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Title: Letters of the Motor Girl
Author: Gardner, Ethellyn
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.

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                       LETTERS OF THE MOTOR GIRL

                                   BY

                            ETHELLYN GARDNER

                    BRILLIANT, THRILLING, STARTLING

             The breeziest bunch of letters ever published


                      Distributed to the trade by
                        The New England News Co.
                        14 to 20 Franklin Street
                             Boston, Mass.



                       Letters of the Motor Girl
                                   BY
                            Ethellyn Gardner

                            Copyright, 1906
                          By Ethellyn Gardner

                             Colonial Press
                          C. H. Simonds & Co.
                            Boston, U. S. A.



LETTERS OF THE MOTOR GIRL



LETTER I


I am fourteen years old to-day, June 17th, 1905. Pa said he hoped I
would live to be at least one hundred, because my Aunt Annie wanted me
to be a boy, so she could name me Jack; she had a beau by that name and
then married him, and he married some one else, so had two wives at
once, and got put in jail. Pa says he’s a live wire. I have seen his
picture, but I thought he looked too stupid to get two wives at once. I
would think a man would have to be very smart and step lively to get two
wives at once. Pa says he has stepped over all the good he had in him he
reckons.

I am learning to drive a big touring car, the Franklin, Model G. It’s a
cracker jack car, just let me tell you. The manager is the nicest man I
ever saw. He said I looked like Pa—that’s why I think he is so nice—my
Pa is the very nicest man I ever saw. Then Levey Cohen comes next to the
Franklin car manager. If you want a good car that can pick up her feet
and fly on the road, you get a Franklin, and you will find that the
finest car made is the Franklin. I am in love with my car. Pa says I
know a whole lot for my age, almost as much as a boy. I am glad I am a
girl, boys are horrid sometimes; they don’t like to spend all their
money to buy chocolates for the girls. Ma says Pa sent her a five-pound
box every Sunday. Pa says nearly all boys are good for is to play ball,
and smash windows, and cry, if they have to pay for them. Pa says I will
change my mind when I grow up, but I am not going to grow up. I have
seen Peter Pan, and I like wings, and angel cake, very much indeed. Next
to my Pa, comes chocolates—I like all the good ones. Levey Cohen says I
am a sugar-plum, but Pa says I need a whole lot of sugar yet, to be very
sweet. I told him I knew flies could tell the boys that were sweet,
because some of their mothers put molasses on their hair to keep it
smooth,—Johnnie Alton has lots of flies around his head,—and I wondered
why, so one day I put my finger on his hair when he wasn’t looking, and
pressed just a little, and the hair cracked. My, he was mad. He said,
“Cut-it-out,” and I said, “Oh, Johnnie, you would look too funny.”

Now about my motor car. I took my first lesson of the manager the other
day; he says I will be going up the sides of the houses before long if I
don’t look to the wheel more. I like to let the machine go after she
starts. Surely those lights ought to show the way. My, how she will go.
Levey Cohen says I am a nice girl and when I get big he is going to
marry me. Well, I don’t think I will get married. Pa says I had better
stick to him and Ma, and, anyway, I am having lots of fun. I went out
alone in my car. I went all right for awhile, but there always comes a
time when a car won’t go, and I got that time out in Brookline near Dr.
Jones’ house. I went in and telephoned for the manager to come for me—he
came in another car and towed me home. I don’t like that. I told Pa I
hoped that car wouldn’t lose its breath again, and now in four weeks she
has done fine.

I can’t write always every day. I write a whole lot when I feel like it,
then I don’t think of it again for weeks. Pa says he nearly died
laughing reading the diary Ma made. I shall give my diary to Levey Cohen
when we are married—I suppose I shall have to marry him some day, just
to prove to him that I don’t like him any too well. Pa says that you had
better not marry any one you really care for, then you won’t need to
expect to find any letters in their pockets—Pa’s pockets are always full
of letters, he never thinks to mail them—and every week Ma and I take
them to the post-office in a bag. When Pa begins to look like a bundle
of straw with a string tied in the middle, Ma will say, “Elsie, it’s
mail-time.” Sure as you live, Pa says he’s a walking post-office, but Ma
says, “Yes, a dead-letter office out of date.” Now I will go for a spin
in my car. It’s a fine day and the sooner I get started the longer I can
be out, so bye-bye till later on, as we are going to see Barnum’s
circus.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Pa and Levey Cohen and Ma and I all went to the circus. Really, it was
very good—we all enjoyed it very much. Ma fed chocolates to the pet
elephant and so did I. Pa and I took in some of the side-shows. What an
awful cheat they are! We saw a sign that read: “Come in and see the
$50,000 Horse, his tail where his head ought to be.” We paid our money
and went in, and we saw the wonderful horse turned around in his
stall—true, his head where his tail ought to be. Pa said he knew it was
a big sell, and he laughed; said he would try again. A little further on
we saw another sign that read: “See the wonder Dog—half bear.” Pa said
that must be a novelty, so we went in, and saw a big Newfoundland black
dog standing on a box half-shaved close. Pa said, “Which half is bear?”
and the man said, “The half that was shaved, mister.” We looked up and
saw a sign that read “Sciddoo!” We did. Pa said Barnum was a smart
man—said he had fooled more people than any one man on earth, but the
best of it all was they were just as eager to be fooled the next year.
Pa says if that law about whiskers gets into force it will be mighty
interesting for some good men like Dr. Parkhurst and Anthony Comstock.
Neither of them poor devils will dare go out, except in the evening, and
then the cop may get them for carrying about nude faces. Pa says it’s a
bad place for microbes to settle down in a man’s beard. All the wise men
I know goes smooth face and that’s the best way, I think. We have a
Frenchman who is our gardener. He can’t talk very good English. He told
Pa the other day, speaking of his memory of his childhood, that he could
remember backwards very far. When he tried to harness the horse on our
little farm he said to the horse: “You, good huss, just open your face
now and take in your harness.” Pa says, brush away and come to dinner,
so,

                                                                So long,
                                                                  ELSIE.

P. S. Pa says here are some questions that half of the Public are asking
the other half: Question—What is an automobile? Answer—A wagon with big
rubbers on its feet. Name two uses of the automobile? Ans. To run people
down and to run them in. What is the horn used for? Ans. To frighten the
life out of one, so he will stand still and get run over. What’s the
difference in running over a dog and a man? Ans. If you run over a dog
it costs you $5, or if a man, 5 years. What is a constable? A man with
the hoe who is too lazy to work, so arrests every man he sees in an
automobile.

Pa says these are all for now.

                                                                      E.



LETTER II


Well, what do you think! I have been to Atlantic City for the Automobile
races. Had I been older Pa says I could have entered my Franklin car for
the race, but he said “no use for a girl to try,” so I just looked on. I
fell in love with Miss Rogers, she is a smart woman, a real
thoroughbred, Pa says. Ma don’t dare to drive a car; she is a
’fraid-cat, won’t even shoot the shoots at Coney Island. Why, they don’t
make anything I wouldn’t try! I got old Deacon Weston to ride the flying
horses with me at Coney Island, and the band played “There will be a Hot
Time in the Old Town To-night.” Deacon Weston’s coat-tails blew out
behind him like the American flag in a gale of wind, and the boys nearly
died to see how hard he held on. It’s jolly fun to live! I heard Pa say
Mrs. Pat Campbell and her poodle had solved the joy of living, but I
don’t believe she has half the fun I do. Why, I can climb a tree if I
like to. Pa says I shouldn’t, else I’ll be a tomboy. I don’t see how I
can be a tomboy when I am a girl, but Pa says that there are lots of
things you don’t learn in school. I like school pretty well, but like
most girls, I am more fond of vacations. In vacation, in summer, we go
to grandpa’s in the country, out in Pennsylvania. I stepped on a
bumblebee one day—that is, I tried to, but I didn’t step heavy. He saw
my foot coming and it was bare, and he made me dance good, for a little.
I don’t think I’ll walk in the dewy grass any more in the morning. Pa
told Ma it would keep me always young, and as I don’t want to grow up I
just went out to try it, but I believe I will even be willing to wear
long dresses and grow up, if I have to dance to a bumblebee sting; I
don’t like the music at all, too much pain in it, for harmony.

My grandma has a pet little cow. Pa says it’s a calf, and I got the
pony’s harness and put it on the calf, and he didn’t like to be a pony
at all. He just kicked and tipped me all over the yard. Ma screamed and
Pa laughed. Pa said, “Let them alone, both those kids are just alike,”
meaning me and the calf. We are better friends than when I first came
here, for he would run when I came in sight, but now he runs to meet me,
’cause he expects me to give him some sugar. He likes it just as well as
my pony does. I often feel sad to think that I can’t feed sugar to my
automobile—don’t it seem a real shame?—but they are built to live on
electricity or gasoline. I just pity them. Think of not being able to
eat ice-cream and chocolates. My Uncle Smith is coming to see me from
Buffalo. He is the dearest man. He has a camera and the first time I saw
him he had on a brown suit and his camera slung over his shoulder, and
oh, my! but he looked the professional. I was almost scared of him, but
he is a mighty nice man. He has taken lots of pictures of me with my
Franklin car, and he got a snap shot of Deacon Weston on the flying
horses, and I nearly died myself when I saw it. He looked worse than a
scotcher after a highball, Pa said. I never saw a highball, but Pa says
it’s a live wire, so I shall keep in the middle of the good path. I
heard a Salvation Army man say that, so it is on the level. Pa says
slang forms too great a part of the present-day conversation, but I
don’t think I am any joke, only I know my Pa knows all that is worth
knowing. My Pa is a very wise man for his years—he’s been married twice,
and he says two marriages will either make or break a man, depends on
his disposition. Pa says he made a mess of his first marriage, but the
second one was good. I belong to the second house. Pa says a man who is
married twice can learn to manage the worst kind of an automobile. He
says none of them could have more kinks than some women, and do such
unexpected stunts. I guess the man I read about in the automobile
magazine that never swears under any condition has been married twice.
Pa says two marriages will smooth out a man’s disposition as nice as a
hot iron will a shirt-bosom. They asked Pa to run for Governor of New
York State; said he could govern anything, but Pa is very modest. He
said his wife didn’t like society and he considered her happiness first;
said all men should. Pa knows which side his bread is buttered on, Ma
has all the money I I sang that song one night called “Everybody Works
but Father,” and Pa nearly lost his temper. He took it personally to
himself, so for the last few days he gets up at five o’clock and goes up
Commonwealth Ave. with his car and blows his Gabriel horn for all he is
worth all the way. Once I heard him say as he went out: “Yes, everybody
works but Father, do they? Well, I guess they will think Father’s
working some to-day.”

