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Title: Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son - Being the Letters written by John Graham, Head of the House - of Graham & Company, Pork-Packers in Chicago, familiarly - known on 'Change as "Old Gorgon Graham," to his Son, - Pierrepont, facetiously known to his intimates as "Piggy."
Author: Lorimer, George Horace, 1868-1937
Language: English
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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 "Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son - Being the Letters written by John Graham, Head of the House - of Graham & Company, Pork-Packers in Chicago, familiarly - known on 'Change as "Old Gorgon Graham," to his Son, - Pierrepont, facetiously known to his intimates as "Piggy."" ***

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[Illustration: "_Young fellows come to me looking for jobs and telling
me what a mean house they have been working for._"]

            Letters from
        A Self-Made Merchant
             To His Son

Being the Letters written by John Graham,
Head of the House of Graham & Company,
Pork-Packers in Chicago, familiarly known
on 'Change as "Old Gorgon Graham," to
his Son, Pierrepont, facetiously known
to his intimates as "Piggy."

Boston: Small, Maynard & Company: 1903

       *       *       *       *       *

          _Copyright, 1901-1902,  by_

          _Copyright, 1901-1902,  by_

             _Copyright, 1902,  by_

         _Entered at Stationers' Hall_

           _Published October, 1902_

       _Sixtieth Thousand December, 1902_

                  _Plates by_
        _Riggs Printing & Publishing Co._
               _Albany,  U.S.A._

                 _Presswork by_
            _The University Press,_
              _Cambridge, U.S.A._

       *       *       *       *       *

                 CYRUS CURTIS
               A SELF-MADE MAN

       *       *       *       *       *

CONTENTS                                                      PAGE

 I. From John Graham, at the Union Stock Yards in Chicago,
 to his son, Pierrepont, at Harvard University, Cambridge,
     _Mr. Pierrepont has just become a member, in good and
     regular standing, of the Freshman class._                   1

 II. From John Graham, at the Union Stock Yards in Chicago,
 to his son, Pierrepont, at Harvard University.
     _Mr. Pierrepont's expense account has just passed
     under his father's eye, and has furnished him with a
     text for some plain particularities._                      15

 III. From John Graham, at the Union Stock Yards in
 Chicago, to his son, Pierrepont, at Harvard University.
     _Mr. Pierrepont finds Cambridge to his liking, and has
     suggested that he take a post-graduate course to fill
     up some gaps which he has found in his education._         29

 IV. From John Graham, head of the house of Graham & Co.,
 at the Union Stock Yards in Chicago, to his son,
 Pierrepont Graham, at the Waldorf-Astoria, in New York.
     _Mr. Pierrepont has suggested the grand tour as a
     proper finish to his education._                           45

 V. From John Graham, head of the house of Graham & Co., at
 the Union Stock Yards in Chicago, to his son, Pierrepont
 Graham, at Lake Moosgatchemawamuc, in the Maine woods.
     _Mr. Pierrepont has written to his father withdrawing
     his suggestion._                                           57

 VI. From John Graham, en route to Texas, to Pierrepont
 Graham, care of Graham & Co., Union Stock Yards, Chicago.
     _Mr. Pierrepont has, entirely without intention,
     caused a little confusion in the mails, and it has
     come to his father's notice in the course of
     business._                                                 69

 VII. From John Graham, at the Omaha Branch of Graham & Co.,
 to Pierrepont Graham, at the Union Stock Yards, Chicago.
     _Mr. Pierrepont hasn't found the methods of the worthy
     Milligan altogether to his liking, and he has
     commented rather freely on them._                          81

 VIII. From John Graham, at Hot Springs, Arkansas, to his
 son, Pierrepont, at the Union Stock Yards in Chicago.
     _Mr. Pierrepont has just been promoted from the
     mailing to the billing desk and, in consequence, his
     father is feeling rather "mellow" toward him._             93

 IX. From John Graham, at Hot Springs, Arkansas, to his son,
 Pierrepont, at the Union Stock Yards in Chicago.
     _Mr. Pierrepont has been investing more heavily in
     roses than his father thinks his means warrant, and he
     tries to turn his thoughts to staple groceries._          113

 X. From John Graham, at the Union Stock Yards in Chicago,
 to his son, Pierrepont, at the Commercial House,
 Jeffersonville, Indiana.
     _Mr. Pierrepont has been promoted to the position of
     traveling salesman for the house, and has started out
     on the road._                                             127

 XI. From John Graham, at the Union Stock Yards in Chicago,
 to his son, Pierrepont, at The Planters' Palace Hotel, at
 Big Gap, Kentucky.
     _Mr. Pierrepont's orders are small and his expenses
     are large, so his father feels pessimistic over his
     prospects._                                               141

 XII. From John Graham, at the Union Stock Yards in
 Chicago, to his son, Pierrepont, at Little Delmonico's,
 Prairie Centre, Indiana.
     _Mr. Pierrepont has annoyed his father by accepting
     his criticisms in a spirit of gentle, but most
     reprehensible, resignation._                              157

 XIII. From John Graham, at the Union Stock Yards in
 Chicago, to his son, Pierrepont, care of The Hoosier
 Grocery Co., Indianapolis, Indiana.
     _Mr. Pierrepont's orders have been looking up, so the
     old man gives him a pat on the back--but not too hard
     a one._                                                   177

 XIV. From John Graham, at the Union Stock Yards in Chicago,
 to his son, Pierrepont, at The Travelers' Rest, New Albany,
     _Mr. Pierrepont has taken a little flyer in short ribs
     on 'Change, and has accidentally come into the line of
     his father's vision._                                     191

 XV. From John Graham, at the Union Stock Yards in Chicago,
 to his son, Pierrepont, at The Scrub Oaks, Spring Lake,
     _Mr. Pierrepont has been promoted again, and the old
     man sends him a little advice with his appointment._      209

 XVI. From John Graham, at the Schweitzerkasenhof, Karlsbad,
 Austria, to his son, Pierrepont, at the Union Stock Yards,
     _Mr. Pierrepont has shown mild symptoms of an attack
     of society fever, and his father is administering some
     simple remedies._                                         223

 XVII. From John Graham, at the London House of Graham &
 Co., to his son, Pierrepont, at the Union Stock Yards in
     _Mr. Pierrepont has written his father that he is
     getting along famously in his new place._                 243

 XVIII. From John Graham, at the London House of Graham &
 Co., to his son, Pierrepont, at the Union Stock Yards in
     _Mr. Pierrepont is worried over rumors that the old
     man is a bear on lard and that the longs are about to
     make him climb a tree._                                   259

 XIX. From John Graham, at the New York house of Graham &
 Co., to his son, Pierrepont, at the Union Stock Yards in
     _The old man, on the voyage home, has met a girl who
     interests him and who in turn seems to be interested
     in Mr. Pierrepont._                                       275

 XX. From John Graham, at the Boston House of Graham & Co.,
 to his son, Pierrepont, at the Union Stock Yards in
     _Mr. Pierrepont has told the old man "what's what" and
     received a limited blessing._                             301

       *       *       *       *       *



 1. "Young fellows come to me looking for jobs
       and telling me what a mean house they
       have been working for."                       _Frontispiece_

                                                       _Facing p._

 2. "Old Doc Hoover asked me right out in Sunday
       School if I didn't want to be saved."                     4

 3. "I have seen hundreds of boys go to Europe
       who didn't bring back a great deal except
       a few trunks of badly fitting
       clothes."                                                20

 4. "I put Jim Durham on the road to introduce
       a new product."                                          38

 5. "Old Dick Stover was the worst hand at
       procrastinating that I ever saw."                        50

 6. "Charlie Chase told me he was President of
       the Klondike Exploring, Gold Prospecting,
       and Immigration Company."                                62

 7. "Jim Donnelly, of the Donnelly Provision Company,
       came into my office with a fool grin
       on his fat face."                                        72

 8. "Bill Budlong was always the last man to
       come up to the mourners' bench."                         84

 9. "Clarence looked to me like another of his
       father's bad breaks."                                    98

10. "You looked so blamed important and chesty
       when you started off."                                  128

11. "Josh Jenkinson would eat a little food now
       and then just to be sociable, but what he
       really lived on was tobacco."                           146

12. "Herr Doctor Paracelsus Von Munsterberg
       was a pretty high-toned article."                       166

13. "When John L. Sullivan went through the
       stock yards it just simply shut down the
       plant."                                                 184

14. "I started in to curl up that young fellow
       to a crisp."                                            200

15. "A good many salesmen have an idea that buyers
       are only interested in funny stories."                  216

16. "Jim Hicks dared Fatty Wilkins to eat a
       piece of dirt."                                         248

17. "Elder Hoover was accounted a powerful exhorter
       in our parts."                                          268

18. "Miss Curzon, with one of his roses in her
       hair, watching him from a corner."                      294

       *       *       *       *       *

                  |            No. 1             |
                  |  From John Graham, at        |
                  |  the Union Stock Yards       |
                  |  in Chicago, to his son,     |
                  |  Pierrepont, at Harvard      |
                  |  University, Cambridge,      |
                  |  Mass. Mr. Pierrepont has    |
                  |  just been settled by his    |
                  |  mother as a member, in      |
                  |  good and regular standing,  |
                  |  of the Freshman class.      |

          LETTERS _from a_ SELF-MADE MERCHANT _to his_ SON


                                         CHICAGO, October 1, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ Your Ma got back safe this morning and she wants me
to be sure to tell you not to over-study, and I want to tell you to be
sure not to under-study. What we're really sending you to Harvard for is
to get a little of the education that's so good and plenty there. When
it's passed around you don't want to be bashful, but reach right out and
take a big helping every time, for I want you to get your share. You'll
find that education's about the only thing lying around loose in this
world, and that it's about the only thing a fellow can have as much of
as he's willing to haul away. Everything else is screwed down tight and
the screw-driver lost.

I didn't have your advantages when I was a boy, and you can't have mine.
Some men learn the value of money by not having any and starting out to
pry a few dollars loose from the odd millions that are lying around; and
some learn it by having fifty thousand or so left to them and starting
out to spend it as if it were fifty thousand a year. Some men learn the
value of truth by having to do business with liars; and some by going to
Sunday School. Some men learn the cussedness of whiskey by having a
drunken father; and some by having a good mother. Some men get an
education from other men and newspapers and public libraries; and some
get it from professors and parchments--it doesn't make any special
difference how you get a half-nelson on the right thing, just so you get
it and freeze on to it. The package doesn't count after the eye's been
attracted by it, and in the end it finds its way to the ash heap. It's
the quality of the goods inside which tells, when they once get into the
kitchen and up to the cook.

You can cure a ham in dry salt and you can cure it in sweet pickle, and
when you're through you've got pretty good eating either way, provided
you started in with a sound ham. If you didn't, it doesn't make any
special difference how you cured it--the ham-tryer's going to strike the
sour spot around the bone. And it doesn't make any difference how much
sugar and fancy pickle you soak into a fellow, he's no good unless he's
sound and sweet at the core.

The first thing that any education ought to give a man is character, and
the second thing is education. That is where I'm a little skittish about
this college business. I'm not starting in to preach to you, because I
know a young fellow with the right sort of stuff in him preaches to
himself harder than any one else can, and that he's mighty often
switched off the right path by having it pointed out to him in the wrong

I remember when I was a boy, and I wasn't a very bad boy, as boys go,
old Doc Hoover got a notion in his head that I ought to join the church,
and he scared me out of it for five years by asking me right out loud in
Sunday School if I didn't want to be saved, and then laying for me after
the service and praying with me. Of course I wanted to be saved, but I
didn't want to be saved quite so publicly.

When a boy's had a good mother he's got a good conscience, and when he's
got a good conscience he don't need to have right and wrong labeled for
him. Now that your Ma's left and the apron strings are cut, you're
naturally running up against a new sensation every minute, but if you'll
simply use a little conscience as a tryer, and probe into a thing which
looks sweet and sound on the skin, to see if you can't fetch up a sour
smell from around the bone, you'll be all right.

[Illustration: "_Old Doc Hoover asked me right out in Sunday School if I
didn't want to be saved._"]

I'm anxious that you should be a good scholar, but I'm more anxious that
you should be a good clean man. And if you graduate with a sound
conscience, I shan't care so much if there are a few holes in your
Latin. There are two parts of a college education--the part that you get
in the schoolroom from the professors, and the part that you get outside
of it from the boys. That's the really important part. For the first
can only make you a scholar, while the second can make you a man.

Education's a good deal like eating--a fellow can't always tell which
particular thing did him good, but he can usually tell which one did him
harm. After a square meal of roast beef and vegetables, and mince pie
and watermelon, you can't say just which ingredient is going into muscle,
but you don't have to be very bright to figure out which one started the
demand for painkiller in your insides, or to guess, next morning, which
one made you believe in a personal devil the night before. And so, while
a fellow can't figure out to an ounce whether it's Latin or algebra or
history or what among the solids that is building him up in this place
or that, he can go right along feeding them in and betting that they're
not the things that turn his tongue fuzzy. It's down among the sweets,
among his amusements and recreations, that he's going to find his
stomach-ache, and it's there that he wants to go slow and to pick and

It's not the first half, but the second half of a college education
which merchants mean when they ask if a college education pays. It's the
Willie and the Bertie boys; the chocolate eclair and tutti-frutti boys;
the la-de-dah and the baa-baa-billy-goat boys; the high cock-a-lo-rum
and the cock-a-doodle-do boys; the Bah Jove!, hair-parted-in-the-middle,
cigaroot-smoking, Champagne-Charlie, up-all-night-and-in-all-day boys
that make 'em doubt the cash value of the college output, and overlook
the roast-beef and blood-gravy boys, the shirt-sleeves and
high-water-pants boys, who take their college education and make some
fellow's business hum with it.

Does a College education pay? Does it pay to feed in pork trimmings at
five cents a pound at the hopper and draw out nice, cunning, little
"country" sausages at twenty cents a pound at the other end? Does it
pay to take a steer that's been running loose on the range and living
on cactus and petrified wood till he's just a bunch of barb-wire and
sole-leather, and feed him corn till he's just a solid hunk of
porterhouse steak and oleo oil?

You bet it pays. Anything that trains a boy to think and to think quick
pays; anything that teaches a boy to get the answer before the other
fellow gets through biting the pencil, pays.

College doesn't make fools; it develops them. It doesn't make
bright men; it develops them. A fool will turn out a fool, whether
he goes to college or not, though he'll probably turn out a
different sort of a fool. And a good, strong boy will turn out a
bright, strong man whether he's worn smooth in the
school of the streets and stores, or polished up and slicked down in the
give-your-order-to-the-waiter-and-get-a-sixteen-course-dinner school of
the professors. But while the lack of a college education can't keep No.
1 down, having it boosts No. 2 up.

It's simply the difference between jump in, rough-and-tumble,
kick-with-the-heels-and-butt-with-the-head nigger
fighting, and this grin-and-look-pleasant,
style of the trained athlete. Both styles win fights, but the fellow
with a little science is the better man, providing he's kept his muscle
hard. If he hasn't, he's in a bad way, for his fancy sparring is just
going to aggravate the other fellow so that he'll eat him up.

Of course, some men are like pigs, the more you educate them, the more
amusing little cusses they become, and the funnier capers they cut when
they show off their tricks. Naturally, the place to send a boy of that
breed is to the circus, not to college.

Speaking of educated pigs, naturally calls to mind the case of old man
Whitaker and his son, Stanley. I used to know the old man mighty well
ten years ago. He was one of those men whom business narrows, instead
of broadens. Didn't get any special fun out of his work, but kept right
along at it because he didn't know anything else. Told me he'd had to
root for a living all his life and that he proposed to have Stan's
brought to him in a pail. Sent him to private schools and dancing
schools and colleges and universities, and then shipped him to Oxford
to soak in a little "atmosphere," as he put it. I never could quite lay
hold of that atmosphere dodge by the tail, but so far as I could make
out, the idea was that there was something in the air of the Oxford
ham-house that gave a fellow an extra fancy smoke.

Well, about the time Stan was through, the undertaker called by for the
old man, and when his assets were boiled down and the water drawn off,
there wasn't enough left to furnish Stan with a really nourishing meal.
I had a talk with Stan about what he was going to do, but some ways he
didn't strike me as having the making of a good private of industry, let
alone a captain, so I started in to get him a job that would suit his
talents. Got him in a bank, but while he knew more about the history of
banking than the president, and more about political economy than the
board of directors, he couldn't learn the difference between a fiver
that the Government turned out and one that was run off on a hand press
in a Halsted Street basement. Got him a job on a paper, but while he
knew six different languages and all the facts about the Arctic regions,
and the history of dancing from the days of Old Adam down to those of
Old Nick, he couldn't write up a satisfactory account of the Ice-Men's
Ball. Could prove that two and two made four by trigonometry and
geometry, but couldn't learn to keep books; was thick as thieves with
all the high-toned poets, but couldn't write a good, snappy,
merchantable street-car ad.; knew a thousand diseases that would take a
man off before he could blink, but couldn't sell a thousand-dollar
tontine policy; knew the lives of our Presidents as well as if he'd been
raised with them, but couldn't place a set of the Library of the Fathers
of the Republic, though they were offered on little easy payments that
made them come as easy as borrowing them from a friend. Finally I hit on
what seemed to be just the right thing. I figured out that any fellow
who had such a heavy stock of information on hand, ought to be able to
job it out to good advantage, and so I got him a place teaching. But it
seemed that he'd learned so much about the best way of teaching boys,
that he told his principal right on the jump that he was doing it all
wrong, and that made him sore; and he knew so much about the dead
languages, which was what he was hired to teach, that he forgot he was
handling live boys, and as he couldn't tell it all to them in the
regular time, he kept them after hours, and that made them sore and put
Stan out of a job again. The last I heard of him he was writing articles
on Why Young Men Fail, and making a success of it, because failing was
the one subject on which he was practical.

I simply mention Stan in passing as an example of the fact that it isn't
so much knowing a whole lot, as knowing a little and how to use it that

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |           No. 2            |
                  |  From John Graham, at      |
                  |  the Union Stock Yards     |
                  |  in Chicago, to his son,   |
                  |  Pierrepont, at Harvard    |
                  |  University.               |
                  |                            |
                  |  Mr. Pierrepont's expense  |
                  |  account has just passed   |
                  |  under his father's eye,   |
                  |  and has furnished him     |
                  |  with a text for some      |
                  |  plain particularities.    |


                                             CHICAGO, May 4, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ The cashier has just handed me your expense account
for the month, and it fairly makes a fellow hump-shouldered to look it
over. When I told you that I wished you to get a liberal education, I
didn't mean that I wanted to buy Cambridge. Of course the bills won't
break me, but they will break you unless you are very, very careful.

I have noticed for the last two years that your accounts have been
growing heavier every month, but I haven't seen any signs of your taking
honors to justify the increased operating expenses; and that is bad
business--a good deal like feeding his weight in corn to a scalawag
steer that won't fat up.

I haven't said anything about this before, as I trusted a good deal to
your native common-sense to keep you from making a fool of yourself in
the way that some of these young fellows who haven't had to work for it
do. But because I have sat tight, I don't want you to get it into your
head that the old man's rich, and that he can stand it, because he won't
stand it after you leave college. The sooner you adjust your spending to
what your earning capacity will be, the easier they will find it to live

The only sure way that a man can get rich quick is to have it given to
him or to inherit it. You are not going to get rich that way--at least,
not until after you have proved your ability to hold a pretty important
position with the firm; and, of course, there is just one place from
which a man can start for that position with Graham & Co. It doesn't
make any difference whether he is the son of the old man or of the
cellar boss--that place is the bottom. And the bottom in the office end
of this business is a seat at the mailing-desk, with eight dollars every
Saturday night.

I can't hand out any ready-made success to you. It would do you no good,
and it would do the house harm. There is plenty of room at the top here,
but there is no elevator in the building. Starting, as you do, with a
good education, you should be able to climb quicker than the fellow who
hasn't got it; but there's going to be a time when you begin at the
factory when you won't be able to lick stamps so fast as the other boys
at the desk. Yet the man who hasn't licked stamps isn't fit to write
letters. Naturally, that is the time when knowing whether the pie comes
before the ice-cream, and how to run an automobile isn't going to be of
any real use to you.

I simply mention these things because I am afraid your ideas as to the
basis on which you are coming with the house have swelled up a little in
the East. I can give you a start, but after that you will have to
dynamite your way to the front by yourself. It is all with the man. If
you gave some fellows a talent wrapped in a napkin to start with in
business, they would swap the talent for a gold brick and lose the
napkin; and there are others that you could start out with just a
napkin, who would set up with it in the dry-goods business in a small
way, and then coax the other fellow's talent into it.

I have pride enough to believe that you have the right sort of stuff in
you, but I want to see some of it come out. You will never make a good
merchant of yourself by reversing the order in which the Lord decreed
that we should proceed--learning the spending before the earning end of
business. Pay day is always a month off for the spend-thrift, and he is
never able to realize more than sixty cents on any dollar that comes to
him. But a dollar is worth one hundred and six cents to a good business
man, and he never spends the dollar. It's the man who keeps saving up
and expenses down that buys an interest in the concern. That is where
you are going to find yourself weak if your expense accounts don't lie;
and they generally don't lie in that particular way, though Baron
Munchausen was the first traveling man, and my drummers' bills still
show his influence.

I know that when a lot of young men get off by themselves, some of them
think that recklessness with money brands them as good fellows, and that
carefulness is meanness. That is the one end of a college education
which is pure cussedness; and that is the one thing which makes nine
business men out of ten hesitate to send their boys off to school. But
on the other hand, that is the spot where a young man has the chance to
show that he is not a light-weight. I know that a good many people say I
am a pretty close proposition; that I make every hog which goes through
my packing-house give up more lard than the Lord gave him gross weight;
that I have improved on Nature to the extent of getting four hams out
of an animal which began life with two; but you have lived with me long
enough to know that my hand is usually in my pocket at the right time.

Now I want to say right here that the meanest man alive is the one who
is generous with money that he has not had to sweat for, and that the
boy who is a good fellow at some one else's expense would not work up
into first-class fertilizer. That same ambition to be known as a good
fellow has crowded my office with second-rate clerks, and they always
will be second-rate clerks. If you have it, hold it down until you have
worked for a year. Then, if your ambition runs to hunching up all week
over a desk, to earn eight dollars to blow on a few rounds of drinks for
the boys on Saturday night, there is no objection to your gratifying it;
for I will know that the Lord didn't intend you to be your own boss.

[Illustration: "_I have seen hundreds of boys go to Europe who didn't
bring back a great deal except a few trunks of badly fitting

You know how I began--I was started off with a kick, but that proved a
kick up, and in the end every one since has lifted me a little bit higher.
I got two dollars a week, and slept under the counter, and you can bet I
knew just how many pennies there were in each of those dollars, and how
hard the floor was. That is what you have got to learn.

I remember when I was on the Lakes, our schooner was passing out through
the draw at Buffalo when I saw little Bill Riggs, the butcher, standing
up above me on the end of the bridge with a big roast of beef in his
basket. They were a little short in the galley on that trip, so I called
up to Bill and he threw the roast down to me. I asked him how much, and
he yelled back, "about a dollar." That was mighty good beef, and when we
struck Buffalo again on the return trip, I thought I would like a little
more of it. So I went up to Bill's shop and asked him for a piece of the
same. But this time he gave me a little roast, not near so big as the
other, and it was pretty tough and stringy. But when I asked him how
much, he answered "about a dollar." He simply didn't have any sense of
values, and that's the business man's sixth sense. Bill has always been
a big, healthy, hard-working man, but to-day he is very, very poor.

The Bills ain't all in the butcher business. I've got some of them right
now in my office, but they will never climb over the railing that
separates the clerks from the executives. Yet if they would put in half
the time thinking for the house that they give up to hatching out
reasons why they ought to be allowed to overdraw their salary accounts,
I couldn't keep them out of our private offices with a pole-ax, and I
wouldn't want to; for they could double their salaries and my profits in
a year. But I always lay it down as a safe proposition that the fellow
who has to break open the baby's bank toward the last of the week for
car-fare isn't going to be any Russell Sage when it comes to trading
with the old man's money. He'd punch my bank account as full of holes as
a carload of wild Texans would a fool stockman that they'd got in a

Now I know you'll say that I don't understand how it is; that you've got
to do as the other fellows do; and that things have changed since I was
a boy. There's nothing in it. Adam invented all the different ways in
which a young man can make a fool of himself, and the college yell at
the end of them is just a frill that doesn't change essentials. The boy
who does anything just because the other fellows do it is apt to scratch
a poor man's back all his life. He's the chap that's buying wheat at
ninety-seven cents the day before the market breaks. They call him "the
country" in the market reports, but the city's full of him. It's the
fellow who has the spunk to think and act for himself, and sells short
when prices hit the high C and the house is standing on its hind legs
yelling for more, that sits in the directors' meetings when he gets on
toward forty.

We've got an old steer out at the packing-house that stands around at
the foot of the runway leading up to the killing pens, looking for all
the world like one of the village fathers sitting on the cracker box
before the grocery--sort of sad-eyed, dreamy old cuss--always has two or
three straws from his cud sticking out of the corner of his mouth. You
never saw a steer that looked as if he took less interest in things. But
by and by the boys drive a bunch of steers toward him, or cows maybe, if
we're canning, and then you'll see Old Abe move off up that runway, sort
of beckoning the bunch after him with that wicked old stump of a tail of
his, as if there was something mighty interesting to steers at the top,
and something that every Texan and Colorado, raw from the prairies,
ought to have a look at to put a metropolitan finish on him. Those
steers just naturally follow along on up that runway and into the
killing pens. But just as they get to the top, Old Abe, someways, gets
lost in the crowd, and he isn't among those present when the gates are
closed and the real trouble begins for his new friends.

I never saw a dozen boys together that there wasn't an Old Abe among
them. If you find your crowd following him, keep away from it. There
are times when it's safest to be lonesome. Use a little common-sense,
caution and conscience. You can stock a store with those three
commodities, when you get enough of them. But you've got to begin
getting them young. They ain't catching after you toughen up a bit.

You needn't write me if you feel yourself getting them. The symptoms
will show in your expense account. Good-by; life's too short to write
letters and New York's calling me on the wire.

