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Title: A Guest at the Ludlow and Other Stories
Author: Nye, Bill, 1850-1896
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Guest at the Ludlow and Other Stories" ***











  Copyright, 1896




[Illustration: _You can pay five cents to the Elevated Railroad and get
here, or you can put some other man's nickel in your own slot and come
here with an attendant_ (Page 2)]

       *       *       *       *       *

This volume was prepared for publication by the author a few months
before his death, and is now published by arrangement with Mrs. Edgar
Wilson Nye.

       *       *       *       *       *



  I. A GUEST AT THE LUDLOW                                             1

  II. OLD POLKA DOT'S DAUGHTER                                        13

  III. A GREAT CEREBRATOR                                             22

  IV. HINTS FOR THE HOUSEHOLD                                         33

  V. A JOURNEY WESTWARD                                               42

  VI. A PROPHET AND A PIUTE                                           52

  VII. THE SABBATH OF A GREAT AUTHOR                                  64

  VIII. A FLYER IN DIRT                                               69

  IX. A SINGULAR "HAMLET"                                             81

  X. MY MATRIMONIAL BUREAU                                            92

  XI. THE HATEFUL HEN                                                 99

  XII. AS A CANDIDATE                                                108

  XIII. SUMMER BOARDERS AND OTHERS                                   123

  XIV. THREE OPEN LETTERS                                            134

  XV. THE DUBIOUS FUTURE                                             144

  XVI. EARNING A REWARD                                              156

  XVII. A PLEA FOR JUSTICE                                           162

  XVIII. GRAINS OF TRUTH                                             168

  XIX. A SCAMPER THROUGH THE PARK                                    179

  XX. HINTS TO THE TRAVELER                                          187

  XXI. A MEDIEVAL DISCOVERER                                         201

  XXII. HOW TO PICK OUT A BIRTHPLACE                                 208

  XXIII. ON BROADWAY                                                 218

  XXIV. MY TRIP TO DIXIE                                             222

  XXV. THE THOUGHT CLOTHIER                                          228

  XXVI. A RUBBER ESOPHAGUS                                           233

  XXVII. ADVICE TO A SON                                             243

  XXVIII. THE AUTOMATIC BELL BOY                                     254



  You can pay five cents to the Elevated Railroad and get here, or
  you can put some other man's nickel in your own slot and
  come here with an attendant          _Frontispiece_

  His old look of apprehensive cordiality did not leave him until
  he had seen me climb on a load of hay with my trunk and start
  for home                                                            15

  Then they tied a string of sleighbells to his tail, and hit him a
  smart, stinging blow with a black snake                             27

  My idea was to apply it to the wall mostly, but the chair tipped,
  and so I papered the piano and my wife on the way down              36

  Frogs build their nests there in the spring and rear their young,
  but people never go there                                           45

  I improved the time by cultivating the acquaintance of the beautiful
  and picturesque outcasts known as the Piute Indians                 57

  He sometimes succeeds in getting himself disliked by some other
  dog and then I can observe the fight                                67

  Then rolling my trousers up a yard or two, I struck off into the
  scrub pine, carrying with me a large board                          74

  He looked up sadly at me with his one eye as who should say,
  "Have you got any more of that there red paint left?"              105

  "Mr. Nye, on behalf of this vast assemblage (tremulo), I thank
  God that you are POOR!!!"                                          115

  Three or four times as much oxygen is consumed in activity as in
  repose, hence the hornets' nests introduced by me last season      124

  Playing billiards, accompanied by the vicious habit of pounding
  on the floor with the butt of the cue ever and anon, produces
  at last optical illusions                                          149

  Mr. Whatley hadn't gone more than half a mile when he heard the
  wild and disappointed yells of the Salvation army                  159

  "I was in a large, cool hosspital which smelt strong of some forrin
  substans. The hed doctor had been breathing on me and so I
  come too"                                                          163

  Said the Governor as he swung around with his feet over in our
  part of the carriage and asked me for a light                      181

  He therefore had to borrow a bald-headed man to act as bust for
  him in the evening                                                 194

  It was at this time that he noticed the swinging of a lamp in a
  church, and observing that the oscillations were of equal duration  202

  Here Andrew turned the grindstone in the shed, while a large,
  heavy neighbor got on and rode for an hour or two                  210

  "A man that crosses Broadway for a year can be mayor of Boston,
  but my idee is that he's a heap more likely to be mayor of the
  New Jerusalem"                                                     220

  I bought tickets at Cincinnati of a pale, sallow liar, who is just
  beginning to work his way up to the forty-ninth degree in the
  Order of Ananias                                                   222

  In hotels it will take the mental strain off the bell-boy, relieving
  him also of a portion of his burdensome salary at the same
  time                                                               256



We are stopping quietly here, taking our meals in our rooms mostly, and
going out very little indeed. When I say we, I use the term editorially.

We notice first of all the great contrast between this and other hotels,
and in several instances this one is superior. In the first place, there
is a sense of absolute security when one goes to sleep here that can not
be felt at a popular hotel, where burglars secrete themselves in the
wardrobe during the day and steal one's pantaloons and contents at
night. This is one of the compensations of life in prison.

Here the burglars go to bed at the hour that the rest of us do. We all
retire at the same time, and a murderer can not sit up any later at
night than the smaller or unknown criminal can.

You can get to Ludlow Street Jail by taking the Second avenue Elevated
train to Grand street, and then going east two blocks, or you can fire a
shotgun into a Sabbath-school.

You can pay five cents to the Elevated Railroad and get here, or you can
put some other man's nickel in your own slot and come here with an

William Marcy Tweed was the contractor of Ludlow Street Jail, and here
also he died. He was the son of a poor chair-maker, and was born April
3, 1823. From the chair business in 1853 to congress was the first false
step. Exhilarated by the delirium of official life, and the false joys
of franking his linen home every week, and having cake and preserves
franked back to him at Washington, he resolved to still further taste
the delights of office, and in 1857 we find him as a school

In 1860 he became Grand Sachem of the Tammany Society, an association at
that time more purely political than politically pure. As president of
the board of supervisors, head of the department of public works, state
senator, and Grand Sachem of Tammany, Tweed had a large and seductive
influence over the city and state. The story of how he earned a scanty
livelihood by stealing a million of dollars at a pop, and thus, with the
most rigid economy, scraped together $20,000,000 in a few years by
patient industry and smoking plug tobacco, has been frequently told.

Tweed was once placed here in Ludlow Street Jail in default of
$3,000,000 bail. How few there are of us who could slap up that amount
of bail if rudely gobbled on the street by the hand of the law. While
riding out with the sheriff, in 1875, Tweed asked to see his wife, and
said he would be back in a minute.

He came back by way of Spain, in the fall of '76, looking much improved.
But the malaria and dissipation of Blackwell's Island afterwards
impaired his health, and having done time there, and having been
arrested afterwards and placed in Ludlow Street Jail, he died here
April 12, 1878, leaving behind him a large, vain world, and an equally
vain judgment for $6,537,117.38, to which he said he would give his
attention as soon as he could get a paving contract in the sweet

From the exterior Ludlow Street Jail looks somewhat like a conservatory
of music, but as soon as one enters he readily discovers his mistake.
The structure has 100 feet frontage, and a court, which is sometimes
called the court of last resort. The guest can climb out of this court
by ascending a polished brick wall about 100 feet high, and then letting
himself down in a similar way on the Ludlow street side.

That one thing is doing a great deal towards keeping quite a number of
people here who would otherwise, I think, go away.

James D. Fish and Ferdinand Ward both remained here prior to their
escape to Sing Sing. Red Leary, also, made his escape from this point,
but did not succeed in reaching the penitentiary. Forty thousand
prisoners have been confined in Ludlow Street Jail, mostly for civil
offenses. A man in New York runs a very short career if he tries to be
offensively civil.

As you enter Ludlow Street Jail the door is carefully closed after you,
and locked by means of an iron lock about the size of a pictorial family
Bible. You then remain on the inside for quite a spell. You do not hear
the prattle of soiled children any more. All the glad sunlight, and
stench-condensing pavements, and the dark-haired inhabitants of
Rivington street, are seen no longer, and the heavy iron storm-door
shuts out the wail of the combat from the alley near by. Ludlow Street
Jail may be surrounded by a very miserable and dirty quarter of the
city, but when you get inside all is changed.

You register first. There is a good pen there that you can write with,
and the clerk does not chew tolu and read a sporting paper while you
wait for a room. He is there to attend to business, and he attends to
it. He does not seem to care whether you have any baggage or not. You
can stay here for days, even if you don't have any baggage. All you
need is a kind word and a mittimus from the court.

One enters this sanitarium either as a boarder or a felon. If you decide
to come in as a boarder, you pay the warden $15 a week for the privilege
of sitting at his table and eating the luxuries of the market. You also
get a better room than at many hotels, and you have a good strong door,
with a padlock on it, which enables you to prevent the sudden and
unlooked-for entrance of the chambermaid. It is a good-sized room, with
a wonderful amount of seclusion, a plain bed, table, chairs, carpet and
so forth. After a few weeks at the seaside, at $19 per day, I think the
room in which I am writing is not unreasonable at $2.

Still, of course, we miss the sea breeze.

You can pay $50 to $100 per week here if you wish, and get your money's
worth, too. For the latter sum one may live in the bridal chamber, so to
speak, and eat the very best food all the time.

Heavy iron bars keep the mosquitoes out, and at night the house is
brilliantly lighted by incandescent lights of one-candle power each.
Neat snuffers, consisting of the thumb and forefinger polished on the
hair, are to be found in each occupied room.

Bread is served to the Freshmen and Juniors in rectangular wads. It is
such bread as convicts' tears have moistened many thousand years. In
that way it gets quite moist.

The most painful feature about life in Ludlow Street Jail is the
confinement. One can not avoid a feeling of being constantly hampered
and hemmed in.

One more disagreeable thing is the great social distinction here. The
poor man who sleeps in a stone niche near the roof, and who is
constantly elbowed and hustled out of his bed by earnest and restless
vermin with a tendency toward insomnia, is harassed by meeting in the
court-yard and corridors the paying boarders who wear good clothes, live
well, have their cigars, brandy and Kentucky Sec all the time.

The McAllister crowd here is just as exclusive as it is on the outside.

But, great Scott! what a comfort it is to a man like me, who has been
nearly killed by a cyclone, to feel the firm, secure walls and solid
time lock when he goes to bed at night! Even if I can not belong to the
400, I am almost happy.

We retire at 7:30 o'clock at night and arise at 6:30 in the morning, so
as to get an early start. A man who has five or ten years to stay in a
place like this naturally likes to get at it as soon as possible each
day, and so he gets up at 6:30.

We dress by the gaudy light of the candle, and while we do so, we
remember far away at home our wife and the little boy asleep in her
arms. They do not get up at 6:30. It is at this hour we remember the
fragrant drawer in the dresser at home where our clean shirts, and
collars and cuffs, and socks and handkerchiefs, are put every week by
our wife. We also recall as we go about our stone den, with its odor of
former corned beef, and the ghost of some bloody-handed predecessor's
snore still moaning in the walls, the picture of green grass by our own
doorway, and the apples that were just ripening, when the bench warrant

The time from 6:30 to breakfast is occupied by the average, or
non-paying inmate, in doing the chamberwork and tidying up his
state-room. I do not know how others feel about it, but I dislike
chamberwork most heartily, especially when I am in jail. Nothing has
done more to keep me out of jail, I guess, than the fact that while
there I have to make up my bed and dust the piano.

Breakfast is generally table d'hôte and consists of bread. A tin-cup of
coffee takes the taste of the bread out of your mouth, and then if you
have some Limburger cheese in your pocket you can with that remove the
taste of the coffee.

Dinner is served at 12 o'clock, and consists of more bread with soup.
This soup has everything in it except nourishment. The bead on this soup
is noticeable for quite a distance. It is disagreeable. Several days ago
I heard that the Mayor was in the soup, but I didn't realize it before.
I thought it was a newspaper yarn. There is everything in this soup,
from shop-worn rice up to neat's-foot oil. Once I thought I detected
cuisine in it.

The dinner menu is changed on Fridays, Sundays and Thursdays, on which
days you get the soup first and the bread afterwards. In this way the
bread is saved.

Three days in a week each man gets at dinner a potato containing a
thousand-legged worm. At 6 o'clock comes supper with toast and
responses. Bread is served at supper time, together with a cup of tea.
To those who dislike bread and never eat soup, or do not drink tea or
coffee, life at Ludlow Street Jail is indeed irksome.

I asked for kumiss and a pony of Benedictine, as my stone boudoir made
me feel rocky, but it has not yet been sent up.

Somehow, while here, I can not forget poor old man Dorrit, the Master of
the Marshalsea, and how the Debtors' Prison preyed upon his mind till he
didn't enjoy anything except to stand off and admire himself. Ludlow
Street Jail is a good deal like it in many ways, and I can see how in
time the canker of unrest and the bitter memories of those who did us
wrong but who are basking in the bright and bracing air, while we, to
meet their obligations, sacrifice our money, our health and at last our
minds, would kill hope and ambition.

In a few weeks I believe I should also get a preying on my mind. That is
about the last thing I would think of preying on, but a man must eat

Before closing this brief and incomplete account as a guest at Ludlow
Street Jail I ought, in justice to my family, to say, perhaps, that I
came down this morning to see a friend of mine who is here because he
refuses to pay alimony to his recreant and morbidly sociable wife. He
says he is quite content to stay here, so long as his wife is on the
outside. He is writing a small ready-reference book on his side of the
great problem, "Is Marriage a Failure?"

With this I shake him by the hand and in a moment the big iron
storm-door clangs behind me, the big lock clicks in its hoarse, black
throat and I welcome even the air of Ludlow street so long as the blue
sky is above it.



I once decided to visit an acquaintance who had named his country place
"The Elms." I went partly to punish him because his invitation was so
evidently hollow and insincere.

He had "The Elms" worked on his clothes, and embossed on his stationery
and blown in his glass, and it pained him to eat his food from table
linen that didn't have "The Elms" emblazoned on it. He told me to come
and surprise him any time, and shoot in his preserves, and stay until
business compelled me to return to town again. He had no doubt heard
that I never surprise any one, and never go away from home very much,
and so thought it would be safe. Therefore I went. I went just to teach
him a valuable lesson. When I go to visit a man for a week, he is
certainly thenceforth going to be a better man, or else punishment is of
no avail and the chastening rod entirely useless in his case.

"The Elms" was a misnomer. It should have been called "The Shagbark" or
"The Doodle Bug's Lair." It was supposed to mean a wide sweep of meadow,
a vine covered lodge, a broad velvet lawn, and a carriage way, where the
drowsy locust, in the sensuous shadow of magnanimous elms, gnawed a file
at intervals through the day, while back of all this the mossy and
gray-whiskered front and corrugated brow of the venerable architectural
pile stood off and admired itself in the deep and glassy pool at its

In the first place none of the yeomanry for eight miles around knew that
he called his old malarial tank "The Elms," so it was hard to find. But
when I described the looks of the lord of The Elms they wink at each
other and wagged their heads and said, "Oh, yes, we know him," also
interjecting well known one syllable words that are not euphonious
enough to print.

[Illustration: ... "_His old look of apprehensive cordiality did not
leave him until he had seen me climb on a load of hay with my trunk and
start for home_" (Page 15)]

When I got there he was down cellar sprouting potatoes, and his wife
was hanging out upon the clothes line a pair of gathered summer trousers
that evidently were made for a man who had been badly mangled in a

The Elms was not even picturesque, and the preserves were out of order.
I was received with the same cordiality which you detect on the face of
any other kind of detected liar. He wanted to be regarded as a
remarkable host and landed proprietor, without being really hospitable.
I remained there at The Elms a few days, rubbing rock salt and Cayenne
pepper into the wounds of my host, and suggesting different names for
his home, such as "The Tom Tit's Eyrie," "The Weeping Willow," "The
Crook Neck Squash" and "The Muskrat's Retreat." Then I came away. His
old look of apprehensive cordiality did not leave him until he had seen
me climb on a load of hay with my trunk and start for home.

During my brief sojourn I noticed that the surrounding country was full
of people, and I presume there was a larger population of "boarders," as
we were called indiscriminately, than ever before. The number of
available points to which the victims of humidity and poor plumbing may
retreat in summer time is constantly on the increase, while, so far as I
know, all the private and public boarding places are filled to their
utmost capacity. Everywhere, the gaudy boarder in flannels and ecru
shoes looms upon the green lawn or the brown dirt road, or scales the
mountain one day and stays in bed the following week, rubbing James B.
Pond's Extract on his swollen joints.

I scaled Mount Utsa-yantha in company with others. We picked out a nice
hot day, and, selecting the most erect wall of the mountain, facing
west, we scaled it in such a way that it will not have to be done again
till new scales grow on it.

Mount Utsa-yantha is 3,365 feet above sea level, and has a brow which
reminds me of mine. It is broad, massive and bleak. The foot of the
mountain is more massive, however. From the top of the mountain one
gets, with a good glass, a view of six or seven states, I was told.
Possibly there were that many in sight, though at that season of the
year states look so much alike that it takes an expert to pick them out
readily. When states are moulting, it is all I can do to tell Vermont
from Massachusetts. On this mountain one gets a nice view and highly
exhilarating birch beer.

Albany can be distinctly seen with a glass--a field glass, I mean, not a
glass of birch beer. Some claim that the nub of a political boom may be
seen protruding from the Capitol with the nude vision. Others say they
can see the Green mountains, and as far south as the eye can reach. We
took two hours and a half for the ascent of the mountain, and came down
in about twenty minutes. We descended ungracefully--the way the Irishman
claimed that the toad walked, viz.: "git up and sit down."

Mount Utsa-yantha--I use the accepted orthography as found in the
Blackhawk dictionary--has a legend also. Many centuries ago this
beautiful valley was infested by the red brother and his bronze progeny.
Where now the red and blue blazer goes shimmering through the swaying
maples, and the girl with her other dress on and her straw colored
canvas cinch knocketh the croquet ball galley west, once there dwelt an
old chief whom we will call Polka Dot, the pride of his people. He
looked somewhat like William Maxwell Evarts, but was a heavier set man.
Places where old Polka Dot sat down and accumulated rest for himself are
still shown to city people whose faith was not overworked while young.

Old Polka Dot was a firm man, with double teeth all around, and his
prowess got into the personal columns of the papers every little while.
He had a daughter named Utsa-yantha, which means "a messenger sent
hastily for treasure," so I am told, or possibly old Polka Dot meant to
imply "one sent off for cash."

Anyhow Utsa-yantha grew to be quite comely, as Indian women go. I never
yet saw one that couldn't stop an ordinary planet by looking at it
steadily for two minutes. She dressed simply, wearing the same clothes
while tooling cross-country before breakfast that she wore at the scalp
dance the evening before. In summer time she shellacked herself and
visited the poor. Taking a little box of water colors in a shawl strap,
so that she could change her clothes whenever she felt like it, she
would go away and be gone for a fortnight at a time, visiting the ultra
fashionable people of her tribe.

Finally a white man penetrated this region. He did it by asking a
brakeman on the West Shore road how to get here and then doing
differently. In that way he had no trouble at all. He saw Utsa-yantha
and loved her almost instantly. She was skinning a muskrat at the time,
and he could not but admire her deftness and skill. From that moment he
was not able to drive her image from his heart. He sought her again and
again to tell her of his passion, but she would jump the fence and flee
like a frightened fawn with a split stick on its tail, if such a
comparison may be permitted. At last he won her, and married her quietly
in his working clothes. The nearest justice of the peace was then in
England, and so rather than wait he was married informally to
Utsa-yantha, and she went home very much impressed indeed. That fall a
little russet baby came to bless their union. The blessing was all he
had with him when he arrived.

Then the old chief Polka Dot arose in his wrath, to which he added a
pair of moose hide moccasins, and he upbraided his daughter for her
conduct. He upbraided her with a piazza pole from his wigwam. He was
very much agitated. So was the pole.

Then he cursed her for being the mother of a 1/2 breed child, and
stalking 1/4 he slew the white man by cutting open his trunk and
disarranging his most valuable possessions. He then wiped the stab
knife on his tossing mane, and grabbing his grandson by his swaddling
clothes he hurled the surprised little stranger into Lake Utsa-yantha.
By pouring another pailful of water into the lake the child was
successfully drowned.

Then the widowed and childless Utsa-yantha came forth as night settled
down upon the beautiful valley and the day died peacefully on the
mountain tops. Her eyes were red with weeping and her breath was
punctuated with sobs. Putting on a pair of high rubber boots she waded
out into the middle of the lake, where there is quite a deep place, and
drowned herself.

When the old man found the body of his daughter he was considerably
mortified. He took her to the top of the mountain and buried her there,
and ever afterward, it is said, whenever any one spoke of the death of
his daughter and her family, he would color up and change the subject.

This should teach us never to kill a son-in-law without getting his
wife's consent.



Being at large in Virginia, along in the latter part of last season, I
visited Monticello, the former home of Thomas Jefferson, also his grave.
Monticello is about an hour's ride from Charlottesville, by diligence.
One rides over a road constructed of rip-raps and broken stone. It is
called a macadamized road, and twenty miles of it will make the pelvis
of a long-waisted man chafe against his ears. I have decided that the
site for my grave shall be at the end of a trunk line somewhere, and I
will endow a droska to carry passengers to and from said grave.

Whatever my life may have been, and however short I may have fallen in
my great struggle for a generous recognition by the American people, I
propose to place my grave within reach of all.

Monticello is reached by a circuitous route to the top of a beautiful
hill, on the crest of which rests the brick house where Mr. Jefferson
lived. You enter a lodge gate in charge of a venerable negro, to whom
you pay two bits apiece for admission. This sum goes towards repairing
the roads, according to the ticket which you get. It just goes toward
it, however; it don't quite get there, I judge, for the roads are still
appealing for aid. Perhaps the negro can tell how far it gets. Up
through a neglected thicket of Virginia shrubs and ill-kempt trees you
drive to the house. It is a house that would readily command $750, with
queer porches to it, and large, airy windows. The top of the whole hill
was graded level, or terraced, and an enormous quantity of work must
have been required to do it, but Jefferson did not care. He did not care
for fatigue. With two hundred slaves of his own, and a dowry of three
hundred more which was poured into his coffers by his marriage, Jeff did
not care how much toil it took to polish off the top of a bluff or how
much the sweat stood out on the brow of a hill.

Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. He sent it to one of
the magazines, but it was returned as not available, so he used it in
Congress and afterward got it printed in the _Record_.

I saw the chair he wrote it in. It is a plain, old-fashioned wooden
chair, with a kind of bosom-board on the right arm, upon which Jefferson
used to rest his Declaration of Independence whenever he wanted to write

There is also an old gig stored in the house. In this gig Jefferson used
to ride from Monticello to Washington in a day. This is untrue, but it
goes with the place. It takes from 8:30 A. M. until noon to ride this
distance on a fast train, and in a much more direct line than the old
wagon road ran.

Mr. Jefferson was the father of the University of Virginia, one of the
most historic piles I have ever clapped eyes on. It is now under the
management of a classical janitor, who has a tinge of negro blood in his
veins, mixed with the rich Castilian blood of somebody else.

He has been at the head of the University of Virginia for over forty
years, bringing in the coals and exercising a general oversight over the
curriculum and other furniture. He is a modest man, with a tendency
toward the classical in his researches. He took us up on the roof,
showed us the outlying country, and jarred our ear-drums with the big
bell. Mr. Estes, who has general charge of Monticello--called
Montechello--said that Mr. Jefferson used to sit on his front porch with
a powerful glass, and watch the progress of the work on the University,
and if the workmen undertook to smuggle in a soft brick, Mr. Jefferson,
five or six miles away, detected it, and bounding lightly into his
saddle, he rode down there to Charlottesville, and clubbed the
bricklayers until they were glad to pull down the wall to that brick and
take it out again.

This story is what made me speak of that section a few minutes ago as an
outlying country.

The other day Charles L. Seigel told us the Confederate version of an
attack on Fort Moultrie during the early days of the war, which has
never been printed. Mr. Seigel was a German Confederate, and early in
the fight was quartered, in company with others, at the Moultrie House,
a seaside hotel, the guests having deserted the building.

Although large soft beds with curled hair mattresses were in each room,
the department issued ticks or sacks to be filled with straw for the use
of the soldiers, so that they would not forget that war was a serious
matter. Nobody used them, but they were there all the same.