Isn’t life a queer problem? My, I wonder what it all means! Sometimes it
seems like a continuous vaudeville show, then it changes and becomes
serious, clouds and tears, and, oh, dear, I don’t understand it at all.
I will try to be a good girl, but being a real Sunday girl isn’t any
fun. I think I am a little related to Buster Brown, anyway, I would like
to have his dog. Levey Cohen said he would get him for me, but I thought
Buster would be lonesome, and I have my Pa, and automobile. Why is it
that girls like their Pas so much? I have got a beautiful mother, she is
too handsome and queenly for anything, but I seem to be Pap’s own girl.
He says I am the light of his eyes. Pa’s as much of a boy as I am, only
he’s grown up. He has beautiful brown hair; he isn’t bald on the top of
his head. I have always been told when a man is bald-headed it was
because his wife was a tartar and robbed his pockets while he slept, and
pulled his hair out, if he noticed the loss of his money. Pa has plenty
of money. Pa said he settled the money question with Ma’s Pa before they
were married; he said all men making second marriages should see about
the financial end of the game. I never knew just how it ended, but I do
know that Pa is considered very swell, and rich, and he says Levey Cohen
has his eyes on his pocketbook, but I don’t see how that is, for Pa
never carries it out of the house. It’s in the safe in the billiard-room
and Pa has never asked Levey to play billiards because he always calls
in the late afternoon, and Pa always plays billiards at noon, or early
in the day. Pa says the ice man would be as much of a gentleman as an
actor, if he had the free advertising that some of them get. I like
actors because they can be anything they like from a beggar to a king,
and all they do is to put on different clothes. One would think it was
an easy thing to be an actor, but I guess they have their ups and downs;
they are not all kings, but I like some of them tip-top, say, for
instance, Mr. Edmund Breese and Mr. George Coen. All the girls like
them. I heard Pa say that they understood the real act of impersonating
as well as any he knew of on the boards—and the women on the stage are
all fine, that I have seen. I think Elsie Janis is a darling. I just
love her. I would be almost willing to let her marry Levey Cohen if I
didn’t think I really wanted him myself. I am pretty willing he should
take her out in his car. Levey Cohen is a very handsome chap; he is four
years older than I am, and Pa says he’s doing well for a kid. I don’t
like to be called a kid, and I don’t think Levey does either, but it’s
Pa’s way of talking. My Pa is a cousin to Bill Nye that used to write
for the papers so much. Pa said he was better than he looked in the
papers; I hope he was, because he looked in the papers, poor man, like a
bean-pole with a rubber ball on the top of it for a head. He was a funny
man, on paper, but Pa says in his home he was Mr. Edgar Nye, loved and
respected by all, and that’s saying a good deal in this age of rush and
tear.

Well, good-bye, little book, I have told you all my secrets for four
weeks past now, and I will say good night. It’s 6 P. M. and we are going
to the Touraine for dinner as the cook got dopy, Pa says, and let the
fire go out in the kitchen. Ma, poor dear, can’t cook, so we are going
out to dine and then to see some circus on Mars they have here. Pa says
I must learn to cook if I want to keep Levey at home after we get
married, and I am going to learn. I boiled some eggs for Pa the other
morning when the cook went to market. I thought they would cook in three
hours, most meats will, in that time, but Pa said, “Nay, nay, Pauline,
make it three minutes,” so I did. My Pa can cook, but he won’t. He says
it’s the cook’s work. Pa objects to doing other people’s work for them;
he says they must all do it some time, and why not begin here, now, so
that’s how we stand on the cook-book question.

                                                                  ELSIE.

P. S. Pa says he’s from Missouri when the cook says the air is bad and
the coal won’t burn. He says it’s more likely it’s her breath that stuns
even the coal and that it’s 23 for ourn, as far as dinner goes, that’s
why we go to a hotel.

                                                                  ELSIE.



LETTER III


Well, here I am again, little book. Pa and I went to Harvard Class Day,
out to Cambridge. I took him in my Franklin car. I have never had any
trouble since that Brookline adventure, and was towed home. My! but I
felt cheap. I would have sold that car that day for 99 cents, but she’s
all right ever since—has just been making up for past bad behavin’, just
like a naughty little girl I know of. Pa says of all the colleges in the
land Haryard is the best. Pa graduated from Harvard and Levey Cohen is a
junior, and they are worse than ten old women about the old days Pa
spent at Harvard. Of course I like Harvard because Pa does; I never
question Pa’s judgment because he says it’s so, and there is nothing to
do but believe him, especially when Levey Cohen always backs him up.
It’s two men against one little girl, and I don’t have a bit of a show
if I don’t side in. Pa is a Democrat and Levey and I are both staunch
Republicans—so is Ma—Pa don’t dare mention politics in the house, he
goes over to South Boston or down to Salem Willows when he feels a
political spell coming on. He don’t have our company then. Ma says two
marriages ought to change any man from a Democrat to a Republican, but
it hasn’t worked on Pa’s constitution yet. Harvard is just a dear, so
many really handsome men, and fine fellows. Lots of them have
automobiles and they make them hum. They say it’s lots more fun driving
a car above the speed limit and being chased by a policeman than it is
to steal barber poles and store signs; they all have drop numbers on
their cars, so no one has ever been caught yet. I have one on my
Franklin. I had to use it one day, for I run a race with Harold Hill, of
Brookline, and beat him by two miles, but I also beat the policeman, and
Pa said he would give me credit for being my father’s daughter. But you
will laugh when I tell you Pa has been fined three times for fast
speeding, but he has forgotten all about that and I haven’t the heart to
refresh his memory, Pa’s such a dear. I went to a football game a year
ago, and Alice Roosevelt was there, and a big crowd beside. I don’t care
for football. I think it’s too much of a mush for comfort. I like golf.
Pa is a cracker jack on golf; he has friends in New Jersey who are fine
players. Pa won a cup one year. It’s a beauty. I like that sport. I can
beat Levey Cohen every time. I rather play with him because I always get
the game. Pa says Levey knows his business, but I don’t care, so long as
I get the game. Pa says: “Just wait, little girl, till you are married,
and you will be surprised how much faster Levey will pick up his feet in
golf than he does now.” That’s about the meanest thing Pa ever said to
me in all his life. He won’t get but two kisses, for saying that, this
day. I usually count 80, but he will see that kisses have had a big
slump since this morning, and he will be out altogether. He won’t have
margin enough to cover, I’ll bet you, he’ll be taken so off his feet. Pa
has dabbled in stocks enough to know all the points of loss. He says he
was a hoodoo on the market; when he sold stock went up, and when he
bought they slumped, so he will say it’s his regular luck. Poor, dear
Pa, no one will ever know how much I love my father. He’s the dearest
man on earth—except Levey Cohen—he is next best. It would be an awfully
bad thing if I didn’t marry Levey Cohen, after all, but I will; he’s the
only right sort. I know others are good, but—he is goodiest of all. He
always lets me have my own way and any girl likes that. My Pa thinks
it’s just awful to put any money on a horse, but my Uncle Smith from
Buffalo is a live wire, and he took me to a race at Readville this
spring and he put a thousand, 10 to 1, on Bumshell, for me, and a
thousand dollars for himself. When he gave me the $10,000 I took it home
and showed it to Pa and he said: “Elsie, where did you get that money?”
and I said, “Off Bumshell, he won the race.” “Did your Uncle Smith back
you?” “Sure he did, Pa” “Thunder! What does he mean? My daughter
learning to gamble on the racetrack? Your Uncle Smith ought to know
better than that.” “Well, Pa, he said if we lost it would be a gamble,
but if we won, why, it was O. K., so we won.” Well, Pa put the money in
the Charity box on Sunday and said he hoped it would do some poor cuss
good, for I didn’t need it, neither did he. I don’t know what he will
say to Uncle Smith when he sees him, but I am going to write and tell
him to wait a little till Pa cools off. Ma said I had better tell Uncle
Smith that Pa had suddenly gone up above par in gambling stock, and to
wait till the excitement was over before he came in. Well, I telephoned
him instead, and he waited two weeks and then asked me to ask Pa how the
market was. That was too much for Pa. He laughed and said, “Tell Uncle
Smith to come over to dinner now the cook’s breath don’t put the fire
out.” So we will have a jolly dinner and go to Keith’s this evening.

So good-bye, for I hear Pa asking where his little girl is.

                                                                  ELSIE.