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |             No. 3             |
                  |  From John Graham, at the     |
                  |  Union Stock Yards in         |
                  |  Chicago, to his son,         |
                  |  Pierrepont, at Harvard       |
                  |  University. Mr. Pierrepont   |
                  |  finds Cambridge to his       |
                  |  liking, and has suggested    |
                  |  that he take a post-graduate |
                  |  course to fill up some       |
                  |  gaps which he has found      |
                  |  in his education.            |


                                                     June 1, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ No, I can't say that I think anything of your
post-graduate course idea. You're not going to be a poet or a professor,
but a packer, and the place to take a post-graduate course for that
calling is in the packing-house. Some men learn all they know from
books; others from life; both kinds are narrow. The first are all
theory; the second are all practice. It's the fellow who knows enough
about practice to test his theories for blow-holes that gives the world
a shove ahead, and finds a fair margin of profit in shoving it.

There's a chance for everything you have learned, from Latin to poetry,
in the packing business, though we don't use much poetry here except in
our street-car ads., and about the only time our products are given
Latin names is when the State Board of Health condemns them. So I think
you'll find it safe to go short a little on the frills of education; if
you want them bad enough you'll find a way to pick them up later, after
business hours.

The main thing is to get a start along right lines, and that is what I
sent you to college for. I didn't expect you to carry off all the
education in sight--I knew you'd leave a little for the next fellow.
But I wanted you to form good mental habits, just as I want you to have
clean, straight physical ones. Because I was run through a threshing
machine when I was a boy, and didn't begin to get the straw out of my
hair till I was past thirty, I haven't any sympathy with a lot of these
old fellows who go around bragging of their ignorance and saying that
boys don't need to know anything except addition and the "best policy"
brand of honesty.

We started in a mighty different world, and we were all ignorant
together. The Lord let us in on the ground floor, gave us corner lots,
and then started in to improve the adjacent property. We didn't have to
know fractions to figure out our profits. Now a merchant needs astronomy
to see them, and when he locates them they are out somewhere near the
fifth decimal place. There are sixteen ounces to the pound still, but
two of them are wrapping paper in a good many stores. And there're just
as many chances for a fellow as ever, but they're a little gun shy, and
you can't catch them by any such coarse method as putting salt on their

Thirty years ago, you could take an old muzzle-loader and knock over
plenty of ducks in the city limits, and Chicago wasn't Cook County then,
either. You can get them still, but you've got to go to Kankakee and
take a hammerless along. And when I started in the packing business it
was all straight sailing--no frills--just turning hogs into hog
meat--dry salt for the niggers down South and sugar-cured for the white
folks up North. Everything else was sausage, or thrown away. But when we
get through with a hog nowadays, he's scattered through a hundred
different cans and packages, and he's all accounted for. What we used to
throw away is our profit. It takes doctors, lawyers, engineers, poets,
and I don't know what, to run the business, and I reckon that
improvements which call for parsons will be creeping in next. Naturally,
a young man who expects to hold his own when he is thrown in with a lot
of men like these must be as clean and sharp as a hound's tooth, or some
other fellow's simply going to eat him up.

The first college man I ever hired was old John Durham's son, Jim. That
was a good many years ago when the house was a much smaller affair.
Jim's father had a lot of money till he started out to buck the universe
and corner wheat. And the boy took all the fancy courses and trimmings
at college. The old man was mighty proud of Jim. Wanted him to be a
literary fellow. But old Durham found out what every one learns who gets
his ambitions mixed up with number two red--that there's a heap of it
lying around loose in the country. The bears did quick work and kept the
cash wheat coming in so lively that one settling day half a dozen of us
had to get under the market to keep it from going to everlasting smash.

That day made young Jim a candidate for a job. It didn't take him long
to decide that the Lord would attend to keeping up the visible supply of
poetry, and that he had better turn his attention to the stocks of mess
pork. Next morning he was laying for me with a letter of introduction
when I got to the office, and when he found that I wouldn't have a
private secretary at any price, he applied for every other position on
the premises right down to office boy. I told him I was sorry, but I
couldn't do anything for him then; that we were letting men go, but I'd
keep him in mind, and so on. The fact was that I didn't think a fellow
with Jim's training would be much good, anyhow. But Jim hung on--said
he'd taken a fancy to the house, and wanted to work for it. Used to call
by about twice a week to find out if anything had turned up.

Finally, after about a month of this, he wore me down so that I stopped
him one day as he was passing me on the street. I thought I'd find out
if he really was so red-hot to work as he pretended to be; besides, I
felt that perhaps I hadn't treated the boy just right, as I had
delivered quite a jag of that wheat to his father myself.

"Hello, Jim," I called; "do you still want that job?"

"Yes, sir," he answered, quick as lightning.

"Well, I tell you how it is, Jim," I said, looking up at him--he was one
of those husky, lazy-moving six-footers--"I don't see any chance in the
office, but I understand they can use another good, strong man in one of
the loading gangs."

I thought that would settle Jim and let me out, for it's no joke lugging
beef, or rolling barrels and tierces a hundred yards or so to the cars.
But Jim came right back at me with, "Done. Who'll I report to?"

That sporty way of answering, as if he was closing a bet, made me surer
than ever that he was not cut out for a butcher. But I told him, and off
he started hot-foot to find the foreman. I sent word by another route to
see that he got plenty to do.

I forgot all about Jim until about three months later, when his name was
handed up to me for a new place and a raise in pay. It seemed that he
had sort of abolished his job. After he had been rolling barrels a
while, and the sport had ground down one of his shoulders a couple of
inches lower than the other, he got to scheming around for a way to make
the work easier, and he hit on an idea for a sort of overhead railroad
system, by which the barrels could be swung out of the storerooms and
run right along into the cars, and two or three men do the work of a
gang. It was just as I thought. Jim was lazy, but he had put the house
in the way of saving so much money that I couldn't fire him. So I raised
his salary, and made him an assistant timekeeper and checker. Jim kept
at this for three or four months, until his feet began to hurt him, I
guess, and then he was out of a job again. It seems he had heard
something of a new machine for registering the men, that did away with
most of the timekeepers except the fellows who watched the machines, and
he kept after the Superintendent until he got him to put them in. Of
course he claimed a raise again for effecting such a saving, and we just
had to allow it.

I was beginning to take an interest in Jim, so I brought him up into the
office and set him to copying circular letters. We used to send out a
raft of them to the trade. That was just before the general adoption of
typewriters, when they were still in the experimental stage. But Jim
hadn't been in the office plugging away at the letters for a month
before he had the writer's cramp, and began nosing around again. The
first thing I knew he was sicking the agents for the new typewriting
machine on to me, and he kept them pounding away until they had made me
give them a trial. Then it was all up with Mister Jim's job again. I
raised his salary without his asking for it this time, and put him out
on the road to introduce a new product that we were making--beef

Jim made two trips without selling enough to keep them working overtime
at the factory, and then he came into my office with a long story about
how we were doing it all wrong. Said we ought to go for the consumer by
advertising, and make the trade come to us, instead of chasing it up.

That was so like Jim that I just laughed at first; besides, that sort of
advertising was a pretty new thing then, and I was one of the old-timers
who didn't take any stock in it. But Jim just kept plugging away at me
between trips, until finally I took him off the road and told him to go
ahead and try it in a small way.

Jim pretty nearly scared me to death that first year. At last he had got
into something that he took an interest in--spending money--and he just
fairly wallowed in it. Used to lay awake nights, thinking up new ways of
getting rid of the old man's profits. And he found them. Seemed as if I
couldn't get away from Graham's Extract, and whenever I saw it I gagged,
for I knew it was costing me money that wasn't coming back; but every
time I started to draw in my horns Jim talked to me, and showed me where
there was a fortune waiting for me just around the corner.

[Illustration: "_I put Jim Durham out on the road to introduce a new

Graham's Extract started out by being something that you could make
beef-tea out of--that was all. But before Jim had been fooling with it a
month he had got his girl to think up a hundred different ways in which
it could be used, and had advertised them all. It seemed there was
nothing you could cook that didn't need a dash of it. He kept me between
a chill and a sweat all the time. Sometimes, but not often, I just _had_
to grin at his foolishness. I remember one picture he got out showing
sixteen cows standing between something that looked like a letter-press,
and telling how every pound or so of Graham's Extract contained the
juice squeezed from a herd of steers. If an explorer started for the
North Pole, Jim would send him a case of Extract, and then advertise
that it was the great heat-maker for cold climates; and if some other
fellow started across Africa he sent _him_ a case, too, and advertised
what a bully drink it was served up with a little ice.

He broke out in a new place every day, and every time he broke out it
cost the house money. Finally, I made up my mind to swallow the loss,
and Mister Jim was just about to lose his job sure enough, when the
orders for Extract began to look up, and he got a reprieve; then he
began to make expenses, and he got a pardon; and finally a rush came
that left him high and dry in a permanent place. Jim was all right in
his way, but it was a new way, and I hadn't been broad-gauged enough to
see that it was a better way.

That was where I caught the connection between a college education and
business. I've always made it a rule to buy brains, and I've learned now
that the better trained they are the faster they find reasons for
getting their salaries raised. The fellow who hasn't had the training
may be just as smart, but he's apt to paw the air when he's reaching
for ideas.

I suppose you're asking why, if I'm so hot for education, I'm against
this post-graduate course. But habits of thought ain't the only thing a
fellow picks up at college.

I see you've been elected President of your class. I'm glad the boys
aren't down on you, but while the most popular man in his class isn't
always a failure in business, being as popular as that takes up a heap
of time. I noticed, too, when you were home Easter, that you were
running to sporty clothes and cigarettes. There's nothing criminal about
either, but I don't hire sporty clerks at all, and the only part of the
premises on which cigarette smoking is allowed is the fertilizer

I simply mention this in passing. I have every confidence in your
ultimate good sense, and I guess you'll see the point without my
elaborating with a meat ax my reasons for thinking that you've had
enough college for the present.

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |           No. 4             |
                  |  From John Graham, head     |
                  |  of the house of Graham     |
                  |  & Co., at the Union Stock  |
                  |  Yards in Chicago, to his   |
                  |  son, Pierrepont Graham,    |
                  |  at the Waldorf-Astoria,    |
                  |  in New York. Mr.           |
                  |  Pierrepont has suggested   |
                  |  the grand tour as a        |
                  |  proper finish to his       |
                  |  education.                 |


                                                    June 25, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ Your letter of the seventh twists around the point
a good deal like a setter pup chasing his tail. But I gather from it that
you want to spend a couple of months in Europe before coming on here and
getting your nose in the bull-ring. Of course, you are your own boss now
and you ought to be able to judge better than any one else how much time
you have to waste, but it seems to me, on general principles, that a
young man of twenty-two, who is physically and mentally sound, and who
hasn't got a dollar and has never earned one, can't be getting on
somebody's pay-roll too quick. And in this connection it is only fair to
tell you that I have instructed the cashier to discontinue your
allowance after July 15. That gives you two weeks for a vacation--enough
to make a sick boy well, or a lazy one lazier.

I hear a good deal about men who won't take vacations, and who kill
themselves by overwork, but it's usually worry or whiskey. It's not what
a man does during working-hours, but after them, that breaks down his
health. A fellow and his business should be bosom friends in the office
and sworn enemies out of it. A clear mind is one that is swept clean of
business at six o'clock every night and isn't opened up for it again
until after the shutters are taken down next morning.

Some fellows leave the office at night and start out to whoop it up with
the boys, and some go home to sit up with their troubles--they're both
in bad company. They're the men who are always needing vacations, and
never getting any good out of them. What every man does need once a year
is a change of work--that is, if he has been curved up over a desk for
fifty weeks and subsisting on birds and burgundy, he ought to take to
fishing for a living and try bacon and eggs, with a little spring
water, for dinner. But coming from Harvard to the packing-house will
give you change enough this year to keep you in good trim, even if you
didn't have a fortnight's leeway to run loose.

You will always find it a safe rule to take a thing just as quick as it
is offered--especially a job. It is never easy to get one except when
you don't want it; but when you have to get work, and go after it with
a gun, you'll find it as shy as an old crow that every farmer in the
county has had a shot at.

When I was a young fellow and out of a place, I always made it a rule to
take the first job that offered, and to use it for bait. You can catch a
minnow with a worm, and a bass will take your minnow. A good fat bass
will tempt an otter, and then you've got something worth skinning. Of
course, there's no danger of your not being able to get a job with the
house--in fact, there is no real way in which you can escape getting
one; but I don't like to see you shy off every time the old man gets
close to you with the halter.

I want you to learn right at the outset not to play with the spoon
before you take the medicine. Putting off an easy thing makes it hard,
and putting off a hard one makes it impossible. Procrastination is the
longest word in the language, but there's only one letter between its
ends when they occupy their proper places in the alphabet.

Old Dick Stover, for whom I once clerked in Indiana, was the worst hand
at procrastinating that I ever saw. Dick was a powerful hearty eater,
and no one ever loved meal-time better, but he used to keep turning over
in bed mornings for just another wink and staving off getting up, until
finally his wife combined breakfast and dinner on him, and he only got
two meals a day. He was a mighty religious man, too, but he got to
putting off saying his prayers until after he was in bed, and then he
would keep passing them along until his mind was clear of worldly
things, and in the end he would drop off to sleep without saying them
at all. What between missing the Sunday morning service and never being
seen on his knees, the first thing Dick knew he was turned out of the
church. He had a pretty good business when I first went with him, but he
would keep putting off firing his bad clerks until they had lit out with
the petty cash; and he would keep putting off raising the salaries of
his good ones until his competitor had hired them away. Finally, he got
so that he wouldn't discount his bills, even when he had the money; and
when they came due he would give notes so as to keep from paying out his
cash a little longer. Running a business on those lines is, of course,
equivalent to making a will in favor of the sheriff and committing
suicide so that he can inherit. The last I heard of Dick he was
ninety-three years old and just about to die. That was ten years ago,
and I'll bet he's living yet. I simply mention Dick in passing as an
instance of how habits rule a man's life.

There is one excuse for every mistake a man can make, but only one. When
a fellow makes the same mistake twice he's got to throw up both hands
and own up to carelessness or cussedness. Of course, I knew that you
would make a fool of yourself pretty often when I sent you to college,
and I haven't been disappointed. But I expected you to narrow down the
number of combinations possible by making a different sort of a fool of
yourself every time. That is the important thing, unless a fellow has
too lively an imagination, or has none at all. You are bound to try this
European foolishness sooner or later, but if you will wait a few years,
you will approach it in an entirely different spirit--and you will come
back with a good deal of respect for the people who have sense enough to
stay at home.

[Illustration: "_Old Dick Stover was the worst hand at procrastinating
that I ever saw._"]

I piece out from your letter that you expect a few months on the other
side will sort of put a polish on you. I don't want to seem pessimistic,
but I have seen hundreds of boys graduate from college and go over with
the same idea, and they didn't bring back a great deal except a few
trunks of badly fitting clothes. Seeing the world is like charity--it
covers a multitude of sins, and, like charity, it ought to begin at

Culture is not a matter of a change of climate. You'll hear more about
Browning to the square foot in the Mississippi Valley than you will in
England. And there's as much Art talk on the Lake front as in the Latin
Quarter. It may be a little different, but it's there.

I went to Europe once myself. I was pretty raw when I left Chicago, and
I was pretty sore when I got back. Coming and going I was simply sick.
In London, for the first time in my life, I was taken for an easy
thing. Every time I went into a store there was a bull movement. The
clerks all knocked off their regular work and started in to mark up

They used to tell me that they didn't have any gold-brick men over
there. So they don't. They deal in pictures--old masters, they call
them. I bought two--you know the ones--those hanging in the waiting-room
at the stock yards; and when I got back I found out that they had been
painted by a measly little fellow who went to Paris to study art, after
Bill Harris had found out that he was no good as a settling clerk. I
keep 'em to remind myself that there's no fool like an old American fool
when he gets this picture paresis.

The fellow who tried to fit me out with a coat-of-arms didn't find me so
easy. I picked mine when I first went into business for myself--a
charging steer--and it's registered at Washington. It's my trade-mark,
of course, and that's the only coat-of-arms an American merchant has any
business with. It's penetrated to every quarter of the globe in the last
twenty years, and every soldier in the world has carried it--in his

I take just as much pride in it as the fellow who inherits his and can't
find any place to put it, except on his carriage door and his
letter-head--and it's a heap more profitable. It's got so now that every
jobber in the trade knows that it stands for good quality, and that's
all any Englishman's coat-of-arms can stand for. Of course, an
American's can't stand for anything much--generally it's the
burned-in-the-skin brand of a snob.

After the way some of the descendants of the old New York Dutchmen with
the hoe and the English general storekeepers have turned out, I
sometimes feel a little uneasy about what my great-grandchildren may
do, but we'll just stick to the trade-mark and try to live up to it
while the old man's in the saddle.

I simply mention these things in a general way. I have no fears for you
after you've been at work for a few years, and have struck an average
between the packing-house and Harvard; then if you want to graze over a
wider range it can't hurt you. But for the present you will find
yourself pretty busy trying to get into the winning class.

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |            No. 5             |
                  |  From John Graham, head      |
                  |  of the house of Graham &    |
                  |  Co., at the Union Stock     |
                  |  Yards in Chicago, to his    |
                  |  son, Pierrepont Graham,     |
                  |  at Lake Moosgatchemawamuc,  |
                  |  in the Maine woods. Mr.     |
                  |  Pierrepont has written to   |
                  |  his father withdrawing      |
                  |  his suggestion.             |


                                                     July 7, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ Yours of the fourth has the right ring, and it
says more to the number of words used than any letter that I have ever
received from you. I remember reading once that some fellows use
language to conceal thought; but it's been my experience that a good
many more use it _instead_ of thought.

A business man's conversation should be regulated by fewer and simpler
rules than any other function of the human animal. They are:

Have something to say.

Say it.

Stop talking.

Beginning before you know what you want to say and keeping on after you
have said it lands a merchant in a lawsuit or the poorhouse, and the
first is a short cut to the second. I maintain a legal department here,
and it costs a lot of money, but it's to keep me from going to law.

It's all right when you are calling on a girl or talking with friends
after dinner to run a conversation like a Sunday-school excursion, with
stops to pick flowers; but in the office your sentences should be the
shortest distance possible between periods. Cut out the introduction and
the peroration, and stop before you get to secondly. You've got to
preach short sermons to catch sinners; and deacons won't believe they
need long ones themselves. Give fools the first and women the last word.
The meat's always in the middle of the sandwich. Of course, a little
butter on either side of it doesn't do any harm if it's intended for a
man who likes butter.

Remember, too, that it's easier to look wise than to talk wisdom. Say
less than the other fellow and listen more than you talk; for when a
man's listening he isn't telling on himself and he's flattering the
fellow who is. Give most men a good listener and most women enough
note-paper and they'll tell all they know. Money talks--but not unless
its owner has a loose tongue, and then its remarks are always offensive.
Poverty talks, too, but nobody wants to hear what it has to say.

I simply mention these things in passing because I'm afraid you're apt
to be the fellow who's doing the talking; just as I'm a little afraid
that you're sometimes like the hungry drummer at the dollar-a-day
house--inclined to kill your appetite by eating the cake in the centre
of the table before the soup comes on.

Of course, I'm glad to see you swing into line and show the proper
spirit about coming on here and going to work; but you mustn't get
yourself all "het up" before you take the plunge, because you're bound
to find the water pretty cold at first. I've seen a good many young
fellows pass through and out of this office. The first week a lot of
them go to work they're in a sweat for fear they'll be fired; and the
second week for fear they won't be. By the third, a boy that's no good
has learned just how little work he can do and keep his job; while the
fellow who's got the right stuff in him is holding down his own place
with one hand and beginning to reach for the job just ahead of him with
the other. I don't mean that he's neglecting his work; but he's
beginning to take notice, and that's a mighty hopeful sign in either a
young clerk or a young widow.

You've got to handle the first year of your business life about the way
you would a trotting horse. Warm up a little before going to the
post--not enough to be in a sweat, but just enough to be limber and
eager. Never start off at a gait that you can't improve on, but move
along strong and well in hand to the quarter. Let out a notch there, but
take it calm enough up to the half not to break, and hard enough not to
fall back into the ruck. At the three-quarters you ought to be going
fast enough to poke your nose out of the other fellow's dust, and
running like the Limited in the stretch. Keep your eyes to the front all
the time, and you won't be so apt to shy at the little things by the
side of the track. Head up, tail over the dashboard--that's the way the
winners look in the old pictures of Maud S. and Dexter and Jay-Eye-See.
And that's the way I want to see you swing by the old man at the end of
the year, when we hoist the numbers of the fellows who are good enough
to promote and pick out the salaries which need a little sweetening.

I've always taken a good deal of stock in what you call "Blood-will-tell"
if you're a Methodist, or "Heredity" if you're a Unitarian; and I don't
want you to come along at this late day and disturb my religious beliefs.
A man's love for his children and his pride are pretty badly snarled up
in this world, and he can't always pick them apart. I think a heap of you
and a heap of the house, and I want to see you get along well together.
To do that you must start right. It's just as necessary to make a good
first impression in business as in courting. You'll read a good deal about
"love at first sight" in novels, and there may be something in it for all
I know; but I'm dead certain there's no such thing as love at first sight
in business. A man's got to keep company a long time, and come early and
stay late and sit close, before he can get a girl or a job worth having.
There's nothing comes without calling in this world, and after you've
called you've generally got to go and fetch it yourself.

Our bright young men have discovered how to make a pretty good article
of potted chicken, and they don't need any help from hens, either; and
you can smell the clover in our butterine if you've developed the poetic
side of your nose; but none of the boys have been able to discover
anything that will pass as a substitute for work, even in a
boarding-house, though I'll give some of them credit for having tried
pretty hard.

[Illustration: "_Charlie Chase told me he was President of the Klondike
Exploring, Gold Prospecting and Immigration Company._"]

I remember when I was selling goods for old Josh Jennings, back in the
sixties, and had rounded up about a thousand in a savings-bank--a mighty
hard thousand, that came a dollar or so at a time, and every dollar with
a little bright mark where I had bit it--I roomed with a dry-goods clerk
named Charlie Chase. Charlie had a hankering to be a rich man; but
somehow he could never see any connection between that hankering and his
counter, except that he'd hint to me sometimes about an heiress who used
to squander her father's money shamefully for the sake of having Charlie
wait on her. But when it came to getting rich outside the dry-goods
business and getting rich in a hurry, Charlie was the man.

Along about Tuesday night--he was paid on Saturday--he'd stay at home
and begin to scheme. He'd commence at eight o'clock and start a
magazine, maybe, and before midnight he'd be turning away subscribers
because his presses couldn't print a big enough edition. Or perhaps he
wouldn't feel literary that night, and so he'd invent a system for
speculating in wheat and go on pyramiding his purchases till he'd made
the best that Cheops did look like a five-cent plate of ice cream. All
he ever needed was a few hundred for a starter, and to get that he'd
decide to let me in on the ground floor. I want to say right here that
whenever any one offers to let you in on the ground floor it's a pretty
safe rule to take the elevator to the roof garden. I never exactly
refused to lend Charlie the capital he needed, but we generally
compromised on half a dollar next morning, when he was in a hurry to
make the store to keep from getting docked.

He dropped by the office last week, a little bent and seedy, but all in
a glow and trembling with excitement in the old way. Told me he was
President of the Klondike Exploring, Gold Prospecting and Immigration
Company, with a capital of ten millions. I guessed that he was the board
of directors and the capital stock and the exploring and the prospecting
and the immigrating, too--everything, in fact, except the business card
he'd sent in; for Charlie always had a gift for nosing out printers
who'd trust him. Said that for the sake of old times he'd let me have a
few thousand shares at fifty cents, though they would go to par in a
year. In the end we compromised on a loan of ten dollars, and Charlie
went away happy.

The swamps are full of razor-backs like Charlie, fellows who'd rather
make a million a night in their heads than five dollars a day in cash.
I have always found it cheaper to lend a man of that build a little money
than to hire him. As a matter of fact, I have never known a fellow who
was smart enough to think for the house days and for himself nights. A
man who tries that is usually a pretty poor thinker, and he isn't much
good to either; but if there's any choice the house gets the worst of

I simply mention these little things in a general way. If you can take
my word for some of them you are going to save yourself a whole lot of
trouble. There are others which I don't speak of because life is too
short and because it seems to afford a fellow a heap of satisfaction
to pull the trigger for himself to see if it is loaded; and a lesson
learned at the muzzle has the virtue of never being forgotten.

You report to Milligan at the yards at eight sharp on the fifteenth.
You'd better figure on being here on the fourteenth, because Milligan's
a pretty touchy Irishman, and I may be able to give you a point or two
that will help you to keep on his mellow side. He's apt to feel a little
sore at taking on in his department a man whom he hasn't passed on.

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |            No. 6            |
                  |  From John Graham, en route |
                  |  to Texas, to Pierrepont    |
                  |  Graham, care of Graham &   |
                  |  Co., Union Stock Yards,    |
                  |  Chicago. Mr. Pierrepont    |
                  |  has, entirely without      |
                  |  intention, caused a little |
                  |  confusion in the mails,    |
                  |  and it has come to his     |
                  |  father's notice in the     |
                  |  course of business.        |


                             PRIVATE CAR PARNASSUS, Aug. 15, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ Perhaps it's just as well that I had to hurry last
night to make my train, and so had no time to tell you some things that
are laying mighty heavy on my mind this morning.

Jim Donnelly, of the Donnelly Provision Company, came into the office in
the afternoon, with a fool grin on his fat face, to tell me that while
he appreciated a note which he had just received in one of the firm's
envelopes, beginning "Dearest," and containing an invitation to the
theatre to-morrow night, it didn't seem to have any real bearing on his
claim for shortage on the last carload of sweet pickled hams he had
bought from us.

Of course, I sent for Milligan and went for him pretty rough for having
a mailing clerk so no-account as to be writing personal letters in
office hours, and such a blunderer as to mix them up with the firm's
correspondence. Milligan just stood there like a dumb Irishman and let
me get through and go back and cuss him out all over again, with some
trimmings that I had forgotten the first time, before he told me that
you were the fellow who had made the bull. Naturally, I felt pretty
foolish, and, while I tried to pass it off with something about your
still being green and raw, the ice was mighty thin, and you had the
old man running tiddledies.

It didn't make me feel any sweeter about the matter to hear that when
Milligan went for you, and asked what you supposed Donnelly would think
of that sort of business, you told him to "consider the feelings of the
girl who got our brutal refusal to allow a claim for a few hundredweight
of hams."

I haven't any special objection to your writing to girls and telling
them that they are the real sugar-cured article, for, after all, if you
overdo it, it's your breach-of-promise suit, but you must write before
eight or after six. I have bought the stretch between those hours. Your
time is money--my money--and when you take half an hour of it for your
own purposes, that is just a petty form of petty larceny.

