debauch until he was frenzied. Both feared to
remain in the house with him; he had attempted to injure both of them.
Gideon implored Alfred and Jake to endeavor to calm him; at least,
prevent him drinking any more. Jake was loath to go. He had no fear of
Palmer but brooded over the abuse the man had heaped upon him--Bedford
Tom had fully explained and exaggerated all that Palmer had said and
that Jake did not comprehend at the time. Jake, after due deliberation,
decided in his mind that if Palmer ever abused him again, and Mrs.
Palmer was not near, Palmer would feel the weight of his hand. Therefore
Jake thought he had best not trust himself in Palmer's presence.

Loud words could be heard. Alfred trying the door, found it locked. The
landlord demanded to know who was there. Alfred informed him that he was
a friend of Palmer's and had come to look after him. He was admitted.

Palmer was singing a popular song of the day at the top of his voice,
the landlord endeavoring to quiet him. When Alfred caught a glimpse of
Palmer he could not resist laughing outright. The man was minus coat,
vest and outer shirt, his long, yellow neck, his sharp face with its
tuft of beard, the hooked nose, made his head appear like Punch on a

Catching sight of Alfred, Palmer extended his hand and began singing a
negro minstrel ditty, cake-walking around the boy several times, his
hand extended as if he were inviting the boy to join in his dance.

"Mr. Palmer! Mr. Palmer! It's very late. The folks in the house desire
to sleep. Come on with me; come on to your room," pleaded Alfred.

Palmer kept up his singing, keeping time with his feet. Jake appeared.
Palmer rushed toward him, threw his arms about him, embraced him,
calling him his only friend. "Stick to me, Jake, I'll do the right thing
by you. I know you're all right; I am ashamed of myself for cussing you.
But--never--mind. Come--on--Jake--come--on. Where's Gideon? I want to
give you $600.00. Come on Jake."

Jake held Palmer like a baby, pleading with him to go to bed. Palmer
swore he would not leave the room until the landlord gave him another
drink. Then he wanted all to drink with him. All declined. Then he
wanted to fight the whole crowd.

Alfred and Jake finally pushed and carried Palmer to his room. They
deposited him upon the bed and held him there by force until his senses
began to leave him. Sleep overcame him and, although he kept up a
twitching of the fingers and mutterings, he slept. Alfred and Jake both
fell asleep. When Alfred awoke, Palmer still slept. He tiptoed toward
Palmer and was more than startled to see Mrs. Palmer seated at the head
of the bed, where she had sat all night.

Gideon called the boy and Jake into a conference. It was Gideon's idea
that the party leave the town immediately, keep Palmer on the road away
from drink until he was completely sobered up. The panorama was
dismounted and loaded in the big wagon in less time than ever before.
Jake gave the word and they were on their way.

Palmer fretted and fumed the whole journey; Jake did not drive fast
enough to please him; he would walk, then ride a short distance; all
the while complaining and censuring first one, then another. Jake had
not traversed half the day's journey until he became convinced that
Palmer's effusive exhibitions of friendship the night previous were
prompted by the libations of which he had partaken.

Finally, donning hat and coat Palmer started at a pace so brisk that he
was soon a considerable distance in advance of the slow moving wagon.
Jake was thoroughly disgusted. At a little distance on he made excuse
the harness was broken, and halted the team at least half an hour. Jake,
like Alfred, concluded that Palmer would go a little ways and await

When Jake resumed the journey he drove the team somewhat faster,
prompted to do so by the anxiety of the good woman, who sat by his side
straining her eyes, gazing ahead along the white, dusty way. The object
she looked for did not come into sight.

The shadows of night began to fall. Jake had the team going at a faster
pace than the big wagon had ever sped previously. All eyes looked down
the pike ahead of the team; all expected every minute to see Palmer on
the road ahead of them.

Gideon broke the painful silence: "Whoa! Whoa! Jake, pull the horses
up." Jake obeyed. All turned towards Gideon. "No man could keep ahead of
the team the rate we have been going. He couldn't keep ahead of us even
if he had run, let alone walked. If Palmer hasn't caught onto someone
who is traveling in a buggy or other light vehicle, he has laid down by
the roadside and fallen asleep and failed to hear us go by. I will go
back and look for him; it's only two miles further to town, you all go

All hesitated. Jake then proposed that the wagon halt where it was and
all go back seeking Palmer. Jake, Alfred and Bedford Tom retracing their
steps, looking on each side of the road as they walked. Every person
they met was questioned, but none had noticed a man answering Palmer's
description. Inquiry was made at every farm house.

Finally a traveler on horseback informed the searchers that a man
answering the description of Palmer was seated on the driver's seat of
the stage coach going west.

The three retraced their steps and gave Gideon and the wife the
information gained. Driving into Hancock, Gideon, who was best informed
as to the lines of travel, decided he would take the train for
Cumberland and ascertain there as to whether Palmer had been a passenger
on the stage coach. Later in the evening news came that a stranger had
been discovered by the roadside dead. To attempt to describe the misery
of the wife would be impossible, and to aggravate the situation, to
still more deeply aggrieve the trouble laden woman, a letter came with
the news that one of their children was very ill at home.

Jake and Alfred mounted the horses and rode to the point where the dead
man was found. They arrived previous to the coroner; the body had not
been removed. It was a lonely place on the pike. Two or three country
folk stood near the fence, recounting for the tenth time the
circumstances attending the discovery of the body. The darkness, the
presence of death, were surroundings to which Alfred was not accustomed.

The body lay about twenty yards from the road under a big tree. As they
climbed the fence and faced towards the spot, a stench met their
nostrils. They looked at each other. Jake was the first to recover his
speech: "Phew! If dot's Bolmur, he iss spiled werry queek."

Alfred reclimbed the fence. Jake looked over the dead man and remarked:
"It don'dt look more like Bolmur as you do." Mounting their horses they
were soon back at the tavern. The wife gazed appealingly at them as they
entered, and, in a trembling voice, asked: "No news?"

"No, it vasn't him, he iss been dedt a veek or two." Jake spoke as if
disappointed that the dead man was not Palmer.

Later, Alfred was lying on the bed laughing, Jake, looking at him with a
smile which spoke inquisitiveness more plainly than he could have
articulated the word, inquired: "Vot you laffin at? You laff like a tam
fool. It makes me feel like a tam fool, too; I kan't tell but vot you
iss laffin at my back."

This only brought more laughter. Finally, Jake began laughing also. "I
see, you iss laffin becos I toldt Mrs Bolmur dot de dedt man vos

"Why, Jake, the manner in which you gave the news to her sounded as if
we were disappointed that the dead man was not Palmer."

Jake arose, walked over to Alfred, his face assuming a serious aspect:
"It's a werry great bitty for der poor heart-broken-down woman dot it
was not Bolmur."

Gideon telegraphed from Cumberland that Palmer was there; that he would
arrive on the next train. Jake and Alfred had the panorama all set.
Night came on and neither Gideon nor Palmer had arrived. No train was
scheduled to arrive until midnight. Mrs. Palmer was too nervous, too ill
to give any advice or to even offer a suggestion.

"Could she play the music as usual if they went on with the exhibition?"
"Yes, she would get a cup of tea and be ready for her part of the work."

Alfred arranged with the son of one of the church members to take charge
of the financial end. Jake said he could do the part of Christian and he
was sure that he would not make any mistakes.

The church was crowded. Alfred had assured himself a thousand times that
he could go through the whole dialogue. He was correct but there was
quite a difference in the delivery of the impassioned speeches; the weak
voice of an amateurish schoolboy could not impress the auditors as would
that of an elocutionist with a deep musical voice.

The panorama did not give its usual satisfaction although Jake, to his
credit, went through his part without a mistake. But he did so in such
an awkward, halting way, that it seemed like anything but a character to
excite sympathy; in fact, his fall into the Slough of Despond was so
clumsy that he injured one of his knees. All the while he was rolling
about, supposed to be sinking, he was holding his knee in both hands and
crying: "By yimminy crickitts, Uh! Uh!"

People sitting near the platform were tittering and laughing.

Gideon and Palmer arrived sometime during the night. Gideon was up and
about early. He advised that Palmer would be all right by night.

Gideon appeared more ill at ease than Alfred had ever seen him. Back of
the scenes was Palmer so drunk he could barely articulate. He looked at
Jake and Alfred as they entered and said: "I--can't--work--tonight;
go--on--with--the--performance. I'm going--to--bed." With this he
stretched himself out on the floor. Jake and Alfred gathered him up and
laid him none too gently to one side of the stage.

Confusion or some evil spirit awakened Palmer. He walked out into the
auditorium. Sitting near his wife, he attracted the attention of many of
the audience by giving orders, not only to his wife but in one or two
instances he shouted at Alfred. This so completely unnerved the wife
that she actually made mistakes in the music cues. This confused all and
the exhibition was terribly marred.

The minister of the church was outraged. He ordered the panorama removed
at once and Palmer ejected. The town marshal escorted Palmer out.

Alfred was so angry at the tantalizing remarks Palmer had cast at him
from the audience that he did not dare trust himself near the man. He
warned Jake: "If that Palmer speaks to me I will slap his face until it
is as red as he made mine."

The marshal, through Gideon's pleadings, did not lock Palmer up but
carried him to the tavern. Gideon placed him in bed and returned to the
church to escort the wife to the tavern.

When Alfred and Jake appeared, Gideon was pleading with Palmer to go to
his room. Palmer was demanding drink, the landlord informed him that he
sold no drink nor would he permit drink carried into his house.

Alfred, ashamed of the man, walked out on the sidewalk. Palmer forced
his way out, Gideon feebly holding him. Palmer gave the feeble old man a
push that would have sent him headlong into the gutter had Alfred not
caught him. Alfred stood Gideon on his feet.

Palmer backed off a pace or two, bowing and feinting as if to fight. He
cried mockingly: "Who, who art thou? What kind of meat does this, our
Caesar feed upon that he should thus command us?" Putting up his hands
prize-fighter fashion, he sparred towards Alfred. He made pass after
pass as if to strike the boy who stood motionless, permitting Palmer's
fists to fly by his face without moving or dodging.

Whether through Alfred's passiveness or by mistake, one of Palmer's
fists landed square on the nose of Alfred. The red blood spurted over
his shirt front. Before Jake or Gideon could interfere, Alfred had the
man by the coat collar raining open handed slaps on his face, slaps that
so resounded they could be heard above the confusion and bustle of the

Palmer had become as a madman. Seizing Alfred's arm in his teeth,
sinking them into the flesh, he held on like a bulldog. The blows Alfred
rained on the man's face had no effect on him and it was only when
beaten into insensibility that the jaws relaxed.

The light was dim on the outside and those near by did not realize that
Palmer was biting the boy. The severe punishment he meted out to Palmer
did not meet with the approval of many. However, after they were
separated and Alfred exposed his lacerated arm the talk turned the other
way: "He did not give him half enough."

The landlord sent for a doctor; the arm was treated. Mrs. Palmer
assisted in binding up the wound. Alfred felt so humiliated he scarcely
knew how to thank her. He requested the doctor to go up and see Palmer,
but the good wife had attended to his injuries.

Palmer, his wife and Gideon, decided to travel to the next stop by
train. All day on the road Jake and Alfred were debating as to the
course they would pursue. Jake was inclined to demand a settlement at
once. Alfred persuaded him to hold off until he heard from home, then he
would endeavor to collect the amount due his father, and if Jake desired
to travel, he, Alfred, would organize a minstrel show and they would go
on the road right.

The panorama was set. Gideon was at the church but Mrs. Palmer and her
husband had not put in an appearance. Alfred ran out to the door to
inquire of Gideon as to whether Palmer would be on hand. Gideon assured
him that the husband and wife had left their lodgings with him and
should be at the church at the present time.

Alfred ran back to the panorama. As he passed behind the curtain he came
face to face with Palmer. A badly bruised, black and blue face was that
into which the boy gazed. He was strongly inclined to take the man by
the hand and beg his forgiveness.

Jake, when advised of Alfred's feelings, said: "Vait, you kan't tell, he
may make your forgiveness. It iss his place to do der beggin'; don't you
make vrendts mit him till he askts you to."

Palmer worked as effectually as if nothing had occurred, although his
voice was unsteady at times and slightly hoarse. Palmer kept out of view
of the audience. Alfred never worked so effectually, although his arm
pained him constantly. Mrs. Palmer seemed in better spirits than for a
long time.

Gideon reported Professor Palmer had met with a painful accident in the
last town and could not be seen--this was Gideon's statement to all
inquiries for Palmer. The next morning ladies called at the tavern with
flowers. The minister called; he talked to Palmer until the panorama man
was so nervous he coaxed Gideon to get him whiskey.

The next night Palmer was at the church early. He was particularly
deferential to Jake and Alfred. Anything they said or did he acquiesced
in. Mrs. Palmer seemed like a different woman. A letter bringing good
news from the sick child was ascribed by Jake and Alfred as the cause of
her cheerfulness.

Gideon lingered at the church after the performance. Jake asked for one
hundred dollars to be paid on the morrow. Gideon advised that the order
must come from Palmer ere he could pay out the money. Jake answered: "I
vill see Mr. Bolmur aboudt it early tomorrow."

Gideon begged that Jake defer it: "Palmer is just getting back to
himself; if he gets excited he may go to drinking again."

"If he does ve know how to kure him, jes give him a tam goot trashing;
dot's vot vill kure him. Heh, Alfredt?"

Gideon carried the news to Palmer that Alfred and Jake had combined and
at any time they saw him look toward liquor they intended to give him a
thrashing. Whether Gideon understood this to be the attitude of Alfred
and Jake toward Palmer or whether he used the threat to deter the
drunkard, is not certain. Its effect was to so embitter Palmer that he
set about getting rid of Jake at once.

Mrs. Palmer was assured by Alfred that no such threat had ever been
indulged in by Jake or himself.

After he had exhausted all subterfuges, Palmer grudgingly gave Jake the
one hundred dollars.

Alfred was behind the scenes of the panorama dressing his sore arm. He
had been thus occupied for some time when Palmer and Gideon entered and
resumed a conversation they had evidently begun previously. Gideon
seemed in doubt and fearful: "But how will you manage to get rid of
him?" was the question he put to Palmer.

"You leave that to me and don't you give him any more money; stand pat
the next time he approaches you."

"But he is a partner in the concern. If he went to law he could compel
you to make an accounting from the time we began."

"What do you think I am?" and Palmer looked at Gideon in disgust. "Don't
imagine for one moment of your innocent, unnecessary life that I would
sell a Reuben like Jake or anyone else a third interest in this panorama
for six hundred dollars. Jake has no interest excepting in the profits
until he is paid six hundred dollars. After the six hundred dollars is
paid he has no further claim upon me. I could pay him six hundred
dollars and kick him out today, or if the panorama did not make six
hundred dollars this tour he would get nothing."

"Well, it's best you pay Jake the six hundred dollars and get rid of him
honestly," answered Gideon.

"I'll get rid of him. It's a hell of a nice business to carry two men
with you that threaten if you don't carry yourself straight they will
thrash you. I am justified in doing anything to free myself and the law
will uphold me in it."

"Well, you will be compelled to get another man if you dispense with
Alfred," urged Gideon.

"Oh, I can run into Baltimore and get a dozen people if I want to.
However, I'd like to keep the boy; he's useful and you can trust him.
But he's the damndest, greenest kid that I ever met to have had the
experience he has."

"Well, he's a pretty good boy. He did all your work the night you were
not here and your wife says he did it well; the boy has talent."

"Talent, hell! That's not talent; that's nerve. That's why I say he's
green. Did he ever say anything to you about his arm where I bit him?"
inquired Palmer.

"No; only to say it was pretty sore."

"Why the dam little fool could shook me down for all I had in the world,
mayhem is a penal offence in Maryland. That's why I say he's green. I
skinned his daddy out of nearly two hundred dollars. He imagines he will
get it when we go to Brownsville. I'll keep this trick so dam far away
from that town a crow couldn't fly to me in a week."

Alfred had a mind to walk out on the man and declare himself, but he
held his peace. He sought Jake and together they consulted an attorney.
Alfred's father would be compelled to bring suit where the debt was
contracted, get judgment, send the transcript on before the debt could
be collected. Jake did not own any of the panorama proper; his agreement
gave him one-third of the profits until he was paid the sum of six
hundred dollars and thirty dollars a week as hire for his team.

Alfred did not believe Palmer would do anything at once; he concluded
that the talk he had overheard was of the same character as that which
Palmer had indulged in so often previously.

Alfred was in bed; Jake sat by the window buried in thought. Finally
Jake muttered: "To hell mit dis bizness, I vish I vas back at my home in
Bedfordt." After musing in silence for some time, he muttered: "To hell
mit Palmer; to hell mit Gideon; to hell mit everything but der
panorama." Jake mused a few minutes. Rising to undress, he said
defiantly: "To hell mit der panorama."

The following day Jake asked for an accounting. Palmer endeavored to put
him off. "How much uv dis panorama I own?" asked Jake.

"Oh, Jake, what's the matter with you? You know what our contract is.
Come now, you're an intelligent man, let's do business on business
principles. I'll have Gideon balance the books by Sunday."

"I vant dem balanced today; my condract says dat I am der vun dots to
handle der money; maybe I take holdt tonight."

Palmer became frightened. Gideon furnished Jake a statement showing the
profits to be six hundred dollars and a few cents over. As Jake
understood the contract he was to receive one-third of the profits, this
would entitle him to $200, one hundred of which he had received.

Jake immediately demanded another hundred dollars. Palmer pleaded that
he had sent his money away. Jake was obdurate. Palmer finally produced
the amount.

Jake demanded that he have access to the books; both Palmer and Gideon
demurred, but Jake was again triumphant. However, nothing that favored
Jake was learned from them.



    Your letter to hand. Pap will never get his money from Palmer.
    He is never going to Brownsville or near there. I heard him tell
    Gideon, Pap was a Reuben and he had skinned him out of two
    hundred dollars. And Pap needn't deny it to you.

    This man is awful; he will cheat anybody. I had to lick him, he
    nearly bit my arm off. I nearly beat his head off; it was the
    only way to get loose. I can't tell you all I know in one
    letter. Let Pap sue for his account, send the transcript on and
    I'll get it or I'll know why. He'll not get a chance to bite if
    I go at him again.

    I went out to your old home yesterday; they're real nice people.
    I found the room where I cut my name on the walnut window frame,
    it's nearly rubbed out. The house looks natural but the garden
    and flowers are not like grandmother kept them. All the old
    people asked about Grandpap, Uncle John and Uncle Jake.

    Stir Pap up. If I come home, I'll write you before I do.

        Your affectionate son,

    P. S. Jake's written agreement is a fraud. If Pap has an
    agreement with Palmer, it's a fraud too, don't go by it. Do as I
    tell you, I know what's best. You'll learn law if you travel
    with a panorama.

The next move, to Winchester, was a long journey. One of Jake's horses
having been sick, Palmer advised a day or two previously that the
panorama and people, excepting Bedford Tom and Jake, would travel by
train, thus relieving the team. He also promised Jake a payment on the
profits at the end of the week. As an evidence of good faith he advanced
Jake a week's wages.

Jake wanted Alfred to make the journey with him in the wagon, but Palmer
became offended: "What do you people want to do, get rid of the work of
preparation? I should take Bedford Tom with me also but I will permit
him to go with you for company, but not Alfred."

Palmer gave all directions as to the roads as he always did. In fact, he
cautioned Jake more particularly than usual. He also left orders that a
dinner be put up for Jake and Tom to carry with them. Palmer arose early
to see Jake off and again cautioned him not to lose his way.

Gideon, Palmer, the wife and Alfred boarded the train. They were to
change cars at Harper's Ferry. But Alfred took the train for Winchester,
Gideon excitedly calling him to take the other train. "But that train
goes to Washington, the man said so," pleaded Alfred.

"Get aboard, quick," shouted Gideon, as he jumped on the moving train.

Alfred ran into the train to Palmer. "Don't we go to Winchester?" he
inquired. "Not until next month," answered Palmer.

"Where's Jake and the team going?" asked Alfred. "They told me they were
going to Winchester."

Palmer gave a little forced laugh: "Jake was your friend, was he not? I
thought so at least. Didn't you regard him as your friend?" inquired

"Of course I did," answered Alfred.

Palmer looked at Gideon: "I told you there was something behind this.
Didn't I tell you so, eh?"

Gideon seemed undecided; he both nodded and shook his head. Palmer threw
one limb over the other and rubbed his dirty hands together. "It was
like this: Jake was a partner of mine. We've been having trouble for
some time past. Yesterday he accepted a proposition of mine on condition
that I was not to mention it to you. He stated you were friends but he
did not desire to go into the minstrel business. He feared if you
learned he had received his money from me you would be after him
hot-foot to invest in a minstrel show."

Alfred's face flushed. He did not deny that he and Jake had conversed
many times regarding a minstrel show; Jake seemed greatly interested in
it. Alfred fell for Palmer's plausible story. Palmer exhibited that
which he claimed was a clear receipt from Jake.

When the party arrived in Washington Alfred was so taken up with the
thousand and one places of interest, he took note of nothing save

Lodging at a little hotel on a side street, Palmer had not been seen for
a day or two. To Alfred's inquiry, Gideon mumbled something about new

Mrs. Palmer became more anxious-looking every day. Alfred overheard
Gideon mention Pharoah to the wife. Alfred connected the Biblical
character of that name with the remark. Thinking the matter over he
remembered hearing Palmer oftentimes refer to losses or gains at
Pharoah. He finally connected it with some sort of a game and made bold
to ask Gideon what Palmer had done about old Pharoah. Gideon, with a
surprised look, asked how he knew Palmer was sitting in.

"Oh, I heard he was after old Pharoah."

"You've got the pronunciation wrong but the facts right. Palmer was one
thousand ahead of the game. I begged him to cash in but that's the way
with all who play faro. He didn't know enough to quit the game when he
had velvet in front of him."

Palmer had lost all his money but the little savings of his wife. Gideon
had a few dollars, but that went also. Alfred had twenty-nine dollars
which he refused to loan Palmer. The landlord finally yielded to the
arguments of Palmer and Gideon and agreed to permit the baggage to be
taken to the depot and, with the panorama, shipped to the next town; he,
the landlord, to accompany them until his claims were paid.

The party were off their route. No previous arrangements had been made.
None of the religious denominations in the town could be induced to take
an interest in the panorama. Finally, the courthouse was secured by
rental, but without the influence of the church people, the receipts
were not fifty per cent of what they usually were, so Palmer repeatedly
stated. The hotel man had to advance money to move the company to the
next place of exhibition.

Here the receipts again fell short of the expenses. The hotel man sent
home for money finally. Thoroughly disgusted, the hotel man left the
party with Palmer's note endorsed by Gideon. He requested Alfred's
endorsement also. That gentleman remembered Sammy Steele's advice and
very politely declined to attach his signature to the paper. Palmer
insisted that Alfred endorse the note, arguing: "It's only a matter of
form; I'll take up this note within two weeks." But Alfred did not sign.

Later on, Alfred overheard Palmer cussing Gideon's lax business methods:
"Since you have been a missionary you don't know enough to top
broom-corn. I told you to hold out everything on that hotel guy and you
made him put up only thirteen dollars."

It developed that there were no losses while the hotel man was with the
panorama. Palmer made it appear there was in order to get rid of the

Alfred wrote Jake a sarcastic letter advising that he thought it would
have been more gentlemanly to have informed him of his dislike of the
minstrel business instead of talking to Palmer. "I assisted you in every
way and I thought you were my friend."

No reply came. "Jake was ashamed to answer," was the conclusion reached
by Alfred.

Disgusted with Palmer, homesick, offended at his folks that they did not
reply to his letter, he resolved to write no more but next pay day leave
the panorama and go home. He so informed Palmer. Palmer's arguments had
no effect upon him. Finally Mrs. Palmer persuaded him to remain until
they could secure someone to take his place, promising to do so at the
first opportunity.

"If it's not too long I'll hold out but I want to go home; I'm

Mrs. Palmer covered her face with her hands as she cried: "If there is a
more distressing feeling than a longing for home I pray to God no one
will ever suffer as I have. I've been homesick for years."

Palmer sneered and sarcastically granted her permission to go home at
any time she wished. "You and Alfred better go home together." Alfred
felt like slapping the man and would have done so had not his wife been

Palmer greatly interested the family with whom they were boarding. His
long prayers at family worship and his eloquent talk completely
captivated the entire family including two fine young men. Alfred the
last day of their stay found Palmer rehearsing the elder of the two
boys, the younger holding the prompter's book. Later Alfred overheard
Palmer assure the old gentleman the panorama was the best money making
and the most refined exhibition ever devised.

Two days later the old gentleman, his two boys and another gentleman
arrived in the town where the panorama was on exhibition. The report
became generally circulated that the panorama had been sold to the old
man for his sons. Gideon was to remain as long as they desired his
services. Alfred was also a part of the sale. Palmer advised the buyers
that Alfred knew as much about the panorama as himself. Alfred very
promptly informed the old gentleman that he could not remain longer.
This held up the sale. Palmer coaxed, begged and implored the boy to
remain with the panorama. He assured the purchasers his only reason for
disposing of the panorama was his wife's health. She had been separated
from her children for two years, she was a nervous wreck. He had to make
the sacrifice no matter what the consequences--his wife's happiness came
first. The wife's appearance more than corroborated Palmer's statement.

Finally he offered Alfred one hundred dollars to remain until the new
owners learned the way of running the exhibition. Alfred's answer was:
"You owe my father two hundred dollars."

"I do not, I owe him only a hundred and ninety dollars," contradicted

"Pay my father and I'll stay."

Palmer replied: "I always intended to pay your father; I'll pay him
whether you stay or not."

"When will you pay him?" asked Alfred.

"As soon as I get my money from these people."

"Will you give it to me for him?"

"No, I will not. I will pay him as I promised. Your father is not
worrying about his money. We're going to paint a panorama in
partnership. I expect to be in Brownsville inside of a month, just as
soon as I can settle my wife at home."

Alfred agreed to remain. The sale was made, and Alfred was paid one
hundred dollars. He wrote the folks at home detailing all the changes,
advising that Palmer would be in Brownsville soon to paint a panorama.

Alfred remained two weeks. The new people hired an actor to take his
place. They did not do well with the panorama, Gideon remained but a
short time after Alfred left.

       *       *       *       *       *

Palmer forgot to pay Alfred's father; he also forgot to visit
Brownsville. Years afterwards Alfred met Palmer. He was painting, he was
an artist, so he stated. He looked like a vagrant; there was not much
change in his face, only a little more weather beaten, the lines and
wrinkles deeper, the eyes more dull and his hands more dirty.

He advised Alfred that he had a contract and the work was partly done,
but he could not draw any money until it was completed. "Now Alfred, you
know me, you know how I have struggled, you know how the world has been
against me. But I'll come back; I'll come into my own. I've got a scheme
and I am working it out and it will be a winner. It will put me on Easy
Street all the rest of my days."

Alfred knew all of this talk was leading up to a "touch." Alfred had
mellowed in his feelings. He had sympathy for the outcast but felt he
did not care to waste any charity on the man. He was figuring rapidly
mentally: "I will buy him clothing and give him a small sum of money,
that's all."

"Now you know my ability to earn money," continued Palmer, "and you know
my family. I want you to do me a favor." ("The 'touch' is coming,"
thought Alfred, "I'll have to give him $20 at least.") "Now, don't
refuse me. I will have money as soon as this job is done, and I'll send
it to you; I don't want you to give me nothing. I want you to loan it to
me. Now Alfred, don't go back on me."

"Well, business is none too good and I have heavy expenses and calls
like yours every day. How much do you want?" cautiously inquired Alfred.

"Loan me a dollar," pleaded Palmer.

Alfred handed the man two dollars with a sigh of relief, crediting
himself with eighteen. "Where are Mrs. Palmer and Gideon?" asked Alfred.

"Oh, Gideon died years ago. He hadn't nothing to live for; he just laid
down and died. Mrs. Palmer is at home; I've got a fine home. The
children--oh, one of them married a big orange grove man in California
and the other is with her mother."

Alfred afterwards learned that Gideon was dead; that the contract Palmer
was working on was decorating mirrors in bar-rooms. Mrs. Palmer was
living with relatives. Palmer had not contributed to her support in
years. One of the girls was cashier in a store in Kansas City, the other
a nurse in a sanatarium.

Palmer died of alcoholic dementia only a year or two ago.

Jake is living in Bedford; he began where he left off--on the farm. When
Alfred met Jake he summed up his panorama experience thusly: "Balmur
cheated us all; he cheated everybody und got no good oudt uv it. He
stoled the letters I wrote you und made you badt frednts mit me. But it
iss all gone now and so iss Balmur. I dond't know vich vay he iss gone.
He sed I valked straight into hell mit der panorama; I hope he valks
straight oudt of it. If he does get in I'll bet dey haff a hard yob to
keep him dere; he neffer stays no place long; und I'll bet dey'll be
gladt ven he leaves--dat iss if he makes es much troubles in hell as he
didt mit der panorama."

It is not necessary to state that Palmer sent Jake to a place he never
intended visiting with the panorama. Jake, confused and deceived, made
his way home.


    Something each day--a smile,
      It is not much to give,
    But the little gifts of life
      Make sweet the days we live.

The world appears different to different persons; to one it is dull, to
another bright. Contentment has much to do with it. The pleasant and
interesting happenings crowded into the life of one being may arouse
envy in another.

The man of genius, the man of imagination will note things in the
every-day trend of human affairs that will enrich his memory, store it
with wisdom. The man of dulled faculties will never see things in this
world as does he who is of a higher intelligence. Two men may travel in
a country strange to them, their impressions of the customs, habits of
the people, conditions and appearances of the land, will be widely

After Alfred's return from the tour with the panorama he became the Sir
Oracle of the town. The shoe-shops of Frank McKernan and Nimrod Potts
were the gathering places of those who came to hear the stories that
Alfred had collected in his travels. Previously the atmosphere of the
two shoe-shops had been different. McKernan's shop was the gathering
place of those who lived under the teachings of Thomas Jefferson, they
were Democrats; the audiences at Pott's shop had formerly been composed
of abolitionists.

Nimrod Potts had been an avowed abolitionist.

A change had come over him, politically at least. From a rabid
abolitionist he had changed to a dignified Democrat, nor was it lust for
office that wrought the change--that unholy feeling which influenced
Horace Greeley, who was Potts' political god. Greeley, after twenty-five
years of vituperation and personal abuse, such as was never before
applied to opponent by political writer, denouncing those who were
opposed to his opinions, as representing all that was of vice and
violence, crawled to those he had abused for years begging their votes,
willing to pretend to espouse their principles to attain office. Horace
Greeley's seeking and accepting a Presidential nomination did more to
discredit partisan journalism in this country than all other causes
combined since the establishment of the Republic.

Dr. Patton, a clean cut man, was the Democratic nominee for Burgess
(mayor) of Brownsville. The Doctor was slightly aristocratic in his
bearing, and a number of his own party were dissatisfied with his
candidacy, although a nomination on the Democratic ticket was equivalent
to election. Nimrod Potts was the nominee of the Republican, radical and
abolition element; no one imagined Potts had a living chance of

The times were propitious for the elevation to office of those of humble
origin. Andrew Johnson, a tailor, was then President (by accident). The
argument was used, "Why not elevate Nimrod Potts, the cobbler, to the
highest office within the gift of the electorate of Brownsville?"

Alfred had unconsciously boosted the candidacy of Potts by publicly
announcing that he had visited the tailor shop of Andrew Johnson while
in Greenville, Tenn., and that the shoe-shop of Nimrod Potts in
Brownsville was much larger and more pretentious than the tailor shop of
the man who was then President; and since the qualification for holding
or seeking office in those days seemed to be graduation from some sort
of a shop, Potts' claims should be considered.

Whether it was this statement or the vagaries that at times influence
the minds of voters, Potts was elected.

It is a peculiarity of human nature that people neglect little
bills--bar bills, cobbling bills, etc. Now every man in Brownsville did
not run bar bills, but every man wore shoes (except in summer). Nimrod
Potts had a list of names in the debtor column of his book embracing
some of the best known men and hardest men on shoes in town.

When Nimrod instituted what he considered needed reforms in the
judiciary system, certain ones of the borough's citizenship--although
they had never heard of the Recall--Brownsville had not advanced that
far toward Socialism as yet--instituted proceedings in the county court,
impeaching Potts. He was removed from office. Those who instituted the
ouster proceedings were Republicans. Alfred's Uncle William, who was
judge of the court, was a Democrat.

Potts evidently reasoned that it was but natural that a Democratic judge
should decide to remove him, but to be assailed by his own party was too
much for even his fealty. Hence he proclaimed himself a Democrat and was
received with open arms by that party.

The causes that led up to the removal of Nimrod Potts as Burgess of
Brownsville are recorded in history. However, the reader may have failed
to note this famous "causus bellus" or forgotten it. In expounding the
law two points were always kept in view by Burgess Potts--the
Constitution of the United States and his cobbling accounts. If either
the plaintiff or defendant were indebted to the cobbler, justice was
meted out as the law required, with the addition of the amount due for
cobbling. The cobbling bill was always added to the costs. If both
parties to the case were indebted to the judge the law was bent to apply
to the assessing of costs with the cobblers' bills added.

Potts felt the honor that Alfred had conferred upon him in likening him
to Andrew Johnson. The gatherings at Potts' shop, of which Alfred was
the center of attraction, became more conspicuous than the assemblages
at McKernan's. As may be inferred there was bitter rivalry between the
two shoe-makers.

It was not long ere doubts were expressed as to the correctness of the
word pictures Alfred painted of the country and its people through which
he had journeyed while with the panorama. Some folks who had emigrated
to Brownsville from Virginia and Maryland could not remember anything of
the scenes that Alfred described. Others remembered just such things as
he pictured.

Barney Barnhart, who was from Shepperdstown, not only verified Alfred's
stories relative to the section where he formally resided but actually
bettered some of them.

Alfred was in high repute. He had regained all the prestige lost through
his unfortunate connection with Eli. Working for his father by day,
relating his panorama exploits by night, he was leading an exemplary
life. Some folks ascribed his changed ways to the great moral uplift of
the panorama. Uncle Ned gave Palmer credit for the reformation of the
boy. Consequently they held Palmer in highest estimation. Alfred had not
uttered one word derogatory to Palmer to anyone as yet. He was secretly
hoping Palmer would put in an appearance and paint another panorama,
that he might get control of it. He felt riches awaited anyone who
possessed a panorama.

Even when Alfred pushed a large pumpkin in the round hole of the chimney
on Potts' shoe-shop, smoking out the largest gathering to which he had
ever described "The Pilgrim's Progress" as shown in panorama--while the
auditors stood on the outside of the shop fanning the smoke from their
faces with their hats, Alfred, Phoenix-like, stood in the middle of the
shoe-shop reciting Palmer's lecture. Alfred was never suspected of
smoking his audience out. Instead Potts hiked across the street to Jake
Sawyer's grocery and accused Jimmy Edminston of smoking out the temple
of justice.

Alfred's talks and recitals aroused considerable interest in John
Bunyan's work, "The Pilgrim's Progress." Many were the arguments over
the propriety of the work as presented by Palmer's panorama.

Lin said: "Fur the life of me I kan't figger out how Bunyan hed ever
hoped thet Christian would turn out good after the load saddled on his
shoulders an' the trubles he wus sent through. Why, the devil wouldn't
try tu win anyone by abusin' 'em thet way. I do not blame Jake fur
kickin' over the traces an' takin' the wrong path, kos I'd jes soon gone
tu hell as some uv the places they sent Christian tu."

It was explained to Lin that the book was written as an allegory and the
sufferings were to try Christian's faith.

"Allegery or Perregary, I don't kur which. It's jes es bad es burnin'
peepul tu deth tu make 'em Christians. Besides, I don't think much uv
Christian nohow, the book shows he run away, an' left his wife an' two

However, it was generally admitted that the panorama had greatly
benefited Alfred. Sammy Johnson was no longer teased by him; Alfred even
assured him that the Presbyterian Church would soon have a bell and he
would be employed to ring it. Ringing a church bell was Sammy's
hallucination. Alfred could even enter Johnny Tunstall's grocery, as he
no longer shouted "Wrang hule" at the old gentleman. Alfred no longer
associated with his former companions, but was more often seen with
Teddy Darwin, John LeClair and other good boys.

The Civil War, the Presidential campaign, the fight between the rival
steamboat lines, had kept old Brownsville pretty well stirred up for
several years, but nothing equaling the excitement caused by the
campaign between Potts and Patton had ever been experienced in the old
town. Torch-light processions were the popular way of arousing
enthusiasm. It was the general belief in those days that the fellow who
carried the biggest blaze in the procession was the fellow of most
importance. Nowadays it's the fellow who buys the oil and sits on the
porch and watches the procession go by.

Cousin Albert was an ardent adherent of the Potts faction. Alfred's
father was just as strong for Patton. The father was well disposed
toward Albert but he was very much disgusted with Albert's fondness for
torch-light processions, particularly when Albert bore a transparency on
which was painted, in crude letters, a motto most offensive to Patton

The father more than once intimated that Alfred was a very dull boy in
some respects. "He can play practical jokes on people who should be
exempt, and jokes in which no one but Alfred could see the humor. But
there's Albert, who has laid himself liable to have any sort of a joke
played upon him, goes Scott free."

Therefore Alfred fancied any joke perpetrated upon Cousin Albert must be
pretty strong or the father would stamp it as inane and without humor.

Handbills advertised there would be a parade of the Potts club and the
route was given. Alfred knew that Cousin Albert would be at the head of
the marchers, bearing a very large transparency, with an offensive motto
painted by his father's competitor, Jeffries.

Alfred procured a piece of duck canvas, water proof, about one yard
square. Repairing to the Bowman's pasture lot where the cows spent the
night near the gate, Alfred, with a scoop shovel, filled the canvas with
a half bushel or more of fertilizer. He carried it to Sammy Steele's old
tan house where he had once carried food to the exiles. An old finishing
table stood under a window from which the sash had long since
disappeared. One standing on the table at the opening was six or seven
feet higher than the narrow street below.

Drums were beating, the procession was coming, the candle torches showed
the parade turning Hogg's corner off Market Street; they were coming
toward the old tan-yard. Alfred stood at the window with the canvas
containing the mass of fertilizer. As the head of the parade came
opposite he could see Cousin Albert outlined against the white-washed
fence on the opposite side of the street. Swinging the package a time or
two to give it momentum, as one does a club, Alfred loosened his hold on
three corners of the canvas. The mess slid out as he had planned it
would. He aimed all of it at Cousin Albert.

Alfred was pretty sure aim generally, but he had not experimented with
the sort of ammunition he was using on this occasion; he was not
familiar with its scattering qualities. Alfred did not have time to
either see or hear how his aim had affected Cousin Albert. There was an
angry confusion of yells and curses extending down the line of march.
Alfred felt sure that something awful had happened.

"Catch him! Hang him!" There was a shuffling of feet in the darkness.
Those at the head of the procession had dropped their torches. Alfred's
joke on Cousin Albert had spread to some twenty others; in fact, all in
line opposite the window were included in the joke.

There was a rush for the old tan-house. Alfred flew. Down the stairs,
over the fence, through the widow Cunningham's, across the street,
through Captain Cox's yard and into his home, the thoroughly frightened
boy fled.

Pete Keifer, who had been in the army, a ninety day man, one of the
first to go to the front at the call of duty, one of the first to leave
for home after Bull Run, was most vehement in his threats on the lives
of those who had broken up the torch light procession. Keifer's hearing
was undoubtedly affected by the two pound lump that struck him in the
ear, and some scattering. Sammy Rowland's white shirt front caught a
cluster as large as a saucer. His wife said she had a feeling something
was going to happen when he put on a biled shirt on a week day.

Aaron Todd, who wore a set of whiskers that would have sent him to the
Senate had he lived in Kansas, carried home concealed in his whiskers a
pound or so of Alfred's joke.

Alfred lay in bed trembling. Every sound, every footstep on the street
startled him. When the father returned home he trembled until the bed
shook, fearing it was the mob entering the house. He heard his father
laughing, also the mother; then he heard footsteps on the stairs.
Pretending to be sound asleep he snored loudly. As his father neared the
bed he pretended to suddenly awake. The parent carelessly inquired: "How
long you been in bed?"

"Oh, I don't know how long, I've been asleep. Why? Is there anything
happened?" asked Alfred as he pulled the clothes up over his head to
hide his laughter.

The father replied: "Yes there has and I feared you were mixed up in it.
I am glad you came in early tonight." Then the father informed Alfred
that some half a dozen rowdies had hidden in the old tannery and
bombarded the Potts procession with all sorts of missiles and _things_.
He told of the rage of Keifer, the plight of Todd, etc.

Alfred was sorry the joke on Cousin Albert had miscarried but it seemed
to him the hand of fate guided his aim, as all those who suffered were
unfriendly, all save Sammy Rowland. He was a good friend with whom
Alfred had labored in the tan-yard.

Alfred went to sleep laughing and arose laughing. His mirth excited
comment; it was so continued. The mother often asserted that Alfred,
from the time he was a baby, always awoke laughing in the morning. But
his mirth was so uproarious this morning that it caused the father to
look worried.

Finally, he called Alfred into an adjoining room. Looking him full in
the face he asked: "Did you have a hand in that affair last night?"

Had Alfred been threatened with death he could not have suppressed his
laughter. The more he laughed the more serious the father became. He had
become satisfied that Alfred was connected with the reprehensible act.
The father continued threateningly:

"Well, my boy, you keep on, there will be an end to this kind of work. I
cannot protect you if it gets out on you; it will be the worst blow you
ever inflicted upon this family." Thus the father talked until Alfred
said: "Well, Pap, I hope you are not going to connect me with this thing
just because I laughed."

"No, but I have a feeling that you know something of it. Those
associated with you in this thing will be very apt to blame it all on

"Oh no, they won't. Now, just because I laugh _you're_ going to swear
this thing onto me."

"I am not," replied the father. "The whole town is laughing for that
matter but it will go none the less hard with those engaged in it. I
wouldn't go over in town if I were you," advised the father as he left
the room.

Alfred made his way to Potts' shoe-shop, passing the old tan-house on
the way. Broken transparency, bits of candles, and other odds and ends
were scattered over the ground. The white-washed fence opposite the
window in the old tan-house had the appearance of a field covered with
snow, with here and there a bit of cedar shrubbery growing on it.

Dennis Isler, Jim Johnson and Piggy Mann were under suspicion. Alfred
stood among the crowd and listened in silence to each description of the
scene. No two had seen it alike; one man swore there were half a dozen
shots fired, another declared a brick knocked the hat off his head
without injuring him in the least.

Alfred returned home. The mother and Lin repeatedly inquired as to what
he was laughing at. Lin finally, when the mother was not within hearing,
with an air "you may fool everybody else but you can't fool me" half
whispered: "I know ye done hit. Everybody wud know hit wus ye. Why,
look at yer pants laig, up thar in the room, the marks is on hit."

Alfred flew up stairs. The right leg of a fairly good pair of pants was
amputated just above the knee. The mother wondered why Alfred gave those
pants to Cal Pastor (who had but one leg).

The _Clipper_ had become very friendly. There was scarcely an issue that
there was not a complimentary reference to the rising young actor, "an
ex-attachee of this paper." The _Clipper_ carried a graphic write-up of
the disrupting of the Potts procession. It was headed: "A Dastardly
Attempt to Defeat Potts by Discouraging His Supporters." "A most
unexpected and unprepared-for assault was perpetrated upon an orderly
procession of Brownsville's honest toilers, who were assaulted in the
darkness of night with murderous missiles and other _things_, in a
heated campaign with momentous issues involved. The hurling of foul
epithets is bad enough but when political opponents hurl such things as
were hurled at the Potts adherents it is time to call a halt. Many who
were injured by the fusillade declare the onslaught was so unexpected;
they were so completely taken by surprise that, had they been killed and
interred the assault would not have been more surprising to them. Among
those who were in the worst of the affray was that gallant soldier and
shingle maker, Peter Keifer. He has also seen service in assisting in
arresting Sam Craft who was drafted. Mr. Keifer will devote his time to
running down the hellish brigands who are a menace to the liberty of the
ballot. Mr. Keifer says he will not be deterred in his purpose."