LETTER IV


Well, dear little book, here I am again. We have all been down in Maine
for six weeks. What a fine place “In the Good Old Summer Time.” We went
first to Rockland, then to Portland and Bangor. We used the Eastern
Steamship Co. boats. They are certainly very nice, and have all the
comforts of home, except bath-tubs. Pa says if they would only put in
bath-tubs the public would call them blessed forever. At Bangor we were
introduced to Mr. Lorison Appletree Booker; he is one of the youngest
and smartest lawyers in New England. Pa says he knew his father and they
were of fine stock. I had my Franklin car, so Pa asked Mr. Booker to
show us about the city. Bangor is a nice city, but it don’t have any
barrooms in sight like most cities do. Pa says it’s a matter of
legislation whether they are in sight or not. Pa says a glass of their
whiskey down there will make a man think he owns the State. Pa says he
has never delivered any lectures on the temperance question, so he won’t
begin now. Pa says if you want to shoot big game go to Maine; if you
want the finest trout in the world you will find them at Moosehead Lake,
Maine; and if you want to tramp miles over hills and dales after golf
balls, go to Kineo, Maine, it’s one of the grandest of all places in New
England. If you want to see the ugliest woman on earth go to Lowell,
Mass., she’s there. I saw some fine automobiles in Bangor and Portland.
The people down there are all up-to-date; they know a good thing when
they see it advertised. Pa says you can’t do anything, these days, in
business, if you don’t advertise. Pa is great on advertising business of
all sorts, he has helped many a firm out on ads to sell and display
goods. Pa has his own ideas, and when he has sold them they have come
high, but the one that followed them got a big pile of dough. Pa says
the business man to-day must spend money to make money, and the one who
places the best and most judicious advertising gets the most business.
Pa says even a business that’s no good can be made good by advertising.
Advertising makes people think—some think right, some wrong, some look
and wonder. Pa says there is only one sure way to get rich quick, and
that is to marry a rich woman, any other way is a snare and delusion. Pa
knows by experience that this is true, so he gives his knowledge free to
save others from expensive experiences. Pa says that women should be
very careful about getting married to strangers that can’t really
account for their silver and their business. He says to especially
beware of any slick good talker you might meet in a bank where your hard
earnings are deposited and you are afterwards made acquainted with the
same man you saw hanging around at the bank. You remember noticing him
because he looked pleasant and dressed nice. Well, Pa says look out and
don’t think of getting married to such a man, for he’s only another
hawk, and is after your bank-book; perhaps he’s had twenty or fifty
wives, one cannot tell. If you want to marry, grow up with the man, Pa
says, as I have with Levey Cohen. I have known him ever since I was five
years of age and I know he’s the best and dearest boy that was ever—even
Pa thinks Levey is a sparkling light, and I know I do, for he brings so
many boxes of chocolates. I don’t know which kind I like best yet, but
sometime I will decide.

Well, so long, we are going to Bar Harbor in our car from here, so I
won’t write again for some days.

                                                                  ELSIE.



LETTER V


We didn’t go to Bar Harbor; we came back to Boston, for Pa had to see
about one of his inventions—Pa’s a wonderful man, he has invented lots
of things—I don’t dare record the name of his motor car, for he has
arranged by phonography and electricity a whole band, and when he goes
out by himself always turns on the power and a band plays wonderfully
clear—sounds as if it were just coming up the street. People rush to the
doors and throw up the windows, and look up and down the street, but no
band appears, and as Pa rides up the street the sound gets fainter and
fainter, till it vanishes into silence; then he will put on the echo,
and they hear it all over again as distinct as before. They never
connect Pa with the band, and I have been with him several times early
in the morning and Levey Cohen has gone in the evening, and people are
wondering what it all means. They wrote it up in the papers, but no one
has yet found out what it is, or where it comes from. When they do I
don’t know what will happen. I am very sure I don’t want to be around.
The other night we were coming home real late from a trip to Wonderland
(say, that’s a good name for that place; I have wondered a whole lot
since I saw it). We had had a wonderful day, Pa and I (Pa is a dear. He
will shoot the shoots, ride the roller coaster or stand on his head if I
say so to have fun). Well, we were riding real slow in Pa’s automobile,
the nameless wonder, when all of a sudden I heard something that scared
me. I heard a man’s rough voice shout, “Hi, there! stop or I’ll shoot!”
Pa stopped so quick that it shook the machine good and the band struck
up “Where Is My Wandering Boy To-night?” The burglar listened for a
moment, spellbound, took off his hat and bowed his head and said,
“That’s my sainted mother’s favorite song, I have always been bad and my
poor mother has died of a broken heart.” Then as he proceeded with his
story, Pa pulled out a second stop and the cornet played the second
verse and a fine sweet tenor voice sang with such feeling that I nearly
cried myself. The burglar was entirely broken up, and when the song
ended and one of Sousa’s marches began, the man pulled himself together
and said, “Well, that song saved your garl darned neck, for I intended
murder to get money. Good-bye, that band will be in sight in a minute
and I don’t care to be seen.” So off he went; then we moved on. Pa put
on the echo and it all came back, the moon came out and it was the most
dreamy thing you ever heard. The burglar waited some moments by the
roadside in the bushes for the band to appear, but none came. He
pondered a moment, then said, “Strung, by gosh.” When I got home I told
Ma she had missed the best fun of her life, for I had had dreamland all
day and all the way home besides. We didn’t tell Ma about the burglar,
she would have had a real fit. Pa says Ma is too timid for a real modern
1906 woman—said she should have been born in ye olden days, but I don’t
think so, my Ma is a darling and no one knows it better than Pa, either.
Sometimes I sing, “Where Is My Wandering Boy To-night,” and Pa always
laughs, and Ma don’t see the point at all. She says it’s sad, but Pa
gets a fit of the giggles just like a girl and Levey Cohen and I have
our hands full to keep Ma pleasant, for she thinks Pa is making fun of
that poor wandering boy, when in reality Pa’s only giving thanks in a
vocal way of his scalp and pocketbook being saved by his wonderful
invention of a band. We have a fine burglar-alarm, Pa made it. It’s a
cracker jack, I tell you what. When it is set, woe be to the one who
tries to rob our house, he won’t try only once. A stranger is sure to
bump into a wire, but they are very small, yet they work wonders; they
run about the walls and floors so close that no one sees them, but we
put down the plates under the rugs at each door. When one steps on one
of them plates it turns on the lights, opens the telephone to the police
station and in three seconds any burglar would wish himself electrocuted
for the things that happen before he can say Jack Robinson. If he isn’t
out of the house before three minutes the police get him, and there you
are. Our gate has a red mark on it, small, but distinct. Pa says it is a
warning for tramps and burglars to go by and not take the trouble to
call. No one of that profession has ever called on us but once, and the
police got them. They got 20 years and it is not time for them to call
again for 19 years, they won’t be out till then. All of that profession
know that, and they think that the Shaw Mansion is a very nice place to
let alone, so we surely are blessed. We don’t put the silver away at
night, for we feel sure it will be right where it was left the night
before, even if that were out on the piazza.—or under the trees. Pa is a
big man so he can do anything he likes.

We all went fishing out in a catboat and I love that sport. I caught 10
fish all myself, except Levey Cohen baited my hook and took off the
fish. I don’t like to do that part. Pa got more than I did, and bigger
ones, too, one weighed 20 pounds—it was a cod. I got small fish, mostly,
for I didn’t think I could handle a big one, so I told the little fishes
to bite my hook and for all the big ones to go to Pa’s side, and they
did. Ma don’t fish, she says she never went but once and that’s when she
caught Pa. She said it was easy to land him and I said, “What bait did
you use, Ma?” and she said, “I just baited the hook with five million
dollars.” Pa says that’s the biggest fish story he ever heard, so does
Levey Cohen, and Pa says he has been on exhibition ever since, as a good
catch. Ma says Pa is the only man she ever could love, so I am glad she
married him. We are all very happy and have such jolly times, all the
time. It’s a picnic for four all the time. When Uncle Smith and Levey
Cohen is here I have heaps of friends that we see once in awhile, but I
am too much taken up with my dear Pa to be much away from him. I go
along with him everywhere I can because he likes to have me so much.

He is calling me now for a drive in my Franklin car, so

                                                                Bye-bye,
                                                                  ELSIE.



LETTER VI


Well, little book, it has been some few days since I made you a call. Pa
and I went over to New York City. We went in Pa’s nameless motor, and
such a trip, I won’t forget in a hurry. Pa had the misfortune to kill a
Jersey cow and had to pay $60 in hard cash for the privilege. Pa said he
was more sorry for the cow than for the man who owned her. He said the
cow looked like a good one, while the man looked altogether to the bad.
When we got to New York City we went to the New Astor House,
up-town—that’s a very decent place to stop at, Pa says. Ma seemed
pleased with our suite of three rooms and bath. We stayed three days—Ma
had some shopping to do and Pa and I had some sightseeing to do—so we
were all busy. Pa and I started to walk up Broadway a little below the
Herald Building, when we came to a poor, old blind beggar playing a very
squeaky organ. I gave him some pennies, so did Pa, and asked him how
business was. The beggar said, “Bad, very bad, haven’t taken 10 cents
all day.” I told Pa I would sing if he would grind the organ. I thought
Pa would choke for a moment, but he concluded he would grind the organ
while I sang. We moved up a little from the old man and then tuned up. I
sang “Pickles for Two,” and Pa ground out “Sally in Our Alley” on the
organ. The singing and the playing didn’t go on very well together, so I
told Pa to play and I would dance. Well, that went better. The organ
piped out, “Coming through the Rye,” and I danced the Highland dance;
some swell guys went by and dropped in several silver pieces and some
that wasn’t so swell did the same. One asked how long I had been in the
business, and I told him about a half-hour. I had my automobile veil
over my face so they couldn’t see me much. Pa had on a false mustache
and goggles, so his own mother would not have known him. Well, any way,
we had the fun of earning eight dollars for the beggar man. Pa said it
wasn’t a good example, but I told him we were commanded in the Good Book
to help the poor. Pa never objects to do anything when I tell him it’s
in the Good Book. He says he don’t know the Book any too well at best
and is always glad to have me remind him when he does anything it says
to do. A man tried to steal my purse in New York, but he didn’t get it.
Pa gave him a cut that changed his mind quick. He picked up his feet and
flew. Pa said that was just the way, help a beggar on one corner and be
knocked down on the next one. I told Pa, yes, it seemed so, but not to
mind, as long as the thief didn’t get my purse. Pa said all he minded
was because the policeman didn’t arrest him and get his dollar
commission in court the next morning. I never saw so many pails and
pitchers in commission as we saw in New York the three days we were
there. Pa says if all the beer was put together, sold those three days,
it would cause the Charles River here in Boston to be a Johnstown flood,
and if all the cigarettes were put in a line that they smoke over there
in a week they would belt the globe. Pa says beer and cigarettes ought
to be cut off the map. Pa don’t smoke because Ma objects to the odor of
tobacco, and Pa says a model husband won’t make himself a weed to please
some man. Pa says it will count for more in the end to please one’s
wife—I wouldn’t think Pa was half so sweet to kiss if he smoked—Pa is
such a darling; I wish every little girl had such a nice Pa as mine. Pa
tells such fine stories; Pa says when he was a little boy he lived with
his grandma and he went to the edge of the woods to get some berries
that grew there and he heard a growl and looked up and saw a big black
bear as big as a horse—he ran like fun for home and told his grandma a
bear chased him. He looked out of the window and told his grandma the
bear was coming down the road. Well, grandma looked out and said, “Why,
my dear boy, that’s Green’s black dog.” Pa says that’s all the bear he
ever was chased by, and I guess it was enough as it nearly scared him to
death. Pa and I have heaps of fun flying kites. We have had some
splendid ones and they go up like the wind. Pa fills them with a new
discovery he has, and they go up like a shot. Pa won’t tell what he puts
in, and no one can find out. We rented a balloon and we went up till I
thought I could see people on Mars, then we came slowly down to earth
again—we had a glorious time among the stars, seemed as if they were
very near, and we could almost touch them. I am fond of everything Pa
is, I guess, and he has splendid taste.