Attached to the Moultrie House, and wandering about the back-yard, there
was a small orphan jackass, a sorrowful little light blue mammal, with a
tinge of bitter melancholy in his voice. He used to dwell on the past a
good deal, and at night he would refer to it in tones that were choked
with emotion.

The boys caught him one evening as the gloaming began to arrange itself,
and threw him down on the green grass. They next pulled a straw bed over
his head, and inserted him in it completely, cutting holes for his
legs. Then they tied a string of sleighbells to his tail, and hit him a
smart, stinging blow with a black snake.

[Illustration: _Then they tied a string of sleighbells to his tail, and
hit him a smart, stinging blow with a black snake_ (Page 27)]

Probably that was what suggested to him the idea of strolling down the
beach, past the sentry, and on toward the fort. The darkness of the
night, the rattle of hoofs, the clash of the bells, the quick challenge
of the guard, the failure to give the countersign, the sharp volley of
the sentinels, and the wild cry, "to arms," followed in rapid
succession. The tocsin sounded, also the slogan. The culverin, ukase,
and door-tender were all fired. Huge beacons of fat pine were lighted
along the beach. The whole slumbering host sprang to arms, and the crack
of the musket was heard through the intense darkness.

In the morning the enemy was found intrenched in a mud-hole, south of
the fort, with his clean new straw tick spattered with clay, and a
wildly disheveled tail.

On board the Richmond train not long ago a man lost his hat as we pulled
out of Petersburg, and it fell by the side of the track. The train was
just moving slowly away from the station, so he had a chance to jump off
and run back after it. He got the hat, but not till we had placed seven
or eight miles between us and him. We could not help feeling sorry for
him, because very likely his hat had an embroidered hat band in it,
presented by one dearer to him than life itself, and so we worked up
quite a feeling for him, though of course he was very foolish to lose
his train just for a hat, even if it did have the needle-work of his
heart's idol in it.

Later I was surprised to see the same man in Columbia, South Carolina,
and he then told me this sad story:

"I started out a month ago to take a little trip of a few weeks, and the
first day was very, very happily spent in scrutinizing nature and
scanning the faces of those I saw. On the second day out, I ran across a
young man whom I had known slightly before, and who is engaged in the
business of being a companionable fellow and the life of the party. That
is about all the business he has. He knows a great many people, and his
circle of acquaintances is getting larger all the time. He is proud of
the enormous quantity of friendship he has acquired. He says he can't
get on a train or visit any town in the Union that he doesn't find a

"He is full of stories and witticisms, and explains the plays to theater
parties. He has seen a great deal of life and is a keen critic. He would
have enjoyed criticising the Apostle Paul and his elocutionary style if
he had been one of the Ephesians. He would have criticised Paul's
gestures, and said, 'Paul, I like your Epistles a heap better than I do
your appearance on the platform. You express yourself well enough with
your pen, but when you spoke for the Ephesian Y. M. C. A., we were
disappointed in you and we lost money on you.'

"Well, he joined me, and finding out where I was going, he decided to go
also. He went along to explain things to me, and talk to me when I
wanted to sleep or read the newspaper. He introduced me to large numbers
of people whom I did not want to meet, took me to see things I didn't
want to see, read things to me that I didn't want to hear, and
introduced to me people who didn't want to meet me. He multiplied misery
by throwing uncongenial people together and then said: 'Wasn't it lucky
that I could go along with you and make it pleasant for you?'

"Everywhere he met more new people with whom he had an acquaintance. He
shook hands with them, and called them by their first names, and felt in
their pockets for cigars. He was just bubbling over with mirth, and
laughed all the time, being so offensively joyous, in fact, that when he
went into a car, he attracted general attention, which suited him
first-rate. He regarded himself as a universal favorite and all-round

"When we got to Washington, he took me up to see the President. He knew
the President well--claimed to know lots of things about the President
that made him more or less feared by the administration. He was
acquainted with a thousand little vices of all our public men, which
virtually placed them in his power. He knew how the President conducted
himself at home, and was 'on to everything' in public life.

"Well, he shook hands with the President, and introduced me. I could see
that the President was thinking about something else, though, and so I
came away without really feeling that I knew him very well.

"Then we visited the departments, and I can see now that I hurt myself
by being towed around by this man. He was so free, and so joyous, and so
bubbling, that wherever we went I could hear the key grate in the lock
after we passed out of the door.

"He started south with me. He was going to show me all the
battle-fields, and introduce me into society. I bought some strychnine
in Washington, and put it in his buckwheat cakes; but they got cold, and
he sent them back. I did not know what to do, and was almost wild, for I
was traveling entirely for pleasure, and not especially for his pleasure

"At Petersburg I was told that the train going the other way would meet
us. As we started out, I dropped my hat from the window while looking
at something. It was a desperate move, but I did it. Then I jumped off
the train, and went back after it. As soon as I got around the curve I
ran for Petersburg, where I took the other train. I presume you all felt
sorry for me, but if you'd seen me fold myself in a long, passionate
embrace after I had climbed on the other train, you would have changed
your minds."

He then passed gently from my sight.



There are a great many pleasures to which we may treat ourselves very
economically if we go at it right. In this way we can, at a slight
expense, have those comforts, and even luxuries, for which we should
otherwise pay a great price.

Costly rugs and carpets, though beautiful and rich in appearance,
involve such an outlay of money that many hesitate about buying them;
but a very tasty method of treating floors inexpensively consists in
staining the edge for several feet in width, leaving the center of the
room to be covered by a large rug. Staining for the floor maybe easily
made, by boiling maple bark, twenty parts; pokeberry juice,
twenty-five parts; hazel brush, thirty parts, and sour milk, twenty-five
parts, until it becomes about the consistency of the theory of infant
damnation. Let it stand a few weeks, until the rich flavor has died
down, so that you can look at it for quite a while without nausea; then
add vinegar and copperas to suit the taste, and apply by means of a
whisk broom. When dry, help yourself to some more of it. This gives the
floor a rich pauper's coffin shade, over which shellac or cod liver oil
should be applied.

Rugs may be made of coffee sacking or Turkish gunny-rest sacks, inlaid
with rich designs in red yarn, and a handsome fringe can be added by
raveling the edges.

A beautiful receptacle for soiled collars and cuffs may be made by
putting a cardboard bottom in a discarded and shattered coal scuttle,
gilding the whole and tying a pale blue ribbon on the bail.

A cheap and very handsome easy-chair can be constructed by sawing into a
flour barrel and removing less than half the length of staves for
one-third the distance around, then fasten inside a canvas or duck seat,
below which the barrel is filled with bran.

A neat little mackerel tub makes a most appropriate foot-stool for this
chair, and looks so unconventional and rustic that it wins every one at
once. Such a chair should also have a limited number of tidies on its
surface. Otherwise it might give too much satisfaction. A good style of
inexpensive tidy is made by poking holes in some heavy, strong goods,
and then darning up these holes with something else. The darned tidy
holds its place better, I think, and is more frequently worn away on the
back of the last guest than any other.

This list might be prolonged almost indefinitely, and I should be glad
to write my own experience in the line of experiment, if it were not for
the danger of appearing egotistical. For instance, I once economized in
the matter of paper-hanging, deciding that I would save the
paper-hanger's bill and put the money into preferred trotting stock.

So I read a recipe in a household hint, which went on to state how one
should make and apply paste to wall paper, how to begin, how to apply
the paper, and all that. The paste was made by uniting flour, water and
glue in such a way as to secure the paper to the wall and yet leave it
smooth, according to the recipe. First the walls had to be "sized,"

I took a tape-measure and sized the walls.

Next I began to prepare the paste and cook some in a large milk-pan. It
looked very repulsive indeed, but it looked so much better than it
smelled, that I did not mind. Then I put about five cents' worth of it
on one roll of paper, and got up on a chair to begin. My idea was to
apply it to the wall mostly, but the chair tipped, and so I papered the
piano and my wife on the way down. My wife gasped for breath, but soon
tore a hole through the paper so she could breathe, and then she laughed
at me. That is the reason I took another end of the paper and repapered
her face. I can not bear to have any one laugh at me when I am myself

It was good paste, if you merely desired to disfigure a piano or a wife,
but otherwise it would not stick at all. I did not like it. I was mad
about it. But my wife seemed quite stuck on it. She hasn't got it all
out of her hair yet.

[Illustration: _My idea was to apply it to the wall mostly, but the
chair tipped, and so I papered the piano and my wife on the way down_]
(Page 36)

Then a man dropped in to see me about some money that I had hoped to pay
him that morning, and he said the paste needed more glue and a quart of
molasses. I put in some more glue and the last drop of molasses we had
in the house. It made a mass which looked like unbaked ginger snaps, and
smelled as I imagine the deluge did at low tide.

I next proceeded to paper the room. Sometimes the paper would adhere,
and then again it would refrain from adhering. When I got around the
room I had gained ground so fast at the top and lost so much time at the
bottom of the walls, that I had to put in a wedge of paper two feet wide
at the bottom, and tapering to a point at the top, in order to cover the
space. This gave the room the appearance of having been toyed with by an
impatient cyclone, or an air of inebriety not in keeping with my poor
but honest character.

I went to bed very weary, and abraded in places. I had paste in my
pockets, and bronze up my nose. In the night I could hear the paper
crack. Just as I would get almost to sleep, it would pop. That was
because the paper was contracting and trying to bring the dimensions of
the room I own to fit it.

In the morning the room had shrunken so that the carpet did not fit, and
the paper hung in large molasses-covered welts on the walls. It looked
real grotesque. I got a paper-hanger to come and look at it. He did so.

"And what would you advise me to do with it, sir?" I asked, with a
degree of deference which I had never before shown to a paper-hanger.

"Well, I can hardly say at first. It is a very bad case. You see, the
glue and stuff have made the paper and wrinkles so hard now, that it
would cost a great deal to blast it off. Do you own the house?"

"Yes, sir. That is, I have paid one-half the purchase-price, and there
is a mortgage for the balance."

"Oh. Well, then you are all right," said the paper-hanger, with a gleam
of hope in his eye. "Let it go on the mortgage."

Then I had to economize again, so I next resorted to the home method of
administering the Turkish bath. You can get a Turkish bath in that way
at a cost of four and one-half to five cents, which is fully as good as
one that will cost you a dollar or more in some places.

I read the directions in a paper. There are two methods of administering
the low-price Turkish bath at home. One consists in placing the person
to be treated in a cane-seat chair, and then putting a pan of hot water
beneath this chair. Ever and anon a hot stone or hot flat-iron is
dropped into the water by means of tongs, and thus the water is kept
boiling, the steam rising in thick masses about the person in the chair,
who is carefully concealed in a large blanket. Every time a hot
flat-iron or stone is dropped into the pan it spatters the boiling water
on the bare limbs of the person who is being operated upon, and if you
are living in the same country with him, you will hear him loudly
wrecking his chances beyond the grave by stating things that are really

The other method, and the one I adopted, is better than this. You apply
the heat by means of a spirit lamp, and no one, to look at a little
fifteen cent spirit lamp, would believe that it had so much heat in it
till he has had one under him as he sits in a wicker chair.

A wicker chair does not interfere with the lamp at all, or cut off the
heat, and one is so swathed in blankets and rubber overcoats that he
can't help himself.

I seated myself in that way, and then the torch was applied. Did the
reader ever get out of a bath and sit down on a wire brush in order to
put on his shoes, and feel a sort of startled thrill pervade his whole
being? Well, that is good enough as far as it goes, but it does not
really count as a sensation, when you have been through the Home
Treatment Turkish Bath.

My wife was in another room reading a new book in which she was greatly
interested. While she was thus storing her mind with information, she
thought she smelled something burning. She went all around over the
house trying to find out what it was. Finally she found out.

It was her husband. I called to her, of course, but she wanted me to
wait until she had discovered what was on fire. I tried to tell her to
come and search my neighborhood, but I presume I did not make myself
understood, because I was excited, and my personal epidermis was being
singed off in a way that may seem funny to others, but was not so to one
who had to pass through it.

It bored me quite a deal. Once the wicker seat of the chair caught fire.

"Oh, heavens," I cried, with a sudden pang of horror, "am I to be thus
devoured by the fire fiend? And is there no one to help? Help! Help!

I also made use of other expressions but they did not add to the sense
of the above.

I perspired very much, indeed, and so the bath was, in a measure, a
success, but oh, what doth it profit a man to gain a bath if he lose his
own soul?



I once visited my old haunts in Colorado and Wyoming after about seven
years of absence. I also went to Utah, where spring had come in the rich
valley of the Jordan and the glossy blackbird, with wing of flame,
scooted gaily from bough to bough, deftly declaring his affections right
and left, and acquiring more wives than he could support, then clearing
his record by claiming to have had a revelation which made it all right.

One could not shut his eyes to the fact that there was great real estate
activity in the West that spring. It took the place of mining and stock,
I judge, and everywhere you heard and saw men with their heads together
plotting against the poor rich man. In Salt Lake I saw the sign, "Drugs
and Real Estate."

I presume it meant medicine and a small residence lot in the cemetery.

In early days in Denver, Henry C. Brown, then in the full flush and
vigor of manhood, opened negotiations with the agent of the Atchison
stage line for a ticket back to Atchison, as he was heart-broken and
homesick. He owned a quarter-section of land, with a heavy growth of
prairie dogs on it, and he had almost persuaded the agent to swap him a
ticket for this sage brush conservatory, when the ticket seller backed
gently out of the trade. Mr. Brown then sat him down on the sidewalk and
cried bitterly.

I just tell this to show how easily some men weep. Atchison is at
present so dead that a good cowboy, with an able mule, could tie his
rope to its tail, and, putting his spurs to the mule, jerk loose the
entire pelt at any time, while Brown's addition to Denver is worth
anywhere from one and a half to two millions of dollars. When Mr. Brown
weeps now it is because his food is too rich and gives him the gout. He
sold prairie dogs enough to fence the land in so that it could not blow
into Cherry Creek vale, and then he set to work earnestly to wait for
the property to advance. Finding that he could not sell the property at
any price, he, with great foresight, concluded to retain it. Some men,
with no special ability in other directions, have the greatest genius
for doing such things, while others, with superior talent in other ways,
do not make money in this way.

A report once got around that I had made a misguess on some property.
This is partly true, only it was my wife who speculated. She had never
speculated much before, though she had tried other open air amusements.
So she swapped a cottage and lots in Hudson, Wisconsin, for city lots in
Minneapolis, employing a man named Flinton Pansley to work up the trade,
look into the title, and do the square thing for her. He was a real good
man, with heavenly aspirations and a true sorrow in his heart for the
prevalence of sin. Still this sorrow did not break in on his business.
Well, the business was done by correspondence and Mr. Pansley only
charged a reasonable amount, she giving him her new carriage to
remunerate him for his brain fag. What the other man paid him for
disposing of the lots I do not know. I was away at the time, and having
no insect powder with which to take his life I regretfully spared him to
his Bible class.

[Illustration: _Frogs build their nests there in the spring and rear
their young, but people never go there_ (Page 45)]

I did send a man over the lots, however, when I returned. They were not
really in the city of Minneapolis, that is, they were not near enough to
worry anybody by the tumult of the town. In fact, they were in another
county. You may think I am untruthful about this, but the lots are
there, if you have any curiosity to see them. They are not where they
were represented to be, however, and the machine shops and gas works and
court-house are quite a long distance away.

You could cut some hay on these lots, but not enough to pay the interest
on the mortgage. Frogs build their nests there in the spring and rear
their young, but people never go there. Two years ago Senator Washburn
killed a bear on one of these lots, but that is all they have ever
produced, except a slight coldness on our part toward Mr. Pansley. He
says he likes the carriage real well, and anything he can do for us in
the future in dickering for city property will be done with an alacrity
that would almost make one's head swim. I must add that I have
permission to use this information, as the victim seems to think there
is something kind of amusing about it. Some people think a thing funny
which others can hardly get any amusement out of. What I wonder at is
that Pansley did not ask for the team when he got the carriage.

Possibly he did not like the team.

I just learned recently that he and the Benders used to be very thick in
an early day, but after awhile the Benders said they guessed they would
have to be excused. Even the Benders had to draw the line somewhere.

Later I bought property in Salt Lake. Not a heavy venture, you
understand. Just the box-office receipts for one evening. I saw it
stated in the papers at $10,000. Anyway, I will let that go. That is
near enough. When I see anything in the papers I ask no more questions.
I do not think it is right. Patti and I have both made it a rule to put
in at least one evening as an investment where we happen to be. We are
almost sure to do well out of it, and we also get better notices in the

Patti is not looking so well as she did when my father took me to see
her in the prime of her life. Though getting quite plain, it costs as
much to see her as ever it did. Her voice has a metallic, or rather
bi-metallic, ring to it nowadays, and she misses it by not working in
more topical songs and bright Italian gags.

I asked her about an old singer who used to be with her. She said: "He
was remova to ze ocean, where he keepa ze lighthouse. He learn to
himself how to manage ze lighthouse one seasong; then he try by himself
to star."

Now, if she would do some of those things on the stage it would pay her
first rate.

When I was in Wyoming on that trip I met many old friends, all of whom
shook me warmly by the hand as soon as they saw me. I visited the
Capitol, and both houses adjourned for an hour out of respect to my
memory. I will never again say anything mean of a member of the
legislature. A speech of welcome was made by the gentleman from Crook
county, Mr. Kellogg, the Demosthenes of the coming state. He made
statements about me that day which in the paper read almost as good and
truthful as an epitaph.

Going over the hill, at Crow Creek, whose perfumed waters kiss the
livery stables and abattoirs at Camp Carlin, three slender Sarah
Bernhardt coyotes came towards the train, looking wistfully at me as if
to say: "Why, partner, how you have fleshed up!" Answering them from the
platform of the car, I said: "Go East, young men, and flesh up with the
country." Honestly and seriously, I do think that if the coyote would
change off and try the soft-shell crab diet for a while, he would pick
right up.

When I got to Laramie City the welcome was so warm that it almost wiped
out the memory of my shabby reception in New York harbor last summer,
on my return from Europe, when even my band went back on me and got
drunk at Coney Island on the very money I had given them to use in
welcoming me home again.

Winter had been a little severe along the cattle ranges, and deceased
cattle might be seen extending their swollen carcasses into the bright,
crisp air as the train whirled one along at the rate of seven to eight
miles per hour. The skinning of a frozen steer is a diverting and
unusual proceeding. Col. Buffalo Bill, who served under Washington and
killed buffalo and baby elephants at Valley Forge, according to an
Italian paper, should put this feature into his show. Maybe he will when
he reads this. The cow gentleman first selects a quick yet steady-going
mule; then he looks for a dead steer. He does not have to look very far.
He now fastens one end of the deceased to some permanent object. This is
harder to find than the steer, however. He then attaches his rope to the
hide of the remains, having cut it with his knife first. He next starts
the mule off, and a mile or so away he discovers that the hide is
entirely free from the cold and pulseless corps.

Sometimes a cowboy tries to skin a steer before the animal is entirely
dead, and when the former gets back to the place from which he was
kicked, he finds that he has a brand new set of whiskers with which to
surprise his friends.

The Pacific roads have greatly improved in recent years, and though they
do not dazzle one with their speed, they are much more comfortable to
pass a few weeks on than they were when the eating-houses, or many of
them, were in the hands of people who could not cook very well, but who
made a great deal of money. Now you can eat in a good buffet-car, or a
first-class dining-car, at your leisure, or you can stop off and get a
good meal, or you can carry a few hens and eat hard-boiled eggs all over
your neighbors.

I do not think people on the cars ought to keep hens. It disturbs the
other passengers and is anything but agreeable to the hens. Close
confinement is never good for a hen that is advanced in years, and the
cigar smoke from the rear of the car hurts her voice, I think.



I have bought some more real estate. It occurred in Oakland, California.
In making the purchase I had the assistance of a prophet, and I hope the
prophet will not be overbalanced by the loss. It came about in this way:
A prophet on a bicycle came to Oakland suddenly very hard up a few weeks
ago, and began to ride up and down on his two-wheeler, warning the
people to flee to the high ground, and thus escape the wrath to come,
for, he said, the waters of the great deep would arise at about the
middle of the month and smite the people of Oakland and slay them, and
float the pork barrels out of their cellars, and fill their cisterns
with people who had sneered at his prophecy.

This gentleman was an industrious prophet and did a good business in his
line. He attracted much notice, and had all he could do at his trade
for several weeks. Many Oakland people were frightened, especially as
Wiggins, the great intellectual Sahara of the prophet industry, also
prophesied a high wave which would rise at least above the bills at the
Palace Hotel in San Francisco. With the aid of these two gifted
middle-weight prophets, I was enabled to secure some good bargains in
corner lots and improved property in Oakland at ten per cent. of the
estimated value. In other words, I put my limited powers as a prophet
against those of Professor Wiggins, the painstaking and conscientious
seer of Canada, and the bicycle prophet of the Pacific slope. I am
willing to stand or fall by the result.

As a prophet I have never attracted attention in this country, mostly
because I have been too busy with other things. Also because there was
so little prophesying to be done in these degenerate days that I did not
care to take hold of the industry; but I have ever been ready to
purchase at a great discount the desirable residences of those
contemplating a general collapse of the universe, or a tidal wave which
would wipe out the general government and cover with a placid sea the
mighty republic which God has heretofore, for some reason, smiled upon.
Moreover, I can hardly believe that the Deity would commission a man to
go out over California on a bicycle to warn people, when a few red
messages and a standing notice in the newspapers would do the work in
less time. Reasoning in this manner with a sturdy logic worthy of my
rich and unctious past, I have secured some good trades in down-town
property, and shall await the coming devastation with a calm and
entirely unruffled breast.

California, at any season of the year, is a miracle of beauty, as almost
every one knows. Nature heightens the effect for the tenderfoot by
compelling him to cross the Alpine heights of the Sierra Nevada
Mountains and freeze approximately to death in the cold heart of a snow
blockade. Thus, weather-beaten and sore, he reaches the rolling green
hills and is greeted with the rich odor of violets. I submitted to the
insults of a tottering monopoly for a week, in the heart of the winter,
and, tired and sick at soul, with chilblains on my feet and liniment on
my other lineaments, I burst forth one bright morning into the realm of
eternal summer. The birds sang in my frozen bosom. I shed the gunnysack
wraps from my tender feet even as a butterfly or a tramp bursts his hull
in the spring time, and I laughed two or three coarse, outdoor laughs,
which shook the balmy branches of the tall pomegranate trees and
twittered in the dense foliage of the magnolia.

The railroad was very kind to me at first. That was when I was buying my
ticket. Later on it became more harsh and even reproached me at times.
Conductors woke me up two or three times in the night to gaze fondly on
my ticket and look as if they were sorry they ever parted with it. On
the Central Pacific passengers are not permitted to give their tickets
to the porter on retiring. You must wake up and converse with the
conductor at all hours of the night, and hold a lantern for him while he
slowly spells out the hard words on your ticket. I did not like this,
and several times I murmured in a querulous tone to the conductor. But
he did not mind it. He went on doing the behests of his employer, and in
that way endearing himself to the great adversary of souls.

I said to an official of the road: "Do you not think this is the worst
managed road in the United States--always excepting the Western North
Carolina Railroad, which is an incorporated insult to humanity?"

"Well," he replied, "that depends, of course, on the standpoint from
which you view it. If we were trying to divert travel to the Southern
Pacific, also the rolling stock, the good-will, the culverts, the
dividends, the frogs, the snowsheds, the right of way and the new-laid
train figs, everything except the first, second and third mortgages,
which would naturally revert to the government, would you not think we
were managing the business with a steady hand and a watchful eye?"

I said I certainly should. I then wrung his hand softly and stole away,
as he also began to do the same thing.

[Illustration: _I improved the time by cultivating the acquaintance of
the beautiful and picturesque outcasts known as the Piute Indians_ (Page

At Reno we had a day or two in which to observe the city from the car
platform, while waiting for the blockade to be raised. We could not go
away from the train further than five hundred feet, for it might start
at any moment. That is one beauty about a snow blockade. It entitles you
to a stop-over, but you must be ready to hop on when the train starts. I
improved the time by cultivating the acquaintance of the beautiful and
picturesque outcasts known as the Piute Indians. They are a quiet,
reserved set of people, who, by saying nothing, sometimes obtain a
reputation for deep thought. I always envy anybody who can do that. Such
men make good presidential candidates. Candidates, I say, mind you. The
time has come in this country when it is hard to unite good
qualifications as a candidate with the necessary qualities for a
successful official.