Among those employed by Alfred's father was one, Node Beckley--"Noah"
was his proper name, but all, including his wife, called him Node. In
personal appearance he was not unlike Palmer; spare and wiry,
slim-faced, a large hooked nose, a tuft of beard on his chin. He had no
particular calling or trade; first a hotel keeper, then a house or boat
painter, paper hanger or decorator, saloonkeeper, book-agent, banjo
player and cheap gambler. He was good-natured. His wife was the head man
of the family; what Node lacked in spirit she made up in talk. Node was
kind in his way to his wife and children, who accepted his efforts in
their behalf without any untoward semblance of gratitude and with many
complaints that he did not do more for them. Consequently Node was
always on the hustle, or as near so as his indolent disposition would
permit him to be.

Isaac Jacquette, John Barnhart, Jim Mann, Cousin Charley and others were
continually teasing Node over his many unsuccessful ventures. Node did
not always take their joshings good naturedly but would remind them that
his time was coming, that he would yet strike a lead that would bring
him fortune. He had hinted so often in this manner that Alfred became
convinced Node was working on something in secret and became interested
in him. The other men ascribed Alfred's fondness for Beckley to the fact
that he could perform on the banjo; they often suggested that Alfred and
Beckley start a minstrel show.

"A boy's sense all runs to heart; A boy never sees the dark spots on the
character of the man he fancies."

Node Beckley was not a man of bad character. Alfred's father dispensed
with Beckley's services that he might disrupt the intimacy between the

Node opened a saloon, the Rialto, on the corner of Barefoot Square and
Market Street. Alfred's father forbade him ever to enter the place.
Alfred obeyed. The familiarity continued, the man and boy were often
seen together on the street. Cousin Charley tracked them to the barn of
the old James Beckley Tavern. Alfred's father feared he was gambling;
all the gambling in those days was in haymows or unoccupied buildings in
winter, under the trees in summer. The games were "Seven Up" and

Node was of an inventive turn of mind. It is not known whence came the
inspiration, nor is it certain that there was an inspiration. However,
it can be recorded to the glory of Brownsville that the first flying
machine or airship was the invention of a citizen of the old town.

The flying machine was the mysterious creation that Node had so often
hinted at. Alfred was deeply interested in the aerial machine. It was
planned that the invention should be kept secret from all. Harriet, his
wife, knew he was working on an invention of some sort, as he had been
engaged in this sort of experimenting a greater part of the time since
they wedded. When his perpetual motion machine failed to work "Had"
Beckley had lost interest in Node's inventions. Hence, the flying
machine under process of construction was known only to Alfred and the
inventor. It was their intention to completely surprise the world at
large and that part of it in particular bounded by the Brownsville
borough lines, by having Node flit over the town and perhaps over the
river; then later on, to Uniontown, to Pittsburg and other cities. Then
Alfred and Node would travel all over the world exhibiting the flying

In those days steam was the only propelling power. Gasoline engines were
unknown, electricity had not been harnessed except for telegraphing. The
propelling power of Node's flying machine lay in the arms and legs of
the one who soared in it.

The invention was a very simple contrivance, from which very fact Node
argued it would be successful. There were two large wings, nine feet in
length and of a proportionate breadth, constructed of very light
material, and, at Alfred's suggestion, covered with feathers. Alfred
felt it would be more apt to fly if it wore feathers. Every backyard,
wherein a family killed chickens, ducks or turkeys, was ransacked for
feathers. The variegated plumage of the machine would have defied the
most learned of ornithologists in defining the species of the bird
family to which it belonged.

There was what Node termed a "rear extension." Alfred invariably alluded
to it as "her tail." Why he applied the feminine gender to the machine
was another of those vagaries of which inventors are always possessed.

Node termed the wings, "side-propellers." The arms of the aerialist were
thrust through loops under the wings, hand-holds were at the proper
length from the base of the wings. There was a light frame, to which the
wings were attached; two light ropes, through pulleys worked by the
feet, flopped the rear extension up and down. The rear extension could
be also used as a steering apparatus. The entire thing depended upon the
movements of the arms. After the machine was far and away up in the air,
it would sail as do eagles and buzzards, so Node asserted.

The only doubt Node had was as to possessing strength to raise the thing
to the proper height. When he once got in the air, he had no fears of
staying there.

Alfred suggested that the first start be made from the steeple of the
Episcopal Church. Node seemed pleased with the suggestion. Later, when
they walked by the church and gazed up at the heights Node concluded the
wings and rear extension would have sufficient air pressure to make the
rise from a hill.

The work had progressed to the point where an experimental trial was in
sight. Node had been strapped in the frame-work several times. The wings
worked perfectly; that is, so long as Node's arms kept in motion. The
rear extension did not work so well. Node explained that it would not
work until the thing got up in the air where his feet would have free
play. He would sit astraddle of a bench, Alfred would hold the frame off
the floor, and Node would work his feet. Her "tail" would wobble and fly
up and down at a great rate. Its eccentric actions excited the
admiration of Alfred. He assured Node that her tail would be the wonder
of the world.

"Why, Black Fan's tail never flew around like that, even when she got in
the bumble-bee's nest," asserted Alfred.

Node had made several attempts to raise himself from the barn floor, but
there was not space to work the machine properly. They determined to
arise early some morning, take the machine to Hogg's field, just below
the pike and give it a trial. The apparatus was carefully carried to the
little mound on the high hill overlooking Dunlap's Creek.

Alfred cautioned Node not to fly down the hill, because it would be a
job to carry the machine up the hill.

[Illustration: Trying Out the Flying Machine]

Lin, gazing out of the kitchen window at the chickens picking around in
the yard, said: "Lor' a-mighty! What's happened them chickens? They
ain't one uf 'em got the shadder uf a tail."

Alfred had even stolen the big fly brush, made of peacock feathers, to
birdify Node's flying machine. The extreme end of the rear extension
held the long peacock feathers.

That the bird man idea should be carried out Alfred had made a head
dress of turkey feathers down the nape of the neck, and chicken feathers
in front. When placed on Node's head, with his beaked nose and tuft of
chin beard, he appeared very much as one would picture Uncle Joe Cannon
robed in Maude Adams' "Chanticler" costume.

Node was strapped in the frame, his arms adjusted to the wings, and
Alfred adjusted the head dress against Node's violent protest. He
argued: "The dam thing will get over my eyes and I am liable to fly into
a tree top. Take it off. I'll wear it after I get the hang of this
thing, after I fly awhile."

Several attempts were made at a rise. The rear extension always got out
of gear; the ropes and pulley tangled in the rigging. It was decided
that Alfred hold the rear extension aloft. Node would run down the hill
a few feet launching himself into the air.

Alfred assured Node that he could be of even greater assistance. While
the machine was in course of construction Node had his own way in
everything. Now he was strapped in the apparatus and any innovation
Alfred insisted upon he was powerless to reject. Therefore Alfred
hastened home. There was not a clothes prop in his father's garden long
enough to suit his ideas, therefore, he ran to the next door neighbor's,
Alex Smith's, selecting the longest prop he could find. Hastening to the
scene of the ascension, he found Node in anything but an amiable mood.

"What the devil do you mean by strapping me in this thing and running
all over town to find a pole to push me up in the air? Do you s'pose I
want you to pole me like a raft? You hold up that end of the thing and
I'll fly."

Node was mad enough to fly. Against his angry protests Alfred inserted
the end of the pole between his legs, held up the tail part of the
machine, encouraging Node to take a running start, when he got the
proper momentum to shout "Now," and he, Alfred, would give him a lift
that was bound to shoot him into the air.

They backed up the hill. Node lowered his arms, the wings resting on the
ground, resting himself a bit; turning his bird-like head toward Alfred
he asked if there was anyone watching them. Node was evidently not sure
in his mind that the flight would be successful. When assured by Alfred
that there were no witnesses Node cautioned him not to lift too strongly
on the pole which was still between his legs. Looking up in the air as
if to gauge the height to which he intended to ascend, he said: "Now get
ready and stand by if anything happens when I light."

"Ready?" asked Node, in an eager voice.

"Let her go," was Alfred's reply.

Down the hill ran the two. "Now!" shouted Node.

Alfred put all his power into the lift he gave the man-bird. Node seemed
to arise. One of the ropes caught around Alfred's neck nearly severing
one of his ears. Alfred fell headlong, rolling over two or three times.

When he arose he directed his gaze heavenward, expecting to see Node
soaring through the air. Curses and struggles from a point twenty feet
down the hill disclosed the whereabouts of the inventor. Node was lying
there, the apparatus in a tangled heap. It was with considerable labor,
made more difficult as he was weak from laughter, that Alfred released
Node. Criminations and recriminations followed. Node swore he had
started on a beautiful flight; he could feel himself going up as light
as a soap bubble, just then Alfred's damn fool head-piece flopped down
over his eyes, blinding him so he couldn't see what he was doing. He
quit flapping his wings and fell like a log. If it hadn't been for the
head dress there's no telling where he would have flown to.

Alfred contended that the tailpiece caught on one of his ears and pulled
the bird-man back out of the air. As proof he exhibited the lacerated
ear. Alfred had assured Node that there were no witnesses. However, the
aeronauts had an audience. Jake Beeca and Strap Gaines stood in the road
below; Pete Williams, Billy Brubaker and a couple of strangers were
looking down from the pike above; Johnny Johnson and Widdy Gould were
gazing on the wreck from their back yards. Mary Hart, Jim Hart and Mrs.
Smith were at the front gate, inquiring of Lin and Alfred's mother the
cause of the strange procession then passing.

[Illustration: The End of the Flight]

Node came first. He had forgotten his hat and shoes, laid aside to
lighten him for his flight, his clothes were literally bespattered with
soft, brown earth, his nose scratched, one of his hands bleeding; on his
head the bedraggled feather cap. Following behind came Alfred, one ear
bleeding, his clothing covered with dirt. In his arms he carried the
wrecked flying machine, the rear extension dragging, the beautifully
colored peacock feathers trailing the dirt.

Node, with bowed head and abashed manner, walked as though going to his
execution. Alfred could scarcely walk at all, the ludicrous ending of
the flight, appealed so to his mirth.

Lin gazed curiously at the two as they passed. She scrutinized the
flying machine closely, the feathers, the head-dress on Node. She
entered the house: "Well, Mary," (addressing the mother), "I've seed a
good many funny sights sence Alfurd's been ole enuf tu run aroun' but
I'll be durned ef this one ain't the cap sheaf."

"What's happened now?" anxiously queried the mother.

"Well, I ain't seed enuf tu jes zackly say what it is but hit looks like
Alfurd hed turned his mind tu a Injun show. He's got Node Beckley into
hit; they has things all trimmed with feathers. Now you know what has
made our chickens look so bobbed; they ain't one uf 'em thet's got es
much tail feathers es a blue bird in poke berry time. An' yer peafowl
feather duster,"--here Lin raised her hands--"why they ain't enough left
to shoo a pis-ant, let alone a fly. Lor' Mary, hit's orful, they must-a
had a sham battul or a war, fer Node is kivered with blood an' Alfurd
looked peeled in several places. Node had on a ole feather head dress,
barefooted 'ceptin' socks, no hat or coat, kivered with dust and so was
Alfurd. He was carryin' the Injun fixin's and laffin'; laffin', why
you'd think hit wus the bigges' frolik in the world. Node looked jes es
Joe Sandford looked when he shed his wall-paper show duds. I'll jes run
over an' see what Had Beckley has tu say. I'll bet she'll rear an'
charge when Node gets home."

"Good mornin' Mrs. Beckley, how's all?" was Lin's greeting.

"Won't you walk in, we're all upside down here; walk in ef you can git
in fur the dirt and cluttered up house. Node's been up and gone for two
hours; I'm waitin' fur him to kum so we kin eat breakfus an' clean up. I
have no idee whar he is; your Alfred an' him's together nite an' day

Lin looked surprised as she repeated, "Nite an' day? An' what do ye
s'pose they is up tu, Mrs. Beckley?"

"Well, I dunno. Node's allus got some notion or other in his head. I
never pay no tension to him; ef hit ain't one thing hit's anuther. I
rekon hit's a patent rite concern. He's been putterin' on pattern things
ever sence we wus married."

"Do they run out at nite much, Node an' Alfurd?" Lin asked.

"Why, every blessed nite and all day Sundays."

Lin suggested: "Maybe they go to Baptus meetin'. Thar havin' a revivul;
maybe Node an' Alfurd's thinkin' of jinin' the Baptus Church."

"Huh! Node would be a hell of a Baptus; he's so feared of water he
hain't washed his feet this blessed wintur," snapped Mrs. Beckley.

Lin decided in her mind that Mrs. Beckley was entirely ignorant of the
scheme her husband and Alfred had under way and she changed tack:
"Perhaps they're startin' a show. Has yer husband talked about Injuns tu
yer lately?"

"No," answered the wife in open-mouthed wonder, "have you heard they
were goun' off tu fight Injuns?"

"No, no," quickly assured Lin, "I didn't mean they wus goin' tu fight
Injuns. Yow know Alfurd's full of show notions, an' you know we had a
Injun show yer on Jeffres Commons; hit wusn't much uf a show, nuthin' to
hit. I thought maybe Node an' Alfurd had got hit into theur noodles to
act Injun. Did ye see them things with feathers on them they wus
draggin' aroun'? Yes, an' they got pea fowl feathers on too; bet all
they hev no luck, pea fowl feathers allus bring bad luck."

Here Node entered the room. His wife scanned him, noting his skinned
nose: "Eh, huh, Mr. Injun, I hope ye ain't skulped?" lifting his hat and
looking at his head.

Node was considerably taken aback; he muttered something about making it
go yet, "but no damn fool could pole him into the air." Poor Node
imagined that his secret was out and that all knew of his dismal
failure. When he learned that the feathers had deceived all and that the
flying machine was looked upon as some sort of show paraphernalia, he
humored the deception and admitted that he and Alfred were experimenting
with Indian arms and things, thinking of giving an Indian show.

This satisfied Lin. With all her cunning she was easily deceived.
Running home she advised the mother that she had guessed it the first

"Lor', hit's no use fur Alfurd tu try tu fool me, I know thet thar boy
better'n he knows hisself. I sed, sed I, es soon es I seed Node an' him
comin' 'hit's Injun bizness this trip sure.' Why, anybody'd know thet
what Alfurd was carryin' wus war hoops; war hoops is what Injuns has got
more uf then most anythin' else. But I swear tu goodness I don't see how
Node or Alfurd cud pass fur an Injun. Node looked like a skur-crow an'
Alfred like a Tom-boy girl. Maybe Alfurd kud be Pokerhuntus an' Node
Captin John Smith."

That first attempt at flying but increased the determination to make the
thing a success.

The complicated gearing of the rear extension, was supported with one
rope. It was double gear previously; now it was single gear. Before, it
worked too rapidly and, like Black Fan when under full speed, was liable
to go by the head.

Node declared again and again that it was the rear extension that caused
him to shoot head-first into the earth. He had just started to rise, he
felt himself going up; suddenly the rear extension flew forward, "hit me
on the head, your ole Injun feathers pushed down over my eyes, and I had
to head her for earth. Why I'd been a fool to gone on up in the air
blinded. When a man's flying he's more anxious to see than when he's

Alfred meekly suggested that the fellow with the circus walked the
tight-rope blindfolded. Node admitted this fact; "But he had a
foothold. If I'd had a foothold all hell wouldn't held me, I'd been
flyin' yet."

Often did they settle on a date for the next flight only to have
something unforeseen interfere. Node desired a cloudy day with moderate
wind. Furthermore, the next flight the course was to be laid out.

Node declared with decision: "I want to have the starting and the
stopping points definitely in mind, I want to know just what I am doing.
I know this machine will do the work; I've got more strength in my arms
than I ever had afore," and here Node would bare his spare arms and
fling them about for exercise. "Yes, sir, if my arms hold out I can fly
anywhere. I'll start from Town Hill, light on Krepp's Knob an' pick
about a bit, rest my wings and fly back agin." Then Node would look down
on the river which flowed between--he couldn't swim--and with less
enthusiasm add: "But I won't do that yet; I'll wait till I get more used
to the machine and the air currents. A man to fly right must understand
the air currents jes as a sailor understands the course of the winds.
There are currents and cross currents; sometimes they git all tangled
up, then I'll just quit flappin' my wings, sink below the disturbance,
and fly about below until I git out of them. The main thing is to get
the rise."

"Well, I'll give you a lift," suggested Alfred.

"I want no more of your lifts," quickly answered Node.

Finally it was decided that the next flight be made from the roof of the
old barn in which the flying machine was housed.

In answer to Lin's query as to what he was doing on the roof of the barn
so early in the morning, Alfred carelessly answered: "Oh, I'm making a
pigeon box."

Lin said it looked as if they were going to build a mighty big pigeon

Alfred declared it would be the proper thing to do to invite a half
dozen or more friends to witness the ascension. Node dissented: "Wait
until we get the rear extension to working as perfectly as the side
propellers and we'll give an exhibition. If you invite anybody in this
town to see me fly and anything goes the least bit wrong, they'll walk
off and sneer and say: 'He'll never fly.' That's the way they did when I
was working on the perpetual motion machine. I had it just about goin',
and I invited two or three who I thought were my friends. They looked at
it, praised me to my face and said: 'Node, by golly, you got it,' then
they went right down street and told everybody that I was a dam fool and
that's what disheartened me and I quit working on it. If I hadn't
invited anybody to look at my work I'd had perpetual motion down to a
nicety today. Why, I invented a magnet with which you could find gold or
silver, no matter if it was buried ten feet deep." (It was the belief of
many that there was gold buried in the hills around the old town; that
eccentric, wealthy persons in the early days had buried.)

"I had this magnet," continued Node, "working to perfection. Well, I
took four men with me, and we went around the Point to where a fortune
teller told 'Had' there was money buried. We worked along the hill up to
where the fortune teller had said the money was. The magnet swung right,
then left; suddenly it stopped, then whirled around and around. We all
turned pale. There was a smell in the air like the damp in a coal bank.
One of the men marked the place and said: 'Node, it's too late to begin
digging today; we'll dig tomorrow.' I waited all day, but none of the
men came. 'Had' was all excited about it because the fortune teller had
described the spot to her; she could tell it with her eyes shut. Well,
we walked straight to the place, and what do you suppose?" Node waited
for Alfred's reply.

"Well, I expect you found you was fooled," drawled Alfred.

"Yes, that's what we did," asserted Node, "that's jest what we did find,
we was fooled, robbed, tricked. There was a hole in the ground four or
five feet deep. At the bottom, just the size of a dinner plate and round
as a crock, you could tell there had been a crock full of money taken
out of the hole. Not one of them fellers thet was with me has ever
worked a day since." (Node had forgotten that they had never worked a
day previously.)

Node put his hand on the flying machine as he declared: "No, sir, no one
shall know a thing about this invention until your Uncle Noah has it so
he can do anything a bird can."

The allusion to the hidden wealth impressed Alfred greatly. He became
certain Node would make the flying machine a success. Therefore, he
built the platform on the barn longer that Node might get a better
start. Alfred was strong in the belief that he could greatly aid Node
with the clothes prop as before. But at the mere suggestion Node became
angry. He threatened to abandon the flight if he caught sight of a
clothes prop in Alfred's hands. Node knew full well once he was strapped
in the machine Alfred could do anything he chose. He therefore
determined that no poles or props should be taken to the roof of the old
barn. Alfred had the clothes prop hidden in the barn below. Node
happened to discover it, and forthwith ordered Alfred to carry it back
to Alex Smith's yard. He never took his eyes off the boy until the prop
was leaned against the fence in the yard of the owner.

Node swore he would inform Alex Smith the next time he went by Jacob's
store that Alfred was stealing his clothes props, "And you know what
that red-headed son-of-a-gun will do to you," threatened Node, as he
shook his finger at Alfred.

The morning was propitious; Node said so at least. There were to be no
witnesses, but Cousins Charley and George were hidden in John Fear's
coal house, Baggy Allison was in Alfred's barn, Jim Hart and Mary were
at the upstairs windows in Alex Smith's house--all by invitation of

Node was very nervous. Alfred could do nothing to please him. In
preparing for the first flight he had Alfred strap his arms in the wings
first. He insisted all fastenings should be made ere his arms were
strapped. Alfred had occasion to go below. Node watched him closely as
he made his reappearance through the hole in the roof, evidently fearing
he had brought a pole with him.

Finally, the side propellers were adjusted. Node flapped them a few
times, stood on tip-toes, very much like a cock crowing, as Alfred
encouragingly assured him that he saw him rising. "If you had only given
two or three more flaps with your wings you'd been up in the air sure."

Then in a coaxing manner Alfred continued: "Now Node, if I was you I
would not go too far for the first flight; just flit about, then settle
and rest. Go at it moderate like."

Node seemed to gain confidence. He walked back and forth, or rather he
walked forth and then back, as he could not turn about owing to the rear
extension. Node declared it wouldn't bother him in the air.

Node walked to the edge of the barn some three or four times, bending
his bird-like head to look down as if measuring the distance. As he
backed up after looking down the last time, Alfred sort of taunted him
by saying: "If you can't keep yourself from falling hard enough to hurt
you, your flying apparatus ain't much account. S'pose you don't fly very
high the first time, s'pose you don't fly far, with them wings and that
tail you ought to settle so lightly you wouldn't break an egg shell."

This seemed to strengthen the bird-man; he drew in a few deep breaths,
gazing heavenward, then across the river at Krepp's Knob, then below him
at the river. Alfred was all a-tremble. He remembered that Node said:
"You must mark your course, your starting point, your landing place."
Alfred wondered in his mind whether Node would cross to Krepp's or only
cross Dunlap's Creek over Duck Leonard's mill.

Node flapped his wings again. This time, with each flap of the wings,
Alfred gave the rear extension a gentle lift. Node would rise four or
five inches with each lift. He did nor realize that Alfred was lending
help to his efforts. After a more forcible lift of the tail than any
Alfred had yet given it, Node, turning his head, with a triumphant look,
shouted: "When I say 'Three,' I'm going, but don't you do anything, jest
let me handle her. Let go the rear extension."

[Illustration: Node's Flight]

Pointing the wings heavenward, gazing up as if in prayer, raising
himself on his tip-toes, straining every nerve, in a voice tremulous
with excitement, he began: "One," stretching higher, he shouted: "Two,"
rising on his tip-toes, he reached the edge of the barn, as he fairly
yelled: "Three."

The wings came down beautifully, but they did not rise again. As Node
stepped off the edge of the barn he descended instead of ascending, the
rear extension got sort of tangled on the comb of the roof, Node and the
machine dangled in the air momentarily.

As Alfred dropped through the opening in the roof, he heard Node claw a
time or two at the weather-boarding; something seemed to let go, to rip,
then, there was a dull sound as of a bag of sand falling from a height
to the earth.

There was the sound of footsteps coming from several directions. Alfred
heard all this while he was moving faster than he had ever moved before.
Node did not beat him to the earth by a great margin. As Alfred flew out
of the door of the barn, he saw Jack Rathmell doubled over the fence
laughing as only Jack could laugh.

Ere Node was disentangled from the wrecked airship, ere they escorted
him to "Had"--he declined to be carried--Alfred was safely hidden away
in Alex Smith's hay mow. Buried under the hay he kept peering through a
convenient crack which gave him a view of the territory between his home
and Node's residence. Somehow he figured the whole thing would be blamed
on him.

First, Lin was seen with her apron around her head going toward Node's
house. It was not long until she returned, walking hurriedly. She
reappeared in a moment, bearing in her hands something that appeared to
be bandages. Then Alfred's father came. In a moment or two he was seen
going toward Beckley's house. Then, a little later, the father and two
or three others, including Cousin Charley, reappeared, walking toward
the old barn. Cousin Charley was evidently describing the attempted
flight as he pointed to the roof of the barn. All looked up, then as
Charley marked a spot on the manure pile with his foot, all looked down.

The father gathered up a part of the flying machine and carried it home.
Standing at the gate he gave a shrill whistle, one that he had used to
attract Alfred since he was a little boy. Alfred made no response.

Alfred did not know how badly Node was injured. He felt very sorry for
him, he really liked the man. As miserable as he felt, as sorry as he
was, the funny side of the affair crept into his mind and, as usual, he
relieved himself with a good hearty laugh.

Alfred's laugh was cut short by a voice calling from below: "Who's that?
Hey? Who's that?"

Alfred recognized Alex Smith's voice. He remained motionless for a

The voice, part of the way up the ladder leading to the hay mow, called
again, this time commandingly: "Who's up in the hay mow? Come down! Come
down! Or I'll bring you down."

Alfred remained motionless.

"You won't come down, won't you? Well, you will when I come back." And
the voice told Alfred it's owner was leaving the place.

Alfred, climbing down the ladder, left the stable just as the gate
slammed announcing Mr. Smith's coming. He stood motionless as Mr. Smith
approached. When the elder man recognized the boy he was somewhat

"Was that you in the haymow?"

"Yes, sir," answered Alfred.

"Why didn't you answer when I called to you?"

Alfred related the whole story. Alex Smith accompanied Alfred home. The
story of Node Beckley's flying machine was gone over. The father was

Lin commented thusly: "One story is good till another's told. I jes kum
from Beckley's; Node's not hurt much, jes jarred. He sed he went on the
barn to test his apperatus; he wern't ready to fly. An' I don't reckun
he wus an' what's more, he never will be. He wus jes straitnin' out the
perpellers. He ses: 'Alfurd's been so alfired crazy to hev me fly he
jes couldn't wait till I got my apperatus finished. While I wus standin'
near the aidge uf the roof, my perpellers hangin' down, Alfurd snook up
ahind me an' gin me a push, and afore I could raise my perpellers I wus
on the groun'. If I hed knowed hit I could've saved myself an' flew off
an' lit in the field.'"

Alfred asked Lin who made this statement. She replied Mrs. Beckley had
told it to her.

"If Node told that story I am going over to contradict it, if his back's

"Nevur mind, nevur mind," consoled Lin, "I jes tole 'Had' thet Node wus
a bird, an' like all birds, he knowed which way to fly, kase I heard he
headed straight fur the manure pile."


    Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
      Weep, and you weep alone;
    For this brave old earth must borrow its mirth,
      It has trouble enough of its own.

The world does not require the same attainments from all; it is well it
is so ordered. Some persons are well taught, some are ill taught, some
are not taught at all. Some have naturally good dispositions and absorb
learning readily. Some are deficient in mechanical ingenuity and yet can
analyze difficult mental problems.

It is no crime to fail in any pursuit or vocation, if failure is not due
to idleness or deliberate preference of evil to good. There comes a time
in the life of every reasoning person that they must take themselves for
better or for worse, that they must take themselves more seriously.

Captain Abrams had unintentionally contributed to Alfred's discontent.
He had remarked that to putty up holes, paint a board or smear a
hurricane deck was not much of a trade or calling, but to be an artist
like Alfred's father was a profession that would bring success.

Alfred could not drive a nail straight; he could not saw a board
straight; he was such an awkward writer, the school teacher made fun of
his copy book. She advised Alfred that she did this hoping that by
publicly reprimanding him he would learn to write a more legible hand.
"You excel in spelling, reading, geography and other studies; you should
be ashamed of your writing."

The grandfather, the father, the teacher, all liked Alfred. None
intended to injure his feelings, yet the taunts, the censure, just and
unjust, sunk into Alfred's soul, and, he advised Captain Abrams it was
only the duty he owed his father that kept him there a day.

Alfred was low in mind. He sought his father and endeavored to reason
with him, but was dismissed with the argument: "You don't want to learn
anything useful; if it was something connected with a show, you'd master
it mighty quick."

"But father, I have no skill or sleight to work with tools."

The father interrupted with a peremptory: "Do as I did--learn."

"I can't learn," pleaded the boy, "try as I may, I'm not cut out for a
mechanic. If I could work like you it would be a pleasure to me to keep
at it. I'm out of all heart with my work."

The father evidently felt for the boy as he spoke in a more kindly tone:
"You are not lazy; the things that you can do, you do well. Now you
painted around that hull quicker than any man at work on the boat. Be a
little more patient, take more pains and you'll make a good workman. I
will pay you wages, try to make something useful out of yourself. You'll
never amount to a hill of beans if you follow up your show notions,"
pleaded the father.

"Pap, I'm satisfied with what you give, it ain't that. I don't like the
work. Of course, I painted the hull of the boat quickly but that's all I
can do and Captain Abrams says there's nothing in puttying up nail holes
and painting hulls; anybody can learn that in six months."

The father became cross again, and, in a threatening tone, said: "I am
your father and it is my duty to do my best for you; I firmly believe I
am fulfilling my duty as a parent in ordering you to give up all other
notions as to the future and get down to business and learn this trade.
Now make up your mind; go at your work with the feeling that you are
determined to succeed. If you go at your work in a half-hearted way you
are certain to fail."

"Well, that's the way I feel about this work; I can't learn it, I don't
want to. There's a dozen other things I'd rather do and I can make more
money out of them."

This stubborn talk exasperated the father, and pointing his finger at
the boy to emphasize his words, he said: "First, it was circus, then it
was minstrels. You tried the newspaper business, you were not

"Why, you made me quit newspaper work," interrupted Alfred.

"Don't interrupt me again," cautioned the father, "then it was that
infernal panorama. That panorama was the worst of all, it gave you the
habit of roving; you've never been satisfied a day since you went off
with that panorama."

"But father, you and all your family were willing I should go. You
wanted me to go; I didn't want to go, I only wanted to get back the
money Palmer cheated you out of."

The father thundered: "Don't you try to saddle your roving onto me.
You're not satisfied in any place and never will be. Don't you ever tell
me to my face again that I even hinted that you go with the panorama and
I don't want you to ever mention that anybody cheated me. I'd like to
see the man who can cheat me. Now you go to your work, you're not your
own man yet. I am going to send you to the Merrittstown Academy this
winter and I want you to settle down. You've had it too easy. When I was
a boy I had to get up at 4 o'clock in the morning, make all the fires,
milk four cows and feed a pen full of hogs and I had to be done by
daylight. You've had it too easy, your mother is the one that's spoiled
you. From this day on it's hands off with her; I'll be your boss. Now,
don't let me hear more of this roving talk."

"Why, Pap, I haven't said one word about roving. Can't I do other work
right here at home if I quit this, I don't have to rove, do I?"

"No, but that's the upshot of all this talk," persisted the father. "Now
get down to your work; learn it."

"I can't," doggedly answered the boy. "Didn't you tell me yesterday my
fingers were all thumbs? Didn't you tell me in front of all the hands
that you were ashamed of me and that you didn't think it possible that a
child of yours could be so ignorant and awkward."

The father stammered and colored. He was a most affectionate parent, he
was truly sorry that he had humbled the pride of the boy. "Why, my son,
the men all know I was only teasing you; they all know you are most
intelligent. You can learn anything you set your hand to. Why, when you
went to Dr. Playford to learn to be a doctor he informed me as did Bob,
that they never knew anyone to learn Latin as quickly as you. You could
tell us all the names for medicines. Why, Uncle Jake, Steve Gadd and Joe
Gibbons told me the time they took you to Washington County to the
turkey shoot, that they'd all been down sick if it hadn't been for you.
They say it rained a cold rain and you all got wet. Uncle Jake is
subject to the quinsy and he was on the verge of it. They tried the drug
store and everywhere and they couldn't get nothing. Steve said you went
to the drug store and got all they wanted, only you didn't ask for
whiskey; you called it fermenting spirits. Steve said the druggist told
him confidentially you ought to be a druggist, you told him things he
didn't know before. Now, go at your work as you did at doctoring and
you'll learn. It has been the regret of your mother's life that you did
not learn to be a doctor. I've sometimes thought old Hare just pretended
your medicine made him sick to get out of paying the bill. I don't think
Dr. Playford cared one thing about it so far as you was concerned but
the other doctors talked so about it he just had to let you go. I've
always felt sorry about it because, if any of our family is taken down
with a fever, Playford is the only fever doctor in town."

Arguments of this character occurred almost daily. Alfred grew more and
more dissatisfied, the father more insistent. Alfred kept up his
minstrel work, appearing ever and anon in amateur exhibitions. Folks
kept pouring it into his ears: "Well, if I had your talent this town
wouldn't hold me fifteen minutes; I'd take the boat for Pittsburg
tonight. What does your father mean by holding you down in this way?
Does your mother favor it? Why, your folks are standing in their own
light. If I had a boy like you I'd hire him out and travel with him,"
was Shuban Lee's comment.

All this was not calculated to cool the ardor of an ambitious amateur.
Alfred read the _New York Clipper_ weekly. He wrote many letters to many
minstrel managers to which he did not receive replies.

Charles Duprez, of Duprez and Benedict, answered one of Alfred's letters


    In answer to your letter--do you double in brass?


Alfred read and re-read the letter and finally answered:


    RESPECTED SIR: I do not double in brass or anything else. I'm a
    minstrel, not a contortionist.


No reply ever came. Alfred concluded the minstrel field was overcrowded
or managers would not have permitted him to remain idle, especially in
view of the fact that he had offered to give their full performance, for
as low as twenty dollars a month, washing and mending. To one manager he
added a confidential P. S.: "If you are not doing very well I can put
you on to a good thing, a panorama. I'm a panoramist."

Alfred turned his attention to acrobatics. Every spare hour was spent on
the tan bark pile with Lint Dutton, James Todd Livingston, Tom White
and Lash Hyatt. Lint Dutton was determined to learn bare-back riding.
Sneaking his father's horse from the barn, he would endeavor to stand
alone on the back of the animal, Alfred playing clown and Bindley
Livingston ringmaster. Mr. Dutton, after Lint had fallen and nearly
broken his back, locked up the horse. Lint determined to give up
bare-back riding and practice the Indian style of horsemanship. Many are
the persons who had narrow escapes from being run over by Lint as his
horse galloped up and down the back streets of the town, wearing the old
feather head-dress that Node wore in his attempts to fly.

Alfred and Bindley Livingston constructed a trapeze. Completed, it was
suspended to the roof of the cow stable; the boys spent many hours
practicing. The climax of the act, Livingston, the stronger of the two,
hung by his knees on the little horizontal bar above, holding Alfred by
the ankles both hanging head downwards, swinging to and fro, as does the
pendulum of a clock; the limitations of the stable would not permit the
swinging part of the performance. A large locust tree in Bowman's
pasture lot, near Alfred's home, was selected as the best possible place
to try out the double trapeze act.

From a limb of the tree, Hen Ragor, the assistant in the performance,
suspended the trapeze. The news spread that there would be some
wonderful acting in the old pasture lot, Saturday afternoon, always a
holiday to every boy and girl in old Brownsville to go fishing,
swimming, nutting or berrying. On this particular Saturday all the boys
and girls hied themselves to the old pasture lot; nor was the gathering
confined to the younger set; a few of the adults were attracted. They
stood at a distance, viewing the doings; however, not one of them but
had a vantage position.

As the exercises went along, Danny Gummert, George Pee, Denbow Simpson
and Alf McCormick, drew nearer. Caroline Baldwin, seated on the fence,
yelled: "Come in and look out, you can see better." This brought a laugh
and a few of the elders outside of the pasture sauntered a little ways
off only to come nearer as the applause and laughter grew louder.

Alfred had covered himself with all sorts of glory in the numerous
numbers in which he had participated. Caroline Baldwin, who, with her
brothers Clarke and Charley, occupied two entire private boxes, (two
panels of fence), proclaimed during an intermission that Alfred was the
greatest actor in the country; "it was just shameful he was held down
when people all over the country were pantin' to see him do his

Lin declared: "Nobody in eny show thet's ben yere in years kin hol' a
candul tu him; they can't tech him. He kin walk ontu his hans better en
some peepul kin on thar feet." Here Lin cast a withering glance at Jack
Beckley that would have sobered one less saturated.

Jack returned Lin's look with a vague grin, saying: "I'm drunk and glad
of it."

Lin gave him a smart push as she ordered him to keep his distance: "I
smell licker on yer close."

"Excuse me--I didn't--no--I hed--spilled eny--of hit." Jack seated
himself on the grass, unheeding the jibes of the little boys and girls.
He was a good natured tippler. In fact, he seemed pleased that his
condition was furnishing fun for the crowd.

No blare of trumpet or beat of drum announced the coming of the
death-defying gladiators; no eloquent orator was there to describe their
deeds. Unheralded, unannounced, without applause or acclamation Alfred
and Bindley emerged from their dressing room, Baldwin's barn. Crossing
the narrow alley, climbing the fence they stood under the shade of the
trapeze tree, the open-mouthed, craned neck cynosure of all eyes,
excepting Jack Beckley's--he had gone to sleep.

The silence that greeted the duo was broken only by sotto voce remarks
of Lin, taking a mental inventory of Alfred, or rather, his costume. He
was attired in a red waist trimmed with beads, white tights, long,
bright green, silk stockings tied with broad yellow ribbon garters, a
big, double bow knot on the outside of each limb; a bright red nubia or
neck comforter wound about his middle; no pumps, shoes or other covering
on his feet.

[Illustration: The Aerialist's Debut]

The silence that greeted the appearance of Alfred was broken. Jack
Beckley lying on the ground too listless and drunk to raise his eyes
higher than Alfred's green stockings, noticed the great expanse of feet
in them, seemingly larger by the spread of the loose stockings. He
remarked to those near him: "Thar's a heap uf thet one doubled down on
the groun'."

Lin spoke as if to herself: "Well, I'll be tee-to-tully durned. Ef thet
harum scarum devul hain't got my nit drawurs on fur tites, an' they fit
him like sassage guts that's too big fur the fillin'. An', an'," Lin
craned her neck towards Alfred, "an', an', by jiggurs, ef he ain't a
wearin' Mary's (the mother's) green silk stockin's she used tu dance an'
frolik in when she was a gal; an' Aunt Lib's worked, beaded Jenny Lind
waist; an' Lizzie's new red nubby woun' roun' his shad belly. Ef he
ain't stole the yaller ribbon offen Sal Whitmire's weddin' bonnit, I'm
blind. Well, jus' wate, jus wate. Ef thar ain't a nuther circus to home
tonite it'll be bekase his daddy ain't well."

Alfred and Bindley bowed low, right and left, kissing their hands to the
audience, then saluting the trapeze in turn. (This pantomime
introduction they had copied from Mathews and Hunting, noted trapezists
in those days.) However, the same salutes have been employed by all
aerialists these many years, therefore Alfred and Bindley should not be
charged with stealing the business of others.

Preparatory to ascending to the trapeze Alfred unwound the nubia from
his waist, casting it on the ground. Lin grabbed it up with a look that
seemed to say: "Thank Gawd, I'll get that anyhow."

Trapeze performers usually ascend to their rigging on a net webbing,
hand over hand sailor fashion. Alfred and Bindley, after their bows and
salutes, climbed up the trunk of the tree to the limb on which their
trapeze was suspended. Coon like, they crawled out on the limb and
lowered themselves to the trapeze.

They kissed their hands to the uplifted faces below. At an agreed signal
they bent backward, beginning with the feats performed by all
trapezists. After every trick the aerialists would come up smiling,
seated on the lower bar, side by side. Turning themselves upside
down--which is the clearest explanation that can be written--they hooked
their feet over the short bar in the small swing above and hung
motionless head downward with folded arms.

As they thus clung one of the yellow ribbons or garters on Alfred's limb
became loosened. The long ribbon fluttered in the air, furling and
unfurling it gracefully descended.

Lin reached up her hands to catch it, muttering through her set teeth:
"I wonder ef he'll shed the rest uf his borryed plumes. I wish he wud.
Stretchin' an' crawlin' about he'll bust 'em sure." And Lin looked at
Alfred's limbs with an anxious expression: "Ef he does you kan't sew 'em
an' I ain't got no yarn thet'll match tu darn 'em."

The last feat was the hanging head downward by Bindley, clasping Alfred
by the ankles. Hen Ragor, with the aid of a rope cast over the lower
bar, pulled the performers, backwards and forwards. When the proper
momentum was gained Alfred released his hand hold on the bar. Henry was
to hold the bar away from the swing of the human pendulum until Alfred
clapped his hands. He was then supposed to slacken the rope in his hands
permitting the bar to swing within the grasp of Alfred.

This was the rehearsed procedure to carry the thrilling feat to the
proper climax. Henry swung the trapeze too forcibly, one end of the rope
slipped out of his hands and pulled loose from the trapeze bar. The
lower bar fouled in the branches of the tree.

Alfred was clapping his hands violently for the trapeze. Henry was
endeavoring to cast the rope over the bar, his efforts resulting in
failure after failure. Finally in his excitement he endeavored to cast
the rope up to Alfred. The pendulum had nearly stopped swinging, and
Alfred was waving his arms, clapping his hands and begging piteously for
the big trapeze swing.

Bindley above was holding on to the boy below. He implored Alfred to
climb up to him. Effort after effort was made by Alfred to do so, but he
hung limp and helpless. He could not command sufficient strength to pull
his body up. He clutched at Lin's unmentionables as he hung head
downward. The earth seemed a long way from him and things on it upside

The boys below were yelling in their excitement, the girls had covered
their faces, the grown folks, who had stood afar, rushed to the scene.

Never will Alfred forget the few moments he was suspended thus, nor will
he fail to remember to his dying day the first message he received from
the man above. There was a splash, an incipient shower of warmish liquid
falling on Alfred's upturned chin. Alfred wiped it off with his hand;
fearing it was blood he scanned it closely. He was greatly relieved when
he discovered that it was tobacco juice. (Bindley always chewed when

Following the juice came this message: "I can't hold you all day, come
up here or I'll come down there."

Alfred made frantic grabs, clutches and wiggles to climb up, only to
fall back, more helpless. Hen was making an effort to throw the rope to
Alfred. Lin grabbed him. Snatching the rope from him, she shouted:
"Clim' the tree, clim' the tree, loose the swing, ye dam fool." Hen had
started up the tree. A flood of hot juice rained down on Alfred's
upturned chin, flowing into his mouth.

Bindley, with clinched teeth, muttered: "If you get killed it's your own
fault, I can't hold you any longer."

Alfred could see old Mrs. Wagner at an upstairs window waving a book at
Kenney Shoup urging to the rescue. He could hear voices as if in the
distance. He felt a lowering of his body. He felt himself rushing
through space. He made an effort to look up, and then all was blank.

He had a numb feeling in his whole body. "Stan' back, stan' back, gin
him air, wash thet tobakker juice off his face, hit luks like blud,"
were the first words he caught. His eyes were wide open.

"Pour water on his head; Lor' don't pour hit down his bosum, you'll ruin
Lib's worked waist. Open the gate an' we'll carry him hum an' fetch a
doctur, ef thar's no bones broke he may be hurt innerdly."

Alfred raised himself up. He looked up into the faces about him.
"Where's Bindley?" were the first words he uttered.

"Oh, I'm all right," Alfred assured him, "we'll do it all right
tomorrow, won't we Bindley?"

Bindley nodded his head, doubtfully. Alfred attempted to walk but would
have fallen had not helping hands been stretched out, easing him down
until he rested on all fours. He commanded all to release him: "Let me
alone, I'm all right. Come on home with me, Bindley." Painfully, slowly
he started, crawling toward the opened gate, over the spot where he had
collected the ammunition that disbanded the torch-light parade; nor did
he turn aside for anything. Not unlike a four-footed animal he made his
way to the middle of the street. He attempted to arise. Again weakness,
or pain, bore him down. Hands that were willing to assist him before he
crawled through the cow pasture, were now held aloof.

Lin, as she saw him fall in the dust, said: "Well, ef he ain't a sight
on airth. Kum on James Todd, help him hum; an' you boys strip him while
I heat a kittle uf water, till we git him so the doctur kin handle him."

Alfred staggered to his feet again, Bindley and Charley Brashear
supporting him on either side. Thus, the limping procession slowly moved
homeward, the young ones and a few grown-up ones bringing up the rear.
These latter were re-telling the story of the accident for the twentieth
time, usually concluding with: "Bindley is a fool; he had further to
fall than Alfred; he didn't have to fall, he could have just flopped
Alfred over and turned him so he would have lit on his feet and let him
go. No, dam if he didn't hold on 'til he petered out and down they both
come like two bags of salt. Alfred hit full length, it's a wonder it
hadn't busted him. Bindley lit sort of half standing, but he got right
up and limped a little and it was all over with him, but tother one was
knocked colder than a wedge."

Alfred had been feverish, hot. The great amount of water poured over him
to revive him had run down his body, and the many pads in the maiden
Aunt's garment absorbed the water. Alfred complained of feeling cold.

Someone whispered behind him: "That's a bad sign. When that Jones boy
got throwed off a horse, nobody thought he wus hurt much but he turned
cold just afore he died."