Well, good-bye, little book, it’s time for dinner.

                                                                  ELSIE.



LETTER VII


Well, I have been having a very remarkable experience, and not only
myself and Pa, but all the United States as well; the excitement spread
all over the country. I am going to put this down to tell my
grandchildren about, for I hope they never will have such a time as we
all have had for the past few weeks. I went with Pa to do a little
shopping because my dearest girl friend, Mary Potter, of Brookline, had
a birthday, and I did, at last, but such a time. I went to the counter
where diamond rings were displayed and selected a beauty—Pa said he
could not have picked out a better one for the money himself—and I took
my purse, opened it to get the $200 to pay for my friend’s present, when
I found my purse empty but for a few small silver pieces. I gasped for
breath and told Pa. He looked at the purse and declared he knew it was
clasped tight when he took it from his pocket inside his vest to give
me, and I knew I placed three hundred in one hundred dollar bills in the
purse before I started. Pa got the three new bills at my bank that very
morning, but they were gone, and no sign of how, or when.

Pa said: “Never mind, Elsie, I have some money myself, also I happen to
have my check-book, so you can have the ring just the same. I don’t care
for the loss of that three hundred dollars so much as the peculiar way
of its disappearance, but perhaps you left it at home in your room.” The
clerk said I could telephone and ask, which I did. Ma answered the phone
and looked in my room and asked the servants, but no money was found, or
had been seen. Well, Pa took out his pocketbook and said I could have
what bills he had, which was one hundred and fifty dollars, and give a
check for the other fifty, so while he was talking he was opening his
pocketbook, and he too started, and gasped for breath, for no bills were
to be found, nothing but two silver quarters did Pa’s pocketbook
contain, and they were as mum as oysters. Pa said: “Elsie, I don’t
understand this. Child, we have been robbed since we left home, but I am
at a loss how and when; I am also sure I had one hundred and fifty
dollars, besides these quarters, in my pocketbook, but they are all that
is left to tell the tale, and they don’t tell it.” We both laughed like
two kids—I felt like crying, and Pa said the cold shivers were playing
up and down his spine. So he wrote a check for the two hundred dollars
and I took the ring and we went directly home and told Ma. Poor Ma
couldn’t understand it any more than we did.

Pa went to the police station and reported his loss, also my loss, too.
The sergeant said it did look queer. However, we looked all over the
house, but not a sign of the missing bank-notes. Before twelve o’clock
that day the police were nearly wild, for hundreds had reported losses
of from five dollars to one thousand in bills, no one had a sign of a
bill on his person—people seemed to be going mad, for every one would
swear they had so much money in the morning and some time during the day
it disappeared like the dew before a hot August sun. The police were at
work on the case, so were the newspapers.

Hearst’s “American” got the real first news; said a man in a big house
in the suburbs had all the money that had been lost, but not much came
to light till some days later, for the house had a high stone wall and
was guarded by big men, who said Mr. Worthington, the author, was busy
writing a book on his European travels and could not be disturbed, so no
one was let into the author’s house. Mr. Worthington was also a clever
scientist—although no one knew that except his servants. He was always
seeking to find some new hidden power he believed to be attraction, that
was yet unsolved, so he spent his life among his books in study, also
making experiments and writing when nothing of greater interest came to
hand. For a few days he had been operating a peculiar machine that in
appearance looked like a telegraph instrument, with the result that had
caused all the commotion in town those few days. It seemed he had
dreamed that a combination of chemicals, used with the peculiar machine,
would attract money to it on account of the silk in the paper money was
made of. It would go through everything except a vault; leather was no
protection at all, and no one could explain it, and when the servants
waited till ten A. M. on the fifth day, not having seen or heard of the
author after leaving his food in the dining-room that was eaten always,
till the dinner the night before—which was the general cause of
alarm—they pushed in the door. Well, they tried. It would not yield
much, but it was dark and stuffy, so they got a ladder and went to the
window. They could see nothing but one solid mass of green, with now and
then a gleam of yellow. What to do they did not know, so they telephoned
the police, and they came and saw—what? Why, the poor man actually dead
in the middle of a room crowded, packed down, with greenbacks, of all
denominations from one dollar to one thousand dollars. The police said
there were millions of bills; some of them went crazy looking at it, and
some wondered how it could have been done. No one had an idea. The
servants declared that Mr. Worthington had not left his house in ten
days, and had not left his room except to go to the dining-room for five
days, but he was in the midst of millions, and it had smothered him to
death. A man was found who tried to explain how the machine attracted
that silk in the money. Some believed him, others said he was a fool.
The money was restored, as far as it could be. Pa and I got ours back
because we had the first experience, but oh, my! such excitement I never
heard or witnessed before. People didn’t dare carry any greenbacks in
their purses or pockets for weeks after the whole thing was over. Pa
said his check-book would be his closest friend for a time; said that
infernal machine might go off any minute and make another collection,
and he was going, for one, to be on the safe side. I am glad it couldn’t
attract automobiles, for Pa would have lost his Brass Band and the whole
business, and my car might have gone, too, then I would have had a good
cry, for I most surely love my dear old Franklin. She is such a flyer,
and I have had so much fun touring in that car.

I am glad, however, to be settled down once more to our normal life, and
I feel much better. I, with many more, have had a horrible nightmare. I
have related these facts as well as one could expect of a girl fourteen
years of age; anything one may wish to know more about, my Pa can tell
them, he’s a very learned and wise man, and he says he fully understands
all about the attraction of the money to that machine—but I am sure I
don’t and Levey Cohen says he don’t see any sense in it at all, and so I
don’t feel so awfully alone in not understanding all such high science.
Pa is way up in science.

I hear Pa calling for his girlie, so

                                                               Good-bye,
                                                                  ELSIE.