The Piute, in March or April, does not go down cellar and bring up his
gladiolus, or remove the banking from the side of his villa. He does not
mulch the asparagus bed, or prune the pie-plant, or rake the front yard,
or salt the hens. He does not even wipe his heartbroken and neglected
nose. He makes no especial change in his great life-work because spring
has come. He still looks serious, and like a man who is laboring under
the impression that he is about to become the parent of a thought. These
children of the Piute brave never mature. They do not take their places
in the histories or the school readers of our common country. The Piute
wears a bright red lap-robe over his person, and generally a stiff
Quaker hat, with a leather band. His hair is very thick, black and
coarse, and is mostly cut off square in the neck, by means of an adz, I
judge, or possibly it is eaten off by moths. The Piute is never bald
during life. After he is dead he becomes bald and beloved.

Johnson Sides is a well-known Piute who had the pleasure of meeting me
at Reno. He said he was a great admirer of mine and had all my writings
in a scrap-book at home. He also said that he wished I would come and
lecture for his tribe. I afterward learned that he was an earnest and
hopeful liar from Truckee. He had no scrap-book at all. Also no home.

Mr. Sides at one time became quite civilized, distinguishing himself
from his tribe by reading the Bible and imprisoning the lower drapery of
his linen garment in the narrow confines of a pair of cavalry trousers,
instead of giving it to the irresponsible breeze, as other Piutes did.
He then established a hotel up the valley in the Sierras, and decided to
lead a life of industry. He built a hostelry called the
Shack-de-Poker-Huntus, and advertised in the _Carson Appeal_, a paper
which even the editor, Sam Davis, says fills him with wonder and
amazement when he knows that people actually subscribe for it. Very soon
Piutes began to go to the shack to spend the heated term. Every Piute
who took the _Appeal_ saw the advertisement, which went on to state that
hot and cold water could be got into every room in the house, and that
electric bells, baths, silver-voiced chambermaids, over-charges, and
everything else connected with a first-class hotel, could be found at
that place. So the Piute people locked up their own homes, and,
ejecting the cat, they spat on the fire, and moved to the new summer
hotel. They took their friends with them. They had no money, but they
knew Johnson Sides, and they visited him all summer.

In the fall Mr. Sides closed the house, and resuming his blanket he went
back to live with his tribe. When the butcher wagon called the next day
the driver found a notice of sale, and in the language of Sol Smith
Russell, "Good reasons given for selling."

Mr. Sides had been a temperance man now for a year, at least externally,
but with the humiliation of this great financial wreck came a wild
desire to flee to the maddening bowl, having been monkeying with the
madding crowd all summer. So, silently, he obtained a bottle of Reno
embalming fluid and secreted himself behind a tree, where he was asked
to join himself in a social nip. He had hardly wiped away an idle tear
with the corner of his blanket and replaced the stopper in his tear jug
when the local representative of the U. G. J. E. T. A. of Reno came upon
him. He was reported to the lodge, and his character bade fair to be
smirched so badly that nothing but saltpeter and a consistent life could
save it. At this critical stage Mr. Davis, of the _Appeal_, came to his
aid, and not only gave him the support and encouragement of his columns,
but told Mr. Sides that he would see that the legislature took speedy
action in removing his alcoholic disabilities. Through the untiring
efforts of Mr. Davis, therefore, a bill was framed "whereby the drink
taken by Johnson Sides, of Nevada, be and is hereby declared null and

On a certain day Mr. Davis told him that the bill would come up for
final passage and no doubt pass without opposition, but a purse would
have to be raised to defray the expenses. The tribe began to collect
what money they had and to sell their grasshoppers in order to raise

Johnson Sides and his people gathered on the day named, and seated
themselves in the galleries. Slim old warriors with firm faces and
beetling brows, to say nothing of having their hair roached, but yet
with no flies on them to speak of, sat in the front seats. Large,
corpulent squaws, wearing health costumes, secured by telegraph wire,
listened to the proceedings, knowing no more of what was going on than
other people do who go to watch the legislature. Finally, however, Sam
Davis came and told Mr. Sides that he was now pure as the driven snow. I
saw him last week, but it seemed to me it was about time to get some
more special legislation for him.

Once Mr. Davis met Mr. Sides on the street and was so glad to see him
that he said: "Johnson, I like you first-rate, and should always be glad
to see you. Whenever you can, let me know where you are."

The next week Sam got quite a lot of telegrams from along the
railroad--for the Indians ride free on account of their sympathies with
the road. These telegrams were dated at different stations. They were
hopeful and even cheery, and were all marked "collect." They read about
as follows:

     _Sam Davis, Carson, Nev._:

             WINNEMUCCA, NEV., March 31.

     I am here.
                         JOHNSON SIDES.

Every little while for quite a long time Mr. Davis would get a bright,
reassuring telegram, sometimes in the middle of the night, when he was
asleep, informing him that Johnson Sides was "there," and he then would
go back to bed cheered and soothed and sustained.



I awake at an unearthly hour on Sunday morning, after which I turn over
and go to sleep again. This second, or beauty sleep, I find to be almost
invaluable. I do it also with much more earnestness and expression than
that in the earlier part of the night. All the other people in the house
gradually wake up as I begin to get in my more fancy strokes.

By eight o'clock everybody is stirring, and so I get up and glide about
in my pajamas, which makes me look almost like the "Clémenceau Case" in
search of an engagement.

Mr. Rogers is going to have me sit to him in my pajamas for a group of
statuary. He also wishes to model an iron hitching post from me.

On waking I at once take to me tub and give myself a good cold bath.

I then put in my teeth.

After doing some little studies in chiropody I throw a silk-velvet
dressing gown over my shoulders and look at my bright and girlish beauty
in a full-length mirror, comparing the dimpling curves, as I see them
reflected, with those shown in the morning paper.

After reading a little from the chess column of some good author, I
descend to the _salon_ and greet my family smilingly in order to open
the day auspiciously. We all then sing around the parlor organ a little
pean entitled, "It's Funny When You Feel That Way."

We now go to the breakfast room, where the children are taught to set
aside the daintiest bits for papa, because he might die some time and
then it would be a life-long regret to those who are spared that they
did not give him the tender part of the steer or the second joint of the

After breakfast, which consists of chops, hashed brown potatoes, muffins
and coffee, preceded by canteloupe or baked beans, we proceed to
quarrel over who shall go to church and who shall remain at home to keep
the cattle out of the corn.

We then go to church, those who can, at least, whilst the others remain
and read something that is improving. Sometimes I shave myself on Sunday
mornings. Then it takes me quite a while to get back into a religious
frame of mind. I do not manage very well in shaving myself, and people
who go by the house are often attracted by my yells.

I go to church quite regularly and enjoy the sermon unless it is too
firm or personal. If it goes into doctrine too much I am apt to be quite
fatigued at its end on account of the mental reservations I have made
along through it.

I like to go and hear about God's love, but I am rarely benefited by a
discourse which enlarges upon his jealousy. When I am told also that God
spares no pains in getting even with people, I not only do not enjoy the
information, but I would sit up till a late hour at night to doubt it.

[Illustration: _He sometimes succeeds in getting himself disliked by
some other dog and then I can observe the fight_ (Page 67)]

I shake hands with the pastor, and after suggesting something for him to
preach about on the following Sabbath, I go home.

In the afternoon I go walking if no one calls. We have dinner at 2
o'clock on Sunday, consisting of jerked beef smothered in milk gravy.
This is the remove. For side dishes we have squash or meat pie. We
sometimes open with soup and then have clean plates all around, with
fowl and greens, tapering off with some kind of rich pie.

After dinner I sometimes nap a little and then fool with the colt. This
is done quietly, however, so as not to break in upon the devotional
spirit of the day. After this I go for a walk or converse intelligently
with any foreign powers who may be visiting our shores.

When I walk I am generally accompanied by a restless Queen Anne dog,
which precedes me about a mile. He sometimes succeeds in getting himself
disliked by some other dog and then I can observe the fight when I catch
up with him.

As the twilight gathers all seem ready again for more food and we begin
to clamor for pabulum, keeping it up until either square or round
crackers and smearcase are produced. These are washed down with foaming
beakers of sarsaparilla.

As the evening lamp is now lighted, I produce some good book or pamphlet
like "The Greatest Thing in the World," and read from it, occasionally
cuffing a child in order to keep everything calm and reposeful. At 9
o'clock the cat is expelled and the eight-day clock is wound up for the
week. Gazing up at the bright cold stars after kicking forth the cat, I
realize that another Sabbath has been filed away in the great big brawny
bosom of the past, and with a little remorseful sigh and an incipient
sob when I think that I am not making a better record, I drive a fence
nail in over the door latch and seek my library which, on being properly
approached, opens and becomes a beautiful couch.



I have just returned from a visit to my property at Minneapolis, and can
not refrain from referring to its marvelous growth. The distance between
it and the business center of the city has also grown a good deal since
I last saw it. This is the property which I purchased some three years
ago of a real good man. His name is Pansley--Flinton Pansley. He has
done business in most all the towns of the Northwest. Perhaps a further
word or two about this pious gentleman will not be amiss. Entering a
place quietly and even meekly, with a letter to the local pastor, he
would begin reaching out his little social tendrils by sighing over the
lost and undone condition of mankind. After regretting the state in
which he had found God's vineyard, he would rent a store and sell goods
at a sacrifice, but when the sacrifice was being offered up, a close
observer would discover that Mr. Pansley was not in it.

In this way he would build up quite a trade, only sparing a little time
each day in which to retire to his closet and sob over the altogether
godless condition in which he had found man. He would then make an

Pardon me for again referring to the matter, but I do so utterly without
malice, and in connection with the unparalleled growth of my property
here. So if the gentle and rather attractive reader will excuse a bad
pen, and some plain stationery, as my own crested writing-paper is in my
trunk, which is now in the possession of a well-known hotel man whose
name is suppressed on account of his family, I shall refer again briefly
to the property and the circumstances surrounding its purchase. I had
intended to put a good fence around it ere this, but with these peculiar
circumstances surrounding it, I feel that it is safe from intrusion.

The property was sold to my wife by Mr. Pansley at a sacrifice, but when
the burnt offering had ascended, and the atmosphere had cleared, and the
ashes on the altar had been blown aside, the suspender buttons of Mr.
Pansley were not there. He had taken his bright red mark-down figures,
and a letter to his future pastor, and gone to another town. He is now
selling groceries. From town lots to groceries is, to a versatile man, a
very small stride. He is in business in St. Paul, and that has given
Minneapolis quite a little spurt of prosperity.

We exchanged a cottage for city lots unimproved, as I said in a former
article, and got Mr. Pansley to do it for us. My wife gave him her
carriage for acting in that capacity. She was sorry she could not do
more for him, because he was a man who had found his fellow-men in such
an undone condition everywhere, and had been trying ever since to do
them up.

The property lies about half-way between the West Hotel and the open
Polar Sea, and is in a good neighborhood, looking south; at least it
was the other day when I left it. It lies all over the northwest,
resembling in that respect the man we bought it of.

Mr. Pansley took the carriage, also the wrench with which I was wont to
take off the nuts thereof when I greased it on Sabbath mornings. We
still go to church, but we walk. Occasionally Mr. Pansley whirls by us,
and his dust and debris fall upon my freshly ironed and neat linen coat
as he passes by us with a sigh.

He said once that he did not care for money if he only could let in the
glad sunlight of the gospel upon the heathen.

"Why," I exclaimed, "why do you wish to let in the glad sunlight of the
gospel upon the heathen?"

"Alas!" he said, brushing away a tear with the corner of a gray shawl
which he wore, and wiping his bright, piercing nose on the top rail of
my fence, "so that they would not go to hell, Mr. Nye!"

"And do you think that the heathen who knows nothing of God will go to
hell, or has been going to hell for, say, ten thousand years, without
having seen a daily paper or a Testament?"

"I do. Millions of ignorant people in yet undiscovered lands are going
to hell daily without the knowledge of God." With that he turned away,
and concealed his emotion in his shawl, while his whole frame shook.

"But, even if he should escape by reason of his ignorance, we can not
escape the responsibility of shedding the light of the gospel upon his
opaque soul," said he.

So I gave him $2 to assist the poor heathen to a place where he may
share the welcome of a cordial and eternal damnation along with the more
educated and refined classes. Whether the heathen will ever appreciate
it or not, I can not tell at this moment. Lately I have had a little ray
of fear that he might not, and with that fear, like a beam of sunshine,
comes the blessed hope that possibly something may have happened to the
$2, and that mayhap it did not get there.

I went up to see the property with which my wife had been endowed by the
generous foresight of Mr. Pansley, the heathen's friend. I had seen the
place before, but not in the autumn.

Oh, no, I had not saw it in the hectic of the dying year! I had not saw
it when the squirrel, the comic lecturer, and the Italian go forth to
gather their winter hoard of chestnuts. I had not saw it as the god of
day paints the royal mantle of the year's croaking monarch and the crow
sinks softly onto the swelling bosom of the dead horse. I had only saw
it in the wild, wet spring. I had only saw it when the frost and the
bullfrog were heaving out of the ground.

[Illustration: _Then rolling my trousers up a yard or two, I struck off
into the scrub pine, carrying with me a large board_ (Page 74)]

I strolled out there. I rode on the railroad for a couple of hours
first, I think. Then I got off at a tank, where I got a nice, cool,
refreshing drink of as good, pure water as I ever flung a lip over. Then
rolling my trousers up a yard or two, I struck off into the scrub pine,
carrying with me a large board on which I had painted in clear,
beautiful characters:

     FOR SALE.

     The owner finding it necessary to go to Europe for eight or nine
     years, in order to brush up on the languages of the continent and
     return a few royal visits there, will sell all this suburban
     property. Terms reasonable. No restrictions except that street-cars
     shall not run past these lots at a higher rate of speed than sixty
     miles per hour without permission of the owner.

I think that the property looks better in the autumn even than it does
in spring. The autumn leaves are falling. Also the price on this piece
of property. It would be a good time to buy it now. Also a good time to
sell. I shall add nothing because it has been associated with me. That
will cut no figure, for it has not been associated with me so very long,
or so very intimately.

The place, with advertising and the free use of capital, could be made a
beautiful rural resort, or it could be fenced off tastefully into a
cheap commodious place in which to store bears for market.

But it has grown. It is wider, it seems to me, and there is less to
obstruct the view. As soon as commutation or dining trains are put on
between Minneapolis and Sitka, a good many pupils will live on my
property and go to school at Sitka.

Trade is quiet in that quarter at present, however, and traffic is
practically at a standstill. A good many people have written to me
asking about my subdivision and how various branches of industry would
thrive there. Having in an unguarded moment used the stamps, I hasten to
say that they would be premature in going there now, unless in pursuit
of rabbits, which are extremely prevalent.

Trade is very dull, and a first or even a second national bank in my
subdivision of the United States would find itself practically out of a
job. A good newspaper, if properly conducted, could have some fun and
get a good many advertisements by swopping kind words at regular
catalogue prices for goods. But a theater would not pay. I write this
for the use of a man who has just written to know if a good opera-house
with folding seats would pay a fair investment on capital. No, it would
not. I will be fair and honest. Smarting as I do yet under the cruel
injustice done me by the meek and gentle groceryman, who, while he wept
upon my corrugated bosom with one hand, softly removed my pelt with the
other and sprinkled Chili sauce all over me, I will not betray my own
friends. Even with my still bleeding carcass quivering under the Halford
sauce of Mr. Pansley, the "skin" and hypocrite, the friend of the
far-distant savage and the foe of those who are his unfortunate
neighbors, I will not betray even a stranger. Though I have used his
postage-stamp I shall not be false to him. An opera-house this fall
would be premature. Most everybody's dates are booked, anyhow. We could
not get Francis Wilson or Nat C. Goodwin or Lillian Russell or Henry
Irving or Mr. Jefferson, for they are all too busy turning people away,
and I would hate to open with James Owen O'Connor or any other
mechanical appliance.

No. Wait another year at least. At present an opera-house in my
subdivision of the solar system would be as useless as a Dull Thud in
the state of New York.

One drawback to the immediate prosperity of the place is that
commutation rates are yet in their infancy. Eighty-seven and one-half
cents per ride on trains which run only on Tuesdays and Fridays is not
sufficient compensation for the long and lonely walk and the paucity of
some suitable cottages when one gets there.

So I will sell the dear old place, with all its associations and the
good-will of a thriving young frog conservatory, at the buyer's price.
As I say, there has been since I was last there a steady growth, which
is mostly noticeable on the mortgage that I secured along with the
property. It was on there when I bought it, and as it could not be
removed without injury to the realty, according to an old and
established law of Justinian or Coke or Littleton, Mr. Pansley ruled
that it was part of the property and passed with its conveyance. It is
looking well, with a nice growth of interest around the edges and its
foreclosure clause fully an inch and a half long.

I shall be willing, in case I do not find a cash buyer, to exchange the
property for almost anything I can eat, except Paris green. Nor should I
hesitate to swap the whole thing, to a man whom I
felt that I could respect, for a good bird dog. I am also willing to
trade the lots for a milk route or a cold storage. It would be a good
site for some gentleman in New York to build a country cottage.

I should also swap the estate to a man who really means business for a
second-hand cellar. Call on or address the undersigned early, and please
do not push or rudely jostle those in the line ahead of you.

Cast-off clothing, express prepaid, and free from all contagious
diseases, accepted at its full value. Anything left by mistake in the
pockets will be taken good care of, and, possibly, returned in the

Gunnysack Oleson, who lives eight miles north of the county line, will
show you over the grounds. Please do not hitch horses to the trees. I
will not be responsible for horses injured while tied to my trees.

A new railroad track is thinking of getting a right of way next year,
which may be nearer by two miles than the one that I have to take,
provided they will let me off at the right place.

I promise to do all that I can conscientiously for the road, to aid any
one who may buy the property, and I will call the attention of all
railroads to the advisability of a road in that direction. All that I
can honorably do, I will do. My honor is as dear to me as my gas bill
every year I live.

N. B.--The dead horse on lot 9, block 21, Nye's Addition to the Solar
System, is not mine. Mine died before I got there.



The closing debut of that great Shakespearian humorist and emotional
ass, Mr. James Owen O'Connor, at the Star Theater, will never be
forgotten. During his extraordinary histrionic career he gave his
individual and amazing renditions of Hamlet, Phidias, Shylock, Othello,
and Richelieu. I think I liked his Hamlet best, and yet it was a
pleasure to see him in anything wherein he killed himself.

Encouraged by the success of beautiful but self-made actresses, and
hoping to win a place for himself and his portrait in the great soap and
cigarette galaxy, Mr. O'Connor placed himself in the hands of some
misguided elocutionist, and then sought to educate the people of New
York and elocute them out of their thralldom up into the glorious light
of the O'Connor school of acting.

The first week he was in the hands of the critics, and they spoke quite
serenely of his methods. Later, it was deemed best to place his merits
in the hands of a man who would be on an equal footing with him. What
O'Connor wanted was one of his peers, who would therefore judge him
fairly. I was selected because I know nothing whatever about acting and
would thus be on an equality with Mr. O'Connor.

After seeing his Hamlet I was of the opinion that he did wisely in
choosing New York for debutting purposes, for had he chosen Denver,
Colorado, at the end of the third act kind hands would have removed him
from the stage by means of benzine and a rag.

I understand that Mr. O'Connor charged Messrs. Henry E. Abbey and Henry
Irving with using their influence among the masses in order to prejudice
said masses against Mr. O'Connor, thus making it unpleasant for him to
act, and inciting in the audience a feeling of gentle but evident
hostility, which Mr. O'Connor deprecated very much whenever he could
get a chance to do so. I looked into this matter a little and I do not
think it was true. Until almost the end of Mr. O'Connor's career,
Messrs. Abbey and Irving were not aware of his great metropolitan
success, and it is generally believed among the friends of the two
former gentlemen that they did not feel it so keenly as Mr. O'Connor was
led to suppose.

But James Owen O'Connor did one thing which I take the liberty of
publicly alluding to. He took that saddest and most melancholy bit of
bloody history, trimmed with assassinations down the back and looped up
with remorse, insanity, duplicity and unrequited love, and he filled it
with silvery laughter and cauliflower and mirth, and various other
groceries which the audience throw in from time to time, thus making it
more of a spectacular piece than under the conservative management of
such old-school men as Booth, who seem to think that Hamlet should be
soaked full of sadness.

I went to see Hamlet, thinking that I would be welcome, for my
sympathies were with James when I heard that Mr. Irving was picking on
him and seeking to injure him. I went to the box office and explained
who I was, and stated that I had been detailed to come and see Mr.
O'Connor act; also that in what I might say afterwards my instructions
were to give it to Abbey and Irving if I found that they had tampered
with the audience in any way.

The man in the box office did not recognize me, but said that Mr. Fox
would extend to me the usual courtesies. I asked where Mr. Fox could be
found, and he said inside. I then started to go inside, but ran against
a total stranger, who was "on the door," as we say. He was feeding red
and yellow tickets into a large tin oven, and looking far, far away. I
conversed with him in low, passionate tones, and asked him where Mr. Fox
could be found. He did not know, but thought he was still in Europe. I
went back and told the box office that Mr. Fox was in Europe. He said
No, I would find him inside. "Well, but how shall I get inside?" I asked
eagerly, for I could already, I fancied, hear the orchestra beginning
to twang its lyre.

"Walk in," said he, taking in $2 and giving back 50 cents in change to a
man with a dead cat in his overcoat pocket.

I went back, and springing lightly over the iron railing while the
gatekeeper was thinking over his glorious past, I went all around over
the theater looking for Mr. Fox. I found him haggling over the price of
some vegetables which he was selling at the stage door and which had
been contributed by admirers and old subscribers to Mr. O'Connor at a
previous performance.

When Mr. Fox got through with that I presented to him my card, which is
as good a piece of job work in colors as was ever done west of the
Missouri river, and to which I frequently point with pride.

Mr. Fox said he was sorry, but that Mr. O'Connor had instructed him to
extend no courtesies whatever to the press. The press, he claimed, had
said something derogatory to Mr. O'Connor as a tragedian, and while he
personally would be tickled to death to give me two divans and a
folding-bed near the large fiddle, he must do as Mr. O'Connor had
bid--or bade him, I forget which; and so, restraining his tears with
great difficulty, he sent me back to the entrance and although I was
already admitted in a general way, I went to the box office and
purchased a seat. I believe now that Mr. Fox thought he had virtually
excluded me from the house when he told me I should have to pay in order
to get in.

I bought a seat in the parquet and went in. The audience was not large
and there were not more than a dozen ladies present.

Pretty soon the orchestra began to ooze in through a little opening
under the stage. Then the overture was given. It was called "Egmont."
The curtain now arose on a scene in Denmark. I had asked an usher to
take a note to Mr. O'Connor requesting an audience, but the boy had
returned with the statement that Mr. O'Connor was busy rehearsing his
soliloquy and removing a shirred egg from his outer clothing.

He also said he could not promise an audience to any one. It was all he
could do to get one for himself.

So the play went on. Elsinore, where the first act takes place, is in
front of a large stone water tank, where two gentlemen armed with
long-handled hay knives are on guard.

All at once a ghost who walks with an overstrung Chickering action and
stiff, jerky, Waterbury movement, comes in, wearing a dark mosquito net
over his head--so that harsh critics can not truly say there are any
flies on him, I presume. When the ghost enters most every one enjoys it.
Nobody seems to be frightened at all. I knew it was not a ghost as quick
as I looked at it. One man in the gallery hit the ghost on the head with
a soda cracker, which made him jump and feel of his ear; so I knew then
that it was only a man made up to look like a presence.

One of the guards, whose name, I think, was Smith, had a droop to his
legs and an instability about the knees which were highly enjoyable. He
walked like a frozen-toed hen, and stood first on one foot and then on
the other, with almost human intelligence. His support was about as
poor as O'Connor's.

After awhile the ghost vanished with what is called a stately tread, but
I would regard it more as a territorial tread. Horatio did quite well,
and the audience frequently listened to him. Still, he was about the
only one who did not receive crackers or cheese as a slight testimonial
of regard from admirers in the audience.