Aaron Todd stood at his gate with a cynical smile spreading over the
small expanse of face not hidden by whiskers. He viewed the plight of
the boy with evident pleasure. As Alfred, with the assistance of his
companions, entered the gate leading to his home, Todd elevated his
nose, and turning about as though to enter his house, sneeringly
muttered: "Dad-burn him; he got a dose of his own medicine. Ho, ho, ho;
chickens comes home to roost, don't they?"

Lin led the way, as she commanded. "Kum on in through the kitchen, it
won't du fur ye tu track over the front room carpet."

With bowed head, leaning on his companions, Alfred limped to the kitchen
door. Bindley and Charley disrobed him. Placing a big, tin vessel in the
middle of the kitchen floor, they soused Alfred into it.

There was not a bath room, private or public, in Brownsville in those
days. Wash tubs were used in winter, the creek and river in summer. Once
there came an oldish, high-toned lady from Richmond. She lodged with
Isaac Vance at the Marshall House. He bought a new carpet and other fine
furnishings for her room. It was an unusually warm summer. One day Vance
noticed the colored porter carrying a tub to the lady's room: "Yer, yer,
where yer goin' with thet tub?" demanded the proprietor of the hotel.
"I'se jes carryin' it up tu Mrs. So and So's room," answered the colored
man. "What's she goin' to do with thet tub this hot weather" inquired
the landlord. "I reckon she's gwine to wash herself; she sed she's gwine
to take a bath, I ges dat's washin' herself." "Huh!" snorted Vance, "not
in this house in this weather. Ef it wus winter I wouldn't mind it, but
I won't have her floppin' aroun' up thar like a dam ole goose, splashin'
water all over thet new carpet. Take thet tub back to the cellar, an'
you go up an' tell her ef she needs a wash to go to the crik like I do."

Alfred was put to bed. The doctor, after careful examination, declared
no bones were broken, there were bad bruises and might be internal
injuries. However, it would require several days to fully determine,
meanwhile the patient must be kept very quiet.

Lin advised the doctor: "He lit mos' settin'; ef he'd hed a littul
further tu fall he'd lit flat on his settin' down attitudes."

A bottle of liniment was ordered, and Alfred rubbed often with the
preparation. John Barnhardt and Cousin Charley volunteered to sit up
with Alfred the first night. Alfred regained his good humor, laughed and
jested over the termination of the trapeze act until all agreed he was
in no danger whatever. "Why, he's jes carryin' on same es he allus does;
hit nevur fazed him," Lin assured the mother.

However, when the doctor called the following morning and Lin
confidentially advised him that the boy was all right and he needn't lay
abed another minute, the doctor dissented, insisting that the patient
remain quiet, at least another twenty-four hours.

Jim Mann agreed to sit up the next night. The father requested Jim to
get someone to sit up with him for company. It was getting late, Lin was
dozing, Alfred urging her to go to bed. There was a knock on the door;
both felt sure it was Jim. Lin opened the door; there stood Jack Beckley
and in about the same condition as the day before.

Lin hesitated to admit him. Jack explained that Jim had invited him to
sit up with Alfred. He said: "Jim and Dave Adams had a quarrel and Jim
threw a pot of white paint on Adams, covering him from head to foot. Jim
don't know whether he will be arrested or not; he does not want to be
arrested and locked up at night when he can't give bail, so he sent me
to look after Alfred."

Lin, when Jack's attention was elsewhere, whispered to Alfred: "Don't
close a eye tunite, sleep tumorrer; ye can't tell what a whusky drinkin'
man'll du, thar's no dependence in 'em."

Jack was a most attentive nurse, in the early hours of the night at
least. He hovered over the bed at the slightest move of the patient. He
insisted on using the liniment almost constantly, declaring he would rub
all the soreness out of Alfred's bruises before morning. Alfred, half
asleep, remembered Jack saying something about looking for more

Jack left the house ere any of the family arose. Alfred was loud in his
praise of Jack's kindness and declared him the best hand in the sick
room he had ever seen. The mother was sorry he went off without
breakfast. The father said he would hand him a piece of money when he
met him.

Alfred insisted that he had entirely recovered; Jack had rubbed all the
soreness out of his hurts and he would not lie longer in bed. The father
and mother commanded he lie until the doctor assured them danger had
passed. The doctor called, and Alfred assured him he was all well and
wanted to get up and go to work that very day. The doctor said: "Well,
you ought to know how you feel. Have you any soreness in your joints or

"No, sir; Jack Beckley rubbed all the soreness out of me last night."

"Turn over, let me see if there is any evidence of bruises." The doctor
seemed deeply interested. Alfred could not see his face but he seemed to
be critically examining him. He would tap various places on the bruised
part of Alfred's anatomy. "Does that hurt? Does that pain you?" would be
the question after each tap, to which Alfred would invariably answer:
"No, sir; no, sir."

After studying a few moments the doctor passed into another part of the
house; he was evidently conferring with the mother. Returning he again
took Alfred's temperature, examining the tongue even more carefully than
previously. The doctor remarked, as if to himself: "It's curious. Did
you sleep; have you no pain?" Again he turned Alfred over and gazed long
at the parts of the body supposed to be bruised.

Alfred began to get interested: "What's the matter, Doc; have you found
any bones broken?"

"No, no, nothing of that kind. But the bruises; have you no soreness."

Alfred assured him that he had not.

"I will be back in an hour," was the conclusion of the doctor's
instructions to Lin.

When Lin entered the room Alfred's first anxious query was: "What's the
matter with the doctor, he wants to make you sick whether you are or
not. I'm going to get out of this bed this day; I'll not lay here any

Here the mother entered cautioning Alfred to remain entirely quiet. "I'm
going over to see grandmother; she is not well. I will bring your father
home with me; the doctor will return by that time and we will know what
to do for you."

Later Mrs. Wagner came, a good-natured, motherly, old German woman, a
near neighbor. Among her neighbors, she was esteemed as one whose
knowledge was invaluable in the sick room. She insisted upon examining
Alfred's condition. Although he insisted he was all right the old lady
was permitted to examine his bruises. She left the room, returning soon
with a large, hot poultice, applying it. Alfred grew rapidly worse.

The doctor soon returned. At every pressure of his fingers he found a
new sore spot. "Does that hurt?" "Yes, sir," would be the answer from
Alfred. Warm teas were administered, cold towels were placed on his
head, and hot poultices on other parts of his anatomy. Alfred feebly
acknowledged he was feeling very badly.

The father and mother came and with them the grandmother. When alone,
the father advised Alfred that his body was a solid mass of bruises,
that the flesh had turned black and blue. Alfred heard Lin whisper
something about "mortification hed set in an' the doctor feared blood

The family were at dinner--Alfred had been placed upon a diet of squab
broth, none of the flesh, just the broth--Alfred quietly arose and, with
the aid of the big looking glass, (mirrors had not been discovered as
yet, in Brownsville), and a contortion feat such as he had never
attempted previously, he scanned the bruised parts. Lin's worst fears
seemed confirmed; all his person reflected in the looking glass was
black as ink, as he expressed it.

Good Mrs. Wagner, with the doctor's permission, continued applying the
hot poultices. Alfred's misery increased near night when the nurses
advised him to calm himself as the bruised blood was rapidly
disappearing. Alfred urged the good woman on by declaring the poultices
were getting cold, although they had been applied but a moment or so.

Uncle Ned came to sit up. He greatly increased Alfred's nervousness by
his attempts at consolation. He showed Alfred the error of his ways,
assuring him he might have been killed outright and that his foolish
ambitions to become an actor would probably lay him up for weeks, that
it would cost his father a lot of money and possibly leave Alfred with
his health impaired for a year to come.

Alfred, to get relief, implored the uncle to bring in more poultices. He
kept the good uncle so busy his lecture was greatly interrupted.

In answer to the doctor's first question: "How do you feel this
morning?" Alfred replied: "Very weak; I had no sleep last night."

The doctor examined the patient carefully. "Does that hurt?" "No, sir,"
answered the sufferer. "Well, you're coming around all right; the blood
is circulating and the bruises are much better, your flesh is assuming
its natural color."

"Doctor, I think that liniment had something to do with my trouble,
don't you? It nearly burned me up and the turpentine in it smelled so I
could hardly stand it. I told Jack when he was rubbing me it felt like
he was raising blisters."

The doctor interrupted the patient by hastily correcting him as to there
being any turpentine in the liniment.

"I know there was, I've worked with turpentine too long not to know the
smell of it," persisted Alfred.

Lin also declared the whole house smelled so of turpentine she was
compelled to change the bed clothes. "Ye kan't tell what a man thet
drinks licker like water mought take intu his hed to rub ontu a body. I
wanted tu hist him when he fust kum, but no, Jim Mann sent him an' he
mus' stay."

"Where's that bottle of liniment I sent here," demanded the doctor.

Lin opened the closet door and handed out two bottles. One of them
contained a few drops of an amber colored fluid. "This is the lotion I
prescribed," said the doctor, and he poured a few drops of the liquid in
the hollow of his hand. Rubbing his hands briskly he held both palms
over his nostrils. Sniffing it he drew his hands back, his eyes
watering. "There's no turpentine in that mixture." He held his hands
over Lin's nostrils and triumphantly asked if she could detect the odor
of turpentine. Lin admitted that it had no scent of turpentine. The
doctor held his hands over Alfred's face: "Where's your turpentine?
You're a good judge of turpentine and you work in it every day and
cannot detect the odor of it from alcohol, wintergreen and chloroform."
The doctor laughed as he seldom laughed.

Calling the mother the doctor laughingly poked a great deal of fun at
Lin: "I wouldn't want Alfred or Lin to buy turpentine for me." He kept
the fun going by reminding Alfred that Jeffries (the father's
competitor) was probably correct when he spread the report that the
father used benzine in his paint instead of turpentine. This was a
center shot at Alfred. The report had been circulated that his father
used benzine to mix his paint with. During the war the price of
turpentine was almost prohibitive and benzine was used by many painters.
It was not a good substitute and it was a common thing for one
contractor to injure another by circulating the report that his
competitor used benzine.

Raising himself up in bed Alfred stoutly reiterated that it was
turpentine he smelled in the liniment.

Lin said: "Durned ef ye kin fool me in the smell uf enything; my snoot
nevur lies. I not only smelt hit but ye kud taste hit."

The mother added her observations to Alfred's and Lin's insisting the
room smelled as strongly of turpentine as though it had just been
painted. "I was compelled to open the windows," she said.

The doctor could not combat the new evidence, it was too direct. "Well,
if there was turpentine rubbed on this boy, Jack Beckley brought it
here. Have you any turpentine in the house he could have gotten at?"

The mother and Lin both declared there was not a drop of turpentine in
the house.

The doctor left with orders to continue the poultices.

Bindley called with his coat pockets full of green apples. Emptying the
unmatured fruit on the bed, he cautioned Alfred to eat salt on them and
they wouldn't hurt him. Bindley was insulted when the green apples were
thrown out by Lin, with the remark: "Huh! He's got enough pizen in his
sistum without loadin' him up with worms."

The turpentine story was detailed to the father with the benzine
reflection, and he was hot under the collar. He sent Bindley forthwith
to locate Jack Beckley and bring him to the house: "But don't say one
word to him about what we want him for."

The report had spread that Alfred was in a serious condition. Many were
the callers and many the comments on the accident. Mrs. Todd said:
"Well, I can't understand why it was that the Livingston boy, who was
the higher up and fell the farthest, escaped injury, and Alfred was hurt
so badly. They say Livingston could have saved himself the fall. They
say he risked his life to save Alfred. I can't just understand how
Alfred got hurt so badly; it seems like a visitation of Providence; you
know Alfred has been so forward in his devilment with other folks."

Lin flared up as she answered: "An' I kan't fur the life uf me figger
out how Bindley fell so much higher down then Alfurd an' didn't break
his back. But judgin' by the terbakker juce he spilled on Alfurd afore
he fell he mus' dropped his quid an' then fell on hit an' thet broke his

There is no denying the fact that the accident made Bindley the hero and
Alfred the goat. Peter Hunt said: "Bindley was prompted by that sense of
duty one boy feels toward another. He held Alfred until he could hold no
longer, and when strength gave out, he fell with Alfred. It was an act
of heroism."

Peter said there were two bodies falling with equal velocity; if one had
fallen on top of the other the concussion would not have been great.

Johnny Tunstall said of Alfred: "Huh! The munkey devil; ye kudn't kill
him with a hax."

George Fee expressed his sorrow thusly: "It's a great pity they fell; I
tole Susan so, for when they wus up in them swings they wus nearer
Heavun un they'll ever git again."

Aaron Todd pushed his whiskers over the garden fence, inquiring of Lin
as to Alfred's condition: "He's purty badly hurt I fear," he began, and,
with a tone that betokened anything but sympathy: "Hurt internally I
reckon. He'll hardly pull through ef he hes blood pizening; I never
knowed anybody thet hed hit internally thet evur got up again."

"Oh, my!" and Lin pretended to be greatly surprised, "Oh, my, Alfurd's
all right. Why he's up an' about. Ef you're goin' out on a torch-lite
percession soon ye'll hear from him." Todd's face clouded, pulling his
whiskers over the fence into his own yard, muttered: "The luck of sum
peepul beats hell."

The doctor and Jack arrived. "What kind of liniment did you apply to
Alfred's bruises?" sternly demanded the doctor.

"I dunno," quietly answered Jack, "your liniment I reckon."

[Illustration: "And Thar's the Very Bottle"]

"Was there turpentine in the liniment you used?" continued the doctor,
not regarding Jack's reply.

"Well I should say; hit nearly burnt my han' off, hit tuk all the skin
off twixt the fingers; my han' wus jus' like when I hed the itch. I've
been greasin' hit with hog's lard an' elder bark ever since," and Jack
pulled his hand out of his pocket and held it up to the doctor's view.

The doctor bent over the hand; it was discolored with small blackish
spots. "Where did you get the liniment; did you bring it with you?" more
sternly demanded the doctor.

"No, sir, I didn't bring hit with me," somewhat impudently answered
Jack, "I'm no hopathekary; I got the liniment right thar," pointing to
the closet door, "an' thar's the very bottle," continued Jack as he
opened the closet door.

Taking the large bottle off the shelf with both hands he passed it to
the doctor who shook and uncorked it. As he was in the act of smelling
it the father entered the room. Turning toward him the doctor, with his
nose still at the neck of the bottle, inquired: "John, where did you get
this stuff, this liniment?"

"Liniment?" the father repeated, as he reached for the bottle.
"Liniment? Why, doc, that's not liniment. Who said it was? Why, I've
been experimenting with that stuff nearly a year. That's not liniment,
thet's walnut stain; I can stain anything to resemble walnut. We--"

The remainder of the father's recommendation was lost in the laugh.
Alfred kicked the bedclothes over the headboard; the women-folks ran,
the doctor did not remain to see Jack remove the mortification from
Alfred's body.

When Jack had scrubbed, rinsed and dried the supposedly affected portion
of Alfred's anatomy, he assured him the black and blue color had been
supplanted by a redness of the skin that was remarkable. "Hit's es red
es scarlet," was Jack's comparison.

"Well for Heavens' sake, Jack, keep it quiet or they'll be doctoring me
for scarlet fever," cautioned Alfred.

As the doctor walked up the path toward the front gate Lin shouted after
him: "Doctur, ye kin tell ole Jeffres thet John uses turpentine in his
liniment ef he don't in his paints."


    Thank God for the man who is cheerful,
      In spite of life's troubles, I say;
    Who sings of a brighter tomorrow
      Because of the clouds today.

Then came a letter--whatever you may be, your parents were probably more
so about the same age; but the world is wiser now than then, the boy
world at least. The writer had heard of Alfred and his wonderful
talents; he was organizing a minstrel show and would like to negotiate
with him. The new organization would be one of the most complete in the
country; it would be an honor to anyone to be connected with it.
Benedict would head the company.

Duprez and Benedict's was one of the leading minstrel companies of the
period. How was Alfred to know the Benedict who was to head the new show
was not Lew Benedict?

Alfred engaged with the Great Benedict Minstrels. Rehearsals were called
for 10 a. m. daily, but were generally called off until 3 p. m., by
which time the principals were in such a jolly mood they did not require
rehearsals; they felt funny enough to entertain royalty.

The manager, or more properly, the angel, for angel he was, seemed more
desirous of making a reputation in bar rooms than with his show.

Alfred learned the minstrels were being organized to invade the oil
regions where money grew on derricks. After subduing the oil territory
the angel was supposed to become so favorably impressed with the
possibilities of the enterprise, augmenting the company, he would treat
the larger cities to a sight of the mighty monarch of the minstrel

Doctor McClintock and wife lived near Rouseville, Pa. Childless, they
adopted a boy, John W. Steele. Prior to the discovery of coal oil, the
worn out fields of that locality were valueless. Now broad acres were as
valuable as the diamond fields of South Africa. Never in the wildest
days of the gold excitement in California was money more rapidly
accumulated or squandered than in the oil regions of Pennsylvania.

Johnny Steele fell heir to all the lands of Dr. McClintock. Wealth
rolled in upon him; he entered upon a career of extravagance. He spent
thousands of dollars daily, he literally cast money to the winds. His
notoriety spread to the furthermost limits of the country; the daily
papers, the weeklies, the monthlies printed exaggerated accounts of his

Skiff and Gaylord's Minstrels crossed the path of "Coal Oil Johnny," as
Steele had been dubbed. Lew Gaylord made a great ado over the
spendthrift. Steele accompanied the minstrels for a few days; their
pathway was one wide streak of hilarity. When hotel men complained of
the boisterous behavior of Steele the coal oil spendthrift bought the
hotel for their stay.

"Coal Oil Johnny" was the sensation of the day. He bought the minstrel
boys hats, coats, shoes, trunks and that most coveted minstrel
decoration, a diamond.

The minstrels flourished for a few months. The public rebuked the
unenviable notoriety of "Coal Oil Johnny." The minstrels steadily
declined. "Coal Oil Johnny" went down with them. His money gone, he was
made treasurer of the troupe his prodigality had ruined. When the ending
came there was none so poor as he. Hotels where he had spent thousands,
refused him even a night's lodging. He went back to the farm; the acres
he had cultivated were covered with oil derricks; the friends he knew
had departed; he was almost a stranger save for the notoriety he had
acquired. Unabashed he seemed to take a pride in the spendthrift race he
had run. He drove a baggage wagon; afterwards he became the baggage
master at the depot in Rouseville.

       *       *       *       *       *

There never was a full rehearsal of the minstrels ere they embarked for
Parker's Landing on the good boat "Jim Rees." There was no railroad to
the oil regions from Pittsburgh in those days. The Allegheny River was
navigable to Venango, opposite the present Oil City.

Two members of the minstrels, song and dance men, took a dislike to
Alfred. Others soon became intimate with him, they enjoyed his humorous
narratives, particularly his experiences with Node Beckley and the
panorama. The two members mentioned exhausted the new boy's patience and
he invited both to fistic combat. His challenges were laughed at; the
jibes and jokes became more and more insulting.

Jealousy, that canker that eats and festers at the hearts of actors as
it does at those of no other humans, was the motive for their actions.

Alfred had introduced a bit of acrobatic comedy in the closing farce
that was the laughing hit of the minstrels. Owing to the lack of acts,
the stage manager ordered Alfred to put on a single turn. This act
preceded the turn of the song and dance men. The singing of Alfred took
with the oil men greatly. The two who followed were not even fair
singers, their efforts fell flat; they had the stage manager change them
on the bill. The change put them just before Alfred. When advised of the
change he reminded the stage manager that he went on only for
accommodation in the olio and flatly refused to follow the song and
dance men. The angel ordered the two song and dance men on in their
usual position, following Alfred. Alfred rehearsed a dance secretly. He
finished his singing turn with this dance, introducing all his known
acrobatic stunts. This rough dance simply set the oil men wild and the
two worthies fell flatter at every performance.

No philanthropist of the "Coal Oil Johnny" sort had discovered the
minstrels as yet, but the path of their travels was one of nightly
carousals. The two dancers were assisting the manager-angel in
scattering the money that came in. The people were hungry for
amusements; hence the tour thus far had been one of profit.

The manager and his companions never went to bed when there was another
place to go. It was one of the pass-times of the two dancers to enter
Alfred's room noiselessly, pull him violently out of bed and steal out
in the darkness. In one of their playful moods they carried Alfred's
wearing apparel to another part of the hotel.

Alfred warned the stage manager that he intended to resent this
treatment. However, there was no cessation to the indignities the two
put upon the young minstrel.

But like all so-called ladders, they could not stand the gaff. After a
particularly keen onslaught upon Alfred with their tongues, in which
several of his weaknesses were commented upon, Alfred got back at them:
"I don't have to cater to the manager to hold my job; I'm drawing my
wages on my work, not on my cheek," was Alfred's retort.

       *       *       *       *       *

At Titusville, a banquet was tendered the minstrels by the landlord of
the hotel.

Many speeches were delivered, good, bad and very bad--all predicting the
perpetual success of the minstrel enterprise. There was a lull in the
gaiety. The toastmaster announced as there was no prepared program all
would be expected to say something. He thereupon introduced one of
Alfred's tormentors.

The fellow arose, cleared his throat and made a laborious attempt to
speak a few intelligible words, concluding with an indelicate story.
The landlord tiptoed across the room closing the door that none might
overhear. With a maudlin leer he followed the landlord with his eyes, as
he shouted: "Thanks, Landy, this ain't a ladies' story." As he sat down
there was neither laughter nor applause.

The toastmaster called upon Alfred. He was overcome with bashfulness and
did not arise until several urged him to say something. "Get up, get
up," urged the two men opposite. Alfred arose, so confused he could not
articulate. A voice shouted: "Tell them about the panorama."

Alfred began Palmer's lecture. It had no application to the occasion,
but few understood it, there was an oppressive silence. Alfred had no
idea of when to cease talking, and would probably have given the whole
lecture, had not Bill Young, a musician, one who took a very great
interest in him, seized him by the arm, shaking him forcibly: "Here,
here; you forgot the song, you promised to sing for us." Bill continued:
"Gentlemen: Alfred will now give you a correct imitation of an old maid
singing 'Barbara Allen.'"

He gave the imitation so cleverly that the guests applauded again and
again. As he ended the song, his eyes closed, imitating the old maid,
something soft and mushy struck him on the breast of his white shirt.
The juice spattered into his face and over those near him.

A glance at the mushy mess, Alfred's eyes fell on the two men opposite
him. One was looking apologetically at the gentleman next Alfred who was
wiping his face with his napkin; the other laughing tantalizingly.

Retaliation was speedy. It was not two seconds after the decayed tomato
landed on Alfred until a large platter of soft salad of some sort, a
sugar bowl and several smaller dishes were landing just where aimed.

One of Alfred's tormentors lay upon the floor, his face and vest
literally covered with salad and other cold lunch. The other was making
for the door, dodging plates and cups that flew perilously near his

Alfred, being the swifter, soon overtook the fleeing man. There was a
short struggle, and Alfred's well directed blows took all the fight out
of him; he begged for mercy.

The landlord led Alfred to the parlor, commanding him to keep quiet and
not cause further disturbance.

Alfred remained in the parlor for what seemed to him a long time.
Finally, the landlord returned to advise the man struck with the salad
plate was pretty badly cut and they thought best to get a doctor. He
further stated the other one had complained to the police.

"The coward," sneered the landlord, "I wish we had let you give it to
him; he would have had something to complain of. However, the chief is a
good friend of mine and I think I can fix it so you will not be locked

Alfred's first thought was, what will the folks at home say should he be
thrown into jail?

The chief of police and members of the company and others crowded into
the parlor. The chief, one of those officials who felt his importance
greatly, assumed to try the case then and there.

"Have you had any fights before?"

"Yes, sir, thousands of them," answered Alfred. He was under the
impression the question covered his entire life. Everybody in the room

"No, I had reference to a fight with the parties whom you assaulted here
tonight," continued the officer.

Alfred was just a little ashamed of the admission and entered into an
explanation: "I never tried to fight them before, though they have done
everything they could to worry me. Ever since I joined the show it has
been one insult after another. I could scarcely keep my hands off them
only I was afeared they would double team on me. I'd had it out long ago
but for that," and as Alfred talked he warmed up.

"Hold on," the chief interrupted, "do not incriminate yourself. Did
either of these men ever offer you violence?"

"No, they was afraid to, they're both cowards. I will fight it out with
either of them right now." Alfred was angry; the old Brownsville way of
settling such disputes was all he thought of.

The chief remarked to those near him: "I feel sorry for this boy, owing
to the fact that they have tormented him;" he turned to Alfred, "I do
not feel sorry for them nor wish to protect them, yet that is no legal
excuse for your assault upon them."

Someone came forward with this proposition, that inasmuch as they all
belonged to one family, that they shake hands all around, call
everything square and go on about their business.

"Well, if the party will withdraw the charge of felonious assault it's
all right with me. I don't get nothing out of it nohow," was the police
officer's reply.

"Get them together," was the suggestion made by several. Alfred
interfered by saying: "I'm willing to get together or do anything that's
fair but I'm not going to travel with this gang of rowdies another day."

The chief nudged him to cease and whispered: "Then they'll put you in

"Well, I'll put them in jail, too," retorted Alfred.

"What charges will you prefer against them; you stated you had never had
trouble with them before?"

"But look what they have done to me," persisted Alfred. "They have
plagued me until I couldn't have a minute's peace of mind, and then they
hit me with a rotten tomattus as big as a gourd, why--?"

The chief here interrupted Alfred to inform him that in law a rotten
tomato was not considered a dangerous weapon.

"Well, if anybody would hit you with a rotten tomattus, I know what
you'd do; you'd shoot 'em, that's what you'd do."

"Why, there was no tomattuses on the table; I can prove it by the

"Them fellers went to the slop barrel and fished it out; didn't I smell
old sour swill on it. Why the smell of that tomattus would made a dog

Whether it was Alfred's anger, emphasized by his smacking his hands
together, his hurried speech, or the description of the condition of the
tomato, the laughter that convulsed all seemed to make him more

With heightened voice and more forcible gestures he continued: "If I do
live in a little town, I've been away from home before, and I won't let
no son-of-a-gun ride over me even if he is as big as the side of a
house. I've got a home; I've got good people; I can go to them and I
won't travel another day with a pack of drunken rowdies. You can do with
me as you please. You say there's no law agin heavin' rotten tomattuses
at a person in a banquet. What kind of law have you got in Titusville?
If anybody would hit another with a tomattus at the dinner table in
Brownsville they'd beat hell out of him quicker'n you could say 'Jack

The remainder of Alfred's forcible, if not eloquent, speech was drowned
by laughter. Half a dozen present volunteered to go his bail.

Numerous attempts were made in the early Sunday morning to influence
Alfred to continue his travels with the troupe. To all arguments he gave
the same answer: "No; I'll not travel further with a lot of drunken

With all sorts of promises, a raise of salary, promotion, and other
alluring inducements, they failed to move Alfred. Finally as do all
cajolers, the manager endeavored to threaten the boy into following his
wishes. But with no better results.

"I would walk home before I would travel another day with you," was the
parting shot as the manager left the room, swearing he would have Alfred
in jail and keep him there.

The injured man swore out a warrant for Alfred. Captain Ham came forward
promptly and signed the bail bond.

The Captain was to open a summer garden or park a few days later. As
Alfred had no previous acquaintance with the gentleman, he has often
thought the deep interest evinced by the genial Captain was influenced
by the two weeks' engagement offered and accepted by Alfred to appear in
the park.

In so far as the writer's knowledge goes, this summer park in Titusville
was the first of it's kind in this country. Titusville is renowned.
Rockefeller's career began there. Titusville was the birthplace of the
summer park and the Standard Oil Company.

The minstrels left Titusville with diminished forces; four remained
behind. After a few nights more of feverish hilarity the company
disbanded without money or friends.

Thus early in life the fact was impressed upon Alfred that the drunkard
is an annoyance to sociability; without judgment, without civility, the
drunkard is an object to be avoided in every walk of life. The drunkard
is a detriment in business; a disgrace to his friends; the shame and
sorrow of his wife and children. He is shunned by even those who profit
by his excesses.

At a banquet in Chicago last year Alfred was confused by someone
shouting: "Al, tell them about your panorama experience; there won't be
any tomatoes thrown."

He could not get his mind off the interruption. As the guests were
departing a gentleman passed his card; the name was not familiar. Alfred
was passing on when the gentleman said: "Al, don't you remember me? We
attended a banquet thirty-nine years ago. You were served with tomatoes;
I got a dose of salad or some such stuff. I didn't mind the salad but
the plate kind of jarred me."

Here he pushed back a lock of red hair streaked with gray, exhibiting a
small scar high up on the temple. Alfred recognized him. To relieve the
situation Alfred inquired as to the whereabouts of Dick, the other song
and dance man. "Oh, he is, or was, working in a saw-mill in
Williamsport. I haven't seen him in thirty years. Al, I didn't throw
that tomato. Come over to the store, I want to talk to you."

       *       *       *       *       *

Fort Duquesne, afterward Pittsburgh, was builded at the confluence of
the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers where they form the Ohio, called by
the villagers the "Point"--a natural site for a beautiful village such
as Fort Duquesne was at the time we write of. It was indeed a sight on
which the eye might gaze enraptured, with ever changing beauties to
charm it. The high hills on every side cast their shades over the
peaceful village for, notwithstanding the prefix "Fort", there was no
semblance of soldiery, cannon or war, about the peaceful place.

The hills of smiling green rising abruptly in places, gently at others,
towering above the rivers, seemed to look down upon the village and its
peoples. The hills crowned with lofty trees and climbing vines, the
trees swaying in the breezes seemed to be bowing approval at the
tranquil scene below.

The locust, the sumac, the oak, the walnut, the dogwood, the haw, the
red berries, glowing in the eyes of the boys of the village, and as
impelling to them as the red lights that later glowed on the Anheuser
Busch plants in the city that supplanted the village of Fort Duquesne.

Brownsville was one long symphony of content and happiness. The
prosperity of its people excited the envy of those of Fort Duquesne. It
was argued by the discontented of Fort Duquesne that the changing of the
name of "Red Stone Old Fort" to Brownsville was that which brought
Brownsville renown and riches.

Therefore, certain ones of Fort Duquesne called a public meeting to be
held at the "Point" where the matter of changing the name of Fort
Duquesne was discussed. Those who had emigrated from Washington County
insisted the name should be Brownstown, hoping thereby to profit from
the confusion that would arise as between that name and Brownsville.
They argued that when the traders from Shousetown, Sewickley and Smith's
Ferry, came up the river to barter they would be confused by the
similarity of the names and ascend the river no further, thus the trade
of Brownsville would be diverted.

Others argued that the name be changed to "Three Rivers;" still others
insisted if change there must be, it be to Fort Pitt. Others wanted a
burg made out of the old Fort. There was a compromise and the name
"Pittsburgh" adopted. Immediately there was an influx of settlers,
particularly from Somerset and Butler Counties. The town profited
greatly by the change of names; there were many who could neither spell
nor pronounce "Duquesne;" but now that it was made easier to explain
where you lived, the town thrived.

Pittsburgh, with an "h", became noted. In Fort Duquesne the people had
been content to live as they began; but the interlopers from Braddocks
Field, Greene County, and Holidaysburg changed conditions. The luxuriant
cabbage gardens gave way to boiler yards; the little brick houses were
supplanted by glass houses, still houses and other manufacturing
establishments, the mark of that van of commercial greatness that has
made Pittsburgh famous.

That part of the town formerly given over to agricultural pursuits,
namely the river banks, was now paved with cobble stones and termed
"wharves," thus providing a vantageous place for the citizens to
congregate when they had a boat race over the lower course. Occasionally
a raft from Salamanca would be moored on the Allegheny wharf and
shingles unloaded in piles for the children to play ketch around in the

On the Monongahela side where the boats came from and departed for
Brownsville, there was always more activity.

Many of Fort Duquesne's best citizens seceded. The volunteer firemen
remained faithful to the old Fort. They went into business on Smithfield
Street and are known to this day as the Duquesne Fire Company. It was
through those who seceded that the outlying boroughs of Birmingham,
Brownstown, and Ormsby, were created on the south side, while those on
the north-west side christened their settlement "Allegheny," thus
destroying its future. As the river of that name that runs away from
itself when it rains and drys up when it is clear, is so uncertain, the
name Allegheny does not appeal to the masses. Had Allegheny taken the
name of "Pittsburgh," the courthouse and all other public buildings
would be located on the north side, a natural site for a populous city.
As it is, Pittsburghers are compelled to live in Irwin, Latrobe,
Cassopolis and Kittanning, to make room for their public buildings.

In the early days of the "Smoky City," for such had become its nickname,
the residents were wont to sit for hours and gaze at the sun and sky;
this pleasure is denied residents in modern Pittsburgh. The only
knowledge they have that there are sun, moon and stars, is that which
Professor John Brashears (from Brownsville) supplies with his
astronomical instruments. Hurrah for Brownsville!

In those good old days there was no caste or class. On a Saturday
afternoon the entire populace would gather at Scotch Hill Market and on
Fifth Avenue at night.

Andy Carnegie knew every man who worked for him by his first name and
could be seen daily at the Bull's Head Tavern where the men always
stopped to open their pay envelopes.

The leaders of society were consistent. There were two balls each winter
and one picnic in summer. City Hall and Glenwood Grove were the scenes
of those gayeties.

Harry Alden, Mayor Blackmore, Chris Ihmsen, Tom Hughes, Major Maltby, N.
P. Sawyer, John O'Brien, Jimmy Hammill, Harry Williams, Major Bunnell,
John W. Pittock, Bill Ramsey and Dan O'Neil were the social, political
and business leaders of Pittsburgh in those days. No social function, no
political scheme, no public celebration from a wedding to a boat race
was successful without their active co-operation.

Ben Trimble, Harry Williams, Matt Canning and Major Bunnell controlled
all the theatres. Jake Fedder was the toll-taker at the Smithfield
Street bridge, a position second in importance only to that of mayor.

Those were happy days for Pittsburgh. Everybody had a skiff and fishing
was good anywhere. The suckers were all salmon in the river and you did
not have to go to lock number one to catch white or yellow perch. A
twine line could be bought at any grocery store. Sporting goods
emporiums had not taken over the fish hook industry.

Happy would Pittsburgh have been could it always have existed as in
those golden days. But communities, like humans, grow out of their
simplicity, encouraged or subdued by the successes or failures of life.

Alfred was in Pittsburgh again among friends whom he loved. Johnny Hart
had graduated from second cook on the tow boat Red Fox to stock comedian
at Trimble's Variety Theater. Harry Williams was the stage manager.
There was a place made for Alfred on almost every bill.

The Levantine Brothers, Fred Proctor, of Keith & Proctor, Harrigan &
Hart, Delehanty & Hengler, Joe Murphy, Johnson & Powers, and all the
famous artists of that time appeared at this house.

Alfred impersonated a wide range of characters while in this theatre.
Harry Williams, the stage manager, was an ideal "Mose" in the play of
that name. (It was the Saturday night bill for weeks.) Alfred made a big
hit as the newsboy, sharing honors with the star. He added new business
to the part weekly and was retained several weeks for the one
performance on Saturday night.

Alfred was engaged by Matt Canning, the manager of the Pittsburgh Opera
House. In those days all first class theatres employed a stock company;
the stars traveled alone, or at least with only a stage manager. The
manuscript of their plays, the scene and property plots were sent in
advance. The company studied their parts until the arrival of the star
when a grand rehearsal was gone through with. This was a strenuous day's
work, particularly if the star was a stickler.

Booth, Barrett, McCullough, Edwin Adams, Joe Jefferson, Jane Coombs and
many other noted stars appeared at the Pittsburgh Opera House and Alfred
had the honor of supporting all of them, by assisting in moving bureaus,
dressing cases, center tables, cooking stoves, bedsteads, bar fixtures
and other properties required in the plays, up and down stairs. However,
parts, and minor roles, were entrusted to Alfred. If the stock system
had continued it would be greatly to the advantage of the dramatic stage
of today. It made the actor, it proved the actor. He remained in the
ranks alone on his ability, impersonating many characters in one season.
His art broadened.

Actors do not compare with those of the olden days. This is true. We may
have a few actors as able as any that ever lived but the dramatic
profession in general has deteriorated since the combination system
superceded the stock company.

The stage has advanced in the authorship of plays and their production,
not in their rendition. The actors of today are not the students or
workers as were those of the earlier days, neither have they the

Alfred was entrusted with many roles not congenial to him; in those he
generally failed. In a society drama, appearing in evening dress, a
turn-down collar, a large red and white flowing tie, a huge minstrel
watch chain attached to his vest, he was reprimanded by Jane Coombs,
the star, in the presence of the company.

Another time he led a Roman mob costumed as a Quaker. John McCullough
laughed over this afterwards, but at the time, what he said cannot be
printed. When Joseph Jefferson appeared as Rip Van Winkle, in addition
to impersonating one of the villagers, Alfred was entrusted with the
task of securing children to take part in the play. The stage manager
advised the bashful children to make merry with Rip; that he was very
fond of children and would enjoy their familiarity. Whether it was the
shaggy beard or the assumed intoxication of Rip, a child refused to
clamber up on Rip's back. The stage was waiting; that the scene should
not be marred, seventeen year old Alfred attempted to perch himself on
Rip's back. It was not the Jefferson of later days but the Jefferson of
middle manhood. Alfred was dropped to the floor amid laughter that the
scene never evoked previously. Instead of the great actor being peeved,
he kindly inquired of Alfred if the fall had hurt him. As a matter of
fact Alfred purposely made the fall awkward.

Dick Cannon had a number of young friends--Billy Conard, Clarke Winnett,
Charley Smith, Billy Kane and Alfred. Dick had a large luxuriously
furnished room in the hotel. One evening each week he set apart to
entertain his young friends. To pass the time away Dick introduced a
game he had played a few times while tending lock at Rice's Landing. It
was a Greene County game, new to Fort Duquesne but universally popular
in Pittsburgh since. The game was known as "Draw Poker" in Greene

After several lessons, in which Dick's courtesy and unusual interest in
his young friends was evidenced at the end of every deal, as Dick raked
in the pot with the air and manner of a learned professor of a college,
he explained to each player who had lost--and his lecture always
embraced the entire class, for when the pot justified it, they all
lost--just how they should have played their hand to win. "It's just as
important to learn how to lay 'em down as it is to play 'em up," was his

Alfred had failed, notwithstanding Dick's teachings, to learn even the
rudiments of the game, so he sought the dictionary. He had become
convinced that a person to be proficient should, as Dick advised in one
of his lectures, not only study the game but human nature as well.
Therefore, Alfred decided to start right. He found the word "draw"
signified "to drag, to entice, to delineate, to take out, to inhale, to
extend." The word "poker" signified any frightful object, a "spook."

[Illustration: The Old Greene County Game]

The echoes of Gideon's words were daily percolating through Alfred's
gray matter: "Don't know enough to quit the game when you got velvet in
front of you."

When questioned as to the cause of his absence from the weekly seance,
Alfred replied that, as he understood it, the object of Dick was to
teach and enlighten each in the class, and that he had thoroughly
mastered the mysteries of the game and he felt it was imposing on Dick
to take up his valuable time and devour his delicacies longer; Dick
should get a new class. "I'm graduated," concluded Alfred.

       *       *       *       *       *

Alfred's connection with the drama was both pleasant and profitable. The
probabilities are that if a certain production had realized the hopes of
its authors, he would have continued in the dramatic line. It was the
beginning of that evolution of the stage that culminated in the
ascendency, for a time, of the melodrama.

A serial story under the title of "From Ocean to Ocean," then running in
Street & Smith's _New York Weekly_, was dramatized for J. Newton
Gotthold and in so far as the writer is informed it was Bartley
Campbell's first play. The play bore the title of "Through Fire." It was
a stirring drama, and both actor and author had high hopes of its

J. K. Emmett, recruited from the minstrel ranks, had made himself
immensely popular, and wealth was rolling in on him. His vehicle "Fritz"
was a flimsy frame on which was hung Emmett's specialties.

Byron's phenomenal success in "Across the Continent" was achieved only
through his artistic ability. It was argued that J. Newton Gotthold, a
sterling actor, with a sterling play, was sure to attain success. Alfred
was engaged for the spring trial of the play; also the following season.

The opening occurred in Youngstown, a western city, so looked upon by
Pittsburghers in those days. After two nights in the west there would be
a week or two weeks in Pittsburgh.

Alfred, in addition to doubling the character of a young snob,
afterwards a quick gun-man, also led the Indians' attack on the wagon

A number of supes were employed in Youngstown, husky young rolling mill
men of muscle and grit. Alfred, at the head of his Indian braves,
attacked the wagon train of emigrants; instead of the supes falling
back, as rehearsed, then charging forward, led by the star, they
pitched into Alfred and his Indians at the first rush. Alfred to save
the scene, fought valiantly to stem the tide of strength and sturdy
determination. But the supe pale-faces were too muscular for the copper
tinted braves whom Alfred led. In fact, at the first onslaught of the
whites the Indians, with the exception of one or two, fled and left
Alfred to battle alone.

Alfred was overpowered, completely vanquished--a blow between the eyes
laid him low. The Youngstown supes not only wiped up the stage with him
but they wiped their feet on him. The gallery howled, the down-stairs
applauded, the company laughed. The curtain fell amid loud applause.

Alfred was anxious to continue the conflict after the curtain dropped;
the supes were agreeable. But the stage manager, the stars and others of
the company interfered. The matter was amicably adjusted.

Alfred, although badly maimed, played his parts during the week's run in
Pittsburgh, although the war club he carried was not the imitation one
he wielded in Youngstown. However, there was no recurrence of the
Youngstown scene.

The play did not meet with success. After the Pittsburgh engagement it
was carefully laid away and thus Alfred was preserved to minstrelsy.

It is a curious fact that the only play Bartley Campbell ever wrote, a
play with the theme of which he was not in sympathy, written for
commercial purposes only, has lived longer and earned more money than
his most meritorious creations. We refer to "The White Slave." Who is
not familiar with those thrilling lines:

    "Rags are royal raiment
    When worn for virtue's sake."

Bartley Campbell was a self made man--from laboring in a brick-yard to
journalism, then a dramatist. He was a noble boy, a manly man. He toiled
patiently all the days of his only too brief life for those he loved.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was in the early days of the beginning of that race for wealth that
has made Pittsburgh both famous and infamous. Jared M. Brush had been
elected mayor; Hostetter Stomach Bitters had become famous in all dry
sections of the country; Jimmy Hammill had won the single sculling
championship of the world; the Red Lion Hotel had painted the lion out
and painted St. Clair Hotel in gilt letters to attract trade from
Sewickley, which community, so near the Economites, had imbibed a sort
of religious fervor exhibited outwardly only. It was argued by the
proprietor that when the residents of Sewickley drove by on their way to
market to dispose of their garden truck, butter and eggs, they would be
attracted by the word "Saint." The St. Nicholas Hotel on Grant Street
always boarded the court jurors. The St. Charles on Wood Street had the
patronage of the Democrats of Fayette County. Brownsville people always
stopped at the Monongahela House.

The bleating sheep, the frolicking calves, the cackling hens, that had
been heard on the verdant ridges of Pennsylvania Road, had been crowded
to the rural district known later as East Liberty and Walls.

The log houses had given away to brick and frame dwellings owned by
those who occupied them. Doctor Spencer had opened a dental emporium on
Penn Street near the old ferry, then known as Hand Street, now Ninth.

Business was so good Joe Zimmerman had to paint his name upside down on
his store front near the union depot. The fact that this cigar store was
always crowded suggested the idea of another railroad for Pittsburgh. At
first it was contemplated building the road along the south or west bank
of the Monongahela, extending the road to, or beyond Brownsville.

Bill Brown then resided on Braddocks field, although he has repeatedly
and earnestly protested to the writer that he was not at home when
Braddock fell and did not hear of it for some time afterwards.
Therefore, it is hoped those who are not acquainted with Bill will not
connect him in any way with anything that happened to Braddock--the
general, not the village.

When Bill learned of the projected railroad he interested a number of
capitalists who owned coal land and town lots in Braddock. Hence, the
new road was built on Bill's side of the river. First, it was completed
to McKeesport. The opposition steamboat lines plying the river, (the
boats being much fleeter than the railroad), controlled the passenger

When the projectors of the new railroad had this fact forced upon them
they abandoned the plan of building the road further up the Monongahela
than McKeesport. Surveying a route along the Youghiogheny River and
thence to Connellsville they announced that they would eventually build
to Uniontown and down Redstone Creek to Brownsville thus entering
Brownsville by the back door, as it were.