LETTER VIII


I have been very much interested in a Benefit for the Sufferers of the
late California Earthquake. It was held in Mechanics Building and twenty
thousand dollars was raised. It was all done by the young people of
Boston. We had the Salem Cadet Band as a foundation, and then the
children gave pretty dances, marches, songs, readings, etc. It was a
vaudeville and pop concert show all in one and it lasted two days. Such
gay crowds I never saw. Pa said the ladies were lovelier than ever and
every one was glad to help, by her presence, and also many brought
friends who were strangers here. I think that the Salem Cadet Band is a
peach. Every one enjoyed listening to the band and then they made a
splendid orchestra for the fancy dancing; so that it all together was a
fine success. I have jotted down two of the selections given by children
present. David Westfield, six years of age, gave a wonderful selection
which I shall put right here; it was called “Esau Buck and the
Buck-saw.” Pa said how a boy six years old could recite a piece so
complicated was a wonder. He said that David Westfield was a live wire,
and he should keep track of him to see what end he made. He says he is
liable to be a big man some day, and something will drop at City Hall if
he got power there. Now for the selection. David made a low bow to the
big audience, stood up on the seat of a big automobile that was on the
stage as one of the props, and began thus: “An old farmer, way out in
Kansas, whose sons had all grown up and left him, hired a young man by
the name of Esau Buck to help him on his farm. On the evening of the
first day they hauled up a load of poles for wood and unloaded them
between the garden and the barnyard. The next morning the old man said
to the hired man, ‘Esau, I’m going to town this morning, and while I’m
gone you may saw up the wood and keep the old Buck out of the garden.’
When the old man was gone, Esau went out to saw the wood, but when he
saw the saw, he didn’t saw it. When Esau saw the saw he saw he couldn’t
saw with that saw, so he didn’t saw it. When the old man came home, he
said, ‘Esau, did you saw the wood?’ and Esau said, ‘I saw the wood but I
didn’t saw it, for when I saw the saw, I saw I couldn’t saw with that
saw, so I didn’t saw it.’ Then the old man went out to see the saw, and
when he saw the saw, he saw that Esau couldn’t saw with that saw. Now
when Esau saw that the old man saw that he couldn’t saw with that saw,
he picked up the ax, and chopped up the wood and made a seesaw. The next
day the old man went to town and bought a new Buck-saw for Esau Buck and
when he came home he hung the new Buck-saw for Esau Buck on the sawbuck,
by the seesaw. At this time Esau Buck saw the old Buck eating cabbage in
the garden, and when driving him from the garden Esau Buck stopped to
examine the new Buck-saw that hung on the sawbuck, by the seesaw. Now
when Esau stopped to examine the new Buck-saw that hung on the sawbuck,
by the seesaw, the old Buck made a dive for Esau, missed Esau, hit the
seesaw, and knocked the seesaw against Esau Buck, who was getting up
with the Buck-saw, which hung on the sawbuck, by the seesaw. Now when
the old man saw the old Buck make a dive for Esau Buck, miss Esau, hit
the seesaw, and knock Esau over the sawbuck, by the seesaw, he picked up
the ax to kill the old Buck, but the old Buck saw him coming, dodged the
blow, knocked the old man on to Esau Buck, who fell on the Buck-saw,
over the sawbuck by the seesaw. Now, when the old Buck saw Esau Buck
knock the old man over the sawbuck, by the seesaw, and break the
Buck-saw and the sawbuck, and the seesaw, he went into the garden and
ate up the old man’s cabbage.” You should have heard that crowd cheer
that kid; he had a big bouquet of daisies. Pa said he ought to have had
a whole field for that piece of work. I liked one very much that Millie
Green read, it was called “Naughty Zell.” Pa said it was the limit for a
saucy girl. Pa said it was the best he ever heard, so here it is: “The
other day, Kep Elbert, that’s my beau, was goin’ to go fishing on Soap
Creek, and he said I could go long too, if I would be real good, and not
scare the fishes, so we got up dest as early. Kep thinks an awful lot of
me, so he does, he let me dig all the fish worms. I got mamma’s
milking-pail half-full of ’em—it’s lots of fun to dig fish worms. I
heard the old milkman coming and I had to run like everything and put
the pail back quick, ’cause he might ask Bridget for a pan and then she
wouldn’t let us go fishing. Bridget is awful mean—t’other day she just
up and slapped me ’cause I put a toad in my grandmother’s bed, to see if
she wouldn’t scream like everything when she saw it. I knew it wouldn’t
bite her all the time, so I did, but the man poured the milk in the pail
all right and I breathed easier again. I had to dig a whole lot more,
though, before we went. First thing, we had our breakfast, ’cause we’se
awful hungry, then I put the bait on the hook, and Kepie fished. We had
to drink water out of Kep’s shoe—it didn’t have but a teeny, weeny,
little hole in the toe—’cause I had to leave the pail at home. Kep was
awful cross, though, he wouldn’t let me whisper for an hour—guess it was
more than two hours. I just had to keep a-biting my tongue, atween my
teeth, ’cause I wanted to know so awful bad why he didn’t catch any. I
was kind of glad when a snake runned over my bare foot, so I had to
scream, and then Kep said, ’twas no use a-trying to fish where girls
was. I guess Kep had a good time, but I don’t think I care for fishin’
much, it’s too much like Sunday school for me. My mamma tells me when
I’m naughty to tell Satan to get behind me, and I did tell him, and he
pushed me right into the creek. I don’t think I’ll tell him that no
more, ’cause I had on my best apron and stockings, and when I got home,
why, there was a lot of company there, and mam’s face got awful red and
everybody didn’t say nothin’ for a long time, an’ then pretty soon I
heard an old man say, ‘H’m, that young one is a regular torment, she
needs a rawhide to guide her for awhile;’ and I said, ‘Oho, ol’ man, was
that you a-talkin’? You had not better get too smart around here, I’ll
fire you out bodily. Who do you think you are talkin’ to, anyhow, ha?
You old crank, you!’ You bet I scared him, he never said no more about
me, you bet you. I don’t care, he’s dead now, and I am glad. Would you
believe it, my mother sent me to bed without my dinner. Don’t you think
she did, I don’t care, ’cause some day I’m going to die, then she’ll
wish she had been kinder to me when I was just taking my own part, so
she will—she will too. I never stayed up there neither, I run over to
Nettie Bell’s house, and when I came back, why, the company wasn’t gone
yet, and I said, ‘Mamma says city folks is always coming here three
times to her once, and always staying all night, and the boys have to
sleep out in the barn,’ Then everybody looked funny, and Mrs. Hull said,
‘William, children and fools always speak the truth, let’s go home at
once,’ and I says, ‘No one wants you here.’ Then mamma cried, and papa
laughed, and big brother Fred got a big stick, but he didn’t catch me
’cause I run awful fast, when I was going to get a licking. I had to run
outside into the yard and hid under the rose-bushes, close to the
hammock, until they forgot. That’s where Mary and Slicer does their
sparking, an’ they don’t ‘low us children round there neither, don’t you
think they do, and I knowed I either had to hide under the rose-bush or
skip, and what do you think I did? I bet you can guess. I hid under the
rose-bush, so I could take notes, ’cause Kep thinks an awful lot of me,
and why, if we’d ever get big, why, an’ if we’d ever want to spark any,
and if Kep didn’t know how, I’d know, but I couldn’t hear what they was
saying ’cause they never said nothing for a long time, and then pretty
soon they would be a-talking just as low, and just as low, and then
pretty soon, Slicer said, ‘My Precious Darling! I couldn’t in the world
ever love any one else but you,’ and then he gave her a great big kiss,
and she never said quit that, or nothing, an’ I jumped right out and
said, ‘That’s a great big fib, ’cause I saw you taking another girl out
riding on Soap Creek, so I did,’ and he said, ‘You rattlesnake, where do
you spect to go for tellin’ such great, big fibs, what ain’t so,’ and I
said, ‘I don’t expect to go to no place where you are, you old smart
crank. I just hate all men and boys except my Dad, and Kep, so I do,
that’s my mind right now, see?’ Say, I know something, something good,
about some one. I ain’t going to say who said it, but the one that did
don’t tell lies. ’Twasn’t so, though. I was walking t’other day
down-town when I heard some one talking about me, and I knew if I didn’t
go back I’d never know, so I went back, and some one what knows very
much said, ‘There goes the prettiest and smartest girl in town,’ and
that was me; just ’cause my Dad’s rich is no sign I am smart. Why, my
Dad’s got ever so much money, he could just throw it away if he wanted
to, but he don’t want to. This is about the worsest dress I got—’taint
the very worsest, I guess it’s about the best one I got, tho I can have
better dresses than this if I want ’em, but I don’t want ’em, ’cause I
have got better sense than to want things I can’t get. I guess folks
think ’cause my ma dresses me up so nice that they can get me to speak
every place, but I don’t ever want to speak, ’cause I don’t guess they
want to hear me, all the time. On Kep’s birthday he had a great big
party to his house, and they got Kep to speak first, ’cause I guess they
wanted to save the best for the last, and pretty soon they didn’t ask me
to speak. I know they wanted to hear me awful bad, but they didn’t ask
me, so pretty soon I said I guessed I’d speak my piece now, and I did. I
guess everybody thought I spoke it awful good. I didn’t hear no one say
they did, but I guess they did. I’ll speak a teeny, weeney little bit of
what I spoke at Kep’s birthday party. I won’t speak all of it ’cause I
guess you don’t want to hear all of it. (Bows) I know it but I can’t
think of it—now I know: ‘Mary had a little wool,’—no, that isn’t
it—‘Mary had a little lamb, its wool was black as dew’—oh, no—‘Mary
fleeced a little lamb,’ no (not as bad as that), ‘Mary had a little
lamb, its fleece was wool, and died.’ Oh, I don’t know what Mary did
have, boo-hoo.” So ended that. Then a boy gave a monologue called,
“Every Little Bit Helps.” It was fine, and was received with much
applause and laughter.

                         EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS

Did you see that old maid? Holly Gee, isn’t she ancient? She belongs to
a very old family. Just think she is a cousin to Lydia Pinkham, of Lynn,
Mass., and a sister to Josiah Allen’s wife. She’s looking for a man, and
I reckon she will have to look till she gets on two pairs of glasses,
and we have sunsets in the east. Really she must feel like shooting the
shoots, when she sees all the summer beaux, in Central Park.

Did you ever go fishing with dried apples for bait? It beats the flies
all to smithereens. A boat and a bag of dried apples is all you need.
When you find plenty of fish, just throw in a few handfuls of dried
apples, and the fish will gobble it up and then the dried apples will
swell and they will come up to the surface to see the sun set in the
north, and wink at the stars, and you can pick them as fast as
strawberries in a cabbage patch.

I went to church last Sunday, and, as they were short of teachers, they
asked me to take a class of boys. I tried to tell them about Daniel in
the lion’s den, and Alexander, the coppersmith, etc., and then a boy
began to tell me the biggest lie I ever heard, and I asked him if he
didn’t know it was awfully wicked to tell lies, and he said, “Didn’t you
ever tell a lie?” and I said, “No,” and he said, “Great Caesar’s ghost!
Won’t you be lonesome, though, when you get up to heaven, with no one
but George Washington for company?”

I went to a reception the other night, and was introduced to the great
Prof. Bobs. “So glad to meet you, old chap. They tell me, Prof., you
have mastered all tongues.” “Well, all but my wife’s and her mother’s.”

I met Mr. Dooley on the street the other day and he began to tell me a
tale of woe, and I said, “Now see here, cheer up, don’t make mountains
out of mole-hills.” “Well,” said he, “that’s all right, but I knew a man
that made a whole barrel out of a bucket shop.”

I went to a school exhibition the other day, and the teacher said, “The
class in ‘spasms’ will recite,” so John Jones was asked to tell what a
straight was, and he said, “Just the plain stuff with nothing in it.”
Then the teacher said, “If 32° is freezing-point, what is
squeezing-point?” and Johnny said, “2° in the shade.” Then the teacher
says, “Johnny, how old are you?” and Johnny says, “I ain’t but 12, but
my pants are marked 16.” Then Danny Jones was asked to give the
positive, comparative, and superlative of “sick.” Danny—Sick, worse,
dead.

Oh, say, Prof., what letter would you say if your mother-in-law fell
into the ocean? (Prof.) “Well, I don’t know.” “Why, letter B.”

                   *       *       *       *       *

Pa and Levey said it was a howling success. I had a fine spin in my
automobile to-day. I go out every day generally with Pa, unless he wants
to have his band along, then I go by myself. Pa says we’ll go to the
Empire Races later on—I hope so, it’s great sport to see a good live
race between fine-built autos. Makes one feel one’s a live wire, to keep
up. Levey Cohen has a new machine, a Sparklet. It’s a new make, but Pa
says it’s the real goods. Ma says Pa always thinks Levey is all right
and so he is, bless his dear heart. My birthday is soon coming and I
will have a big celebration. Pa says the district attorneys are looking
for whiskey within four hundred feet of schoolhouses to get the people
to think they are doing something. Pa says that’s a rummy way to get a
living. I guess Pa don’t think much of that kind of popularity. Levey
Cohen says a man can find enough that will help the people, and keep
them busier, and not have such a bad smell as whiskey. I hear politics
discussed nearly every day at dinner when Levey Cohen dines here, that
is if it’s on the Republican side—Democrats are not allowed to talk in
our house. Ma, Levey Cohen, and I are good Republicans, so,

                                                             Good night,
                                                                  ELSIE.