Finally, Mr. James Owen O'Connor entered. It was fully five minutes
before he could be heard, and even then he could not. His mouth moved
now and then, and a gesture would suddenly burst forth, but I did not
hear what he said. At least I could not hear distinctly what he said.
After awhile, as people got tired and went away, I could hear better.

Mr. O'Connor introduced into his Hamlet a set of gestures evidently
intended for another play. People who are going to act out on the stage
can not be too careful in getting a good assortment of gestures that
will fit the play itself. James had provided himself with a set of
gestures which might do for Little Eva, or "Ten Nights in a Bar-room,"
but they did not fit Hamlet. There is where he makes a mistake. Hamlet
is a man whose victuals don't agree with him. He feels depressed and
talks about sticking a bodkin into himself, but Mr. O'Connor gives him a
light, elastic step, and an air of persiflage, _bonhomie_, and frisk,
which do not match the character.

Mr. O'Connor sought in his conception and interpretation of Hamlet to
give it a free and jaunty Kokomo flavor--a nameless twang of tansy and
dried apples, which Shakespeare himself failed to sock into his great

James did this, and more. He took the wild-eyed and morbid Blackwell's
Island Hamlet, and made him a $2 parlor humorist who could be the life
of the party, or give lessons in elocution, and take applause or
crackers and cheese in return for the same.

There is really a good lesson to be learned from the pitiful and
pathetic tale of James Owen O'Connor. Injudicious friends, doubtless,
overestimated his value, and unduly praised his Smart Aleckutionary
powers. Loving himself unwisely but too extensively, he was led away
into the great, untried purgatory of public scrutiny, and the general
indictment followed.

The truth stands out brighter and stronger than ever that there is no
cut across lots to fame or success. He who seeks to jump from mediocrity
to a glittering triumph over the heads of the patient student, and the
earnest, industrious candidate who is willing to bide his time, gets
what James Owen O'Connor received--the just condemnation of those who
are abundantly able to judge.

In seeking to combine the melancholy beauty of Hamlet's deep and earnest
pathos with the gentle humor of "A Hole in the Ground," Mr. O'Connor
evidently corked himself, as we say at the Browning Club, and it was but
justice after all. Before we curse the condemnation of the people and
the press, let us carefully and prayerfully look ourselves over, and see
if we have not overestimated ourselves.

There are many men alive to-day who do not dare say anything without
first thinking how it will read in their memoirs--men whom we can not,
therefore, thoroughly enjoy until they are dead, and yet whose graves
will be kept green only so long as the appropriation lasts.



The following matrimonial inquiries are now in my hands awaiting
replies, and I take this method of giving them more air. A few months
ago I injudiciously stated that I should take great pleasure in booming,
or otherwise whooping up, everything in the matrimonial line, if those
who needed aid would send me twenty-five cents, with personal
description, lock of hair, and general outline of the style of husband
or wife they were yearning for. As a result of thus yielding to a blind
impulse and giving it currency through the daily press, I now have a
huge mass of more or less soiled postage stamps that look as though they
had made a bicycle tour around the world, a haymow full of letters
breathing love till you can't rest, and a barrel of calico-colored hair.
It is a rare treat to look at this assortment of hair of every hue and
degree of curl and coarseness. When I pour it out on the floor it looks
like the interior of a western barber shop during a state fair. When I
want fun again I shall not undertake to obtain it by starting a
matrimonial agency.

I have one letter from a man of twenty-seven summers, who pants to
bestow himself on some one at as early a date as possible. He tells me
on a separate slip of paper, which he wishes destroyed, that he is a
little given to "bowling up," a term with which I am not familiar, but
he goes on to say that a good, noble woman, with love in her heart and
an earnest desire to save a soul, could rush in and gather him in in
good shape. He says that he is worthy, and that if he could be snatched
from a drunkard's grave in time he believes he would become eminent. He
says that several people have already been overheard to say: "What a
pity he drinks." From this he is led to believe that a good wife, with
some means, could redeem him. He says it is quite a common thing for
young women where he lives to marry young men for the purpose of saving

I think myself that some young girl ought to come forward and snatch
this brand at an early date.

The great trouble with men who form the bowl habit is that, on the
morrow, after they have been so bowling, they awake with a distinct and
well-defined sensation of soreness and swollenness about the head,
accompanied by a strong desire to hit some living thing with a stove
leg. The married man can always turn to his wife in such an emergency,
smite her and then go to sleep again, but to one who is doomed to wander
alone through life there is nothing to do but to suffer on, or go out
and strike some one who does not belong to his family, and so lay
himself liable to arrest.

This letter is accompanied by a tin-type picture of a young man who
shaves in such a way as to work in a streak of whiskers by which he
fools himself into the notion that he has a long and luxuriant mustache.
He looks like a person who, under the influence of liquor, would weep
on the bosom of a total stranger and then knock his wife down because
she split her foot open instead of splitting the kindling.

He is not a bad-looking man, and the freckles on his hands do not hurt
him as a husband. Any young lady who would like to save him from a
drunkard's grave can address him in my care, inclosing twenty-five
cents, a small sum which goes toward a little memorial fund I am getting
up for myself. My memory has always been very poor, and if I can do it
any good with this fund I shall do so. The lock of hair sent with this
letter may be seen at any time nailed up on my woodshed door. It is a
dull red color, and can be readily cut by means of a pair of tinman's

The two following letters, taken at random from my files, explain

                                   "BURNT PRAIRIE, NEAR THE JUNCTION,}
                                     "ON THE ROAD TO THE COURT HOUSE,}
                                               "TENNESSEE, January 2.}

     "DEAR SIR--I am in search of a wife and would be willing to settle
     down if I could get a good wife. I was but twenty-six years of age
     when my mother died and I miss her sadly for she was oh so good and
     kind to me her caring son.

     "I have been wanting for the past year to settle down, but I have
     not saw a girl that I thought would make me a good, true wife. I
     know I have saw a good deal of the world, and am inclined to be
     cynical for I see how hollow everything is, and how much need there
     is for a great reform. Sometimes I think that if I could express
     the wild thoughts that surges up and down in my system, I could win
     a deathless name. When I get two or three drinks aboard I can think
     of things faster than I can speak them, or draw them off for the
     paper. What I want is a woman that can economize, and also take the
     place of my lost mother, who loved me and put a better polish on my
     boots than any other living man.

     "I know I am gay and giddy in my nature, but if I could meet a
     joyous young girl just emerging upon life's glad morn, and she had
     means, I would be willing to settle down and make a good, quiet,
     every-day husband.

                                                               "A. J."

                                           "ASHMEAD, LEDUC CO., I.T.,}
                                                        "December 20.}

     "DEAR SIR--I have very little time in which to pencil off a few
     lines regarding a wife. I am a man of business, and I can't fool
     around much, but I would be willing to marry the right kind of a
     young woman. I am just bursting forth on the glorious dawn of my
     sixty-third year. I have been married before, and as I might almost
     say, I have been in that line man and boy for over forty years. My
     pathway has been literally decorated with wives ever since I was
     twenty years old.

     "I ain't had any luck with my wives heretofore, for they have died
     off like sheep. I've treated all of them as well as I knew how,
     never asking of them to do any more than I did, and giving of 'em
     just the same kind of vittles that I had myself, but they are all
     gone now. There was a year or two that seemed just as if there was
     a funeral procession stringing out of my front gate half the time.

     "What I want is a young woman that can darn a sock without working
     two or three tumors into it, cook in a plain economical way without
     pampering the appetites of hired help, do chores around the barn
     and assist me in accumulating property.

                                                             I. D. P."

This last letter contains a small tress of dark hair that feels like a
bunch of barbed wire when drawn through the fingers, and has a tendency
to "crock."



The following inquiries and replies have been awaiting publication and I
shall print them here if the reader has no objections. I do not care to
keep correspondents waiting too long for fear they will get tired and
fail to write me in the future when they want to know anything. Mr.
Earnest Pendergast writes from Puyallup as follows:

"Why do you not try to improve your appearance more? I think you could
if you would, and we would all be so glad. You either have a very
malicious artist, or else your features must pain you a good deal at
times. Why don't you grow a mustache?"

These remarks, of course, are a little bit personal, Earnest, but still
they show your goodness of heart. I fear that you are cursed with the
fatal gift of beauty yourself and wish to have others go with you on
the downward way. You ask why I do not grow a mustache, and I tell you
frankly that it is for the public good that I do not. I used to wear a
long, drooping and beautiful mustache, which was well received in
society, and, under the quiet stars and opportune circumstances, gave
good satisfaction; but at last the hour came when I felt that I must
decide between this long, silky mustache and soft-boiled eggs, of which
I am passionately fond. I hope that you understand my position, Earnest,
and that I am studying the public welfare more than my own at all times.

Sassafras Oleson, of South Deadman, writes to know something of the care
of fowls in the spring and summer. "Do you know," he asks, "anything of
the best methods for feeding young orphan chickens? Is there any way to
prevent hens from stealing their nests and sitting on inanimate objects?
Tell us as tersely as possible what your own experience has been with

To speak tersely of the hen and her mission in life seems to me almost
sacrilege. It is at least in poor taste. The hen and her works lie near
to every true heart. She does much toward making us better, and she
doesn't care who knows it, either. Young chicks who have lost their
mothers by death, and whose fathers are of a shiftless and improvident
nature, may be fed on kumiss, two parts; moxie, eight parts; distilled
water, ten parts. Mix and administer till relief is obtained. Sometimes,
however, a guinea hen will provide for the young chicken, and many lives
have been saved in this way. Whether or not this plan will influence the
voice of the rising hen is a question among henologists of the country
which I shall not attempt to answer.

Hens who steal their nests are generally of a secretive nature and are
more or less social pariahs. A hen who will do this should be watched at
all times and won back by kind words from the step she is about to take.
Brute force will accomplish little. Logic also does not avail. You
should endeavor to influence her by showing her that it is honorable at
all times to lay a good egg, and that as soon as she begins to be
secretive and to seek to mislead those who know and love her, she takes
a course which can not end with honor to herself or her descendants.

I have made the hen a study for many years, and love to watch her even
yet as she resumes her toils on a falling market year after year, or
seeks to hatch out a summer hotel by setting on a door knob. She
interests and pleases me. Careful study of the hen convinces me that her
low, retreating forehead is a true index to her limited reasoning
faculties and lack of memory, ideality, imagination, calculation and
spirituality. She is also deficient in her enjoyment of humor.

I once owned a large white draught rooster, who stood about seven hands
high, and had feet on him that would readily break down a whole
corn-field if he walked through it. Yet he lacked the courage of his
convictions, and socially was not a success. Leading hens regarded him
as a good-hearted rooster, and seemed to wonder that he did not get on
better in a social way. He had a rich baritone voice, and was a good
provider, digging up large areas of garden, and giving the hens what was
left after he got through, and yet they gave their smiles to far more
dissolute though perhaps brighter minds. So I took him away awhile, and
let him see something of the world by allowing him to visit among the
neighbors, and go into society a little. Then I brought him home again,
and one night colored him with diamond dyes so that he was a beautiful
scarlet. His name was Sumner.

I took Sumner the following morning and turned him loose among his old
neighbors. Surprise was written on every face. He realized his
advantage, and the first thing he did was to greet the astonished crowd
with a gutteral remark, which made them jump. He then stepped over to a
hated rival, and ate off about fifteen cents' worth of his large, red,
pompadour comb. He now remarked in a courteous way to a small
Poland-China hen, who seemed to be at the head of all works of social
improvement, that we were having rather a backward spring. Then he
picked out the eye of another rival, much to his surprise, and went on
with the conversation. By noon the bright scarlet rooster owned the
town. Those who had picked on him before had now gone to the hospital,
and practically the social world was his. He got so stuck up that he
crowed whenever the conversation lagged, and was too proud to eat a worm
that was not right off the ice. I never saw prosperity knock the sense
out of a rooster so soon. He lost my sympathy at once, and I resolved to
let him carve out his own career as best he might.

Gradually his tail feathers grew gray and faded, but he wore his head
high. He was arrogant and made the hens go worming for his breakfast by
daylight. Then he would get mad at the food and be real hateful and step
on the little chickens with his great big feet.

But as his new feathers began to come in folks got on to him, as Matthew
Arnold has it, and the other roosters began to brighten up and also blow
up their biceps muscles.

[Illustration: _He looked up sadly at me with his one eye as who should
say, "Have you got any more of that there red paint left?"_ (Page 105)]

One day he was especially mean at breakfast. A large fat worm, brought
to him by the flower of his harem, had a slight gamey flavor, he seemed
to think, and so he got mad and bit several chickens with his great
coarse beak and stepped on some more and made a perfect show of himself.

At this moment a small bantam wearing one eye still in mourning danced
up and kicked Sumner's eye out. Then another rival knocked the stuffing
for a whole sofa pillow out of Sumner, and retired. By this time the
surprised and gratified hens stepped back and gave the boys a chance.
The bantam now put on his trim little telegraph climbers and, going up
Mr. Sumner's powerful frame at about four jumps, he put in some repairs
on the giant's features, presented his bill, and returned. By nine
o'clock Sumner didn't have features enough left for a Sunday paper. He
looked as if he had been through the elevated station at City Hall and
Brooklyn bridge. He looked up sadly at me with his one eye as who should
say, "Have you got any more of that there red paint left?" But I shook
my head at him and he went away into a little patch of catnip and
stayed there four days. After that you could get that rooster to do
anything for you--except lay. He was gentle to a fault. He would run
errands for those hens and turn an icecream freezer for them all day
on lawn festival days while others were gay. He never murmured nor
repined. He was kind to the little chickens and often spoke to them
about the general advantages of humility.

After many years of usefulness Sumner one day thoughtlessly ate the
remains of a salt mackerel, and pulling the drapery of his couch about
him he lay down to pleasant dreams, and life's fitful fever was over.
His remains were given to a poor family in whom I take a great interest,
frequently giving them many things for which I have no especial use.

This should teach us that some people can not stand prosperity, but need
a little sorrow, ever and anon, to teach them where they belong. And,
oh! how the great world smiles when a rooster, who has owned the ranch
for a year or so, and made himself odious, gets spread out over the
United States by a smaller one with less voice.

The study of the fowl is filled with interest. Of late years I keep
fowls instead of a garden. Formerly my neighbors kept fowls and I kept
the garden.

It is better as it is.

Mertie Kersykes, Whatcom, Washington, writes as follows: "Dear Mr. Nye,
does pugilists ever reform? They are so much brought into Contax with
course natures that I do not see how they can ever, ever become good
lives or become professors of religion. Do you know if such is the case
to the best of your knowledge, and answeer Soon as convenient, and so no
more at Present."



The heat and venom of each political campaign bring back to my mind with
wonderful clearness the bitter and acrimonious war, and the savage
factional fight, which characterized my own legislative candidacy in
what was called the Prairie Dog District of Wyoming, about ten years
ago. This district was known far and wide as the battleground of the
territory, and generally when the sun went down on the eve of election
day the ground had that disheveled and torn-up appearance peculiar to
the grave of Brigham Young the next day after his aggregated widow has
held her regular annual sob recital and scalding-tear festival.

I hesitated about accepting the nomination because I knew that
Vituperation would get up on its hind feet and annoy me greatly, and I
had reason to believe that no pains would be spared on the part of the
management of the opposition to make my existence a perfect bore. This
turned out to be the case, and although I was nominated in a way that
seemed to indicate perfect harmony, it was not a week before the
opposition organ, to which I had frequently loaned print paper when it
could not get its own C. O. D. paper out of the express office, said as
follows in a startled and double-leaded tone of voice:


     "The candidate for assembly in this district, whose trans-Missouri
     name seems to be Nye, turns out to be the same man who left
     Penobscot county, Maine, in the dark of the moon four years ago.
     Mr. Nye's disappearance was so mysterious that prominent
     Penobscoters, especially the sheriff, offered a large reward for
     his person. It was afterwards learned that he was kidnapped
     and taken across the Canadian line by a high-spirited
     and high-stepping horse valued at $1,300. Mr. Nye's candidacy for
     the high office to which he aspires has brought him into such
     prominence that at the mass meeting held last evening in Jimmy
     Avery's barber-shop, he was recognized at once by a Maine man while
     making a telling speech in favor of putting in a stone culvert at
     the draw above Mandel's ranch. The man from Maine, who is visiting
     our thriving little town with a view to locating here and
     establishing an agency for his world-renowned rock-alum axe-helves,
     says that Mr. Nye, in the hurry and rush incident to his departure
     for Canada, overlooked his wife and seven little ones. He also says
     that the candidate's boasted liberality here is different from the
     kind he was using while in Maine, and quotes the following
     incident: Two years before he went away from Penobscot county, one
     of our present candidate's children was playing on the railroad
     track of the Bangor & Moosehead Lake Railroad, when suddenly there
     was a wild shriek of the iron-horse, a timid, scared cry of the
     child, and the rushing train was upon it. Spectators turned away
     in horror. The air was heavy, and the sun seemed to stop its
     shining. Slowly the long freight train, loaded with its rich
     freight of huckleberries, came to a halt. A glad cry went up from
     the assembly as the broad-shouldered engineer came out of the tall
     grass with the crowing child in his arms. Then cheer on cheer rent
     the air, and in the midst of it all, Mr. Nye appeared. He was told
     of the circumstance, and, as he wrung the hand of the engineer,
     tears stood in his eyes. Then, reaching in his pocket, he drew
     forth a card, and writing his autograph on it, he gave it to the
     astounded engineer, telling him to use it wisely and not fritter it
     away. 'But are you not robbing yourself?' exclaimed the astonished
     and delighted engineer. 'No, oh no,' said the munificent parent, 'I
     have others left.' And this is the man who asks our suffrages! Will
     you vote for him or for Alick Meyerdinger, the purest one-legged
     man that ever rapped with his honest knuckles on top of a bar and
     asked the boys to put a name to it."

I was pained to read this, for I had not at that time toyed much with
politics, but I went up stairs and practiced an hour or two on a hollow
laugh that I thought would hide the pain which seemed to tug at my
heart-strings. For the rest of the day I strolled about town bearing a
lurid campaign smile that looked about as joyous as the light-hearted
gambols of a tin horse.

I visited my groceryman, a man whom I felt that I could trust, and who
had honored me in the same way. He said that I ought to be indorsed by
my fellow-citizens. "What! All of them?" I exclaimed, with a choking
sensation, for I had once tried to be indorsed by one of my
fellow-citizens and was not entirely successful. "No," said he, "but you
ought to be ratified and indorsed by those who know you best and love
you most."

"Well," said I, "will you attend to that?"

"Yes, of course I will. You must not give up hope. Where do you buy your

I told him the name of my butcher.

"And do you owe him about the same that you do me?"

I said I didn't think there could be $5 one way or the other.

"Well, give me a memorandum of what you can call to mind that you owe
around town. I will see all these parties and we will get them together
and work up a strong and hearty home indorsement for you, which will
enable you to settle with all of us at par in the event of your

I gave him a list.

That evening a load of lumber was deposited on my lawn, and a man came
in to borrow a few pounds of fence nails. I asked him what he wanted to
do, for I thought he was going to nail a campaign lie or something. He
said he was the man who was sent up to build a kind of "trussle" in
front of my house. "What for?" I asked, with eyes like a startled fawn.
"Why, for the speakers to stand on," he said. "It is a kind of a
combination racket. Something between a home indorsement and a
mass-meeting of creditors. You are to be surprised and gratified
to-morrow evening, as near as I can make out."

He then built a wobbly scaffold, one end of which was nailed to the bay
window of the house.

The next evening my heart swelled when I heard a campaign band coming up
the street, trying to see how little it could play and still draw its
salary. The band was followed by men with torches, and speakers in
carriages. A messenger was sent into the house to tell me that I was
about to be waited upon by my old friends and neighbors, who desired to
deliver to me their hearty indorsement, and a large willow-covered
two-gallon godspeed as a mark of esteem.

[Illustration: _"Mr. Nye, on behalf of this vast assemblage (tremulo), I
thank God that you are POOR!!!"_ (Page 115)]

The spokesman, as soon as I had stepped out on my veranda, mounted the
improvised platform previously erected, and after a short and
debilitated solo and chorus by the band, said as follows, as near as I
can now recall his words:

                                                          "_Mr. Nye_--

"SIR: We have read with pain the open and venomous attacks of the foul
and putrid press of our town, and come here to-night to vindicate by our
presence your utter innocence _as_ a man, _as_ a fellow-citizen, _as_
a neighbor, _as_ a father, mother, brother or sister.

"No one could look down into your open face, and deep, earnest lungs,
and then doubt you _as_ a man, _as_ a fellow-citizen, _as_ a neighbor,
_as_ a father, mother, brother or sister. You came to us a poor man, and
staked your all on the growth of this town. We like you because you are
still poor. You can not be too poor to suit us. It shows that you are
not corrupt.

"Mr. Nye, on behalf of this vast assemblage (tremulo), I thank God that
you are POOR!!!"

He then drew from his pocket a little memorandum, and, holding it up to
a torch, so that he could see it better, said that Mr. Limberquid would
emit a few desultory remarks.

Mr. Limberquid, to whom I was at that time indebted for past favors in
the meat line, or, as you may say, the tenderloin, through no fault of
mine, then arose and said, in words and figures as follows, to wit:

"SIR: I desire to say that we who know Mr. Nye best are here to say that
he certainly has one of the most charming wives in this territory. What
do we care for the vilifications of the press--a press, hired, venial,
corrupt, reeking in filth and oozy with the slime of its own impaired
circulation, snapping at the heels of its superiors, and steeped in the
reeking poison and pollution of its own shopworn and unmarketable

"We do not care a cuss! (Applause.) What do we care that homely men
grudge our candidate his symmetry of form and graceful upholstered
carriage? What do we care that calumny crawls out of its hole,
calumniates him a couple of times and then goes back? We are here
to-night to show by our presence that we like Mrs. Nye very much. She is
a good cook, and she would certainly do honor to this district as a
social leader, in case she should go to Cheyenne as the wife of our
assemblyman. I propose three cheers for her, fellow-citizens."
(Applause, cheers and throbs of base-drum.)

Mr. Sherrod then said:

"FELLER-CITIZENS: We glory in the fact that Whatshisname--Nye here, is
pore. We like him for the poverty he has made. Our idee in runnin' of
him fer the legislater, as I take it, is to not only run him along in
this here kind of hand-to-mouth poverty, but to kind of give him a
chance to accumulate poverty, and have some saved up fer a rainy day.

"I kin call to mind how he looked when he come to this territory a pore
boy, and took off his coat and went right to work dealin' faro nights,
and earning his bread by the sweat of a sweat-board daytimes, for Tom
Dillon, acrost from the express office. And I say he is not a clost man.
He gives his money where folks don't git on to it. He don't git out the
band when he goes to do a kind act, but kind of sneaks around to people
who are in need, and offers to match 'em fer the cigars.

"He's a feller of generous impulses, gentlemen, or at least I so regard
him, and I say here to-night, that if his other vitals was as big and
warm as his heart, he would live to deckorate the graves of nations yet

Several people wept here, and wiped their eyes on their alabaster hands.
I then sent my maid around through the audience with a bucketful of Salt
Lake cider, and a dishpan full of doughnuts, to restore good feeling.
But I can not soon forget how proud I was when I felt the hot tears and
doughnut crumbs of my fellow-citizens raining down my back.

The band then played, "See the Conquering Hero Comes," and yielding to
the pressing demands of the populi, I made a few irrelevant, but low,
passionate remarks, as follows:

understand it, solely to tickle our palates with the twisted doughnuts
of our pampered and sin-cursed civilization, but to unite and give our
pledges once more to the support of the best men. In this teacup of
foaming and impervious cider from the Valley of the Jordan I drink to
the success of the best men. Fellow-citizens and members of the band,
we owe our fealty to the old party. Let us cling to the old party as
long as there is any juice in it and vote for its candidates. Let us
give our suffrages to men of advanced thought who are loyal to their
party but poor. Gentlemen, I am what would be called a poor but brainy
man. When I am not otherwise engaged you will always find me engaged in
thought. I love the excitement of following an idea and chasing it up a
tree. It is a great pleasure for me to pursue the red-hot trail of a
thought or the intellectual spoor of an idea. But I do not allow this
habit to interfere with politics. Politics and thought are radically
different. Why should man think himself weak on these political matters
when there are men who have made it their business and life study to do
the thinking for the masses?