However, this change of route did not work as the railroad people hoped
for. The railroad carried a few passengers for Layton's Station, West
Newton and several settlements between McKeesport and Connellsville. All
travelers to McKeesport still patronized the boats, even those for West
Newton and Layton Station traveled on the boats to McKeesport, and
awaited the train to continue their journey.

The railroad people, dispirited and almost bankrupt, appealed to Brown
and his friends who had held out such glowing inducements to them to
build the road on their side of the river. An investigation of
conditions was ordered and Bill, with his usual good luck and influence,
appointed chairman of the investigating committee, with powers to expend
whatever amount was necessary to the investigation.

Bill made one trip on the railroad to Connellsville. Thereafter, he
spent the greater part of the beautiful autumn traveling up and down the
Monongahela, even as far up the river as Geneva, although the scope of
the investigation was to extend only as far as McKeesport.

The palatial side-wheel steamers were always crowded to the guards with
travelers. Many slept on cots in the cabins but Bill had the bridal
chamber. The mirrored bars employed a double shift of irrigators. They
were never closed except when the boats were moored at Pittsburgh, and
then Bill could always get in the back way. The food was bountiful;
stewed chicken for breakfast, turkey for dinner, fried chicken for
supper, and at night a poker game in the barber shop.

Again and again the railroad people requested a report from Bill but he
was busy investigating as to why the steam cars were running with empty

Finally notices were mailed to the railroad people, the superintendents
who were also the section foremen, that the chairman of the committee
was ready to report. They were requested to meet at Dimling's where Bill
often assembled himself.

[Illustration: Bill's Report]

Brown arose to read his elaborate report. He began by making a short
explanatory speech mostly devoted to the immense amount of labor
entailed upon him in the investigation. He thanked the railroad people
for the confidence they had placed in him. He deplored his lack of
ability and knowledge. In fact, in his talk he expressed such a
contemptuous opinion of himself that those present (country folks), from
Hazelwood and Port Perry were wrothy that they had entrusted Bill with
the mission and money to complete the investigation. They were ignorant
of the fact that the speech was one he had delivered to the members of
another body yearly when elected to the office of treasurer.

Bill then read his report. It dealt with the crowned heads of Europe,
the free traders of Pennsylvania, the populists of Kansas and Nebraska,
the government of Ancient Greece and the wars of the Romans. Of course
this had nothing to do with the subject under investigation but it
served to rattle and confuse those to whom the report was read and
impress them with the wide scope of the investigation.

The report referred in scathing terms to the unparalleled audacity of
the officers of the rival lines of steamers, more particularly the new,
or People's Line. That line had only two boats, the "Elector" and
"Chieftain," while the mail line had the "Fayette," "Gallatin,"
"Franklin," "Jefferson," "Elisha Bennett," and other boats.

Bill, like everybody on the inside, felt that the mail line would soon
absorb its rival and it was politic to be "in" with the stronger

The report demanded that the runners for the boats be restrained from
soliciting passengers; that the steamboats be restrained from departing
on the scheduled time of the railroads. Thus, if the West Newton and
Layton Station passengers could not make connections at McKeesport, that
is, if the trains arrived prior to the boats, travellers would be
compelled to patronize the railroad.

He also compared the officers of the steamboat lines to the Gauls who
devastated Rome, the vandals who had over-run the fairest plains of
Europe. That part of the report ended with: "God forbid we live longer
under these conditions."

Having thus artfully worked up the feelings of those present, Bill gazed
over the assemblage with the air of a man who has gotten that which he
went after, and continued to read:

"After diligent research, entailing much traveling, including many trips
up and down the river at great expense including shoe-shining, your
committee has succeeded in evolving a plan whereby the Pittsburgh and
Connellsville Railroad may be able to control the passenger traffic on
its lines. And it is to be hoped that all concerned will take the proper
view of the matter and concur in the recommendations of the committee:
First, that all trains on the Pittsburgh and Connellsville Railroad
(excepting when otherwise so ordered), be and are hereby ordered
equipped with an extra car, divided into three compartments, namely,
dining room, bar-room, and another room."

The chairman explained that the words "excepting when otherwise so
ordered" were inserted as a precautionary measure. "It might happen at
times that two cars, of the kind the committee recommended, might be

After concluding his report the chairman carefully folded the paper,
placing it in his hat. Casting his eyes over the meeting he silently
waited for some one to say something to Dimling.

After the meeting adjourned, one man ventured to remark that Bill had
gone about the investigation like a colt approaching a brass band,
prancing and dancing, wrong end foremost.

Many were the written protests sent Bill. All these he ignored. He not
only refused to reply to them, but to emphasize his contempt, used them
for an unseemly purpose.


    Hang on! Cling on!
      No matter what they say.
    Push on! Work on!
      Things will come your way.

"A person dunno till after they've fell intu a muddy ditch how meny
roads they cud a took an' kept out uf hit. But after ye've fell in the
mud a time ur tu an' then ye don't no enuf tu keep outen hit, ye ain't
much; ye're only gettin' muddy an' not larnen eny sense, an' thar ain't
much hope fur ye." This was Lin's answer to Alfred's declaration that he
would never go out with another show unless it was first class.

If there ever lived a boy who has not experienced the feelings that must
come to a rooster that has been in a hard battle and lost the greater
part of his tail feathers, he is one who has never looked over his
record and endeavored to rub out the punk spots. There are but few boys
who have not an exaggerated ego, and it is well that they are so
constituted, they will better battle with the rebuffs and the
disappointments that youth always walks into.

If a boy is lacking in confidence--conceit is confidence increased in a
boy; conceit is ignorance in a man. Conceit renders a man so cock-sure
that he ignores advice.

The first thing for which a boy should be operated upon is an
overdeveloped bump of self-conceit. The earlier in life this
protuberance is punctured the more quickly he will become useful to
himself and family. It often requires several operations to effect a

Over-zealous friends are responsible to an extent for the failure of
many promising young men. Many persons regard exaggerated praise
necessary to the advancement of youth. A boy entering almost any
profession or trade can be unfitted for his labors by fulsome

Alfred's best friends filled him with the false idea that he was a great
actor, that he was being abused and thwarted. Had his friends been
sincere, he could have side stepped many stiff punches that he walked
straight into. Most fortunate is the boy who gets knocked through the
ropes early in the bout of life; his youth will enable him to come back
the stronger.

The King Solomon of showmen, P. T. Barnum, the father of fakes,
originated the "Gift Show"--the giving of presents to all who purchased
tickets of admission. Everybody received a prize. Several hundred of the
prizes were of little value. There was one that was valuable: a gold
watch and chain, a diamond pin or other article of jewelry, was
generally the capital prize as it was designated.

People flocked to Barnum's museum to win the capital prize; Barnum
reaped a harvest. Of course the idea of the "Gift Show" was immediately
taken up by ignorant imitators who are always quick to appropriate the
ideas of others. Numerous magicians were soon touring the country with
their alluring advertisements promising presents far exceeding in value
the receipts of the theaters in which they appeared, even though the
prices of admission were doubled.

The circus concert adopted the "Gift Show" scheme, and when a circus
side-show, or concert, adopts an innovation of this character, it is
safe to wager that the yokel will "get his" good and plenty.

The "Gift Show" idea was worked so successfully that the numerous
jewelry concerns that had sprung up in Maiden Lane and on the Bowery
could not fill the orders for the brass ornaments required to supply the
enterprises distributing them.

Everybody got a prize; there were no blanks. Alfred and another boy,
George, did the distributing act. Stationed on either side of the stage,
they received the tickets. Pretending to look at the number, they handed
the prize out. Alfred had four packages of prizes; he was ordered to
alternate. First a lady's breast pin, then a gent's collar button, then
a stud, then a finger ring. The capital prize the boss awarded in

Since the days of Barnum's "Gift Show," no "sucker" has ever seen the
capital prize except when the proprietor of the "Gift Show" was not

The "Gift Show" man usually placed the capital prize in the show window
of a prominent store. Everyone who bought a ticket hoped to capture the
capital prize. The "Gift Show" always fixed the landlord of the hotel or
some man about town to draw the capital prize, returning it to the "Gift
Show" manager afterwards. It is amazing the many who were willing to
play the part of capper in this game.

After a number of tickets were presented and not less than a peck of the
cheap presents distributed, the capper would pass up his ticket, and the
boss proclaim in a loud tone: "Four hundred and sixty-two wins the
capital prize, a solid silver tea set." The plate was set out on a table
covered with a black velvet cloth to brighten the appearance of the

"If the gentleman prefers we will gladly pay him one hundred and
seventy-five dollars in gold for his ticket." The money counted out to
him in the presence of the gaping multitude whetted everybody's desire
to win the capital prize. The following night the hall was crowded

"Gift Shows" always remained three nights in each place. The
entertainment offered was a secondary consideration; hence Alfred was
the star of the show. He had unlimited opportunities. The fact was, the
only reason the manager gave an entertainment at all was to escape the
lottery laws.

Alfred was on the stage half a dozen times and would have gone on again
had he had anything more to offer. Alfred imagined the more often he
appeared the more he was appreciated, until one night a sailor heaved an
orange from the gallery, landing it on Alfred's head. The seeds flew
all over the stage. Alfred did not regain his composure even when
assured by others of the company that the seeds were not his brains.

A gentleman whom he had met while with Eli during their tour of Greene
County--he was only an acquaintance of a day--called on Alfred. Alfred
introduced him as his friend. Agreeable, intelligent and well dressed,
he made an impression on the show people and without consulting Alfred,
the "Gift Show" man fixed Alfred's friend to cop the capital prize which
he did very successfully.

When the boss called: "Ticket three hundred and nine wins the capital
prize," the rehearsed scene was gone through with, although Alfred's
friend made the play doubly strong by hesitating in accepting the cash
in lieu of the tea set. "I would prefer the silverware; I wish to
preserve it in our family." After a little further parleying, he was
handed one hundred and seventy-five dollars. He received
congratulations, answered questions and smiled on everybody.

The night Alfred's friend won the capital prize the audience was larger
and more intelligent than usual. One gentleman remarked, as he passed
back to Alfred the present tendered him: "Boy, keep this for me until I
call for it. Write my name on it; I don't want to lose it, I want to get
it melted, we need a pair of candle sticks and brass is mighty high."

An old lady opened her envelope containing a pair of ear-rings. Handing
them to Alfred she remarked: "I hope there's no mistake here, the ticket
reads ear-rings, these are chandeliers."

The stool pigeon, after receiving the money for the capital prize,
wandered leisurely out of the hall. He was supposed to be met by the
fixer of the "Gift Show", to whom he was to return the money the boss
had given him.

Alfred's friend played his part capitally. He sauntered out leisurely;
he did not saunter out of the main door, or, if he did, the fixer failed
to meet him. The hall was empty save for the two or three stragglers and
the manager.

The fixer entered hurriedly, looking sharply around the almost vacant
room, he whispered with the boss. They turned their glances toward
Alfred. It was an illusion of the boss and his staff that others of the
company were ignorant of the deception practiced in the awarding of the
capital prize.

The boss called Alfred to his room and questioned him at length as to
the gentleman he had introduced as his friend. Alfred stated when the
Eli minstrels were touring Greene County the gentleman accompanied them
several days. His companionship was so agreeable that Eli remained
behind in Carmichaelstown a day or two.

The boss had learned the fellow was a short card player, and he swore he
would not allow a cheap poker player to do him.

"Fix the olly! I gave him broads to the show! He's right as a guinea!
Fix him! Have this cheap Greene County bilk pinched. I'll land him in
the quay."

All of this, interpreted, meant that the boss wanted the winner of the
capital prize arrested and thrown into jail. He did not dare proceed
against him for holding out the money he had given him. To attempt to
recover it by law would expose their nefarious practice.

There was hurrying to and fro and in hot haste but nothing as to the
whereabouts of the gentleman could be learned. The constable searched
all night, and the fixer remained with him as long as he could keep pace
with the officer. Weary, blear-eyed, unsteady on his limbs, he finally
lay down on a bench in the hotel sitting room and was awakened only by
the breakfast bell.

Next morning he was very surly. He ordered Alfred in a very rude manner
to remove two large boxes of jewelry from the hotel to the theatre and
to remove the boxes as soon as he got through his breakfast: "and don't
eat all day either."

Alfred did not eat all day; in fact he ate but little. He was choking
with wrath over the insult the man had put upon him. Taking himself from
the table he awaited the coming of the man. As he emerged from the
dining room, Alfred halted him with: "I say, you ordered me to move some
baggage from the hotel to the theatre. I just called upon you to tell
you that you ain't my boss; you didn't hire me, you don't pay me;
furthermore, I did not hire out to this troupe to peddle brass jewelry
or handle baggage. You move the boxes yourself."

"Well, we'll see if you don't move them boxes, and I'll give you a smack
in the jaw, you jay, you!"

Alfred remembered Titusville, and a greatly subdued manner, said: "If
you're the boss, just hand me my money and I'll skedaddle double quick."

Later in the day the boss sent for Alfred to come to his room. As he
entered, the boss said: "Well, you want your money, do you, eh?"

Alfred replied: "I couldn't very well stay here after what's passed
between your manager and myself."

"That's so," smilingly assented the boss. Turning his back on Alfred and
pretending to look over his books, he continued: "Where do you expect to
meet your friend?"

"What friend," inquired Alfred.

"The smart young fellow you rung in on us yesterday. I'd thought you'd
skipped without waiting for the few bones I hold of yours. You're too
fly to work for a salary. Talk about sure-thing men, there ain't a
strong arm game in the country can beat it; garroting is laid in the
shade by your play."

Alfred could not understand the man at all. He was completely confused:
"What do you mean? Has that man who tried to boss me this morning been
telling you anything about me?"

The man wheeled around in his chair, facing Alfred. Pointing his finger
at Alfred, in a voice choking with anger, he exclaimed: "You're not as
slick as you imagine you are; you've been under cover ever since you
came here. You made all my people think you were a straight guy; you
played the role of a gilly kid to the queen's taste. But I'm on to you
bigger than a house; after you've worked me for a hundred and
seventy-five dollars, now you want to wolf me for twenty-five more. I
won't shake down for one dime more. You think you'll get your bit of the
touch but I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that guy will double cross
you and it will serve you right for doing the man you were working for.
You can leave; I can't hold you but you won't get a case from me. I'll
stand pat on this proposition. Do you hear?"

Alfred understood the man, in some way, was endeavoring to connect him
with the gentleman who won the capital prize.

"All I want is my money, the money you owe me and you'll pay me before I
leave this town," was Alfred's declaration as he left the room.

A bluff always unsettles a scoundrel. Spaff Hyman, the magician of the
troupe, was after Alfred in a moment. He explained that the boss and one
or two others were under the impression that Alfred and the gentleman
whom Alfred had introduced as his friend were in cahoots, that Alfred
had brought the stranger there to do the gift showman out of the money
and that Alfred stood in with the play.

Alfred was indignant. Spaff assured the boy that he had implicit
confidence in his honesty. "I know that Greene County gang," continued
Spaff, "Jim Kerr and Lias Flanagan had that old trotting horse sneak.
This fellow that came on here was the brains of the gang; they skinned
every sucker on the fair grounds where they entered this horse. He had
this combination sized up; he came on here to trim the boss and he got
away with the play. I know you had nothing to do with it, but if you
leave now, those who suspect you will make others believe you are
crooked. Hold down the job until you prove yourself right, then skip if
you want to."

Alfred began an explanation: "I never met this man but once. I heard
several people say he was a young man with no bad habits: 'He does not
drink a drop of liquor, he don't smoke, chew tobacco, nor cuss.' That's
what I heard in Carmichaelstown."

"Huh! Yes, he's a saint," sarcastically mused the old sleight of hand
man, "he's a saint and that's what makes him successful as a con. Sam
Weller advised his son to 'bevare of vidders,' I advise you to beware of
saints. Since the days of the Bible when saints were inspired, there
have been but few of them roving the earth. Latter day saints are
material, hence, susceptible to all the temptations and frailties of
this world. When you get acquainted with a man who boasts that he has no
bad habits, look out for him, he will spring something on you that will
outweigh all the minor defects that scar the character of the ordinary
man. I do not say there are no good men, there are; but the man who
pretends to go through this world on a record of no bad habits
accumulates a heap of inward secretiveness. It keeps growing. He gets
swelled up, and some day he breaks out and the enormity of his break
surprises all. 'He had no bad habits,' that's what they all said. No, he
had no bad habits that were apparent; he was a sneak. In order to
conceal his little sins, he deceived himself and his friends. If he had
been honest he would have gone through life like the average man. Go
back in your mind and figure up the fellows that have fallen and see if
the fellow with no bad habits isn't in the majority. Mind, I'm not
figuring on the poor devil without education or advantages, the fellow
who robs hen-roosts or steals dimes. I'm talking about the fellow who
walks off with one hundred and seventy-five dollars, robs the banks or
post-offices, the fellow who touches the widow and orphan."

"I can't understand you," ventured Alfred.

"Well, you can't understand the fellow who had no bad habits."

"But the boss is not playing fair with the public," protested Alfred.

"Well, who on earth ever did play fair with the public? I know you, with
your ideas bounded by Fayette County's limitations, don't understand
these things. There's men who would not take advantage of any man in a
personal business transaction, who will get in on almost anything that
will worst the public. The public is a cruel monster; the public
condemned and crucified Christ; the public is behind every lynching. The
public condemns and ostracizes a man, even though he has lived an
upright life all his days, when some scalawag, for personal or financial
reasons, assails him in a newspaper. When Commodore Vanderbilt gave
utterance to the words, 'The public be damned,' he expressed the
sentiment of four-fifths of those who have rubbed up against the public,
as had the sturdy old man who acquired his estimate of human nature
while rowing the public over the river. The public would ride across the
river without paying him fare. The public will crowd into our show
tonight without paying. The public will eat all the fruit that ripens,
all the grain that grows, drink all the liquors malted and take anything
they can get for nothing. I mean the public rabble, the mob, not the
individual. The only time you can trust the public is when their
sympathies are aroused over some great public calamity that brings death
and desolation. Then the public is of one mind, the public then shows to
best advantage."

"Well, you are the funniest man I ever heard talk. Now what are you
going to do to make the public what you consider it should be?"

"Educate it; educate it. Three-fourths of the public are suckers,
one-fourth skinners. Now, I don't mean to assert that one-fourth are
dishonest men, but most of them are men a bit too fly for the others.
You know there's not one man in a thousand that considers it cheating to
give himself a bit the best of it. Now you argue that the public is
ignorant and that the only way to get it right is to educate it. Well,
the fellow who walked off with the boss's one hundred and seventy-five
dollars is educated."

"How do you account for his dishonesty" inquired Alfred.

"I don't account for it."

It was arranged that Spaff go to the boss, patch up matters between him
and Alfred. Spaff requested Alfred remain in the hall that he might be
near. The door closed on Spaff. Alfred remained near it; he wished
afterwards he had not. The transom was open and every word uttered in
the room floated through it.

Spaff began: "Say, boss, I've been talking to that fresh young nigger
singer, and, while he don't know much, it's my opinion he knows nothing
of the guy who done you for the capital prize. He's purty handy around
here and I thought you better keep him. I've got him going; I told him
if he left now everybody would conclude he was in on the capital prize
trick. So I think he'll stick."

"What the hell do I care whether he sticks or not? He may be straight
but I doubt it. The only reason I want him to stay is that he will have
trouble in finding the other guy; I'm certain they were to meet
somewhere and split up the touch."

Spaff was heard to say: "No, I think you're wrong. I am sure this kid is
not in on it. I know that fellow; he's slick, he's always been a sure
thing man and he has been planning this touch for sometime. He simply
used Alfred to get an introduction."

"Well, he's a good one. He did not want to draw the prize, he argued;
all the best people in town knew him and it would be difficult to
deceive them. Why, I thought he was a small town jay. He even cautioned
me to have someone at the door to receive the money, he did not care to
carry it about with him." After a pause he continued: "Well, about this
boy; what shall I say to him? I don't think it's a good play to let him
go; not now, at any rate. You say he's straight. Do you reckon he's on
to the capital prize fake?"

"Well, I dunno," answered Spaff. "If he is, and he's dirty, he could
queer us in all these towns; he's been through here with two or three
Jim Crow minstrel shows; these rubes imagine he's some pumpkins. Why, I
have to go out of the house every time he comes on. He's the rankest
performer I ever saw; he can sing a little and that lets him out. Why
don't you cut his act down one-half at least? Half of the audience,
green as they are, wouldn't stay in the house if they were not waiting
for their presents."

"He comes on ahead of you and hurts your act," the boss assured Spaff.

That gentleman said: "Well, we've got to give them something for their
money and Alfred does pretty good; if he only had the stuff he would be
all right."

The boss agreed to this. "Yes, if he had something new. Those gags he
springs were told before the flood. Lord, if I had the gall of some
people I'd be rich. When he came here into this room and wanted money
for that stuff he's telling, I got up and opened the door and planted a
kick on him and says: 'Now, leave, skip, git out of yere and don't let
me see you around yere agin.'"

"Why, he never told me one word of this," and Spaff's voice evidenced
his surprise. "What do you say about keeping him?" questioned Spaff.

"Oh, we've got to have someone, but watch him."

When Spaff came out of the room he found Alfred some distance from the
door. "Now, I've had a hard time squaring this matter with the boss.
Someone has got to him and he is sore on you, or was. I just told him
you were all right and that I would be responsible for you and he said:
'Well, I'll let him stay on your account.'"

Alfred could not restrain his anger longer. Whirling around, facing
Spaff, he said in tones neither low or slow: "You go back and tell that
damn sneak that I don't want to stay with him. You tell him he is a liar
if he says he ever kicked me. You tell him if he says I had anything to
do with the disappearance of his capital prize money, he's another liar.
You tell him I'll meet him outside the hotel and he'll take back
everything he said to you."

Spaff began to look scared. "Why, how do you know what he said to me,"
he queried in a voice that showed his fear.

"I heard every word; the transom was open; I couldn't help it. I'm glad
I did hear. I know where you all stand. I'm only a boy, but I'll clean
up this capital prize swindle and I'm going after it tonight. 'Watch
me,' that's what the boss ordered you to do."

Poor old Spaff was thoroughly frightened. He coaxed and pleaded with
Alfred to drop the matter, take his pay and he would endeavor to have
his wages raised. At the first opportunity he slipped away from Alfred,
ran around the back way and up to the boss's room.

Alfred was seated at the supper table. The boss entered and, with a
pleasant "good evening," seated himself opposite Alfred, and familiarly
inquired: "What they got for supper? They set a fairly good table here
but the waiters are slow."

Alfred sulkily ate in silence, never deigning to look at or answer the
questions of the boss. That gentleman rattled on, first on one subject,
then another. Finally, he carelessly asked Alfred the title of the new
song he sang the night before. Never noticing the boy's rude behavior in
not replying to him, he continued, dipping a half doughnut in his
coffee: "I want you to tell that gag about Noah being the first man to
run a boat show; I think it's the funniest thing I ever heard. Where did
you get it? I always make it a point to be in the house when you tell
that gag."

Alfred did not understand that all this was flattery; he imagined the
boss was guying him. His face was hot, his voice trembled. Leaning over
the table, he sneered: "So you come in every night to hear the jokes
that came over in Noah's ark, do you? Well, you needn't come in tonight,
you won't hear them. When you get through with your supper I want a
settlement with you and if you think you can kick me, come out of this
house and try it." He left the table and passed out.

Instead, Spaff came to him, handing him twenty-five dollars. "Now, see
here, young fellow, you're too hot-headed, you'll never get along if you
keep this up. This man appreciates your work; he told me so. Say, you
didn't hear right. I was in the room, I didn't hear the things you did.
Come on, now, I'll get you a raise of five dollars a week."

Alfred walked away from the man. His baggage had been conveyed to the
hotel from the theatre and his preparations completed. He left the "Gift

       *       *       *       *       *

"I'll never take another chance with a fly-by-night troupe. If I can't
get with the best I'll stay right here in this town. I'll paint hulls,
houses or anything; I'll go back to the tan-yard; I'll go to the
newspaper office; I'll do anything, I don't care what it is or how badly
I hate to do it. I wouldn't be caught dead with another troupe like the
last one I was with." So declared Alfred to Lin and Cousin Charley.

After Alfred was out of hearing, Cousin Charley, with a laugh, remarked
he had "heard that story afore. It won't be a month till he's off agin
with some kind of a show. He can't git with a good one; they wouldn't
have him with a good show. (Cousin Charley had assured Alfred that very
morning that he considered him the best actor he had ever seen). He'll
be out with a fly-by-night troupe afore the next month. Alfred's a gone
goslin'. He's got no trade an' he'll hev to scratch to make a livin'. I
sort of pity Uncle John an' Aunt Mary, kase they think so much of the
boy, an' it's a great pity for them. Uncle John ought to beat the
foolishness out of him long ago. He never touches him, no matter what he
does. Does he?"

Lin looked at Cousin Charley in a sort of pitying way as she asked: "How
is hit thet all are agin Alfurd? Ye all like him, I no ye do, but durned
ef ye evur lose a shot at him. No, his pap don't whup him eny more, he
nevur did beat him tu hurt; hit wus sort of a habit tu take him intu the
celler to skur him but hit nevur done him a mite uf good, he jus laffed
an' made fun uf hit. Ye kin do more with reasonin' with Alfurd."

Cousin Charley agreed with Lin and declared that he always took Alfred's
part. "I told his father Alfred would go off some day and then they'd
all be dog-goned sorry they hadn't handled him different."

"Well, Alfurd's not goin' off eny more till he goes rite; he's gettin'
more sot in his ways every day, he's mos' like a man."

Alfred's family were greatly elated that he had settled down. Staid old
Brownsville was stirred from center to sandy hollow. Peter Hunt,
philosopher and photographer, leased Krepp's Bottom for the announced
purpose of converting it into a skating park or rink. Alfred was one of
Peter's right hand men. The creeks and rivers had furnished ample fields
for the skaters of Brownsville heretofore, but Peter felt the time had
come when the society people of the town, who did not care to skate with
the common herd, should have a more exclusive place in which to enjoy
this wholesome recreation.

Therefore Krepp's Bottom was selected. The proposed park was the talk of
the town. Dunlap's Creek flowed in a circle, skirting three sides of the
bottom land. Levees three feet high were thrown up along the banks of
the creek, a rope stretched along the west side. An opening in the levee
admitted the water. Two feet of water covered the bottom. The weather
turned cold, ice formed, the park was opened, and three-fourths of the
public walked in free. Alfred felt that Spaff was about right in his
estimate of the public.

The creek fell, the dry, clay land absorbed the water, the ice sunk and
cracked in places. The waters of the creek flowed six feet below and the
glory of the skating park was a memory of the past.

Later on a promoter endeavored to rent Jeffries Hall for a roller
skating rink. George Washington Frazee, who learned of the man renting
Jeffries' hall for a skating rink, said: "Huh! Another dam fool 'bout
skeetin'. Jeffries Hall won't hold water, an' if it did hit wouldn't
freeze hard enuff to bear."

For the winter the town went back to its time honored sport of sledding,
"coasting" it is termed nowadays. Sleds of all kinds were seen on the
hills and streets of the two towns. Even men engaged in the sport. The
speed attained, especially on Scrabbletown Hill, was terrific. The big
sleds, loaded with from four to eight persons, flew down the hills at
the rate of a mile a minute. The sleds bore striking names, Alfred's the
"West Wind." It was one of the speediest of the numerous fast ones.

Starting at the top of Town Hill, those on the Brownsville side would
speed to the Iron Bridge, even across it into Bridgeport. Those sliding
Scrabbletown Hill would often be sent, by the speed attained on this
steep incline, across the Iron Bridge into Brownsville. Thus the
coasters of the rival towns would at times, pass each other going in
opposite directions.

The older men would sit in the stores and watch the sliders. The
shoe-shops of McKernan and Potts were the scenes of many heated
arguments as to the fleetness of the different sleds.

An old gentleman who had recently moved to Brownsville from Uniontown,
endeavored to impress the shoe-shop crowds with the superiority of the
sleds of the Uniontown boys over those of Brownsville. He related that a
Uniontown boy slid down Laurel Hill through Uniontown and would have
slid on down the pike to Searight's only he was afraid he would 'skeer'
somebody's horses.

[Illustration: Brownsville's Winter Sport]

Shuban Lee, ever loyal to Brownsville and her sleds, related how Alfred
had loaned his sled to a show fellow he brought home with him from
somewhere. "The show chap did not know much about sliding. Alfred's sled
was a whirlwind when it got to goin'. The show feller hauled the sled to
the top of Town Hill. He started down the hill. The sled run so fast it
crossed the Iron Bridge up to the top of Scrabbletown Hill. Afore he cud
git off she started back down the hill, across the Iron Bridge agin, up
to the top of Town Hill an' back she started. Half the men in town run
out an' tried to stop thet sled but hit wus so cold they couldn't do
hit. She just kept on a-goin' down one hill an' up tother."

Here the Uniontown man, with a contemptuous snort, said: "I s'pose he
just kept on slidin' till he froze to death?"

"No," Shuban answered, "he didn't freeze, he just kept on slidin' till
they shot him to keep him from starvin' to death. An' I kin prove hit by
ole man Smith an' if you won't believe him I kin show you the feller's


    This world would be tiresome, we'd all get the blues,
    If all the folks in it held just the same views;
    So do your work to the best of your skill,
    Some people won't like it, but other folks will.

Jean Jacques Rousseau, a French-Swiss philosopher, nearing the end of
his days complained that in all his life he never knew rest or content
for the reason he had never known a home. His mother died giving him
birth, his father was a shiftless dancing master. Rousseau claimed his
misfortunes began with his birth and clung to him all his life. Rousseau
was one of the few persons who have attained distinction without the aid
of a home in youth. No matter how humble the home, it is the beginning
of that education that brings out all the better nature of a human

The home is the God-appointed educator of the young. We have educational
institutions, colleges, schools, but the real school where the lessons
of life are indelibly impressed upon the mind is the home. We write and
talk of the higher education. There is no higher education than that
taught in a well regulated home presided over by God-fearing, man-loving
parents whose lives are a sacrifice to create a future for their
children. The parents, rather than the children, should be given credit
for the successes of this life.

Alfred had separated himself from his home several times but never
decided to leave it for any lengthy period; but now the time had arrived
when it seemed to him the parting of the ways in his ambitious life was
at hand.

On the dead walls, fences and old buildings, were pasted highly colored
show bills announcing the coming of Thayer & Noyes Great American
Circus. Alfred decided he would go hence as a member of the troupe.

The humdrum life of the old town had begun to wear on his energetic
feelings. There were social pleasures sufficient to make the days and
nights joyous, but Alfred was thinking beyond the days thereof.

The circus had come and gone. "I will take your address. If anything
occurs that I can use you I will write. You can expect a letter from me
soon." With these words Dr. Thayer crushed Alfred's hopes.

Alfred voted the show the best he had ever witnessed, but the concert,
the after show that promised so much and gave so little, he condemned.

After writing several letters and destroying them, deciding they did not
fulfill all requirements, the following letter was mailed:



    RESPECTED SIR: I take my pen in hand to acquaint you with the
    effect your show had on our people. It is the opinion of all who
    take interest in actors and should know, that your show was
    better than George F. Bailey's and it was considered the best we
    ever had. Brownsville people are hard to please. They see so
    much it must be choice if it suits them. Your circus suited all.
    I have heard many actors declare Brownsville was the hardest
    town to please they ever tackled. An English sleight of hand man
    played Jeffries Hall three nights. He said they were a "bit
    thick." Alf Burnett, the humorist, compared Brownsville to slush
    ice. Bob Stickney was the best one in your show.

    Now comes the news that I hate to tell (and this was the sole
    reason that prompted the letter). Your after-concert is a bad
    recommend for your real show. I reckon one thing that made it
    appear worse is we have a regular minstrel show on hand all the
    time. I'm at the head of it, and most of the people in town know
    our jokes and songs by heart and when your concert people told
    them they did not tell them right and our people noticed the
    mistakes, and of course you couldn't expect them to laugh at the
    jokes anyway.

    Now you promised to write me. If you can do so, I can go to your
    show most any time providing you do not get too far away from
    Brownsville. Please send me where you're going to list. I am
    sure I can make a heap of improvement in your concert and I know
    you do not want people anywhere to call you an old fraud as they
    have done here.

        Your most obedient servant,

    P. S. Please let me know what you can afford to pay a prime
    concert actor. Between times I can help out in the circus ring
    if you have clothes fit to do it in.

In due time this reply was received:



    Your letter duly received. You will find our advance route for
    the next ten days enclosed. You can join at any time it suits
    your convenience. Your salary will be based upon the value and
    extent of services you can render this company. After a trial,
    if your ability is not what you represented it to be, your
    engagement will be ended without prejudice to you or expense to
    this firm.

        Respectfully yours,
            THAYER AND NOYES,
                Per B. L.

    P. S. Send your professional name and billing.

Alfred read and re-read the letter and immediately began making
preparations to tempt fate once more. The preparations mostly consisted
in surreptitiously secreting his wearing apparel in the old barn where
Node had labored so long on his great inventions. It was Alfred's
intention to leave home clandestinely. As usual with boys in his frame
of mind he did not dare to trust himself to advise with anyone; like
boys in general, he did not desire advice. Approval was that which he
most craved.

Uniontown was decided upon as the place to join the circus. Alfred felt
the leaving of home and family meant more to him than ever before. At
times he was buoyed up by hopes of success. He would argue with himself
thusly: I have promised to join the show. They need me; they will be
expecting me. This is the opportunity I have been looking for.

Alfred spent all his spare time at home with his mother, sisters and
brothers. His usual haunts in town were forgotten. Family and friends
noted the change and wondered thereat. Lin was unstinted in her praise.
Lin asserted from the wildest, he had become the tamest boy in
Brownsville. "He'll eat out of your hand now," she assured Mrs. Todd.

Mr. Todd jerked out a "huh" as he advised them to keep their eyes on the
"devil ketcher." "He's just sittin' the megs for another outbreak. He's
compilin' some devilment, yer ken bet yer bottom dollar. He kan't fool
me twice."

It was the day previous to Alfred's intended departure. He had been at
home all day. He gave his sled to brother Joe. It was summer and the
steel soles were greased to keep them from rusting. Lin would not permit
Joe to haul it over the floor claiming it would grease everything it

To brother Bill fell shinny clubs and bats, marbles and a kite. Sister
Lizzie was the recipient of more than a quart of various colored beads
taken from Aunt Lib's Jenny Lind waist. Ida Belle, the baby was
remembered with a big Dutch doll that rolled its eyes, the mother with
an ornamental sugar bowl and Lin with a pair of puff combs. A pair of
skates and a bow and arrow were given to Cousin Charley.

The greater effort Alfred made to ease his mind, the more conscience
stricken he became. Try as he would he could not force the gayety he
feigned. He clung to the baby sister every moment he was in the house.
Lin, in an adjoining room, heard him ask the child if she would miss her
big "bruzzer" when he was gone. Entering the room she found Alfred in
tears, the sympathetic child stroking his face. Alfred endeavored to
swallow the lump in his throat but he only sobbed the more. It did him
good as ashamed as he felt.

Lin looked him over suspiciously as she, in a voice as commanding as she
would pitch it, said:

"Look here, ye can't bamboozle me another minnit. What's on yer mind?
Spit it out afore it spills. Get it out of yer sistum and yer'll feel a
hull lot better. Thar hain't a durned dud of yers in this house. Air yu
fixin' to fly the coop? If ye air, don't go off like a thief afore
daylight. Go away so you won't be ashamed to kum back. Kum on now, let's
hear from you! I'll durn soon tell you whar to head in."

Alfred made a full and complete confession.

"So yer fixin' to run off and break the hearts of all at home, an' put a
dent in your own. For a week ye been jumpin' to make yerself more dear
to 'em afore ye hurt 'em. Yer hain't learnin' much with all yer
schoolin'. When do the retreat begin?" banteringly demanded Lin.

"Tomorrow," feebly answered Alfred.

That night, the family were in the big room, mother sewing, the children
playing about her. Lin, seated behind the mother, repeatedly signaled
Alfred to begin his talk to the mother as per his promise. The boy
looked another direction but Lin never took her eyes off his face. Her
gaze became painful. Finally he began:

"Muz, do you think Pap would be mad if I was to go away while he is in

The mother, without taking her eyes off her work, said: "I hope you're
not going to Uncle Jake's again. You'll wear your welcome out, won't

"No, I'm going away on business. I'm tired and sick of the way things
are going with me. I see nothing ahead for me and I'm going to strike
out for myself."

The mother put down her sewing and looked very seriously. Lin, from
behind her, nodded vigorously for him to go on.

"Look at Dan Livingstone," Alfred continued; "he never had anything
until he went off with Capt. Abrams. Now see where he is and I don't
know how many boys have gone away and all have done well. All I need is
to get out of this town and I know I can do something for myself."

"Does Capt. Abrams want to take you with him," anxiously inquired the

"Oh, no, he never said a word to me about it, but I know I could go with
him if I wanted to."

"Well, where do you think of going?" questioned the mother.

Alfred hesitated a second.

"Well, first I'm going to try it with a circus but I don't expect to
stay long. I'm just going on trial."

Noting the look of worriment on the face of the mother he continued:

"I know I won't do. They almost tell me so in a letter and it's only to
Uniontown, twelve miles away. I won't be gone long," and he caught the
baby up, tossed it up, and pretended to be very jolly.

The matter was gone over and over with the mother who insisted that
Alfred remain at home until the return of the father. If he could obtain
his father's consent he could go.

Lin endeavored to assist the boy by remarking: "Well, if he's jes goin'
for a trial, Uniontown is so close to hum, you could walk back if ye
hain't fit fer the work." The mother protested to the last.

Alfred had been so very liberal in bestowing presents to ease his
conscience that he had but forty-six cents in his purse when the leaving
time came. He was acquainted with all the old stage drivers on the line.
It was his intention to walk up Town Hill, rest under the big locust
trees at the brow of the hill until the stage coach arrived, the horses
walking slowly ascending the long hill, he would get up beside the
driver or crawl in the boot on the rear of the stage coach.

He lolled on the grass as the stage approached. The driver was a
stranger to him. He looked appealingly at the man but received no
recognition. The heavy stage lumbered by. Alfred ran for the rear end of
it. The boot was bulging out with trunks and valises; there was no room
for Alfred. A broad strap that held the huge leather cover in place
over the trunks dangled down within reach. Grasping it as the four
horses struck a trot, Alfred was helped along at a lively gait. Through
Sandy Hollow by the old Brubaker house, then a slow walk up the hill by
Mart Claybaugh's blacksmith shop, through the toll gate, then into a
trot on by the old school-house where his first minstrel show was given,
on by all the familiar places.

[Illustration: Leaving Home]

Heretofore when traveling the pike Alfred had a word and a smile for all
as he knew every family along its sides. On this occasion he endeavored
to conceal his identity. But once did the coach halt--at Searight's half
way to Uniontown to water the horses and liquor the driver and

Old Logan, the hostler at Searight's crowed in imitation of a rooster,
the passengers throwing him pennies. Alfred with cast down head walked
on to the next hill. When the stage rolled by he again grasped the strap
and kept pace with the coach until the outskirts of Uniontown were
reached. A small colored boy directed him to the show grounds. Through
the main street of the town Alfred trudged, carrying the large carpet
sack formerly used with the Eli troupe as a property receptacle for Mrs.
Story's china tea set.

Arriving at the circus grounds, the afternoon performance was over.
Drawing near the tent he anxiously expected to find the show folks
looking for him. He imagined they would all be expecting him.

The huge form of Dr. Thayer loomed up. Alfred hastened toward him. The
Doctor was engaged in an earnest argument with a mechanic of the town
over the charges for repairs on a wagon. Alfred walked up to the circus
man. The Doctor did not even notice him. He followed the two men around
the wagon as they argued, Alfred stationing himself directly in the big
showman's path. Their eyes met several times, still no recognition came
from the circus manager.

Alfred finally accosted the big man with a "Howdy, Mr. Thayer. I've come
to work for you."

The showman's surprised look showed plainly he did not recognize Alfred.

"I'm the new boy to work in your concert."

Motioning with his arm he ordered Alfred to go back and Charley would
attend to him. Without any idea who Charley was or what he was, Alfred
started in the direction indicated by the jerk of the doctor's hand.
Approaching the connection between the main tent and the dressing room
tent, a man lying on the grass warned Alfred back. Even after he
explained that he was searching for Charley, the man, without heeding
the appeal, motioned the boy back. Walking around to the other side of
the tent, he stealthily approached the opening and darted in. He was
barely inside the tent when a big, burly fellow seized him roughly and
hustled him through the opening, demanding why he was sneaking into the
ladies' dressing room.

"Mr. Thayer hired me. He sent me here. He told me Charley would attend
to me. I'm looking for Charley."

The man asked: "What Charley are you looking for?"

"I don't know. Mr. Thayer told me Charley would put me to work."

The man laughed and led the way into the tent as he cautioned the lad to
use the name of Mr. Noyes instead of Charley.

Mr. Noyes was too busy to talk to him. Alfred's attention was divided
between the performance and the novel scenes in the men's dressing
tents; the latter were as interesting to him as the ring performance.
The order and decorum pervading the organization was marked.

Charley Noyes, a most competent director of a circus performance, the
deportment of his employes was nearly perfect. Even the property men
were respectable and well behaved. The performance over, a heavy set man
was packing a huge trunk with horse covers and other trappings. He had
repeatedly requested the others to lend a hand. Alfred assisted the man
with his work until completed. In the interim Alfred advised him why he
was there. The man looked the boy over carefully saying: "Where are you
going to pad?"

Alfred had no idea of the meaning of the word "pad." Afterwards, he
learned that "pad" was slang for bed and sleep.

He answered correctly by chance, "I don't know."

"Well, you can get in with me. It's a two o'clock call. I'm going to
spread a couple of blankets under the band chariot. I sleep better there
than in a hotel."

The blankets spread, Alfred's carpet sack served as a pillow for him.
They were about to crawl in when the other asked Alfred if he had been
to "peck." "Not within the last week."

The man looked at him pityingly. There was a lunch stand nearby. The
man, returning from it, handed Alfred a half of a fried chicken and an
apple pie. Although Alfred insisted, the man would not eat any of it.
He ordered Alfred to eat it all, remarking "You need it."

Alfred found himself the object of considerable sympathy the following
day and not until someone asked him how it was he had been without food
for a week did he learn that "peck" in show slang signified

Boy-like, he had worn his new Sunday shoes. His feet were feverish and
sore. Even had Alfred not been footsore, the snoring of the other would
have made sleep impossible to him. How long he lay awake he had no
reckoning of. It seemed to him he had only closed his eyes when he felt
a yank at the blankets and a rough voice ordering him to get up. It was
the lot watchman.

The big band chariot was slowly ascending the foothills of the
mountains. The east was ahead over the mountain. The curtain of night
was being lifted by the first streak of gray dawn spreading over the
sky. All were asleep in the wagon excepting the driver. Halting his team
he began winding the long reins about the big brakes. He was about to
climb down when Alfred inquired as to the trouble. The driver advised
that the off leader's inside trace was loose and the lead bars dragging.
Alfred advised the driver to sit still.

"I'll hook it up. How many links do you drop?" he asked as he pushed the
horse into place. He was on the wagon in a jiffy. The driver was greatly
taken with the boy. Further up the mountain at the big watering trough,
Alfred assisted in watering and washing the horses' shoulders. It was
only a day or two until Alfred was permitted to handle the reins over
the team, a favor this celebrated old horseman had never conferred upon
anyone previously.

Never will Alfred forget that journey up the mountains. Every turn of
the wheels of the big chariot, as they ground the limestone under their
weight until the flinty pebbles shed sparks, made him feel more lonely.
In the dim gray of the early day the distance seemed greater than when
softened by the light of the morning sun. He had often from afar viewed
the mountains over which they were traveling. As they ascended, he gazed
long and wistfully towards home, a home that lives in his memory today
as clearly as on that morning in the long ago.

[Illustration: On the Band Wagon]

When the crest of the ridge was reached and the descent on the other
side began, looking backwards, he imagined the world between him and
home. Right glad was he of the friendly advances of the old driver--they
were friends.

Soon the band men began to awaken, taking out their instruments,
arranging their clothing, and making preparation for the entrance into
town. The baggage wagons had preceded the band and performer's wagons.
There was but one animal van, Charley White's trained lions, the feature
of the show.

The teams halted. The driver placed plumes in the head gear of the
horses. The band men pulled on red coats and caps. As the horns tooted
and the cymbals clashed they entered the town.