LETTER IX


Now, little book, I am going on a trip to Europe and this is my last
letter till we come back in October. Pa and Levey Cohen have become
personally interested in the queerest boy I ever saw. He is fourteen
years of age, and a newsboy, from New York City, and Coney Island. He
has bright gleaming red hair, large brown eyes, more freckles than Dr.
Woodbridge could ever count, and two front teeth knocked down his throat
in a fight in which he says, for once, he got licked by a Chink, which
hurts his feelings more than the lickin’. Pa got him a new suit and a
hair cut. You couldn’t tell where his hair began and his face left off.
Pa says, like good whiskey, he will improve with age, and I should hope
he might. Up to now he has slept in barrels and boxes mostly and never
had a human being kind to him in his life. He’s got a common yellow dog
named Teddy—he said he wouldn’t come unless Pa adopted Teddy, the dog,
and Pa said there was room for the dog, so when “Jimmy Jones” got that
letter he wired back to Pa saying: “Dear Sir: Your offer accepted,
quicker than instantly. I telegraph you my answer, but I expect to get
there before the telegram does.” He told the telegraph man to collect on
the other end, that was the end the money pot was, and he sent the
message, also the bill. Pa said he had great hopes of “Jimmy,” after he
got that telegram. “Jimmy Jones” boards with our gardener, and Pa had a
nice room fitted up for him, and when it was shown him he looked at the
bed all made up nice, and white, and said: “Hully gee! what’s that? a
dining-table! Gosh, but ain’t it grand?” When told it was a bed he said,
“Gosh, I couldn’t get on to that, I would soil the top right off.” Pa
told him after he had a bath and was scrubbed off—which he didn’t like
at all—he was left to his first night’s rest in a bed that he could
remember. He told Pa the next day that he could sleep a hundred years
and never want to wake up to the bad world in that bed. He said he
wondered why people wanted to go home, but now he said it was clear to
his mind that they wanted to just sleep in a nice comfortable bed. He
told every policeman he met to come and rest their lamps on his bed,
said it was good for sore eyes, etc. Pa took Jimmy to Dr. Atwood on
Boylston Street to have two teeth put in on a bridge. Jimmy didn’t like
the process, but he stood it fine; the gardener says he’s a brave boy.
Anyway, he looks better with the teeth in. Before he looked for all the
world like that yellow kid boy I saw when I was a very little girl, that
was before Buster Brown appeared in the Sunday papers. Pa says he will
let Jimmy learn to drive his automobile—thinks he can learn in time, all
but his slang. I never heard such a string of slang in all my life. The
other day he was telling the gardener about his summer at Coney Island;
I heard a part of what he said: “Yes, Coney Island is de place where all
de swells go to dat tink they are swells. Hully gee! all that is swell
about them is their heads. They are, all told, a rummy lot. Lots of
times they steal a paper or a shoe shine. Yes, I blacked the President’s
boots for him. Naw, not the President of the United States of freedom,
but dis was a President of a peanut trust, he gave me Mary a handful of
his hot peanuts and I don’t forget it, you bet your best hat. I have
sold papers to the elete of New York. I can lick any kid on the Row. The
policemen never tells me to move on, now, they know I’m de real ting,
see? and a live wire. They don’t let on they see me, half of de time,
’cause I know a lot of de monkey shines going on and dey let me alone. I
gits along wid de push all right. I stand up for all de newsboys, ’cause
dey will be all men some day, and may even own a automobile. My! but dey
are de live ting, don’t dey hum and kick up de dust, though. I sold
papers for de sufferers of de Cal earthquake, and I got a heap of money.
It would do your old lamps good to have seen de pile I took in. I got
ever so much money—too much to count. I never seed so much all to once
in my whole life. I most wish I had been killed in an earthquake, bad as
it was, and got a handful of dat dough. I never kept a cent for myself,
no sirree, I’m honest if I am only ‘Jimmy’ de newsboy. Dey all knows me
in New York. I have found good friends here, just tink, I am going to
school at night and git learning, so I can do tings and propel a
automobile. Hully gee! you bet your last year’s top hat I’ll sit up
straight and go like de dickens, no snale creeping for mine. I tink I
will be a good driver for that kind of a water wagern. De Governor has a
brass band on his wagern and dat takes my blinkers and thinkers, most
awfully much. Hully gee! but the natives of this town will stare when
dey sees ‘Jimmy’ go out for a spin up Tremont Street—dat’s de toney
street of Boston, ain’t it, Cap? Oh, ye don’t tell me it’s Commonwealth
Avenue, dat is de swellest, is it? Well, I’ve heard of Tremont Street
and the Old Howard Theatre and of Austin and Stone’s and that’s all I
know of Boston. I don’t read de papers much, you see, ’cause I’se too
busy selling ’em, but now I am here and going to become a natural sized
sitizen of dis United States of Boston America, why, cos I has to git on
to de place wid both feet. Now don’t scowl and find fault wid me talk,
for I let you say what ye like and I’ll do the same, unless de cops git
on to me game and shut out me lights. I don’t tink I will ever want to
vote, ’cause ye have to wait till yers are twenty-one and dat’s too
long. I can’t git old but a year at a leap, and any furreigner can be
natural and made a American sitizen here just before each election and
vote. Some of dem get to be new natural Americans every voting time, so
I will stick to de automobile and de papers, for my daily grub. Well,
course, if de Governor says I am to keep shut up tight when I am on de
box all right, I can. I can tink and say so to myself, quiet, so no one
will hear me express myself only in silence. Well, good-bye, I am goin’
to try on me new suit the Governor sent me. I will be a real Tremont
Street swell sure’s yer live.”

                   *       *       *       *       *

Well, now Jimmy has disappeared and I will just note that I am perfectly
shocked at his way of talking, but Pa and Levey Cohen both says he is a
diamond in the rough, and I do hope they can polish off some of the
rough corners soon. Pa has always wanted to take just such a character
and tame him. Now he has got the raw material and I shall be waiting
anxiously to see what comes up next. Uncle Smith is coming soon and I
expect when he sees the boy Jimmy—well, Uncle Smith will say words I
won’t write. I can hear that Jimmy talking yet with the gardener, that
is, Jimmy is talking and the gardener just listening. I will put down
what I can hear: “Say, Harvard College is a swell place I guess. I have
read in de papers dis mornin’ dat dey want twenty million dollars to
make de place solid. Gee whiz! what do dey do wid all de money dey gets?
I know a lot of dem Harvard fellows; in New York dey always gives a
fellow a few extra pennies and dinner, on holidays. I likes dem Harvard
fellows ’cause dey has got a generous vein in der hand. Guess dey are
taught to be generous to us kids in college, dat’s why dey need so much
money to carry dem along. Say, wouldn’t you like to get your lamps on
twenty million dollars all in one bunch? Don’t it make ye faint to think
of it? Gives me a hungry pain in de left side of me liver. Say, Mr.
Gardner, dat waking suit of yourn (scuse me for saying so) in New York
would be called loud enough for a talking machine reckord. Say, I’se got
a best girl, I has. She’s a cracker jack; she’s got the beautifullest
hair yer ever saw. It’s a high-toned shade; they call it ashes and
roses, but I don’t see why, but they do. Her eyes are violet, oh, so
find. Hully gee! but they snap when she gits mad. She boxed my ears one
day ’cause I tried to kiss her. She got awful mad and threw a wash-tub
at my head, but I dodged it and it went plunk into a big policeman who
was stooping down to look into a barroom window. Peg said it served him
right for snooping, but she run like anything and so did I, and when de
policeman got up we war way off. He took de wash-tub wid him, but no one
saw any one fire it, so it was never reclaimed. Peg said the tub cost a
dollar and twenty-five cents and if she claimed it, why, she was likely
to get pinched, and get thirty days, so she said the policeman was
welcome to de tub; said she bet a button de next time dat policeman
stooped down to look at anything he would hire a man to watch behind
him. Oh, I tell you what, de papers are all de time having excitement.
Why don’t all de people go to Sunday school and be good? If dey would de
papers would be put out of biz. Dey are watching all de time for de man
or womans dat do wicked. All de good ones are never spoken of except
when dey die, and den only a few lines way back in de paper in small
print, but let a man give a lot of money like some fellows rocks I heard
of, and dey will put de heading in capital letters, a little bigger den
de common readin’, den you notice dat de oil we use to feed our lamps on
goes up, perhaps only a quarter of a cent, but if you can get a few
billion quarter of cents together all to once it would buy a good many
turkeys for Thanksgiving. Say, mister, Christmas and Thanksgiving are de
only two days in de year I can git full. Naw, I don’t mean full of
liquor. (I never drink anyting but milk and cold water.) I mean get full
of grub, wid all de good tings de rich people has. Wouldn’t I like to be
rich? No, I don’t tink money is all dare is, but it is a whole lot to
fill in wid. A pocket full of greenbacks would make me feel better than
a pocket full of emptiness with a big appetite. Say, mister, I can sing
and dance to beat the cars. I singed ‘De Pride of Newspaper Row,’ last
winter in New York and I got an applecore to sing another verse. Ought
to be encore? They said I did fine. Say, mister, if you saw an
automobile coming down the street at sixty miles an hour and a deaf man
crossing the street, what’s the answer? Not yet, but soon! Did you hear
about the new Irishman over to East Boston last week? Well, Mike
McCarthy told me about it. He said he and Pat Murphy was working on Mr.
Smith’s house, the one that married Mary Jones, of Salem, and Pat was
working on the roof when all of a sudden the staging broke and Pat
slipped and slid, till at the very edge he caught on to the tin gutter
and hung in the air, six stories from the ground. Mike and the other
yelled to Pat to hold on till they got something to catch him in. In a
couple of minutes they had a big canvas sheet by the corners and told
Pat to drop into the canvas, and Pat cried: ‘How in the devil can I let
go when it’s all I can do to hold on?’ Oh, did yer hear the one about
Pat and the ants? Well, Pat, after eating his lunch, lay down under a
tree to get forty winks before the whistle for one o’clock blew and he
layed on top of an ants’ nest, which he didn’t dream of, but pretty soon
the whole ant family came out to see what kind of a lobster was in their
yard, so they crawled all over Pat and bit him to see if he was good
eating, etc., and pretty soon Pat brushed them off and went to sleep
again as best he could. They all came for another look at Pat, and he
brushed them all off again, till bime by a big spider dropped on Pat’s
bald head and bit him good. That was enough for Pat. He got up and said:
‘Now, then, all of yers get off.’ Did you hear about Mr. Burbank’s
Jersey cow? Well, a vishus dog bit off her tail so she looked so funny
that Burbank concluded to fat her and sell her for beef, so in four
months she was in prime order and he took her to the stock yard to sell
her, but when the man saw her he said, ‘Mr. Burbank, we don’t retail any
cows here.’ Oh, did you hear the description of Noah’s wife? Well, the
minister read that Noah took unto himself a wife; her hight was three
hundred cubits, her breadth fifty cubits, made of Gopher wood, pitched
within and without with pitch. He looked rather surprised as he read on,
then paused, and in a solemn voice said, ‘’Tis true, we are fearfully
and wonderfully made.’ (Some bad boys had pasted the leaves together,
hence the good old man’s surprise.) Oh, say, mister, I know a real funny
piece about balls. Ever hear it? Well, here it is. I went to the
newsboys’ ball in New York last spring given by Mr. Frank Ball, of
Chicago. I know of several kinds, for instance, there are snow balls,
foot balls, rubber balls, rifle balls, base balls, cartridge balls,
cannon balls, basket balls, croquet balls, Ping Pong balls, pool balls,
fish balls, billiard balls, tennis balls, bowling balls, camphor balls,
and some policeman bawls, and if you miss hearing me bawl you will want
to eat some raw dough balls to make you remember to go to our ball next
year, sir.”