"This is my platform. I believe that a candidate should be poor; that he
should be a thinker on other matters, but leave political matters and
nominations to professional political ganglia and molders of primaries
who have given their lives and the inner coating of their stomachs to
the advancement of political methods by which the old, cumbersome and
dangerous custom of defending our institutions with drawn swords may be
superseded by the modern and more attractive method of doing so with
overdrawn salaries.

"Fellow-citizens and members of the band, in closing let me say that you
have seen me placed in the trying position of postmaster for the past
year. For that length of time I have stood between you and the
government at Washington. I have assisted in upholding the strong arm of
the government, and yet I have not allowed it to crush you. No man here
to-night can say that I have ever, by word or deed, revealed outside the
office the contents of a postal card addressed to a member of my own
party or held back or obstructed the progress of new and startling seeds
sent by our representative from the Agricultural Department. I am in
favor of a full and free interchange of interstate red-eyed and pale
beans, and I favor the early advancement and earnest recognition of the
merits of the highly offensive partisan. I thank you, neighbors and band
(husky and pianissimo), for this gratifying little demonstration. Words
seem empty and unavailing at this time. Will you not accept the
hospitality of my home? Neighbors, you are welcome to these halls. Come
in and look at the family album."

The meeting then became informal, and the chairman asked me as he came
down from his perch how I would be fixed by the first of the month. I
told him that I could not say, but hoped that money matters would show
less apathy by that time.

I have already taken up too much space, however, in this simple recital,
and I have only room to say that I was not elected, and that of the
seventy-five who came up to indorse me and then go home exhilarated by
my cheering doughnuts, forty voted for the other man, thereby electing
him by a plurality of everybody. Home indorsement, hard-boiled eggs and
hot tears of reconciliation can never fool me again. They are as empty
as the bass drum by which they are invariably accompanied. A few years
ago a majority of the voters of a newly-fledged city in Wisconsin signed
a petition asking a gentleman named Bradshaw to run for the office of
mayor. He said he did not want it, but if a majority had signified in
writing that they needed him every hour, he would allow his name to be
used. They then turned in and defeated him by a handsome majority, thus
showing that the average patriotism of the present day has a string to

  Who was the first to make the claim
  That I would surely win the game,
  But now that Dennis is my name?
        The Patriot.

  Who stated that my chance was best,
  And came and wept upon my breast,
  Only to knock me galley West?
        The Patriot.

  Who told me of the joy he felt,
  While he upon my merits dwelt?
  Who then turned in and took my pelt?
        The Patriot.



"We kep' summer boarders the past season," said Orlando McCusick, of
East Kortright, to me as we sat in the springhouse and drank cold milk
from a large yellow bowl with white stripes around it; "we kep' boarders
from town all summer in the Catskills, and that is why I don't figger on
doing of it this year. You fellers that writes the pieces and makes the
pictures of us folks what keeps the boarders has got the laugh on us as
a general thing, but I would like to be interviewed a little for the
press, so's that I can be set right before the American people."

"Well, if you will state the case fairly and honestly, I will try to
give you a chance."

"In the first place," said Orlando, taking off his boot and removing his
jack-knife which had worked its way through his pocket and down his
leg, then squinting along the new "tap" with one eye to see how it was
wearing before he put it on, "I did not know how healthy it was here
until I read in a railroad pamphlet, I guess you call it, where it says
that the relation of temperature to oxygen in a certain quantity of air
is of the highest importance. 'In a cubic foot,' it says, 'of air at
3,000 feet elevation, with a temperature of 32 degrees, there is as much
oxygen as in a like amount of air at sea level with a temperature of 65
degrees. Another important fact that should not be lost sight of,' this
able feller says, 'by those affected by pulmonary diseases, is that
three or four times as much oxygen is consumed in activity as in
repose.' (Hence the hornet's nests introduced by me last season.) 'Then
in climates made stimulating by increased electric tension and cold,
activity must be followed by an increased endosmose of oxygen."

"So you decided to select and furnish endosmose of oxygen to sufferers?"

[Illustration: ... _'Three or four times as much oxygen is consumed in
activity as in repose.' (Hence the hornet's nests introduced by me last
season.)_ (Page 124)]

"Yes. I went into it with no notions of making a pile of money, but I
argued that these folks would give anything for health. We folks are
apt to argy that people from town are all well off and liberal, and that
if they can come out and get all the buttermilk and straw rides they
want, and a little flush of color and a wood-tick on the back of their
necks, they don't reck a pesky reck what it costs. This is only
occasionly so. Ask any doctor you know of if the average man won't give
anything to save his life, and then when it's saved put his propity into
his womern's name. That's human. You know the good book says a pure man
from New York is the noblest work of God."

"Well, when did this desire to endosmose your fellow-man first break out
on you?"

"About a year and a half ago it began to rankle in my mind. I read up
everything I could get hold of regarding the longevity and such things
to be had here. In the winter I sent in a fair, honest, advertisement
regarding my place, and, Judas H. Priest! before I could say 'scat' in
the spring, here came letters by the dozen, mostly from school-teachers
at first, that had a good command of language, but did not come. I
afterwards learned that these letters was frequently wrote by folks that
was not able to go into the country, so wrote these letters for mental
improvement, hoping also that some one in the country might want them
for the refinement they would engender in the family.

"I took one young woman from town once, and allowed her 25 per cent. off
for her refining influence. Her name was Etiquette McCracken. She knew
very little in the first place, and had added to it a good deal by
storing up in her mind a lot of membranous theories and damaged facts
that ought to ben looked over and disinfected. She was the most hopeless
case I ever saw, Mr. Nye. She was a metropolitan ass. You know that a
town greenhorn is the greenest greenhorn in the world, because he can't
be showed anything. He knows it all. Well, Etiquette McCracken very nigh
paralyzed what few manners my children had. She pointed at things at
table, and said she wanted some o' that, and she had a sort of a starved
way of eating, and short breath, and seemed all the time apprehensive.
She probably et off the top of a flour barrel at home. She came and
stayed all summer at our house, with a wardrobe which was in a
shawl-strap wrapped up in a programme of one of them big theaters on
Bowery street. I guess she led a gay life in the city. She said she did.
She said if her set was at our house they would make it ring with
laughter. I said if they did I'd wring their cussed necks with laughter.
'Why,' she says, 'don't you like merriment?' 'Yes,' I says, 'I like
merriment well enough, but the cackle of a vacant mind rattling around
in a big farmhouse makes me a fiend, and unmans me, and I gnaw up two or
three people a day till I get over it,' I says."

"Well, what became of Miss McCracken?"

"Oh, she went up to her room in September, dressed herself in a long
linen duster, did some laundry work, and the next day, with her little
shawl-strap, she lit out for the city, where she was engaged to marry a
very wealthy old man whose mind had been crowded out by an intellectual
tumor, but who had a kind heart and had pestered her to death for years
to marry him and inherit his wealth. I afterwards learned that in this
matter she had lied."

"Did you meet any other pleasant people last season?"

"Yes. I met some blooded children from Several Hundred and Fifth street.
They come here so's they could get a breath of country air and wear out
their old cloze. Their mother said the poor things wanted to get out of
the mawlstrum of meetropolitan life. She said it was awful where they
lived. Just one round of gayety all the while. They come down and salted
my hens, and then took and turned in and chased a new milch cow eight
miles, with two of 'em holdin' of her by the tail, and another on top of
her with a pair of Buffalo Bill spurs and a false face, yelling like a
volunteer fire company. Then the old lady kicked because we run short of
milk. Said it was great if she couldn't have milk when she come to the
wilderness to live and paid her little old $3 a week just as regular as
Saturday night come round.

"These boys picked on mine all summer because my boys was plain little
fellers with no underwear, but good impulses and a general desire to lay
low and eventually git there, understand. My boys is considerable
bleached as regards hair, and freckled as to features, and they are not
ready in conversation like a town boy, but they would no more drive a
dumb animal through the woods till it was all het up, or take a new
milch cow and scare the daylights out of her, and yell at her and pull
out her tail, and send her home with her pores all open, than they'd be
sent to the legislature without a crime.

"A neighbor of mine that see these boys when they was scarin' my cow to
death said if they'd of been his'n he'd rather foller 'em to their grave
than seen 'em do that. That's putting of it rather strong, but I believe
I would myself.

"We had a nice old man that come out here to attend church, he said. He
belonged to a big church in town, where it cost him so much that he
could hardly look his Maker in the face, he said. Last winter, he told
us, they sold the pews at auction, and he had an affection for one,
'specially 'cause he and his wife had set in it all their lives, and now
that she was dead he wanted it, as he wanted the roof that had been over
them all their married lives. So he went down when they auctioned 'em
off, as it seems they do in those big churches, and the bidding started
moderate, but run up till they put a premium on his'n that froze him
out, and he had to take a cheap one where he couldn't hear very well,
and it made him sort of bitter. Then in May, he says, the Palestine rash
broke out among the preachers in New York, and most of 'em had to go to
the Holy Land to get over it, because that is the only thing you can do
with the Palestine rash when it gets a hold on a pastor. So he says to
me, 'I come out here mostly to see if I could get any information from
the Throne of Grace.'

"He was a rattlin' fine old feller, and told me a good deal about one
thing and another. He said he'd seen it stated in the paper that
salvation was free, but in New York he said it was pretty well
protected for an old-established industry.

"He knew Deacon Decker pretty well. Deacon Decker was an old playmate of
Russell Sage, but didn't do so well as Russ did. He went once to New
York after he got along in years, and Sage knew him, but he couldn't
seem to place Sage. 'Why, Decker,' says Sage, 'don't you know me?'
Decker says, 'That's all right. You bet I know ye. You're one of these
fellows that knows everybody. There's another feller around the corner
that helps you to remember folks. I know ye. I read the papers. Git out.
Scat. Torment ye, I ain't in here to-day buyin' green goods, nor yet to
lift a freight bill for ye. So avaunt before I sick the police on ye.'

"Finally Russ identified himself, and shook dice with the deacon to see
which should buy the lunch at the dairy kitchen. This is a true story,
told me by an old neighbor of Deacon Decker's.

"Deacon Decker once discovered a loose knot in his pew seat in church,
and while considering the plan of redemption, thoughtlessly pushed with
considerable force on this knot with his thumb. At first it resisted the
pressure, but finally it slipped out and was succeeded by the deacon's
thumb. No one saw it, so the deacon, slightly flushed, gave it a
stealthy wrench, but the knot-hole had a sharp conical bottom, and the
edge soon caught and secured the rapidly swelling thumb of Deacon

"During the closing prayer he worked at it with great diligence and all
the saliva he could spare, but it resisted. It was a sad sight. Finally
he gave it up, and said to himself the struggle was useless. He tried to
be resigned and wait till all had gone. He shook his head when the plate
was passed to him, and only bowed when the brethren passed him on the
way out. Some thought that maybe he was cursed with doubts, but reckoned
that they would pass away.

"Finally he was missed outside. He was generally so chipper and so
cheery. So his wife was asked about him. 'Why, father's inside. I'll go
and get him. I never knew him to miss shaking hands with all the

"So she went in and found Deacon Decker trying to interest himself with
a lesson leaf in one hand, while his other was concealed under his hat.
He could fool the neighbors, but he could not fool his wife, and so she
hustled around and told one or two, who told their wives, and they all
came back to see the deacon and make suggestions to him.

"This little incident is true, and while it does not contain any special
moral, it goes to show that an honest man gathers no moss, and also
explains a large circular hole, and the tin patch over it, which may
still be seen in the pew where Deacon Decker used to sit."



_Colonel John L. Sullivan, at large:_

DEAR SIR--Will you permit me, without wishing to give you the slightest
offense, to challenge you to fight in France with bare knuckles and
police interference, between this and the close of navigation?

I have had no real good fight with anybody for some time, and should be
glad to co-operate with you in that direction, preferring, however, to
have it attended to in time so that I can go on with my fall plowing. I
should also like to be my own stake holder.

We shall have to fight at 135 pounds, because I can not train above that
figure without extra care and good feeding, while you could train down
to that, I judge, if you begin to go without food on receipt of this
challenge. I should ask that we fight under the rules of the London
prize ring, in the Opera House in Paris. If you decide to accept, I will
engage the house at once and put a few good reading notices in the

I should expect a forfeit of $5,000 to be put up, so that in case you
are in jail at the time, I may have something to reimburse me for my
trip to Paris and the general upheaval of my whole being which arises
from ocean travel.

I challenge you as a plain American citizen and an amateur, partially to
assert the rights of a simple tax-payer and partly to secure for myself
a name. I was, as a boy, the pride of my parents, and they wanted me to
amount to something. So far, the results have been different. Will you
not aid me, a poor struggler in the great race for supremacy, to obtain
that notice which the newspapers now so reluctantly yield? You are said
to be generous to a fault, especially your own faults, and I plead with
you now to share your great fame by accepting my challenge and appearing
with me in a mixed programme for the evening, in which we will jointly
amuse and instruct the people, while at the same time it will give me a
chance to become great in one day, even if I am defeated.

I have often admired your scholarly and spiritual expressions, and your
modest life, and you will remember that at one time I asked you for your
autograph, and you told me to go where the worm dieth not and the fire
department is ineffectual. Will you not, I ask, aid a struggler and
panter for fame, who desires the eye of the public, even if his own be
italicised at the same time?

I must close this challenge, which is in the nature of an appeal to one
of America's best-known men. Will you accept my humble challenge, so
that I can go into training at once? We can leave the details of the
fight to the _Mail and Express_, if you will, and the championship belt
we can buy afterward. All I care for is the honor of being mixed up with
you in some way, and enough of the gate money to pay for arnica and
medical attendance.

Will you do it?

I know the audience would enjoy seeing us dressed for the fray, you so
strong and so wide, I so pensive and so flat busted about the chest. Let
us proceed at once, Colonel, to draw up the writings and begin to train.
You will never regret it, I am sure, and it will be the making of me.

I do not know your address, but trust that this will reach you through
this book, for, as I write, you are on you way toward Canada, with a
requisition and the police reaching after you at every town.

I am glad to hear that you are not drinking any more, especially while
engaged in sleep. If you only confine your drinking to your waking
hours, you may live to be a very old man, and your great, massive brain
will continue to expand until your hat will not begin to hold it.

What do you think of Browning? I should like to converse with you on the
subject before the fight, and get your soul's best sentiments on his
style of intangible thought wave.

I will meet you at Havre or Calais, and agree with you how hard we shall
hit each other. I saw, at a low variety show the other day, two
pleasing comedians who welted each other over the stomach with canes,
and also pounded each other on the head with sufficient force to explode
percussion caps on the top of the skull, and yet without injury. Do you
not think that a prize-fight could be thus provided for? I will see
these men, if you say so, and learn their methods.

Remember, it is not the punishment of a prize-fight for which I yearn,
but the effulgent glory of meeting you in the ring, and having the
cables and the press associate my budding name with that of a man who
has done so much to make men better--a man whose name will go down to
posterity as that of one who sought to ameliorate and mellow and
desiccate his fellow-men.

I will now challenge you once more, with great respect, and beg leave to
remain, yours very truly,

                                                             BILL NYE.

_Hon. Ferdinand de Lesseps, Paris, France:_

DEAR SIR--I have some shares in the canal which you have been working
on, and I am compelled to hypothecate them this summer, in order to
paint my house. You have great faith in the future of the enterprise,
and so I will give you the first chance on this stock of mine. You have
suffered so much in order to do this work that I want to see the stock
get into your hands. You deserve it. You shall have it. Ferdie, if you
will send me a post-office money order by return mail, covering the par
value of five hundred shares, I will lose the premium, because I am a
little pressed for money. The painters will be through next week, and
will want their pay.

As I say, I want to see you own the canal, for in fancy I can see you as
you toiled down there in the hot sun, floating your wheelbarrow and your
bonds down the valley with your perspiration. I can see you in the
morning, with hot, red hands and a tin dinner pail, going to your toil,
a large red cotton handkerchief sticking out of your hip pocket.

So I have decided that you ought to have control, if possible, of this
great water front; besides, you have a larger family than I have to
support. When I heard that you were the father of fifteen little
children, and that you were in the sere and yellow leaf, I said to
myself, a man with that many little mouths to feed, at the age of
eighty, shall have the first crack at my stock. And so, if you will send
the face value as soon as possible, I will say bong jaw, messue.

                                Yours truly,

                                                             BILL NYE.

_To the Seven Haired Sisters, 'Steenth Street, New York:_

MESDAMES, MAMSELLES AND FELLOW-CITIZENS--I write these few lines to say
that I am well and hope this will find you all enjoying the same great
blessing. How pleasant it is for sisters to dwell together in unity and
beloved by mankind. You must indeed have a good time standing in the
window day after day, pulling your long hair through your fingers with
pride. When I first saw you all thus engaged, for the benefit of the
public, I thought it was a candy pull.

I now write to say that the hair promoter which you sold me at the time
is not up to its work. It was a year ago that I bought it, and I think
that in a year something ought to show. It is a great nuisance for a
public man who is liable to come home late at night to have to top-dress
his head before he can retire. Your directions involve great care and
trouble to a man in my position, and still I have tried faithfully to
follow them. What is the result? Nothing but disappointment, and not so
very much of that.

You said, if you remember, that your father was a bald-headed clergyman,
but one day, with a wild shriek of "Eureka!" he discovered this hair
encourager, and for the rest of his life filled his high hat with hair
every time he put it on. You said that at first a fine growth of down,
like the inside of a mouse's ear, would be seen, after that the blade,
then the stalk, and the full corn in the ear. In a pig's ear, I am now
led to believe.

Fair, but false seven-haired sisters, I now bid you adieu. You have lost
in me a good, warm, true-hearted, and powerful friend. Ask me not for my
indorsement, or for my before and after taking pictures to use in your
circulars; I give my kind words and photographs hereafter to the soap
men. They are what they seem. You are not.

When a woman betrays me she must beware. And when seven of them do so,
it is that much worse. You fooled me with smiles and false promises, and
now it will be just as well for you to look out. I would rather die than
be betrayed. It is disagreeable. It sours one, and also embitters one.

Here at this point our ways will diverge. The roads fork at this place.
I shall go on upward and onward hairless and cappy, also careless and
happy, to my goal in life. I do not know whether each or either of you
have provided yourselves with goals or not, but if not you will do well
now to select some. The world may smile upon you, and gold pour into
your coffers, but the day will come when you will have to wrap the
drapery of your hair about you and lie down to pleasant dreams. Then
will arise the thought, alas!--Then You'll Remember Me.

I now close this letter, leaving you to the keen pangs of remorse and
the cruel jabs of unavailing regret. Some people are born bald, others
acquire baldness, whilst still others have baldness thrust upon them
with a paint brush. Some are bald on the outside of their heads, others
on the inside. But oh, girls, beware of baldness on the soul. I ask you,
even if you are the daughters of a clergyman, to think seriously of what
I have said.

                                Yours truly,

                                                             BILL NYE.



Without wishing to alarm the American people, or create a panic, I
desire briefly and seriously to discuss the great question, "Whither are
we drifting, and what is to be the condition of the coming man?" We can
not shut our eyes to the fact that mankind is passing through a great
era of change; even womankind is not built as she was a few brief years
ago. And is it not time, fellow citizens, that we pause to consider what
is to be the future of the American?

Food itself has been the subject of change both in the matter of
material and preparation. This must affect the consumer in such a way as
to some day bring about great differences. Take, for instance, the
oyster, one of our comparatively modern food and game fishes, and watch
the effects of science upon him. At one time the oyster browsed around
and ate what he could find in Neptune's back-yard,
and we had to eat him as we found him. Now we take a herd of oysters off
the trail, all run down, and feed them artificially till they swell up
to a fancy size, and bring a fancy price. Where will this all lead at
last, I ask as a careful scientist? Instead of eating apples, as Adam
did, we work the fruit up into apple-jack and pie, while even the simple
oyster is perverted, and instead of being allowed to fatten up in the
fall on acorns and ancient mariners, spurious flesh is put on his bones
by the artificial osmose and dialysis of our advanced civilization. How
can you make an oyster stout or train him down by making him jerk a
health lift so many hours every day, or cultivate his body at the
expense of his mind, without ultimately not only impairing the future
usefulness of the oyster himself, but at the same time affecting the
future of the human race who feed upon him?

I only use the oyster as an illustration, and I do not wish to cause
alarm, but I say that if we stimulate the oyster artificially and swell
him up by scientific means, we not only do so at the expense of his
better nature and keep him away from his family, but we are making our
mark on the future race of men. Oyster-fattening is now, of course, in
its infancy. Only a few years ago an effort was made at St. Louis to
fatten cove oysters while in the can, but the system was not well
understood, and those who had it in charge only succeeded in making the
can itself more plump. But now oysters are kept on ground feed and given
nothing to do for a few weeks, and even the older and overworked
sway-backed and rickety oysters of the dim and murky past are made to
fill out, and many of them have to put a gore in the waistband of their
shells. I only speak of the oyster incidentally, as one of the objects
toward which science has turned its attention, and I assert with the
utmost confidence that the time will come, unless science should get a
set-back, when the present hunting-case oyster will give place to the
open-face oyster, grafted on the octopus and big enough to feed a
hotel. Further than that, the oyster of the future will carry in a
hip-pocket a flask of vinegar, half a dozen lemons and two little
Japanese bottles, one of which will contain salt and the other pepper,
and there will be some way provided by which you can tell which is
which. But are we improving the oyster now? That is a question we may
well ask ourselves. Is this a healthy fat which we are putting on him,
or is it bloat? And what will be the result in the home-life of the
oyster? We take him from all domestic influences whatever in order to
make a swell of him by our modern methods, but do we improve his
condition morally, and what is to be the great final result on man?

The reader will see by the questions I ask that I am a true scientist.
Give me an overcoat pocket full of lower-case interrogation marks and
a medical report to run to, and I can speak on the matter of science and
advancement till Reason totters on her throne.

But food and oysters do not alone affect the great, pregnant future. Our
race is being tampered with not only by means of adulterations,
political combinations and climatic changes, but even our methods of
relaxation are productive of peculiar physical conditions, malformations
and some more things of the same kind.

Cigarette smoking produces a flabby and endogenous condition of the
optic nerve, and constant listening at a telephone, always with the same
ear, decreases the power of the other ear till it finally just stands
around drawing its salary, but actually refusing to hear anything.
Carrying an eight-pound cane makes a man lopsided, and the muscular and
nervous strain that is necessary to retain a single eyeglass in place
and keep it out of the soup, year after year, draws the mental stimulus
that should go to the thinker itself, until at last the mind wanders
away and forgets to come back, or becomes atrophied, and the great
mental strain incident to the work of pounding sand or coming in when it
rains is more than it is equal to.

Playing billiards, accompanied by the vicious habit of pounding on the
floor with the butt of the cue ever and anon, produces at last optical
illusions, phantasmagoria and visions of pink spiders with navy-blue
abdomens. Base-ball is not alone highly injurious to the umpire, but it
also induces crooked fingers, bone spavin and hives among habitual
players. Jumping the rope induces heart disease. Poker is unduly
sedentary in its nature. Bicycling is highly injurious, especially to
skittish horses. Boating induces malaria. Lawn tennis can not be played
in the house. Archery is apt to be injurious to those who stand around
and watch the game, and pugilism is a relaxation that jars heavily on
some natures.

[Illustration: _Playing billiards, accompanied by the vicious habit of
pounding on the floor with the butt of the cue ever and anon, produces
at last optical illusions_ (Page 149)]

Foot-ball produces what may be called the endogenous or ingrowing
toenail, stringhalt and mania. Copenhagen induces a melancholy, and the
game of bean bag is unduly exciting. Horse racing is too brief and
transitory as an outdoor game, requiring weeks and months for
preparation and lasting only long enough for a quick person to ejaculate
"Scat!" The pitcher's arm is a new disease, the outgrowth of base-ball;
the lawn-tennis elbow is another result of a popular open-air
amusement, and it begins to look as though the coming American would
hear with one overgrown telephonic ear, while the other will be
rudimentary only. He will have an abnormal base-ball arm with a
lawn-tennis elbow, a powerful foot-ball-kicking leg with the superior
toe driven back into the palm of his foot. He will have a highly trained
biceps muscle over his eye to retain his glass, and that eye will be
trained to shoot a curved glance over a high hat and witness anything on
the stage.