Alfred assisted the driver to unhitch his team. Mr. Noyes arrived,
meanwhile. Alfred volunteered to take charge of his team. He drove the
handsome horses to the barn and saw that they were fed and watered.

Mr. Noyes remarked: "You seem to be fond of horses. Have you handled
them before?"

"All my life," proudly answered Alfred.

"Well, you ride with me tomorrow. It will be more pleasant than in the
band wagon. I want you to go in the concert today."

He had no orchestrated music, but Phil Blumenschein, the bandmaster, was
an old minstrel leader. The orchestra played over Alfred's stuff two or
three times and played it better than it was ever played before. In
those days an orchestra furnished the music for the entire circus

There came a heavy rain. The attendance at the concert was very light
insofar as the paid admissions were concerned but all connected with the
circus were there to witness the debut of the new boy who had joined to
strengthen the concert.

No opera house or theatre ever erected has the resonance, the perfect
acoustics of a circus tent when the canvas is wet and the temperature
within above 70 degrees. There was a chord from the orchestra. Alfred
ran to the platform in the middle of the ring. (The gentleman who
announced the concert assured the audience there would be a stage
erected). This stage was a platform about ten feet square resting flat
on the uneven earth. As Alfred stepped on it and began his song and
dance, in which he did some very heavy falls, the platform rocked and
reeled like a boat in a storm. Every slap of the big shoes on his well
developed feet made a racket, the sound twofold increased by the
acoustics of the damp tent. Alfred's voice sounded louder to himself
than ever before, notwithstanding he worked his whole first number with
his back to the audience. (In theatres the orchestra is always in a pit
in front of the performers--in a circus concert the orchestra is behind
the performer).

Alfred faced the orchestra; his back to the audience, his work made a
hit, even more with the show folks than with the audience. Dick Durrant,
the banjoist, taught Alfred the comedy of the familiar duet, "What's the
matter Pompey?" This was in Alfred's line and the act became the comedy
feature of the concert.

Salary day came on Sunday. The employes of the circus reported to the
room of the manager, where their salary was counted out to them by the
treasurer. When Alfred's turn came he was asked: "How much does your
contract call for?"

"I have no contract. Here is the letter under which I joined," assured
Alfred, passing the letter to the treasurer.

Glancing at it: "Yes, I wrote that letter but you'll have to see Mr.
Thayer." As Alfred opened the door to depart he said, "You had best see
Mr. Noyes."

"How much are you going to pay me, Mr. Thayer?"

"Well, let me see, ten dollars a week will be about right, won't it

"Eh, no, pay him fifteen. He's worth it. He's the best boy I ever had
around me," was Mr. Noyes' answer.

Charley Noyes paid Alfred the first salary he ever earned with a circus
and it was so ordained that Alfred should pay the then famous circus
manager the last salary he ever received, years after the day Charley
Noyes declared Alfred the best boy he ever had around him. The once
famous manager, broken in health and fortune, was seeking employment and
it fell to Alfred's lot to secure him an engagement with a company of
which Alfred was the manager. When the salary of the veteran was being
discussed, Alfred's intervention secured him remuneration far in excess
of that hoped for. Soon after this engagement ended, Mr. Noyes died very
suddenly. The end came in a little city of Texas. It happened that the
minstrel company, owned by the one time new boy of the circus, was in
Waco. Letters on Mr. Noyes' person written by Alfred led the hotel
people to telegraph the minstrel manager, who hastened to the city where
his friend had died. Ere he arrived, the Masonic fraternity had
performed the last sad rites. Mr. Noyes was the friend of Alfred when he
needed friends and it was his intention to send all that was mortal of
him to his old home. Telegrams were not answered and Charles Noyes
sleeps in the little cemetery at Lampasas, Texas.

As the Thayer & Noyes Circus was one of the best, Alfred has always
considered his engagement with that concern as the beginning of his
professional career. Dr. James L. Thayer and his family were highly
connected. Mr. Noyes married the sister of his partner's wife. The
families did not agree and this led to a separation of the partners,
disastrous to both. Chas. Noyes' Crescent City Circus, and Dr. James
Thayer's Great American Circus never appealed to the people as did the
old title, nor was either of the concerns as meritorious as the Thayer &
Noyes concern. In the prosperous days of the show the proprietors and
their wives were welcome guests in the homes of the best families in the
cities visited. The writer remembers that in the city of Baltimore, the
mayor, the city council and other high dignitaries attended the opening
performance in a body.

The company was the cream of the circus world: S. P. Stickney, one of
the most respectable and talented of old time circus men; Sam and Robert
Stickney, sons; Emma Stickney, his daughter; Tom King and wife, Millie
Turnour, Jimmy Reynolds, the clown whose salary of one hundred dollars a
week had so excited the cupidity of Alfred; Woody Cook, who came from
Cookstown, Fayette County, only a few miles from Brownsville, and who,
like Alfred had left home to seek his fortune; James Kelly, champion
leaper of the world; James Cook and wife, of the Cook family, were of
the company.

All circus people in those days were apprenticed, all learned their
business. One of the latter day hall room performers would have received
short shrift in a company of those days, when every performer was an
all-round athlete; in fact, in individual superiority, the circus actor
of that day outclassed those of the present. The riders were very much
superior as they had more competent instructors.

The only particular in which the circus performance has progressed is in
the introduction of the thrillers--the big aerial acts, the mid-air
feats. Combination acts are superior in the present circus and in this
alone has there been improvement. The circus people of old bore the same
relation to the public as does the legitimate actor today.

There was an aristocracy in the circus world of those days that could
not be understood by the circus people of today. Some twelve families
controlled the circus business in this country for years. They were
people of wealth and affairs.

The Robinson family was one of the oldest and most famous of their
times. The elder John Robinson left an estate valued in the millions.
The numerous apprentices of this master of the circus were the most
famous of all of their times. James Robinson who was the undisputed
champion bare-back rider of the world, was an apprentice of "Old John"
Robinson. Assuming the name of Robinson, he held a place in the circus
field never attained by any other. He toured the world heralded as the
champion, yet he would never permit himself to be announced as such. He
earned two fortunes. Today at an age that leaves the greater number of
men in their dotage, Mr. Robinson is healthy and active. He enjoys life
as few old persons do. In the office of his friend, Dr. J. J. McClellan,
he may be found almost any day, the center of a group of good fellows
and none merrier than the once champion bare-back rider of the world.

The Stickneys were one of the greatest of the old time circus families.
In the summer the family followed the red wagons and in the winter Mr.
Stickney managed the American Theatre on Poydras Street, New Orleans.
America's noted players all appeared in this theatre. Young Bob Stickney
was born in this theatre. He made his first appearance on the stage as
the child in Rolla, supporting Edwin Forrest. No more talented or
graceful performer ever entered a circus ring than this same Robert
Stickney. Only a few weeks ago the writer attended a performance of that
improbable play, Polly at the Circus. The grace and dramatic actions of
Mr. Stickney in the one brief moment in the scene where Polly rushes
into the ring, were more effectively and dramatically portrayed than any
climax in the play.

When Thayer & Noyes' Great American Circus exhibited in Baltimore a
special quarter sheet bill was printed, the program of the performance.
Al. G. Field was one of the names on the bill, in two colors. The agent
mailed one of these bills to the show. It was not until the portly
proprietor, Dr. Thayer, explained to Alfred that his name was entirely
too long for a quarter sheet, and that if he, Alfred, desired to be
billed, he must curtail the name. "I've just knocked your hat off,"
laughed the good natured showman. Alfred thought little of the matter.
He only regarded the name as a _nom-de-plume_. Other bills were printed
bearing the name of Al. G. Field; when nearing the end of the circus
season the management of the Bidwell & McDonough's Black Crook Company
applied to Thayer & Noyes for two or three lively young men to act as
sprites, and goblins, Mr. Thayer recommended young Mr. Field as a
capable person to impersonate the red gnome; this name went on the
bills. Alfred never signed a letter or used the newly acquired name
until years afterwards circumstances and conditions had fixed the show
name upon him and it was absolutely imperative he adopt it. Therefore in
1881, by act of the legislature of Ohio and the Probate Court of
Franklin County, Ohio, the name of Alfred Griffith Hatfield Field was
legalized, abbreviated on all advertising matter to Al. G. Field. It is
so copyrighted in the title of the Al. G. Field Greater Minstrels with
the Librarian of Congress.


    We all fall down at times,
      Though we have nerve and grit;
    You're worth a bet, but don't forget--
      To lay down means to quit.

"Columbus, Ohio, is a long ways out west and I don't hope tu ever git tu
see you all agin but I hope you won't fergit me, kase I'll never fergit
you. I'd go with you all but I'm 'bliged tu keep my promise. I hope my
married life will turn out all right but you kan't never guess whar
you're goin' tu land when yu sail on the sea of matermony.

"They say the reason men don't practis what they preach is bekase they
need the money. Well, if he practices what he preaches, he'll be a good
pervider and that's all I'll ask of him.

"I hope John will do better when you git settled in Columbus an' I know
he will. Alfred's mos' a man grown an' he'll be a big help to his pap if
ye'll jes' take him right. I jes' told John day afore yisterday--I ses,
ses I--'Alfurd's no child enny more and you ought not tu treat him like
a boy.' I want you all to write me and tell me how yu like it. I s'pose
when yu git out in Ohio you'll all git the ager. Uncle Wilse's folks did
and they shook thar teeth loose. They moved to Tuscarrarus County.
Newcomerstown was thar post office. They wrote us they wanted to kum
back home afore they was there a month.

"It's bad fur ole peepul to change their hums. Hits all right fur young
folks kase they're not settled an' they soon fergit the old love fur the
new, but I hope you'll like hit. John says the railroads kum into
Columbus from both ways an' the cars are comin' an' goin' all the time.
If you live close tu the depot you won't sleep much kase you hain't used
tu hit."

Lin's fears were not realized. Alfred's home was far from the depot. It
was in the South End, in fact, the South End was Columbus in those days.

Those who guided the destinies of railroads were as wise in those days
as these of the present. The site of Coony Born's father's brewery was
selected as the most desirable location for a passenger depot. The good
people of Columbus (the South End) were more jealous of their rights
than the people of today when a railroad is supposed to be encroaching
upon them; therefore when it was proposed to locate a depot where the
noise would disturb their slumbers and their setting hens, the
opposition of not the few, but many, was aroused. To locate the depot in
their midst was an invasion of their rights. Not only would it disturb
the quietude of their homes but it would be a menace to their business
inasmuch as it would attract undesirable strangers. The business men of
the South End had their regular customers and did not care to take
chances with strangers. They admitted a depot was a necessity--a sort of
nuisance--to be tolerated, but not approved.

Railroad people of those days were as inconsistent as those of today.
They were spiteful. They built a depot outside the city limits, as near
the line of demarcation as possible.

North Public Lane, now Naghten Street, was the north city limits. The
South End had won. They celebrated their victory over the railroads by a
public demonstration. Hessenauer's Garden was crowded. The principal
speaker, in eloquent Low Dutch, congratulated the citizens on the
preservation of their rights--and slumbers. He highly complimented them
over the fact that they had forced the railroads to locate their depot
as far from the South End as the law and the city limits would permit.

The new depot was connected with the city by a cinder path, nor could
the city compel the builders of the new depot to lay a sidewalk. The
depot people claimed the land thereunder would revert to the city.
Therefore, in the rainy seasons incoming travelers carried such
quantities of the cinder walk on their feet that the sidewalks of High
Street appeared to strangers in mourning for the sad mistake of those
who platted the town in confining the city forever to one street.

Every incoming locomotive deposited its ashes on the cinder path. The
city could not remove the ashes as rapidly as they accumulated. The task
was abandoned and to this day no continuous efforts are made to keep the
streets of Columbus clean. Like the good fraus of the South End cleaning
house, the streets are cleaned once a year--near election time.

There was no population north of Naghten Street until after the erection
of the depot. It is true there were a few North of Ireland folks living
in the old Todd Barracks, and many of their descendants to this day can
be found on Neil Avenue; yet they had no political power at that time;
in fact the South End people, with that supreme indifference which
characterizes those who have possession by right of inheritance, did not
even note the invasion of the city by the Yankees and Puritans from
Worthington and Westerville. It was not until Pat Egan was elected
coroner that the residents of the South End realized a candidate of
theirs could be laid out by a foreigner.

It was in those days that Alfred was introduced to Columbus. They were
the good old days, when all thrifty people made their kraut on All
Hallowe'en and the celebration of Schiller's birthday was only
overshadowed by that of Washington's; when the first woods were away out
in the country and quail shooting good anywhere this side of Alum Creek.
The State Fair grounds (Franklin Park) were in the city.

The State House, the Court House, Born's Brewery, the City Hall, and
Hessenauer's Garden, all in the South End, were all the public
improvements the city could boast of. Others were not desired.

Those days only live in the memory of the good people who enjoyed
them--the good old days when every lawn in the South End was a social
center on Sundays; where every tree shaded a happy, contented gathering
whose songs of the Fatherland were in harmony with the laws of the land,
touching a responsive chord in the breasts of those who not only enjoyed
the benefits and blessings of the best and most liberal government on
earth, but appreciated them.

The statesmen of those days, the men who made laws and upheld them,
chosen as rulers by a majority of their fellow citizens, were respected
by all. It was not necessary for an official to stand guard between the
rabble and the administration. Office holders stood upon the dignity of
their offices. Demagogues had not instilled in the minds of the ignorant
that to be governed was to be oppressed. Those unfitted by nature and
education to administer public affairs did not aspire to do so nor to
embarrass those who were competent.

In the good old days of Columbus, in the days of "Rise Up" William
Allen, Allen W. Thurman, Sunset Cox and others, that fact that has been
recognized in republic, kingdom and empire, namely: That that government
is least popular that is most open to public access and interference.

The office holders of those days were strong and self-reliant. They
formulated and promulgated their policies. They had faith in themselves.
The voters had faith in them and faith is as necessary in politics as in

The glories of the South End began to wane. South End people in the
simplicity of their minds felt they were entitled to their customs,
liberties and enjoyments.

Sober and law abiding, they only asked to be permitted to live in their
own way as they had always lived. But the interlopers objected. The
Yankees interfered in private and public affairs, legislation was
distorted, and still more aggravating, the descendants of the Puritans
demanded that at all public celebrations pumpkin pie and sweet cider be
substituted for lager beer, head and limburger cheese.

A German lends dignity to any business or calling he may engage in.
Honest and industrious, he succeeds in his undertakings. In the old days
all that was required to establish a paying business in the South End
was a keg of beer, a picture of Prince Bismarck and a urinal. Patronized
by his neighbors, his place was always quiet and orderly. But little
whiskey was consumed, hence there was but little drunkenness.

When William Wall invited George Schoedinger into John Corrodi's, George
called for beer. Wall, with a shrug of his shoulders to evidence his
disgust, said: "Oh, shucks! Beer! Beer! Take whiskey, mon, beer's too
damn bulky." As there was no prohibition territory in those days there
was no bottled beer. Whether keg beer was too bulky or not relished,
brewery wagons seldom invaded the sections wherein the interlopers
dwelt. The grocery wagons of George Wheeler and Wm. Taylor were often in
evidence. Both of these groceries in the North End did a thriving jug
and bottle trade. The Germans bought and imbibed their beer openly. The
grocery wagons were a cloak to the secretiveness of those whom they
served, therefore those who patronized the grocery wagons were greatly
grieved and rudely shocked at the sight of the beer wagons and the
knowledge that their fellow citizens drank beer in their homes or on
their lawns.

This became an issue in politics and religion. Many went to church
seeking consolation and were forced to listen to political speeches.
Preachers forgot their calling; instead of preaching love, they
advocated hatred. The German saloon, being lowly and harmless, must go.
In their stead came the mirrored bar with its greater influence for the
spread of intemperance but clothed with more respectability outwardly.
Public officials were embarrassed, cajoled and threatened. The
malcontent, the meddler, the demagogue, had injected their baneful
innovations into the political life of Columbus.

It is related the Indians would not live as the Puritan fathers desired
they should. They would not accept the dogmas and beliefs of the whites.
At Thanksgiving time, a period of fasting and prayer, the Puritan
fathers held a business meeting and these resolutions were adopted:

First, resolved, that the earth and the fullness thereof belong to God.

Second, that God gave the earth to his chosen people.

Third, that we are those.

They then adjourned, went out and slew every redskin in sight.
Politically, the same fate was meted out to the peaceful citizens of the
South End. The sceptre had passed from the hands of the sturdy old
burghers of the South End. In their stead came a crop of office holders
who, striving for personal popularity, catering to the meddler and
busybody--a class who had no business of their own, but ever ready to
attend to that of others. From a willing-to-be governed and peaceful
city, discontent and confusion came. Every tinker, tailor or candle
stick maker, every busybody in the city took it upon themselves,
although without training, ability or experience, to advise how the city
should be governed.

In the new order of things, representatives were elected noted only for
their talking talents, the consequence of which was that every official
considered that he was entitled to talk and talk on every subject
whether he understood it or not.

There was a custom among the warriors of Rome that when one fell in
battle, each soldier in his command cast a shovelful of earth on the
corpse. Thus a mighty mound was formed.

And so it was in the new order of things in Columbus. When a question of
moment came, every official endeavored to shower his eloquence upon it
until it was buried under a mass of words. The busybodies who so greatly
interfered with public matters were from the grocery wagon sections and
were addicted to chewing cloves. Those from the West Side chewed
tobacco. All ate peanuts. Special appropriations were requested by John
Ward, city hall janitor, to remove the peanut hulls after each talk
fest. And thus it was that peanut politics and peanut politicians came
to be known in Columbus. Peanut politics like all infections, spread
until the whole political system became affected. If the depot had been
located in the South End there would be no North End today.

Do you remember the North End before the depot was located there? Do you
remember Wesley Chapel on the site of the present Wesley and Nicholas
block. Worship was never disturbed by the hum of business. In the North
End in those days there was Tom Marshall's Red Bird Saloon, Jack Moore's
barber shop, and that old frame building, Hickory Alley and High Street,
No. 180, a floor space of twenty-five by forty feet. They turned out one
hundred and fifty buggies a year. Later, as the Columbus Buggy Company,
a buggy every eight minutes was the output. That was the beginning of
the largest concern of its kind in the world.

The Columbus Buggy Company and Doctor Hartman, the foremost citizen of
Columbus, have done more to bring fame and business to Columbus than all
other concerns combined. Their advertising matter, the most expensive
ever used, is distributed to all parts of the world; hence, the man
abroad hailing from Columbus is not compelled to carry a map to verify
his statement that Columbus is on it.

The Columbus of that day had more street railways than the Columbus of
today. In fact, every man that had a pull had a street of his own.
Columbus has more streets than any city in the world, comparatively. It
is true some of them are not as long as the names they bear, yet they
are on the town plat. Probably it was this ambition to own a street that
influenced others to own street railways. We always spoke of "Old Man"
Miller owning the two-horse High Street line. Luther Donaldson owned the
one-horse line on State Street. Doctor Hawkes owned the one-horse line
on West Broad Street. Doctor Hawkes owned several stage lines diverging
from Columbus. He was the most serious of men. Alfred was in his employ.
His duties called him to towns on the various stage routes. Hunting was
good anywhere in those days. Alfred was provided with a rickety buggy
and a spavined horse. He provided himself with a shot gun and a dog.

[Illustration: The First Home of The Columbus Buggy Co.]

Returning from Mt. Sterling one raw autumn day, the game had been
plentiful. The old Doctor met Alfred near where the Hawkes Hospital (now
Mt. Carmel) stands. The Doctor driving a nettled horse, hurriedly
advised Alfred that business of importance demanded he return to
Washington C. H. There was a fine bag of game under the seat in the
buggy, also a double barreled shot gun and a hunting suit. How to
explain their presence to the Doctor was perplexing, although he had not
neglected the business entrusted to him; in fact, he was an hour ahead
of the time. Alfred feared the Doctor would be displeased.

The Doctor, quickly alighting, ordered Alfred into his rig.

"Doctor, I have a bunch of quail under the seat. Just let me get my gun
out and you can have the quail if you want them; if not, send them out
to father's." The old Doctor knitted his brow but said nothing. However,
the quail were sent to the father's house.

Another day, starting on a trip to the country, the Doctor standing on
the steps of the office, looked at Alfred and asked if he had forgotten

"No, sir, nothing. I have everything I usually take with me."

"Where's your gun?" asked the Doctor.

"Out home," replied Alfred. "Now Doctor, I have done a little hunting
but I always start early and I never neglect your business."

The Doctor muttered something about hunting being a frivolous sport and
it should not be engaged in on your employer's time.

He never permitted anyone to waste time. The Hawkes' farm, embracing all
the land on the West Side near where the Mt. Carmel Hospital is now
located, was covered with stones. It was a fad of the Doctor's to pass
an afternoon on the farm, gathering stones.

Preparing to leave for Aetna one morning, Alfred called at the office to
receive instructions. It was late when the old gentleman put in an
appearance. He had had a bad night and desired Alfred to accompany him
to the farm.

Arriving at the farm, it was not long until he had Alfred picking up
stones. The greater part of the day was thus spent. Alfred's back ached.
He thought it the most peculiar fad a sane man ever indulged in. The
Doctor was as deeply interested as though engaged in some great
undertaking. A dozen boulders were placed in the buggy, as heavy a load
as the old vehicle would stand up under. Driving to a point where the
Doctor had quite a pile, the stones were unloaded and another load

Rabbits were numerous. The next visit to the farm Alfred carried his
gun. It was but a few moments until a cotton-tail jumped up in the path
of the buggy. Alfred killed the rabbit. It was not long until four of
the big-eared bunnies were dead on the buggy floor. The old Doctor began
to show interest in the sport. When Alfred made a move to lay away his
gun, the Doctor requested that he continue the hunt. Nor was it long
until he advised Alfred that he would accompany him to Mt. Sterling and
requested that the gun and dog be taken along. The Doctor without
expressing himself as being at all interested, followed Alfred in the
field. The only interest he seemed to take in the sport was when the
hunter missed; then, knitting his brows, he would follow the birds with
his eyes as they flew away.

Dr. Hawkes was the most unimpressionable of men. He had no conception of
humor. He rarely smiled and never laughed outright. He assured Alfred
that he would employ a man who had been in the penitentiary in
preference to one who had traveled with a circus. The prejudiced old
doctor was not aware that Alfred formerly followed the "red wagons."

A contract had been entered into to convey a number of young school
girls to their homes in the country. The driver failed to report. An
hour passed. The old doctor was greatly worried. The team was the best
in the barn and more than anxious to answer to the driver's command.
Alfred climbed to the seat. Old Miles, the barn boss, was in doubt as to
entrusting the horses to a driver who was not familiar with them.

"Hol' on, boy. Everybody kan't handle dis team."

"Turn them loose, Miles, I'm on my way," Alfred shouting "All-aboard."

The Doctor looked on in doubt. Gazing up at Alfred he began questioning
him as to where he had learned to drive four horses.

"Oh, when I was with a circus," replied Alfred. "I reined six better
ones than these."

"You have a precious load. I'm really afraid to trust them to you. It
would be an awful thing if you should not be able to handle the team.
I'll send old Joe with you."

"It's not necessary," Alfred replied.

The young ladies aboard, the whip cracked, they were off; around the
State House square, up High Street on a lively trot. The old Doctor
stood on the corner with as near a smile on his face as Alfred ever

In the evening he complimented Alfred meagerly on his proficiency as a
whip. Alfred laughingly reminded him that they did not teach you stage
driving over at the "pen". Uncle Henry, a blacksmith who shod the
Doctor's stage horses, asserted the reason the Doctor preferred those
from the "pen" was that he could hire them cheaper.

James Clahane was facetiously dubbed "The Duke of Middletown" by his
friends, and that meant everybody who was intimate with the good-natured

There must be something ennobling in the blacksmith calling. It not only
strengthens the muscles but the nature of a man.

When Doctor Hawkes projected the horse car line on West Broad Street, he
solicited Clahane to buy stock. The old blacksmith had his hard-earned
savings invested in West Broad Street building lots. The Doctor argued
the street car line would not only pay handsome dividends but greatly
enhance the value of abutting property. Clahane, very much against his
judgment, invested considerable money in the street car line. The cars
were not operated a month until Clahane questioned the Doctor as to when
the road would strike a dividend. It was considered a good joke by all,
save the Doctor.

Burglars cracked the street car safe, securing over four hundred dollars
of the company's money. The news spread quickly. Clahane, minus coat,
with plug hat in hand, (it was a hot morning), approached the office.
Several gentlemen, including the Doctor, stood on the steps viewing the
wreck within. Clahane, while yet the width of Broad Street away, shouted
at the top of his voice: "Egad, Dhoctur, yese hev got yere divident." If
the old Doctor realized the humor of this dig he never evidenced it.

The world declared the Doctor cold and uncharitable, but Alfred never
enters Mt. Carmel Hospital that he does not lift his hat in reverence as
he halts in front of the marble bust that so faithfully portrays the
serious face of Doctor Hawkes.

In those days Heitman was Mayor, Sam Thompson Chief of Police, Lott
Smith was the 'Squire of the town, and 'Squire Doney in the township.
Chief Heinmiller ran the Fire Department and ran it right. Oliver Evans
had the exclusive oyster trade of the city, handling it personally with
a one horse wagon. The postoffice was near the Neil House. The canal
boats unloaded at Broad Street, and Columbus had a Fourth of July
celebration every year.

Alfred was one of a committee of young men laboring, to demonstrate to
the world that the birth of this nation was an event, and incidently, to
attract attention to a section of the city that had been overlooked in
the way of street improvements. The large vacant field opposite the
Blind Asylum was selected as the proper location for the Fourth of July
celebration. The fact that the brass band, lately organized by the
officers of the Blind Asylum, would be available for the exercises, had
great weight with the committee, in selecting the location. Parsons
Avenue, then East Public Lane, was the muddiest street in the city.
Those who drove their cows home via East Public Lane will verify this

The city council had been appealed to personally and by petition.
Finally, to partially appease public outcry, a very narrow sidewalk was
constructed from Friend, now Main Street, to Mound, one short square.
This very narrow sidewalk aroused those of the neighborhood as never
before, excepting when the pound was established and citizens prevented
pasturing their live stock on the public streets.

Among the attractions of the Fourth of July celebration were Lon
Worthington, tight-rope walker; Billy Wyatt, in fire-eating exercises; a
greased pig; Ed DeLany, who was to read the Declaration of Independence
and Alfred a burlesque oration.

There was universal dissatisfaction over the narrow sidewalk and many
independent citizens refused to walk upon it. They waded in mud to their
knees, and proudly boasted of their independence as citizens. Even
ladies refused to use the sidewalk, asserting it was so narrow two
persons could not pass without embracing.

There was an old soldier who bore the scars of numerous battles and was
looking for more. On the glorious Fourth, to more strongly emphasize his
disdain for the narrow sidewalk, he rigged himself out in the uniform he
had worn throughout the war. Although it was excessively hot he wore not
only his fatigue uniform but his heavy blue double-caped overcoat. He
paraded up and down along the side of the detested sidewalk, never
stepping foot upon it. When his feet became too heavy with mud he
scraped it off on the edge of the walk as he cursed the city council. He
consigned them to----, where there are no Fourth of Julys or sidewalks.

Strains of music foretold the coming of the grand parade, headed by the
Blind Band, marching in the middle of the street, their movement guided
by a Drum Major blessed with the sight of one eye. On they came, four
abreast, taking up the narrow street from field fence line to narrow
sidewalk line. From the opposite direction came the Son of Mars. He was
large enough to be the father of that mythical warrior. The four slide
trombone players leading the van were rapidly nearing the violent
soldier who was taking up as much street as the four musicians; in fact,
after his last visit to Ed Turner's saloon, the old soldier actually
required the full width of the street. As the band and soldiers neared
each other, it was evident there would be a collision. On the old "vet"
marched, oblivious of everything on earth excepting the sidewalk. People
yelled at him. One man who knew something of military tactics shouted
"Halt!" The old veteran shouting back, to go to where he had consigned
the city council and their sidewalk. "Get out of the way; let the band
by!" Waving his mace as an emblem of authority, Jack Nagle, the
policeman, ran towards the old soldier. "Get out of the way! Get out of
the street! Get on the sidewalk! Can't you walk on the sidewalk?" "Walk
on the sidewalk," shouted the old soldier, "Walk on the sidewalk? Huh,
what in hell do you take me for, the tight-rope walker?"

The Fourth of July celebration was successful. In obtaining street
improvements, East Public Lane was paved with brick twenty years
afterwards, thus Alfred gained a reputation as a politician.

Years later, George J. Karb, a candidate for sheriff, requested Alfred
and several of his friends to make a tour of the northern part of the
county in his interest--a section noted for its piety and
respectability. There were Mayor George Pagels and Bill Parks and Jewett
of Worthington, Fred Butler of Dublin, Tom Hanson of Linworth, and
numerous other deacons and elders to be seen. Karb requested that Alfred
select the right people to accompany him. W. E. Joseph, Charley Wheeler
and Gig Osborn, made up the committee that was to present the merits of
the candidate for sheriff to the voters of the Linwood and Plain City
section. Karb was furious when he learned that Fred Atcherson had
volunteered to carry the party in his big Packard machine. He swore they
would lose him more votes than he could ever hope to regain; an
automobile was the detestation of every farmer. To complete the campaign
organization the committee decided to wear the largest goggles, caps and
automobile coats procurable. The first farmer's team they met shied off
the road, upsetting the wagon, breaking the tongue and crushing one
wheel. The committee gave the farmer an order on Fred Immel to repair
the wagon if possible, otherwise deliver a new wagon to the bearer,
charging same to George J. Karb.

This experience cautioned the party to be more careful. Another farmer's
team approaching, they halted by the roadside a hundred yards from the
passing point. Do what he would the farmer could not urge his team by
the automobile. Charley Wheeler became impatient and sarcastic. "What's
the matter? You going to hold us here all day? Didn't your crow-baits
ever see a gas wagon before?"

"Yes, my team has seed gas wagons and gas houses afore," sneered the
farmer, "but they hain't used to a hull pack of skeer crows in one
crowd. When we put a skeer crow in a corn field, one's all we make. Some
damned fools make a dozen and put 'em all in one automobile. If you'll
all get out and hide, my team will go by your ole benzine tank."

Hot and dusty, the party halted in front of a hotel. The village was
larger and more prosperous than any yet visited.

A number of men were threshing grain a few hundred yards away, the steam
threshing machine attracting farmers from all the country about. One a
peculiar man, more refined appearing than the others, had once been a
college professor; overstudy had partially unbalanced his reason. He was
versed in the classics. He took an especial interest in Alfred.

Bill Joseph is the luckiest man that ever tapped a slot machine. When
traveling he often steps off the train while it halts at a depot and
pulls his expenses out of a slot machine. On this day he was unusually
lucky. The hotel had a varied assortment of drop-a-nickle-in-the-slot
devices. Joe tapped them in a row. The hotel people looked upon him with
suspicion. But when he carried the winnings into the bar, ordering the
hotel man to slake the thirsts of the threshers, they were sort of
reconciled. The old college professor, unlike the others, demanded
something stronger than beer. His neighbors, who evidently had him in
charge, endeavored to persuade him to go home.

[Illustration: On the Crowd Cheered]

"Wait! Hold a minute. I want to talk to this man Field. He is a
scientific man. His father laid the Atlantic cable. His family is noted
the world over. I want to talk to him. The Field family are noted

One of those who seemed most intimate with the professor was an old
soldier, very deaf.

"What did you say his name was?" he inquired.

"Field," replied the professor. "F-i-e-l-d."

"Field," repeated the old soldier. "Field. Well, I want nuthin' to do
with _him_. Field was my captain's name in the army, an' he was the
damnedest beat I ever knowed."

The old professor stuck to Alfred quoting Latin. He quoted a striking
climax from one of Bryan's speeches, a quotation Bryan has been using in
his Chautauqua lectures and political speeches for years. The old
professor observed Claudius evolved this idea years ago. Alfred had no
idea of who Claudius was, or how long ago he lived. However, when he
located him four hundred years back, the old professor said "Huh, four
hundred years ago? H-ll! Four thousand years." Alfred did not delve into
the classics further.

Alfred presented the claims of Geo. Karb for the office of Sheriff and
concluded his talk by inviting all to call on Karb when they happened in
Columbus. "And when election day comes around, I hope you will all see
your way clear to cast your votes for him, even though you are opposed
to him politically. We must not adhere too strictly to our political
prejudices in selecting officers to look after our personal affairs. And
that's what a sheriff should do, and that's what Geo. Karb will do.
Therefore, I ask you to cast your votes for Geo. J. Karb for sheriff of
Franklin County."

The crowd cheered.

The old professor took it upon himself to reply. First, he thanked all
for the honor they did his community by visiting them. "We have too few
scientists visit us and I hope Mr. Field will come again when he can
enlighten us on many scientific matters of which we are in doubt. As to
his candidate for Sheriff of Franklin County, we know he is deserving or
Mr. Field and the eminent gentlemen would not commend him. And I know
that every voter here would be glad to vote for Mr. Karb if we lived in
Franklin County."

The facts are, the committee in their zeal, were electioneering in
Milford Center, Union County.

Joe was pryed off the slot machines and a solemn compact entered into
that the part of the electioneering tour over the Franklin County line
be forever held and guarded as a sealed book.


    And far away--up yonder, in the window o' the blue,
    The dreamed-of angels listen to an echo glad and new--
    Thrilled to the Gates of Glory, and they say:
        "Heaven's love to you,
      Brother of the Light that makes the Morning!"

"If John kin do better in Columbus, hit's yo're duty to go." Thus Linn
advised the mother.

Columbus was a big city but it was not home. The mother was discontented
and longed for the old town back yonder. Alfred had promised to abandon
his circus ambitions. He had just concluded a season in the south with
the Simmons & Slocum Minstrels, a famous troupe of those days. E. N.
Slocum was a Columbus man. Alfred had received an offer to cross the
ocean with Haverly's Minstrels, a very large company. Haverly had
invaded London previously and the success of that venture aroused great
hopes for the success of the second company. The mother's strenuous
opposition to Alfred's acceptance of the engagement was backed up by
Uncle Henry Hunt, who was on a visit from Burlington, Iowa.

Uncle Henry was born in Elk County, Ky. His mother died when he was very
young. His father married soon after the death of the first wife. The
younger sister and himself did not appeal strongly to the step-mother.
She was deeply interested in church work, and had little time to devote
to the half orphaned children or her home. A plantation and a hundred
and fifty slaves engaged all the father's time. The boy and girl ran
wild on the place and it was little wonder they often came in for
censure and even more severe punishment. The sister seemed more
aggravating to the new mother than the boy. Reprimands became more
frequent, followed by bodily punishment. During the father's absence in
Louisville, the step-mother's abuse of the sister became so aggravating
to the brother that he assaulted the step-mother. The boy, fearing the
wrath of the father, determined to run away. He had relatives, a brother
in Newark, Ohio. Walking and working, he reached Newark, footsore,
weary, lonesome and homesick. He felt he had reached a haven of rest.

The wife of the brother was the best man. She ran the husband, she ran
the home. Ragged and miserable looking, his reception was anything but
cordial. The recital of his wrongs, the abuse of his sister by the
step-mother, instead of creating sympathy, brought censure. The
brother's wife was a most devout church member and that a boy of
fourteen had descended to the depths of degradation his condition
denoted, was most abhorrent to her.

The boy realized that he was an unwelcome guest. It was not long ere the
brother, influenced by the wife, informed him that he must go back to
his home, to the old plantation in Kentucky, that he must submit to the
authority of the step-mother, become a better boy, that his behavior,
had disgraced the family, and that he, the brother, could not harbor him
longer. The brother's wife assured him the prayers of herself and family
would go up for him nightly. They gave him no food, they gave him no
money. When the door of his brother's house closed upon him, all there
was of love in his being for kith or kin went out of him, save for the
memory of the dead mother and the living sister. He worked on a farm
barefooted; he slept in an out-house without sufficient covering to keep
him warm; he carried a clap-board to the field that he might protect his
feet from the frost while he husked corn. He apprenticed himself to a
blacksmith, learned the trade and came to Columbus. He established a
shop at a crossroads in the country. It became known as Hunt's Corners.
It is now the corner of Cleveland and Mt. Vernon Avenues.

Uncle Henry, through influence, secured a contract from the
penitentiary. He accumulated money, moved to Burlington, Iowa, became
one of the prosperous, progressive business men of that beautiful city.
That Uncle Henry's heart was hardened towards relatives did not change
his generous disposition towards friends.

Alfred liked the rugged old blacksmith whose good nature and wholesome
hospitality were the admiration of all who were fortunate enough to be
his guests. He entertained as few men can entertain. The host of a home
is a difficult social role to fill. There are no rules, no book-lessons
that teach it. It is an inborn trait and comes only to a man who loves
the companionship, the good-fellowship of human beings. Uncle Henry was
noted for the good things to eat he so abundantly provided. However, had
he served the plainest food to those whom he welcomed, his hearty
hospitality would have made it a feast.

[Illustration: Uncle Henry]

Uncle Henry soothingly addressed the mother: "Sis," (he always addressed
her as "Sis,"), "Alfred's not going to England. He has walked many dusty
roads, like myself, and he's all the better for it, but you can't walk
back from England. I've told him so. Alfred's going to stay right here
in this country. He's all right. He's going with a circus. He's a better
circus manager than plenty of them that's making money. When he gets a
little older, hard behind the ears, we're going to get up a company and
start him out right. I've talked it all over with Grimes and two or
three other friends. Now you and John just let that boy alone. He'll
come out all right."

The mother said: "Alfred has promised me he will not go with another
circus. It keeps us worried all the time. I'm afraid something will
happen him."

"Yes, something will happen him, and you take it from me, it will happen
here or there, and it's more liable to happen here than there. Say, Sis,
come on, be a sensible woman. Never drive your boys away. Never coax
them to lie."

"Why, I haven't coaxed Alfred to lie," quickly answered the mother.

"Say, Sis, you've been coaxing that boy to lie since he was able to
paddle his own canoe. Your coaxing him to do that, he will never do.
That is, stay at home and paint wagons, houses or boats. Give him his
way. He'll have it anyhow, you see if he don't. If he wants to start a
grocery, I'll loan him the money. But, he'll never make a groceryman.
Suppose they'd tried to make a preacher out me," (and all laughed),
Uncle Henry said, "Yes, you laugh at the very idea of it. Let me tell
you something, and I hope Alfred's high-falutin' preacher uncles and
others won't get red in the face when they hear of it. If you all keep
caterwauling Alfred around, he wouldn't amount to three hurrahs in

"He may work for Doctor Hawkes forty years longer and he will be no
better off than a living. There's no hope for a boy in working for a man
like Doctor Hawkes. The Doctor's all right but he never assisted a human
being to better himself. He's like all other rich men. He just uses men
to pile it up for himself, and any man that can't pile it up for
himself, or don't make a big try to do so, needs shingling. I never had
any relatives to pull me back, and I never had any to put me forward."

"Where is your brother and his wife?" someone asked Uncle Henry.

"Wheeling cinders," came quick as a flash.

"Oh, Uncle Henry, I am surprised."

"Well, the reason I say that, is, they told me that people that did
certain things would sure go there"--and he pointed downwards--"and they
did those very things so what can I say when you ask me where they are?"

       *       *       *       *       *

Peter Sells and Alfred were close friends. The Sells Bros. Show had
opened early--April 16, 17, 18. It rained or snowed every day during
their engagement in Columbus. The show was to appear in Chillicothe a
few days after leaving Columbus. Peter Sells came into the stage office
and arranged to go to Chillicothe. He had returned from Kentucky to
confer with his brothers. Alfred accepted his invitation to accompany
him to Chillicothe. The after concert, with no performers to present it,
had been omitted for three days. Alfred advised Ephraim Sells that could
he find wardrobe a concert could be given that afternoon and night. The
wardrobe was secured. The announcer made much of the "great minstrel
comedian" who would positively appear in the concert for this day only.
Nat Goodwin and his company, who were to appear in the opera house that
night, were in the audience.

Ephraim, Allen and Peter Sells, and Alfred were seated on a bench in
front of the hotel. Allen Sells was endeavoring to persuade Alfred to
remain with the show.

While the dicker was pending, a young clerk from a store door, yelled to
a passer-by on the opposite side of the street: "Were you at the
circus?" The other yelled: "Yes." "How was it?" "Bum, but the concert's
good. That Al. G. Field that was here last winter in the opera house, is
with them. The concert's the best part of the whole thing. I guess the
minstrels are busted, or Field wouldn't be with such a bum circus."

The Sells Brothers appreciated the joke.

The argument ended abruptly by the engagement of Alfred.

Ephraim Sells was exacting in all his dealings. Severe with the
drunkard, he endeavored to assist all temperate and deserving employes,
advising men to secure their own homes. "Own your home. You will never
accumulate anything without a home. Establish a home, raise a family, be
somebody." There are many men living in Columbus today who owe all
their possessions to Ephraim Sells' advice.

The Sells Brothers Shows were larger than the Thayer & Noyes. In fact,
the Sells Shows had the advantage of a menagerie. The circus performance
was not so meritorious as the first circus Alfred was connected with.
The Sells brothers, with the exception of Peter, were not good showmen;
that is, they were not producers, although good business men. Had the
Sells brothers possessed the talent for originating and producing
displayed by James A. Bailey, or Alfred T. Ringling, their organization
would have been second to none, as they had the opportunities but did
not take advantage of them.

They were undoubtedly exhibiting the finest menagerie in the country,
the collection of animals, with the exception of a giraffe, was most
complete. Peter, the advance agent, returned to the show. He severely
criticized the appearance of the show, particularly the lack of
decorations. Nashville was a two days' stand. Ephraim gave Alfred orders
to buy all the decorations, banners, flags, etc., necessary to convert
the interior of the tents into a bower of beauty. Nashville stores were
ransacked. Printed calico or other goods with the national colors
emblazoned on them were the only decorations available. Wagon loads of
these goods were purchased. Side poles were festooned with the gaudy
colored calico, and lengths of it hung in front of the reserved seats,
on the band stand, the entrance to the dressing tents. The decorations
were the wonder and admiration of the circus folks. Drivers,
razor-backs, car porters, cook tent, side show people came again to gaze
upon the riot of color presented by the decorations. It rained as it
only rains in Nashville. The surrounding country is fame's eternal
camping ground. Here sleep men from all the States of the North and
South. It is the bivouac of the dead. The hills have trembled with the
tramp of armies. Blood has flowed as freely as the rushing waters of
the murky Cumberland. Hills now green with nature's garb were once
stained with the blood of those who struggled for the mastery. But no
battlefield near Nashville ever presented the sight that did the hill on
which stood Sells Brothers tents in the soft haze of that October
morning. Running rivulets of red percolated in a hundred gulleys from
under the circus tents. The gaudy red calico was now white, but all the
plains below were red. Thousands came to view the sight. One negro
spread the news that "the varmints wus all loose and had et up all de
circus folks case de blood was leakin' out de tents in buckets-full."
Another surmised "De elephans had upset the lemonade tubs."

The decorations had faded white, the hills were red, Ephraim and Lewis
made the air blue.

Lewis sarcastically suggested Alfred communicate with Peter advising we
had decorations, but they ran away, and we didn't have time to go down
in the hollow and dip them up.

One morning the startling news went around that the old man had fired
the principal clown. In those days the old clown was best man with a
circus. He was the entertainer--the leading man. He must be eloquent,
nimble and a comedian. Every circus had it's popular clown. It was the
days of Dan Rice, Ben McGinley, Pete Conklin, Johnny Patterson, Walcutt,
Den Stone, John Lowlow, and others. Therefore, when Alfred was
ordered--not requested--to prepare himself for the important role of
principal clown, he was no little taken aback.

"I have no costumes, I have no gags, I have no make-up," were Alfred's

After all the boyhood day dreams, after all the preparations in his
mind, after all the yearnings, all the ambitious hopes of a boy's
lifetime, here was the coveted opportunity to become a clown in the
circus. And, now when the opportunity to immortalize himself, to earn a
salary as great as Jimmy Reynolds, and eventually buy a farm, he shied.

A performer from Chiranni's Circus in South America dug from the bottom
of his trunk as funny a clown costume as ever Joy donned. When made up,
all pronounced Alfred as funny appearing as any clown. "He has a beak
like Dan Rice and feet like Dr. Thayer," were a few of the side remarks.