Good night, I’m twenty-three for bed.

                                                                  ELSIE.



LETTER X


Now, little book, I am feeling a little too proud, I expect, for Pa is
going to take us all over to London in his new air-ship. It’s called the
Margaret, and she looks like a couple of large cigars tied together. Pa
made a scientific combination of steel and aluminum, which, with some
secret liquid added, makes the lightest and strongest metal ever
produced. The whole ship, with all its apparatus for a trip across the
ocean, only weighs one thousand pounds and will carry six hundred
pounds. We will start at nine o’clock Monday, and we expect to be in
London by Wednesday eve, at ten P. M., so I will stop for a little till
we are on board. I will write on board if we don’t rock too much. I hope
we don’t go to the bottom of the sea, that’s all. We are to have a
wireless telegraph to let the people know how we get on. No one knows
when we are to start, or where, because it got into the papers that the
trip was to be made, and many would gather to see us start, but Pa says
no, he wants to be far away before any one knows it, and I guess it is
better so, too. Pa is calling, so I must run to see what he wishes.

                   *       *       *       *       *

4 P. M., Tuesday. My goodness, we are skimming over the top of the ocean
like a large white bird. My, but this is the most beautiful trip I ever
had. We are sailing about two hundred feet up above the water, Pa
thinks; he hasn’t asked the captain to be sure, but it is glorious. We
have passed several steamers and they saluted with all their power. We
waved the Stars and Stripes to them in reply, and sent a message that we
were going fine, and without any hitching. We have heard from Boston and
will soon have a message from the King. A big reception is to be given
to us, but I dread that, for our luggage had to go over by steamer, and
although it was sent a week ahead, if it don’t arrive when we do I guess
we won’t be much to be seen. My, how grand the sun is, and the moon and
stars, when you are up above the earth some ways. The ocean is a dream
of delight to look upon. Pa planned to come when the moon was full so we
could see all the wonderful beauty of sea and sky. No tongue or pen
could ever fully describe this journey. We have sailed along as smooth
as any one could wish. Ma is delighted. She said she was just frightened
to death, but felt it her duty to come if Pa went to kill himself, and
Levey Cohen and I—that she Couldn’t live without us, so she was willing
to die too. I don’t think she is bothering much about dying by the way
she is laughing with Levey Cohen. I have to write now or when we land I
would forget half of the fun we are having. Pa says a big crowd is
waiting to meet us in London. I wonder where Pa will keep this machine
when we get to London, probably it will be kept on the top of some
automobile garage. Pa don’t say; I bet he don’t have any idea where it
will be kept. We seem to be attracting a great deal of attention. Why, I
don’t think this is such a wonderful thing because Pa did it. Pa is a
wonderful man, but when you live with such a wonderful man I guess you
forget a good deal about the wonderful part till you hear other people
say so. We don’t eat as much up here as when we are on earth, because we
are nearer heaven, and are looking up and thinking of higher things than
material eating. My, how fast we go, the clouds fly by and we go right
through them like everything. They seem to fly like the trees and fields
in an automobile race. I don’t care if we don’t ever stop, or come down.
I could go on forever like this. Jimmy went over in the steamer with the
luggage. Pa says we will land now in a few hours. Pa had a band made by
phonographs, so we have had music, and Ma brought the pol parrot. He has
heard Jimmy talk and to-day he has shouted several times what Jimmy said
when his steamer went out. “Hully gee, don’t git drownded.” I don’t
think we will, but it would be an awful drop if we did bust up; however,
I don’t feel afraid now any more. Huray! we can see London. Pa says it’s
a fine sight. The stars bright and the moon like a big golden ball in
the sky, and all London lighted up. They have sighted our ship, for I
can hear their bells ringing.

Well, we are on the good earth once more. We had a fine greeting and
this afternoon we will look over London a bit. We are to be presented at
Court, and I don’t know what all. I have seen the Shontworths. They are
still here and made much of. We have our trunks and now we can go out
and look and feel well groomed. Jimmy was so glad to see us safe and
sound he forgot to use slang for once. Pa and Levey was pleased enough,
but it didn’t last, for soon he got into a fight with a London newsboy
and it took a policeman to separate them. Jimmy told the English newsboy
that “America was de onliest place fit to live in on earth,” and
naturally the English boy resented it, so it was a free fight to settle
the matter. As the policeman dragged those boys apart Jimmy screamed to
the top of his voice, “America ahead, by thunder!” Pa made Jimmy promise
to be good else he would send him back on the next ship. I guess he
will; he felt cheap to think he was caught in a street fight, as soon as
he landed, nearly. Jimmy means all right, but he has a queer way of
showing it, his fists seem to be his most familiar mode of expressing
internal feelings.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Well, I have been presented to a real live King and Queen. It was rather
a trying thing, after all, so different from home, but we liked it, as
it’s the fashion. We have been invited to several affairs and Pa
delivered a talk before the King and Queen and the Royal House about his
air ship. To-morrow he is to take the King and Queen out for a short
sail. It seems strange, to talk about sailing through the air, but it is
so, and I reckon air ships will become somewhat popular; but Pa says
most people will rather dangle their feet in the water in a boat than
take chances in sailing in an air ship. It is majestic to sail through
the air like a big bird, I think.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Well, here we are in Spain and we have been presented to Spain’s King
and Queen. Pa won’t display his air ship here. We are to stay only ten
days, then return back to London for our homeward trip. We shall stay in
Liverpool some weeks, I expect, as Pa has a cousin there who is crazy
about air ships, so Pa will stay with them and I expect he and Pa will
plan another wonder.



LETTER XI


Well, dear little book, nine busy and happy months have passed since I
have been able to find you. I have lots more stories to put down when I
get time, but I will only record the one that seems to me most wonderful
to-day. Pa has had the most wonderful success with his air ship, but I
somehow cling pretty strongly to earth and my dear old darling Franklin
car. She’s a beauty and just as fine as ever, and I like her better
every day. She is like a dear friend, the more you know their beautiful
traits of character the more you love them, and that’s the way with my
Franklin—a royal friend, proved solid, true and loyal—what more could
one ask of an automobile. Pa says Jimmy is getting on fine in his
studies. He is learning to be a valued boy for Pa, and his nameless
wonder. The only trouble with Jimmy is that he wants the band going all
the time, and he to dance. Pa asked him how he expected to dance and
motor both at the same time, but he will; he will dance and hop and keep
his hands on the wheel. It’s a funny sight.

Well, what I started out to say was that “Jimmy Jones” has a newspaper
record. His picture was in the paper and he got dozens of them and had
them all pinned up all over our private garage last Sunday week. We had
an awful, awful thunder-storm and Jimmy was in the garage with Teddy,
the yellow dog. Well, all of a sudden an awful flash of lightning came
and the thunder was so loud that we were all most stunned. Jimmy
declared it clean knocked him off his pins. A few seconds after the
flash and thunder was over Jimmy noticed a ball the size of a large
orange and about the same color, bobbing against the window pane, like a
grampa longlegs in summer. Jimmy said it crackled and sputtered like
anything, as it bobbed against the pane, like a rubber ball. When he
opened the window the ball bounced into the room and floated about the
room like a balloon. Jimmy grabbed the broom used to sweep the garage,
and struck at it. He hit it several times, but it would bound off again,
but at last the blow went home and the ball busted, and hundreds of the
most beautiful stones I ever saw fell on the floor. Jimmy ran for Pa and
we all went out to see the wonder—which was a wonder. A note was found
written in French, saying the Ball and Jewels were from the Planet
Jupiter; that the people were men very like us, only they were all
golden blonds, both men and women, and that they all spoke the French
language; that they had had automobiles and air ships for over five
thousand years, and that their best speeder was the Franklin touring
car; said the roads were smooth and level, and that they were just
natural; that they had been watching this world for a long time, and
said we were getting on; said Jupiter had many more men than women, and
would like to send some of them here, perhaps they could in 2906, also
that precious stones were as thick on Jupiter as fleas are here in
haying-time; that the ball of jewels sent was shot out of a lightning
cannon, which they hoped would shoot far enough to reach this earth;
said if it wasn’t back in six months, they would know some one got it;
said the jewels were the finest, but not so expensive there as here,
because there they are very plentiful; said the “Man from Now” once
lived in Jupiter and they kicked him out, that’s how he was showing
around Boston; said there was a man who spent heaps of Jupiter Globe
funds and declared he was a brother to Fitzgerald here; said automobiles
don’t kill the people in Jupiter because they can all fly, and get out
of the way; said they would make it very homelike for any Boston
schoolmarms that want husbands; said there were no rum-shops up there
(some people of Boston would have to get a new job that are saloon
hunters); that the Golden Rule was all the religion they needed, and was
signed “Weston Franklin,” the maker of the noted Franklin Automobile.