Other features grow abnormal, or shrink up from the lack of use, as a
result of our customs. For instance, the man whose business it is to get
along a crowded street with the utmost speed will have, finally, a hard,
sharp horn growing on each elbow, and a pair of spurs growing out of
each ankle. These will enable him to climb over a crowd and get there
early. Constant exposure to these weapons on the part of the pedestrian
will harden the walls of the thorax and abdomen until the coming man
will be an impervious man. The citizen who avails himself of all modern
methods of conveyance will ride from his door on the horse car to the
elevated station, where an elevator will elevate him to the train and a
revolving platform will swing him on board, or possibly the street car
will be lifted from the surface track to the elevated track, and the
passenger will retain his seat all the time. Then a man will simply hang
out a red card, like an express card, at his door, and a combination car
will call for him, take him to the nearest elevated station, elevate
him, car and all, to the track, take him where he wants to go, and call
for him at any hour of the night to bring him home. He will do his
exercising at home, chiefly taking artificial sea baths, jerking a
rowing machine or playing on a health lift till his eyes hang out on his
cheeks, and he need not do any walking whatever. In that way the coming
man will be over-developed above the legs, and his lower limbs will look
like the desolate stems of a frozen geranium. Eccentricities of limb
will be handed over like baldness from father to son among the dwellers
in the cities, where every advantage in the way of rapid transit is to
be had, until a metropolitan will be instantly picked out by his able
digestion and rudimentary legs, just as we now detect the gentleman from
the interior by his wild endeavors to overtake an elevated train.

In fact, Mr. Edison has now perfected, or announced that he is on the
road to the perfection of, a machine which I may be pardoned for calling
a storage think-tank. This will enable a brainy man to sit at home, and,
with an electric motor and a perfected phonograph, he can think into a
tin dipper or funnel, which will, by the aid of electricity and a new
style of foil, record and preserve his ideas on a sheet of soft metal,
so that when any one says to him, "A penny for your thoughts," he can go
to his valise and give him a piece of his mind. Thus the man who has
such wild and beautiful thoughts in the night and never can hold on to
them long enough to turn on the gas and get his writing materials, can
set this thing by the head of his bed, and, when the poetic thought
comes to him in the stilly night, he can think into a hopper, and the
genius of Franklin and Edison together will enable him to fire it back
at his friends in the morning while they eat their pancakes and glucose
syrup from Vermont, or he can mail the sheet of tinfoil to absent
friends, who may put it into their phonographs and utilize it. In this
way the world may harness the gray matter of its best men, and it will
be no uncommon thing to see a dozen brainy men tied up in a row in the
back office of an intellectual syndicate, dropping pregnant thoughts
into little electric coffee mills for a couple of hours a day, after
which they can put on their coats, draw their pay, and go home.

All this will reduce the quantity of exercise, both mental and physical.
Two men with good brains could do the thinking for 60,000,000 of people
and feel perfectly fresh and rested the next day. Take four men, we will
say, two to do the day thinking and two more to go on deck at night, and
see how much time the rest of the world would have to go fishing. See
how politics would become simplified. Conventions, primaries, bargains
and sales, campaign bitterness and vituperation--all might be wiped out.
A pair of political thinkers could furnish 100,000,000 of people with
logical conclusions enough to last them through the campaign and put an
unbiased opinion into a man's house each day for less than he now pays
for gas. Just before election you could go into your private office,
throw in a large dose of campaign whisky, light a campaign cigar, fasten
your buttonhole to the wall by an elastic band, so that there would be a
gentle pull on it, and turn the electricity on your mechanical thought
supply. It would save time and money, and the result would be the same
as it is now. This would only be the beginning, of course, and after a
while every qualified voter who did not feel like exerting himself so
much, need only give his name and proxy to the salaried thinker employed
by the National Think Retort and Supply Works. We talk a great deal
about the union of church and state, but that is not so dangerous, after
all, as the mixture of politics and independent thought. Will the coming
voter be an automatic, legless, hairless mollusk with an abnormal ear
constantly glued to the tube of a big tank full of symmetrical ideas
furnished by a national bureau of brains in the employ of the party in



Those were troublous times indeed. All-wool justice in the courts was
impossible. The vigilance committee, or Salvation army, as it called
itself, didn't make much fuss about its work, but we all knew that the
best citizens belonged to it, and were in good standing.

It was in those days that young Stewart was short-handed for a
sheep-herder, and had to take up with a sullen, hairy vagrant called by
the other boys, "Esau." Esau hadn't been on the ranch a week before he
made trouble with the proprietor and got from Stewart the red-hot
blessing he deserved.

Then Esau got madder and skulked away down the valley among the little
sage brush hummocks and white alkali wasteland, to nurse his wrath.
When Stewart drove into the corral that night, Esau rose up from behind
an old sheep dip-tank, and without a word except what may have growled
around in his black heart, he leveled a Spencer rifle and shot his young
employer dead.

That was the tragedy of that week only. Others had occurred before and
others would probably occur again. Tragedy was getting too prevalent for
comfort. So as soon as a quick cayuse and a boy could get down into
town, the news spread and the authorities began in the routine manner to
set the old legal mill to running. Some one had to go down to "The
Tivoli" and find the prosecuting attorney, then a messenger had to go to
"The Alhambra" for the justice of the peace. The prosecuting attorney
was "full," and the judge had just drawn one card to complete a straight
flush, and had succeeded.

So it took time to get square-toed justice ready and arm the sheriff
with the proper documents.

In the meantime the Salvation army was fully half way to Clugston's
ranch. They had started out, as they said, "to see that Esau didn't get
away." They were also going to see that Esau was brought into town.

What happened after they got out there I only know from hearsay, for I
was not a member of the Salvation army at that time. But I learned from
one of those present, that they found Esau down in the sage brush on the
bottoms that lie between the abrupt corner of Sheep mountain and the
Little Laramie river. They captured him but he died soon after, as it
was told me, from the effects of opium taken with suicidal intent. I
remember seeing Esau the next morning, and I thought I noticed signs of
ropium, as there was a purple streak around the neck of the deceased,
together with other external phenomena not peculiar to opium.

But the grand difficulty with the Salvation army was that it didn't want
to bring Esau into town. A long, cold night ride with a person in Esau's
condition was disagreeable. Twenty miles of lonely road with a
deceased murderer in the bottom of the wagon is depressing. Those of
my readers who have tried it will agree with me that it is not
calculated to promote hilarity.

[Illustration: _Mr. Whatley hadn't gone more than half a mile when he
heard the wild and disappointed yells of the Salvation army_
(Page 159)]

So the Salvation army stopped at Whatley's ranch to get warm, hoping
that some one would steal the remains and elope with them. They stayed
some time and managed to "give away" the fact that there was a reward of
$5,000 out for Esau, dead or alive. The Salvation army even went so far
as to betray a good deal of hilarity over the easy way it had nailed the
reward or would as soon as said remains were delivered up and

Mr. Whatley thought that the Salvation army was having a kind of walk
away, so he slipped out at the back door of the ranch, put Esau into his
own wagon and drove off to town. Remember, this is the way it was told
to me.

Mr. Whatley hadn't gone more than half a mile when he heard the wild and
disappointed yells of the Salvation army. He put the buckskin on the
back of his horse without mercy, urged on by the enraged shouts and
yells of his infuriated pursuers. He reached town about midnight, and
his pursuers disappeared. But what was he to do with Esau?

He drove around all over town trying to find the official who signed for
the deceased. He went from house to house like a vegetable vender,
seeking sadly for the party who would give him a $5,000 check for Esau.
Nothing could be more depressing than to wake up one man after another
out of a sound sleep, and invite him to come out to the buggy and
identify the remains. One man went out and looked at him. He said he
didn't know how others felt about it, but he allowed that anybody who
would pay $5,000 for such a remains as Esau's could not have very good

Gradually it crept through Mr. Whatley's wool that the Salvation army
had been working him, so he left Esau at the engine house and went home.
On his ranch he nailed up a large board, on which had been painted in
antique characters, with a paddle and tar, the following:

     [finger right] Vigilance Committees, Salvation Armies,
     Morgues, or young physicians who may have deceased people on their
     hands, are requested to refrain from conferring them on to the

     [finger right] People who contemplate shuffling off their
     own or other people's mortal coils will please not do so on these

     [finger right] The Salvation Army of the Rocky Mountains
     is especially hereby warned to keep off the Grass! JAMES WHATLEY.



_To the Honorable Mayor of New York:_

SIR--I suppose you are mayor of this whole town, and if so you are the
mayor of the hosspitals as well as of the municipality of New York. I am
a citizen of this place that has always been square towards every man
and paid my bills as they accrewed. I now ask you, in return for same,
to intervene and protect me in my rights. The millishy has never been
called out to suppress me. I have never been guilty of rebellyun or open
difyance off the law, and yet I am unable to get a square deal and I
write this brief note and enclose a two-cent stamp, to ascertain
whether, as mayor, you are for me or agin me.

[Illustration: ... _I was in a large, cool hosspital which smelt strong
of some forrin substans. The hed doctor had been breathing on me and so
I come too_ (Page 163)]

Three years ago I entered your town from a westerly direction. I done so
quietly and I presume that few will remember the sircumstans, yet such
was so. I had not been here two weeks when I was run into, knocked over
and tromped onto by the bay team of a purse-proud producer of beer. I
was dashed to earth and knocked galley west on Broadway st. looking
north by sed horses and I was wrecked while peasably on my way to my
place of business. When I come to myself I was in a large, cool
hosspital which smelt strong of some forrin substans. The hed doctor had
been breathing on me and so I come too. When I looked around me I
decided to murmur "Where am I at?" which I did.

I soon learned that I was in a hosspital, and that kind friends had
removed one of my legs. I will not take up your time, sir, by touching
on my sufferings. Suphice it to say that I went foarth at last a blasted
man, with a cork leg that don't look no more like my own once leg which
I was torn away from, in spite of the Old Harry. It is too late to
repine over a wooden leg, unless it is a pine leg, but I come to you,
sir, to interfear on behalf of another matter which I will now aprooch.
Sorrows at that time come on me thick and fast. During that fall I lost
my wife and two dogs by deth. This was the third wife I have been called
on to bury. It has been my blessed privilidge to mourn the loss of three
as good wives as I ever shook a stick at. I have got them all in one
cool, roomy toom, with a verse on the door of same and their address, so
that they will not delay the resurrection. Under the verse that was
engraved on the slab, some low cuss has wrote three verses of poetry
with a chorus to each verse which winds up with the words:

  Tit, tat, toe, three in a row.

But all this is only introductory. Sir, it has long been my heart's
desire that all my beloved dead should repose together. I have a large
lot in the semmetery, and last week a movement was placed on foot to
inter my late leg by the sides of my deceased wives. I applied to the
hosspital for said leg, having got a permit to bury same. I was pleasant
and corechus to the authoritis there, saying that my name was Gray and I
was there to procure my leg, whereupon a young meddicle cuss said to
the head ampitater:

"Here's de man that wants to plant Gray's l-e-g in a churchyard."

He then laughed a hoarse laugh and went on preserving a polapus in a big
glass fruit can with alkohall in it. Wherever I went I met with a
general disposition to fool with a stricken and one-legged man. I went
from ward to ward, looking at suffering and smelling kloryform till I
was sick at heart. I was referred from Dan to Beersheby, from the
janiter up to the chief tongue inspector, and one place where I went
into they seemed to be picking bone splinters out from among a
gentleman's brains. I made bold to tell my business, but with small

"This is the man I told you about, Doc," said a young man who was filing
and setting a small bone handsaw. "This is that matter of Gray, the man
who wants his leg."

"Damn your Gray matter," says this doctor, whereupon the rest bust into
ribald mirth.

I was insulted right and left for a whole forenoon, and came away
shocked and pained. Will you assist me? There is no reverence among
doctors any more and they have none of the finer feelings. Some asked me
if I had a check for my leg. Some said they thought it had escaped from
the hosspital and gone on the stage, and one feller said that this
hosspital would not be responsible for the legs of guests unless
deposited in the office safe. I like fun just as well as anybody, Mr.
Mayor, but I don't think any one should be youmerous over the cold dead
features of a leg from which I have been ruthlessly snatched.

I now beg, sir, to dror this hasty letter to an untimely end, hoping
that you will make it hot for this blooming hosspital and make them fork
over said leg. Yours, with kindest regards,

                                                   A. PITTSFIELD GRAY.



A young friend has written to me as follows: "Could you tell me
something of the location of the porcelain works in Sèvres, France, and
what the process is of making those beautiful things which come from
there? How is the name of the town pronounced? Can you tell me anything
of the history of Mme. Pompadour? Who was the Dauphin? Did you learn
anything of Louis XV whilst in France? What are your literary habits?"

It is with a great, bounding joy that I impart the desired information.
Sèvres is a small village just outside of St. Cloud (pronounced San
Cloo). It is given up to the manufacture of porcelain. You go to St.
Cloud by rail or river, and then drive over to Sèvres by diligence or
voiture. Some go one way and some go the other. I rode up on the Seine,
aboard of a little, noiseless, low-pressure steamer about the size of a
sewing machine. It was called the Silvoo Play, I think.

The fare was thirty centimes--or, say, three cents. After paying my fare
and finding that I still had money left, I lunched at St. Cloud in the
open air at a trifling expense. I then took a bottle of milk from my
pocket and quenched my thirst. Traveling through France, one finds that
the water is especially bad, tasting of the Dauphin at times, and
dangerous in the extreme. I advise those, therefore, who wish to be well
whilst doing the Continent, to carry, especially in France, as I did, a
large, thick-set bottle of milk, or kumiss, with which to take the wire
edge off one's whistle whilst being yanked through the Louvre.

St. Cloud is seven miles west of the center of Paris and almost ten
miles by rail on the road to Versailles--pronounced Vairsi. St. Cloud
belongs to the Canton of Sèvres and the arrondissement of Versailles. An
arrondissement is not anything reprehensible. It is all right. You,
yourself, could belong to an arrondissement if you lived in France.

St. Cloud is on the beautiful hill slope, looking down the valley of the
Seine, with Paris in the distance. It is peaceful and quiet and
beautiful. Everything is peaceful in Paris when there is no revolution
on the carpet. The steam cars run safely and do not make so much noise
as ours do. The steam whistle does not have such a hold on people as it
does here. The adjutant-general at the depot blows a little tin bugle,
the admiral of the train returns the salute, the adjutant-general says
"Allons!" and the train starts off like a somewhat leisurely young man
who is going to the depot to meet his wife's mother.

One does not realize what a Fourth of July racket we live in and employ
in our business till he has been the guest of a monarchy of Europe
between whose toes the timothy and clover have sprung up to a great
height. And yet it is a pleasing change, and I shall be glad when we as
a republic have passed the blow-hard period, laid aside the
ear-splitting steam whistle, settled down to good, permanent
institutions, and taken on the restful, sootheful, Boston air which
comes with time and the quiet self-congratulation that one is born in a
Bible land and with Gospel privileges, and where the right to worship in
a strictly high-church manner is open to all.

The Palace of St. Cloud was once the residence of Napoleon I in
summer-time. He used to go out there for the heated term, and folding
his arms across his stomach, have thought after thought regarding the
future of France. Yet he very likely never had an idea that some day it
would be a thrifty republic, engaged in growing green peas, or pulling a
soiled dove out of the Seine, now and then, to add to the attractions of
her justly celebrated morgue.

Louis XVIII also put up at the Palace in St. Cloud several summers. He
spelled it "palais," which shows that he had very poor early English
advantages, or that he was, as I have always suspected, a native of
Quebec. Charles X also changed the bedding somewhat, and moved in during
his reign. He also added a new iron sink and a place in the barn for
washing buggies. Louis Philippe spent his summers here for a number of
years, and wrote weekly letters to the Paris papers, signed "Uno," in
which he urged the taxpayers to show more veneration for their royal
nibs. Napoleon III occupied the palais in summer during his lifetime,
availing himself finally of the use of Mr. Bright's justly celebrated
disease and dying at the dawn of better institutions for beautiful but
unhappy France.

I visited the palais (pronounced pallay), which was burned by the
Prussians in 1870. The grounds occupy 960 acres, which I offered to buy
and fit up, but probably I did not deal with responsible parties. This
part of France reminds me very much of North Carolina. I mean, of
course, the natural features. Man has done more for France, it seems to
me, than for the Tar Heel State, and the cities of Asheville and Paris
are widely different. The police of Paris rarely get together in front
of the court-house to pitch horseshoes or dwell on the outlook for the
goober crop.

And yet the same blue, ozonic sky, if I may be allowed to coin a word,
the same soft, restful, dolce frumenti air of gentle, genial health, and
of cark destroying, magnetic balm to the congested soul, the inflamed
nerve and the festering brain, are present in Asheville that one finds
in the quiet drives of San Cloo with the successful squirt of the mighty
fountains of Vairsi and the dark and whispering forests of

The palais at San Cloo presents a rather dejected appearance since it
was burned, and the scorched walls are bare, save where here and there a
warped and wilted water pipe festoons the blackened and blistered wreck
of what was once so grand and so gay.

San Cloo has a normal school for the training of male teachers only. I
visited it, but for some cause I did not make a hit in my address to the
pupils until I began to speak in their own national tongue. Then the
closest attention was paid to what I said, and the keenest delight was
manifest on every radiant face. The president, who spoke some English,
shook hands with me as we parted, and I asked him how the students took
my remarks. He said: "They shall all the time keep the thinkness--what
you shall call the recollect--of monsieur's speech in preserves, so that
they shall forget it not continualle. We shall all the time say we have
not witness something like it since the time we come here, and have not
so much enjoy ourselves since the grand assassination by the guillotine.
Come next winter and be with us for one week. Some of us will remain in
the hall each time."

At San Cloo I hired of a quiet young fellow about thirty-five years of
age, who kept a very neat livery stable there, a sort of victoria and a
big Percheron horse, with fetlock whiskers that reminded me of the
Sutherland sisters. As I was in no hurry I sat on an iron settee in the
cool court of the livery stable, and with my arm resting on the shoulder
of the proprietor I spoke of the crops and asked if generally people
about there regarded the farmer movement as in any way threatening to
the other two great parties. He did not seem to know, and so I watched
the coachman who was to drive me, as he changed his clothes in order to
give me my money's worth in grandeur.

One thing I liked about France was that the people were willing, at a
slight advance on the regular price, to treat a very ordinary man with
unusual respect and esteem. This surprised and delighted me beyond
measure, and I often told people there that I did not begrudge the
additional expense. The coachman was also hostler, and when the carriage
was ready he altered his attire by removing a coarse, gray shirt or
tunic and putting on a long, olive green coachman's coat, with erect
linen collar and cuffs sewed into the collar and sleeves. He wore a high
hat that was much better than mine, as is frequently the case with
coachmen and their employers. My coachman now gives me his silk hat when
he gets through with it in the spring and fall, so I am better dressed
than I used to be.

But we were going to say a word regarding the porcelain works at
Sèvres. It is a modern building and is under government control. The
museum is filled with the most beautiful china dishes and funny business
that one could well imagine. Besides, the pottery ever since its
construction has retained its models, and they, of course, are worthy of
a day's study. The "Sèvres blue" is said to be a little bit bluer than
anything else in the known world except the man who starts a nonpareil
paper in a pica town.

I was careful not to break any of these vases and things, and thus
endeared myself to the foreman of the place. All employes are uniformed
and extremely deferential to recognized ability. Practically, for half a
day, I owned the place.

A cattle friend of mine who was looking for a dynasty whose tail he
could twist while in Europe, and who used often to say over our glass of
vin ordinaire (which I have since learned is not the best brand at all),
that nothing would tickle him more than "to have a little deal with a
crowned head and get him in the door," accidentally broke a blue crock
out there at Sèvres which wouldn't hold over a gallon, and it took the
best part of a car load of cows to pay for it, he told me.

The process of making the Sèvres ware is not yet published in book form,
especially the method of coloring and enameling. It is a secret
possessed by duly authorized artists. The name of the town is pronounced

Mme. Pompadour is said to have been the natural daughter of a butcher,
which I regard as being more to her own credit than though she had been
an artificial one. Her name was Jeanne Antoinette Poisson Le Normand
d'Etioles, Marchioness de Pompadour, and her name is yet used by the
authorities of Versailles as a fire escape, so I am told.

She was the mistress of Louis XV, who never allowed her to put her hands
in dishwater during the entire time she visited at his house.
D'Etioles was her first husband, but she left him for a gay but rather
reprehensible life at court, where she was terribly talked about, though
she is said not to have cared a cent.

She developed into a marvelous politician, and early seeing that the
French people were largely governed by the literary lights of that time,
she began to cultivate the acquaintance of the magazine writers, and
tried to join the Authors' Club.

She then became prominent by originating a method of doing up the hair,
which has since grown popular among people whose hair has not, like my
own, been already "done up."

This style of Mme. Pompadour's was at once popular with the young men
who ran the throttles of the soda fountains of that time, and is still
well spoken of. A young friend of mine trained his hair up from his
forehead in that way once and could not get it down again. During his
funeral his hair, which had been glued down by the undertaker, became
surprised at something said by the clergyman and pushed out the end of
his casket.

The king tired in a few years of Mme. Pompadour and wished that he had
not encouraged her to run away from her husband. She, however, retained
her hold upon the blasé and alcoholic monarch by her wonderful
versatility and genius.

When all her talents as an artiste and politician palled upon his old
rum-soaked and emaciated brain, and ennui, like a mighty canker, ate
away large corners of his moth-eaten soul, she would sit in the gloaming
and sing to him, "Hard Times, Hard Times, Come Again No More," meantime
accompanying herself on the harpsichord or the sackbut or whatever they
played in those days. Then she instituted theatricals, giving, through
the aid of the nobility, a very good version of "Peck's Bad Boy" and
"Lend Me Five Centimes."

She finally lost her influence over Looey the XV, and as he got to be an
old man the thought suddenly occurred to him to reform, and so he had
Mme. Pompadour beheaded at the age of forty-two years. This little story
should teach us that no matter how gifted we are, or how high we may
wear our hair, our ambitions must be tempered by honor and integrity;
also that pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a



Last week Colonel Bill Root, formerly Duke of Council Bluffs, paid me a
visit, and as I desired to show him Central Park, I took him to
Fifty-Eighth street and hired a carriage, my own team being at my
country place. I also engaged the services of a dark-eyed historical
student, who is said to know more about Central Park than any other man
in New York, having driven through it, as he has, for years. He was a
plain, sad man, with a mustache which was mostly whiskers. He dressed
carelessly in a négligé suit of neutral-tinted clothes, including a pair
of trousers which seemed to fit him in that shy and reluctant manner
which characterized the fit of the late lamented Jumbo's clothes after
he had been indifferently taxidermed.

Colonel Root and I called him "Governor," and thereby secured knowledge
which could not be obtained from books. Colonel Root is himself no
kindergarten savant, being the author and discoverer of a method of
breaking up a sitting-hen by first calling her away from her deep-seated
passion, tying a red-flannel rag around her leg, and then still further
turning her attention from her wild yearning to hatch out a flock of
suburban villas by sitting on a white front-door knob. This he does by
deftly inserting the hen into a joint of stove-pipe and then cementing
both ends of the same. Colonel Root is also the discoverer of a cipher
which shows that Julius Cæsar's dying words were: "Et tu Brute. Verily
the tail goeth with the hide."

After a while the driver paused. Colonel Root asked him why he tarried.

"I wanted to call your attention," said the Governor, "to the Casino, a
place where you can provide for the inner man or any other man. You can
here secure soft-shell crabs, boiled lobster, low-neck clams, Hamburger
steaks, chicken salad, miscellaneous soups, lobster salad with
machine-oil on it, Neapolitan ice-cream, Santa Cruz rum, Cincinnati
Sec, pie, tooth-picks, and finger-bowls."

[Illustration: _Said the Governor as he swung around with his feet over
in our part of the carriage and asked me for a light_ (Page 181)]

"How far does the waiter have to go to get these things cooked?"
inquired Colonel Root, looking at his valuable watch.

"That," said the Governor, as he swung around with his feet over in our
part of the carriage and asked me for a light, "depends on how you
approach him. If you slip a half dollar up his coat-sleeve without his
knowledge he will get your twenty-five cent meal cooked somewhere near
by, but otherwise I have known him to go away and come back with gray
side-whiskers and cobwebs on the pie instead of the wine."