Alfred determined he would not use the jokes of the clown who had just
left. The clown in those days was given unlimited opportunities. The
tents were smaller--his voice reached every auditor. Sam Rinehart, good
old Sam, was the ringmaster. Those of Jimmy Reynold's jokes Alfred could
not bring to memory, Sam remembered. Therefore, the new clown was a
success, with the circus people at least. Jimmy Reynolds' gags were new
around the show, and if Alfred was not receiving Jimmy's salary he was
telling his jokes. Alfred introduced local talks, which pleased the
audiences greatly.

[Illustration: Alfred as the Old Clown]

All efforts to engage a clown were terminated by the manager making an
agreement with Alfred, installing him as principal clown, a vocation he
followed many summers. Lin's prophesy was literally fulfilled: "You kin
clown h-it in summer and nigger it in winter."

On that first day Alfred, nervously awaiting his cue to enter the ring
as a clown, cautiously peered through the red damask curtains at the
dressing room entrance. A boy on a top seat nearby caught sight of the
white-painted face. In an ecstacy of joy he clapped his hands, shouting:
"Oh, there's the old clown, there's the old clown." Sam Rinehart, sotto
voice, standing near the band stand, remarked: "If that kid only knowed
how dam new he is he wouldn't call him the _old_ clown." Of all the
roles enacted by Alfred, that of the circus clown was most enjoyed. With
thousands around him, in sympathy with every mishap or quip, at liberty
to introduce any business that would amuse, with constantly changing
audiences, Alfred enjoyed his work as greatly as did his auditors.

"Alfred will come to town sum day a real clown in a circus, and the
whole country will turn out to see him. Litt Dawson, the Congressman,
won't be so much when Alfred gits to goin'." This was another of Lin's

Alfred came back home a real clown in a circus. The whole country turned
out. No circus ever attracted the multitudes in such numbers. Hundreds
turned away at both performances. Alfred's only regret was that Lin was
not present. Two children had come to her. One was named John, the girl
Mary, in honor of Alfred's father and mother. Lin had trouble with the
school-marm. The children, as children often did in those days, brought
home a few insects in their hair. Lin pursued them vigorously with a
fine-toothed comb. To more quickly exterminate them, Lin gave the head
of each child an application of lard and sulphur. The teacher sent the
children home with a note advising Lin the preparation on their heads
was offensive to her, the smell could not be tolerated. Lin led the
children back to the school, tartly informing the school-marm that her
children were "sent to school to be larnt, not smellt."

When Alfred visited old Loudon County he fully expected to meet Lin and
her family. When informed the big, hearty, wholesome woman had paid
nature's debt and that nearly her last words were a message to his
father and mother, the pleasure of his visit was greatly marred.

The Sells Brothers and the Barnum Show were having opposition in
Indiana. The late James Anderson, of Columbus, who for years was the
superintendent of Doctor Hawkes Stage, Carriage & Transfer Company, was
the manager of Sells Brothers Show. Ben Wallace was the liveryman who
furnished the hay and oats for the circus. Anderson and Wallace became
acquainted. A few days later Anderson informed Alfred that he and the
tall young liveryman in Peru had formed a partnership to organize a
circus. They offered Alfred a much greater salary than Sells Brothers
were paying him, and also a winter's work organizing the show. A
contract already signed with the Duprez and Benedict Minstrels was
cancelled, an office opened in Comstock's Opera House, Columbus, Ohio.
Every performer, every musician, etc., with the Wallace Show that first
season was engaged by Alfred. Neither Wallace or Anderson knew what
their show was to be until rehearsals began in Peru. Both were pleased.

A bit of heretofore unwritten history: After Alfred had refused several
offers, after all the best shows had their people engaged, Mr. Anderson,
returning from Cincinnati, called on Alfred. The first word he uttered
chilled Alfred's blood. "Call everything off, cancel all contracts, the
show don't go out."

Alfred had antagonized Sells Brothers and others by engaging people who
had been with them for years. He had burned the bridges behind him, as
it were. Mr. Anderson, in explanation, advised that he had been
disappointed in money matters. Men that were to assist him had gone back
on their promises, the printing firm demanded a deposit, he saw ruin
staring him in the face. It was useless to argue the matter with
Anderson. It was nearly morning when the men separated. At eight o'clock
Alfred was at the office awaiting Mr. Anderson's arrival. Anderson was
still more dejected than the night before.

"What amount of money do you require?" asked Alfred.

"Three thousand dollars."

"Will that see you through and put the show out?" was Alfred's next

"With what I've got I can get through on that."

"Well, I'll let you have it."

Ben Wallace is a money-getter and would win success in any business.
However, the President of the Wabash Valley Trust Company, the owner of
the Hagenback-Wallace Shows, with the finest winter quarters of any show
in the country, with hundreds of acres of the most productive farming
land in Miami County, Ind., will never know until he reads these pages
the narrow margin by which the show was saved, insofar as Anderson was

Lewis Sells was a peculiar man in many respects and one must thoroughly
understand his composition to appreciate him. His educational advantages
were limited. From a street car conductor to an auctioneer, showman and
capitalist, were the gradations of his career. He was conservative and
sagacious, a faithful friend, and, like Uncle Henry, and most men who
have tasted of the bitter and prospered by their own exertions, a candid
hater. The after years of his life were made unpleasant by a heartless
robbery perpetrated by those near him. The loss of the money, some
thirty thousand dollars, was as nothing compared to the chagrin over the
fact that those who committed the theft were enabled to cover their work
so completely the law could not reach them. He fretted that they robbed
him at the end of his long and successful career.

For several months Alfred filled the position of General Agent for the
Sells Brothers Combined Shows, to the complete satisfaction of all the
Brothers and the disappointment of many subordinates.

It is not wealth nor ancestry, but honorable conduct and a noble
disposition that makes men great. Peter Sells was a great man. He would
have graced any profession or calling. In all his life he was affable
and congenial. When he was prosperous he was not imperious or haughty.
When he was oppressed he was not meek. Suffering as few men have
suffered he refused to wreak that vengeance upon the destroyers of his
home, man is justified in--take a doubled-barreled shot gun and inform
those who have wronged you that the world is not large enough for both.
This was the advice of one who stood by Peter Sells in all his troubles.
Another took him to the country, engaged in shooting at a mark with a
forty-four Smith & Wesson, intimating that he could settle all his
troubles by dealing out the punishment those who had broken up his home

Peter, with a calmness that was most impressive replied: "I'll commit no
crime. There comes a time in the life of every human being that their
life is lived over. It is in that hour when the coffin lid is shut down.
Just before the funeral when earth has seen the last of you, your life
is lived over in the conversation which recounts your deeds upon earth.
I will do no forgiving, but I will do no killing."

In comparison with the loss of a wife, all other bereavements pale. She
has filled so large a sphere in your life you think of the past when
your lives were entwined, of the days when life was a beautiful pathway
of flowers. The sun shone on the flowers, the stars hung overhead. You
think of her now as you thought of her then in all the gentleness of her
beauty. You think of her now as the mother of your child. No thorns are
remembered. The heart whose beat measured an eternity of love to you
lies under your feet but the love of her still lives in your being. You
forget the injury, you forget the disgrace, you forget all of the
present, only remembering the happiness of the past. You know she lives
in a world where sunshine has been overshadowed by clouds, yet you love
her all the more, although to you she is even further removed than by

Such were the last days of Peter Sells. It is well the old way of
satisfying honor is giving way. Yet with all its brutality it had the
merit of protecting the home. Only those who were close to Peter Sells
knew of the burden he bore, the weight of sorrow that cut short a life
that has left its impress of nobleness upon all who were privileged to
share his confidence and friendship.


    In the land of the sage and the cottonwood,
      The cactus plant and the sand,
    When you've just dropped in from the effete East
      There's a greeting that's simply grand;
    It's when some giant comes up to you,
      With a hand that weighs a ton,
    And cries as he smites you on the back;
      "Why, you derned old son of a gun!"

Texas, quoting Col. Bailey of the _Houston Post_, "is a symphony, a vast
hunk of mellifluence, an eternal melody of loveliness, a grand anthem of
agglomerated and majestic beneficence. Texas is heaven on earth and sea
and sky set to music."

With ample room to spare, Texas would accommodate either
Austria-Hungary, Germany and France; and if it were populated as thickly
as is Belgium it would have a population of over 265,000,000.

The State of Texas could accommodate comfortably the people of all the
European nations.

Texas was wild and woolly when Alfred first toured it with a wagon show.
Weatherford was away out west; Dallas was in its swaddling clothes and
Houston was a village. Hunting was good just over the corporation line
and there was no closed season on anything. Charley Gibbs and Henry
Greenwall owned the State. Charley Highsmith was a schoolboy; he had
never owned a dog or looked along the barrels of a double-barreled gun.
Mike Conley was setting type in a printing office run by hand, and Bill
Sterritt was the printer's devil, excepting when ducks were coming in.
Ben McCullough was the only railroad man in north Texas, and George
Green the only Republican in the State. Jake Zurn had not left Germany
and Jim Hogg was a cowboy.

A pair of Texas ponies, an open buggy, a doubled-barreled shotgun, two
dogs and an invalid, were Alfred's constant companions on that tour of
Texas. The invalid who was touring Texas for his health, was a relative
of the managers, a German, refined and scholarly, a high class

This was the introduction:

"Alfred, Mr. Smith is not well. The doctor advised that he live in the
open. He is my guest and I want him to ride with you. I am sure you will
like him. I want this trip to benefit his health. You have the best team
with the company. You can make the route in half the time it requires
the show to drive it. Sleep late in the morning."

Despite this advice, the invalid and Alfred were well on their way by
daylight almost every morning, nor did they make the routes in half the
time the show did. It was more frequently the reverse, particularly if
the shooting was good. The invalid was the wellest sick-man companion
ever toured with. His cheeks were sallow, low in flesh, but the spirit
was there. It was a case of the invalid looking after the nurse. The
vast plains were covered with cattle--Texas steers. The invalid
marvelled at their numbers. While Alfred was scouring the prairie with
dog and gun the invalid would stand erect in the buggy, on the road
side, computing the number of Texas steers within sight. How the cattle
men separated their droves, claiming their cattle, was a wonderment.
Cowboys and Texas steers was a theme on which the invalid never tired
talking. Texas steers were a hobby with him. He would talk with cowboys
for hours, collecting information.

Many nights the circus people in making long drives between exhibiting
points were compelled to sleep in their wagons, tents, or anywhere they
could find shelter. This sort of life soon brought bronze to the
invalid's cheeks and strength to his body.

Pidcock's Ranch, embraced several thousand acres of land, a house with
four rooms and porch or veranda. All the house was given over to the
ladies. Alfred explained to the manager of the ranch that he had in
charge an invalid and requested the ranchman to do the best he could for
them in the way of sleeping quarters. The ranchman arranged a
comfortable bed on the porch for the invalid and Alfred, advising they
would be compelled to sit up until the ladies retired. All had long
retired ere the invalid put in an appearance. The invalid invariably
found congenial company--cowboys, cattlemen or rangers. Each night
finding his way to bed he would awaken Alfred to explain something new
as to Texas steers. The invalid had dispatched two cowboys thirty miles
for refreshments. The invalid did not part from his guests until late.
Alfred's wife had sent him a birthday present, a pair of night-shirts
worked with red braid, and he was very proud of them. The invalid on
retiring commented again on the beauty of Alfred's hand-painted
night-shirts and the immensity of the droves of Texas steers.

Sleeping in the open on the porch, their slumbers were deep. Awaking
late, Alfred's face felt drawn up. It was as though it was puckered out
of all shape. Placing his hand on a substance as large as a hulled
hickory nut, it was with some little difficulty peeled from his face. A
dozen other lumps of similar size were scattered over his ample
countenance. Glancing at the invalid whose face was adorned with a full
set of whiskers, Alfred discovered they were liberally sprinkled with
the whitish-grayish substance that adorned his own face and the front of
his decorated night garments. Prying loose another lump, Alfred, holding
the substance at arm's length, scrutinizing it closely, endeavoring to
analyze it. A "cluck-cluck" caused him to look aloft and there, on a
beam, sat ten or twelve contented "dominicker" hens. He could discern
but half of their bodies--that part that goes over the fence last.
Rudely awaking the invalid, Alfred brushing, picking and pinching the
white and greenish bumps from face and night-shirt, indulging in
language not proper even on a Texas ranch, he slowly worked his way to
the watering trough (the only bathing facility), followed by the
invalid, who was parting his whiskers to free them from the hidden
lumps, meanwhile endeavoring to console Alfred: "Never mindt, Alfred.
Never mindt. Your shirt vill vash all right, und my viskers, too,"
parting his whiskers and dumping a few more deposits, he remarked: "It's
purty badt I know, but, Alfred, it might a bin wusser. 'Ust s'posin' dem
schickens roostin' over us hadt been Texas steers."

       *       *       *       *       *

"The sooner a man goes into business, the sooner he will be able to
retire; that is, if he is baked done. If he ain't, he better let
somebody do business for him. My boy, it's better to go into business
too young than too old. If you happen to spill the beans, you've got the
vim to pick them up again."

"Well, Uncle Henry, if I have good luck this season, I'm going to make a
break for myself."

"Good luck, huh? If you're lookin' for luck to help you, you'll be so
near-sighted you can't see a business chance across a narrow alley. If
luck got you anything you might. There ain't no luck coming to any man
that waits on it. Every man that's got any get-up in him always has bad
luck. He brings it on himself, then he just beats luck out. There ain't
no good luck. It's grit and judgment agin dam-fool notions. And grit and
judgment wins out nearly every time. I'd rather drive a bad bargain than
drive a dray. You can drive a dozen bargains a day. You can drive only
one dray. One of your bargains may buck, the other eleven win out. A
minstrel show is alright, but, mind, it's a lifetime job, going into
business. You ought to know what you're doing. But, I'd thought you'd go
into the circus business."

"Well, I would, Uncle Henry, but I haven't got the capital. It takes
more money than I ever hope to possess. Besides, I want a business
wherein I can make a reputation for myself."

"You better go into a business where you can make money. The reputation
will make itself. If you can't make money, you can't make reputation."

"But it's my ambition to have the biggest minstrel show in the country."

"Well, you do that which you feel would be the most agreeable to you.
When I went into the grocery business in Burlington, everybody behind my
back predicted I would lose out. Everybody told me to my face I'd win
out. Make up your mind to stand on your own judgment."

Sam Flickinger, editor of the _Ohio State Journal_, wrote the first
mention of the Al. G. Field Minstrels. He gave Alfred desk room in the
job office of the _Journal_, of which he was manager and editor. The
first advertising for the Al. G. Field Minstrels was printed in the job
office of the _Ohio State Journal_. The dates and small bills have been
printed in that office, or the successors of it, ever since.

Almost every one of Alfred's friends advised him to abandon the idea of
entering the minstrel business. His family were all opposed to it.

This was the manner in which Alfred's declaration as to going into
business seemed to be received by his friends.

Col. Reppert of the B. & O. assured Alfred he would send him a ticket to
any point he might require it from. Billy McDermott, probably fearing
the Colonel might not get the ticket to him, presented Alfred with a
pair of broad-soled low-heeled walking shoes.

There was one staunch friend whose words were always encouraging.
"You're right, old boy. I wish you all the success you so richly
deserve. Never mind the knockers. You're in right. You'll make it go."
Thus did Bill Hunter of the Penna. R. R. encourage Alfred. Alfred often
declared Bill a level-headed man, one who would be heard from later.

Frank Field was the city passenger agent of the Penna. R. R. Frank and
Bill were very kindly disposed towards show folks. They carried a troupe
on their own account over the Penna. Lines. They were security for the
fares to the amount of a couple of hundred dollars. The troupe stranded
Bill held the musical instruments. The instruments were taken to the
city ticket office, concealed under the counter. Bill and Frank were
"stuck." They endeavored to dispose of the horns to Alfred. Alfred joked
Bill frequently, advising him to organize a band, and learn to play one
of the horns. This "guying" did not alter Bill's attitude towards
Alfred's enterprise. He was even more optimistic as to its success. Bill
would slap Alfred on the back, saying: "Never mind the salary you are
leaving. You'll make more money with this minstrel show in a year than
you would on salary in two."

Alfred from the first day he began his minstrel career sought to
introduce new ideas; not to do things as they had been done. He was the
first to uniform the parade. The costumes were long, light-colored,
newmarket overcoats, black velvet collar, stylishly patterned. They were
very attractive overcoats, contrasting effectively with the red
broadcloth, gold-trimmed band uniforms.

The company rehearsed in Columbus and opened at Marion, Ohio, October 6,
1886. The opening day was a dismal, rainy, fall day, just verging on
winter. Alfred's good friends gathered in the union depot at Columbus to
bid the minstrels Godspeed, although they traveled on another line. Bill
Hunter was at the depot to see them off. The genteel appearance of the
troupe, especially the overcoats, were favorably commented upon. Bill
shook hands with each member of the company as they entered the car.
When the last man was aboard, when the last good-bye had been spoken,
Barney McCabe remarked to those assembled: "I don't know what kind of a
show Alfred's got, but they have the finest overcoats that ever went out
of this depot." Bill, winking at Barney, said: "I'll have 'em all before
two weeks. If he makes money with this troupe, he can ketch bass with

Another of Alfred's innovations was a large amount of scenery and
properties. Each piece of baggage was marked with bright letters, "The
Al. G. Field Minstrels."

The afterpiece, "The Lime Kiln Club," was quite a pretentious affair for
a minstrel company in those days. The stage setting, representing the
interior of a Lodge, required antiquated furniture such as could not be
hired in the one night stands. Therefore, the minstrels carried all this
furniture, a large sheet-iron wood stove with lengths of stovepipe. Not
until the last trunk was loaded onto the baggage wagon, did Alfred leave
the depot that first morning. Walking slowly along the street, keeping
pace with the heavy wagon, proud of the new trunks with the plainly
painted names on each, the furniture for "The Lime Kiln Club," with the
stove and stovepipe atop of all, the wagon passed up the street.

While passing a building in course of erection, the workmen ceased their
labors to gaze at the wagon. A plasterer with limey overalls gazed at
the wagon intently until it passed by. Turning to his fellow workmen,
pushing his hands in his pockets deeper, and shrugging his shoulders, he
sympathetically remarked: "Hit's mighty cole weather fur flittin'. I
allus feel sorry for pore folks as has tu move in cole weather." Looking
down the street from where the wagon came he continued: "I wonder whar
the folks is. Walkin' to keep warm, I reckon. I hope they hain't any
children." Thereafter, Alfred ordered the odd furniture, stovepipe and
stove loaded in the bottom of the wagon.

A heavy rain interfered with the attendance the opening night. In the
excitement, Alfred did not realize that he had lost money. It was only
after the second night--Upper Sandusky--that he figured the first two
nights were unprofitable. Chas. Alvin Davis, of Alvin Joslin fame, and
his manager, were visitors the second night. The receipts at Bucyrus
were very light, and to pile up troubles for the new minstrel manager, a
boy connected with the theatre stole from Alfred's clothes in the
dressing room all his private funds. The empty pocket-book was found in
an ash-barrel at the rear of the boy's residence, yet the police did not
feel it was sufficient evidence to warrant the arrest of the young

The fourth night, at Mansfield, rain, hail, sleet and snow, such as Ohio
had never experienced at that season of the year, (October 10), made the
streets impassable. The minstrels played to a very meager audience.
After all bills were paid the company had thirty-seven dollars in the

Several friends in Columbus assured Alfred that if he ran short he could
draw on them. Alfred had learned six weeks was the most lengthened
period any of his friends gave him to keep the company afloat.

"He's ruined. All his savings gone, he will be worse off than when he
began life." This was the comment of one of his dearest friends.

Leaving Mansfield at midnight, arriving at Ashland, Alfred, that he
might not have the night lodging to pay, sat in the depot until
daylight, then sauntered to the hotel. Thirty-seven dollars in the
treasury, cold and snowing. Alfred debated in his mind as to whether he
should telegraph his friends in Columbus for assistance. His decision
was: "No, I will not humble myself. I'll pull through some way. Besides,
I have invested my own money in this concern. If I lose it, it's gone. I
can earn more. If I borrow money and lose, I'm in debt."

He didn't know he could do it. He wasn't sure he could pull the show
through. He had heard and seen the sneers and smiles of incredulity. He
remembered Uncle Henry's advice:

"If you haven't got the stuff in you to stand alone and fight for
yourself, you're wasting time trying to do business. Being smart is only
half of it. Being game is the other half. The biggest persimmons are
atop of the tree. You've got to climb to get them. There are times when
you'll have to hold on by your finger tips. But if you're not game
enough to take the risk, you don't deserve what's up at the top. The
cowards are standing under the tree waiting for the persimmons to fall.
There's so many of them they have to fight harder to get those that fall
to the ground than the game fellow that climbs the tree. Men will pull
you down, tramp on you, in their endeavors to climb over you. It's the
selfish idea of many men they can build up more rapidly if they tear
down. They'll block your game, they'll lie about you, they'll not only
throw you down but they'll sit on you, and hold you down, until you
gather force to squirm from under. You'll never suffer as much when you
have the least as you do when the grit has leaked out of you. The man
who climbs the tree from the bottom to the top is never licked. If they
pull him down he will start from the bottom again. Poverty cannot ruin
him. It's only a check. He has less fear than those who have had a
ladder placed against the tree for them to climb up. Believe in
yourself. Take everything that belongs to you. Take your licking but
don't sell out to cowardice. When your grit's gone you're done for."

A thin, a very thin partition between the room he occupied and that of
two of his principal people, Alfred was compelled to play the role of
eavesdropper again.

"He won't pull through. I am sorry I joined the show, I throwed away a
good engagement to accept this one. I'm stuck again. This thing won't
last a week. I'm going to get away at the first opportunity." It was one
of a talented team of musicians. They not only did a fine specialty but
doubled in the band. The one talking was the manager of the act. Alfred
held a contract with the trio. He had fulfilled all the requirements of
it and they owed him considerable money, advanced for hotel bills during
rehearsals, railroad fares, etc. He lay on the bed debating with himself
what to do, enter the room and throw the talker out of the window, or
have him arrested.

"I heard Field tell his treasurer he had no money. I'm going to skip.
Take my word for it, we're all up against it."

The other replied: "Well, I owe the company a lot of money. I'll stick
until I see how it goes."

Alfred was on fire. He would die rather than fail. The following day was
Sunday. This would entail extra expense. Basing his calculations upon
receipts in other cities, he feared he would not have funds to carry the
company to Akron, the next exhibition point.

He accidently met a Columbus man, a minister, Reverend Messie, the
pastor of the church where Alfred's family worshipped. He had recently
officiated at the wedding of Alfred's sister; he felt he had met a
friend from home. He decided to lay his troubles before the good man but
weakened at the beginning. Instead he inquired as to whether the
minister was acquainted with a banker in the city. The minister
accompanied Alfred to a bank and had Alfred requested him, to make a
favorable talk for him, the good man could not have said more.

"This is Mr. Field, a friend and neighbor of mine. He has not acquainted
me with the nature of his business with you, but he is responsible, owns
property in Columbus and bears an excellent reputation."

The banker invited the minstrel into his private office. Alfred made a
statement of his affairs, dwelling strongly on the robbery at Bucyrus,
exhibiting newspaper clippings to substantiate his statements.

"Let us see what your liabilities are. Going over them, there were none.
Nearly all of the company were indebted for money advanced. I can't see
where you are in any financial trouble. You have no debts following you,
have you?"

"None," answered Alfred.

"Well, what is the trouble?"

"It's like this," the minstrel explained. "We've done no business since
we opened. I have lost money at every stand. I have but thirty-seven
dollars on hand. It's a big jump to Akron. I am sure, I'll require a
little money, not much. If it hadn't been for that touch at Bucyrus I'd
be all right."

"You'll do business here. It's the best minstrel town in Ohio. Primrose
& West did fairly well, although our people didn't know them. Hi Henry
packed the house."

"I fear people do not know us," sighed Alfred.

"Well, I'll introduce you--they will know you."

Alfred had ended every statement with the wail that if he had not been
robbed in Bucyrus he would be all right.

"The bank closes at noon. Come around, take lunch with me, I'll see you
to Akron. Don't worry. I fear you're a bit shaky. You are just starting
in business, you require confidence."

"If it hadn't been for the touch at Bucyrus, I'd have been all right,"
ruefully remarked Alfred.

The President and Alfred made a round of the business houses of the

"This is Mr. Field, the minstrel man, one of our people. His home is in
Columbus. I just bought four seats. The seats are going pretty fast. I
want you to be there tonight. Have you got your tickets?"

No one seemed to have taken the precaution to buy seats in advance
although all declared they were going. Rarely did the callers leave a
place until those called upon had reserved their seats. It was not long
until the seat sale assured Alfred it would not be necessary to
negotiate a loan.

"I would have helped you out if you had needed the money," declared the
banker, "but I knew we could hustle a bit and fill the house."

The gentleman was a good story-teller. Alfred was in a rare good humor.
He had a fund of stories new to the banker. The fact of the robbery in
Bucyrus was detailed to every business man they called upon. All
sympathized with Alfred. "Bucyrus is a tough town," several remarked.
"You'll never get your money," another declared. "Be more careful if you
ever go there again."

When about to separate, the banker in a kindly manner assured Alfred
that he was only too glad to have been of service to him. He spoke
encouragingly of the future. "If you have a good show, you are sure to
pull through. I wouldn't carry a great amount of money on my person
hereafter if I were you. Be careful. Do not have a repetition of the
Bucyrus affair. How much did they get from you over there?"

"Sixty dollars." The words were scarcely uttered until the banker
bursted into a fit of laughter. Alfred had never been accused of
destiny, but he could not realize what there was in the admission to so
excite the man's mirth. Had the gentleman known what sixty dollars meant
to him at that time, it would not have seemed so funny. From the fact
that Alfred had dwelt so strongly on the theft of his money, with the
constantly repeated statement that "if it had not been for the robbery,
he would have been all right," the moneyed man had gained the idea he
had lost several hundred dollars; hence his mirth.

At Akron the minstrels did capacity business. Warren and Youngstown were
equally satisfactory as were New Castle and Steubenville. Wheeling was
the first city wherein opposition was encountered. Wilson & Rankin's
Minstrels were billed at the Opera House, the Field Company at the Grand
Opera House. When the Wilson & Rankin party started on their parade, the
other company followed in their wake. Wilson shouted to the bystanders
in front of the McClure House, "War! War!"

This opposition embittered George Wilson and for years the two companies
waged a relentless war, which never ceased until Mr. Wilson disbanded
his company. Carl Rankin, who was a Columbus boy and an old friend of
Alfred's called on Alfred. He advised that he was dissatisfied with his
surroundings and a tentative partnership agreement was entered into for
the next season. However, the arrangements went no further as Mr.
Rankin's health failed him rapidly and it was not long until minstrelsy
lost one of the most versatile performers that ever adorned it.

Since the conversation overheard in Ashland, Alfred had not spoken to
the manager of the musical act. The telegraph wires were carrying
messages daily seeking an act to take the place of the dissatisfied one.
At Zanesville, just before the matinee, (Zanesville was the first city
wherein the Al. G. Field Minstrels appeared in a matinee), Alfred called
the manager of the musical act to his dressing room.

"Mr. Turner, it has come to me that you intended leaving this company.
Therefore, I have engaged an act to take your place; you can leave after
tonight's performance, or as soon thereafter as it suits your

"Why, Mr. Field, I did not intend to leave your company. Who so advised
you? I never told anyone I intended leaving."

"Now Bob, don't deny it. I heard you say you were going to leave the
company, that you had no confidence in the stability of the enterprise.
Your talk came at a time when I was feeling pretty blue and it hurt.
Judging from your talk you are an undesirable man to have around and I
certainly am glad to dispense with your services."

The man threatened legal proceedings. Alfred was obdurate. The man was
tendered his salary. He refused to sign a receipt. Alfred ordered the
treasurer to give him his money without his signature to a receipt. The
other two members of the act protested vigorously. They presented their
case in this manner: "We were working for Bob. He owned the act. We
like the show; we like you. It's the middle of the season. We are liable
to be idle for months. We don't think we should be discharged for the
threats of Bob. We can't control his mouth. Mr. Field, if you discharge
every performer who indulges in idle talk, you won't have anybody around

"Boys, I do not propose to discharge anyone for idle talk but I won't
keep a traitor in this camp. You remain with the company. I will pay you
the same salary you have been receiving just to play in the band and sit
in the first part."

With varying success the first season progressed. But never a salary day
that the "white specter" did not perambulate. Every obligation met
promptly, a few folks began to take notice of the new show, persons who
had held their faces the other way. The manager was forced to practice
the greatest economy. There was a few weeks around Christmas time when
his shoes leaked. After Christmas he purchased two pair of shoes,
preparing for future contingencies. Smallpox was raging through
Minnesota and Wisconsin, many cities were quarantined. At LaCrosse,
Winona, Rochester and Eau Claire, the people would not go to the
theatre; hence, the show was a big loser. At Hudson, Wis., a big lumber
camp in those days, the gross receipts were the least the company ever
played to--just sixteen dollars--a few cents less than the receipts of
Alfred's first show in Redstone School-house. Alfred requested the
manager of the Opera House to dismiss the audience. The manager refused
to listen to the proposition. He contended it was Saturday night, and
that many would drop in. They failed to drop in or to be pushed in.
However, Alfred has always felt grateful to that manager. No audience
was ever dismissed by the Al. G. Field Greater Minstrels in all the
years of their existence, although an engagement in Atlanta, Ga., was

The company opened to an over-flowing house. The advance sale for the
remainder of the engagement was gratifying. Henry Grady, the famous
journalist and orator, after delivering a speech that electrified not
only the Boston audience that listened to it, but the nation, had died.
Atlanta and the entire south was stricken with sorrow. The minstrel
manager was intimately acquainted with Mr. Grady. Mr. Grady was one of
the promoters of the Piedmont Exposition. Peter Sells was one of Mr.
Grady's admirers, and as a courtesy to him had loaned the exposition a
flock of ostriches; which was one of the attractive features of that
most memorable exposition. Alfred was entrusted with the details
pertaining to the transaction. Mr. Grady had been very courteous to
Alfred. There never was a man who knew Henry Grady that did not admire
his charming personality. Therefore, when Mr. De Give suggested the
engagement of the minstrels end and the theatre be closed out of respect
to the memory of Mr. Grady, Alfred promptly acquiesced.

The closing of this engagement was a sacrifice that Alfred felt greatly
at the time. It meant pecuniary loss that was embarrassing to him, yet
there never was a moment he regretted his action.

It was the beginning of friendships that have endured all the years
since. Not only the success attending his annual visits to Atlanta, but
the associations are of that pleasant character that make a stranger
feel he is in the home of his friends.

Capt. Forrest Adair, one of Atlanta's foremost citizens, journeys each
year to the annual banquets celebrating the birthday of the Al. G. Field
Greater Minstrels. He is as well known and as greatly respected by every
member of the organization as by Alfred.

The first season the profits were not great, although on the right side
of the ledger. The opposition of family and friends continued. "Abandon
the minstrels, go back to a salary." Alfred was considered bull headed,
contrary, without judgment, etc. However, nothing swerved him. He
announced to all he would continue in the minstrel business.

George Knott, (Doc.) and Gov. Campbell were the agents of the Al. G.
Field Minstrels the first season. Gov. Campbell's folks once resided in
Woodville. The citizens united in their endeavors to have him bring his
minstrels to the town. There had never been a minstrel entertainment
presented in the town previously and none since. The hotel man had
undertaken the building of a hall. All sorts of inducements were held
out in the letter received by Alfred. Terms were satisfactorily
arranged, a date scheduled and the minstrels billed to appear in

A narrow-gauge railroad, a train with a disabled engine and a disgusted
minstrel troupe arrived at 3 p. m., six hours late. Charles Sweeny, the
stage manager, came swiftly into the dining room, leaning over Alfred,
he whispered: "There's no stage, no scenery, no seats. Just a bare hall.
No reserved sale. There's--" only thus far did Sweeny get in his
enumeration of his troubles until Alfred was searching for the manager.
He hurriedly inquired of the hotel man as he left the dining room,
without his dinner, as to the place of business of the manager of the
theater. The hotel man gazed at him in blank surprise. Alfred, in his
impatience, did not await an answer. Rushing up the principal street of
the village, he inquired of several persons as to where he could locate
the manager of the theater. Finally the postmaster, in answer to his
impatient questions, said: "You will not find any particular manager as
he ain't got to that yet. He's just built a room and thar's nuthin' in
it. He's at the hotel down yonder." It began to dawn upon Alfred that
the landlord of the hotel was the man he was looking for.

"Lord, young man. If I'd known you was lookin' for me, I'd told you
quicker, who I was. I'm no theater manager."

"But you wrote me you had a theater. I am here with my company ready to
give a performance and you have neither stage nor scenery in your hall.
How do you expect me to put the show on?"

"Why! don't you carry your stage and scenery?" the man asked, in candid

"Certainly not. And you should know it. You haven't even got a seat sale

The hotel man began to get excited. "What the hell have I got to do with
selling tickets? If you don't carry your own tickets you're a purty
cheap concern. I don't propose to be brow-beaten by you. If you don't
like the place the road runs both ways out of it." And he walked away
from the minstrel man in high dudgeon.

Seats were borrowed from the Court House, the Methodist Church, the
hotel, anywhere they could be secured. A half dozen carpenters were
working on the improvised stage until the minute the curtain went up.
The dining room of the hotel was converted into a dressing room. After
supper was served the minstrel trunks were placed in the dining room.
Pickles, crackers, ginger snaps, etc., were all in place on the table
for an early morning breakfast. The minstrels ate the tables bare,
ransacked cupboards and sideboards in kitchen and dining room, feasting
and frolicking during the performance.

The bar adjoined the dining room. The minstrels blackened and in their
stage attire, they said to the peg-legged barkeeper: "These are on me;
I've got on my other clothes; I'll settle after the show."

The dressing, or dining room, was about twenty yards from the stage of
the hall. As there was no stage door, (only a front door in the hall),
the minstrel men were obliged to enter by a window. The sash taken out,
leaned against the wall. In the piano chorus of a most pathetic ballad,
both window sashes fell over. The crashing glass brought the entire
audience to their feet. The hall owner stepped over the low footlights
onto the stage, brushing the semi-circle of surprised minstrels to one
side. Disappearing behind the curtain, he reappeared in an instant,
bearing in either hand a window sash with shattered bits of glass
sticking here and there. Crossing the stage, at the instant the
interlocutor announced the singing of the reigning song success,
"There's a Light in the Window for You," placing the sash in front of
the stage, he seated himself.

The stage, or platform, was very low. The sash stuck up several inches
above the footlights. Harry Bulger, in one of his dances purposely
kicked them over again. Down they fell among the musicians. Mr.
Hall-owner was again to the rescue, this time triumphantly bearing the
sash to the rear of the hall.

Alfred looked after the front of the house as well as his stage work.
Remaining at the door until he had barely time to make up, he requested
the hall owner to take tickets until he returned, and not to permit any
to enter without tickets.

The hall man promised not to permit any to enter without tickets. Alfred
sang a song, "Hello, Baby, Here's Your Daddy," the title of it. The
dozen end men, during the chorus, drew from under their chairs large
dolls with blackened faces. Each burlesqued a person handling a baby
awkwardly. As Alfred took his seat his eyes went anxiously to the door.
It was closed. No one entered all the while he was on the stage. At the
end of the baby song, it was customary for Alfred to cast a big ugly
doll, with the words "Here's Your Daddy," into the audience. One of the
company dudishly attired was seated in the audience to catch the doll,
leave the house, pretending to be greatly embarrassed. The audience
usually howled. The baby was flung in the direction of the member of the
company. Unfortunately, it had to pass over the head of the manager of
the hall. Jumping up, reaching into the air much as an expert baseball
player does in pulling down a hot one, he pulled the baby down. Holding
it upside down, he flung it towards Alfred. Anxious to save the scene,
with all his force Alfred flung it towards the young man of the company,
who stood waiting to play his part. But again the hall man jumped
between and caught the baby. By one foot he swung it about his head a
couple of times; the head and arms of the rag doll flew towards Alfred,
striking the stage at his feet. The man holding the legs and all that
part of the baby below the belt, waved it aloft. Meanwhile the audience
was encouraging him with shouts of approval.

Concluding his stage work, hastening towards the door, not even delaying
to change his costume or remove the black from his face, he vigorously
beckoned the hall man to him. Walking towards the door, Alfred poured
forth a torrent of peevish abuse:

"Why, you wrote me all sorts of letters that people were crazy mad for a
minstrel show and there's not fifty dollars in the house."

The landlord doubted this statement. "Not fifty dollars in the house,
huh? Why, there's men in thar," and he jerked his head towards the
audience, "there's men in thar with three hundred dollars in thar
pockets right now. Don't you think you're in a poverty-struck place. Our
people have all got money." Thrusting his hands deep into his pockets,
jingling keys and coins.

"I mean the tickets do not represent fifty dollars so far. I'm in good
and deep and you are the cause of it."

"I find nothing to do business with. I ask you as a last request to
watch the door for me. You leave the door and every jay will walk in."

"Oh no, they won't," interrupted Mr. Hall-man. "They won't get in this
hall without paying."

"Why, what in thunder is to hinder them? The whole town could walk in
without paying one cent."

[Illustration: He Waved the Key]

"I'll be durned if they could," ejaculated Mr. Hall-man, and he waved
the key of the door triumphantly at Alfred. The man had actually locked
the door. When opened, there were some dozen seeking admission. Many
left in disgust.

There was a bill for lights of glass, and numerous drinks at the bar
presented to Alfred. The glass he settled for, informing the hotel man
he did not pay bar-bills. The barkeeper could not recognize any one of
the performers in their street attire.

He assured Alfred "the hull pack of niggers with you jus' drank and
drank and only a few paid. The bill don't amount to much, so far as enny
one of the men is concerned; but one gal, one nigger gal, jus' treated
right and left. If we could get what she owes, I'd let the rest go." The
barkeeper referred to Harry Bulger.

Alfred's great desire was to present his minstrel show in his old home
town, Brownsville. The stage in Jeffries' Hall was too small to
accommodate the minstrels. Therefore, one of Alfred's boyhood friends,
Levi Waggoner, arranged to play the minstrels in the skating rink. Levi
was one of the boys who had stood by the old town through all its
changes and become one of its substantial citizens. Awake to every
business opportunity, he had not only seated the floor space of the rink
but builded circus seats against the rear wall.

Alfred was not in the old town an hour until it became imperative that
he should seek protection from his friends. He delegated one of the
company, one who was noted for his staying qualities, to represent him.
Every man met, no matter how old, claimed to be a schoolboy friend of
Alfred's. "There goes another old friend of Alf's" became a by-word long
before night.

"Spider" Pomeroy, six feet six then, when a boy, (he has grown some
since), celebrated Alfred's return more uproariously than any one person
in the town. Alfred supplied him with a ticket early in the morning. By
noon "Spider" had obtained six tickets, always claiming he had lost the
other one. When the doors opened, "Spider" ran over the small boys in
his way, brushed the ticket taker aside, entering without a ticket he
perched himself on the top of Lee Wagoner's improvised circus seats, his
legs doubled up until his knees stuck up on either side above his head
like a grasshopper.

He sat through the first part. The minstrel with the staying qualities
was laboring with a monologue. "Spider", after his strenuous day, was
sleeping off his exuberance. At the dullest part in the monologist's
offering, "Spider" let go all holds. The skating rink was built on
piles, over the river's bank. One walking on the floor, their footsteps
awakened echoes. When "Spider" hit that floor--and he hit it with all
his frame--legs, arms, feet and head, all at one time, it sounded as if
the building had collapsed. All were on their feet looking towards the
back of the rink. As "Spider" lit, the monologist shouted: "There goes
another old friend of Alf's." It came in pat. The audience grasped it
and the monologist established a reputation for originality. "There goes
another old friend of Alf's" is a common saying in Brownsville until
this day.

The property man that first season was a German, new in the minstrel
game. He is now a capitalist and probably would not relish the
disclosing of his name.

Chas. Sweeny, the stage manager, was a stickler for realism. In the
burlesque of "The Lime Kiln Club," one climax was the sound of a cat
fight on the roof. The cats were supposed to fall through the skylight.
Every member of the lodge was supposed to have his dog with him--colored
people are fond of dogs. When the cats fall into the lodge room, every
dog goes after them. Fake, or dummy cats were prepared for the scene
and used during rehearsals. The first night Sweeny ordered Gus, the
property man, to procure two live cats. Gus, stationed on a very high
step-ladder in the wings, at the cue was to throw the cats on the stage.
Gus was heard to remark: "You all better hurry or send some von to
manage one of dese cats." The cat fight was heard on the roof. The glass
in the skylight was heard to break. The cats were, with great
difficulty, flung by Gus. They clawed and held onto him. The long
step-ladder was rocking like a slender tree in a gale. One cat left the
hands of Gus, alighting with all four feet on Sweeny's neck, with a
spring that sent it out over the heads of the orchestra to the fourth or
fifth row in the parquet. The cat left its marks on Sweeny's neck and
the scars are there today as plain as twenty-seven years ago. As Gus
flung the second cat the exertion was too much for him. He followed on
the step-ladder, overturning Brother Gardner and the stove. Three dogs
pounced upon Gus as he rolled over and over on the floor. Three of the
largest dogs had followed the first cat over the heads of the orchestra,
and a stampede of the audience was in progress, the dogs and cats under
the feet of men and women, who were jumping on chairs or rushing towards
the exits. The curtain went down without the humorous dialogue that
usually terminated the scene.

"Mr. President: I moves you, sir, dat no member ob dis club hyaraftuh be
admitted wid more'n three dogs."

Alfred put his shoulder to the wheel wherever and whenever a push or a
pull was required. Night after night, he assisted the stage hands in
hustling effects from the theatre to the train. On one occasion the
train was scheduled to leave in a very short time after the curtain
fell. Alfred, without changing his stage clothes, busied himself
assisting the stage hands. Gus, the property man, flung Alfred's
clothing into his trunk, not observing they were his street apparel
instead of stage costumes. The trunk was sent to the depot. When Alfred
prepared to follow he was minus everything except a large pair of
shoes, thin pants, long stockings and undershirt. There was no time to
be lost; grabbing up a large piece of carpet, Alfred wound it around
himself and started for the depot on a run.

Doc Quigley, Arthur Rigby and several of the company stationed
themselves along his route to the depot, hiding in the shadows of
doorways. One after another shouted: "Good-bye, Al, good-bye old boy.
You've got the best show ever. Come back again. Your show's great."

[Illustration: "Good-bye Al, Old Boy"]

"All right boys, good-bye. I'll be with you next season," shouted the
hustling minstrel as he sped for the train. Alfred was completely
deceived. He imagined the compliments were coming from the towns-people.

The German property man, whose mistake was responsible for Alfred's
grotesque appearance, was stationed by the jokers behind a fence near
the depot. As Alfred hove in sight with the old rag carpet flapping
around his form, Gus shouted: "Goot bye, Mr. Fieldt. Goot luck. Your
show iz great. Kum unt see us agen. I hope your show will be here nexdt

"It will be, but you won't be with it, you dutch son of a gun." Alfred
had recognized the voice.


    Into the city during the day,
      Back to the country at eventide,
    Courting the charm of the simple way,
      Casting the tumult of greed aside.

"He is the happiest man who best appreciates his happiness. Happiness
comes to him who does not seek it."

"Well, you've got there. I was opposed to your goin' into the minstrel
business. It's not good to argue agin anything a young man sets his mind
on. I figured if you got knocked out, you'd be able to come back agin.
I'd rather seed you in the circus business, but say, boy, if this show
of yours ain't a Jim Dandy. Are you making any money?"

"Well, I have made money, Uncle Henry, but I'm investing it in my
business as fast as I earn it. You see the minstrel business is
changing. The basis of minstrelsy will always be that which it is and
has been, but you can't hand them the same things they've been accepting
the past forty years and expect them to enjoy and buy it. The farce
comedy, the musical show are virtually minstrel shows. Based upon music
and dancing, they produce about the same stuff the minstrels do."

"Well Alfred, we hear a great deal about the old black-face minstrels.
Some people say they like them best."

"That's true, Uncle Henry. You can't gainsay it. Some people like the
old-fashioned cooking the best. But the public, the majority demand
something different. Even if they eat the same sort of food they ate
when younger, they demand it be served differently. Let me call your
attention to this fact: Every manager that has endeavored to present an
old-time, black-face minstrel show in late years has failed. The
old-time minstrel show, like the one-ring circus, is pleasant to dream
of, pleasant to talk of, but not profitable to present. Two friends were
responsible for my decision to put on a simon-pure, old-time minstrel
show. I engaged the best talent procurable, costumed the show in
conformity with the ideas of my friends. It was the least profitable of
any season since my first year; or it would have been had I continued. I
changed my entire show in the middle of the season, going back to the
black-face comedians, white-face singers.