Milligan tells me that you are quick to learn, and that you can do a
powerful lot of work when you've a mind to; but he adds that it's mighty
seldom your mind takes that particular turn. Your attention may be on
the letters you are addressing, or you may be in a comatose condition
mentally; he never quite knows until the returns come from the
dead-letter office.

A man can't have his head pumped out like a vacuum pan, or stuffed full
of odds and ends like a bologna sausage, and do his work right. It
doesn't make any difference how mean and trifling the thing he's doing
may seem, that's the big thing and the only thing for him just then.
Business is like oil--it won't mix with anything but business.

You can resolve everything in the world, even a great fortune, into
atoms. And the fundamental principles which govern the handling of
postage stamps and of millions are exactly the same. They are the common
law of business, and the whole practice of commerce is founded on them.
They are so simple that a fool can't learn them; so hard that a lazy man

Boys are constantly writing me for advice about how to succeed, and when
I send them my receipt they say that I am dealing out commonplace
generalities. Of course I am, but that's what the receipt calls for, and
if a boy will take these commonplace generalities and knead them into
his job, the mixture'll be cake.

[Illustration: "_Jim Donnelly of the Donnelly Provision Company came
into my office with a fool grin on his fat face._"]

Once a fellow's got the primary business virtues cemented into his
character, he's safe to build on. But when a clerk crawls into the
office in the morning like a sick setter pup, and leaps from his stool
at night with the spring of a tiger, I'm a little afraid that if I sent
him off to take charge of a branch house he wouldn't always be around
when customers were. He's the sort of a chap who would hold back the sun
an hour every morning and have it gain two every afternoon if the Lord
would give him the same discretionary powers that He gave Joshua. And I
have noticed that he's the fellow who invariably takes a timekeeper as an
insult. He's pretty numerous in business offices; in fact, if the glance
of the human eye could affect a clockface in the same way that a man's
country cousins affect their city welcome, I should have to buy a new
timepiece for the office every morning.

I remember when I was a boy, we used to have a pretty lively
camp-meeting every summer, and Elder Hoover, who was accounted a
powerful exhorter in our parts, would wrastle with the sinners and the
backsliders. There was one old chap in the town--Bill Budlong--who took
a heap of pride in being the simon pure cuss. Bill was always the last
man to come up to the mourners' bench at the camp-meeting and the first
one to backslide when it was over. Used to brag around about what a
hold Satan had on him and how his sin was the original brand, direct
from Adam, put up in cans to keep, and the can-opener lost. Doc Hoover
would get the whole town safe in the fold and then have to hold extra
meetings for a couple of days to snake in that miserable Bill; but, in
the end, he always got religion and got it hard. For a month or two
afterward, he'd make the chills run down the backs of us children in
prayer-meeting, telling how he had probably been the triflingest and
orneriest man alive before he was converted. Then, along toward
hog-killing time, he'd backslide, and go around bragging that he was
standing so close to the mouth of the pit that his whiskers smelt of

He kept this up for about ten years, getting vainer and vainer of his
staying qualities, until one summer, when the Elder had rounded up all
the likeliest sinners in the bunch, he announced that the meetings were
over for that year.

You never saw a sicker-looking man than Bill when he heard that there
wasn't going to be any extra session for him. He got up and said he
reckoned another meeting would fetch him; that he sort of felt the
clutch of old Satan loosening; but Doc Hoover was firm. Then Bill begged
to have a special deacon told off to wrastle with him, but Doc wouldn't
listen to that. Said he'd been wasting time enough on him for ten years
to save a county, and he had just about made up his mind to let him try
his luck by himself; that what he really needed more than religion was
common-sense and a conviction that time in this world was too valuable
to be frittered away. If he'd get that in his head he didn't think he'd
be so apt to trifle with eternity; and if he didn't get it, religion
wouldn't be of any special use to him.

A big merchant finds himself in Doc Hoover's fix pretty often. There are
too many likely young sinners in his office to make it worth while to
bother long with the Bills. Very few men are worth wasting time on
beyond a certain point, and that point is soon reached with a fellow who
doesn't show any signs of wanting to help. Naturally, a green man always
comes to a house in a pretty subordinate position, and it isn't possible
to make so much noise with a firecracker as with a cannon. But you can
tell a good deal by what there is left of the boy, when you come to
inventory him on the fifth of July, whether he'll be safe to trust with
a cannon next year.

It isn't the little extra money that you may make for the house by
learning the fundamental business virtues which counts so much as it is
the effect that it has on your character and that of those about you,
and especially on the judgment of the old man when he's casting around
for the fellow to fill the vacancy just ahead of you. He's pretty apt to
pick some one who keeps separate ledger accounts for work and for fun,
who gives the house sixteen ounces to the pound, and, on general
principles, to pass by the one who is late at the end where he ought to
be early, and early at the end where he ought to be late.

I simply mention these things in passing, but, frankly, I am afraid that
you have a streak of the Bill in you; and you can't be a good clerk, let
alone a partner, until you get it out. I try not to be narrow when I'm
weighing up a young fellow, and to allow for soakage and leakage, and
then to throw in a little for good feeling; but I don't trade with a
man whom I find deliberately marking up the weights on me.

This is a fine country we're running through, but it's a pity that it
doesn't raise more hogs. It seems to take a farmer a long time to learn
that the best way to sell his corn is on the hoof.

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

P.S. I just had to allow Donnelly his claim on those hams, though I was
dead sure our weights were right, and it cost the house sixty dollars.
But your fool letter took all the snap out of our argument. I get hot
every time I think of it.

                  |             No. 7            |
                  |  From John Graham, at the    |
                  |  Omaha Branch of Graham &    |
                  |  Co., to Pierrepont Graham,  |
                  |  at the Union Stock Yards,   |
                  |  Chicago. Mr. Pierrepont     |
                  |  hasn't found the methods    |
                  |  of the worthy Milligan      |
                  |  altogether to his liking,   |
                  |  and he has commented        |
                  |  rather freely on them.      |


                                         OMAHA, September 1, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ Yours of the 30th ultimo strikes me all wrong.
I don't like to hear you say that you can't work under Milligan or any
other man, for it shows a fundamental weakness. And then, too, the house
isn't interested in knowing how you like your boss, but in how he likes

I understand all about Milligan. He's a cross, cranky old Irishman with
a temper tied up in bow-knots, who prods his men with the bull-stick six
days a week and schemes to get them salary raises on the seventh, when
he ought to be listening to the sermon; who puts the black-snake on a
clerk's hide when he sends a letter to Oshkosh that ought to go to
Kalamazoo, and begs him off when the old man wants to have him fired for
it. Altogether he's a hard, crabbed, generous, soft-hearted, loyal,
bully old boy, who's been with the house since we took down the shutters
for the first time, and who's going to stay with it till we put them up
for the last time.

But all that apart, you want to get it firmly fixed in your mind that
you're going to have a Milligan over you all your life, and if it isn't
a Milligan it will be a Jones or a Smith, and the chances are that
you'll find them both harder to get along with than this old fellow. And
if it isn't Milligan or Jones or Smith, and you ain't a butcher, but a
parson or a doctor, or even the President of the United States, it'll be
a way-back deacon, or the undertaker, or the machine. There isn't any
such thing as being your own boss in this world unless you're a tramp,
and then there's the constable.

Like the old man if you can, but give him no cause to dislike you. Keep
your self-respect at any cost, and your upper lip stiff at the same
figure. Criticism can properly come only from above, and whenever you
discover that your boss is no good you may rest easy that the man who
pays his salary shares your secret. Learn to give back a bit from the
base-burner, to let the village fathers get their feet on the fender and
the sawdust box in range, and you'll find them making a little room for
you in turn. Old men have tender feet, and apologies are poor salve for
aching corns. Remember that when you're in the right you can afford to
keep your temper, and that when you're in the wrong you can't afford to
lose it.

When you've got an uncertain cow it's all O.K. to tie a figure eight in
her tail, if you ain't thirsty, and it's excitement you're after; but if
you want peace and her nine quarts, you will naturally approach her from
the side, and say, So-boss, in about the same tone that you would use if
you were asking your best girl to let you hold her hand.

Of course, you want to be sure of your natural history facts and learn
to distinguish between a cow that's a kicker, but whose intentions are
good if she's approached with proper respect, and a hooker, who is
vicious on general principles, and any way you come at her. There's
never any use fooling with an animal of that sort, brute or human. The
only safe place is the other side of the fence or the top of the nearest

[Illustration: "_Bill Budlong was always the last man to come up to the
mourners' bench._"]

When I was clerking in Missouri, a fellow named Jeff Hankins moved down
from Wisconsin and bought a little clearing just outside the town. Jeff
was a good talker, but a bad listener, and so we learned a heap about
how things were done in Wisconsin, but he didn't pick up much
information about the habits of our Missouri fauna. When it came to
cows, he had had a liberal education and he made out all right, but by
and by it got on to ploughing time and Jeff naturally bought a mule--a
little moth-eaten cuss, with sad, dreamy eyes and droopy, wiggly-woggly
ears that swung in a circle as easy as if they ran on ball-bearings. Her
owner didn't give her a very good character, but Jeff was too busy telling
how much he knew about horses to pay much attention to what anybody was
saying about mules. So finally the seller turned her loose in Jeff's lot,
told him he wouldn't have any trouble catching her if he approached her
right, and hurried off out of range.

Next morning at sunup Jeff picked out a bridle and started off whistling
Buffalo Gals--he was a powerful pretty whistler and could do the Mocking
Bird with variations--to catch the mule and begin his plowing. The
animal was feeding as peaceful as a water-color picture, and she didn't
budge; but when Jeff began to get nearer, her ears dropped back along
her neck as if they had lead in them. He knew that symptom and so he
closed up kind of cautious, aiming for her at right angles and gurgling,
"Muley, muley, here muley; that's a good muley," sort of soothing and
caressing-like. Still she didn't stir and Jeff got right up to her and
put one arm over her back and began to reach forward with the bridle,
when something happened. He never could explain just what it was, but we
judged from the marks on his person that the mule had reached forward
and kicked the seat of his trousers with one of her prehensile hind
feet; and had reached back and caught him on the last button of his
waistcoat with one of her limber fore feet; and had twisted around her
elastic neck and bit off a mouthful of his hair. When Jeff regained
consciousness, he reckoned that the only really safe way to approach a
mule was to drop on it from a balloon.

I simply mention this little incident as an example of the fact that
there are certain animals with which the Lord didn't intend white men to
fool. And you will find that, as a rule, the human varieties of them are
not the fellows who go for you rough-shod, like Milligan, when you're
wrong. It's when you come across one of those gentlemen who have more
oil in their composition than any two-legged animal has a right to have,
that you should be on the lookout for concealed deadly weapons.

I don't mean that you should distrust a man who is affable and
approachable, but you want to learn to distinguish between him and one
who is too affable and too approachable. The adverb makes the difference
between a good and a bad fellow. The bunco men aren't all at the county
fair, and they don't all operate with the little shells and the elusive
pea. When a packer has learned all that there is to learn about
quadrupeds, he knows only one-eighth of his business; the other
seven-eighths, and the important seven-eighths, has to do with the study
of bipeds.

I dwell on this because I am a little disappointed that you should have
made such a mistake in sizing up Milligan. He isn't the brightest man in
the office, but he is loyal to me and to the house, and when you have
been in business as long as I have you will be inclined to put a pretty
high value on loyalty. It is the one commodity that hasn't any market
value, and it's the one that you can't pay too much for. You can trust
any number of men with your money, but mighty few with your reputation.
Half the men who are with the house on pay day are against it the other

A good many young fellows come to me looking for jobs, and start in by
telling me what a mean house they have been working for; what a cuss to
get along with the senior partner was; and how little show a bright,
progressive clerk had with him. I never get very far with a critter of
that class, because I know that he wouldn't like me or the house if he
came to work for us.

I don't know anything that a young business man ought to keep more
entirely to himself than his dislikes, unless it is his likes. It's
generally expensive to have either, but it's bankruptcy to tell about
them. It's all right to say nothing about the dead but good, but it's
better to apply the rule to the living, and especially to the house
which is paying your salary.

Just one word before I close, as old Doc Hoover used to say, when he was
coming into the stretch, but still a good ways off from the benediction.
I have noticed that you are inclined to be a little chesty and starchy
around the office. Of course, it's good business, when a fellow hasn't
much behind his forehead, to throw out his chest and attract attention
to his shirt-front. But as you begin to meet the men who have done
something that makes them worth meeting you will find that there are no
"keep off the grass" or "beware of the dog" signs around their premises,
and that they don't motion to the orchestra to play slow music while
they talk.

Superiority makes every man feel its equal. It is courtesy without
condescension; affability without familiarity; self-sufficiency without
selfishness; simplicity without snide. It weighs sixteen ounces to the
pound without the package, and it doesn't need a four-colored label to
make it go.

We are coming home from here. I am a little disappointed in the showing
that this house has been making. Pound for pound it is not getting
nearly so much out of its hogs as we are in Chicago. I don't know just
where the leak is, but if they don't do better next month I am coming
back here with a shotgun, and there's going to be a pretty heavy
mortality among our head men.

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |            No. 8             |
                  |  From John Graham, at Hot    |
                  |  Springs, Arkansas, to his   |
                  |  son, Pierrepont, at the     |
                  |  Union Stock Yards in        |
                  |  Chicago. Mr. Pierrepont     |
                  |  has just been promoted      |
                  |  from the mailing to the     |
                  |  billing desk and, in        |
                  |  consequence, his father     |
                  |  is feeling rather "mellow"  |
                  |  toward him.                 |


                                    HOT SPRINGS, January 15, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ They've run me through the scalding vats here till
they've pretty nearly taken all the hair off my hide, but that or
something else has loosened up my joints so that they don't squeak any
more when I walk. The doctor says he'll have my rheumatism cured in
thirty days, so I guess you can expect me home in about a fortnight. For
he's the breed of doctor that is always two weeks ahead of his patients'
condition when they're poor, and two weeks behind it when they're rich.
He calls himself a specialist, which means that it costs me ten dollars
every time he has a look in at my tongue, against two that I would pay
the family doctor for gratifying his curiosity. But I guess this
specialist business is about the only outlet for marketing the surplus
of young doctors.

Reminds me of the time when we were piling up canned corned beef in
stock faster than people would eat it, and a big drought happened along
in Texas and began driving the canners in to the packing-house quicker
than we could tuck them away in tin. Jim Durham tried to "stimulate the
consumption," as he put it, by getting out a nice little booklet called,
"A Hundred Dainty Dishes from a Can," and telling how to work off corned
beef on the family in various disguises; but, after he had schemed out
ten different combinations, the other ninety turned out to be corned-beef
hash. So that was no use.

But one day we got together and had a nice, fancy, appetizing label
printed, and we didn't economize on the gilt--a picture of a steer so
fat that he looked as if he'd break his legs if they weren't shored up
pretty quick with props, and with blue ribbons tied to his horns. We
labeled it "Blue Ribbon Beef--For Fancy Family Trade," and charged an
extra ten cents a dozen for the cans on which that special label was
pasted. Of course, people just naturally wanted it.

There's nothing helps convince some men that a thing has merit like a
little gold on the label. And it's pretty safe to bet that if a fellow
needs a six or seven-syllabled word to describe his profession, he's a
corn doctor when you come to look him up in the dictionary. And then
you'll generally find him in the back part of the book where they tuck
away the doubtful words.

But that isn't what I started out to say. I want to tell you that I was
very, very glad to learn from your letter that you had been promoted to
the billing desk. I have felt all along that when you got a little of
the nonsense tried out of you there would be a residue of common-sense,
and I am glad to have your boss back up my judgment. There's two things
you just naturally don't expect from human nature--that the widow's
tombstone estimate of the departed, on which she is trying to convince
the neighbors against their better judgment that he went to Heaven, and
the father's estimate of the son, on which he is trying to pass him
along into a good salary, will be conservative.

I had that driven into my mind and spiked down when I hired the widow's
son a few years ago. His name was Clarence--Clarence St. Clair
Hicks--and his father used to keep books for me when he wasn't picking
the winners at Washington Park or figuring out the batting averages of
the Chicagos. He was one of those quick men who always have their books
posted up half an hour before closing time for three weeks of the month,
and spend the evenings of the fourth hunting up the eight cents that
they are out on the trial balance. When he died his wife found that his
life insurance had lapsed the month before, and so she brought Clarence
down to the office and asked me to give him a job.

Clarence wasn't exactly a pretty boy; in fact, he looked to me like
another of his father's bad breaks; but his mother seemed to think a
heap of him. I learned that he would have held the belt in his
Sunday-school for long-distance verse-reciting if the mother of one of
the other boys hadn't fixed the superintendent, and that it had taken a
general conspiracy of the teachers in his day-school to keep him from
walking off with the good-conduct medal.

I couldn't just reconcile those statements with Clarence's face, but I
accepted him at par and had him passed along to the head errand boy. His
mother cried a little when she saw him marched off, and asked me to see
that he was treated kindly and wasn't bullied by the bigger boys,
because he had been "raised a pet."

A number of unusual things happened in the offices that morning, and the
head office boy thought Clarence might be able to explain some of them,
but he had an alibi ready every time--even when a bookkeeper found the
vault filled with cigarette smoke and Clarence in it hunting for
something he couldn't describe. But as he was a new boy, no one was
disposed to bear down on him very hard, so his cigarettes were taken
away from him and he was sent back to his bench with a warning that he
had used up all his explanations.

Along toward noon, a big Boston customer came in with his little boy--a
nice, plump, stall-fed youngster, with black velvet pants and hair that
was just a little longer than was safe in the stock-yards district. And
while we were talking business, the kid wandered off to the coat-room,
where the errand boys were eating lunch, which was a pretty desperate
place for a boy with velvet pants on to go.

[Illustration: "_Clarence looked to me like another of his father's bad

As far as we could learn from Willie when he came out of his
convulsions, the boys had been very polite to him and had insisted on
his joining in a new game which Clarence had just invented, called
playing pig-sticker. And, because he was company, Clarence told him that
he could be the pig. Willie didn't know just what being the pig meant,
but, as he told his father, it didn't sound very nice and he was afraid
he wouldn't like it. So he tried to pass along the honor to some one
else, but Clarence insisted that it was "hot stuff to be the pig," and
before Willie could rightly judge what was happening to him, one end of
a rope had been tied around his left ankle and the other end had been
passed over a transom bar, and he was dangling headforemost in the air,
while Clarence threatened his jugular with a lath sword. That was when
he let out the yell which brought his father and me on the jump and
scattered the boys all over the stock yards.

Willie's father canceled his bologna contract and marched off muttering
something about "degrading surroundings brutalizing the young;" and
Clarence's mother wrote me that I was a bad old man who had held her
husband down all his life and now wouldn't give her son a show. For,
naturally, after that little incident, I had told the boy who had been
raised a pet that he had better go back to the menagerie.

I simply mention Clarence in passing as an instance of why I am a little
slow to trust my judgment on my own. I have always found that, whenever
I thought a heap of anything I owned, there was nothing like getting the
other fellow's views expressed in figures; and the other fellow is
usually a pessimist when he's buying. The lady on the dollar is the only
woman who hasn't any sentiment in her make-up. And if you really want a
look at the solid facts of a thing you must strain off the sentiment

I put you under Milligan to get a view of you through his eyes. If he
says that you are good enough to be a billing clerk, and to draw twelve
dollars a week, I guess there's no doubt about it. For he's one of
those men that never show any real enthusiasm except when they're

Naturally, it's a great satisfaction to see a streak or two of business
ability beginning to show under the knife, because when it comes closing
time for me it will make it a heap easier to know that some one who
bears the name will take down the shutters in the morning.

Boys are a good deal like the pups that fellows sell on street
corners--they don't always turn out as represented. You buy a likely
setter pup and raise a spotted coach dog from it, and the promising son
of an honest butcher is just as like as not to turn out a poet or a
professor. I want to say in passing that I have no real prejudice
against poets, but I believe that, if you're going to be a Milton,
there's nothing like being a mute, inglorious one, as some fellow who
was a little sore on the poetry business once put it. Of course, a
packer who understands something about the versatility of cottonseed
oil need never turn down orders for lard because the run of hogs is
light, and a father who understands human nature can turn out an
imitation parson from a boy whom the Lord intended to go on the Board of
Trade. But on general principles it's best to give your cottonseed oil a
Latin name and to market it on its merits, and to let your boy follow
his bent, even if it leads him into the wheat pit. If a fellow has got
poetry in him it's bound to come out sooner or later in the papers or
the street cars; and the longer you keep it bottled up the harder it
comes, and the longer it takes the patient to recover. There's no easier
way to cure foolishness than to give a man leave to be foolish. And the
only way to show a fellow that he's chosen the wrong business is to let
him try it. If it really is the wrong thing you won't have to argue with
him to quit, and if it isn't you haven't any right to.

Speaking of bull-pups that turned out to be terriers naturally calls to
mind the case of my old friend Jeremiah Simpkins' son. There isn't a
solider man in the Boston leather trade than Jeremiah, nor a bigger
scamp that the law can't touch than his son Ezra. There isn't an ounce
of real meanness in Ezra's whole body, but he's just naturally and
unintentionally a maverick. When he came out of college his father
thought that a few years' experience in the hide department of Graham &
Co. would be a good thing for him before he tackled the leather
business. So I wrote to send him on and I would give him a job,
supposing, of course, that I was getting a yearling of the steady, old,
reliable Simpkins strain.

I was a little uneasy when Ezra reported, because he didn't just look
as if he had had a call to leather. He was a tall, spare New Englander,
with one of those knobby foreheads which has been pushed out by the
overcrowding of the brain, or bulged by the thickening of the skull,
according as you like or dislike the man. His manners were easy or
familiar by the same standard. He told me right at the start that, while
he didn't know just what he wanted to do, he was dead sure that it
wasn't the leather business. It seemed that he had said the same thing
to his father and that the old man had answered, "Tut, tut," and told
him to forget it and to learn hides.

Simpkins learned all that he wanted to know about the packing industry
in thirty days, and I learned all that I wanted to know about Ezra in
the same time. Pork-packing seemed to be the only thing that he wasn't
interested in. I got his resignation one day just five minutes before
the one which I was having written out for him was ready; for I will do
Simpkins the justice to say that there was nothing slow about him. He
and his father split up, temporarily, over it, and, of course, it cost
me the old man's trade and friendship. I want to say right here that the
easiest way in the world to make enemies is to hire friends.

I lost sight of Simpkins for a while, and then he turned up at the
office one morning as friendly and familiar as ever. Said he was a
reporter and wanted to interview me on the December wheat deal. Of
course, I wouldn't talk on that, but I gave him a little fatherly
advice--told him he would sleep in a hall bedroom all his life if he
didn't quit his foolishness and go back to his father, though I didn't
really believe it. He thanked me and went off and wrote a column about
what I might have said about December wheat, and somehow gave the
impression that I had said it.

The next I heard of Simpkins he was dead. The Associated Press
dispatches announced it, the Cuban Junta confirmed it, and last of all,
a long dispatch from Simpkins himself detailed the circumstances leading
up to the "atrocity," as the headlines in his paper called it.

I got a long wire from Ezra's father asking me to see the managing editor
and get at the facts for him. It seemed that the paper had thought a heap
of Simpkins, and that he had been sent out to Cuba as a correspondent, and
stationed with the Insurgent army. Simpkins in Cuba had evidently lived up
to the reputation of Simpkins in Chicago. When there was any news he sent
it, and when there wasn't he just made news and sent that along.

The first word of his death had come in his own letter, brought across
on a filibustering steamer and wired on from Jacksonville. It told, with
close attention to detail--something he had learned since he left
me--how he had strayed away from the little band of insurgents with
which he had been out scouting and had blundered into the Spanish lines.
He had been promptly made a prisoner, and, despite his papers proving
his American citizenship, and the nature of his job, and the red cross
on his sleeve, he had been tried by drumhead court martial and sentenced
to be shot at dawn. All this he had written out, and then, that his
account might be complete, he had gone on and imagined his own
execution. This was written in a sort of pigeon, or perhaps you would
call it black Spanish, English, and let on to be the work of the
eyewitness to whom Simpkins had confided his letter. He had been the
sentry over the prisoner, and for a small bribe in hand and the promise
of a larger one from the paper, he had turned his back on Simpkins while
he wrote out the story, and afterward had deserted and carried it to the
Cuban lines.

The account ended: "Then, as the order to fire was given by the
lieutenant, Señor Simpkins raised his eyes toward Heaven and cried: 'I
protest in the name of my American citizenship!'" At the end of the
letter, and not intended for publication, was scrawled: "This is a bully
scoop for you, boys, but it's pretty tough on me. Good-by. Simpkins."

The managing editor dashed a tear from his eye when he read this to me,
and gulped a little as he said: "I can't help it; he was such a d----d
thoughtful boy. Why, he even remembered to inclose descriptions for the

Simpkins' last story covered the whole of the front page and three
columns of the second, and it just naturally sold cords of papers. His
editor demanded that the State Department take it up, though the
Spaniards denied the execution or any previous knowledge of any such
person as this Señor Simpkins. That made another page in the paper, of
course, and then they got up a memorial service, which was good for
three columns. One of those fellows that you can find in every office,
who goes around and makes the boys give up their lunch money to buy
flowers for the deceased aunt of the cellar boss' wife, managed to
collect twenty dollars among our clerks, and they sent a floral
notebook, with "Gone to Press," done in blue immortelles on the cover,
as their "tribute."

I put on a plug hat and attended the service out of respect for his
father. But I had hardly got back to the office before I received a wire
from Jamaica, reading: "Cable your correspondent here let me have
hundred. Notify father all hunk. Keep it dark from others. Simpkins."

I kept it dark and Ezra came back to life by easy stages and in such a
way as not to attract any special attention to himself. He managed to
get the impression around that he'd been snatched from the jaws of death
by a rescue party at the last moment. The last I heard of him he was in
New York and drawing ten thousand a year, which was more than he could
have worked up to in the leather business in a century.

Fifty or a hundred years ago, when there was good money in poetry, a man
with Simpkins' imagination would naturally have been a bard, as I
believe they used to call the top-notchers; and, once he was turned
loose to root for himself, he instinctively smelled out the business
where he could use a little poetic license and made a hit in it.

When a pup has been born to point partridges there's no use trying to
run a fox with him. I was a little uncertain about you at first, but I
guess the Lord intended you to hunt with the pack. Get the scent in your
nostrils and keep your nose to the ground, and don't worry too much
about the end of the chase. The fun of the thing's in the run and not in
the finish.