We went in and told the proprietor to see that our driver had what he
wanted. He did not want much, aside from a whisky sour, a plate of
terrapin, a pint of Mr. Pommery's secretary's beverage, and a baked
duck. We had a little calves' liver and custard pie. Then we visited
Cleopatra's Needle.

"And who in creation was Cleopatra?" asked Colonel Root.

"Cleopatra," said the driver, "was a goodlooking Queen of Egypt. She
was eighteen years old when her father left the throne, as it was
screwed down to the dais, and died. He left the kingdom to Cleopatra, in
partnership with Ptolemy, her brother. Ptolemy, in 51 B. C., deprived
her of the throne, leaving Cleopatra nothing but the tidy. She appealed
to Julius Cæsar, who hired a man to embalm Ptolemy, and restored Egypt
to his sister, who was as likely a girl as Julius had ever met with. She
accompanied him to Rome in 46 B. C., and remained there a couple of
years. When Cæsar was assassinated by a delegation of Roman tax-payers
who desired a change, Cleopatra went back and began to reign over Egypt
again. She also attracted the attention of Antony. He thought so much of
her that he would frequently stay away from a battle and deny himself
the joys of being split open with a dull stab-knife in order to hang
around home and hold Cleopatra's hand, and, though she was a widow
practically, she was the Amélie Rives style of widow, and he said that
it had to be an all-fired good battle that could make him put on his
iron ulster and fight all day on the salary he was getting. She pizened
herself thirty years before Christ, at the age of thirty-nine years,
rather than ride around Rome in a gingham dress as a captive of
Augustus. She died right in haying time, and Augustus said he'd ruther
of lost the best horse in Rome. This is her needle. It was brought to
New York mostly by water, and looks well here in the park. She was said
to be as likely a queen as ever jerked a sceptre over Egypt or any other
place. Everybody that saw her reign said that the country never had a
magneticker queen."

As we rode swiftly along, the slight, girlish figure of a middle-aged
woman might have been seen striving hurriedly to cross the driveway. She
screamed and beckoned to a park policeman, who rushed leisurely in and
caught her by the arm, rescuing her from the cruel feet of our mad
chargers, and then led her to a seat. As we paused to ask the policeman
if the lady had been injured, he came up to the side of the carriage and
whispered to me behind his hand: "That woman I have rescued between
thirty and forty times this year, and it is only the first of July.
Every pleasant day she comes here to be rescued. One day, when business
was a little dull and we didn't have any teams on the drive, and time
seemed to hang heavy on her hands, she told me her sad history. Before
she was eighteen years of age she had been disappointed in love and
prevented from marrying her heart's choice, owing to the fact that the
idea of the union did not occur to him. He was not, in fact, a union
man. Time passed on, from time to time, glad spring, and bobolinks, and
light underwear succeeded stern winter, frost, and heavy flannels, and
yet he cometh not, she sayed. No one had ever caught her in his great
strong arms in a quick embrace that seemed to scrunch her whole being.
Summer came and went. The dews on the upland succeeded the frost on the
pumpkin. The grand ratification of the partridge ushered in the wail of
the turtle dove and the brief plunk of the muskrat in the gloaming. And
yet no man had ever dast to come right out and pay attention to her or
keep company with her. She had an emotional nature that just seemed to
get up on its hind feet and pant for recognition and love. She could
have almost loved a well-to-do man who had, perhaps, sinned a few times,
but even the tough and erring went elsewhere to repent. One day she came
to town to do some trading. She had priced seven dollars and fifty
cents' worth of goods, and was just crossing Broadway to price some
more, when the gay equipage of a wealthy humorist, with silver chains on
the neck-yoke and foam-flecks acrost the bosom of the nigh
hoss, came plunging down the street.

"The red nostrils of the spirited brutes were above her. Their hot
breath scorched the back of her neck and swayed the red-flannel
pompon on her bonnet. Every one on Broadway held his
breath, with the exception of a man on the front stoop of the Castor
House, whose breath had got beyond his control. Every one was horrified
and turned away with a shudder, which rattled the telegraph wires for
two blocks.

"Just then a strong, brave policeman rushed in and knocked down both
horses and the driver, together with his salary. He caught the woman up
as though she had been no more than a feather's weight. He bore her away
to the post-office pavement, where it is still the custom to carry
people who are run over and mangled. He then sought to put her down,
but, like a bad oyster, she would not be put down. She still clung about
his neck, like the old party who got acquainted with Sinbad the Sailor,
though, of course, in a different manner. It took quite a while to shake
her off. The next day she came back and was almost killed at the same
crossing. It went on that way until the policeman had his beat changed
to another part of town. Finally, she came up here to get her summer
rescuing done. I do it when it falls to my lot, but my heart is not in
the work. Sometimes the horrible thought comes over me that I may be too
late. Several times I have tried to be too late, but I haven't the heart
to do it."

He then walked to a sparrow that refused to keep off the grass and
brained it with his club.



Every thinkful student has doubtless noticed that when he enters the
office, or autograph department, of an American inn, a lithe and alert
male person seizes his valise or traveling-bag with much earnestness. He
then conveys it to some sequestered spot and does not again return. He
is the porter of the hotel or inn. He may be a modest porter just
starting out, or he may be a swollen and purse-proud porter with silver
in his hair and also in his pocket.

I speak of the porter and his humble lot in order to show the average
American boy who may read these lines that humor is not the only thing
in America which yields large dividends on a very small capital. To be a
porter does not require great genius, or education, or intellectual
versatility; and yet, well attended to, the business is remunerative in
the extreme and often brings excellent returns. It shows that any
American boy who does faithfully and well the work assigned to him may
become well-to-do and prosperous.

Recently I shook hands with a conductor on the Milwaukee and St. Paul
Railroad, who is the president of a bank. There is a general impression
in the public mind that conductors all die poor, but here is "Jerry," as
everybody calls him, a man of forty-five years of age, perhaps, with a
long head of whiskers and the pleasant position of president of a bank.
As he thoughtfully slams the doors from car to car, collecting fares on
children who are no longer young and whose parents seek to conceal them
under the seats, or as he goes from passenger to passenger sticking
large blue checks in their new silk hats, and otherwise taking advantage
of people, he is sustained and soothed by the blessed thought that he
has done the best he could, and that some day when the summons comes to
lay aside his loud-smelling lantern and make his last run, he will leave
his dear ones provided for. Perhaps I ought to add that during all
these years of Jerry's prosperity the road has also managed to keep the
wolf from the door. I mention it because it is so rare for the conductor
and the road to make money at the same time.

I knew a conductor on the Union Pacific railroad, some years ago, who
used to make a great deal of money, but he did not invest wisely, and so
to-day is not the president of a bank. He made a great deal of money in
one way or another while on his run, but the man with whom he was wont
to play poker in the evening is now the president of the bank. The
conductor is in the purée.

It was in Minneapolis that Mr. Cleveland was once injudicious. He and
his wife were pained to read the following report of their conversation
in the paper on the day after their visit to the flour city:

"Yes, I like the town pretty well, but the people, some of 'em, are too
blamed fresh."

"Do you think so, Grover? I thought they were very nice, indeed, but
still I think I like St. Paul the best. It is so old and respectable."

"Oh, yes, respectability is good enough in its place, but it can be
overdone. I like Washington, where respectability is not made a hobby."

"But are you not enjoying yourself here, honey?"

"No, I am not. To tell you the truth, I am very unhappy. I'm so scared
for fear I'll say something about the place that will be used against me
by the St. Paul folks, that I most wish I was dead, and everybody wants
to show me the new bridge and the waterworks, and speak of 'our great
and phenomenal growth,' and show me the population statistics, and the
school-house, and the Washburn residence, and Doc Ames and Ole
Forgerson, and the saw-mill, and the boom, and then walk me up into the
thirteenth story of a flour mill and pour corn meal down my back, and
show me the wonderful increase of the city debt and the sewerage, and
the West Hotel, and the glorious ozone and things here, that it makes me
tired. And I have to look happy and shake hands and say it knocks St.
Paul silly, while I don't think so at all, and I wish I could do
something besides be president for a couple of weeks, and quit lying
almost entirely, except when I go a-fishing."

"But don't you think the people here are very cordial, dawling?"

"Yes, they're too cordial for me altogether. Instead of talking about
the wonderful hit I have made as a president and calling attention to my
remarkable administration, they talk about the flour output and the
electric plant and other crops here, and allude feelingly to 'number one
hard' and chintz bugs and other flora and fauna of this country, which,
to be honest with you, I do not and never did give a damn for."


"Well, I beg your pardon, dear, and I oughtn't to speak that way before
you, but if you knew how much better I feel now you would not speak so
harshly to me. It is indeed hard to be ever gay and joyous before the
great masses who as a general thing, do not know enough to pound sand,
but who are still vested with the divine right of suffrage, and so must
be treated gently, and loved and smiled at till it makes me ache."

Mr. Cleveland was greatly annoyed by the publication of this
conversation, and could not understand it until this fall, when a
Minneapolis man told him that the pale, haughty coachman who drove the
presidential carriage was a reporter. He could handle a team with one
hand and remember things with the other.

And so I say that as a president we can not be too careful what we say.
I hope that the little boys and girls who read this, and who may
hereafter become presidents or wives of presidents, will bear this in
mind, and always have a kind word for one and all, whether they feel
that way or not.

But I started out to speak of porters and not reporters. I carry with
me, this year, a small, sorrel bag, weighing a little over twenty
ounces. It contains a slight bottle of horse medicine and a powder rag.
Sometimes it also contains a costly robe de nuit, when I do not forget
and leave said robe in a sleeping car or hotel. I am not overdrawing
this matter, however, when I say honestly that the shrill cry of fire at
night in most any hotel in the United States would now bring to the
fire-escape from one to six employes of said hotel wearing these costly
vestments with my brief but imperishable name engraven on the bosom.

This little traveling bag, which is not larger than a man's hand, is
rudely pulled out of my grasp as I enter an inn, and it has cost me $29
to get it back again from the porter. Besides, I have paid $8.35 for new
handles to replace those that have been torn off in frantic scuffles
between the porter and myself to see which would get away with it.

Yesterday I was talking with a reformed lecturer about this peculiarity
of the porters. He said he used to lecture a great deal at moderate
prices throughout the country, and after ten years of earnest toil he
was enabled to retire with a rich experience and $9 in money. He
lectured on phrenology and took his meals with the chairman of the
lecture committee. In Ouray, Colorado, the baggageman allowed his trunk
to fall from a great height, and so the lid was knocked off and the bust
which the professor used in his lecture was busted. He therefore had to
borrow a bald-headed man to act as bust for him in the evening. After
the close of the lecture the professor found that the bust had stolen
the gross receipts from his coat tail pocket while he was lecturing. The
only improbable feature about this story is the implication that a
bald-headed man would commit a crime.

But still he did not become soured. He pressed on and lectured to the
gentle janitors of the land in piercing tones. He was always kind to
every one, even when people criticised his lecture and went away before
he got through. He forgave them and paid his bills just the same as he
did when people liked him.

Once a newspaper man did him a great wrong by saying that "the lecture
was decayed, and that the professor would endear himself to every one
if some night at his hotel, instead of blowing out the gas and turning
off his brains as he usually did, he would just turn off the gas and
blow out his brains." But the professor did not go to the newspaper
man's office and shoot holes in his person. He spoke kindly to him
always, and once when the two met in a barber shop, and it was doubtful
which was "next," as they came in from opposite ends of the room, the
professor gently yielded the chair to the man who had done him the great
wrong, and while the barber was shaving him eleven tons of ceiling
peeled off and fell on the editor who had been so cruel and so rude, and
when they gathered up the debris, a day or two afterward, it was almost
impossible to tell which was ceiling and which was remains.

[Illustration: _He therefore had to borrow a bald-headed man to act as
bust for him in the evening_ (Page 194)]

So it is always best to deal gently with the erring, especially if you
think it will be fatal to them.

The reformed lecturer also spoke of a discovery he made, which I had
never heard of before. He began, during the closing years of his tour,
to notice mysterious marks on his trunk, made with chalk generally, and
so, during his leisure hours, he investigated them and their cause and
effect. He found that they were the symbols of the Independent Order of
Porters and Baggage Bursters. He discovered that it was a species of
language by which one porter informed the next, without the expense of
telegraphing, what style of man owned the trunk and the prospects for
"touching" him, as one might say.

The professor gave me a few of these signs from an old note-book,
together with his own interpretation after years of close study. I
reproduce them here, because I know they will interest the reader as
they did me.


This trunk, if handled gently and then carefully unstrapped in the
owner's room, so as to open comfortably without bursting the wall or
giving the owner vertigo, is good for a quarter.


This man is a good, kind-hearted man generally, but will sometimes
escape. Better not let him have his hand baggage till he puts up.


This trunk belongs to a woman who may possibly thank you if you handle
the baggage gently and will weep if you knock the lid off. Kind words
can never die. (N. B. Nyether can they procure groceries.)


This trunk belongs to a traveling man who weighs 211 pounds. If you have
no respect for the blamed old fire-proof safe itself, please respect it
for its gentle owner's sake. He can not bear to have his trunk harshly
treated, and he might so far forget himself as to kill you. It is better
to be alive and poor than it is to be wealthy and dead. It is better to
do a kind act for a fellow-being than it is to leave a desirable widow
for some one else to marry.


If you will knock the top off this trunk you will discover the clothing
of a mean man. In case you can not knock the lid entirely off, burst it
open a little so that the great, restless, seething traveling public can
see how many hotel napkins and towels and cakes of soap he has stolen.


This is the trunk of a young girl, and contains the poor but honest garb
she wore when she ran away from home. Also the gay clothes she bought
after a wicked ambition had poisoned her simple heart. They are the
gaudy garments and flashy trappings for which she exchanged her honest
laugh and her bright and beautiful youth. Handle gently the poor little
trunk, as you would touch her sad little history, for her father is in
the second-class coach, weeping softly into his coarse red handkerchief,
and she, herself, is going home on the same train in her cheap little
coffin in the baggage car to meet her sorrowing mother, who will go up
into the garret many rainy afternoons in the days to come, to cry over
this poor little trunk and no one will know about it. It will be a
secret known only to her sorrowing heart and to God.



Galilei, commonly called Galileo, was born at Pisa on the 14th day of
February, 1564. He was the man who discovered some of the fundamental
principles governing the movements, habits, and personal peculiarities
of the earth. He discovered things with marvelous fluency. Born as he
was, at a time when the rotary motion of the earth was still in its
infancy and astronomy was taught only in a crude way, Galileo started in
to make a few discoveries and advance some theories of which he was very

He was the son of a musician and learned to play several instruments
himself, but not in such a way as to arouse the jealousy of the great
musicians of his day. They came and heard him play a few selections, and
then they went home contented with their own music. Galileo played for
several years in a band at Pisa, and people who heard him said that his
manner of gazing out over the Pisan hills with a far-away look in his
eye after playing a selection, while he gently up-ended his alto horn
and worked the mud-valve as he poured out about a pint of moist melody
that had accumulated in the flues of the instrument, was simply grand.

At the age of twenty Galileo began to discover. His first discoveries
were, of course, clumsy and poorly made, but very soon he commenced to
turn out neat and durable discoveries that would stand for years.

It was at this time that he noticed the swinging of a lamp in a church,
and, observing that the oscillations were of equal duration, he inferred
that this principle might be utilized in the exact measurement of time.
From this little accident, years after, came the clock, one of the most
useful of man's dumb friends. And yet there are people who will read
this little incident and still hesitate about going to church.

[Illustration: _It was at this time that he noticed the swinging of a
lamp in a church, and observing that the oscillations were of equal
duration_ (Page 202)]

Galileo also invented the thermometer, the microscope and the
proportional compass. He seemed to invent things not for the money to be
obtained in that way, but solely for the joy of being first on the
ground. He was a man of infinite genius and perseverance. He was also
very fair in his treatment of other inventors. Though he did not
personally invent the rotary motion of the earth, he heartily indorsed
it and said it was a good thing. He also came out in a card in which he
said that he believed it to be a good thing, and that he hoped some day
to see it applied to the other planets.

He was also the inventor of a telescope that had a magnifying power of
thirty times. He presented this to the Venetian senate, and it was used
in making appropriations for river and harbor improvements.

By telescopic investigation Galileo discovered the presence of microbes
in the moon, but was unable to do anything for it. I have spoken of Mr.
Galileo, informally calling him by his first name, all the way through
this article, for I feel so thoroughly acquainted with him, though there
was such a striking difference in our ages, that I think I am justified
in using his given name while talking of him.

Galileo also sat up nights and visited with Venus through a long
telescope which he had made himself from an old bamboo fishing-rod.

But astronomy is a very enervating branch of science. Galileo frequently
came down to breakfast with red, heavy eyes, eyes that were swollen full
of unshed tears. Still he persevered. Day after day he worked and
toiled. Year after year he went on with his task till he had worked out
in his own mind the satellites of Jupiter and placed a small tin tag on
each one, so that he would know it readily when he saw it again. Then he
began to look up Saturn's rings and investigate the freckles on the sun.
He did not stop at trifles, but went bravely on till everybody came for
miles to look at him and get him to write something funny in their
autograph albums. It was not an unusual thing for Galileo to get up in
the morning, after a wearisome night with a fretful, new-born star, to
find his front yard full of albums. Some of them were little red albums
with floral decorations on them, while others were the large plush and
alligator albums of the affluent. Some were new and had the price-mark
still on them, while others were old, foundered albums, with a droop in
the back and little flecks of egg and gravy on the title-page. All came
with a request for Galileo "to write a little, witty, characteristic
sentiment in them."

Galileo was the author of the hydrostatic paradox and other sketches. He
was a great reader and a fluent penman. One time he was absent from
home, lecturing in Venice for the benefit of the United Aggregation of
Mutual Admirers, and did not return for two weeks, so that when he got
back he found the front room full of autograph albums. It is said that
he then demonstrated his great fluency and readiness as a thinker and
writer. He waded through the entire lot in two days with only two men
from West Pisa to assist him. Galileo came out of it fresh and youthful,
and all of the following night he was closeted with another inventor, a
wicker-covered microscope, and a bologna sausage. The investigations
were carried on for two weeks, after which Galileo went out to the
inebriate asylum and discovered some new styles of reptiles.

Galileo was the author of a little work called "I Discarsi e
Dimas-Trazioni Matematiche Intorus a Due Muove Scienze." It was a neat
little book, of about the medium height, and sold well on the trains,
for the Pisan newsboys on the cars were very affable, as they are now,
and when they came and leaned an armful of these books on a passenger's
leg and poured into his ear a long tale about the wonderful beauty of
the work, and then pulled in the name of the book from the rear of the
last car, where it had been hanging on behind, the passenger would most
always buy it and enough of the name to wrap it up in.

He also discovered the isochronism of the pendulum. He saw that the
pendulum at certain seasons of the year looked yellow under the eyes,
and that it drooped and did not enter into its work with the old zest.
He began to study the case with the aid of his new bamboo telescope and
a wicker-covered microscope. As a result, in ten days he had the
pendulum on its feet again.

Galileo was inclined to be liberal in his religious views, more
especially in the matter of the Scriptures, claiming that there were
passages in the Bible which did not literally mean what the translator
said they did. This was where Galileo missed it. So long as he
discovered stars and isochronisms and such things as that, he succeeded,
but when he began to fool with other people's religious beliefs he got
into trouble. He was forced to fly from Pisa, we are told by the
historian, and we are assured at the same time that Galileo, who had
always been far, far ahead of all competitors in other things, was
equally successful as a fleer.

Galileo received but sixty scudi per year as his salary while at Pisa,
and a part of that he took in town orders, worth only sixty cents on the



Every American youth has been told repeatedly by his parents and his
teachers that he must be a good boy and an exemplary young man in order
to become the president of the United States. There is nothing new in
this statement, and I do not print it because I regard it in the light
of a "scoop." But I desire to go a trifle further, and call the
attention of the American youth to the fact that he must begin at a much
earlier date to prepare himself for the presidency than has been
generally taught. He must not only acquire all the knowledge within
reach, and guard his moral character night and day through life, or at
least up to the time of his election, but he must be a self-made man,
and he should also use the utmost care and discretion in the selection
of his birthplace.

A boy may thoughtlessly select the wrong state, or even a foreign
country, as the site for his birthplace, and then the most exemplary
life will not avail him. But hardest of all, perhaps, for one who
aspires to the highest office within the gift of the people, is the
selection of a house in which to be born. For this reason I have
selected a few specimen birthplaces for the guidance of those who may be
ignorant of the points which should be possessed by a birthplace.

Take, for instance, the residence of Andrew Jackson. No one has ever
retained a stronger hold upon the tendrils of the Democratic heart than
Andrew Jackson. His name appears more frequently to-day in papers for
which he never subscribed than that of any other president who has
passed away.

Andrew Jackson was a poor boy, whose father was a farm laborer and died
before Andrew's birth, thus leaving the boy perfectly free to choose the
site of his birthplace.


He did not care much about books, but felt confident at the start that
he had chosen a good place to be born at, and therefore could not be
defeated in his race for the presidency. Here in this house A. Jackson
first saw the light, and here his excellency sent up his first
Democratic whoop. Here, on the back stoop, was where he was sent
sorrowing at night to wash his chapped feet with soft soap before his
mother would allow him to go to bed. Here Andrew turned the grindstone
in the shed, while a large, heavy neighbor got on and rode for an hour
or two. Here the future president sprouted potatoes in the dark and
noisome cellar, while other boys, who cared nothing for the presidency,
drowned out woodchucks and sucked eggs in open defiance of the pulpit
and press of the country.

[Illustration: _Here Andrew turned the grindstone in the shed, while a
large, heavy neighbor got on and rode for an hour or two_ (Page 210)]

And yet, what a quiet, peaceful, unostentatious home, with its little
windows opening out upon the snow in winter and upon bare ground in
summer. How peaceful it looks! Who would believe that up in the dark
corner of the gable end it harbors a large iron-gray hornets' nest with
brocaded hornets in it? And still it is so quiet that, on hot summer
afternoons, while the bees are buzzing around the petunias and the
regular breathing of the sandy-colored shoat in the back lot shows that
all nature is hushed and drugged into a deep and oppressive repose, the
old hen, lulled into a sense of false security, walks into the "setting
room," eats the seeds out of several everlasting flowers, samples a few
varnished acorns on an ornamental photograph frame in the corner, and
then goes out to the kitchen, where she steps into the dough that is set
behind the stove to raise.

Here in this quiet home, far from the enervating poussé café and carte
blanche, where he had pork rind tied on the outside of his neck for sore
throat, and where pepper, New Orleans molasses and vinegar, together
with other groceries calculated to discourage illness, were put inside,
he laid the foundation of his future greatness.

Later on, the fever of ambition came upon him, and he taught school
where the big girls snickered at him and the big boys went so far away
at noon that they couldn't hear the bell and were glad of it, and came
back an hour late with water in both ears and crawfish in their pockets.

After that he learned to be a saddler, fought in the Revolutionary War,
afterward writing it up for the papers in a graphic way, showing how it
happened that most everybody was killed but himself.

Here the reader is given an excellent view of the birthplace of
President Lincoln.


The artist has very wisely left out of the picture several people who
sought to hand themselves down to posterity by being photographed in
various careless attitudes in the foreground.

In this house Mr. Lincoln determined to establish for himself a
birthplace and to remain for eight years afterwards. In fancy, the
reader can see little Abraham running about the humble cot, preceded by
his pale, straw-colored Kentucky dog, or perhaps standing in "the
branch," with the soothing mud squirting gently up between his dimpled

Here a great heart first learned to beat in unison with all humanity.
Late one night, after the janitor had retired, he pulled the
latch-string of this humble place and asked if the proprietor objected
to children. Learning that he did not, the little emancipator deposited
on the desk a small parcel consisting of several rectangular cotton
garments done up in a shawl-strap, and asked for a room with a bath.