"The minstrels in all climes have sung their songs of love and war. Even
in the days of the ancients there were minstrels who sang the news of
the times to the gaping multitudes in the streets and market places. In
fact, David, with his harp of a thousand strings, whose voice charmed
King Saul and his court, was the first minstrel. I can fully understand
why a minstrel, an American minstrel, singing a plantation melody to his
dusky dulcinea, should have a blackened face, but why a man blackened as
a negro should sing of 'My Sister's Golden Hair,' or 'Mother's Eyes of
Blue,' is too incongruous for even argument's sake."

[Illustration: David, the First Minstrel]

"Well, Alfred, how is it the other managers do not adopt the style of
your entertainment."

"Uncle Henry, I am not my brother's keeper. I had opposition with one of
those so-called old time minstrel shows a short time ago. Our company
was making money every night. They were barely paying expenses. And yet
the greater part of their press work was devoted to informing the public
that we were not genuine minstrels, our singers wore white wigs, flesh
colored stockings and satin suits. They were really advertising one of
the attractions of our exhibition. We copied that notice and had it sent
broadcast over the sections where the companies conflicted. I watched
the press closely and but one paper that came under my observation
endorsed their idea."

"Now, Alfred, let me tell you something. I've had all I wanted to eat
and drink; I've worn good clothes; I've helped the poor; I've kept my
family right; and I've seen enough of this world to convince me the only
way to have money to burn is not to burn it. To have money to spend when
you are old, is to save it while you're young. I was so poor when I was
young, I had my lesson. Say, son, it's a sad thing to be poor when
you're young, not wanted in your brother's home. But it's dreadful to be
poor when you are old and not wanted anywhere. You can't make a living.
You are dependent upon charity. Now don't fool yourself and say with
your income you can't save. If you can live you can save. George M.
Pullman, Marshall Field, John D. Rockefeller, and a thousand others
began saving on less than your income. Now, Alfred, don't think because
the fool in your business has spent money recklessly, don't think that's
an excuse for you to spend. I know minstrel people. I know them
backwards. Don't be like them. The only things to do in this world, day
after day, are the things you ought to do. You can't do too much for
others, but don't depend upon them to do for you. A poor, old man is the
saddest sight on earth."

"It's true I felt mighty sore that my folks threw me on the world so
young. But you bet I am proud of the fact that I can buy and sell the
whole kit of them. I help them, I give them, I don't begrudge it to
them; but, while I can't entirely forget the bitterness of those boyhood
days, I can't help but feel a bit proud that I am independent of them in
my old days. And to hear some of them talk, you'd think they made me.
Well, they did, but they didn't intend to. While they were sitting
around praying for prosperity, I was sweating. Sweating, it's a good
thing. It takes all the bad diseases out of you and a good deal of the
cussedness. Say, Alfred, you never knowed a skin-flint that sweat.
Stingy men never sweat. I admire all good people but I would rather see
a man give another a meal, than talk over his victuals and eat them
alone when he knows there's someone next door hungry. Did you ever
notice when a man thinks he's a genius he lets his hair grow long and
when a woman gets out of her place, to be something she oughtn't to be,
she cuts her hair short. Every crank puts some kind of a brand on
themselves. You don't have to talk to them to find out what they are.

"I sold whiskey when I was in the wholesale grocery business. Everybody
in my line sold it. You remember the best stores in Columbus sold it.
You couldn't hold a first-class trade if you didn't sell it. I never
sold it to people who had no shoes. I never sold it to young men nor to
old men in their dotage. There was never preacher came to me to talk
religion or anything else while I was selling whiskey. But as soon as I
sold out the whiskey business, they began runnin' after me. One of them
kept a-comin' and a-comin'. He kept tellin' me how to live, how to spend
the rest of my days. Get a library. A library was the greatest thing a
man could have. It kept your mind at rest; you could seek refuge in your
library at any time when in trouble. I promised him to get a library. I
had one built expressly. I had two barrels of Old Crow whiskey that I
kept when I sold the store. I filled a sufficient number of quart
bottles to fill the shelves of the library, labeled the bottles, and
waited for the next visit of the gentleman who induced me to invest in a
library. He congratulated me on taking his advice. I told him I never
had any learning to speak of; when I should have been at school I had to
be at work; perhaps I should have consulted him about stocking the
library. He expressed a desire to examine it. When I threw the doors
open and the rows of bottles of Old Crow came into his view, he never
flinched. I told Jim if he fainted to be handy with a pail of water. But
he never backed off. He put his glasses on his nose, read the labels and
'lowed while my library was large it was not greatly diversified.
Thereafter the good man was more deeply interested in me than ever
before. At first he called once a day. It was not long until he called
three times a day regularly."

[Illustration: Uncle Henry's Library]

Jim describes the scene thusly: "Uncle Henry, lolling in the big, easy
chair, sleepily. Enter the gentleman who recommended the library. 'Good
morning, Brother Hunt, I hope you are feeling well'; Uncle Henry, with
eyes half-closed, never waited to hear more. He languidly motioned
towards the sideboard, closed his eyes, looked the other way. Uncle
Henry's idea of a gentleman was one who turned his back while you were
pouring out your liquor."

Uncle Henry was known to every showman in America. He maintained a field
whereon the circuses pitched their tents. He owned the billboards. No
circus visited Burlington that did not find him an interested friend.

I have heard that Uncle Henry could drive a good bargain in a trade. I
never knew him as a buyer or a seller. I only knew him as one who knew
how to give. I only knew him as one who found it more blessed to give
than receive.

His qualities of good more than overbalanced his imperfections. His was
a character that left its impress on the community in which he was
known. He was loved by those who were welcomed in his hospitable home.
There have been men of more renown than the hardy old blacksmith, who,
from a barefooted boy made his way without education or friends, and
that he was influenced in his feelings by his early hardships was only
the man that was in him, over-balancing the better nature of one who,
when a friend was a friend, who, when against you, was always in the
open. He was as honest in his dislikes as he was in his admirations.

When the sands of his life were ebbing fast on that Sunday afternoon in
midsummer, the last of earth, the last sounds that fell upon the ears of
Uncle Henry were the rumbling of the wheels of a circus moving over the
paved streets from the train to the show grounds.

       *       *       *       *       *

    They have got a newspaper fixed and the worst roast ever read
    published today. Mailed copy. If you want a good lawyer, advise.

        JOE KAINE.

Alfred read and re-read this telegram. He was having the most strenuous
opposition of his business career, fighting one of the most unprincipled
of men, the head of a company that had attained great popularity
although on the decline at the time, and soon thereafter went the way of
all such concerns--those of the minstrel kind at least. It was known to
Alfred that the opposition had engaged a noted press agent and that this
agent had been on the route of Alfred's company. Alfred answered the
telegram, requesting a synopsis of the article. It was at the time the
notorious Hatfield gang of West Virginia, were the subjects of unusual
newspaper exaggeration. The write-up that had stirred Kaine was in


    "It is reported though his company is advertised, it will not
    appear in any of the cities in this state. The depredations of
    the notorious Hatfield family has made the name feared wherever
    it is known. Officers have been on their track for years. The
    majority of the desperate family seem to be secure in the
    fastnesses of their mountain hiding places. So completely
    terrorized are the mountaineers by this family that no arrests
    have been made of any of the gang lately. However, should the
    member of the family now masquerading under an assumed name
    enter the state he will be arrested on sight and made to stand
    trial for past deeds of the family. However, it is not believed
    that the man will run the risk of entering the state. It is
    rumored he is on his way to Canada."

Kaine supplemented his first telegram with a second one advising Alfred
that the evening paper would publish any statement he telegraphed, and
to make the denial strong.

Alfred wired him:

    Engage counsel who will answer for me. I am prepared to give
    bond in any amount.

        AL. G. FIELD.

He further telegraphed "Devil Anse" Hatfield and several others of the

    Will be there. Meet me on arrival.

Another telegram read:

    Get this in newspapers, but not as coming from me.

Another telegram went forward later as a news item:

    "It is reported here that a dozen armed men from Kentucky and
    West Virginia are secreted on the cars of the Al. G. Field
    Minstrels, to resist arrest of one of their number who is
    reported with the minstrels."

Of course all this was false. When the minstrel troupe arrived, hundreds
were at the depot. Alfred was one of the first to leave the train. The
officers and many others were aware of the falsity of the published
statement, but hundreds were deceived by the sensational reports.

The owner of the paper wherein the reports originated assured Alfred
they had been imposed upon and the columns of the paper were open to
anything he might dictate for publication. Introducing Alfred to his
city editor, the owner of the paper remarked: "I have requested Mr.
Field to prepare a statement for publication. We want to do what is
right by him."

The matter was submitted to the editor. He reminded Alfred that it did
not answer the article published by them but was a boost for his

Alfred replied: "I realize the matter published was false, but the dear
public has gained the idea that I am a desperado. They will only
remember this a day or two. If I endeavor to contradict the published
reports, it will keep it in their minds. This matter I submit will
benefit me. A denial such as you have in mind will not do me any good."

While this advertising was not the sort Alfred desired, he was bound to
make the most of it. The theatres were packed to their capacity during
the three or four weeks the opposition worked the press with the silly
matter; although many newspapers treated it as a joke. For a few weeks
Alfred was a living curiosity, pointed out by some as a desperado to be
shunned, sought by others to be idolized. Surely, human nature is past

It is dangerous to try to blacken the character of your opponent as it
invariably places one's own under the spotlight and they'll find spots
you were sure were never visible.

       *       *       *       *       *

Ed Boggs, now Secretary to the Governor of the State, was at the time
engaged in the drug business and managed the Opera House in Charleston,
W. Va. The gross receipts were the largest in the history of the opera
house. Alfred carried his share of the money in a satchel after the
show. Boggs accompanied him to the ferry. There was no bridge spanning
the river in those days. Boggs' store was on the corner of Water Street
near the ferry landing. The ferry boat was on the opposite side. Boggs
suggested they step into the drug store and smoke a cigar until the boat
returned. Alfred, arriving at his private car--the wife was a
visitor--the first question propounded was: "Where have you been to this
hour of the night? Where's your satchel?" Alfred nearly fainted. He
rushed out on the platform of the car. The ferry boat had left on the
last trip of the night. Alfred was not clear in his mind as to where he
had left the satchel, whether in the drug store or on the boat. He
floundered along the banks of the river, endeavoring to locate a skiff
that he might recross the river. His fears were that he had left the
satchel on the forecastle of the ferry boat where he stood smoking while
crossing the river.

The Kanawha is a narrow stream as it flows by Charleston, yet it seemed
an ocean that night. Alfred's slumbers were neither lengthy nor
soothing. One hour previous to the scheduled time of the ferry boat's
arrival on her first trip of the morning, he stood on the shore gazing
across the river. When the boat was within four feet of her dock, Alfred
leaped aboard, and began inquiries. The captain said: "I was at the
wheel. If you left your money on the boat you might as well stay on this
side. There was a rough crowd aboard after the show. That money's split
up and partly drunk up by this time." Mr. Boggs had not arrived. The
clerk searched the drug store. He urged the minstrel man to assist in
exploring the mysterious recesses behind the counters. No satchel was
found. Mr. Boggs was late coming to the store. "He always gets here
before this," the clerk asserted. Alfred could not restrain himself
longer. He fairly ran to the residence of Mr. Boggs. The servant
brought the message: "Mr. Boggs was not well this morning. He would
probably not go to the store until afternoon."

"Jumping Jupiter, Holy Moses," and other expressions were suppressed by
the highly wrought-up minstrel, as he stood on the doorstep. Say to Mr.
Boggs: "Mr. Field must see him, if only for a moment. Must see him at

"Howdy, Al, I thought you were on your way to Huntington."

"No, our train does not leave until eight-thirty. I only have
twenty-five minutes. Are you going to the store?" Alfred tried to look
unconcerned as he asked the question: "Did I leave my satchel in your
drug store last night? I feel sure I did."

Boggs gazed at him in blank amazement. "Your satchel with all that money
in it? You don't mean to tell me you left that satchel somewhere and are
not certain where?"

"Oh, I am pretty certain I left it in your store."

"Well, if you left the satchel in my drug store it is there yet."

"I am pretty sure I did."

"But you're not certain," persisted Boggs.

After every corner and nook of the store had been searched, Alfred went
behind the counters. Again he looked under them. Boggs did not seem to
be greatly interested in the search. He seated himself at a desk as
Alfred rose from his knees, from exploring a dark corner, and inquired
in an unconcerned tone, "Find it?" Alfred was irritated. He did not
reply. The ferry boat whistle sounded. The bell was tapping. Alfred
looked at Boggs. He was still at the desk.

"Good-bye, I'm going. I guess the Hatfields haven't exclusive privileges
in West Virginia. I think I'll join them to get even. I either left that
satchel in this drug store or on that boat. That's a cinch."

Boggs raised his eyes. "Well, if you only knew where you left your
satchel you'd have a better chance to recover it."

"Well, I'm going," replied Alfred, moving towards the door.

"Good-bye," Boggs shouted. Alfred was on the front steps. "Hold on,"
Boggs yelled, "I'll go over the river with you." Alfred was looking
across the river. Boggs was by his side. They had walked several yards
towards the ferry boat. Boggs inquired as to what excuse he would make
to his wife. Alfred turned his head. Boggs was carrying the satchel in
his hand farthest from Alfred. As the latter reached for the grip, Boggs
laughed as he pulled away, saying, "I won't trust you with it."

Boggs discovered the satchel after Alfred left the drug store. He
awaited the return of the ferry boat and endeavored to have the Captain
make an extra trip to relieve Alfred's suspense. The Captain refused,
saying: "If a man is that careless with money, he ought to worry."

       *       *       *       *       *

In the early days of Alfred's minstrel career he became acquainted with
Dan D. Emmett, the originator of American Minstrelsy (the First Part).
Emmett was living in Chicago at that time.

[Illustration: Dan Emmett]

Years afterward Alfred learned that Mr. Emmett was living in retirement
in his old home, Mount Vernon, Ohio. He called on the aged minstrel. Mr.
Emmett pleaded that he be permitted to accompany the minstrels on a
farewell tour. His request was granted. At the time there was no
intention of advertising Emmett. He was simply to accompany the troupe
as a guest of Mr. Field.

About this time several persons were claiming the song "Dixie." Alfred
furnished the _New York Herald_ with irrefutable proof that to Emmett
belonged the honor. That paper sent a man from New York City. He spent
several days at the home of Emmett. The feature story and the
subsequent proofs published by Col. Cunningham, editor of the
_Confederate Veteran_, forever settled the controversy as to the
authorship of Dixie.

Emmett's memory, in his last years, as to dates was defective. The story
of Dixie was often related to Alfred by Emmett and, from other
information, Alfred is of the opinion that Dixie was sung in the south
long before its New York production. Emmett was the musical director of
Bryants' Minstrels. Dan Bryant desired a walk-around song and dance.
Emmett, on Saturday night was commissioned to have this number ready for
Monday night's performance. He labored all day Sunday. Dixie was
produced on Monday night and made an instantaneous hit. This is the
accepted story as to the production of "Dixie."

It is well known to all of Emmett's intimates that he was a slow study
and a very indifferent reader but once he memorized music, he required
no notes thereafter. It is not probable Emmett turned out Dixie in one
day or the company learned and produced the song with only one
rehearsal. All minstrel people admit this.

Dixie was produced in New York in 1859. Prof. Arnold, of Memphis, (of
Montgomery, Ala., then), claims that Emmett visited Montgomery in
January, 1859, and sang Dixie, the words, however, a little different
from those used in New York later. In presence of Mr. Field, Prof.
Arnold called Emmett's attention to this. Emmett's reply was that the
air of Dixie--the melody--had been played by him for a year prior to his
writing the words of the song.

It is Alfred's opinion that Emmett first sang the song in the south else
how could it in those days become so suddenly popular. It is an
authenticated fact that the troops from Alabama first sang Dixie as a
war song of the South. There are gentlemen living in both Eufala and
Montgomery who assert that Dixie was sung in those cities early in 1859
and that it attained great popularity.

However, the memory of Emmett will be preserved to future generations as
the author of a song the common people love to sing.

       *       *       *       *       *

"I have bought a farm."

The wife looked incredulous. The past four years Alfred had optioned as
many different farms, always dissuaded by the wife to give them up. In
fact, the wife did not show the husband's enthusiasm as to the bucolic

"I've bought a farm: Bienville, a part of the old Goodrich tract ceded
to that family by the government for services in the Revolutionary War,
opposite 'high banks' on the Olentangy River, where the ruins of the old
fort are. It is a place of historic interest. The river, the best bass
stream in Ohio, skirts the east side of the farm. There's a lovely brook
running through the farm, and the largest virgin forest in the county.
Why, the timber in that woods will sell for more than I paid for the
whole farm. But I will not cut a single tree down, only an occasional
shell-bark hickory tree to smoke our meat. Uncle Jake always smoked his
meat with hickory wood and he cured the finest meat in Fayette County,
generally a little too salty; we must look out for that."

"The bottom land is a farm in itself. There are two orchards, an old one
and a young one. The old one is about run out and I'll cut it down when
the young one comes in. The wood will be fine to burn. Dry apple wood
makes the hottest fire."

"Dried apples? What are you talking about--burning dried apples?"

But Alfred was not to be interrupted. "The hill land is not so good but
I'll bring that up. I've bought a book on Liming Land. I won't have a
great deal of stock to begin with. It's my intention to begin with a
few of each species and breed up, that's the way Doctor Hartman does.

"The hill land is not productive now and the bottom land will have to
supply the farm until we get the hills tillable. There's only one thing
that troubles me. The bottoms overflow every time the river rises. As
you know, the Olentangy rises every time it rains."

"Well, for Heaven's sake, you haven't bought a farm like that, have you?
Now, Al, you are just like your father. Your mother often told me he
could make money but always had a plan to spend it and his investments
always proved failures. Why don't you let this farm business go? You've
got enough on your hands without a farm."

Alfred never noticed the interruption.

"Chickens are very profitable. Poultry raising is one of the most
profitable things about a farm, and the average farmer does not give his
chickens any attention. I expect you to look after the chicken end of
the farm. All the profits will be yours."

Even this liberal offer did not interest the wife greatly.

"The first thing I am going to do is to build a dyke or levee along the
river bank to protect the bottoms from overflows. This must be done this
winter. Mr. Monsarrat is at work on one on his place. He went to the
expense of hiring regular dyke-builders, civil engineers and all that
sort of thing. I'll just hire farmers and their teams. I've got onto a
man that built all the dykes down toward Chillicothe. He knows just how
to construct them. I'll hire him to superintend the work. Of course,
I'll be on the ground all the time to look after the details."

"When will you have time to attend to matters of that kind? Now, Al,
you're just hatching up a lot of trouble for us. Why don't you rest? You
have been working all these years to lay by a few dollars and now you
are contriving to spend them. We know nothing of farming. We will be
worried to death."

"Now don't get excited, Tillie. Hold your horses. I've thought the whole
matter out. Now listen to me. You can't farm in winter, can you?" and
Alfred waited for his wife to answer. The wife deigned no reply; she
either considered the question too deep or too silly. Alfred answered
his own question: "No, you can't farm in winter. This is November. I've
fixed it that by the time we are ready to farm we will be all prepared.
I've subscribed for three farm journals, a poultry paper and a dairying
book. The farm journals are published in New York, Los Angeles and
Denver. This will educate us up to farming methods in all sections. What
they don't know in one section, we will learn from another. You leave it
all to me. Country life will make another woman out of you and Pearl
will like it. It will be good for you all. It's the dream of my life
realized and I do hope you will enter into my plans and be the help you
have always been. I'm going to have a horse and phaeton for your
exclusive use. I don't want you to do anything. Just sort of look over
things. You need not read the farm journals unless you are interested.
You read up on poultry and the dairy. They go together. All I'll ask you
to do is to look after those two things, the poultry and the dairy. I'll
take care of the farming."

Bob Brown, (no relation to Bill Brown), editor of the _Louisville
Times_, one of Alfred's warmest friends, published a feature article, a
brief history of Alfred's career, touching on his newspaper experiences,
however, omitting the cow-doctor experience. The article concluded with
a lengthy write-up of Alfred as a farmer. The paper was carried in
triumph and read to Mrs. Field and Pearl. Bob predicted the success for
Alfred in farming that he had attained in minstrelsy. Several
illustrations in Bob's write-up exhibited Alfred in farmer's garb,
feeding cattle, sheep and hogs out of his hand.

The wife observed: "Why, you haven't got sheep, hogs or cows as yet;
have you imposed upon Mr. Brown?"

"No, certainly not. Bob is an up-to-date newspaper man. Newspapers that
wait to print things as they are, get left. Newspapers that print things
as they are to be, are the live, up-to-date, always read journals. Bob
knows I'll have things just as he represents them."

Bob Brown's write-up was greatly appreciated by Alfred even after Emmett
Logan informed him that Bob had written him confidentially that he,
Alfred, had turned farmer, but he did not know what for, as he felt
certain Alfred could not plant his feet in the road and raise dust; in
fact, he did not think Alfred could raise a parasol.

Alfred was advised that a club, of which he was an honorary member,
would entertain him--that it would be a farmer's night. Alfred well knew
there would be great fun at the expense of the farmer. He would be the
butt of all the jokes the busy brains of a dozen or more keen wits could
devise. Therefore, he studied for days that he might in a humorous way
parry the jibes. Nothing humorous in connection with the farm could be
evolved from his brain. He was too ambitious, too enthusiastic a farmer
to ridicule any phase of his newly adopted calling.

Therefore, when the chairman concluded his introduction in these words:
"And now, gentlemen, we have a farmer as our guest here tonight. It has
been the plaint of the farmer from time out of mind that he had not
representation; that he had not voice in affairs that had to do with his
vocation. The newly made clod-hopper is respectfully informed that he
can air his grievances to the fullest extent and that, unlike others, we
will not pass resolutions of acquiescence in his views and then
repudiate them. We will file them in our archives as a memento of the
fact that another good man has gone wrong. Alfred, it is the fear of all
your friends in this club that the minstrel show will not make enough
money to run the farm."

[Illustration: Alfred as a Farmer]

Alfred replied to the introduction:

"Gentlemen, the introduction honors me; to be a farmer has been the
dream of my life. Beginning life on a farm, I ask no more pleasant
ending than to live the last days of my earthly time on a farm.

"The facetious remarks of the toastmaster do not explain my reasons for
engaging in farming. It is true, financial consideration did not govern
me in this matter, although I do hope to make the farm self-supporting.
If I do not, I shall not feel that I have made a bad investment.

"In seeking the quietude of the farm, I was actuated by that yearning
that comes to all men who have led a busy life--to turn back the years
and try to live the days of patches, freckles, stone bruises and
laughter; to live those days again when there was only one care in the
world, not to be late for meals.

"I want to go way back yonder in my life to a house half hidden from
view by the locusts and maples, where the bees hummed and swarmed. I
want a scent of the honeysuckle as the maples and locusts budded forth
in what seemed to me the morning of the world--springtime. I want to
follow the path down by the big spring, through the hazel bushes, where
the cotton tail jumped up just ahead of you and the redbird sang his
sweetest song. I can follow the path in my mind as the hunting dog
follows the scent, down to the old rock hole where the clear, cool
waters of the creek formed an eddy, in which the chub and yellow perch
lurked and jumped at the bait as they never did anywhere else.

"I want to feel that ecstacy that only comes to a boy when the bottle
cork you used for a bobber goes under water, when something is pulling
on the line like a scared mule, bending double the pole cut in the
thicket on your way to the creek. I want to throw the pole away, roll up
the tangled line, hide it away in the corn crib, and sneak back to the
house the opposite direction from the creek, that the folks wouldn't
suspect I had been fishing on Sunday.

"I want to go back yonder in my life where the hills meet the sky in a
purple haze, where you feel yourself growing with the trees, where the
smell of new earth calls you to the woods, where the dogwood is budding
and the may-apple peeps up through last year's leaves at the new leaves
budding out on the grand old maples above.

"I want to go so far back from the worries of city life that the crowing
of the cock and the cackle of the hen will tell me it is morning,
instead of the clanging of bells and blowing of whistles. I want to go
back yonder where the setting sun, instead of the city lights, will tell
me it is night. I want to hear the cricket and whip-poor-will as we
heard them in the evenings long ago, as we listened with bated breath to
the jack o'-lantern legends that stirred our childish fancy until the
croaking of the frogs sent us to bed to dream of uncanny things.

"I want to live in the happiness of an autumn when the frost was on the
pumpkin and the fodder in the shock; when the hickory nuts falling on
the ground called the squirrels; when the stars gleamed bright enough to
afford you light to bring a 'possum out of a tree with the old flintlock
musket--how you cherished that gun. And when the snow hid the roads and
paths like the white coverlet on the big bed in the spare room and the
big backlog crackled and burned on the hearth, and the red apples
glistened in the firelight, and the popcorn imitation of a snowstorm was
more realistic than any artificial one that you have since witnessed.

"How you shivered as you undressed in the room above going to bed, but
how soundly you slept after you got warm. I want to go back to one of
those hallowed Sunday mornings in summer when the hush of heaven seemed
to fall on earth; when the quiet that spread over hill and vale seemed
to announce the Spirit of God in some unusual sense; when the peace of
heaven seemed so near you felt its happiness.

"While living the old days over--the days way back yonder--I want to
live in the love of my friends of today. Whilst I cherish only a memory
of the friends of the old days, I hold, after my family, the love and
esteem of my friends of today above all things in this life.

"Gentlemen, come down to the farm. Visit with me and endeavor to live
the life of a boy again, if only for a day."

[Illustration: Bill Brown as a Farmer]

Alfred's response was not what the assemblage expected. Congratulations
were showered upon him. The speech was reproduced in newspapers all over
the country. Printed copies of it were circulated. The sentiment
expressed therein seemed to have struck a responsive chord in the hearts
of all men who love to live close to Nature. It does not seem possible
that any one would have the hardihood to endeavor to controvert the
sentiments set forth in Alfred's tribute to the "Back to the Farm" life,
yet there appeared in all the papers that had given publicity to
Alfred's speech, a diatribe from Bill Brown, headed "The Truth," as


    I have read with much interest Al. G. Field's address on "The
    Farm." If you will pardon my profanity for a minute, I will say
    "Damn the Farm."

    Our paths through the woods on the farm must have been
    different. Al. pursued the cotton tail through the level and
    green grassy meadows, getting pleasure in pursuit, and which
    left no traces of his going; I pursued the ever ready pole cat
    through hollows, over logs and stone piles, which left nothing
    but bruises, but I found more pleasure in pursuit than

    Al. had patches, freckles and laughter; I had rags, bruises and
    tears. Al. took the path down to the spring through the hazel
    bushes; I took the stony road to a mudhole through thorns and
    blackberry bushes.

    Al. caught nice yellow perch with a cork bobber; I caught
    suckers with a paper bobber, for there were no corks used on our
    farm. Al. fished on Sunday; I went to church at 10 o'clock,
    Sunday School at 11, church again at 1:30, and perchance prayer
    meeting in the evening.

    Al. smelled the new earth from a two seated surrey or horseback;
    I smelled the new earth from the back of the harrow or plow.

    Al. watched the dogwoods bud, and breathed their fragrance as
    they budded; I felt the dogwood switches drop on my poor back
    and bare limbs.

    Al. had to be told when it was dark and when it was morning. I
    knew when I was told to quit work that it was dark and bed-time,
    and knew that it was daylight when I was yanked out of bed to
    walk two miles before breakfast to bring in a lot of cows.

    Al. had a nice "coverlit" over his bed, and turned into a nice
    feather bed and rested in peace. I rolled myself up in a
    worn-out horse blanket, and turned into a tick filled with
    straw, shivering until I got to sleep and kept on shivering. Oh
    yes, I cherish the days on the farm and will never forget them.

    But a more pleasant recollection to me is the day that I left
    the cackling of the hens, the braying of the donkey, the
    bellowing of the cows, and the old plow standing in the furrow,
    where I hope it still stands.

    The new stack of hay might have brought fragrance to Al's
    sensitive nostrils, but to me it seemed as well suited as a
    reservoir for perfume as for a monument in a cemetery.

    I want to live in the love and esteem of my friends of today; I
    cherish the memory of the old friends, and I value their love
    and esteem, but the memory of the old straw pile back of the
    barn still clings to me closer than all these, and e'er I get
    ready to go back to the darned old farm, I will make myself a
    pair of wooden bills and perch myself on the stake and rider
    fence, prepared to take my turn with the hennery.

    "Visit me," he says, "and endeavor to live the life of a boy
    over again on the farm." Not for Bill, and I can but repeat what
    I said in my profane way, again and again.

    Al. can have the farm, but as for me it's first "back to the
    mines, Bill." With sad memories of the milk pail, the fork and
    curry comb, I am,

        Sadly and sorrowfully yours,
            BILL BROWN.

Insofar as Alfred's knowledge goes, Bill Brown's pessimistic views of
farm life were not accepted by any save Alfred's immediate family.
Alfred carried a copy of his address, "A Glimpse of Nature, or Back to
the Farm" in his pocket. Mrs. Field preserved Bill Brown's screed. As
one prediction of Bill's after another came to pass, she would say to
Alfred: "There, see there? Even Mr. Brown knew what would come of this
farming business."

The dyke was constructed and would no doubt have answered the purpose
intended had it not been constructed of clayey soil that disintegrated
and floated away with the muddy current the first freshet.

Chickens were the first purchases. Rhode Island Reds, Alfred asserted,
were superior as farm chickens. They were good layers, good setters and
good mothers. One hundred hens and two roosters were the basis of the
poultry plant. Alfred had read that one hundred hens properly catered to
would produce on an average five dozens of eggs a day. Eggs were fifty
cents a dozen. He figured that fifteen dollars a week would be pretty
good. Of course, he had forgotten that farm hands eat eggs. Two dozen
eggs were brought to the city and delivered to the home of Alfred, where
the family rests up in the winter from the farm labors of the summer.
"Of course, it's not what I expected," he consolingly admitted to his
wife, "but you can't move chickens from one place to another and have
them do well. Howard Park says so and he has had a heap of chicken
experience. They will do better when you get out there. You will feed
them properly and regularly. Their laying streak has been broken up. We
must train them to lay while eggs are expensive and lay off when they
are cheap."

Alfred insisted Pearl keep a "farm book," entering on one page the
expenditures opposite the receipts. After two months Alfred declared the
book a trouble and worry. "Just spend what you have to and let it go at
that. Howard Park says everybody has the same experience when they first
go into farming." There were two entries on the two pages of receipts,
nineteen pages of expenditures:

    February 14th--Credit by 2 dozen eggs     $  .98
    March 11th--One bull                       35.00

Alfred bought the bull from a neighboring farmer. "Registered Jersey,
worth at least $100; I got him for $75," boasted Alfred. "The man needed
the money." It was learned later that the bull had been accidently shot
by trespassing hunters and permanently disabled. When Alfred was put
wise to this, he sold the bull for beef.

[Illustration: "I Want a Rooster for Every Hen"]

In the grocery bill, (Alfred furnished everything), there was a charge
of four dollars and thirty cents for eggs. Alfred argued to his wife it
was for hatching eggs for the incubator; that he had instructed Mrs.
Roost she must raise four hundred chickens at least. But Mrs. Roost,
over the telephone, advised that farmers must have eggs to eat and she
always cleared her coffee with eggs, and our hens were not laying and
that most of them had the roup, and you can't expect eggs when you only
got two roosters for a hundred hens. Alfred called up Mrs. Reed and
advised that he must have more roosters. "How many do you wish?" she

[Illustration: AL. G. FIELD, 1886]

"Well, we are not getting any eggs. I want a rooster for every hen. I'm
bound to have eggs."

The wife changed her mind as to Rhode Island Reds. She declared the only
person she knew that had good luck with Rhode Island Reds was Mrs. Mott
and she just lived with her chickens. "Now, Mrs. Goodrich has Barred
Plymouth Rocks and they are the chickens." Alfred ordered a flock of
Barred Plymouth Rocks. Someone recommended to Alfred Black Minorcas.
Charley Schenck had a pen he wished to dispose of. Alfred figured that
since they had experienced so much bad luck with one breed they would
soon strike a winner by having several kinds. Therefore, when S. S.
Jackson presented Alfred with a pen of India Games, you could look out
upon the chicken lot at any time of day and see three or four
cock-fights in progress at the same time. The hands were kept from their
work, attracted by the gameness of the cocks.

A beautiful litter, (as Alfred termed them), of top-knots, Van Houden
chickens, were the next addition to the poultry yard. When cautioned
that he would soon have a polyglot lot of poultry, Alfred, for the first
time, weakened on the chicken proposition; more for the reason that he
was disgusted with their polygamous propensities. Although living in one
herd, he imagined that each breed would live to itself. Alfred dubbed
them "Mormons."

Pearl and Mrs. Field had become interested in the little chicks. As hen
after hen came off, her brood was carried to the house and endeavors
made to raise the chicks by hand. They had some forty or fifty, when
rats, or a "varmint" penetrated the coop and twenty-four were killed in
one night. The sorrow caused by this loss of their pets was partly
compensated for by the closer ties formed with those spared. Each one
was named. When either Pearl or Aunt Tillie passed out of the kitchen
door, the chicks would fly to meet them. Stooping down to feed them,
they would fly on the shoulders of the two women.

One of the grocery bills rendered contained an item, "Four dollars for
chickens." Mrs. Mott had also sold Mrs. Field quite a number of
chickens. Alfred supposed these chickens were for breeding purposes. One
Sunday the table was without chicken. Mrs. Field explained she had no
one to go after them. "I'd have shot them for you if you had advised me
you wanted chickens killed." "Chickens killed?" repeated both Pearl and
Aunt Tillie, "Well, I'd like to see you or anyone else kill _our_
chickens. Why, there's Betty, Biddy, Snooks, Dick and Kelly; they're
just like humans. You don't imagine for a moment we will kill any of
_our_ chickens, do you?" And Alfred bought chickens for the table all

Alfred promised his wife that he would look after the farming part. The
chickens and dairy came under her charge. He therefore, sat down to his
desk and wrote out minute instructions as to fields to be planted and
designated the crops to sow in each field. He ordered a hill field, near
the barn, sowed in buckwheat. The farmer meekly intimated that ten acres
of buckwheat and five acres of oats seemed rather disproportional.
"Never mind, follow my order," haughtily commanded Alfred. "None of us
care for rolled oats and we all like buckwheat cakes." Alfred discharged
his regular farmer; he claimed the man got up too early; he got up at
four o'clock and threshed around making so much noise nobody could

The hills had not been plowed in years. The land was shaly, easily
washed. It rained from the day the family moved onto the farm until late
in June. Seeds of all kinds from the fields above washed down into the
bottoms below. Beans, potatoes, egg plant, rye, peas, beets and cow peas
grew in the bottom as only noxious weeds and wild crops grow. From this
conglomeration sprang the noted bean that Bill Brown and Alfred are
forming a company to distribute.

The rain continued. The weather being cool, fires were necessary.
Nothing but wood was used as fuel. The wife protested the heat for
cooking was not sufficient. It just dried the juices in the meats. A
heating plant was put in. Kerosene lamps did not produce sufficient
light, so a lighting plant was installed. Springs and well were unhandy.
Alfred installed a water plant. Alfred swore you might just as well live
in the city if you had all city fixin's. The walks in the yard and
across the lawn were inches thick with mud. Pearl and Mrs. Field, by the
light of the wood fire, would read Bill Brown's life on the farm, while
Alfred watched the barometer. The women began to talk about moving back
to town. Alfred was as miserable as life could make him. Day after day
the rain fell in torrents. The dam that formed the lake wherein Alfred
intended raising fish in summer, and a skating pond in winter, and also
to furnish ice, broke, flooding the cow stables, washing out the sweet
corn patch and the garden floated.

Alfred was unmercifully berated that he had dragged his family to the
country, destroying their happiness and spending all his money
for--what, for what? Just to gratify a whim, a boyish illusion.

Alfred felt he must do something to turn the tide. The rain kept
falling. He started to the city on his mysterious errand. Returning he
proudly hung above the mantle piece this motto:

    "It hain't no use to grumble and complain,
      It's jest as cheap and easy to rejoice;
    When God sorts out the weather and sends rain,
      Why, rain's my choice."

The rain ceased. The sun shone, the grasses grew. Happiness came into
the family. Ere the summer was over, farm life had so ingratiated
itself that they did not relish the idea of moving back to the city.

Bill Brown is ever kind. He sent a half dozen guineas, advising they
were "chicken-house sentinels." They multiplied more rapidly than any
fowls known; that the hen laid forty and fifty eggs in one nest. Mr.
Field and all the hands followed those guineas all summer, nor did
anyone find a guinea egg. After months of seeking guinea eggs, an old
lady familiar with guineas advised Alfred that all of Bill's guineas
were cocks. It was true; they were all Shriner guineas. Alfred procured
a few Suffragettes and guineas are now the most prolific fowl production
of the farm.

[Illustration: Home, Sweet Home]


    It's curious what fuss folks makes 'bout boys that went away
    Years ago from home.
    There's young Bill Piper that used to keep recitin',
    Do you know what he's done?
    He's gone to actin', there's some that actually pay
    To go an' hear Bill talkin', public in a play.
    Why, he couldn't chop a cord o' hickory wood in a year;
    He may fool the folks out yonder, but he ain't no hero here.

I am glad to have Uncle Tom visit us. He is a good man. It is true his
calling made him very narrow when a younger man, but he was always kind
hearted, and under his austerity there's a lot of man. I am doubly glad
he is to visit us. I want him to carry back to my old home, to those who
predicted a much different career for me, a few things I would like them
to know.

[Illustration: Uncle Tom]

"What are you going to do with Polly?" inquired the wife. Polly was a
bird purchased in New Orleans; warranted to be one of the best talkers
ever imported; talks French, English and Spanish. The bird came up to
the guarantee and even surpassed it. She can cuss in two or three
languages not specified in the guarantee. The wife suggested we carry
Polly to sister's. "But Uncle Tom will visit there and it would come out
that the parrot belonged to us. Besides, it would be disreputable to
have Polly's profanity charged to sister's family."

Janet Wolfe, a teacher of languages, was also a guest of the family. She
and the uncle spent a great deal of their leisure talking to Polly.
Janet was particularly interested in Polly's Spanish and French. One
morning the two were standing near Polly's perch. Polly was unusually
talkative. In answer to a sentence of Janet's purest South End French,
Polly rolled off sentence after sentence of New Orleans French Market
French. Janet turned red, then pale. She hurriedly inquired as to
whether Uncle Tom understood French. When assured he did not, she
elevated her hands in thankfulness.

Uncle Tom adhered to the custom of family worship. One morning Uncle
Tom's prayer was very long. Polly, evidently--like others of the
family--was hungry, but, unlike them, did not have the politeness to
conceal it. Stretching her wings to the fullest width, craning her neck,
in a bored tone she squeaked: "O-h h-e-l-l. Give us a rest." There was
no suppressing the laughter. Polly laughed too. Uncle Tom smiled
faintly. Alfred pretended to chastise the bird, raising the feather
duster over her. Polly began a tirade that all the family understood. It
must have sounded to Uncle Tom something like this: "Go to
hell-go-to-hell-all-of-you. Get-to-hell-out-of-yere-dam-you,
dam-you-all. Polly's-sick-poor-Polly. Chippy-get-your-hair-cut-hair-cut.

Many were the arguments and interchanges of opinions as between Alfred
and Uncle Tom. The younger man never mentioned the old days at home, he
was more anxious to have the uncle refer to them. Many years had elapsed
and Alfred surmised the uncle had forgotten events that were
ineffaceably impressed upon his own memory. The uncle and nephew, held
many long conversations. One night while alone the uncle took Alfred
aback a bit, when he very abruptly inquired as to whether he was
satisfied with his profession--his life. "I can see you are well fixed
and financial success has come to you. But, are you satisfied with your
life? Would you live the same life over again?"

"Uncle in the main, I am satisfied with my life. There are many things
that I would prefer to forget and there are many things I hope to
remember. As a boy, I was ambitious to become a circus clown." The uncle
smiled. "This at first, was a boy's whim, an illusion. That ambition was
based entirely upon a desire to acquire sufficient money to make me
comfortable. It was a boyish fancy at the beginning but some of the
happiest days of my life were when I wore the motley and endeavored to
spread gladness as a circus clown.

"To see others enjoying themselves, to hear and see folks laugh, is one
of the greatest pleasures to me in this life. But I am sorry I did not
become something other than a showman." The old minister looked at
Alfred in amazement. "I will always retain most pleasant recollections
of the many friends that I have made in the show world, but, Uncle
Thomas, I feel that I could have done something better for myself if I
had only been as bent upon it as I was upon show life."

"Why, Alfred! You surprise me. What do you think you should have gone
into? A mercantile business?"

"No, I never had any taste for that. Of late years I have often wished I
had been enabled to enter the legal profession. I believe I would have
made a success as a lawyer."

"Oh, as a politician?"

"No, no, Uncle, I abhor politics as I know them. I mean a lawyer. One
who was respected by all the people in the community where he practiced.
I have often thought I would like to be a sort of lawyer and farmer. I
never was satisfied with myself until I became the owner of a farm."

"Well, if you are dissatisfied with your business, I cannot understand
why you have been so successful."

"Now, Uncle Tom, you misunderstand me. I am not dissatisfied with my
business. I had ambitions as a boy, I have ambitions as a man."

"Are you ashamed of your calling?" This was a leading question. Alfred
felt the inquisitor was digging pretty deep.

"No, Uncle, I am not. I shall always respect the calling of a public
entertainer. I thank God, and pat myself on the back often, that not one
dollar I possess was wrung from a human being that they were unwilling
to part with. I respect myself all the more that not one penny of the
little that I have saved is tainted, that is in the latter day
application of the term. In my professional work I have carried
gladness. I have endeavored to make two blades of grass grow where one
grew before. I have injured no man by my profession, but have made many
happy. Why should I be ashamed of it? Of course, I often wish that I had
entered a field where I could have enjoyed more opportunities; where I
could have extended myself as it were. I would like to live in a larger

"Why, Alfred, I am again surprised. You travel the world over."

"Yes, but Uncle, it's the narrowest world you ever dreamed of. A crowd's
no company. The loneliest moments I pass are when in the largest
gatherings. I was cut out for a showman, but I ought to be a stationary
one. If you and father and all my other relatives had only headed me for
the law, perhaps I'd be a different man."

"Alfred, what was to be could not be changed. You have everything to be
thankful for and little to regret. You have a faithful helpmate in your
wife. Your father is a great consolation to you. He tells me of the
lovely traits of your character. If I had my children around me as he
has, if I could live in their love as he does, I would sacrifice all
else in this world."

"Why, Uncle Tom, aren't you satisfied with your calling?"

"If you refer to the ministry, I answer 'No.' The salaries of the
ministers of this country do not average five hundred dollars a year.
And yet, as a class, they are the best educated the hardest working,
poorest paid, underfed profession I know of. With less culture, less
mental power, there are men in all walks of life that are paid three
times the salary even our most eloquent and useful ministers receive.
And yet, no matter how great the good a minister may have accomplished,
if he makes the slightest allusion to the matter of money, it discredits
him. That I have worn the livery of Christ all my days will buoy me up,
and that I am proud of my service in the army of the Lord lends
happiness. I have endeavored to maintain the character I have assumed in
meekness and sincerity. But the character of a minister is the most
assailable of that of any of the professions. The slightest slip, the
one misstep, and he is lost. Like Samson, shorn of his hair, he is a
poor, feeble, faltering creature, the pity of his friends, the derision
of the public."

"Well, Uncle Tom, yours is not the only profession that's held back by
popular prejudices. It's one of the peculiarities of the littleness of
human nature. It's a sure sign of a dwarfed mind to have your actions
criticized and misconstrued. There's not a great calamity, a pestilence,
a plague, a drought or a famine, a Galveston disaster, a Johnstown
flood, a poor family's poverty, that the theatrical profession are not
appealed to first and are first to respond. But if a theatrical man
interests himself in public affairs his motives are impugned."

"I am surprised at this, Alfred. It sounds so very much like the
restrictions placed upon ministers. Does it hamper you in your affairs?"