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |           No. 9             |
                  |  From John Graham, at Hot   |
                  |  Springs, Arkansas, to his  |
                  |  son, Pierrepont, at the    |
                  |  Union Stock Yards in       |
                  |  Chicago. Mr. Pierrepont    |
                  |  has been investing more    |
                  |  heavily in roses than his  |
                  |  father thinks his means    |
                  |  warrant, and he tries to   |
                  |  turn his thoughts to       |
                  |  staple groceries.          |


                                    HOT SPRINGS, January 30, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ I knew right off that I had made a mistake when I
opened the inclosed and saw that it was a bill for fifty-two dollars,
"for roses sent, as per orders, to Miss Mabel Dashkam." I don't just
place Miss Dashkam, but if she's the daughter of old Job Dashkam, on the
open Board, I should say, on general principles, that she was a fine
girl to let some other fellow marry. The last time I saw her, she
inventoried about $10,000 as she stood--allowing that her diamonds would
scratch glass--and that's more capital than any woman has a right to tie
up on her back, I don't care how rich her father is. And Job's fortune
is one of that brand which foots up to a million in the newspapers and
leaves the heirs in debt to the lawyers who settle the estate.

Of course I've never had any real experience in this sparking business,
except with your Ma; but I've watched from the other side of the fence
while a heap of fellows were getting it, and I should say that marrying
a woman like Mabel Dashkam would be the first step toward becoming a
grass widower. I'll bet if you'll tell her you're making twelve a week
and ain't going to get any more till you earn it, you'll find that you
can't push within a mile of her even on a Soo ice-breaker. She's one of
those women with a heart like a stock-ticker--it doesn't beat over
anything except money.

Of course you're in no position yet to think of being engaged even, and
that's why I'm a little afraid that you may be planning to get married.
But a twelve-dollar clerk, who owes fifty-two dollars for roses, needs a
keeper more than a wife. I want to say right here that there always
comes a time to the fellow who blows fifty-two dollars at a lick on
roses when he thinks how many staple groceries he could have bought
with the money. After all, there's no fool like a young fool, because
in the nature of things he's got a long time to live.

I suppose I'm fanning the air when I ask you to be guided by my judgment
in this matter, because, while a young fellow will consult his father
about buying a horse, he's cock-sure of himself when it comes to picking
a wife. Marriages may be made in Heaven, but most engagements are made
in the back parlor with the gas so low that a fellow doesn't really get
a square look at what he's taking. While a man doesn't see much of a
girl's family when he's courting, he's apt to see a good deal of it when
he's housekeeping; and while he doesn't marry his wife's father, there's
nothing in the marriage vow to prevent the old man from borrowing money
of him, and you can bet if he's old Job Dashkam he'll do it. A man can't
pick his own mother, but he can pick his son's mother, and when he
chooses a father-in-law who plays the bucket shops, he needn't be
surprised if his own son plays the races.

Never marry a poor girl who's been raised like a rich one. She's simply
traded the virtues of the poor for the vices of the rich without going
long on their good points. To marry for money or to marry without money
is a crime. There's no real objection to marrying a woman with a
fortune, but there is to marrying a fortune with a woman. Money makes
the mare go, and it makes her cut up, too, unless she's used to it and
you drive her with a snaffle-bit.

While you are at it, there's nothing like picking out a good-looking
wife, because even the handsomest woman looks homely sometimes, and so
you get a little variety; but a homely one can only look worse than
usual. Beauty is only skin deep, but that's deep enough to satisfy any
reasonable man. (I want to say right here that to get any sense out of a
proverb I usually find that I have to turn it wrong side out.) Then,
too, if a fellow's bound to marry a fool, and a lot of men have to if
they're going to hitch up into a well-matched team, there's nothing like
picking a good-looking one.

I simply mention these things in a general way, because it seems to me,
from the gait at which you're starting off, that you'll likely find
yourself roped and branded any day, without quite knowing how it
happened, and I want you to understand that the girl who marries you for
my money is getting a package of green goods in more ways than one. I
think, though, if you really understood what marrying on twelve a week
meant, you would have bought a bedroom set instead of roses with that
fifty-two you owe.

Speaking of marrying the old man's money by proxy naturally takes me
back to my old town in Missouri and the case of Chauncey Witherspoon
Hoskins. Chauncey's father was the whole village, barring the railroad
station and the saloon, and, of course, Chauncey thought that he was
something of a pup himself. So he was, but not just the kind that
Chauncey thought he was. He stood about five foot three in his pumps,
had a nice pinky complexion, pretty wavy hair, and a curly mustache. All
he needed was a blue ribbon around his neck to make you call, "Here,
Fido," when he came into the room.

Still I believe he must have been pretty popular with the ladies,
because I can't think of him to this day without wanting to punch his
head. At the church sociables he used to hop around among them, chipping
and chirping like a dicky-bird picking up seed; and he was a great hand
to play the piano, and sing saddish, sweetish songs to them. Always said
the smooth thing and said it easy. Never had to choke and swallow to
fetch it up. Never stepped through his partner's dress when he began to
dance, or got flustered when he brought her refreshments and poured the
coffee in her lap to cool instead of in the saucer. We boys who
couldn't walk across the floor without feeling that our pants had hiked
up till they showed our feet to the knees, and that we were carrying a
couple of canvased hams where our hands ought to be, didn't like him;
but the girls did. You can trust a woman's taste on everything except
men; and it's mighty lucky that she slips up there or we'd pretty nigh
all be bachelors. I might add that you can't trust a man's taste on
women, either, and that's pretty lucky, too, because there are a good
many old maids in the world as it is.

One time or another Chauncey lolled in the best room of every house in
our town, and we used to wonder how he managed to browse up and down the
streets that way without getting into the pound. I never found out till
after I married your Ma, and she told me Chauncey's heart secrets. It
really wasn't violating any confidence, because he'd told them to every
girl in town.

Seems he used to get terribly sad as soon as he was left alone with a
girl and began to hint about a tragedy in his past--something that had
blighted his whole life and left him without the power to love
again--and lots more slop from the same pail.

Of course, every girl in that town had known Chauncey since he wore
short pants, and ought to have known that the nearest to a tragedy he
had ever been was when he sat in the top gallery of a Chicago theatre
and saw a lot of barnstormers play Othello. But some people, and
especially very young people, don't think anything's worth believing
unless it's hard to believe.

Chauncey worked along these lines until he was twenty-four, and then he
made a mistake. Most of the girls that he had grown up with had married
off, and while he was waiting for a new lot to come along, he began to
shine up to the widow Sharpless, a powerful, well-preserved woman of
forty or thereabouts, who had been born with her eye-teeth cut. He
found her uncommon sympathetic. And when Chauncey finally came out of
his trance he was the stepfather of the widow's four children.

She was very kind to Chauncey, and treated him like one of her own sons;
but she was very, very firm. There was no gallivanting off alone, and
when they went out in double harness strangers used to annoy him
considerable by patting him on the head and saying to his wife: "What a
bright-looking chap your son is, Mrs. Hoskins!"

She was almost seventy when Chauncey buried her a while back, and they
say that he began to take notice again on the way home from the funeral.
Anyway, he crowded his mourning into sixty days--and I reckon there was
plenty of room in them to hold all his grief without stretching--and his
courting into another sixty. And four months after date he presented his
matrimonial papers for acceptance. Said he was tired of this
mother-and-son foolishness, and wasn't going to leave any room for doubt
this time. Didn't propose to have people sizing his wife up for one of
his ancestors any more. So he married Lulu Littlebrown, who was just
turned eighteen. Chauncey was over fifty then, and wizened up like a
late pippin that has been out overnight in an early frost.

He took Lu to Chicago for the honeymoon, and Mose Greenebaum, who happened
to be going up to town for his fall goods, got into the parlor car with
them. By and by the porter came around and stopped beside Chauncey.

"Wouldn't your daughter like a pillow under her head?" says he.

Chauncey just groaned. Then--"Git; you Senegambian son of darkness!" And
the porter just naturally got.

Mose had been taking it all in, and now he went back to the smoking-room
and passed the word along to the drummers there. Every little while one
of them would lounge up the aisle to Chauncey and ask if he couldn't
lend his daughter a magazine, or give her an orange, or bring her a
drink. And the language that he gave back in return for these courtesies
wasn't at all fitting in a bridegroom. Then Mose had another happy
thought, and dropped off at a way station and wired the clerk at the
Palmer House.

When they got to the hotel the clerk was on the lookout for them, and
Chauncey hadn't more than signed his name before he reached out over his
diamond and said: "Ah, Mr. Hoskins; would you like to have your daughter
near you?"

I simply mention Chauncey in passing as an example of the foolishness of
thinking you can take any chances with a woman who has really decided
that she wants to marry, or that you can average up matrimonial
mistakes. And I want you to remember that marrying the wrong girl is
the one mistake that you've got to live with all your life. I think,
though, that if you tell Mabel what your assets are, she'll decide she
won't be your particular mistake.

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |           No. 10           |
                  |  From John Graham, at the  |
                  |  Union Stock Yards in      |
                  |  Chicago, to his son,      |
                  |  Pierrepont, at the        |
                  |  Commercial House,         |
                  |  Jeffersonville, Indiana.  |
                  |  Mr. Pierrepont has been   |
                  |  promoted to the position  |
                  |  of traveling salesman     |
                  |  for the house, and has    |
                  |  started out on the road.  |


                                           CHICAGO, March 1, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ When I saw you start off yesterday I was just a
little uneasy; for you looked so blamed important and chesty that I am
inclined to think you will tell the first customer who says he doesn't
like our sausage that he knows what he can do about it. Repartee makes
reading lively, but business dull. And what the house needs is more

Sausage is the one subject of all others that a fellow in the packing
business ought to treat solemnly. Half the people in the world take a
joke seriously from the start, and the other half if you repeat it often
enough. Only last week the head of our sausage department started to put
out a tin-tag brand of frankfurts, but I made him take it off the market
quicker than lightning, because I knew that the first fool who saw the
tin-tag would ask if that was the license. And, though people would
grin a little at first, they'd begin to look serious after a while; and
whenever the butcher tried to sell them our brand they'd imagine they
heard the bark, and ask for "that real country sausage" at twice as much
a pound.

He laughs best who doesn't laugh at all when he's dealing with the
public. It has been my experience that, even when a man has a sense of
humor, it only really carries him to the point where he will join in a
laugh at the expense of the other fellow. There's nothing in the world
sicker-looking than the grin of the man who's trying to join in heartily
when the laugh's on him, and to pretend that he likes it.

Speaking of sausage with a registered pedigree calls to mind a little
experience that I had last year. A fellow came into the office here with
a shriveled-up toy spaniel, one of those curly, hairy little fellows
that a woman will kiss, and then grumble because a fellow's mustache
tickles. Said he wanted to sell him. I wasn't really disposed to add a dog
to my troubles, but on general principles I asked him what he wanted for
the little cuss.

[Illustration: "_You looked so blamed important and chesty when you
started off._"]

The fellow hawed and choked and wiped away a tear. Finally, he fetched
out that he loved the dog like a son, and that it broke his heart to
think of parting with him; that he wouldn't dare look Dandy in the face
after he had named the price he was asking for him, and that it was the
record-breaking, marked-down sacrifice sale of the year on dogs; that it
wasn't really money he was after, but a good home for the little chap.
Said that I had a rather pleasant face and he knew that he could trust
me to treat Dandy kindly; so--as a gift--he would let me have him for
five hundred.

"Cents?" says I.

"Dollars," says he, without blinking.

"It ought to be a mastiff at that price," says I.

"If you thought more of quality," says he, in a tone of sort of
dignified reproof, "and less of quantity, your brand would enjoy a
better reputation."

I was pretty hot, I can tell you, but I had laid myself open, so I just
said: "The sausage business is too poor to warrant our paying any such
price for light-weights. Bring around a bigger dog and then we'll talk;"
but the fellow only shook his head sadly, whistled to Dandy, and walked

I simply mention this little incident as an example of the fact that
when a man cracks a joke in the Middle Ages he's apt to affect the
sausage market in the Nineteenth Century, and to lay open an honest
butcher to the jeers of every dog-stealer in the street. There's such a
thing as carrying a joke too far, and the fellow who keeps on pretending
to believe that he's paying for pork and getting dog is pretty apt to
get dog in the end.

But all that aside, I want you to get it firmly fixed in your mind right
at the start that this trip is only an experiment, and that I am not at
all sure you were cut out by the Lord to be a drummer. But you can
figure on one thing--that you will never become the pride of the pond by
starting out to cut figure eights before you are firm on your skates.

A real salesman is one-part talk and nine-parts judgment; and he uses
the nine-parts of judgment to tell when to use the one-part of talk.
Goods ain't sold under Marquess of Queensberry rules any more, and
you'll find that knowing how many rounds the Old 'Un can last against
the Boiler-Maker won't really help you to load up the junior partner
with our Corn-fed brand hams.

A good many salesmen have an idea that buyers are only interested in
baseball, and funny stories, and Tom Lipton, and that business is a side
line with them; but as a matter of fact mighty few men work up to the
position of buyer through giving up their office hours to listening to
anecdotes. I never saw one that liked a drummer's jokes more than an
eighth of a cent a pound on a tierce of lard. What the house really
sends you out for is orders.

Of course, you want to be nice and mellow with the trade, but always
remember that mellowness carried too far becomes rottenness. You can buy
some fellows with a cheap cigar and some with a cheap compliment, and
there's no objection to giving a man what he likes, though I never knew
smoking to do anything good except a ham, or flattery to help any one
except to make a fool of himself.

Real buyers ain't interested in much besides your goods and your prices.
Never run down your competitor's brand to them, and never let them run
down yours. Don't get on your knees for business, but don't hold your
nose so high in the air that an order can travel under it without your
seeing it. You'll meet a good many people on the road that you won't
like, but the house needs their business.

Some fellows will tell you that we play the hose on our dry salt meat
before we ship it, and that it shrinks in transit like a Baxter Street
Jew's all-wool suits in a rainstorm; that they wonder how we manage to
pack solid gristle in two-pound cans without leaving a little meat
hanging to it; and that the last car of lard was so strong that it came
back of its own accord from every retailer they shipped it to. The first
fellow will be lying, and the second will be exaggerating, and the third
may be telling the truth. With him you must settle on the spot; but
always remember that a man who's making a claim never underestimates his
case, and that you can generally compromise for something less than the
first figure. With the second you must sympathize, and say that the
matter will be reported to headquarters and the boss of the canning-room
called up on the carpet and made to promise that it will never happen
again. With the first you needn't bother. There's no use feeding expensive
"hen food" to an old Dominick that sucks eggs. The chances are that the
car weighed out more than it was billed, and that the fellow played the
hose on it himself and added a thousand pounds of cheap salt before he
jobbed it out to his trade.

Where you're going to slip up at first is in knowing which is which, but
if you don't learn pretty quick you'll not travel very far for the
house. For your own satisfaction I will say right here that you may know
you are in a fair way of becoming a good drummer by three things:

First--When you send us Orders.

Second--More Orders.

Third--Big Orders.

If you do this you won't have a great deal of time to write long
letters, and we won't have a great deal of time to read them, for we
will be very, very busy here making and shipping the goods. We aren't
specially interested in orders that the other fellow gets, or in knowing
how it happened after it has happened. If you like life on the road you
simply won't let it happen. So just send us your address every day and
your orders. They will tell us all that we want to know about "the

I was cured of sending information to the house when I was very, very
young--in fact, on the first trip which I made on the road. I was
traveling out of Chicago for Hammer & Hawkins, wholesale dry-goods,
gents' furnishings and notions. They started me out to round up trade in
the river towns down Egypt ways, near Cairo.

I hadn't more than made my first town and sized up the population before
I began to feel happy, because I saw that business ought to be very good
there. It appeared as if everybody in that town needed something in my
line. The clerk of the hotel where I registered wore a dicky and his
cuffs were tied to his neck by pieces of string run up his sleeves, and
most of the merchants on Main Street were in their shirt-sleeves--at
least those that had shirts were--and so far as I could judge there
wasn't a whole pair of galluses among them. Some were using wire, some a
little rope, and others just faith--buckled extra tight. Pride of the
Prairie XXX flour sacks seemed to be the nobby thing in boys' suitings
there. Take it by and large, if ever there was a town which looked as if
it had a big, short line of dry-goods, gents' furnishings and notions to
cover, it was that one.

But when I caught the proprietor of the general store during a lull in
the demand for navy plug, he wouldn't even look at my samples, and when
I began to hint that the people were pretty ornery dressers he reckoned
that he "would paste me one if I warn't so young." Wanted to know what I
meant by coming swelling around in song-and-dance clothes and getting
funny at the expense of people who made their living honestly. Allowed
that when it came to a humorous get-up my clothes were the original
end-man's gag.

I noticed on the way back to the hotel that every fellow holding up a
hitching-post was laughing, and I began to look up and down the street
for the joke, not understanding at first that the reason why I couldn't
see it was because I was it. Right there I began to learn that, while
the Prince of Wales may wear the correct thing in hats, it's safer when
you're out of his sphere of influence to follow the styles that the
hotel clerk sets; that the place to sell clothes is in the city, where
every one seems to have plenty of them; and that the place to sell mess
pork is in the country, where every one keeps hogs. That is why when a
fellow comes to me for advice about moving to a new country, where there
are more opportunities, I advise him--if he is built right--to go to an
old city where there is more money.

I wrote in to the house pretty often on that trip, explaining how it
was, going over the whole situation very carefully, and telling what our
competitors were doing, wherever I could find that they were doing

I gave old Hammer credit for more curiosity than he possessed, because
when I reached Cairo I found a telegram from him reading: "_Know what
our competitors are doing: they are getting all the trade. But what are
you doing?_" I saw then that the time for explaining was gone and that
the moment for resigning had arrived; so I just naturally sent in my
resignation. That is what we will expect from you--or orders.

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |           No. 11            |
                  |  From John Graham, at the   |
                  |  Union Stock Yards in       |
                  |  Chicago, to his son,       |
                  |  Pierrepont, at The         |
                  |  Planters' Palace Hotel,    |
                  |  at Big Gap, Kentucky. Mr.  |
                  |  Pierrepont's orders are    |
                  |  small and his expenses     |
                  |  are large, so his father   |
                  |  feels pessimistic over     |
                  |  his prospects.             |


                                          CHICAGO, April 10, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ You ought to be feeling mighty thankful to-day to the
fellow who invented fractions, because while your selling cost for last
month was within the limit, it took a good deal of help from the decimal
system to get it there. You are in the position of the boy who was
chased by the bull--open to congratulations because he reached the tree
first, and to condolence because a fellow up a tree, in the middle of a
forty-acre lot, with a disappointed bull for company, is in a mighty bad

I don't want to bear down hard on you right at the beginning of your
life on the road, but I would feel a good deal happier over your showing
if you would make a downright failure or a clean-cut success once in a
while, instead of always just skinning through this way. It looks to me
as if you were trying only half as hard as you could, and in trying
it's the second half that brings results. If there's one piece of
knowledge that is of less use to a fellow than knowing when he's beat,
it's knowing when he's done just enough work to keep from being fired.
Of course, you are bright enough to be a half-way man, and to hold a
half-way place on a half-way salary by doing half the work you are
capable of, but you've got to add dynamite and ginger and jounce to your
equipment if you want to get the other half that's coming to you. You've
got to believe that the Lord made the first hog with the Graham brand
burned in the skin, and that the drove which rushed down a steep place
was packed by a competitor. You've got to know your goods from A to
Izzard, from snout to tail, on the hoof and in the can. You've got to
know 'em like a young mother knows baby talk, and to be as proud of 'em
as the young father of a twelve-pound boy, without really thinking that
you're stretching it four pounds. You've got to believe in yourself and
make your buyers take stock in you at par and accrued interest. You've
got to have the scent of a bloodhound for an order, and the grip of a
bulldog on a customer. You've got to feel the same personal solicitude
over a bill of goods that strays off to a competitor as a parson over a
backslider, and hold special services to bring it back into the fold.
You've got to get up every morning with determination if you're going to
go to bed with satisfaction. You've got to eat hog, think hog, dream
hog--in short, go the whole hog if you're going to win out in the
pork-packing business.

That's a pretty liberal receipt, I know, but it's intended for a fellow
who wants to make a good-sized pie. And the only thing you ever find in
pastry that you don't put in yourself is flies.

You have had a wide-open chance during the last few months to pick up a
good deal about the practical end of the business, and between trips
now you ought to spend every spare minute in the packing-house getting
posted. Nothing earns better interest than judicious questions, and the
man who invests in more knowledge of the business than he has to have in
order to hold his job has capital with which to buy a mortgage on a
better one.

I may be mistaken, but I am just a little afraid that you really did not
get beyond a bowing acquaintance with Mr. Porker when you were here at
the packing-house. Of course, there isn't anything particularly pretty
about a hog, but any animal which has its kindly disposition and
benevolent inclination to yield up a handsome margin of profit to those
who get close to it, is worthy of a good deal of respect and attention.

I ain't one of those who believe that a half knowledge of a subject is
useless, but it has been my experience that when a fellow has that half
knowledge he finds it's the other half which would really come in
handy. So, when a man's in the selling end of the business what he
really needs to know is the manufacturing end; and when he's in the
factory he can't know too much about the trade.

You're just about due now to run into a smart Aleck buyer who'll show
you a sample of lard which he'll say was made by a competitor, and ask
what you think the grand jury ought to do to a house which had the nerve
to label it "leaf." Of course, you will nose around it and look wise and
say that, while you hesitate to criticize, you are afraid it would smell
like a hot-box on a freight if any one tried to fry doughnuts in it.
That is the place where the buyer will call for Jack and Charlie to get
in on the laugh, and when he has wiped away the tears he will tell you
that it is your own lard, and prove it to you. Of course, there won't be
anything really the matter with it, and if you had been properly posted
you would have looked surprised when he showed it to you and have said:

"I don't quite diagnose the case your way, Mr. Smith; that's a blamed
sight better lard than I thought Muggins & Co. were making." And you'd
have driven a spike right through that fellow's little joke and have
nailed down his order hard and tight with the same blow.

What you know is a club for yourself, and what you don't know is a
meat-ax for the other fellow. That is why you want to be on the lookout
all the time for information about the business, and to nail a fact just
as a sensible man nails a mosquito--the first time it settles near him.
Of course, a fellow may get another chance, but the odds are that if he
misses the first opening he will lose a good deal of blood before he
gets the second.

[Illustration: "_Josh Jenkinson would eat a little food now and then
just to be sociable, but what he really lived on was tobacco._"]

Speaking of finishing up a subject as you go along naturally calls to
mind the case of Josh Jenkinson, back in my home town. As I first
remember Josh, he was just bone and by-products. Wasn't an ounce of real
meat on him. In fact, he was so blamed thin that when he bought an
outfit of clothes his wife used to make them over into two suits for
him. Josh would eat a little food now and then, just to be sociable, but
what he really lived on was tobacco. Usually kept a chew in one cheek
and a cob pipe in the other. He was a powerful hand for a joke and had
one of those porous heads and movable scalps which go with a sense of
humor in a small village. Used to scare us boys by drawing in on his
pipe and letting the smoke sort of leak out through his eyes and ears
and nose. Pretended that he was the devil and that he was on fire
inside. Old Doc Hoover caught him at it once and told us that he wasn't,
but allowed that he was a blood relation.

Elder Hoover was a Methodist off the tip of the sirloin. There weren't
any evasions or generalities or metaphors in his religion. The lower
layers of the hereafter weren't Hades or Gehenna with him, but just
plain Hell, and mighty hot, too, you bet. His creed was built of sheet
iron and bolted together with inch rivets. He kept the fire going under
the boiler night and day, and he was so blamed busy stoking it that he
didn't have much time to map out the golden streets. When he blew off it
was super-heated steam and you could see the sinners who were in range
fairly sizzle and parboil and shrivel up. There was no give in Doc; no
compromises with creditors; no fire sales. He wasn't one of those elders
who would let a fellow dance the lancers if he'd swear off on waltzing;
or tell him it was all right to play whist in the parlor if he'd give up
penny-ante at the Dutchman's; or wink at his smoking if he'd quit

Josh knew this, so he kept away from the camp-meeting, though the Elder
gunned for him pretty steady for a matter of five years. But one summer
when the meetings were extra interesting, it got so lonesome sitting
around with the whole town off in the woods that Josh sneaked out to the
edge of the camp and hid behind some bushes where he could hear what was
going on. The elder was carrying about two hundred and fifty pounds, by
the gauge, that day, and with that pressure he naturally traveled into
the sinners pretty fast. The first thing Josh knew he was out from under
cover and a-hallelujahing down between the seats to the mourners' bench.
When the elder saw what was coming he turned on the forced draft. Inside
of ten minutes he had Josh under conviction and had taken his pipe and
plug away from him.

I am just a little inclined to think that Josh would have backslid if he
hadn't been a practical joker, and a critter of that breed is about as
afraid of a laugh on himself as a raw colt of a steam roller. So he
stuck it out, and began to take an interest in meal time. Kicked because
it didn't come eight or ten times a day. The first thing he knew he had
fatted up till he filled out his half suit and had to put it away in
camphor. Then he bought a whole suit, living-skeleton size. In two weeks
he had strained a shoulder seam and looked as if he was wearing tights.
So he retired it from circulation and moved up a size. That one was a
little loose, and it took him a good month to crowd it.

Josh was a pretty hefty man now, but he kept right on bulging out,
building on an addition here and putting out a bay window there, all the
time retiring new suits, until his wife had fourteen of them laid away
in the chest.

Said it didn't worry him; that he was bound to lose flesh sooner or
later. That he would catch them on the way down, and wear them out one
at a time. But when he got up to three hundred and fifty pounds he just
stuck. Tried exercise and dieting and foreign waters, but he couldn't
budge an ounce. In the end he had to give the clothes to the Widow
Doolan, who had fourteen sons in assorted sizes.

I simply mention Josh in passing as an example of the fact that a fellow
can't bank on getting a chance to go back and take up a thing that he
has passed over once, and to call your attention to the fact that a man
who knows his own business thoroughly will find an opportunity sooner or
later of reaching the most hardened cuss of a buyer on his route and of
getting a share of his.

I want to caution you right here against learning all there is to know
about pork-packing too quick. Business is a good deal like a nigger's
wool--it doesn't look very deep, but there are a heap of kinks and
curves in it.