When Jimmy was telling the gardener about it he said, “Hully gee, how am
I to let dose guys know I got de rocks, de Governor says dey are worth a
big pile of dough here and he will sell them and invest de money and I
will have to study hard and be a man. Golly, does he tink I am a cow? I
don’t care. I wouldn’t know what to do with de money, so de Governor
might des as well keep it for me. I will go up to Jubator myself some
day when dey gits de air ships going safe. I didn’t ever expect to see
de one dat went ober across de pond, a few months ago, but it came down
safe and all on board. Yes, I’m getting along fine on de automobile. I
can run it all right but I can’t keep me feet still when I hear dat band
of de Governor’s, though. Say, dat’s a peach you bet yer boots. It’s a
hummer. I reckon de Franklin car is de best on de street. Now dey has it
on de planet Jubator all de swells will have one here; it will be more
de rage dan ever before. Miss Elsie, she says she always felt it was de
best one, and she knows what’s good. Yes, I will turn in now. Good
night.”



LETTER XII


“Jimmy” has been relating more of his troubles to the gardener. Last
night it was so unusual that I will record it, as he seems to be a part
of our life in a way. Pa and Levey Cohen say he is naturally a good
foundation to build on—and they must know. “Say, Mr. Gardner, what you
tink, de boys are calling me Mr. Jones, since de Governor sold dem rocks
and got fifty thousand dollars for de lump, and I have had my picture in
de Boston ‘American.’ Say Hearst is a pretty good man; he would be all
right if he was a Republican, but Dick says he’s on de wrong side of de
pump in politics. Anyway he treated me white—made a very decent picture
of me. It looks a sight better any day, than I does, Peg says, and she
has good eyes, she has. Well, as I was saying, fancy me being called Mr.
Jones. Hully gee, it made me sick to me stomach. I wonder if de push
tinks I am going to swell up and bust ’cause I’ve got a few dollars now?
I ain’t seen it, de Governor says I’se got it, all right, but I don’t
feel no different than I did before, except I have de faith dat if I
gets a college ice once a week I won’t miss de five cents when I needs a
pair of shoes, or a handkerchief. Say, mister, I notices some charge ten
cents for dem college ices. I had one what cost ten cents de other week
and ’tween you and me I couldn’t see a might of difference in de two,
except de price. Dick says I’m like de Irishman. Said all de taste I had
was in me mouth. I’ve got on fine at de night school—de teachers say I
must drop my slang, but, hully gee! I don’t use any slang, much. I told
de Professor to go oil his lamps, and he got mad and kept me after
school. I be hanged if I notice that I use much slang. Wouldn’t it bust
de buttons off your vest how perticular some folks be? Hully gee! I
don’t want to be mean, nor nothing, but I must have time to git my own
lamps trimmed, ’cause I’se always had to bump up against it hard, ever
since I was born. I would like awful well if I could run up on de silver
rays of de moon to dat planet Jubator; it must be a fine place up dare.
Just tink, no rivers, and seas, to git drownded in, just deep wells,
thick as peas in a pod, but no boats, or ships. Hully gee! only land,
land everywhere. I would feel lonesome without de oder of de Charles
River here. Sometimes it smells pretty bad, but I could even stand that
than no smell at all. Oh, I want to tell yer before I forgit it. I went
out in de country last night with Dick, to see his granny what lives out
to Salem Willows. Well, they have a little patch of land there behind
the house and Dick’s granny keeps a few hens, and she had some nice
custards in old cups and we had a feast, let me tell you. Dick’s granny
keeps a goat, and a male sheep with big horns. He’s an awful ugly cuss,
and we saw ample proof of his ugliness. Dick went out to feed him and he
broke his chain and came for Dick lickety slap bang and bunted Dick all
over the yard. He tried to get up, but every time he moved the old he
sheep would draw back and knock him down. He kept him there for more
than an hour, I guess. Last his granny missed him and went to the door
and Dick yelled for me to come out and drive the old he sheep off. I got
the poker and went for Mr. Sheep. I gave him a good clip over his nose
and he didn’t feel like bunting any more; then I turned to Dick and
said, ‘Button, button, who got the button?’ and Dick said, ‘Well, if you
had been here when I first came out you would have seen plain enough who
it was.’ Then we came back home and Dick says he’s no friend to that he
sheep any more. I don’t blame him at all. That he sheep ought to have
had more sense, but he didn’t. Dat he sheep seemed to have a heap of
respect for me after I gave him a rap over his nose. I reckon he would
have called me Mr. Jones, if he could talk, with the accent on the Mr.

“The Governor told me if I wanted to get ahead I must get the bulldog
grip. I told him I never seed one, and he said, ‘Jimmy, didn’t you ever
see an old maid in the country set the bulldog on a tramp and see with
what a grip the dog held on to the seat of the tramp’s trousers as he
tried to get over the fence?’ I said I had, and he said that was what a
bulldog grip means. Just get a strong, good hold and hang on. He said
the Mason’s grip wasn’t so strong; said I ought to see a Mason ride the
lodge goat. He said it was more fun to see the other fellow do it than
to ride yourself.”

We are planning for the Automobile Magazine Cup race. The cup is a
stunner; it cost five thousand dollars, the most unique cup ever offered
for a race. Pa says I can enter my Franklin Flyer as I am set on it so
much. Levey Cohen says I’ll win, so does Jimmy. I hope I do, then folks
would have to say a girl can do some things, too, as well as boys and
men.

Oct. 15, 1907. Say, but I am excited, for I have won the race. Fifteen
hundred miles with not one bad mark—a perfect score for a kid is rather
good, I think. I feel more pleased than I can tell. They had a plate
made with brilliants that spelled “Franklin, Model G,” and put on to the
space left for the name in the cup. It’s a dandy, let me tell you that.
Jimmy Jones yelled himself sick shouting for the Franklin at the end of
the tournament when the trophy was awarded. He said it took a live fish
to go up stream and the Franklin car was it. I never saw a boy so crazy
before. He said he would like to see the maker of the Franklin car
President of the United States, but I told him I guessed he would rather
turn out fast cars than to be president of anything but his own company.
There’s only one President ever got rich while sitting in the
Presidential chair and he ought to have been in better business, Pa
says. Jimmy says we have a bully President now, and I guess that’s
right, anyway, Pa and Levey Cohen say so, and they know. Jimmy was
telling our gardener more yarns and I will write what I can hear: “Say,
mister, wouldn’t de new style of trousers put a feller on de bum,
though? I never seed such big wide trousers. Be gosh, I believe dey are
trying to git skirts on to de men. When I put me new suit on de Governor
got me last week, I thought it looked mighty queer, yet I never gave it
much thought till Peg got her peepers on them. She jest hollowed and she
says, ‘Git on to de dude, trying to be a womens; almost petticoats,’
says she, ‘not yet but soon. See de crease warble when ye walks. Hully
gee! Jimmy, if yese can walk and keep dat crease straight de cops will
pull yese in for talking too much boose. Ye will walk like a streak of
greased lightning to keep up wid ye pants, bet ye life, it will be more
work for ye than for a womens to keep her hat on straight, see?’ Well, I
did see, and I asked de Governor to send dem to de dressmakers and git
de seam took in, but de Governor said, ‘Jimmy, dat’s de style,’ but I
says, ’Scuse me, sir, but I want me pants to look like they were cut for
me and not for John L. Sullivan.’ Peg says all de swell guys look like a
pole wid de cloth draped on to cover up dar slimness. Now what I want to
know is what de fat man can do wid all dat extra cloth around his pegs.
He will look like he was sent for and didn’t come at all. De tailor what
made dat style must have been down East somewhere, perhaps down to
Wonderland or Lynn, and got too many drinks, so he thought everyting
went, even to de cloth for de trousers. I don’t know whether he gits his
money by de week or per. Oh, I saw dat fine actor, Mr. Edmund Breese, in
de ‘Lion and de Mouse.’ Say, dat Breese man is a peach. He is mighty
good actor, mister. I wish you would go and see him. Peg says she wishes
I could make love like he can on de stage. She says she saw him at de
Castle Square, Boston, and he was de handsomest lover on de stage—so de
papers said, but you see I ain’t it for polished manners. De Governor
says I’ve got to watch out all de time so not to git throwed down. I am
doing the best I can to stand on both me pins at once, but it must be
mighty find to be really born a gentleman like Mr. Breese. He bought a
paper of me several times when he was at de Park Theatre and he’s a good
sort, all right. Got lots of good sense in his head, and he’s popular.
Oh, I say, mister, did you ever hear one of them vaudeville fellows what
talks down in his boots and then yer think somebody’s under the stage,
or in a trunk, or something awful. I mean one of them ventriloquists.
Well, mister, I have seen ’em all from Dan Harrington to dat English
chap what dey call Charlie Prince, but dey can’t any of dem fellows hold
a candle to Harry Kane. Kane he styles hisself on de bill at de theatre.
He does de best act wid dem dummies I ever seed. Peg says all de others
are dead slow, but Kane makes his Irishman mighty mad at de nigger boy
he has. Dat Irish doll boy nearly gits alive, really, mister, he is so
mad at being near a nigger. Gosh, I never seed such a fight as dey gits
into. Makes ye wish you could go right down on de stage and give dat
black nigger a big punch in de eye, so if ye wants to see a good A1
ventriloquist see Kane. Say, you will miss me gab ’cause de Governor has
given me three weeks’ vacation. Me salary goes on just the same. I feel
like a bank clerk or a cashier of a swell bank. So long, now, till
Christmas, which is not yet, but soon.”

I reckon I’ll say good night, too, little book, for my eyes are heavy
with sleep.

                                                                  ELSIE.

                                THE END.



                              TESTIMONIAL

I am a pupil of the International Correspondence School of Scranton,
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                                               ETHELLYN GARDNER,
                              Author of “The Letters of the Motor Girl.”





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