"Not in the least. That is, not now. There was a time when I was younger
that I felt the sting pretty keenly. Now it has a different effect. You
remember Bill Jones in Brownsville? He had a boy named Bill. Young Bill
was under discussion by the cracker barrel committee in Oliver Baldwin's
grocery. Andy Smith had just remarked that 'Bill Jones's boy is a durned
fool; he don't know nuthin'; he don't know enough to gether greens; he
don't know enough to slop hogs.' Just then he noticed the boy's father
sitting behind the stove. Old Bill had overheard Andy's talk. Andy
endeavored to square himself. In an apologetic tone he said: 'But,
taint' your fault, Bill; tain't your fault; ye ain't to blame. You
learnt him all you know.' You can't tell anything about human nature and
the better plan is to make yourself as agreeable to those you respect
and love and to keep others at arm's length. When you feel that folks
have any objections to you, beat them to it. They soon come over."

"Do you remember a boy that was raised in Brownsville, worked in
Snowden's Machine Shop? Do you remember he worked his way up? He entered
the ministry. He became a very good preacher, quite eloquent. There was
a movement inaugurated by some of his boyhood friends to have him
brought to Brownsville to fill the pulpit of a church. The women of
taste were sort of running things. The Brownsville boy who had become a
preacher was turned down. Do you remember why? Well, his parents were
very humble people. The taste of many of the members revolted at the
idea of the pulpit of the church being filled by one whose father worked
around the town in his shirt sleeves. Do you remember the trade of his

"No, I have forgotten."

"Well, he was a carpenter." The uncle did not perceive the application
at once. After a moment he nodded his head a half dozen times, very
slowly as he framed the question: "What became of--?"

"He is living in retirement with his children in Houston, Texas. He
became a noted man in the ministry of that state. He never visited his
old home after the slight put upon him by the taste of a part of the

"Well, Alfred, your experience has been of great value to you. You have
met all manner of people."

"Yes, and in all walks of life. And my estimate of them is, that human
nature is about the same in all men, although some of them possess the
faculty to a greater degree than others of concealing it. The first
President I ever met to talk to was General Grant. I had always read of
him as the Silent Man of Destiny; but he did about all the talking for
all those about him the few moments I was in his presence."

"I met Ben Harrison, but that was before he was President. It was during
a political campaign in Indiana. He seemed to me to be about as cool and
level-headed a man as I ever met. I stood beside him on a car platform.
In Petersburg, Va., after he was elected President, he came out of his
private car in response to the cheers of the crowd. I feel sure he
intended to make a short speech, as the multitude seemed to demand it.
The President was bowing his acknowledgments to the large gathering,
when someone, with that bad taste that always crops out at the most
inopportune moment, yelled 'Hurrah for Cleveland.' A great many others,
with bad taste, laughed. Harrison flushed to his temples, bowed and
backed into the car.

"I met Cleveland twice. Once in that old club in Buffalo, N. Y.
Cleveland was sheriff at that time. He was in the prime of manhood,
sociable and full of animation. He did not talk much but was a good
listener and a hearty laugher at the stories George Bleinstein related.
I met him again after he was out of the Presidential chair. His health
was shattered. He was endeavoring to recuperate in that most sensible
way, hunting and fishing. His limbs were in such condition he could not
endure the exercise and did not get the benefit he anticipated from the
outdoor life.

"I met Rutherford B. Hayes many times while he was Governor of the State
of Ohio, and once after he became President. He was the most democratic
of men, plain and approachable.

"Of all the Presidents I have had the good fortune to meet McKinley was
the most lovable to me, probably because I was better acquainted with
him than the others. Mrs. McKinley and her sister owned the Opera House
in Canton, Ohio. Mrs. McKinley's brother, Mr. Barber, was the manager
for them. I met McKinley in Columbus, Canton and Washington. He was
always the same. He never mentioned politics at any time I was in his
presence; always talked upon commonplace subjects, inquiring after
friends or conditions of business over the country. McKinley had the
good taste to remember his friends.

"It was the custom of the President and his wife, while in Washington,
to call up the home of Mr. Barber in Canton, on the long distance
telephone daily. Alfred happened in Canton on New Year's day. He wished
the President a Happy New Year over the phone. The President, in turn,
invited him to call at the White House when visiting Washington. Alfred,
after the phone was hung up, remarked to Barber: 'The President is too
busy with politicians to bother with minstrels.' Barber afterwards
repeated Alfred's remark to the President. Later, Alfred visited
Washington. The President sent a messenger inviting him to call at the
White House, nor did Alfred have long to wait when his card was sent in.
After a hearty handshake the President invited him to have a cigar. The
first question he asked was as to the health of an old Columbus
liveryman--Brice Custer--a Democrat at that.

"The most interesting near-President I ever met was your old
fellow-townsman, James G. Blaine."

"Oh, I knew Blaine well as a boy," Uncle Tom said. "I never met him
after he left Brownsville. Where did you meet him?"

"I visited Augusta, Me., with my minstrels. I sent a messenger inviting
him to attend the entertainment. In reply he invited me to call at his
residence. To my surprise he seemed to be familiar with my career. He
inquired after many of the older men of Brownsville, particularly John
Snowden, Bobby Rodgers and others. He could not remember my father but
he remembered grandfather, Uncle William and Uncle Joe's father. His
memory as to the older inhabitants of the town was most remarkable. He
gave me much information as to the early history of Brownsville. He
advised when he regained his health he intended visiting the valley
again, renewing old friendships. The cheeks of the famous American were
sallow and flabby. His general appearance was that of one who was
desperately struggling to fight off the finish. Although he talked
hopefully of the future and outlined his precautions for guarding his
health, it was not long afterwards until he 'crossed the bar.'

"Blaine was a wonderful man. Do you remember the last speech he made at
his old home? It was in the midst of a heated political campaign.
Several noted orators accompanied him. The issues of the campaign were
discussed by the speakers who preceded him. Blaine was introduced; the
applause was long-continued. Speaking slowly at first, with distinct
enunciation, he said:

"'Ladies and Gentlemen, Neighbors, Friends, All: I am here tonight in
the interests of that great political party of which I have the honor to
be a member. I came here to make a political speech. I came here to
discuss the questions in which this section is so vitally interested. I
see many familiar faces. I see many in front of me tonight who have
always held views opposed to mine, politically; but our opinions on
public questions have never marred our friendships and never will
insofar as I am concerned. I always hope to retain the respect and
good-will you bear me, evidenced by your presence here tonight.'

"'When I gaze around me, I note the silver tops of many men whose hair
was as black as the raven's wing when we trod these old hills together.
I note cheeks even whiter now than the hair that shades them--cheeks
then flushed with the bloom that only comes to youth. I know many of you
here tonight expect me to discuss the issues of the day. I hope you will
excuse me when I inform you I cannot bring myself to do it, that word of
mine might cause pain to one friend--that would destroy all the pleasure
that has come to me from this meeting of old friends here tonight--it is
a pleasant feeling to the wanderer that he is again in the home of his
fathers, in the home of his friends.'

"He continued relating incidents of his boyhood. I venture to say it was
the most effective political speech ever delivered and not a word of
politics in it."

"Alfred, your experiences are valuable, and I believe you are filling
the mission God intended you for. I feel when I talk to you my little
world growing smaller. I have lived in a little world all my life. The
only information I get of the big world comes through well-meaning, but
often prejudiced, persons. I do not know man as I should. I believe to
know God you must know man. Alfred, I am told intemperance is the curse
of the theatrical profession. Are many of your people drunkards?"

"Very few of them. We do not tolerate a drunkard one day. It would be an
insult to permit a drunkard to go before an audience. Theatrical people
with their peculiar temperaments and manner of life, are easily led
astray but I do not believe, comparatively speaking, there is nearly so
much intemperance among theatrical people as some other professions."

"How do you manage the members of your company?"

"We endeavor to dissuade them from all practices that will interfere
with their duties. We take a great deal of pains with the younger ones;
particularly as to the drink habit; do all we can with advice, and
endeavor in every way to have them lead sober, moral lives. The general
manager of one of the largest railway systems in this country, after
twenty-five years' experience, has arrived at this conclusion. 'Do all
possible to rescue the man starting in on a drinking life. Bump the old
soak and bump him hard; bump him quick. Never temporize with a man who
has broken his promise as to the liquor habit. If he gets bumped hard,
it will either cure him or cause him to drink himself to death. In
either way society is the better off.'"

"What a load of sin the saloonkeeper carries, the man that sells the
drunkard rum. If all the saloons could be closed--Uncle Tom, have you
given the subject, or this sin, or whatever you may term it, serious
study? The saloonkeeper may have it within his power to curtail, to
lessen the evil effects of drunkenness, but it's high time the fellow on
the other side of the bar came in for his share of the censure. Don't
you know that if every saloon in the land was closed, under existing
conditions, drunkenness and the increased consumption of whisky would go
on. Statistics bear this out."

"Well, what is your remedy for the evil, Alfred?"

"I have no remedy. I have a safeguard--high license, the sale of whisky
placed in the hands of reputable men."

"But, Alfred, there are no reputable men in the whisky business."

"Uncle Tom, you admitted a few moments ago you lived in a little world,
you did not know men. I am not entering upon a defense of the
saloonkeeper, but human nature, is human nature. Bad taste is bad taste.
It's bad taste for a minister of the gospel to make statements that can
be controverted so readily that his veracity is made questionable. If I
were a minister, I would inform myself, visit the saloons. I would go
into the Neil House, the Chittenden, the lowest dives in the city; not
as a sneak or a spy, but in my duty, my profession, my calling as a
preacher, as a man with the determination to do good unto my fellow
men. I would go as He, in whose footsteps preachers profess to follow,
did. I would shake hands with the business man, the bum. I'd pass them
my card or have someone introduce me. I'd invite them to visit my
church. I'd make them feel I was a friend, not an enemy. I would
endeavor to instill into their lives the truth. I'd preach that God is
love. I would make myself a welcome visitor everywhere I went. The
presence of a good man with a desire to do good has a beneficial effect
upon men in every walk of life, in church or saloon.

"Uncle Thomas, if the clergy do not realize it, they should. They are
widening a breach, a chasm between the people and the church, that will
be difficult to bridge over. They are positively bringing their calling
into disrepute. Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory but in
lowliness of mind, is a divine injunction they seem to have forgotten."

"Alfred, I am surprised at your arguments. I want to ask you: Did you
ever know an honest saloonkeeper, an honest man who made or sold

"There are thousands of them. Thomas Daly, one of the largest distillers
in this country, Belle Vernon, Fayette County, Penn., is a man who
stands as high morally as any in his section.

"Martin Casey, who lately passed away in Ft. Worth, Texas, a wholesale
dealer in liquors, was a friend of mine for thirty years. He was a
friend of your nephews, Jim and Clarke. He was beloved in the community
where he lived and died. No charity, no public or private work for the
betterment of mankind, was without his support. The widow and orphan did
not appeal to him without receiving. In fact, it was not necessary for
the poor to appeal to Martin Casey. His friendship would have honored
any man.

"You will say these men were too far away. Tom Swift, a saloonkeeper,
stood as high among those who were intimate with him as any man in this
city. Joe Hirsch is another, and there are hundreds of others."

"Then, Alfred, you are against temperance?"

"No, sir. I'm for temperance. If there is anything I can do to
ameliorate or decrease the evil effects of intemperance, I will
willingly take my place in the ranks and add my strength to the fight.
Ninety men of a hundred are in sympathy with those who are battling for
the alleviation of the evils of intemperance. But there are not ten men
in a hundred that have faith in the means employed. The only practical
temperance work that has come under my observation was that of Father
Matthews and Francis Murphy."

"Well, Alfred, what do you think of Sam Jones, and Billy Sunday?"

"Sam Jones is dead and nearly forgotten. As to Billy Sunday, I have made
it a rule not to talk about a business competitor. Talk is advertising.
Billy Sunday is running a show. It's bigger than mine, but it's not as
good because it's not an honest show. It's run under the guise of
religion. Religion, as I understand it, is your life work from day to
day and not the inspiration or the evolution of a week, a month or a
year. Billy Sunday has four or five advance agents, or promoters. I
employ only two. Billy Sunday has promoters the slickest in the
business: men who have had the experience of years in all sorts of
schemes. His show is a sad reflection upon the ministers and church
members of any city that falls for his methods. The preachers simply
admit that they are not equal to the labor they are engaged in. They
must have a buffoon, a mountebank, whose methods are repugnant to those
who believe in the religion that is taught by the Bible. Billy Sunday
creates excitement that carries some folks off their feet for the time
being: no lasting results obtain. Those that will remember Billy Sunday
longest are those people who give up their money to him. Billy Sunday's
show has the Gift Show scheme distanced before the start."

Uncle Tom enjoyed his visit to Columbus greatly. On his last Sunday he
occupied the pulpit of the Evangelical Church on East Main Street. He
advised Alfred the day previous that he would preach a special
sermon--text, I Cor., Chapter 1, Verse 19: "I had rather speak five
words with my understanding that by my voice I might teach others also,
than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue."

After elaborating upon the text, he reached the pith of his sermon: "A
man out of place is only half a man. His nature is perverted. He becomes
restless and discontented and his life is made a failure, while the same
person might have made a success of all his undertakings if he had been
properly placed. As a rule, that which one likes best to do is his
forte. No man can be wholly successful in this life until he finds his
place. Some men glide into their proper sphere as naturally as the birds
of the air fly, or fish in the deep swim. Others never ask the question
of themselves: 'What is my place? What shall I do that I may be content
to labor and succeed in the world?' Every man should ask himself: 'What
is my place? How shall I decide it? How shall I fill it that my life
shall not be a failure?' It may be difficult to answer this question.
The answer may not always be from the heart, that is, influenced by
sincerity. Ignorance or lack of ambition may prompt an answer and
failure follow. Though difficult to answer, the question must be
answered by all. 'What is my right place in the labor of this world? How
shall I find it? How shall I succeed in it?' But few men can be really
successful and discontented--contentment is success.

"Education and civilization will have found their highest value in this
world when every man has chosen his proper work; work for which he is
fitted by nature and inclination. How many boys have had their
aspirations checked, their longings silenced, by loving but misguided
parents and friends? How many boys, who might have attained eminence in
a calling they were fitted for, have been forced to fill a place that
was repugnant to their natures? There is not a day we do not see natural
ability checked by occupations that are not congenial to those engaged
in them. We can hardly conceive of a man or boy forced to do work they
loathe. Parents may feel they are fulfilling a highest duty when they
choose a profession or a calling they believe the best for their
children, but against which the whole nature of the boy revolts, and for
which they have no natural ability. If instinct and heart ask for a
blacksmithing trade, be a blacksmith; if for carpentry, be a carpenter;
if for the medical profession, be a doctor; if for music, be a musician.
There is nothing like filling your place in the labor of this world
successfully. If you cannot fill a higher position acceptably and
successfully, be content to choose a lower one. There's nothing more
creditable in this world than filling a small place in a large way. It
is better to be a first rate brick mason than a second rate lawyer.
Choose your calling in this world. Prosecute it with all the vigor in
your being. With a firm reliance in God and confidence in yourself
failure is impossible."

Neither Uncle Tom nor Alfred, in their conversation referred to the
sermon at dinner. Several complimented Uncle Tom on his sermon. As
Alfred looked across the table at the Uncle, they both smiled. Alfred
thought of another sermon he had sat under years previously, and it's
his opinion the Uncle had the same thought.

Uncle Tom sleeps in a little church yard in Virginia near the people he
loved so well, and that his views broadened in his last years only made
him more beloved by those for whom he always faithfully labored,
believing in the right as he saw it. He was an honest man, a consistent


    Not hurrying to, not turning from the goal.
    Not mourning for the things that disappear
    In the dim past, nor holding back in fear
    From what the future veils; but with a whole
    And happy heart, that pays the toll
    To you and age, and travels on with cheer.

Uncle Madison, stage driver, soldier, planter, historian, a gentleman of
the old school; versed in the classics and current events, most positive
in his deductions. He fought every day and year of the Civil War for the
cause of the South. He had labored every day since Appomattox to better
the conditions he had been active in unsettling. The soul of honor, as
courtly as a king, as keen as a flint, as blunt as a sledge, as tender
as a child.

[Illustration: Uncle Madison]

It was telegraphed all over the country that A. P. Clayton, Mayor of St.
Joe, Mo., and Alfred, were behind the bars in Pittsburgh, Pa. Bill Brown
telegraphed W. E. Joseph, Masonic Temple, Columbus: "Clayton and Field
in jail here, will you help to get them out?" The answer was: "If
Clayton and Alfred are in jail, it's where they belong. W. E. Joseph."

Uncle Madison read of it in the newspapers. He reared and charged. "Bill
Brown nor no other man could put him in jail without suffering for it."
Alfred's explanation did not satisfy Uncle Madison. "It's only Bill's
way of having fun with his friends. No one that goes to Pittsburgh but
Bill plays some sort of a joke on him. We are glad to get off so easy.
We expected him to steal our clothes or have us indicted for
bootlegging. Why, there are a number of people in the west--good
people--who will not go east via Pittsburgh, fearing Bill's practical

Pet Clayton, Imperial Potentate of the Shrine, was _compelled_ to visit
Pittsburgh in connection with his official duties. Clayton carried
Alfred with him as protection. Alfred, in his haste, forgot his dress
suit. Arriving in Pittsburgh only a few moments before the ceremonial
session, Bill insisted Alfred wear one of his (Bill's) dress suits; that
it was the rule of the Temple that all must wear dress suits to gain
admission. Bill is wider than Alfred, "thicker through," but not quite
as tall. There was too much space everywhere excepting in the length of
legs and arms of Bill's dress suit, as it encompassed Alfred. No coaxing
or lengthening of the suspenders or pulling at the sleeves could make
Alfred look other than ridiculous. After walking from the Ft. Pitt Hotel
to the Temple, the suit began to "set" to its new conditions. The legs,
seat and sleeves, were drawing up at every breath.

Bill, in introducing the visitors, kindly made apologies for the
condition of Clayton, and the appearance of Alfred, explaining that
Clayton had just come from Louisville, where he was booked for one night
only, but there was more to inspect than he had ever tackled before. He
also assured the Nobility that Alfred owned a dress suit but they would
not permit him to take it out of Columbus; that the suit Alfred wore was
one he had kindly loaned him and he hoped that if anything happened
Alfred those assembled would respect the clothes. When Alfred arose the
next morning to prepare for the automobile ride the local people had
tendered the visitors, his clothes were missing from the room. Bill
Brown and the committee were waiting. "Slip on your overcoat; that will
hide Bill's old suit. You won't be out of the automobile until you
return. This hotel will make that suit good. How much did it cost you?"
"Sixty dollars; well, we'll make them buy you a hundred dollar suit."

Every out of town guest, (Shriners) had lost something from their rooms.
Harrison Dingman was tugging at an odd pair of shoes, a number eight
and a ten, to get ready for the automobile tour. Bill Brown was
everywhere consoling the losers, making notes of the losses pretending
he wanted to bring suit against the hotel.

Alfred and Clayton were hustled into an automobile under Brown's tender
care. As the auto sped on, Clayton remonstrated as to the high speed at
which the machine was traveling. Brown was describing the Carnegie
Technical School. Clayton, seemingly not interested, bluntly informed
Bill he would not ride further at the speed we're going. "I'm too damn
good a man to get killed by one of these machines," declared Clayton.

Brown pretended his feelings were injured. Halting the auto as he
climbed out backwards, he remarked: "I don't want to annoy you,
gentlemen. The educational institution we are now passing is one of the
most noted in the world. I supposed you'd be interested in it. It is one
of which Pittsburghers are justly proud. We take a young man from the
home, pass him through this school and turn him out versed in any
profession or trade."

Clayton said something about an institution in St. Joe that took a hog
from the pen every minute, passed him through and turned him out every
minute, ready for the table. Clayton referred to St. Joe's slaughter

After Brown left the auto there was no slacking of its speed. Both
Alfred and Clayton remonstrated with the chauffer. He claimed they were
not traveling nearly so rapidly as the machines containing the other
guests; that he did not know their destination and must keep in sight of
them. As Clayton was insisting that the auto be halted, a policeman
threw up his hands, commanding the chauffer to halt, advising all they
were arrested for exceeding the speed limit. Clayton quickly informed
the officers that we were guests, not the owners of the machine; that we
had protested since we entered the park at the high speed; that we were
not to blame and should not be arrested. "I'm not here in Pittsburgh to
break laws that I instruct my officers to enforce. I am the Mayor of St.
Joe and I won't stand for this arrest."

"St. Joe, St. Joe," mused the Irish policeman, "well, uv course, I have
no authority to turn yez loose. There may be a St. Joe but I haven't
heered uf it. There's so meny new korporations springing up around yere,
I exshpect Coryopolis will be havin' a Mayor next an' he'll come in the
city an' want to have immunity fur any crime he may commit. No, you
nabobs wid dese automobiles must be held in check. Ye kilt two
shill-dren and a hog out uv wan family last week."

[Illustration: "It's Done Every Day in St. Joe"]

Clayton led the officer behind the machine. Alfred overheard him offer
the cop two dollars and to set them up to turn the pair loose. "It's
done every day in St. Joe," Clayton confided. The officer shook his head
and remarked:

"I'll have tu take yez down. Get in!" and he pointed with his club to
the open door of the machine. "Climb in! I'll let yez talk to the
sargent." The Mayor of St. Joe and the meek minstrel re-embarked. The
officer sat up beside the chauffer, Clayton slinging it into him every
foot of the way to the station.

There was a crowd outside the door. "Phwat are they pinched fur?"
inquired a ward politician who had a pull, and consequently got a reply
from the cops. "Exceedin' the spheed law in the park," replied the
officer. "They're from out of town, are they?" "Yis," answered the cop.
"The big one claims he's the Mayor of St. Joseph's Academy, er some
other place. The other one has thryed to hide hisself in his overcoat."

They were in front of the Sergeant's desk. Alfred whispered to Clayton:
"Give a fictitious name." Clayton was arguing the case with the
Sergeant. "My name's Clayton. This is Mr. Field, Al. G. Field, of
minstrel fame. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, right near you. He is the
Potentate of Aladdin Temple, Columbus."

[Illustration: "It Will Cost Us Fifty Dollars and Costs"]

"Hold on, Pet, hold on," pleaded Alfred, "I--I--"

"Never mind, Alfred, never mind. Now, I'm the Mayor of a city. I know
just how to handle these matters."

"Well, don't give them my name and pedigree. Handle it without that,"
requested Alfred.

"Put them both together in cell twenty-three and send for the Bertillon
officers. I think you'll find their mugs in the Hall of Fame." Clayton
advised Alfred the Hall of Fame had reference to the Rogue's Gallery.

Clayton clamored for an opportunity to telephone the Chief of Police,
the Director of Public Safety, or some other high mogul. "If I was in
St. Joe, I'd be out of here in two minutes," he excitedly declared.

"Of course you would," assented Alfred, "but you're not in St. Joe.
You're in jail in Pittsburgh, a shake-down town, and it will cost us
fifty and costs, you see if it don't."

"Not on your life it won't. Let me get this fellow on the phone. What's
his name? I met him last night. I'll tell him something," said Clayton.

"Do you know him?" meekly inquired Alfred.

"Know him? Hell? Why, I'm well acquainted with him. I had fifty drinks
with him last night."

"Well, telephone him quick," urged Alfred.

"Hello, hello! This is Clayton, Clayton, C-l-a-y-t-o-n, Clayton. I met
you last night. (Ha-ha-ha). How do you feel? (Oh, all right). Where am I
at? No, no! Pet Clayton, Mayor of St. Joe, Imperial Potentate of
the--hello--gurgle--gurgle," and Pet hung up the phone. "Well, don't
that beat the bugs! Now this fellow knows me but he says he must see me.
He only met me last night, he isn't familiar with my voice. I told him
who I was but he said I might be all right, but he would come out and

"It seems to me Bill Brown would come back looking for us. You're the
guest of honor."

This reminder riled Clayton up. "I'll attend to Mr. Brown's case. I put
him where he is. I'll show him something next session of the Imperial

Just then the jailer thrust a thin loaf of bread part ways between the
bars. Alfred and Pet gazed at the bread as it stuck there. In a moment
the man sat a thin can of water beside the bread. Clayton endeavored to
bribe him to go to a restaurant and bring some real refreshments.

"Phwat wud yez like to eat?"

"Oh, Old Crow or Joe Finch's 'Golden Wedding.'"

"Oh, yez'll git none of those things out here. They wudn't know how to
cook them if they had 'em. Yez'd better have some corned beef and
cabbage. No, this is Friday, yez can't get that. Salt mackerel is the
bhest I can do for yez the day."

Clayton pinched off a crust, with the remark: "I'll eat your bread but
damned if I drink your water."

Clayton swore he could buy the police, the police station, the police
department or anything else in Pittsburgh, but he wouldn't be shook
down. He had endeavored to bribe everyone he came in contact with, but
all refused to accept, even the policeman. Pet confidentially informed
Alfred, as they sat in the dark, dismal cell, that he knew there wasn't
a straight man in Pittsburgh; that being Mayor of St. Joe he had got
next to all the grafting cities in the country. "I will admit to you,
and you are the first man I ever breathed it to, there is a little, very
little, grafting going on in St. Joe." Pet had Pittsburgh people sized
up right, but he applied St. Joe prices and they were rejected.

The old janitor seemed to be taken up greatly with the two prisoners.
"Yez belongs to some kind of a sacret society, don't yez?" he inquired.

Clayton straightened up to his full height. "Yes, we belong to the
Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine of North America." Pet
rolled off the lengthy title so rapidly the old fellow was astounded.
Resting his hands on the cell bars, he gazed admiringly at Clayton fully
a half minute, ere he asked: "Are yez Pope of it?" Later it developed
the janitor was a captain of police, also a Shriner. He played his part

When Bill Brown and McCandless arrived they almost came to blows. Bill
swore they were disgraced. Bill endeavored to borrow the fifty dollar
fine from both Clayton and Alfred. Failing, he borrowed, or pretended to
borrow the amount from McCandless. Clayton and Alfred were liberated,
loaded into an auto, the chauffer ordered to drive slowly to the Work
House. When Clayton and Alfred stepped on to the veranda, the doors were
flung open. On each side of the long tables there was a row of red
fezzes. Under each a Shriner. There was a welcome, and such a welcome as
could only be extended by those who at one time or another have been the
victims of Bill Brown's practical jokes.

To those who are not intimate with Bill Brown, his sense of humor may
appear forced. But his pranks are only the over-flowing exuberance of a
great, big, fun-loving man--a big body--but scarcely big enough to
contain a heart so filled with love for his fellow man. Alvah P. Clayton
thanked the committee, thanked Bill Brown, thanked the police for their
kindly consideration in placing him in jail. He stated that visiting the
city in his official capacity, he had concluded the duties that called
him to Pittsburgh, that he carried on his person money and valuables
representing thousands of dollars. He was compelled to remain in the
city all day and he felt much safer in jail than loose on the streets of

We love men like Bill Brown and Pet Clayton because they are lovable
men. Happy is the man who has that in his soul that acts upon the
dejected mortal as April showers upon violet roots.

Bill Brown has a motto worked on brass, with steel fish-hooks. It hangs
over the mantelpiece in his home, and reads:

"I am an old man; my troubles are many, but most of them never

Alfred has added to this motto: "They mostly happened to others."

Uncle Madison never could understand why Alfred was indifferent as to
his arrest. He never could appreciate the sense of humor that influenced
Alfred to go to jail for a joke.

Uncle Madison, while on a visit to Alfred, read in the Columbus papers
of the different classes of people composing its citizenship. "You have
the upper class, the middle class, the lower class." When Uncle Madison
was asked if the people of Virginia were not designated by classes, he
replied: "No sir! No sir! We only have one class of people in
Virginia--the high class. All the others are Republicans."

Uncle Madison declares this is the age of shriek and frenzy, the
over-zealous, ambitious politician who gets his ideas from history,
going back a little further than most people read, puts them forward as
his own.

"The majority of folks, in this the best of countries, believe that the
founders of it, knew just about what they were doing when they made out
the plans and specifications. If you will read the writings of
Jefferson, you will find them as applicable to present conditions as
they were the day they were written.

"Alfred I hope you won't be bamboozled by the ravings of demagogues, who
constantly preach about the wrongs of the people. You'll find the wrongs
that influence them are their own imaginary wrongs. The founders of this
country provided for the righting of all wrongs. We can right any wrong
at the ballot box. We do not require any new-fangled, or rather
old-fangled, ideas warmed over. The man who advocates the so-called
Referendum, the Initiative, and particularly, the Recall, is a traitor
to the true principles of government as established by our forefathers.
We have lived and thrived for more than a hundred years under the best
form of government ever devised. If we want to preserve it, if we desire
to perpetuate our institutions, the demagogue, the mountebanking
politician must be squelched. They ruined every republic of the ancient
world and if we don't throttle them they'll ruin ours.

"The self-seeking demagogue starts out with the captivating doctrine,
the rule of the people, but his end will be the dangerous despotism of
one man rule--the rule of himself. Could you or any reasoning man who
has followed the demagogues of this country, for a moment doubt that any
one of them, on the slightest pretext or opportunity would make a despot
that would shade those of the old world?

"The initiative, the referendum and the recall lend themselves to the
demagogues' schemes, and they call it progressiveness. Nothing in
government could be more reactionary. It was tried in Greece and it
failed. It was tried in ancient Rome and it failed. The political party
that's 'agin' the recall, the referendum and the initiative, will win
and it deserves to win.

"Socialism, in theory, is a most beautiful dream, an illusion.
Socialism, as it is practiced by the discontented and turbulent, is
about as near anarchy as we can get. See what they have done wherever
they have obtained a foothold. It's un-American; it's unpatriotic; it is
against all that a patriotic American citizen holds most sacred. Despite
the demagogues who have brought about these conditions, those who love
this country, respect its laws and appreciate the advantages it offers
to every man willing to work, will triumph. The evolution will never
come to revolution.

"The Romans, two thousand years ago, experienced the same troubles we
are having. There is a fable comparing the corporeal body to the body
politic. Once upon a time the feet became discontented and struck. They
refused to be walked upon longer. The legs noted the dissatisfaction of
the feet. Although they never had cause for complaint before, they said:
'Well, we will quit also. We will refuse to carry the body around
longer.' The stomach said: 'Well, I can't digest food if you refuse to
work, so I'll just quit also; besides, I've been working all these years
for that aristocrat, the brain. I am down under the table doing the work
while the brain is enjoying the wit and gaiety. I want to be up where he
is. The brain has been the master long enough.' The brain became
stubborn: 'All well and good for you. If that is the manner in which you
look upon your duties; if you feel that you have been imposed upon, go
your way. I refuse to think for you further.'

"The feet stubbed their toes; their course was irregular; they stepped
on broken glass; they swelled up as large as watermelons. The legs, illy
nourished, not clothed, became weak and rheumatic, gave way altogether.
The stomach, not receiving food, began to ache and cramp. The brain was
suffering from the ills that had befallen the stomach, the limbs and the
feet. The misery became general. The entire body was suffering, and its
sufferings had weakened it greatly.

"After a while they all concluded their only hope to live happily was
that one should depend upon the other. It was decided the brain should
run things; but the ills brought upon the body had caused so much
suffering that it required a length of time until all recovered the
condition they were in before the strike--as we will call it. All agreed
the brain should have all the powers as before but must consider the
other parts of the body as of greater importance than heretofore. This
the brain had learned, and further that they were all necessary parts of
one great body. And thus they all concluded to go to work together.
After the brain put food into the stomach, clothes on the legs, healed
the wounds of the feet, it found its sufferings had ceased. The brain
learned it must take good care of all parts of the body or it would
suffer. Neither one could long exist without the aid of the other.

"God needs all kinds of people in this world. Some represent the brain,
others the stomach, more the feet and legs. As Abraham Lincoln said:
'God must love the common people: He made so many of them.'

"Along comes the demagogue. In his zeal to gratify vainglorious
ambitions, he endeavors to convince the common people that confusion
and agitation will right their wrongs.

"They quote from Abraham Lincoln. Let me ask you to compare their
speeches and appeals with those of Abraham Lincoln. Do you remember any
speech of these modern demagogues in which they have told the common
people that they were living in the best country in the world? That
they, the common people, had it in their power to relieve themselves of
their few wrongs? Do you ever remember one of them telling the dear
common people that good government was essential to prosperity? That it
was a higher honor to be governed in a republic like ours, than to live
in any other country?

"Every human being begins life under control and there is not one in a
thousand that ever should live, only under control. Three-fourths of the
people in this world never knew they were counted until they get into a

"The demagogues array their hearers against wealth. They leave the
impression that all who are so fortunate as to possess a little more of
this world's goods than the poorest, are dishonest; that it is
dishonorable to be of the moneyed class. They never tell the people it
is but natural and necessary that some should be richer than others.
These conditions have always prevailed and could only be changed by a
gross violation of rights, held inviolate since the beginning of
civilization. Since the world began, industry and frugality have been
rewarded by wealth.

"These demagogues never tell the people that the opportunities are ever
open that have made others rich. They never tell the boys growing up
that ten or twenty years hence, they the boys of today, will be the
business men, the moneyed class of this country.

"To be prosperous is not to be superior. Wealth should form no barrier
between men. The only distinction that should be recognized is as
between integrity and corruption.

"The present day fads are only the revival of the brain throbs of
demagogues gone before. Read Jewett's translation of politics.
Aristotle, who dealt wisely with many momentous questions, designated
the initiative, referendum and recall, as the fifth form of democracy,
in which not the law but the multitude, have the superior power and
supersede the law by their decrees. Homer says that 'it is not good to
have a rule of many.'

"As I said before, there will be no revolution. The patriotic people of
this country will attend to this. But we will be compelled to do a
little deporting and perhaps a little disciplining. The American people
will attend to this sooner or later. The red flag has no place in this
country. Curb the trusts, curtail combinations in restraint of trade,
let all men get an even start in the race and the deserving will win. I
am not a rich man; I'm a poor man. I've worked all my life. I am happy
and contented. Insofar as riches are concerned, I would like to possess
them, but damned if I want them if I've got to rob others who have
labored more diligently and with more intelligence than I have."

"Now, Uncle Madison, what's your cure for the political and social

"Patriotism, loyalty to our country, to our flag, to our institutions,
to the principles that have made us what we are."

"Uncle Madison, you were a Confederate soldier."

"Yes, and I'm proud of it. I fought for what I believed to be right. We
of the south lived under conditions that had grown upon us, been forced
upon us; I refer to slavery. I'm not defending slavery, I'm glad it's
done, but we had lived under a government that guaranteed to protect our
rights and property. No matter if slavery was wrong--was it right for
one-half of the people of a country to insist the other half impoverish
themselves--give up all their possessions?

"Slavery was handed down to us and--well, there's nothing in threshing
this matter over; slavery was the cause of the war, the negro was the
issue. If the negro had been a commercial product in the north there
would have been no war. The south lost because it was ordained they
should lose. That does not lessen my pride in the fact that I fought for
the cause I thought was right; we were right in the fact that we fought
for the property this government promised to protect us in, and that's
just what the north would have done if conditions had been reversed."

"Uncle Madison, do you believe in the majority rule?"

"The majority, if you mean the greater number of people, never did rule
and never will. It's the few that does the thinking, does the ruling.
Why, my boy, there are times in our lives when God and one are a


    Mornin' little dreamer
    With sunshine in your eyes,
    The stars were talking to you
    Ere they left the brightening skies.

"The Care of Children, by Dr. Holt," is the title of the book by which
the baby is being reared. On the care of feeding bottles it recommends:
"When the baby is done it must be unscrewed and put in a cool place
under a tap. If the baby does not thrive, it must be boiled."

[Illustration: An Evening at Maple Villa]

Hattie remarked afterwards she "never reckoned the poor, measley little
thing would stay with us." _It was_ little, _it was_ puny, but it
brought a happiness into the household never before experienced--brought
a happiness into the lives of Uncle Al and Aunt Tillie--that only those
who love children and have never been blessed with them can appreciate.

Alfred with his usual assurance undertook to instruct the family,
including the doctor and the nurse as to how the baby should be
handled--yes, that's the term he used, "handled." Aunt Tillie reminded
him the baby was not a colt. He was advised that the old fashioned way
of nursing babies was obsolete. He was not permitted to up-de-doo baby,
that is, throw him up and catch him coming down, notwithstanding he
asserted this was the only way to prevent a baby from becoming
liver-grown; nor would Miss Liston or Pearl the mother, permit Alfred to
kiss the baby on the mouth. Miss Liston asserted that kissing was most
dangerous in spreading microbes and germs; therefore, the baby must not
be kissed on the mouth.

"All right, little baby," Alfred would say, "I can kiss his little
tootsie ootsies."

"Please don't kiss his foot," appealingly pleaded Pearl. "Please don't
kiss his foot, he might put it in his mouth."

"I kissed you on the mouth a thousand times when you was a baby, and I'm
living yet," snapped Alfred.

[Illustration: Field]

Baby cried at night. Alfred declared it was unnecessary to lose sleep on
account of a baby crying. All required was a cradle. Every person that
expected to rear a baby should have a cradle.

Alfred visited every furniture store in the city. Not one had a cradle.
Few understood what they were. One young clerk advised that his
grandfather in the country, near Alfred's farm had one and he had heard
the grandfather say his father before him had used it.

Alfred sent his colored man, Doc Blair, to borrow or buy the cradle.

The cradle was borrowed. The man did not care to sell it. He sent the
wagon to get the cradle.

"Hide it in the barn until I return; I want to introduce baby to it.
This will prevent his crying at night, that is so wearing on his mother
and so irritating to Aunt Tillie, and leg-breaking to his daddy."

He explained to Hattie, who knew all about babies. Hattie just smiled:
"You just rock him to and fro and he will go to sleep any time. You
can't raise a baby without a cradle, it is impossible."

"Bring in the cradle," was Alfred's command to Doc Blair.

"Mister Field, you can't bring that thing in hyar. Some of you all will
get your legs cut off. You can't get it through the door nohow. We
couldn't get it in the top wagon. We had to take the farm wagon."


On the lawn near the front door reposed an old fashioned cradle for
reaping grain, such as farmers used before the horsepower reapers came
into use--a hand cradle with rusty scythe and hickory fingers.

Alfred called at a cabinet maker's and ordered a cradle made to order.
The rockers must be pointed and have plenty of circle so it would not
overset easily. The German agreed to have the cradle completed by

Sunday was selected as the day to introduce baby Field to the soothing
influence of a cradle. Alfred advised "All you have to do is sit near
it. You can read or sew. Just gently push the cradle with your foot. You
can have a rope reaching to your bed. If the baby gets restless at night
all you have to do is hold on to the rope."

Alfred insisted that Eddie, the father, learn to sing the old nursery
song, the inspiration of which was the sugar trough cradle Alfred was
rocked in:

    Rock-a-bye baby on the tree top,
    When the wind blows the cradle will rock;
    When the bow bends cradle will fall,
    Down comes baby, cradle and all.

Pearl claims it was the singing of this lullaby or the attempts of Eddie
to sing it, that spoiled Field's disposition.

The cabinet maker certainly misunderstood Alfred's specifications as to
the construction of the cradle. Aunt Tillie declared she would not have
it in the house. Pearl named it "Noah's Ark." When baby was laid in the
cradle he appeared as but a speck. When Alfred essayed to rock it to
show the others how, baby howled with fear. Alfred swore if they had
known anything or consulted him they would have ordered the cradle
before the baby came, put him into it on arrival, then he would have
gotten used to it by this time. "Now you'll have trouble breaking him to
the cradle. Every baby should be cradle-broke as soon as they are born."
Aunt Tillie again reminded Alfred the baby was not a colt.

"The cabinet maker was ordered to make a cradle, not a life raft. I
didn't order but two rockers. I never ordered it that big. Do you think
I'm a fool. I know what a cradle is."


"Well, you don't call that thing a cradle, do you?" inquired Aunt

"Well, it's as near as you will get to one, people don't know nothing
about babies or cradles in these days."

The cradle, with its three rockers and six sharp points and a big old
fashioned rocking chair with four more pointed rockers, made the baby's
room a storage place for ancient instruments of torture.

The night was a wild one, winds without, colic within. Eddie knew the
route to the paregoric.

After the first combat with the rocker Eddie swore it would have to go
or he would. He felt he had a chance with the rocking chair, but with
six points more against him he balked. "Besides nearly breaking my neck,
I broke the paregoric bottle and got glass in my feet."

[Illustration: The Wreck]

Doc and Alfred sorrowfully bore the cradle to the chicken house and it
has become a receptacle for old carpets and other rubbish.

Aunt Tillie said: "Well, you boasted Field would have something no other
baby in this section had and you made good--nothing like that cradle was
ever seen in this section. I wonder what you will think of next to
squander your money on?"

When the cradle is referred to Alfred flares up. "I've had three or four
offers for it lately. I expect a man here to look at it tomorrow. Don't
you dare to break it up to make chicken coops with. I'll get three times
as much as I paid for it just as soon as sensible people who are raising
a baby learn I have a cradle. Some smart man will start a cradle
factory, and he'll get the money, too."

All the common sense suggestions offered by Alfred were rejected. He
volunteered to walk the floor with baby while he was cutting teeth.

"No, sir, no, sir, I will not permit you to walk the floor with him
while he is cutting his teeth. You walk the floor with him when he is
teething, when he grows up the dentist will have to carry him around the
office before working on his teeth."

"Don't ride him backwards. He will be bald. Riding backwards is the
cause of half the baldness in the world."

Nurse had a schedule by which baby's cries were timed. Lung expansion
was necessary. Crying was essential to lung expansion, exercising his
voice Field made a new schedule. He was on time; in fact, he worked
overtime. He cried by sun time, that is, he began by sun time and quit
by any time. He cried until George Washington's portrait turned its face
to the wall, the dogs howled, and the cream soured.

Notwithstanding, the baby of these days is raised after the automatic
drop-a-nickle-in-the-slot manner, it is surprising how they thrive. He
was a tiny, human toy a little while back; now he is the autocrat of the
house, the absolute boss. Riding or driving, walking or autoing--he is
first. He sits at the head of the table. If he desires aught, his
desires are gratified. It is only those who have crossed the apex and
begun the descent on the other side, that can realize how quickly
children--the baby of yesterday, becomes the head of the house, ruling
all with love. Field will be a year old the first of the month. He will
have a birthday party; there will be a cake and one candle. Aunt Tillie
will have a birthday party for Uncle Al soon. When she asked his age
that she might order the candles to decorate the cake, he answered,
"Just make it a birthday party, not a torch light procession like Ollie
Evans had on his birthday."

       *       *       *       *       *

The inner man, like the negro, is born white, but is colored by the life
he lives; but not one is so black they have not felt humbled and rebuked
under the clear and open countenance of a child. Who has not felt his
impurities the more that he was in the presence of a sinless child?

You have probably seen one whom some low vice has corrupted, one who is
the aversion of man and woman, make of himself a plaything for a
rollicking crowd of children, enter into their sports in a spirit that
made his countenance glow with a delight, as though only goodness had
ever been expressed upon it.

You have seen another--a genteel person, cold and supercilious--endeavor
to make himself agreeable to children, court their favor, win their
fancy. You have seen the child draw back and shrink in undisguised
aversion. I have always felt there was a curse upon such a person.

Better be driven from among men than disliked by children and dogs. One
is as instinctive as the other.

It is a delicate thing to write of one's self. It grates on one's
feelings to write anything derogatory and may be redundant to write
praise. I have endeavored to watch myself go by. To those who have
followed me thus far, to those who have been my friends, to those who
are my friends, to all mankind who despise hypocrisy and love human
beings and dogs, I commend myself in


    O Powers that be, make me sufficient to my own occasions.
    Teach me to know and to observe the Rules of the Game.
    Give to me to mind my own business at all times, and to lose no good
        opportunity of holding my tongue.
    Help me not to cry for the moon or over spilled milk.
    Grant me neither to proffer nor to welcome cheap praise; to distinguish
        sharply between sentiment and sentimentality, cleaving
        to the one and despising the other.
    When it is appointed for me to suffer, let me, so far as may humanly
        be possible, take example from the dear well-bred beasts,
        and go quietly, to bear my suffering by myself.
    Give me to be always a good comrade, and to view the passing show
        with an eye constantly growing keener, a charity broadening
        and deepening day by day.
    Help me to win, if win I may; but--and this, O Powers! especially--if
        I may not win, make me a good loser. AMEN.

            AL. G. FIELD.

|Transcriber's Notes                                  |
|                                                     |
|While unusual spellings have been retained as in the |
|original, unexpected inconsistencies in spellings and|
|punctuation have been standardised.                  |

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