When I was a boy and the fellow in pink tights came into the ring, I
used to think he was doing all that could be reasonably expected when he
kept eight or ten glass balls going in the air at once. But the
beautiful lady in the blue tights would keep right on handing him
things--kerosene lamps and carving knives and miscellaneous cutlery and
crockery, and he would get them going, too, without losing his happy
smile. The great trouble with most young fellows is that they think
they have learned all they need to know and have given the audience its
money's worth when they can keep the glass balls going, and so they balk
at the kerosene lamps and the rest of the implements of light
housekeeping. But there's no real limit to the amount of extras a fellow
with the right stuff in him will take on without losing his grin.

I want to see you come up smiling; I want to feel you in the business,
not only on pay day but every other day. I want to know that you are
running yourself full time and overtime, stocking up your brain so that
when the demand comes you will have the goods to offer. So far, you
promise to make a fair to ordinary salesman among our retail trade. I
want to see you grow into a car-lot man--so strong and big that you will
force us to see that you are out of place among the little fellows. Buck

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |          No. 12           |
                  |  From John Graham, at     |
                  |  the Union Stock Yards    |
                  |  in Chicago, to his son,  |
                  |  Pierrepont, at Little    |
                  |  Delmonico's, Prairie     |
                  |  Centre, Indiana. Mr.     |
                  |  Pierrepont has annoyed   |
                  |  his father by accepting  |
                  |  his criticisms in a      |
                  |  spirit of gentle, but    |
                  |  most reprehensible,      |
                  |  resignation.             |


                                          CHICAGO, April 15, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ Don't ever write me another of those sad, sweet,
gentle sufferer letters. It's only natural that a colt should kick a
trifle when he's first hitched up to the break wagon, and I'm always a
little suspicious of a critter that stands too quiet under the whip. I
know it's not meekness, but meanness, that I've got to fight, and it's
hard to tell which is the worst.

The only animal which the Bible calls patient is an ass, and that's both
good doctrine and good natural history. For I had to make considerable
of a study of the Missouri mule when I was a boy, and I discovered that
he's not really patient, but that he only pretends to be. You can cuss
him out till you've nothing but holy thoughts left in you to draw on,
and you can lay the rawhide on him till he's striped like a circus
zebra, and if you're cautious and reserved in his company he will just
look grieved and pained and resigned. But all the time that mule will be
getting meaner and meaner inside, adding compound cussedness every
thirty days, and practicing drop kicks in his stall after dark.

Of course, nothing in this world is wholly bad, not even a mule, for he
is half horse. But my observation has taught me that the horse half of
him is the front half, and that the only really safe way to drive him is
hind-side first. I suppose that you could train one to travel that way,
but it really doesn't seem worth while when good roadsters are so cheap.

That's the way I feel about these young fellows who lazy along trying to
turn in at every gate where there seems to be a little shade, and
sulking and balking whenever you say "git-ap" to them. They are the men
who are always howling that Bill Smith was promoted because he had a
pull, and that they are being held down because the manager is jealous
of them. I've seen a good many pulls in my time, but I never saw one
strong enough to lift a man any higher than he could raise himself by
his boot straps, or long enough to reach through the cashier's window
for more money than its owner earned.

When a fellow brags that he has a pull, he's a liar or his employer's a
fool. And when a fellow whines that he's being held down, the truth is,
as a general thing, that his boss can't hold him up. He just picks a
nice, soft spot, stretches out flat on his back, and yells that some
heartless brute has knocked him down and is sitting on his chest.

A good man is as full of bounce as a cat with a small boy and a bull
terrier after him. When he's thrown to the dog from the second-story
window, he fixes while he's sailing through the air to land right, and
when the dog jumps for the spot where he hits, he isn't there, but in
the top of the tree across the street. He's a good deal like the little
red-headed cuss that we saw in the football game you took me to. Every
time the herd stampeded it would start in to trample and paw and gore
him. One minute the whole bunch would be on top of him and the next he
would be loping off down the range, spitting out hair and pieces of
canvas jacket, or standing on one side as cool as a hog on ice, watching
the mess unsnarl and the removal of the cripples.

I didn't understand football, but I understood that little sawed-off. He
knew his business. And when a fellow knows his business, he doesn't have
to explain to people that he does. It isn't what a man knows, but what
he thinks he knows that he brags about. Big talk means little knowledge.

There's a vast difference between having a carload of miscellaneous
facts sloshing around loose in your head and getting all mixed up in
transit, and carrying the same assortment properly boxed and crated for
convenient handling and immediate delivery. A ham never weighs so much
as when it's half cured. When it has soaked in all the pickle that it
can, it has to sweat out most of it in the smoke-house before it is any
real good; and when you've soaked up all the information you can hold,
you will have to forget half of it before you will be of any real use to
the house. If there's anything worse than knowing too little, it's
knowing too much. Education will broaden a narrow mind, but there's no
known cure for a big head. The best you can hope is that it will swell
up and bust; and then, of course, there's nothing left. Poverty never
spoils a good man, but prosperity often does. It's easy to stand hard
times, because that's the only thing you can do, but in good times the
fool-killer has to do night work.

I simply mention these things in a general way. A good many of them
don't apply to you, no doubt, but it won't do any harm to make sure.
Most men get cross-eyed when they come to size themselves up, and see
an angel instead of what they're trying to look at. There's nothing that
tells the truth to a woman like a mirror, or that lies harder to a man.

What I am sure of is that you have got the sulks too quick. If you knew
all that you'll have to learn before you'll be a big, broad-gauged
merchant, you might have something to be sulky about.

When you've posted yourself properly about the business you'll have
taken a step in the right direction--you will be able to get your
buyer's attention. All the other steps are those which lead you into his

Right here you will discover that you are in the fix of the young fellow
who married his best girl and took her home to live with his mother. He
found that the only way in which he could make one happy was by making
the other mad, and that when he tried to make them both happy he only
succeeded in making them both mad. Naturally, in the end, his wife
divorced him and his mother disinherited him, and left her money to an
orphan asylum, because, as she sensibly observed in the codicil,
"orphans can not be ungrateful to their parents." But if the man had had
a little tact he would have kept them in separate houses, and have let
each one think that she was getting a trifle the best of it, without
really giving it to either.

Tact is the knack of keeping quiet at the right time; of being so
agreeable yourself that no one can be disagreeable to you; of making
inferiority feel like equality. A tactful man can pull the stinger from
a bee without getting stung.

Some men deal in facts, and call Bill Jones a liar. They get knocked
down. Some men deal in subterfuges, and say that Bill Jones' father was
a kettle-rendered liar, and that his mother's maiden name was Sapphira,
and that any one who believes in the Darwinian theory should pity
rather than blame their son. They get disliked. But your tactful man
says that since Baron Munchausen no one has been so chuck full of bully
reminiscences as Bill Jones; and when that comes back to Bill he is half
tickled to death, because he doesn't know that the higher criticism has
hurt the Baron's reputation. That man gets the trade.

There are two kinds of information: one to which everybody's entitled,
and that is taught at school; and one which nobody ought to know except
yourself, and that is what you think of Bill Jones. Of course, where you
feel a man is not square you will be armed to meet him, but never on his
own ground. Make him be honest with you if you can, but don't let him
make you dishonest with him.

When you make a mistake, don't make the second one--keeping it to
yourself. Own up. The time to sort out rotten eggs is at the nest. The
deeper you hide them in the case the longer they stay in circulation,
and the worse impression they make when they finally come to the
breakfast-table. A mistake sprouts a lie when you cover it up. And one
lie breeds enough distrust to choke out the prettiest crop of confidence
that a fellow ever cultivated.

Of course, it's easy to have the confidence of the house, or the
confidence of the buyer, but you've got to have both. The house pays you
your salary, and the buyer helps you earn it. If you skin the buyer you
will lose your trade; and if you play tag with the house you will lose
your job. You've simply got to walk the fence straight, for if you step
to either side you'll find a good deal of air under you.

Even after you are able to command the attention and the confidence of
your buyers, you've got to be up and dressed all day to hold what trade
is yours, and twisting and turning all night to wriggle into some of
the other fellow's. When business is good, that is the time to force it,
because it will come easy; and when it is bad, that is the time to force
it, too, because we will need the orders.

Speaking of making trade naturally calls to my mind my old acquaintance,
Herr Doctor Paracelsus Von Munsterberg, who, when I was a boy, came to
our town "fresh from his healing triumphs at the Courts of Europe," as
his handbills ran, "not to make money, but to confer on suffering
mankind the priceless boon of health; to make the sick well, and the
well better."

Munsterberg wasn't one of your common, coarse, county-fair barkers. He
was a pretty high-toned article. Had nice, curly black hair and didn't
spare the bear's grease. Wore a silk hat and a Prince Albert coat all
the time, except when he was orating, and then he shed the coat to get
freer action with his arms. And when he talked he used the whole
language, you bet.

[Illustration: "_Herr Doctor Paracelsus Von Munsterberg was a pretty
high-toned article._"]

Of course, the Priceless Boon was put up in bottles, labeled
Munsterberg's Miraculous Medical Discovery, and, simply to introduce it,
he was willing to sell the small size at fifty cents and the large one
at a dollar. In addition to being a philanthropist the Doctor was quite
a hand at card tricks, played the banjo, sung coon songs and imitated a
saw going through a board very creditably. All these accomplishments,
and the story of how he cured the Emperor of Austria's sister with a
single bottle, drew a crowd, but they didn't sell a drop of the
Discovery. Nobody in town was really sick, and those who thought they
were had stocked up the week before with Quackenboss' Quick Quinine Kure
from a fellow that made just as liberal promises as Munsterberg and sold
the large size at fifty cents, including a handsome reproduction of an
old master for the parlor.

Some fellows would just have cussed a little and have moved on to the
next town, but Munsterberg made a beautiful speech, praising the
climate, and saying that in his humble capacity he had been privileged
to meet the strength and beauty of many Courts, but never had he been in
any place where strength was stronger or beauty beautifuller than right
here in Hoskins' Corners. He prayed with all his heart, though it was
almost too much to hope, that the cholera, which was raging in Kentucky,
would pass this Eden by; that the yellow fever, which was devastating
Tennessee, would halt abashed before this stronghold of health, though
he felt bound to add that it was a peculiarly malignant and persistent
disease; that the smallpox, which was creeping southward from Canada,
would smite the next town instead of ours, though he must own that it
was no respecter of persons; that the diphtheria and scarlet-fever,
which were sweeping over New England and crowding the graveyards, could
be kept from crossing the Hudson, though they were great travelers and
it was well to be prepared for the worst; that we one and all might
providentially escape chills, headaches, coated tongue, pains in the
back, loss of sleep and that tired feeling, but it was almost too much
to ask, even of such a generous climate. In any event, he begged us to
beware of worthless nostrums and base imitations. It made him sad to
think that to-day we were here and that to-morrow we were running up an
undertaker's bill, all for the lack of a small bottle of Medicine's
greatest gift to Man.

I could see that this speech made a lot of women in the crowd powerful
uneasy, and I heard the Widow Judkins say that she was afraid it was
going to be "a mighty sickly winter," and she didn't know as it would do
any harm to have some of that stuff in the house. But the Doctor didn't
offer the Priceless Boon for sale again. He went right from his speech
into an imitation of a dog, with a tin can tied to his tail, running
down Main Street and crawling under Si Hooper's store at the far end of
it--an imitation, he told us, to which the Sultan was powerful partial,
"him being a cruel man and delighting in torturing the poor dumb beasts
which the Lord has given us to love, honor and cherish."

He kept this sort of thing up till he judged it was our bedtime, and
then he thanked us "one and all for our kind attention," and said that
as his mission in life was to amuse as well as to heal, he would stay
over till the next afternoon and give a special matinée for the little
ones, whom he loved for the sake of his own golden-haired Willie, back
there over the Rhine.

Naturally, all the women and children turned out the next afternoon,
though the men had to be at work in the fields and the stores, and the
Doctor just made us roar for half an hour. Then, while he was singing an
uncommon funny song, Mrs. Brown's Johnny let out a howl.

The Doctor stopped short. "Bring the poor little sufferer here, Madam,
and let me see if I can soothe his agony," says he.

Mrs. Brown was a good deal embarrassed and more scared, but she pushed
Johnny, yelling all the time, up to the Doctor, who began tapping him on
the back and looking down his throat. Naturally, this made Johnny cry
all the harder, and his mother was beginning to explain that she
"reckoned she must have stepped on his sore toe," when the Doctor struck
his forehead, cried "Eureka!", whipped out a bottle of the Priceless
Boon, and forced a spoonful of it into Johnny's mouth. Then he gave the
boy three slaps on the back and three taps on the stomach, ran one hand
along his windpipe, and took a small button-hook out of his mouth with
the other.

Johnny made all his previous attempts at yelling sound like an imitation
when he saw this, and he broke away and ran toward home. Then the Doctor
stuck one hand in over the top of his vest, waved the button-hook in
the other, and cried: "Woman, your child is cured! Your button-hook is

Then he went on to explain that when baby swallowed safety-pins, or
pennies, or fish-bones, or button-hooks, or any little household
articles, that all you had to do was to give it a spoonful of the
Priceless Boon, tap it gently fore and aft, hold your hand under its
mouth, and the little article would drop out like chocolate from a slot

Every one was talking at once, now, and nobody had any time for Mrs.
Brown, who was trying to say something. Finally she got mad and followed
Johnny home. Half an hour later the Doctor drove out of the Corners,
leaving his stock of the Priceless Boon distributed--for the usual
consideration--among all the mothers in town.

It was not until the next day that Mrs. Brown got a chance to explain
that while the Boon might be all that the Doctor claimed for it, no one
in her house had ever owned a button-hook, because her old man wore
jack-boots and she wore congress shoes, and little Johnny wore just
plain feet.

I simply mention the Doctor in passing, not as an example in morals, but
in methods. Some salesmen think that selling is like eating--to satisfy
an existing appetite; but a good salesman is like a good cook--he can
create an appetite when the buyer isn't hungry.

I don't care how good old methods are, new ones are better, even if
they're only just as good. That's not so Irish as it sounds. Doing the
same thing in the same way year after year is like eating a quail a day
for thirty days. Along toward the middle of the month a fellow begins to
long for a broiled crow or a slice of cold dog.

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |           No. 13           |
                  |  From John Graham, at      |
                  |  the Union Stock Yards     |
                  |  in Chicago, to his son,   |
                  |  Pierrepont, care of The   |
                  |  Hoosier Grocery Co.,      |
                  |  Indianapolis, Indiana.    |
                  |  Mr. Pierrepont's orders   |
                  |  have been looking up, so  |
                  |  the old man gives him a   |
                  |  pat on the back--but not  |
                  |  too hard a one.           |


                                            CHICAGO, May 10, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ That order for a carload of Spotless Snow Leaf from
old Shorter is the kind of back talk I like. We can stand a little more
of the same sort of sassing. I have told the cashier that you will draw
thirty a week after this, and I want you to have a nice suit of clothes
made and send the bill to the old man. Get something that won't keep
people guessing whether you follow the horses or do buck and wing dancing
for a living. Your taste in clothes seems to be lasting longer than the
rest of your college education. You looked like a young widow who had
raised the second crop of daisies over the deceased when you were in here
last week.

Of course, clothes don't make the man, but they make all of him except
his hands and face during business hours, and that's a pretty
considerable area of the human animal. A dirty shirt may hide a pure
heart, but it seldom covers a clean skin. If you look as if you had
slept in your clothes, most men will jump to the conclusion that you
have, and you will never get to know them well enough to explain that
your head is so full of noble thoughts that you haven't time to bother
with the dandruff on your shoulders. And if you wear blue and white
striped pants and a red necktie, you will find it difficult to get close
enough to a deacon to be invited to say grace at his table, even if you
never play for anything except coffee or beans.

Appearances are deceitful, I know, but so long as they are, there's
nothing like having them deceive for us instead of against us. I've seen
a ten-cent shave and a five-cent shine get a thousand-dollar job, and a
cigarette and a pint of champagne knock the bottom out of a
million-dollar pork corner. Four or five years ago little Jim Jackson
had the bears in the provision pit hibernating and living on their own
fat till one morning, the day after he had run the price of mess pork up
to twenty dollars and nailed it there, some one saw him drinking a small
bottle just before he went on 'Change, and told it round among the
brokers on the floor. The bears thought Jim must have had bad news, to
be bracing up at that time in the morning, so they perked up and
everlastingly sold the mess pork market down through the bottom of the
pit to solid earth. There wasn't even a grease spot left of that corner
when they got through. As it happened, Jim hadn't had any bad news; he
just took the drink because he felt pretty good, and things were coming
his way.

But it isn't enough to be all right in this world; you've got to look
all right as well, because two-thirds of success is making people think
you are all right. So you have to be governed by general rules, even
though you may be an exception. People have seen four and four make
eight, and the young man and the small bottle make a damned fool so
often that they are hard to convince that the combination can work out
any other way. The Lord only allows so much fun for every man that He
makes. Some get it going fishing most of the time and making money the
rest; some get it making money most of the time and going fishing the
rest. You can take your choice, but the two lines of business don't gee.
The more money, the less fish. The farther you go, the straighter you've
got to walk.

I used to get a heap of solid comfort out of chewing tobacco. Picked up
the habit in Missouri, and took to it like a Yankee to pie. At that time
pretty much every one in those parts chewed, except the Elder and the
women, and most of them snuffed. Seemed a nice, sociable habit, and I
never thought anything special about it till I came North and your Ma
began to tell me it was a vile relic of barbarism, meaning Missouri, I
suppose. Then I confined operations to my office and took to fine cut
instead of plug, as being tonier.

Well, one day, about ten years ago, when I was walking through the
office, I noticed one of the boys on the mailing-desk, a mighty
likely-looking youngster, sort of working his jaws as he wrote. I didn't
stop to think, but somehow I was mad in a minute. Still, I didn't say a
word--just stood and looked at him while he speeded up the way the boys
will when they think the old man is nosing around to see whose salary he
can raise next.

I stood over him for a matter of five minutes, and all the time he was
pretending not to see me at all. I will say that he was a pretty game
boy, for he never weakened for a second. But at last, seeing he was
about to choke to death, I said, sharp and sudden--"Spit."

Well, sir, I thought it was a cloudburst. You can bet I was pretty hot,
and I started in to curl up that young fellow to a crisp. But before I
got out a word, something hit me all of a sudden, and I just went up to
the boy and put my hand on his shoulder and said, "Let's swear off, son."

Naturally, he swore off--he was so blamed scared that he would have quit
breathing if I had asked him to, I reckon. And I had to take my stock of
fine cut and send it to the heathen.

I simply mention this little incident in passing as an example of the
fact that a man can't do what he pleases in this world, because the
higher he climbs the plainer people can see him. Naturally, as the old
man's son, you have a lot of fellows watching you and betting that you
are no good. If you succeed they will say it was an accident; and if you
fail they will say it was a cinch.

There are two unpardonable sins in this world--success and failure.
Those who succeed can't forgive a fellow for being a failure, and those
who fail can't forgive him for being a success. If you do succeed, though,
you will be too busy to bother very much about what the failures think.

I dwell a little on this matter of appearances because so few men are
really thinking animals. Where one fellow reads a stranger's character
in his face, a hundred read it in his get-up. We have shown a dozen
breeds of dukes and droves of college presidents and doctors of divinity
through the packing-house, and the workmen never noticed them except to
throw livers at them when they got in their way. But when John L.
Sullivan went through the stock yards it just simply shut down the
plant. The men quit the benches with a yell and lined up to cheer him.
You see, John looked his job, and you didn't have to explain to the men
that he was the real thing in prize-fighters. Of course, when a fellow
gets to the point where he is something in particular, he doesn't have
to care because he doesn't look like anything special; but while a young
fellow isn't anything in particular, it is a mighty valuable asset if he
looks like something special.

Just here I want to say that while it's all right for the other fellow
to be influenced by appearances, it's all wrong for you to go on them.
Back up good looks by good character yourself, and make sure that the
other fellow does the same. A suspicious man makes trouble for himself,
but a cautious one saves it. Because there ain't any rotten apples in
the top layer, it ain't always safe to bet that the whole barrel is

[Illustration: "_When John L. Sullivan went through the stock yards, it
just simply shut down the plant._"]

A man doesn't snap up a horse just because he looks all right. As a
usual thing that only makes him wonder what really is the matter that
the other fellow wants to sell. So he leads the nag out into the middle
of a ten-acre lot, where the light will strike him good and strong, and
examines every hair of his hide, as if he expected to find it near-seal,
or some other base imitation; and he squints under each hoof for the
grand hailing sign of distress; and he peeks down his throat for dark
secrets. If the horse passes this degree the buyer drives him twenty or
thirty miles, expecting him to turn out a roarer, or to find that he
balks, or shies, or goes lame, or develops some other horse nonsense.
If after all that there are no bad symptoms, he offers fifty less than
the price asked, on general principles, and for fear he has missed

Take men and horses, by and large, and they run pretty much the same.
There's nothing like trying a man in harness a while before you bind
yourself to travel very far with him.

I remember giving a nice-looking, clean-shaven fellow a job on the
billing-desk, just on his looks, but he turned out such a poor hand at
figures that I had to fire him at the end of a week. It seemed that the
morning he struck me for the place he had pawned his razor for fifteen
cents in order to get a shave. Naturally, if I had known that in the
first place I wouldn't have hired him as a human arithmetic.

Another time I had a collector that I set a heap of store by. Always
handled himself just right when he talked to you and kept himself
looking right up to the mark. His salary wasn't very big, but he had
such a persuasive way that he seemed to get a dollar and a half's worth
of value out of every dollar that he earned. Never crowded the fashions
and never gave 'em any slack. If sashes were the thing with summer
shirts, why Charlie had a sash, you bet, and when tight trousers were
the nobby trick in pants, Charlie wore his double reefed. Take him fore
and aft, Charlie looked all right and talked all right--always careful,
always considerate, always polite.

One noon, after he had been with me for a year or two, I met him coming
in from his route looking glum; so I handed him fifty dollars as a
little sweetener. I never saw a fifty cheer a man up like that one did
Charlie, and he thanked me just right--didn't stutter and didn't slop
over. I earmarked Charlie for a raise and a better job right there.

Just after that I got mixed up with some work in my private office and I
didn't look around again till on toward closing time. Then, right
outside my door I met the office manager, and he looked mighty glum,

"I was just going to knock on your door," said he.

"Well?" I asked.

"Charlie Chasenberry is eight hundred dollars short in his collections."

"Um--m," I said, without blinking, but I had a gone feeling just the

"I had a plain-clothes man here to arrest him this evening, but he
didn't come in."

"Looks as if he'd skipped, eh?" I asked.

"I'm afraid so, but I don't know how. He didn't have a dollar this
morning, because he tried to overdraw his salary account and I wouldn't
let him, and he didn't collect any bills to-day because he had already
collected everything that was due this week and lost it bucking the

I didn't say anything, but I suspected that there was a sucker somewhere
in the office. The next day I was sure of it, for I got a telegram from
the always polite and thoughtful Charlie, dated at Montreal:

     "Many, many thanks, dear Mr. Graham, for your timely assistance."

Careful as usual, you see, about the little things, for there were just
ten words in the message. But that "Many, many thanks, dear Mr. Graham,"
was the closest to slopping over I had ever known him to come.

I consider the little lesson that Charlie gave me as cheap at eight
hundred and fifty dollars, and I pass it along to you because it may
save you a thousand or two on your experience account.

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |           No. 14           |
                  |  From John Graham, at the  |
                  |  Union Stock Yards in      |
                  |  Chicago, to his son,      |
                  |  Pierrepont, at The        |
                  |  Travelers' Rest, New      |
                  |  Albany, Indiana. Mr.      |
                  |  Pierrepont has taken a    |
                  |  little flyer in short     |
                  |  ribs on 'Change, and has  |
                  |  accidentally come into    |
                  |  the line of his father's  |
                  |  vision.                   |


                                           CHICAGO, July 15, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ I met young Horshey, of Horshey & Horter, the grain
and provision brokers, at luncheon yesterday, and while we were talking
over the light run of hogs your name came up somehow, and he congratulated
me on having such a smart son. Like an old fool, I allowed that you were
bright enough to come in out of the rain if somebody called you, though I
ought to have known better, for it seems as if I never start in to brag
about your being sound and sweet that I don't have to wind up by allowing
a rebate for skippers.

Horshey was so blamed anxious to show that you were over-weight--he
wants to handle some of my business on 'Change--that he managed to prove
you a light-weight. Told me you had ordered him to sell a hundred
thousand ribs short last week, and that he had just bought them in on a
wire from you at a profit of four hundred and sixty-odd dollars. I was
mighty hot, you bet, to know that you had been speculating, but I had to
swallow and allow that you were a pretty sharp boy. I told Horshey to
close out the account and send me a check for your profits and I would
forward it, as I wanted to give you a tip on the market before you did
any more trading.

I inclose the check herewith. Please indorse it over to the treasurer of
The Home for Half Orphans and return at once. I will see that he gets it
with your compliments.

Now, I want to give you that tip on the market. There are several
reasons why it isn't safe for you to trade on 'Change just now, but the
particular one is that Graham & Co. will fire you if you do. Trading on
margin is a good deal like paddling around the edge of the old swimming
hole--it seems safe and easy at first, but before a fellow knows it he
has stepped off the edge into deep water. The wheat pit is only thirty
feet across, but it reaches clear down to Hell. And trading on margin
means trading on the ragged edge of nothing. When a man buys, he's
buying something that the other fellow hasn't got. When a man sells,
he's selling something that he hasn't got. And it's been my experience
that the net profit on nothing is nit. When a speculator wins he don't
stop till he loses, and when he loses he can't stop till he wins.

You have been in the packing business long enough now to know that it
takes a bull only thirty seconds to lose his hide; and if you'll believe
me when I tell you that they can skin a bear just as quick on 'Change,
you won't have a Board of Trade Indian using your pelt for a rug during
the long winter months.

Because you are the son of a pork packer you may think that you know a
little more than the next fellow about paper pork. There's nothing in
it. The poorest men on earth are the relations of millionaires. When I
sell futures on 'Change, they're against hogs that are traveling into
dry salt at the rate of one a second, and if the market goes up on me
I've got the solid meat to deliver. But, if you lose, the only part of
the hog which you can deliver is the squeal.

I wouldn't bear down so hard on this matter if money was the only thing
that a fellow could lose on 'Change. But if a clerk sells pork, and the
market goes down, he's mighty apt to get a lot of ideas with holes in
them and bad habits as the small change of his profits. And if the
market goes up, he's likely to go short his self-respect to win back his

Most men think that they can figure up all their assets in dollars and
cents, but a merchant may owe a hundred thousand dollars and be solvent.
A man's got to lose more than money to be broke. When a fellow's got a
straight backbone and a clear eye his creditors don't have to lie awake
nights worrying over his liabilities. You can hide your meanness from
your brain and your tongue, but the eye and the backbone won't keep
secrets. When the tongue lies, the eyes tell the truth.

I know you'll think that the old man is bucking and kicking up a lot of
dust over a harmless little flyer. But I've kept a heap smarter boys
than you out of Joliet when they found it easy to feed the Board of
Trade hog out of my cash drawer, after it had sucked up their savings in
a couple of laps.

You must learn not to overwork a dollar any more than you would a horse.
Three per cent. is a small load for it to draw; six, a safe one; when it
pulls in ten for you it's likely working out West and you've got to
watch to see that it doesn't buck; when it makes twenty you own a blame
good critter or a mighty foolish one, and you want to make dead sure
which; but if it draws a hundred it's playing the races or something
just as hard on horses and dollars, and the first thing you know you
won't have even a carcass to haul to the glue factory.

I dwell a little on this matter of speculation because you've got to
live next door to the Board of Trade all your life, and it's a safe
thing to know something about a neighbor's dogs before you try to pat
them. Sure Things, Straight Tips and Dead Cinches will come running out
to meet you, wagging their tails and looking as innocent as if they
hadn't just killed a lamb, but they'll bite. The only safe road to
follow in speculation leads straight away from the Board of Trade on
the dead run.

Speaking of sure things naturally calls to mind the case of my old
friend Deacon Wiggleford, whom I used to know back in Missouri years
ago. The Deacon was a powerful pious man, and he was good according to
his lights, but he didn't use a very superior article of kerosene to
keep them burning.

Used to take up half the time in prayer-meeting talking about how we
were all weak vessels and stewards. But he was so blamed busy exhorting
others to give out of the fullness with which the Lord had blessed them
that he sort of forgot that the Lord had blessed him about fifty
thousand dollars' worth, and put it all in mighty safe property, too,
you bet.

The Deacon had a brother in Chicago whom he used to call a sore trial.
Brother Bill was a broker on the Board of Trade, and, according to the
Deacon, he was not only engaged in a mighty sinful occupation, but he
was a mighty poor steward of his sinful gains. Smoked two-bit cigars
and wore a plug hat. Drank a little and cussed a little and went to the
Episcopal Church, though he had been raised a Methodist. Altogether it
looked as if Bill was a pretty hard nut.

Well, one fall the Deacon decided to go to Chicago himself to buy his
winter goods, and naturally he hiked out to Brother Bill's to stay,
which was considerable cheaper for him than the Palmer House, though,
as he told us when he got back, it made him sick to see the waste.

The Deacon had his mouth all fixed to tell Brother Bill that, in his
opinion, he wasn't much better than a faro dealer, for he used to brag
that he never let anything turn him from his duty, which meant his
meddling in other people's business. I want to say right here that with
most men duty means something unpleasant which the other fellow ought to
do. As a matter of fact, a man's first duty is to mind his own business.
It's been my experience that it takes about all the thought and work
which one man can give to run one man right, and if a fellow's putting
in five or six hours a day on his neighbor's character, he's mighty apt
to scamp the building of his own.

Well, when Brother Bill got home from business that first night, the
Deacon explained that every time he lit a two-bit cigar he was
depriving a Zulu of twenty-five helpful little tracts which might have
made a better man of him; that fast horses were a snare and plug hats a
wile of the Enemy; that the Board of Trade was the Temple of Belial and
the brokers on it his sons and servants.

Brother Bill listened mighty patiently to him, and when the Deacon had
pumped out all the Scripture that was in him, and was beginning to suck
air, he sort of slunk into the conversation like a setter pup that's
been caught with the feathers on its chops.

"Brother Zeke," says he, "I shall certainly let your words soak in. I
want to be a number two red, hard, sound and clean sort of a man, and
grade contract on delivery day. Perhaps, as you say, the rust has got
into me and the Inspector won't pass me, and if I can see it that way
I'll settle my trades and get out of the market for good."

The Deacon knew that Brother Bill had scraped together considerable
property, and, as he was a bachelor, it would come to him in case the
broker was removed by any sudden dispensation. What he really feared was
that this money might be fooled away in high living and speculation. And
so he had banged away into the middle of the flock, hoping to bring down
those two birds. Now that it began to look as if he might kill off the
whole bunch he started in to hedge.

"Is it safe, William?" says he.

"As Sunday-school," says Bill, "if you do a strictly brokerage business
and don't speculate."

"I trust, William, that you recognize the responsibilities of your

[Illustration: "_I started in to curl up that young fellow to a

Bill fetched a groan. "Zeke," says he, "you cornered me there, and I
'spose I might as well walk up to the Captain's office and settle. I
hadn't bought or sold a bushel on my own account in a year till last
week, when I got your letter saying that you were coming. Then I saw
what looked like a safe chance to scalp the market for a couple of cents
a bushel, and I bought 10,000 September, intending to turn over the
profits to you as a little present, so that you could see the town and
have a good time without it's costing you anything."

The Deacon judged from Bill's expression that he had got nipped and was
going to try to unload the loss on him, so he changed his face to the
one which he used when attending the funeral of any one who hadn't been
a professor, and came back quick and hard:

"I'm surprised, William, that you should think I would accept money made
in gambling. Let this be a lesson to you. How much did you lose?"

"That's the worst of it--I didn't lose; I made two hundred dollars," and
Bill hove another sigh.

"Made two hundred dollars!" echoed the Deacon, and he changed his face
again for the one which he used when he found a lead quarter in his
till and couldn't remember who had passed it on him.

"Yes," Bill went on, "and I'm ashamed of it, for you've made me see
things in a new light. Of course, after what you've said, I know it
would be an insult to offer you the money. And I feel now that it
wouldn't be right to keep it myself. I must sleep on it and try to find
the straight thing to do."

I guess it really didn't interfere with Bill's sleep, but the Deacon sat
up with the corpse of that two hundred dollars, you bet. In the morning
at breakfast he asked Brother Bill to explain all about this speculating
business, what made the market go up and down, and whether real corn or
wheat or pork figured in any stage of a deal. Bill looked sort of sad
and dreamy-eyed, as if his conscience hadn't digested that two hundred
yet, but he was mighty obliging about explaining everything to Zeke. He
had changed his face for the one which he wore when he sold an easy
customer ground peas and chicory for O. G. Java, and every now and then
he gulped as if he was going to start a hymn. When Bill told him how
good and bad weather sent the market up and down, he nodded and said
that that part of it was all right, because the weather was of the Lord.

"Not on the Board of Trade it isn't," Bill answered back; "at least, not
to any marked extent; it's from the weather man or some liar in the corn
belt, and, as the weather man usually guesses wrong, I reckon there
isn't any special inspiration about it. The game is to guess what's
going to happen, not what has happened, and by the time the real weather
comes along everybody has guessed wrong and knocked the market off a
cent or two."

That made the Deacon's chin whiskers droop a little, but he began to ask
questions again, and by and by he discovered that away behind--about a
hundred miles behind, but that was close enough for the Deacon--a deal
in futures there were real wheat and pork. Said then that he'd been
misinformed and misled; that speculation was a legitimate business,
involving skill and sagacity; that his last scruple was removed, and
that he would accept the two hundred.

Bill brightened right up at that and thanked him for putting it so clear
and removing the doubts that had been worrying him. Said that he could
speculate with a clear conscience after listening to the Deacon's able
exposition of the subject. Was only sorry he hadn't seen him to talk it
over before breakfast, as the two hundred had been lying so heavy on his
mind all night that he'd got up early and mailed a check for it to the
Deacon's pastor and told him to spend it on his poor.

Zeke took the evening train home in order to pry that check out of the
elder, but old Doc. Hoover was a pretty quick stepper himself and he'd
blown the whole two hundred as soon as he got it, buying winter coal for
poor people.

I simply mention the Deacon in passing as an example of the fact that
it's easy for a man who thinks he's all right to go all wrong when he
sees a couple of hundred dollars lying around loose a little to one side
of the straight and narrow path; and that when he reaches down to pick
up the money there's usually a string tied to it and a small boy in the
bushes to give it a yank. Easy-come money never draws interest;
easy-borrowed dollars pay usury.

Of course, the Board of Trade and every other commercial exchange have
their legitimate uses, but all you need to know just now is that
speculation by a fellow who never owns more pork at a time than he sees
on his breakfast plate isn't one of them. When you become a packer you
may go on 'Change as a trader; until then you can go there only as a

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |           No. 15            |
                  |  From John Graham, at       |
                  |  the Union Stock Yards      |
                  |  in Chicago, to his son,    |
                  |  Pierrepont, at The Scrub   |
                  |  Oaks, Spring Lake,         |
                  |  Michigan. Mr. Pierrepont   |
                  |  has been promoted again,   |
                  |  and the old man sends him  |
                  |  a little advice with his   |
                  |  appointment.               |


                                       CHICAGO, September 1, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ I judge from yours of the twenty-ninth that you must
have the black bass in those parts pretty well terrorized. I never could
quite figure it out, but there seems to be something about a fish that
makes even a cold-water deacon see double. I reckon it must be that
while Eve was learning the first principles of dressmaking from the
snake, Adam was off bass fishing and keeping his end up by learning how
to lie.

Don't overstock yourself with those four-pound fish yarns, though,
because the boys have been bringing them back from their vacations till
we've got enough to last us for a year of Fridays. And if you're sending
them to keep in practice, you might as well quit, because we've decided
to take you off the road when you come back, and make you assistant
manager of the lard department. The salary will be fifty dollars a
week, and the duties of the position to do your work so well that the
manager can't run the department without you, and that you can run the
department without the manager.

To do this you will have to know lard; to know yourself; and to know
those under you. To some fellows lard is just hog fat, and not always
that, if they would rather make a dollar to-day than five to-morrow. But
it was a good deal more to Jack Summers, who held your new job until we
had to promote him to canned goods.

Jack knew lard from the hog to the frying pan; was up on lard in history
and religion; originated what he called the "Ham and" theory, proving
that Moses' injunction against pork must have been dissolved by the
Circuit Court, because Noah included a couple of shoats in his cargo,
and called one of his sons Ham, out of gratitude, probably, after
tasting a slice broiled for the first time; argued that all the great
nations lived on fried food, and that America was the greatest of them
all, owing to the energy-producing qualities of pie, liberally shortened
with lard.

It almost broke Jack's heart when we decided to manufacture our new
cottonseed oil product, Seedoiline. But on reflection he saw that it
just gave him an extra hold on the heathen that he couldn't convert to
lard, and he started right out for the Hebrew and vegetarian vote. Jack
had enthusiasm, and enthusiasm is the best shortening for any job; it
makes heavy work light.

A good many young fellows envy their boss because they think he makes the
rules and can do as he pleases. As a matter of fact, he's the only man in
the shop who can't. He's like the fellow on the tight-rope--there's plenty
of scenery under him and lots of room around him, but he's got to keep his
feet on the wire all the time and travel straight ahead.

A clerk has just one boss to answer to--the manager. But the manager has
just as many bosses as he has clerks under him. He can make rules, but
he's the only man who can't afford to break them now and then. A fellow
is a boss simply because he's a better man than those under him, and
there's a heap of responsibility in being better than the next fellow.

No man can ask more than he gives. A fellow who can't take orders can't
give them. If his rules are too hard for him to mind, you can bet they
are too hard for the clerks who don't get half so much for minding them
as he does. There's no alarm clock for the sleepy man like an early
rising manager; and there's nothing breeds work in an office like a busy

Of course, setting a good example is just a small part of a manager's
duties. It's not enough to settle yourself firm on the box seat--you
must have every man under you hitched up right and well in hand. You
can't work individuals by general rules. Every man is a special case and
needs a special pill.

When you fix up a snug little nest for a Plymouth Rock hen and encourage
her with a nice porcelain egg, it doesn't always follow that she has
reached the fricassee age because she doesn't lay right off. Sometimes
she will respond to a little red pepper in her food.

I don't mean by this that you ever want to drive your men, because the
lash always leaves its worst soreness under the skin. A hundred men will
forgive a blow in the face where one will a blow to his self-esteem.
Tell a man the truth about himself and shame the devil if you want to,
but you won't shame the man you're trying to reach, because he won't
believe you. But if you can start him on the road that will lead him to
the truth he's mighty apt to try to reform himself before any one else
finds him out.

Consider carefully before you say a hard word to a man, but never let a
chance to say a good one go by. Praise judiciously bestowed is money

Never learn anything about your men except from themselves. A good
manager needs no detectives, and the fellow who can't read human nature
can't manage it. The phonograph records of a fellow's character are
lined in his face, and a man's days tell the secrets of his nights.

Be slow to hire and quick to fire. The time to discover incompatibility
of temper and curl-papers is before the marriage ceremony. But when you
find that you've hired the wrong man, you can't get rid of him too
quick. Pay him an extra month, but don't let him stay another day. A
discharged clerk in the office is like a splinter in the thumb--a centre
of soreness. There are no exceptions to this rule, because there are no
exceptions to human nature.

Never threaten, because a threat is a promise to pay that it isn't
always convenient to meet, but if you don't make it good it hurts your
credit. Save a threat till you're ready to act, and then you won't need
it. In all your dealings, remember that to-day is your opportunity;
to-morrow some other fellow's.

Keep close to your men. When a fellow's sitting on top of a mountain
he's in a mighty dignified and exalted position, but if he's gazing at
the clouds, he's missing a heap of interesting and important doings down
in the valley. Never lose your dignity, of course, but tie it up in all
the red tape you can find around the office, and tuck it away in the
safe. It's easy for a boss to awe his clerks, but a man who is feared to
his face is hated behind his back. A competent boss can move among his
men without having to draw an imaginary line between them, because they
will see the real one if it exists.

Besides keeping in touch with your office men, you want to feel your
salesmen all the time. Send each of them a letter every day so that
they won't forget that we are making goods for which we need orders; and
insist on their sending you a line every day, whether they have anything
to say or not. When a fellow has to write in six times a week to the
house, he uses up his explanations mighty fast, and he's pretty apt to
hustle for business to make his seventh letter interesting.

Right here I want to repeat that in keeping track of others and their
faults it's very, very important that you shouldn't lose sight of your
own. Authority swells up some fellows so that they can't see their
corns; but a wise man tries to cure his own while remembering not to
tread on his neighbors'.

[Illustration: "_A good many salesmen have an idea that buyers are only
interested in funny stories._"]

In this connection, the story of Lemuel Hostitter, who kept the corner
grocery in my old town, naturally comes to mind. Lem was probably the
meanest white man in the State of Missouri, and it wasn't any walk-over
to hold the belt in those days. Most grocers were satisfied to adulterate
their coffee with ground peas, but Lem was so blamed mean that he
adulterated the peas first. Bought skin-bruised hams and claimed that
the bruise was his private and particular brand, stamped in the skin,
showing that they were a fancy article, packed expressly for his fancy
family trade. Ran a soda-water fountain in the front of his store with
home-made syrups that ate the lining out of the children's stomachs, and
a blind tiger in the back room with moonshine whiskey that pickled their
daddies' insides. Take it by and large, Lem's character smelled about as
various as his store, and that wasn't perfumed with lily-of-the-valley,
you bet.

One time and another most men dropped into Lem's store of an evening,
because there wasn't any other place to go and swap lies about the crops
and any of the neighbors who didn't happen to be there. As Lem was
always around, in the end he was the only man in town whose meanness
hadn't been talked over in that grocery. Naturally, he began to think
that he was the only decent white man in the county. Got to shaking his
head and reckoning that the town was plum rotten. Said that such goings
on would make a pessimist of a goat. Wanted to know if public opinion
couldn't be aroused so that decency would have a show in the village.

Most men get information when they ask for it, and in the end Lem
fetched public opinion all right. One night the local chapter of the
W.C.T.U. borrowed all the loose hatchets in town and made a good, clean,
workmanlike job of the back part of his store, though his whiskey was so
mean that even the ground couldn't soak it up. The noise brought out the
men, and they sort of caught the spirit of the happy occasion. When they
were through, Lem's stock and fixtures looked mighty sick, and they had
Lem on a rail headed for the county line.

I don't know when I've seen a more surprised man than Lem. He couldn't
cuss even. But as he never came back, to ask for any explanation, I
reckon he figured it out that they wanted to get rid of him because he
was too good for the town.

I simply mention Lem in passing as an example of the fact that when
you're through sizing up the other fellow, it's a good thing to step
back from yourself and see how you look. Then add fifty per cent. to
your estimate of your neighbor for virtues that you can't see, and
deduct fifty per cent. from yourself for faults that you've missed in
your inventory, and you'll have a pretty accurate result.

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |           No. 16            |
                  |  From John Graham, at the   |
                  |  Schweitzerkasenhof,        |
                  |  Karlsbad, Austria, to his  |
                  |  son, Pierrepont, at the    |
                  |  Union Stock Yards,         |
                  |  Chicago. Mr. Pierrepont    |
                  |  has shown mild symptoms    |
                  |  of an attack of society    |
                  |  fever, and his father is   |
                  |  administering some simple  |
                  |  remedies.                  |


                                        KARLSBAD, October 6, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ If you happen to run across Doc Titherington you'd
better tell him to go into training, because I expect to be strong
enough to lick him by the time I get back. Between that ten-day boat
which he recommended and these Dutch doctors, I'm almost well and about
broke. You don't really have to take the baths here to get rid of your
rheumatism--their bills scare it out of a fellow.

They tell me we had a pretty quiet trip across, and I'm not saying that
we didn't, because for the first three days I was so busy holding myself
in my berth that I couldn't get a chance to look out the porthole to see
for myself. I reckon there isn't anything alive that can beat me at
being seasick, unless it's a camel, and he's got three stomachs.

When I did get around I was a good deal of a maverick--for all the old
fellows were playing poker in the smoking-room and all the young ones
were lallygagging under the boats--until I found that we were carrying a
couple of hundred steers between decks. They looked mighty homesick, you
bet, and I reckon they sort of sized me up as being a long ways from
Chicago, for we cottoned to each other right from the start. Take 'em as
they ran, they were a mighty likely bunch of steers, and I got a heap of
solid comfort out of them. There must have been good money in them, too,
for they reached England in prime condition.

I wish you would tell our people at the Beef House to look into this
export cattle business, and have all the facts and figures ready for me
when I get back. There seems to be a good margin in it, and with our
English house we are fixed up to handle it all right at this end. It
makes me mighty sick to think that we've been sitting back on our
hindlegs and letting the other fellow run away with this trade. We are
packers, I know, but that's no reason why we can't be shippers, too. I
want to milk the critter coming and going, twice a day, and milk her
dry. Unless you do the whole thing you can't do anything in business as
it runs to-day. There's still plenty of room at the top, but there isn't
much anywheres else.

There may be reasons why we haven't been able to tackle this exporting
of live cattle, but you can tell our people there that they have got to
be mighty good reasons to wipe out the profit I see in it. Of course, I
may have missed them, for I've only looked into the business a little by
way of recreation, but it won't do to say that it's not in our line,
because anything which carries a profit on four legs is in our line.

I dwell a little on the matter because, while this special case is out
of your department, the general principle is in it. The way to think of
a thing in business is to think of it first, and the way to get a share
of the trade is to go for all of it. Half the battle's in being on the
hilltop first; and the other half's in staying there. In speaking of
these matters, and in writing you about your new job, I've run a little
ahead of your present position, because I'm counting on you to catch up
with me. But you want to get it clearly in mind that I'm writing to you
not as the head of the house, but as the head of the family, and that I
don't propose to mix the two things.

Even as assistant manager of the lard department, you don't occupy a
very important position with us yet. But the great trouble with some
fellows is that a little success goes to their heads. Instead of hiding
their authority behind their backs and trying to get close to their men,
they use it as a club to keep them off. And a boss with a case of
big-head will fill an office full of sore heads.

I don't know any one who has better opportunities for making himself
unpopular than an assistant, for the clerks are apt to cuss him for all
the manager's meanness, and the manager is likely to find fault with him
for all the clerks' cussedness. But if he explains his orders to the
clerks he loses his authority, and if he excuses himself to the manager
he loses his usefulness. A manager needs an assistant to take trouble
from him, not to bring it to him.

The one important thing for you to remember all the time is not to
forget. It's easier for a boss to do a thing himself than to tell some
one twice to do it. Petty details take up just as much room in a
manager's head as big ideas; and the more of the first you store for
him, the more warehouse room you leave him for the second. When a boss
has to spend his days swearing at his assistant and the clerks have to
sit up nights hating him, they haven't much time left to swear by the
house. Satisfaction is the oil of the business machine.

Some fellows can only see those above them, and others can only see
those under them, but a good man is cross-eyed and can see both ends at
once. An assistant who becomes his manager's right hand is going to find
the left hand helping him; and it's not hard for a clerk to find good
points in a boss who finds good ones in him. Pulling from above and
boosting from below make climbing easy.

In handling men, your own feelings are the only ones that are of no
importance. I don't mean by this that you want to sacrifice your
self-respect, but you must keep in mind that the bigger the position the
broader the man must be to fill it. And a diet of courtesy and
consideration gives girth to a boss.

Of course, all this is going to take so much time and thought that you
won't have a very wide margin left for golf--especially in the
afternoons. I simply mention this in passing, because I see in the
Chicago papers which have been sent me that you were among the players
on the links one afternoon a fortnight ago. Golf's a nice, foolish game,
and there ain't any harm in it so far as I know except for the
balls--the stiff balls at the beginning, the lost balls in the middle,
and the highballs at the end of the game. But a young fellow who wants
to be a boss butcher hasn't much daylight to waste on any kind of links
except sausage links.

Of course, a man should have a certain amount of play, just as a boy is
entitled to a piece of pie at the end of his dinner, but he don't want
to make a meal of it. Any one who lets sinkers take the place of bread
and meat gets bilious pretty young; and these fellows who haven't any
job, except to blow the old man's dollars, are a good deal like the
little niggers in the pie-eating contest at the County Fair--they've
a-plenty of pastry and they're attracting a heap of attention, but
they've got a stomach-ache coming to them by and by.

I want to caution you right here against getting the society bug in your
head. I'd sooner you'd smoke these Turkish cigarettes which smell like a
fire in the fertilizer factory. You're going to meet a good many stray
fools in the course of business every day without going out to hunt up
the main herd after dark.

Everybody over here in Europe thinks that we haven't any society in
America, and a power of people in New York think that we haven't any
society in Chicago. But so far as I can see there are just as many
ninety-nine-cent men spending million-dollar incomes in one place as
another; and the rules that govern the game seem to be the same in all
three places--you've got to be a descendant to belong, and the farther
you descend the harder you belong. The only difference is that, in
Europe, the ancestor who made money enough so that his family could
descend, has been dead so long that they have forgotten his shop; in
New York he's so recent that they can only pretend to have forgotten it;
but in Chicago they can't lose it because the ancestor is hustling on
the Board of Trade or out at the Stock Yards. I want to say right here
that I don't propose to be an ancestor until after I'm dead. Then, if
you want to have some fellow whose grandfather sold bad whiskey to the
Indians sniff and smell pork when you come into the room, you can suit

Of course, I may be off in sizing this thing up, because it's a little
out of my line. But it's been my experience that these people who think
that they are all the choice cuts off the critter, and that the rest of
us are only fit for sausage, are usually chuck steak when you get them
under the knife. I've tried two or three of them, who had gone broke, in
the office, but when you separate them from their money there's nothing
left, not even their friends.

I never see a fellow trying to crawl or to buy his way into society that
I don't think of my old friend Hank Smith and his wife Kate--Kate Botts
she was before he married her--and how they tried to butt their way
through the upper crust.

Hank and I were boys together in Missouri, and he stayed along in the
old town after I left. I heard of him on and off as tending store a
little, and farming a little, and loafing a good deal. Then I forgot all
about him, until one day a few years ago when he turned up in the papers
as Captain Henry Smith, the Klondike Gold King, just back from Circle
City, with a million in dust and anything you please in claims. There's
never any limit to what a miner may be worth in those, except his

I was a little puzzled when, a week later, my office boy brought me a
card reading Colonel Henry Augustus Bottes-Smythe, but I supposed it was
some distinguished foreigner who had come to size me up so that he could
round out his roast on Chicago in his new book, and I told the boy to
show the General in.

I've got a pretty good memory for faces, and I'd bought too much store
plug of Hank in my time not to know him, even with a clean shave and a
plug hat. Some men dry up with success, but it was just spouting out of
Hank. Told me he'd made his pile and that he was tired of living on the
slag heap; that he'd spent his whole life where money hardly whispered,
let alone talked, and he was going now where it would shout. Wanted to
know what was the use of being a nob if a fellow wasn't the nobbiest
sort of a nob. Said he'd bought a house on Beacon Hill, in Boston, and
that if I'd prick up my ears occasionally I'd hear something drop into
the Back Bay. Handed me his new card four times and explained that it
was the rawest sort of dog to carry a brace of names in your card
holster; that it gave you the drop on the swells every time, and that
they just had to throw up both hands and pass you the pot when you
showed down. Said that Bottes was old English for Botts, and that Smythe
was new American for Smith; the Augustus was just a fancy touch, a sort
of high-card kicker.

I didn't explain to Hank, because it was congratulations and not
explanations that he wanted, and I make it a point to show a customer
the line of goods that he's looking for. And I never heard the full
particulars of his experiences in the East, though, from what I learned
afterward, Hank struck Boston with a bang, all right.

He located his claim on Beacon Hill, between a Mayflower descendant and
a Declaration Signer's great-grandson, breeds which believe that when
the Lord made them He was through, and that the rest of us just
happened. And he hadn't been in town two hours before he started in to
make improvements. There was a high wrought-iron railing in front of his
house, and he had that gilded first thing, because, as he said, he
wasn't running a receiving vault and he didn't want any mistakes. Then
he bought a nice, open barouche, had the wheels painted red, hired a
nigger coachman and started out in style to be sociable and get
acquainted. Left his card all the way down one side of Beacon Street,
and then drove back leaving it on the other. Everywhere he stopped he
found that the whole family was out. Kept it up a week, on and off, but
didn't seem to have any luck. Thought that the men must be hot sports
and the women great gadders to keep on the jump so much. Allowed that
they were the liveliest little lot of fleas that he had ever chased.
Decided to quit trying to nail 'em one at a time, and planned out
something that he reckoned would round up the whole bunch.

Hank sent out a thousand invitations to his grand opening, as he called
it; left one at every house within a mile. Had a brass band on the front
steps and fireworks on the roof. Ordered forty kegs from the brewery
and hired a fancy mixer to sling together mild snorts, as he called
them, for the ladies. They tell me that, when the band got to going good
on the steps and the fireworks on the roof, even Beacon Street looked
out the windows to see what was doing. There must have been ten thousand
people in the street and not a soul but Hank and his wife and the mixer
in the house. Some one yelled speech, and then the whole crowd took it
up, till Hank came out on the steps. He shut off the band with one hand
and stopped the fireworks with the other. Said that speechmaking wasn't
his strangle-hold; that he'd been living on snowballs in the Klondike
for so long that his gas-pipe was frozen; but that this welcome started
the ice and he thought about three fingers of the plumber's favorite
prescription would cut out the frost. Would the crowd join him? He had
invited a few friends in for the evening, but there seemed to be some
misunderstanding about the date, and he hated to have good stuff curdle
on his hands.

While this was going on, the Mayflower descendant was telephoning for
the police from one side and the Signer's great-grandson from the other,
and just as the crowd yelled and broke for the house two patrol wagons
full of policemen got there. But they had to turn in a riot call and
bring out the reserves before they could break up Hank's little Boston

After all, Hank did what he started out to do with his party--rounded up
all his neighbors in a bunch, though not exactly according to schedule.
For next morning there were so many descendants and great-grandsons in
the police court to prefer charges that it looked like a reunion of the
Pilgrim Fathers. The Judge fined Hank on sixteen counts and bound him
over to keep the peace for a hundred years. That afternoon he left for
the West on a special, because the Limited didn't get there quick
enough. But before going he tacked on the front door of his house a sign
which read:

     "Neighbors paying their party calls will please not heave rocks
     through windows to attract attention. Not in and not going to be.
     Gone back to Circle City for a little quiet.

                                                "Yours truly,
                                                     "HANK SMITH.

          "N.B.--Too swift for your uncle."

Hank dropped by my office for a minute on his way to 'Frisco. Said he
liked things lively, but there was altogether too much rough-house on
Beacon Hill for him. Judged that as the crowd which wasn't invited was
so blamed sociable, the one which was invited would have stayed a week
if it hadn't slipped up on the date. That might be the Boston idea, but
he wanted a little more refinement in his. Said he was a pretty free
spender, and would hold his end up, but he hated a hog. Of course I told
Hank that Boston wasn't all that it was cracked up to be in the school
histories, and that Circle City wasn't so tough as it read in the
newspapers, for there was no way of making him understand that he might
have lived in Boston for a hundred years without being invited to a
strawberry sociable. Because a fellow cuts ice on the Arctic Circle, it
doesn't follow that he's going to be worth beans on the Back Bay.

I simply mention Hank in a general way. His case may be a little
different, but it isn't any more extreme than lots of others all around
you over there and me over here. Of course, I want you to enjoy good
society, but any society is good society where congenial men and women
meet together for wholesome amusement. But I want you to keep away from
people who choose play for a profession. A man's as good as he makes
himself, but no man's any good because his grandfather was.

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |          No. 17            |
                  |  From John Graham, at the  |
                  |  London House of Graham &  |
                  |  Co., to his son,          |
                  |  Pierrepont, at the Union  |
                  |  Stock Yards in Chicago.   |
                  |  Mr. Pierrepont has        |
                  |  written his father that   |
                  |  he is getting along       |
                  |  famously in his new       |
                  |  place.                    |


                                         LONDON, October 24, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ Well, I'm headed for home at last, checked high and
as full of prance as a spotted circus horse. Those Dutchmen ain't so bad
as their language, after all, for they've fixed up my rheumatism so that
I can bear down on my right leg without thinking that it's going to
break off.

I'm glad to learn from your letter that you're getting along so well in
your new place, and I hope that when I get home your boss will back up
all the good things which you say about yourself. For the future,
however, you needn't bother to keep me posted along this line. It's the
one subject on which most men are perfectly frank, and it's about the
only one on which it isn't necessary to be. There's never any use trying
to hide the fact that you're a jim-dandy--you're bound to be found out.
Of course, you want to have your eyes open all the time for a good man,
but follow the old maid's example--look under the bed and in the closet,
not in the mirror, for him. A man who does big things is too busy to
talk about them. When the jaws really need exercise, chew gum.

Some men go through life on the Sarsaparilla Theory--that they've got to
give a hundred doses of talk about themselves for every dollar which
they take in; and that's a pretty good theory when you're getting a
dollar for ten cents' worth of ingredients. But a man who's giving a
dollar's worth of himself for ninety-nine cents doesn't need to throw in
any explanations.

Of course, you're going to meet fellows right along who pass as good men
for a while, because they say they're good men; just as a lot of fives
are in circulation which are accepted at their face value until they
work up to the receiving teller. And you're going to see these men
taking buzzards and coining eagles from them that will fool people so
long as they can keep them in the air; but sooner or later they're bound
to swoop back to their dead horse, and you'll get the buzzard smell.

Hot air can take up a balloon a long ways, but it can't keep it there.
And when a fellow's turning flip-flops up among the clouds, he's
naturally going to have the farmers gaping at him. But in the end there
always comes a time when the parachute fails to work. I don't know
anything that's quite so dead as a man who's fallen three or four
thousand feet off the edge of a cloud.

The only way to gratify a taste for scenery is to climb a mountain. You
don't get up so quick, but you don't come down so sudden. Even then,
there's a chance that a fellow may slip and fall over a precipice, but
not unless he's foolish enough to try short-cuts over slippery places;
though some men can manage to fall down the hall stairs and break their
necks. The path isn't the shortest way to the top, but it's usually the
safest way.

Life isn't a spurt, but a long, steady climb. You can't run far up-hill
without stopping to sit down. Some men do a day's work and then spend
six lolling around admiring it. They rush at a thing with a whoop and
use up all their wind in that. And when they're rested and have got it
back, they whoop again and start off in a new direction. They mistake
intention for determination, and after they have told you what they
propose to do and get right up to doing it, they simply peter out.

I've heard a good deal in my time about the foolishness of hens, but
when it comes to right-down, plum foolishness, give me a rooster, every
time. He's always strutting and stretching and crowing and bragging
about things with which he had nothing to do. When the sun rises, you'd
think that he was making all the light, instead of all the noise; when
the farmer's wife throws the scraps in the henyard, he crows as if he
was the provider for the whole farmyard and was asking a blessing on the
food; when he meets another rooster, he crows; and when the other
rooster licks him, he crows; and so he keeps it up straight through the
day. He even wakes up during the night and crows a little on general
principles. But when you hear from a hen, she's laid an egg, and she
don't make a great deal of noise about it, either.

I speak of these things in a general way, because I want you to keep in
mind all the time that steady, quiet, persistent, plain work can't be
imitated or replaced by anything just as good, and because your request
for a job for Courtland Warrington naturally brings them up. You write
that Court says that a man who has occupied his position in the world
naturally can't cheapen himself by stepping down into any little
piddling job where he'd have to do undignified things.

I want to start right out by saying that I know Court and his whole
breed like a glue factory, and that we can't use him in our business.
He's one of those fellows who start in at the top and naturally work
down to the bottom, because that is where they belong. His father gave
him an interest in the concern when he left college, and since the old
man failed three years ago and took a salary himself, Court's been
sponging on him and waiting for a nice, dignified job to come along and
steal him. But we are not in the kidnapping business.

The only undignified job I know of is loafing, and nothing can cheapen a
man who sponges instead of hunting any sort of work, because he's as
cheap already as they can be made. I never could quite understand these
fellows who keep down every decent instinct in order to keep up
appearance, and who will stoop to any sort of real meanness to boost up
their false pride.

[Illustration: "_Jim Hicks dared Fatty Wilkins to eat a piece of

They always remind me of little Fatty Wilkins, who came to live in our
town back in Missouri when I was a boy. His mother thought a heap of Fatty,
and Fatty thought a heap of himself, or his stomach, which was the same
thing. Looked like he'd been taken from a joke book. Used to be a great
eater. Stuffed himself till his hide was stretched as tight as a sausage
skin, and then howled for painkiller. Spent all his pennies for cakes,
because candy wasn't filling enough. Hogged 'em in the shop, for fear he
would have to give some one a bite if he ate them on the street.

The other boys didn't take to Fatty, and they didn't make any special
secret of it when he was around. He was a mighty brave boy and a mighty
strong boy and a mighty proud boy--with his mouth; but he always managed
to slip out of anything that looked like a fight by having a sore hand
or a case of the mumps. The truth of the matter was that he was afraid
of everything except food, and that was the thing which was hurting him
most. It's mighty seldom that a fellow's afraid of what he ought to be
afraid of in this world.

Of course, like most cowards, while Fatty always had an excuse for not
doing something that might hurt his skin, he would take a dare to do
anything that would hurt his self-respect, for fear the boys would laugh
at him, or say that he was afraid, if he refused. So one day during
recess Jim Hicks dared him to eat a piece of dirt. Fatty hesitated a
little, because, while he was pretty promiscuous about what he put into
his stomach, he had never included dirt in his bill-of-fare. But when
the boys began to say that he was afraid, Fatty up and swallowed it.

And when he dared the other boys to do the same thing and none of them
would take the dare, it made him mighty proud and puffed up. Got to
charging the bigger boys and the lounger around the post-office a cent
to see him eat a piece of dirt the size of a hickory-nut. Found there
was good money in that, and added grasshoppers, at two cents apiece, as
a side line. Found them so popular that he took on chinch bugs at a
nickel, and fairly coined money. The last I heard of Fatty he was in a
Dime Museum, drawing two salaries--one as "The Fat Man," and the other
as "Launcelot, The Locust Eater, the Only Man Alive with a Gizzard."

You are going to meet a heap of Fatties, first and last, fellows who'll
eat a little dirt "for fun" or to show off, and who'll eat a little more
because they find that there's some easy money or times in it. It's hard
to get at these men, because when they've lost everything they had to be
proud of, they still keep their pride. You can always bet that when a
fellow's pride makes him touchy, it's because there are some mighty raw
spots on it.

It's been my experience that pride is usually a spur to the strong and a
drag on the weak. It drives the strong man along and holds the weak one
back. It makes the fellow with the stiff upper lip and the square jaw
smile at a laugh and laugh at a sneer; it keeps his conscience straight
and his back humped over his work; it makes him appreciate the little
things and fight for the big ones. But it makes the fellow with the
retreating forehead do the thing that looks right, instead of the thing
that is right; it makes him fear a laugh and shrivel up at a sneer; it
makes him live to-day on to-morrow's salary; it makes him a cheap
imitation of some Willie who has a little more money than he has,
without giving him zip enough to go out and force luck for himself.

I never see one of these fellows swelling around with their petty
larceny pride that I don't think of a little experience of mine when I
was a boy. An old fellow caught me lifting a watermelon in his patch,
one afternoon, and instead of cuffing me and letting me go, as I had
expected if I got caught, he led me home by the ear to my ma, and told
her what I had been up to.

Your grandma had been raised on the old-fashioned plan, and she had
never heard of these new-fangled theories of reasoning gently with a
child till its under lip begins to stick out and its eyes to fill with
tears as it sees the error of its ways. She fetched the tears all right,
but she did it with a trunk strap or a slipper. And your grandma was a
pretty substantial woman. Nothing of the tootsey-wootsey about her foot,
and nothing of the airy-fairy trifle about her slipper. When she was
through I knew that I'd been licked--polished right off to a point--and
then she sent me to my room and told me not to poke my nose out of it
till I could recite the Ten Commandments and the Sunday-school lesson by

There was a whole chapter of it, and an Old Testament chapter at that,
but I laid right into it because I knew ma, and supper was only two
hours off. I can repeat that chapter still, forward and backward,
without missing a word or stopping to catch my breath.

Every now and then old Doc Hoover used to come into the Sunday-school
room and scare the scholars into fits by going around from class to
class and asking questions. That next Sunday, for the first time, I was
glad to see him happen in, and I didn't try to escape attention when he
worked around to our class. For ten minutes I'd been busting for him to
ask me to recite a verse of the lesson, and, when he did, I simply cut
loose and recited the whole chapter and threw in the Ten Commandments
for good measure. It sort of dazed the Doc, because he had come to me
for information about the Old Testament before, and we'd never got much
beyond, And Ahab begat Jahab, or words to that effect. But when he got
over the shock he made me stand right up before the whole school and do
it again. Patted me on the head and said I was "an honor to my parents
and an example to my playmates."

I had been looking down all the time, feeling mighty proud and scared,
but at that I couldn't help glancing up to see the other boys admire me.
But the first person my eye lit on was your grandma, standing in the
back of the room, where she had stopped for a moment on her way up to
church, and glaring at me in a mighty unpleasant way.

"Tell 'em, John," she said right out loud, before everybody.

There was no way to run, for the Elder had hold of my hand, and there
was no place to hide, though I reckon I could have crawled into a rat
hole. So, to gain time, I blurted out:

"Tell 'em what, mam?"

"Tell 'em how you come to have your lesson so nice."

I learned to hate notoriety right then and there, but I knew there was
no switching her off on to the weather when she wanted to talk
religion. So I shut my eyes and let it come, though it caught on my
palate once or twice on the way out.

"Hooked a watermelon, mam."

There wasn't any need for further particulars with that crowd, and they
simply howled. Ma led me up to our pew, allowing that she'd tend to me
Monday for disgracing her in public that way--and she did.

That was a twelve-grain dose, without any sugar coat, but it sweat more
cant and false pride out of my system than I could get back into it for
the next twenty years. I learned right there how to be humble, which is
a heap more important than knowing how to be proud. There are mighty few
men that need any lessons in that.

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |           No. 18            |
                  |  From John Graham, at the   |
                  |  London House of Graham &   |
                  |  Co., to his son,           |
                  |  Pierrepont, at the Union   |
                  |  Stock Yards in Chicago.    |
                  |  Mr. Pierrepont is worried  |
                  |  over rumors that the old   |
                  |  man is a bear on lard,     |
                  |  and that the longs are     |
                  |  about to make him climb a  |
                  |  tree.                      |


                                         LONDON, October 27, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ Yours of the twenty-first inst. to hand and I note
the inclosed clippings. You needn't pay any special attention to this
newspaper talk about the Comstock crowd having caught me short a big
line of November lard. I never sell goods without knowing where I can
find them when I want them, and if these fellows try to put their
forefeet in the trough, or start any shoving and crowding, they're going
to find me forgetting my table manners, too. For when it comes to funny
business I'm something of a humorist myself. And while I'm too old to
run, I'm young enough to stand and fight.

First and last, a good many men have gone gunning for me, but they've
always planned the obsequies before they caught the deceased. I reckon
there hasn't been a time in twenty years when there wasn't a nice
"Gates Ajar" piece all made up and ready for me in some office near the
Board of Trade. But the first essential of a quiet funeral is a willing
corpse. And I'm still sitting up and taking nourishment.

There are two things you never want to pay any attention to--abuse and
flattery. The first can't harm you and the second can't help you. Some
men are like yellow dogs--when you're coming toward them they'll jump up
and try to lick your hands; and when you're walking away from them
they'll sneak up behind and snap at your heels. Last year, when I was
bulling the market, the longs all said that I was a kind-hearted old
philanthropist, who was laying awake nights scheming to get the farmers
a top price for their hogs; and the shorts allowed that I was an
infamous old robber, who was stealing the pork out of the workingman's
pot. As long as you can't please both sides in this world, there's
nothing like pleasing your own side.

There are mighty few people who can see any side to a thing except their
own side. I remember once I had a vacant lot out on the Avenue, and a
lady came in to my office and in a soothing-syrupy way asked if I would
lend it to her, as she wanted to build a _crèche_ on it. I hesitated a
little, because I had never heard of a _crèche_ before, and someways it
sounded sort of foreign and frisky, though the woman looked like a good,
safe, reliable old heifer. But she explained that a _crèche_ was a baby
farm, where old maids went to wash and feed and stick pins in other
people's children while their mothers were off at work. Of course, there
was nothing in that to get our pastor or the police after me, so I told
her to go ahead.

She went off happy, but about a week later she dropped in again, looking
sort of dissatisfied, to find out if I wouldn't build the _crèche_
itself. It seemed like a worthy object, so I sent some carpenters over
to knock together a long frame pavilion. She was mighty grateful, you
bet, and I didn't see her again for a fortnight. Then she called by to
say that so long as I was in the business and they didn't cost me
anything special, would I mind giving her a few cows. She had a
surprised and grieved expression on her face as she talked, and the way
she put it made me feel that I ought to be ashamed of myself for not
having thought of the live stock myself. So I threw in half a dozen cows
to provide the refreshments.

I thought that was pretty good measure, but the carpenters hadn't more
than finished with the pavilion before the woman telephoned a sharp
message to ask why I hadn't had it painted.

I was too busy that morning to quarrel, so I sent word that I would fix
it up; and when I was driving by there next day the painters were hard
at work on it. There was a sixty-foot frontage of that shed on the
Avenue, and I saw right off that it was just a natural signboard. So I
called over the boss painter and between us we cooked up a nice little
ad that ran something like this:

                        Graham's Extract:
                    It Makes the Weak Strong.

Well, sir, when she saw the ad next morning that old hen just
scratched gravel. Went all around town saying that I had given a
five-hundred-dollar shed to charity and painted a thousand-dollar ad on
it. Allowed I ought to send my check for that amount to the _crèche_
fund. Kept at it till I began to think there might be something in it,
after all, and sent her the money. Then I found a fellow who wanted to
build in that neighborhood, sold him the lot cheap, and got out of the
_crèche_ industry.

I've put a good deal more than work into my business, and I've drawn a
good deal more than money out of it; but the only thing I've ever put
into it which didn't draw dividends in fun or dollars was worry. That is
a branch of the trade which you want to leave to our competitors.

I've always found worrying a blamed sight more uncertain than
horse-racing--it's harder to pick a winner at it. You go home worrying
because you're afraid that your fool new clerk forgot to lock the safe
after you, and during the night the lard refinery burns down; you spend
a year fretting because you think Bill Jones is going to cut you out
with your best girl, and then you spend ten worrying because he didn't;
you worry over Charlie at college because he's a little wild, and he
writes you that he's been elected president of the Y.M.C.A.; and you
worry over William because he's so pious that you're afraid he's going
to throw up everything and go to China as a missionary, and he draws on
you for a hundred; you worry because you're afraid your business is
going to smash, and your health busts up instead. Worrying is the one
game in which, if you guess right, you don't get any satisfaction out of
your smartness. A busy man has no time to bother with it. He can always
find plenty of old women in skirts or trousers to spend their days
worrying over their own troubles and to sit up nights waking his.

Speaking of handing over your worries to others naturally calls to mind
the Widow Williams and her son Bud, who was a playmate of mine when I
was a boy. Bud was the youngest of the Widow's troubles, and she was a
woman whose troubles seldom came singly. Had fourteen altogether, and
four pair of 'em were twins. Used to turn 'em loose in the morning, when
she let out her cows and pigs to browse along the street, and then she'd
shed all worry over them for the rest of the day. Allowed that if they
got hurt the neighbors would bring them home; and that if they got
hungry they'd come home. And someways, the whole drove always showed up
safe and dirty about meal time.

I've no doubt she thought a lot of Bud, but when a woman has fourteen it
sort of unsettles her mind so that she can't focus her affections or
play any favorites. And so when Bud's clothes were found at the swimming
hole one day, and no Bud inside them, she didn't take on up to the
expectations of the neighbors who had brought the news, and who were
standing around waiting for her to go off into something special in the
way of high-strikes.

She allowed that they were Bud's clothes, all right, but she wanted to
know where the remains were. Hinted that there'd be no funeral, or such
like expensive goings-on, until some one produced the deceased. Take her
by and large, she was a pretty cool, calm cucumber.

But if she showed a little too much Christian resignation, the rest of
the town was mightily stirred up over Bud's death, and every one just
quit work to tell each other what a noble little fellow he was; and how
his mother hadn't deserved to have such a bright little sunbeam in her
home; and to drag the river between talks. But they couldn't get a rise.

Through all the worry and excitement the Widow was the only one who
didn't show any special interest, except to ask for results. But
finally, at the end of a week, when they'd strained the whole river
through their drags and hadn't anything to show for it but a collection
of tin cans and dead catfish, she threw a shawl over her head and went
down the street to the cabin of Louisiana Clytemnestra, an old yellow
woman, who would go into a trance for four bits and find a fortune for
you for a dollar. I reckon she'd have called herself a clairvoyant
nowadays, but then she was just a voodoo woman.

Well, the Widow said she reckoned that boys ought to be let out as well
as in for half price, and so she laid down two bits, allowing that she
wanted a few minutes' private conversation with her Bud. Clytie said
she'd do her best, but that spirits were mighty snifty and high-toned,
even when they'd only been poor white trash on earth, and it might make
them mad to be called away from their high jinks if they were taking a
little recreation, or from their high-priced New York customers if they
were working, to tend to cut-rate business. Still, she'd have a try, and
she did. But after having convulsions for half an hour, she gave it up.
Reckoned that Bud was up to some cussedness off somewhere, and that he
wouldn't answer for any two-bits.

[Illustration: "_Elder Hoover was accounted a powerful exhorter in our

The Widow was badly disappointed, but she allowed that that was just
like Bud. He'd always been a boy that never could be found when any one
wanted him. So she went off, saying that she'd had her money's worth in
seeing Clytie throw those fancy fits. But next day she came again and
paid down four bits, and Clytie reckoned that that ought to fetch Bud
sure. Someways though, she didn't have any luck, and finally the Widow
suggested that she call up Bud's father--Buck Williams had been dead a
matter of ten years--and the old man responded promptly.

"Where's Bud?" asked the Widow.

Hadn't laid eyes on him. Didn't know he'd come across. Had he joined the
church before he started?


Then he'd have to look downstairs for him.

Clytie told the Widow to call again and they'd get him sure. So she came
back next day and laid down a dollar. That fetched old Buck Williams'
ghost on the jump, you bet, but he said he hadn't laid eyes on Bud yet.
They hauled the Sweet By and By with a drag net, but they couldn't get a
rap from him. Clytie trotted out George Washington, and Napoleon, and
Billy Patterson, and Ben Franklin, and Captain Kidd, just to show that
there was no deception, but they couldn't get a whisper even from Bud.

I reckon Clytie had been stringing the old lady along, intending to
produce Bud's spook as a sort of red-fire, calcium-light,
grand-march-of-the-Amazons climax, but she didn't get a chance. For
right there the old lady got up with a mighty set expression around her
lips and marched out, muttering that it was just as she had thought all
along--Bud wasn't there. And when the neighbors dropped in that
afternoon to plan out a memorial service for her "lost lamb," she chased
them off the lot with a broom. Said that they had looked in the river
for him and that she had looked beyond the river for him, and that they
would just stand pat now and wait for him to make the next move. Allowed
that if she could once get her hands in "that lost lamb's" wool there
might be an opening for a funeral when she got through with him, but
there wouldn't be till then. Altogether, it looked as if there was a
heap of trouble coming to Bud if he had made any mistake and was still

The Widow found her "lost lamb" hiding behind a rain-barrel when she
opened up the house next morning, and there was a mighty touching and
affecting scene. In fact, the Widow must have touched him at least a
hundred times and every time he was affected to tears, for she was using
a bed slat, which is a powerfully strong moral agent for making a boy
see the error of his ways. And it was a month after that before Bud
could go down Main Street without some man who had called him a noble
little fellow, or a bright, manly little chap, while he was drowned,
reaching out and fetching him a clip on the ear for having come back and
put the laugh on him.

No one except the Widow ever really got at the straight of Bud's
conduct, but it appeared that he left home to get a few Indian scalps,
and that he came back for a little bacon and corn pone.

I simply mention the Widow in passing as an example of the fact that the
time to do your worrying is when a thing is all over, and that the way
to do it is to leave it to the neighbors. I sail for home to-morrow.

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |          No. 19            |
                  |  From John Graham, at the  |
                  |  New York house of Graham  |
                  |  & Co., to his son,        |
                  |  Pierrepont, at the Union  |
                  |  Stock Yards in Chicago.   |
                  |  The old man, on the       |
                  |  voyage home, has met a    |
                  |  girl who interests him    |
                  |  and who in turn seems to  |
                  |  be interested in Mr.      |
                  |  Pierrepont.               |


                                       NEW YORK, November 4, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ Who is this Helen Heath, and what are your intentions
there? She knows a heap more about you than she ought to know if they're
not serious, and I know a heap less about her than I ought to know if
they are. Hadn't got out of sight of land before we'd become acquainted
somehow, and she's been treating me like a father clear across the
Atlantic. She's a mighty pretty girl, and a mighty nice girl, and a
mighty sensible girl--in fact she's so exactly the sort of girl I'd like
to see you marry that I'm afraid there's nothing in it.

Of course, your salary isn't a large one yet, but you can buy a whole
lot of happiness with fifty dollars a week when you have the right sort
of a woman for your purchasing agent. And while I don't go much on love
in a cottage, love in a flat, with fifty a week as a starter, is just
about right, if the girl is just about right. If she isn't, it doesn't
make any special difference how you start out, you're going to end up
all wrong.

Money ought never to be _the_ consideration in marriage, but it always
ought to be _a_ consideration. When a boy and a girl don't think enough
about money before the ceremony, they're going to have to think altogether
too much about it after; and when a man's doing sums at home evenings, it
comes kind of awkward for him to try to hold his wife on his lap.

There's nothing in this talk that two can live cheaper than one. A good
wife doubles a man's expenses and doubles his happiness, and that's a
pretty good investment if a fellow's got the money to invest. I have met
women who had cut their husband's expenses in half, but they needed the
money because they had doubled their own. I might add, too, that I've
met a good many husbands who had cut their wives' expenses in half, and
they fit naturally into any discussion of our business, because they
are hogs. There's a point where economy becomes a vice, and that's when
a man leaves its practice to his wife.

An unmarried man is a good deal like a piece of unimproved real
estate--he may be worth a whole lot of money, but he isn't of any
particular use except to build on. The great trouble with a lot of these
fellows is that they're "made land," and if you dig down a few feet you
strike ooze and booze under the layer of dollars that their daddies
dumped in on top. Of course, the only way to deal with a proposition of
that sort is to drive forty-foot piles clear down to solid rock and then
to lay railroad iron and cement till you've got something to build on.
But a lot of women will go right ahead without any preliminaries and
wonder what's the matter when the walls begin to crack and tumble about
their ears.

I never come across a case of this sort without thinking of Jack Carter,
whose father died about ten years ago and left Jack a million dollars,
and left me as trustee of both until Jack reached his twenty-fifth
birthday. I didn't relish the job particularly, because Jack was one of
these charlotte-russe boys, all whipped cream and sponge cake and
high-priced flavoring extracts, without any filling qualities. There
wasn't any special harm in him, but there wasn't any special good,
either, and I always feel that there's more hope for a fellow who's an
out and out cuss than for one who's simply made up of a lot of little
trifling meannesses. Jack wore mighty warm clothes and mighty hot vests,
and the girls all said that he was a perfect dream, but I've never been
one who could get a great deal of satisfaction out of dreams.

It's mighty seldom that I do an exhibition mile, but the winter after I
inherited Jack--he was twenty-three years old then--your Ma kept after
me so strong that I finally put on my fancy harness and let her trot me
around to a meet at the Ralstons one evening. Of course, I was in the
Percheron class, and so I just stood around with a lot of heavy old
draft horses, who ought to have been resting up in their stalls, and
watched the three-year-olds prance and cavort round the ring. Jack was
among them, of course, dancing with the youngest Churchill girl, and
holding her a little tighter, I thought, than was necessary to keep her
from falling. Had both ends working at once--never missed a stitch with
his heels and was turning out a steady stream of fancy work with his
mouth. And all the time he was looking at that girl as intent and eager
as a Scotch terrier at a rat hole.

I happened just then to be pinned into a corner with two or three women
who couldn't escape--Edith Curzon, a great big brunette whom I knew Jack
had been pretty soft on, and little Mabel Moore, a nice roly-poly blonde,
and it didn't take me long to see that they were watching Jack with a
hair-pulling itch in their finger-tips. In fact, it looked to me as if
the young scamp was a good deal more popular than the facts about him,
as I knew them, warranted him in being.

I slipped out early, but next evening, when I was sitting in my little
smoking-room, Jack came charging in, and, without any sparring for an
opening, burst out with:

"Isn't she a stunner, Mr. Graham!"

I allowed that Miss Curzon was something on the stun.

"Miss Curzon, indeed," he sniffed. "She's well enough in a big, black
way, but Miss Churchill----" and he began to paw the air for adjectives.

"But how was I to know that you meant Miss Churchill?" I answered. "It's
just a fortnight now since you told me that Miss Curzon was a goddess,
and that she was going to reign in your life and make it a heaven, or
something of that sort. I forget just the words, but they were mighty
beautiful thoughts and did you credit."

"Don't remind me of it," Jack groaned. "It makes me sick every time I
think what an ass I've been."

I allowed that I felt a little nausea myself, but I told him that this
time, at least, he'd shown some sense; that Miss Churchill was a mighty
pretty girl and rich enough so that her liking him didn't prove anything
worse against her than bad judgment; and that the thing for him to do
was to quit his foolishness, propose to her, and dance the heel, toe,
and a one, two, three with her for the rest of his natural days.

Jack hemmed and hawked a little over this, but finally he came out with

"That's the deuce of it," says he. "I'm in a beastly mess--I want to
marry her--she's the only girl in the world for me--the only one I've
ever really loved, and I've proposed--that is, I want to propose to
her, but I'm engaged to Edith Curzon on the quiet."

"I reckon you'll marry her, then," I said; "because she strikes me as a
young woman who's not going to lose a million dollars without putting a
tracer after it."

"And that's not the worst of it," Jack went on.

"Not the worst of it! What do you mean! You haven't married her on the
quiet, too, have you?"

"No, but there's Mabel Moore, you know."

I didn't know, but I guessed. "You haven't been such a double-barreled
donkey as to give her an option on yourself, too?"

"No, no; but I've said things to her which she may have misconstrued, if
she's inclined to be literal."

"You bet she is," I answered. "I never saw a nice, fat, blonde girl who
took a million-dollar offer as a practical joke. What is it you've said
to her? 'I love you, darling,' or something about as foxy and

"Not that--not that at all; but she may have stretched what I said to
mean that."

Well, sir, I just laid into that fellow when I heard that, though I
could see that he didn't think it was refined of me. He'd never made it
any secret that he thought me a pretty coarse old man, and his face
showed me now that I was jarring his delicate works.

"I suppose I have been indiscreet," he said, "but I must say I expected
something different from you, after coming out this way and owning up.
Of course, if you don't care to help me----"

I cut him short there. "I've got to help you. But I want you to tell me
the truth. How have you managed to keep this Curzon girl from announcing
her engagement to you?"

"Well," and there was a scared grin on Jack's face now; "I told her
that you, as trustee under father's will, had certain unpleasant powers
over my money--in fact, that most of it would revert to Sis if I married
against your wishes, and that you disliked her, and that she must work
herself into your good graces before we could think of announcing our

I saw right off that he had told Mabel Moore the same thing, and that
was why those two girls had been so blamed polite to me the night
before. So I rounded on him sudden.

"You're engaged to that Miss Moore, too, aren't you?"

"I'm afraid so."

"Why didn't you come out like a man and say so at first?"

"I couldn't, Mr. Graham. Someways it seemed like piling it up so, and
you take such a cold-blooded, unsympathetic view of these things."

"Perhaps I do; yes, I'm afraid I do. How far are you committed to Miss

Jack cheered right up. "I'm all right there, at least. She hasn't

"Then you've asked?"

"Why, so I have; at least she may take it for something like asking. But
I don't care; I want to be committed there; I can't live without her;
she's the only----"

I saw that he was beginning to foam up again, so I shut him off straight
at the spigot. Told him to save it till after the ceremony. Set him down
to my desk, and dictated two letters, one to Edith Curzon and the other
to Mabel Moore, and made him sign and seal them, then and there. He
twisted and squirmed and tried to wiggle off the hook, but I wouldn't
give him any slack. Made him come right out and say that he was a yellow
pup; that he had made a mistake; and that the stuff was all off, though
I worded it a little different from that. Slung in some fancy words and
high-toned phrases.

You see, I had made up my mind that the best of a bad matter was the
Churchill girl, and I didn't propose to have her commit herself, too,
until I'd sort of cleared away the wreckage. Then I reckoned on
copper-riveting their engagement by announcing it myself and standing
over Jack with a shotgun to see that there wasn't any more nonsense.
They were both so light-headed and light-waisted and light-footed that
it seemed to me that they were just naturally mates.

Jack reached for those letters when they were addressed and started to
put them in his pocket, but I had reached first. I reckon he'd decided
that something might happen to them on their way to the post-office; but
nothing did, for I called in the butler and made him go right out and
mail them then and there.

I'd had the letters dated from my house, and I made Jack spend the night
there. I reckoned it might be as well to keep him within reaching
distance for the next day or two. He showed up at breakfast in the
morning looking like a calf on the way to the killing pens, and I could
see that his thoughts were mighty busy following the postman who was
delivering those letters. I tried to cheer him up by reading some little
odds and ends from the morning paper about other people's troubles, but
they didn't seem to interest him.

"They must just about have received them," he finally groaned into his
coffee cup. "Why did I send them! What will those girls think of me!
They'll cut me dead--never speak to me again."

The butler came in before I could tell him that this was about what we'd
calculated on their doing, and said: "Beg pardon, sir, but there's a
lady asking for you at the telephone."

"A lady!" says Jack. "Tell her I'm not here." Talk to one of those
girls, even from a safe distance! He guessed not. He turned as pale as
a hog on ice at the thought of it.

"I'm sorry, sir," said the man, "but I've already said that you were
breakfasting here. She said it was very important."

I could see that Jack's curiosity was already getting the best of his
scare. After all, he threw out, feeling me, it might be best to hear
what she had to say. I thought so, too, and he went to the instrument
and shouted "Hello!" in what he tried to make a big, brave voice, but
it wobbled a little all the same.

I got the other end of the conversation from him when he was through.

"Hello! Is that you, Jack?" chirped the Curzon girl.

"Yes. Who is that?"

"Edith," came back. "I have your letter, but I can't make out what it's
all about. Come this afternoon and tell me, for we're still good
friends, aren't we, Jack?"

"Yes--certainly," stammered Jack.

"And you'll come?"

"Yes," he answered, and cut her off.

He had hardly recovered from this shock when a messenger boy came with a
note, addressed in a woman's writing.

"Now for it," he said, and breaking the seal read:

     "'_Jack dear:_ Your horrid note doesn't say anything, nor explain
     anything. Come this afternoon and tell what it means to

"Here's a go," exclaimed Jack, but he looked pleased in a sort of
sneaking way. "What do you think of it, Mr. Graham?"

"I don't like it."

"Think they intend to cut up?" he asked.

"Like a sausage machine; and yet I don't see how they can stand for you
after that letter."

"Well, shall I go?"

"Yes, in fact I suppose you must go; but Jack, be a man. Tell 'em plain
and straight that you don't love 'em as you should to marry 'em; say
you saw your old girl a few days ago and found you loved her still, or
something from the same trough, and stick to it. Take what you deserve.
If they hold you up to the bull-ring, the only thing you can do is to
propose to take the whole bunch to Utah, and let 'em share and share
alike. That'll settle it. Be firm."

"As a rock, sir."

I made Jack come downtown and lunch with me, but when I started him off,
about two o'clock, he looked so like a cat padding up the back-stairs to
where she knows there's a little canary meat--scared, but happy--that I
said once more: "Now be firm, Jack."

"Firm's the word, sir," was the resolute answer.

"And unyielding."

"As the old guard." And Jack puffed himself out till he was as chesty as
a pigeon on a barn roof, and swung off down the street looking mighty
fine and manly from the rear.

I never really got the straight of it, but I pieced together these
particulars later. At the corner there was a flower store. Jack stepped
inside and sent a box of roses by special messenger to Miss Curzon, so
there might be something to start conversation when he got there. Two
blocks farther on he passed a second florist's, turned back and sent
some lilies to Miss Moore, for fear she might think he'd forgotten her
during the hour or more before he could work around to her house. Then
he chased about and found a third florist, from whom he ordered some
violets for Miss Churchill, to remind her that she had promised him the
first dance at the Blairs' that night. Your Ma told me that Jack had
nice instincts about these little things which women like, and always
put a good deal of heavy thought into selecting his flowers for them.
It's been my experience that a critter who has instincts instead of
sense belongs in the bushes with the dicky-birds.

No one ever knew just what happened to Jack during the next three hours.
He showed up at his club about five o'clock with a mighty conceited set
to his jaw, but it dropped as if the spring had broken when he caught
sight of me waiting for him in the reading-room.

"You here?" he asked as he threw himself into a chair.

"You bet," I said. "I wanted to hear how you made out. You settled the
whole business, I take it?" but I knew mighty well from his looks that
he hadn't settled anything.

"Not--not exactly--that is to say, entirely; but I've made a very
satisfactory beginning."

"Began it all over again, I suppose."

This hit so near the truth that Jack jumped, in spite of himself, and
then he burst out with a really swear. I couldn't have been more
surprised if your Ma had cussed.

"Damn it, sir, I won't stand any more of your confounded meddling. Those
letters were a piece of outrageous brutality. I'm breaking off with the
girls, but I've gone about it in a gentler and, I hope, more dignified,

"Jack, I don't believe any such stuff and guff. You're tied up to them
harder and tighter than ever."

I could see I'd made a bull's eye, for Jack began to bluster, but I cut
him short with:

"Go to the devil your own way," and walked out of the club. I reckon
that Jack felt mighty disturbed for as much as an hour, but a good
dinner took the creases out of his system. He'd found that Miss Moore
didn't intend to go to the Blairs', and that Miss Curzon had planned to
go to a dance with her sister somewheres else, so he calculated on
having a clear track for a trial spin with Miss Churchill.

I surprised your Ma a good deal that evening by allowing that I'd go to
the Blairs' myself, for it looked to me as if the finals might be
trotted there, and I thought I'd better be around, because, while I
didn't see much chance of getting any sense into Jack's head, I felt I
ought to do what I could on my friendship account with his father.

Jack was talking to Miss Churchill when I came into the room, and he was
tending to business so strictly that he didn't see me bearing down on
him from one side of the room, nor Edith Curzon's sister, Mrs. Dick, a
mighty capable young married woman, bearing down on him from the other,
nor Miss Curzon, with one of his roses in her hair, watching him from a
corner. There must have been a council of war between the sisters that
afternoon, and a change of their plans for the evening.

[Illustration: "_Miss Curzon, with one of his roses in her hair,
watching him from a corner._"]

Mrs. Dick beat me stalking Jack, but I was just behind, a close second.
He didn't see her until she got right up to him and rapped him on the arm
with her fan.

"Dear Jack," she says, all smiles and sugar; "dear Jack, I've just
heard. Edith has told me, though I'd suspected something for a long,
long time, you rogue," and she fetched him another kittenish clip with
the fan.

Jack looked about the way I once saw old Miss Curley, the president of
the Good Templars back in our town in Missouri, look at a party when she
half-swallowed a spoonful of her ice cream before she discovered that it
was flavored with liquor.

But he stammered something and hurried Miss Churchill away, though not
before a fellow who was going by had wrung his hand and said,
"Congratulations, old chap. Just heard the news."

Jack's only idea seemed to travel, and to travel far and fast, and he
dragged his partner along to the other end of the room, while I
followed the band. We had almost gone the length of the course, when
Jack, who had been staring ahead mighty hard, shied and balked, for
there, not ten feet away, stood Miss Moore, carrying his lilies, and
blushing and smiling at something young Blakely was saying to her.

I reckon Jack guessed what that something was, but just then Blakely
caught sight of him and rushed up to where he was standing.

"I congratulate you, Jack," he said. "Miss Moore's a charming girl."

And now Miss Churchill slipped her hand from his arm and turned and
looked at Jack. Her lips were laughing, but there was something in her
eye which made Jack turn his own away.

"Oh, you lucky Jack," she laughed. "You twice lucky Jack."

Jack simply curled up: "Wretched mistake somewhere," he mumbled.
"Awfully hot here--get you a glass of water," and he rushed off. He
dodged around Miss Moore, and made a flank movement which got him by
Miss Curzon and safely to the door. He kept on; I followed.

I had to go to New York on business next day. Jack had already gone
there, bought a ticket for Europe, and was just loafing around the pier
trying to hurry the steamer off. I went down to see him start, and he
looked so miserable that I'd have felt sorry for him if I hadn't seen
him look miserable before.

"Is it generally known, sir, do you think?" he asked me humbly. "Can't
you hush it up somehow?"

"Hush it up! You might as well say 'Shoo!' to the Limited and expect it
to stop for you."

"Mr. Graham, I'm simply heartbroken over it all. I know I shall never
reach Liverpool. I'll go mad on the voyage across, and throw myself
overboard. I'm too delicately strung to stand a thing of this sort."

"Delicate rats! You haven't nerve enough not to stand it," I said.
"Brace up and be a man, and let this be a lesson to you. Good-by."

Jack took my hand sort of mechanically and looked at me without seeing
me, for his grief-dimmed eyes, in straying along the deck, had lit on
that pretty little Southern baggage, Fanny Fairfax. And as I started off
he was leaning over her in the same old way, looking into her brown eyes
as if he saw a full-course dinner there.

"Think of _your_ being on board!" I heard him say. "I'm the luckiest
fellow alive; by Jove, I am!"

I gave Jack up, and an ex-grass widow is keeping him in order now. I
don't go much on grass widows, but I give her credit for doing a pretty
good job. She's got Jack so tame that he eats out of her hand, and so
well trained that he don't allow strangers to pet him.

I inherited one Jack--I couldn't help that. But I don't propose to wake
up and find another one in the family. So you write me what's what by

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                  |           No. 20            |
                  |  From John Graham, at the   |
                  |  Boston House of Graham &   |
                  |  Co., to his son,           |
                  |  Pierrepont, at the Union   |
                  |  Stock Yards in Chicago.    |
                  |  Mr. Pierrepont has told    |
                  |  the old man "what's what"  |
                  |  and received a limited     |
                  |  blessing.                  |


                                        BOSTON, November 11, 189-

_Dear Pierrepont:_ If that's what, it's all right. And you can't get
married too quick to suit the old man. I believe in short engagements
and long marriages. I don't see any sense in a fellow's sitting around
on the mourner's bench with the sinners, after he's really got religion.
The time to size up the other side's strength is before the engagement.

Some fellows propose to a girl before they know whether her front and
her back hair match, and then holler that they're stuck when they find
that she's got a cork leg and a glass eye as well. I haven't any
sympathy with them. They start out on the principle that married people
have only one meal a day, and that of fried oysters and tutti-frutti
ice-cream after the theatre. Naturally, a girl's got her better nature
and her best complexion along under those circumstances; but the really
valuable thing to know is how she approaches ham and eggs at seven A.M.,
and whether she brings her complexion with her to the breakfast table.
And these fellows make a girl believe that they're going to spend all
the time between eight and eleven P.M., for the rest of their lives,
holding a hundred and forty pounds, live weight, in their lap, and
saying that it feels like a feather. The thing to find out is whether,
when one of them gets up to holding a ten pound baby in his arms, for
five minutes, he's going to carry on as if it weighed a ton.

A girl can usually catch a whisper to the effect that she's the showiest
goods on the shelf, but the vital thing for a fellow to know is whether
her ears are sharp enough to hear him when he shouts that she's spending
too much money and that she must reduce expenses. Of course, when you're
patting and petting and feeding a woman she's going to purr, but there's
nothing like stirring her up a little now and then to see if she spits
fire and heaves things when she's mad.

I want to say right here that there's only one thing more aggravating in
this world than a woman who gets noisy when she's mad, and that's one
who gets quiet. The first breaks her spell of temper with the crockery,
but the second simmers along like a freight engine on the track beside
your berth--keeps you scared and ready to jump for fear she's going to
blow off any minute; but she never does and gets it over with--just
drizzles it out.

You can punch your brother when he plays the martyr, but you've got to
love your wife. A violent woman drives a fellow to drink, but a nagging
one drives him crazy. She takes his faults and ties them to him like a
tin can to a yellow dog's tail, and the harder he runs to get away from
them the more he hears of them.

I simply mention these things in a general way, and in the spirit of the
preacher at the funeral of the man who wasn't "a professor"--because
it's customary to make a few appropriate remarks on these occasions.
From what I saw of Helen Heath, I reckon she's not getting any the best
of it. She's what I call a mighty eligible young woman--pretty, bright,
sensible, and without any fortune to make her foolish and you a fool. In
fact, you'd have to sit up nights to make yourself good enough for her,
even if you brought her a million, instead of fifty a week.

I'm a great believer in women in the home, but I don't take much stock
in them in the office, though I reckon I'm prejudiced and they've come
to stay. I never do business with a woman that I don't think of a little
incident which happened when I was first married to your Ma. We set up
housekeeping in one of those cottages that you read about in the story
books, but that you want to shy away from, when it's put up to you to
live in one of them. There were nice climbing roses on the front porch,
but no running water in the kitchen; there were a-plenty of old fashioned
posies in the front yard, and a-plenty of rats in the cellar; there was
half an acre of ground out back, but so little room inside that I had to
sit with my feet out a window. It was just the place to go for a picnic,
but it's been my experience that a fellow does most of his picnicking
before he's married.

Your Ma did the cooking, and I hustled for things to cook, though I
would take a shy at it myself once in a while and get up my muscle
tossing flapjacks. It was pretty rough sailing, you bet, but one way and
another we managed to get a good deal of satisfaction out of it, because
we had made up our minds to take our fun as we went along. With most
people happiness is something that is always just a day off. But I have
made it a rule never to put off being happy till to-morrow. Don't accept
notes for happiness, because you'll find that when they're due they're
never paid, but just renewed for another thirty days.

I was clerking in a general store at that time, but I had a little
weakness for livestock, even then; and while I couldn't afford to plunge
in it exactly, I managed to buy a likely little shoat that I reckoned on
carrying through the Summer on credit and presenting with a bill for
board in the Fall. He was just a plain pig when he came to us, and we
kept him in a little sty, but we weren't long in finding out that he
wasn't any ordinary root-and-grunt pig. The first I knew your Ma was
calling him Toby, and had turned him loose. Answered to his name like a
dog. Never saw such a sociable pig. Wanted to sit on the porch with us.
Tried to come into the house evenings. Used to run down the road
squealing for joy when he saw me coming home from work.

Well, it got on towards November and Toby had been making the most of
his opportunities. I never saw a pig that turned corn into fat so fast,
and the stouter he got the better his disposition grew. I reckon I was
attached to him myself, in a sort of a sneaking way, but I was mighty
fond of hog meat, too, and we needed Toby in the kitchen. So I sent
around and had him butchered.

When I got home to dinner next day, I noticed that your Ma looked mighty
solemn as she set the roast of pork down in front of me, but I strayed
off, thinking of something else, as I carved, and my wits were off wool
gathering sure enough when I said:

"Will you have a piece of Toby, my dear?"

Well sir, she just looked at me for a moment, and then she burst out
crying and ran away from the table. But when I went after her and asked
her what was the matter, she stopped crying and was mad in a minute all
the way through. Called me a heartless, cruel cannibal. That seemed to
relieve her so that she got over her mad and began to cry again. Begged
me to take Toby out of pickle and to bury him in the garden. I reasoned
with her, and in the end I made her see that any obsequies for Toby,
with pork at eight cents a pound, would be a pretty expensive funeral
for us. But first and last she had managed to take my appetite away so
that I didn't want any roast pork for dinner or cold pork for supper.
That night I took what was left of Toby to a store keeper at the
Crossing, who I knew would be able to gaze on his hams without bursting
into tears, and got a pretty fair price for him.

I simply mention Toby in passing, as an example of why I believe women
weren't cut out for business--at least for the pork-packing business.
I've had dealings with a good many of them, first and last, and it's
been my experience that when they've got a weak case they add their sex
to it and win, and that when they've got a strong case they subtract
their sex from it and deal with you harder than a man. They're simply
bound to win either way, and I don't like to play a game where I haven't
any show. When a clerk makes a fool break, I don't want to beg his
pardon for calling his attention to it, and I don't want him to blush
and tremble and leak a little brine into a fancy pocket handkerchief.

A little change is a mighty soothing thing, and I like a woman's ways
too much at home to care very much for them at the office. Instead of
hiring women, I try to hire their husbands, and then I usually have them
both working for me. There's nothing like a woman at home to spur on a
man at the office.

A married man is worth more salary than a single one, because his wife
makes him worth more. He's apt to go to bed a little sooner and to get
up a little earlier; to go a little steadier and to work a little harder
than the fellow who's got to amuse a different girl every night, and
can't stay at home to do it. That's why I'm going to raise your salary
to seventy-five dollars a week the day you marry Helen, and that's why
I'm going to quit writing these letters--I'm simply going to turn you
over to her and let her keep you in order. I bet she'll do a better job
than I have.

                                     Your affectionate father,
                                                     JOHN GRAHAM.

                    THE END

       *       *       *       *       *


                FROM THE LIST OF


       *       *       *       *       *


"Mr. Dooley must be added to the acquaintance of all who esteem good
sense and good humor. He is worthy to take his place as a national
satirist beside Hosea Biglow."--_The Academy_, London.

               *       *       *

=MR. DOOLEY: IN PEACE AND IN WAR (70th thousand)=

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"Full of wit and humor and real philosophy which rank their possessor
among those humorists who have really made a genuine contribution to
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"His eloquence is a torrent, and his satire as strong and stinging as a
slave-driver's whip."--_Pall Mall Gazette_.

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               *       *       *


"The depression that could prevail against the influence of 'Mr.
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case."--_The London World._

"His new book shows no falling off: his wit is as nimble as ever, his
eye as quick to note incongruities, his satire as well directed and as
brilliant."--_The Academy_, London.

"'Mr. Dooley' improves on acquaintance. His creator is a real and rare
humorist."--_The Bookman._

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       *       *       *       *       *

               BY GELETT BURGESS.

=VIVETTE. Or, the Memoirs of the Romance Association.=

Setting forth the diverting Adventures of one Richard Redforth in the
very pleasant City of Millamours; how he took Service in the
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       *       *       *       *       *

                BY S. E. KISER.


The Sayings and Doings of his Paw, his Maw, Little Albert, and the Bull

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       *       *       *       *       *

                BY HOLMAN F. DAY

=UP IN MAINE. Stories of Yankee Life told in Verse.=

Few books of verse have won popular favor so quickly as this volume,
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published. It is a rare combination of wit, humor, sense, and homely

"Reading the book, one feels as though he had Maine in the
phonograph."--_The New York Sun._

"James Russell Lowell would have welcomed this delicious adjunct to _The
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made."--_Buffalo Commercial._

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               *       *       *

=PINE TREE BALLADS. Rhymed Stories of Unplaned Human Natur' up in Maine.=

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       *       *       *       *       *

               BY OLIVER HERFORD


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dismay the Chadbands. The book is printed in two colors to divert the
reader's mind from the jokes, lest laughter be fatal to him."--_New York

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       *       *       *       *       *

                BY JOHN B. TABB

=CHILD VERSE. Poems Grave and Gay=

Little poems, full of fancy and sweetness, for grown people as well as
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       *       *       *       *       *

                  BY AGNES LEE

=ROUND RABBIT, THE. And Other Child Verse=

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       *       *       *       *       *


               *       *       *


               *       *       *

The aim of this series is to furnish brief, readable, and authentic
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  |     ---------------------------------------------------     |
  |                  THE BEACON BIOGRAPHIES                     |
  |                  OF EMINENT AMERICANS.                      |
  |     ---------------------------------------------------     |
  | The following volumes are issued:--                         |
  |                                                             |
  | =Louis Agassiz=, by ALICE BACHE GOULD.                      |
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  |                                                             |
  | Price per volume, cloth, 75c. _net_; leather, $1.00 _net._  |
  |                                                             |
  | SMALL, MAYNARD & COMPANY, Publishers.                       |

  |    _A Companion Series to the Beacon Biographies_           |
  |     ---------------------------------------------------     |
  |             THE WESTMINSTER BIOGRAPHIES                     |
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  |                                                             |
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  |                                                             |
  | Price per volume, cloth, 75c. _net_, lambskin, $1.00 _net._ |
  |                                                             |
  | SMALL, MAYNARD & COMPANY, Publishers.                       |

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son - Being the Letters written by John Graham, Head of the House - of Graham & Company, Pork-Packers in Chicago, familiarly - known on 'Change as "Old Gorgon Graham," to his Son, - Pierrepont, facetiously known to his intimates as "Piggy."" ***

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