Our next illustration shows the birthplace of President Garfield. He was
born plainly at Orange, Cuyahoga county, Ohio. Here he spent his
childhood in preparing for the presidency, lying on his stomach for
hours by the light of a pine-knot, studying all about the tariff, and
ascertaining how many would remain if William had seven apples and gave
three to Henry and two to Jane. He soon afterward went to work on a
canal as boatswain of a mule. It was here he learned that profanity
could be carried to excess. He very early found that by coupling the
mule to the boat by the use of a cistern pole, instead of coming into
direct contact with the accursed yet buoyant end of the animal, he could
bring with him a better record to the class-meeting than otherwise. He
then taught school, and was beloved by all as a tutor. Many of his
pupils grew up to be ornaments to society, and said they had never seen
tuting that could equal that of their old tutor.

Mr. Garfield availed himself of the above birthplace on the 19th of
November, A. D. 1831. He then utilized it as a residence.

Here we are given a fine view of the birthplace of President Cleveland.
It is a plain structure, containing windows through which those who are
inside may look out, while those who are on the outside may readily look


Under this roof the idea first came to Mr. Cleveland that some day he
might fill the presidential chair to overflowing. If the reader will go
around to the door of the shed on the other side of the house, he will
see little Grover just coming out and wiping his mouth with the back of
his hand.

On the door of the barn can be seen the following legend, scratched on
its surface with a nail:

  "I druther be born lucky than blong to a nold Ristocratic fambly.

                                                             S. G. C."


Here we have an excellent view of Mr. Harrison's birthplace from the
main road. It hardly seems possible that a man who now lives in a large
house, with a spare room to it, gas in all parts of it, and wool carpets
on the floor, should have once lived in such a plain structure as this.
It shows that America is the place for the poor boy. Here he can rise to
a great height by his own powers. Little did Bennie think at one time
that people would some day come from all quarters of the United States
to see him and take him kindly by the hand and say that they were well
acquainted with his folks when they were poor.

These various birthplaces prove to us what style is best calculated for
a presidential candidate. They demonstrate that poverty is no drawback,
and that frequently it is a good stimulant for the right kind of a boy.
I once knew a poor boy whose clothes did not fit him very well when he
was little, and now that he is grown up it is the same way.

That poor boy was myself. But I can not close this research without
saying that the boys alone can not claim the glory in America. The girls
are entitled to recognition.


Permit me, therefore, to present the birthplace of Belva A. Lockwood. I
do not speak of it because I desire to treat the matter lightly, but to
call attention to little Belva's sagacity in selecting the same style of
birthplace as that chosen by other presidential candidates. She very
truly said in the course of a conversation with the writer: "My theory
as to the selection of a birthplace is, first be sure you are right and
then go ahead."

We should learn from all the above that a humble origin does not prevent
a successful career. Had Abraham Lincoln been wealthy, he would have
been taught, perhaps, a style of elocution and gesture that would have
taken first rate at a parlor entertainment, and yet he might never have
made his Gettysburg speech. While he was president he never looked at
his own hard hands and knotted knuckles that he was not reminded of his
toiling neighbors, whose honest sweat and loyal blood had made this
mighty republic a source of glory and not of shame forever.

So, in the future, whether it be a Grover, a Benjamin, or a Belva, may
the President of the United States be ever ready to remove the cotton
from his ears at the first cry of the oppressed and deserving poor.



Once when in New York I observed a middle-aged man remove his coat at
the corner of Fulton street and Broadway and wipe the shoulders thereof
with a large red handkerchief of the Thurman brand. There was a dash of
mud in his whiskers and a crick in his back. He had just sought to cross
Broadway, and the disappointed ambulance had gone up street to answer
another call. He was a plain man with a limited vocabulary, but he spoke
feelingly. I asked him if I could be of any service to him, and he said
No, not especially, unless I would be kind enough to go up under the
back of his vest and see if I could find the end of his suspender. I did
that and then held his coat for him while he got in it again. He
afterward walked down the east side of Broadway with me.

[Illustration: _A man that crosses Broadway for a year can be mayor of
Boston, but my idee is that he's a heap more likely to be mayor of New
Jerusalem_ (Page 220)]

"That's twice I've tried to git acrost to take the Cortlandt street
ferry boat sence one o'clock, and hed to give it up both times," he
said, after he had secured his breath.

"So you don't live in town?"

"No, sir, I don't, and there won't be anybody else livin' in town,
either, if they let them crazy teamsters run things. Look at my coat!
I've wiped the noses of seventy-nine single horses and eleven double
teams sence one o'clock, and my vitals is all a perfect jell. I bet if I
was hauled up right now to be postmortumed the rear breadths of my liver
would be a sight to behold."

"Why didn't you get a policeman to escort you across?"

"Why, condemb it, I did futher up the street, and when I left him the
policeman reckoned his collar-bone was broke. It's a blamed outrage, I
think. They say that a man that crosses Broadway for a year can be mayor
of Boston, but my idee is that he's a heap more likely to be mayor of
the New Jerusalem."

"Where do you live, anyway?"

"Well, I live near Pittsburg, P. A., where business is active enough to
suit 'most anybody, 'specially when a man tries to blow out a
natural-gast well, but we make our teamsters subservient to the
Constitution of the United States. We don't allow this Juggernaut
business the way you fellers do. There a man would drive clear round the
block ruther than to kill a child, say nuthin of a grown person. Here
the hubs and fellers of these big drays and trucks are mussed up all the
time with the fragments of your best people. Look at me. What
encouragement is there for a man to come here and trade? Folks that live
here tell me that they do most of their business by telephone in the
daytime, and then do their runnin' around at night, but I've got apast
that. Time was when I could run around nights and then mow all day, but
I can't do it now. People that leads a suddentary life, I s'pose,
demands excitement, and at night they will have their fun; but take a
man like me--he wants to transact his business in the daytime by word o'
mouth, and then go to bed. He don't want to go home at 3 o'clock with a
plug hat full of digestive organs that he never can possibly put back
just where they was before.

"No, I don't want to run down a big city like New York and nuther do I
want to be run down myself. They tell me I can go up town on this side
and take the boat so as to get to Jersey City that way, and I'm going to
do it ruther than to go home with a neck yoke run through me. Folks say
that Jurden is a hard road to travel, but I'm positive that a man would
get jerked up and fined for driving as fast there as they do on
Broadway; and then another thing, I s'pose there's a good deal less
traffic over the road."

He then went down Wall street to the Hanover Square station and I saw
him no more.



I once took quite a long railway trip into the South in search of my
health. I called my physicians together, and they decided by a rising
vote that I ought to go to a warmer clime, or I should enjoy very poor
health all winter. So I decided to go in search of my health, if I died
on the trail.

I bought tickets at Cincinnati of a pale, sallow liar, who is just
beginning to work his way up to the forty-ninth degree in the Order of
Ananias. He will surely be heard from again some day, as he has the
elements that go to make up a successful prevaricator.

He said that I could go through from Cincinnati to Asheville, North
Carolina, with only one easy change of cars, and in about twenty-three
hours. It took me twice that time, and I had to change cars three times
in the dead of night.

The southern railroad is not in a flourishing condition. It ought to go
somewhere for its health. Anyway, it ought to go somewhere, which at
present it does not. According to the old Latin proverb, I presume we
should say nothing but good of the dead, but I am here to say that the
railroad that knocked my spine loose last week, and compelled me to
carry lunch baskets and large Norman two-year-old gripsacks through the
gloaming, till my arms hung down to the ground, does not deserve to be
treated well, even after death.

I do not feel any antipathy toward the South, for I did not take any
part in the war, remaining in Canada during the whole time, and so I can
not now be accused of offensive partisanship. I have always avoided
anything that would look like a settled conviction in any of these
matters, retaining always a fair, unpartisan and neutral idiocy in
relation to all national affairs, so that I might be regarded as a good
civil service reformer, and perhaps at some time hold an office.

To further illustrate how fair-minded I am in these matters, I may say I
have patiently read all the war articles written by both sides, and I
have not tried to dodge the foot-notes or the marginal references, or
the war maps or the memoranda. I have read all these things until I
can't tell who was victorious, and if that is not a fair and impartial
way to look at the war, I don't know how to proceed in order to
eradicate my prejudices.

But a railroad is not a political or sectional matter, and it ought not
to be a local matter unless the train stays at one end of the line all
the time. This road, however, is the one that discharged its engineer
some years ago, and when he took his time-check he said he would now go
to work for a sure-enough road with real iron rails to it, instead of
two streaks of rust on a right of way.

All night long, except when we were changing cars, we rattled along over
wobbling trestles and third mortgages. The cars were graded from
third-class down. The road itself was not graded at all.

They have the same old air in these coaches that they started out with.
Different people, with various styles of breath, have used this air and
then returned it. They are using the same air that they did before the
war. It is not, strictly speaking, a national air. It is more of a
languid air, with dark circles around its eyes.

At one place where I had an engagement to change cars, we had a wait of
four hours, and I reclined on a hair-cloth lounge at the hotel, with the
intention of sleeping a part of the time.

Dear, patient reader, did you every try to ride a refractory hair-cloth
lounge all night, bare back? Did you ever get aboard a short,
old-fashioned, black, hair-cloth lounge, with a disposition to buck?

I was told that this was a kind, family lounge that would not shy or
make trouble anywhere, but I had only just closed my dark-red and
mournful eyes in sleep when this lounge gently humped itself, and shed
me as it would its smooth, dark hair in the spring, tra la.

The floor caught me in its great strong arms and I vaulted back upon the
polished bosom of the hair-cloth lounge. It was made for a man about
fifty-three inches in length, and so I had to sleep with my feet in my
pistol pockets and my nose in my bosom up to the second joint.

I got so that I could rise off the floor and climb on the lounge without
waking up. It grew to be second nature to me. I did it just as a man who
is hungry in his sleep bites off large fragments of the air and eats it
involuntarily and smacks his lips and snorts. So I arose and deposited
myself again and again on that old swayback but frolicsome wreck without
waking. But I couldn't get aboard softly enough to avoid waking the
lounge. It would yawn and rumble inside and rise and fall like the deep
rolling sea, till at last I gave up trying to sleep on it any more, and
curled up on the floor.

[Illustration: _I bought tickets at Cincinnati of a pale, sallow liar,
who is just beginning to work his way up to the forty-ninth degree in
the Order of Ananias_ (Page 222)]

The hair-cloth lounge, in various conditions of decrepitude, maybe found
all through this region. Its true inwardness is composed of spiral
springs which have gnawed through the cloth in many instances. These
springs have lost none of their old elasticity of spirits, and cordially
corkscrew themselves into the affections of the man who sits down on
them. If anything could make me thoroughly attached to the South it
would be one of these spiral springs bored into my person about a foot.
But that is the only way to remain on a hair-cloth chair or sofa. No man
ever successfully sat on one of them for any length of time unless he
had a strong pair of pantaloons and a spiral spring twisted into him for
some distance.

In private houses hair-cloth sofas may be found in a domesticated state,
with a pair of dark, reserved chairs, waiting for some one to come and
fall off them. In hotels they go in larger flocks, and graze together in
the parlor.



General Dado has been sharply criticised--roundly abused, even--for
making a claim against the Grant estate for alleged assistance in
preparing the "Memoirs" that have added to that estate some half-million
of dollars. The Philadelphia _Bulletin_ says:--"There is no mark of
contempt so strong that it ought not to be fixed on so shameless and
unblushing an ingrate." And it is this--the man's ingratitude--that most
offends. General Grant's unswerving loyalty to Dado, his zeal in giving
places to him so long as he had them to give, and in soliciting others
to give them when it was no longer in his own power to do so, was an
offense in the nostrils of most Americans. His intimacy with Dado was
one of the causes of Grant's being in bad odor, as it were, at a certain
period of his career; and the present unpleasantness is a part of the
penalty for taking such a man into his bosom. The claimant is getting
the worst of it, however, and we are tempted to overlook his ingratitude
for the sake of the following skit called forth by his appearance as a
thinker and clothier of thoughts.--_The Critic_.

There is something slightly pathetic in the delayed statement that some
of General Grant's best thoughts were supplied by General Adam Dado.
While it is a great credit to any man to do the meditating, pondering,
and word-painting necessary for a book which can attain such a sale as
Grant's "Memoirs," it shows a condition of affairs which every literary
man or woman must sadly deplore. Who of us is now safe?

While the warrior, as a warrior, has nothing to do but continue
victorious through life, he can not safely write a book for posterity.
Literature is at all times more or less hazardous under present
copyright regulations, but it becomes doubly so when our estates have to
reimburse some silent thinker who thought things for us while
amanuensing in our employ. Even though we may have told him not to think
thoughts for us, even though we asked him as a special favor to avoid
putting his own clothing on our poor, little, shivering, naked facts,
there is no law which can prevent his making that claim after we are

And how can a court of law or an intelligent jury judge such a matter? A
great man thinks a thought in the presence of two amanuenses, provided I
am right in spelling the plural in that way. He thinks a thought, I say,
surrounded by those two gentlemen and an improved typewriter. He gives
utterance to the thought and dies. One of the amanuensisters then states
to the jury that he thought it himself, and that his comrade clothed it.
The estate is then asked to pay so much per think for the thoughts and
so much at war prices for clothing the ideas. Who is able, unless it be
an intelligent jury, to arrive at the truth?

The first question to ask ourselves is this: Was General Grant in the
habit of calling in a thinker whenever he wanted anything done in that
line? He says distinctly in his letter that he was not. He could not do
it. It was impracticable. Supposing in the crash of battle and in the
moment of victory your short, hard thinker has his head shot off and it
falls in a pumpkin orchard, where there is naturally more or less delay
in identifying it, what can you do? Suppose that you were the president
of the United States, and your think-supply got snow-bound at Newark in
a vestibule train, and congress were waiting for you to veto a bill. You
could not think the thought in the first place, and even if you could
you would hate to send it to congress until it was properly clothed. I
am told that nothing shocks congress so much as the sudden appearance
"in its midst" of a naked and new-born thought.

But General Dado has the advantage over General Grant in one respect. He
can not be injured much. Otherwise the case is against him. But the
matter will be watched with careful interest by literary people
generally, and especially by soldiers and magazines with a war history.
It is a warning to those who think their thoughts in unguarded moments
while stenographers may be near to take them down and claim them
afterwards. It is also a warning to people who thoughtlessly expose
naked facts in the presence of word-painters and thought-clothiers, who
may decorate and outfit these children of the brain and charge it up to
the estate.

Is the time coming when general dealers in apparel and gents' furnishing
goods for the use of bare facts, and men who attend to the costuming,
draping, and swaddling of nude ideas, will compete so closely with each
other that, before a think has its eyes fairly open, one of these
gentlemen will slap a suit of clothes on it, with a Waterbury watch in
each pocket, and have a boy half way to the office with the bill?



Puget Sound is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful sheets of water in
the world. Its bosom is as unruffled as that of an angel who is opposed
to ruffles on general principles.

To say that real estate was once active at certain places on its shores
is just simply about as powerful as the remark made by the frontiersman
who came home from his haying one afternoon and found that the Indians
had burned up his buildings, massacred his wife, driven off his milch
cows and killed his children. He looked over the bloody scene and then
said to himself with great feeling; "This, it seems to me, is perfectly

I once drove about Seattle for two days with a real estate man, not
buying, but just riding and enjoying the scenery while we allowed
prices gently to advance and our whiskers to grow. Finally I asked him
if he knew of a real "snap," as Herbert Spencer would call it, within
the reach of a poor man. He said that there was a bargain out towards
Lake Washington, and if I wanted to see it we could go out there. I said
I should like to see it, for, if really desirable, I might buy some
outside property. We drove quite awhile through the primeval forest, and
after baiting our team and eating some lunch which we had with us, we
resumed our journey, scaring up a bear on the way, which I was assured,
however, was a tame bear. At last we tied the team, and, walking over
the ridge, we found a lot facing west, seventy-three feet front, which
could be had then at $1,500. I don't suppose you could get it at that
price now, for it is within a stone's throw of the power house and cable
running from the city to Lake Washington.

A friend of mine once told me how he lost a trade in Spokane Falls. He
had the refusal for a week of a twenty-four-foot business lot "at $500."
He thought and worried and prayed over it, and wrote home about it, and
finally decided to take it. On the last day of grace he counted up his
money and finding that he had just the amount, he went over to the
agent's office with it to close the trade.

"Have you the currency with you to make the trade all cash?" asked the

"Yes, sir, I have the whole $500 in currency," said my friend, drawing
himself up to his full height and putting his cigar back a little
further in his cheek.

"Five hundred dollars!" exclaimed the agent with a low, gurgling laugh;
"the lot is $500 per front foot. I didn't suppose you were Pan-American
ass enough to think you could get a business lot in Spokane for $500.
You can't get a load of sand for your children to play in at that rate."

Once as my train passed a little red depot I saw a young squaw leaning
up against the building, and crying. As we moved along I saw a plain
black coffin--a cheap affair of pine, daubed with walnut stain to make
it look still cheaper, I presume. I had never seen an Indian--even a
squaw--weeping before, and so the picture remained with me a long time,
and may for a long time yet to come.

I've never been a pronounced friend of the Indian, as those who know me
best will agree. I have claimed that though he was first to locate in
this country, he did not develop the lead or do assessment work even, so
the thing was open to re-location. The white man has gone on and found
mineral in many places, made a big output, and is still working day and
night shifts, while the Indian is shiftless day and night, so far as I
have observed.

But when we see the poor devils buying our coffins for their dead, even
though they may go very hungry for days afterwards, and, as they fade
away forever as a people, striving to conform to our customs and wear
suspenders and join in prayer, common humanity leads us to think
solemnly of their melancholy end.

On that trip I met with a medical and surgical curiosity while on the
cars. It consisted of a young man who was compelled to take his
nourishment through a rubber tube which led directly into his stomach
through his side. I had heard of something like it and in my extensive
medical library had read of cases resembling it, but not entirely the
same. The conductor, who had shown me a great many little courtesies
already, invited me into the baggage car, where he had the young man, in
order that I might see him.

The subject was a German about twenty years of age, of dark complexion
and phlegmatic temperament. He stood probably about five feet four
inches high in his stocking feet and did not attract me as a person of
prominence until the conductor informed me that he ate through the side
of his vest.

It seems that about two years ago the boy had some little gastric
disturbance resulting from eating a nocturnal watermelon or callow
cucumber. As I understand it, he, in an unguarded moment, called a
physician who aimed to be his own worst enemy, but who contrived to work
in the public on the same basis, using no favoritism whatever. He was a
doctor who has since gone into the gibbering industry in alcoholic

So it happened that on the day he was called to the bedside of this
plain, juvenile colic, the enemy he had taken into his mouth the evening
before had, as a matter of fact, rifled his pseudo-brains, and being
bitterly disappointed in them, had no doubt failed to return them.

Therefore "Doc," as he was affectionately called by the widowers
throughout the neighborhood, was entirely unfit to prescribe. He did so,
however, just the same. That kind of a doctor is generally willing to
rush in where angels fear to tread. He cheerfully prescribed for the
boy, and, in fact, filled the prescription himself. The principal
ingredient of this compound was carbolic acid. A man who can, by
mistake, administer carbolic acid and not even smell it, must do his
thinking by means of a sort of intellectual wart.

But he did it, anyhow.

So, after great suffering, the young fellow lost the use of his entire
esophagus, the lining coming off as a result of this liquid holocaust,
and then afterwards growing together again.

The parents now decided to change physicians. So after giving "Doc" a
cow and settling up with him, another physician was called in. He said
there was no way to reach the stomach but from the exterior, and,
although hazardous, it might save the patient's life. Speedy action must
be taken, however, as the young man was already getting up quite an

I can imagine Old Man Gastric waiting there patiently, day after day,
every little while looking at his watch, wondering, and singing:

  We are waiting, waiting, waiting,

Finally, as he sits near the cardial orifice, where the sign has been
recently put up,


a light bursts through the walls of his house and he hears voices.
Hastily throwing one of the coats of the stomach over his shoulders, he
springs to his feet just in time to catch about a nickel's worth of
warm beef tea down the back of his neck.

The patient now wears about two feet of inch hose, one end of which is
introduced into the upper and anterior lobe of the stomach. The other he
has embellished with a plain cork stopper. I asked him if he would join
me in a drink of water from the ice-cooler, and he said he would, under
the circumstances. He said that he had just taken one, but would not
mind taking one more with me. He then removed the stopper from his new
Goodyear esophagus, inserted a neat little tin funnel, with which he was
able to introduce the water. It gently settled down and disappeared in
his depths, and then, putting away the garden hose, he accepted a dollar
and gave me a history of the case as I have set it forth above, or
substantially so, at least.

I could not help thinking of him afterward. I tried to imagine him on
his way to Europe over a stormy sea; the surprise of his stomach when it
found itself frustrated and beaten at its own game, and all that. Then I
thought of him as the honored guest of some great corporation or club,
and at the banquet, when the president, in a few well-chosen words,
apparently born of the moment but really wearing trousers, says,
"Gentlemen, we have with us this evening," etc., etc.; and then rising,
all the members join in a toast to the guest. Touching his glass to
theirs, and then gracefully unreeling his garden hose, he takes from his
pocket the small funnel, and, gently sipping the generous wine through
his tin pharynx, he begins his well-digested response.

Nature did not do much for this poor lad, but science has stepped in and
made him a man of mark. He went to bed unknown. He awoke to find himself
noted. He went to sleep with ordinary tastes. He arose with no taste at
all. Thus, through the medical treatment of a typhoid idiot, for a
disease which was in no way malignant, or, as I might say, therapeutic,
he became a man of parts and stands next to the nobility of Europe, not
having to work.

Afterward, in Paris, I saw on the street a man who played the trombone
by means of a bullet-hole in his trachea, but I do not think it
elevated me and spurred me on to nobler endeavor and made a better man
of me, as did this simple-hearted young gentleman who made a living by
eating publicly through a tin horn, and who actually earned his bread by
eating it. I hope that the medical fraternity will make his case a study
and try to do better next time. That is the only moral I can think of in
connection with this story.



MY DEAR SON: I just came here to New York on business, and thought I
would write to you a few lines, as I have a little time that is not
taken up. I came here on a train from Chicago the other day. Before I
started, I got a lower berth in a sleeping car, but when I went to put
my sachel in it, before I left Chicago, there were two women and a
little girl there, and so I told the porter I would wait until they
moved before I put my baggage in the section, for of course I thought
they were just sitting there for a minute to rest.

Hours rolled by and they did not move. I kept on sitting in the
smoking-room, but they stayed. By and by the porter came and asked me if
I had "lower four." I said yes--I paid for it, but I couldn't really say
I had it in my possession. He then said that two ladies and a little
girl had "upper four," and asked if I would mind swapping with them. I
said that I would do so, for I didn't see how a whole family circle
could climb up into the upper berth and remain there, and I would rather
give them the lower one than spend the night picking up different
members of the family and replacing them in the home nest after they had
fallen out.

I had a bad cold, and though I knew that sleeping in the upper berth
would add to it, I did not murmur. But little did I realize that they
would hold the whole thing all of two days, and fill it full of broken
crackers and banana peels, and leave me to ride backward in the
smoking-room from Chicago to New York, after I had paid five dollars for
a seat and lower berth.

Woman is a poor, frail vessel, Henry, but she manages to arrive at her
destination all right. She buys an upper berth and then swaps it with an
old man for his lower berth, giving to boot a half-smothered sob and two
scalding tears. Then she says "Thank you," if she feels like it at the
end of the road, though these women did not. I have pneuemonia in its
early stages, but I have done a kind act, which I shall probably have
to do over again when I return.

If you ever become the parent of a daughter, Henry, and you like her
pretty well, I hope you will teach her to acknowledge a courtesy,
instead of looking upon the earth and the fullness thereof as a
partnership property, owned jointly by herself and the Lord.

A woman who has traveled a good deal is generally polite, and knows how
to treat her fellow passengers and the porter, but people who are making
their first or second trip, I notice, most generally betray the fact by
tramping all over the other passengers.

Another mistake, Henry, which I hope you will not make, is that of
taking very small children to travel. Children should remain at home
until they are at least two or three days old, otherwise they are
troublesome to their parents and also bother the other passengers. There
ought to be a law, too, that would prevent parents from taking larger
children who should be in the reform school. Some parents seem to think
that what their children do is funny, when, instead of humor, it is
really felony. It does not entirely set matters right, for instance,
when a child has torn off a gentleman's ear, merely to make the child
return it to the owner, for you can never put an ear back in its place
after it has been torn off and stepped on, in such a way as to make it
look the same as it did at first.

I heard a mother say on the train that her little boy never was quite
himself while traveling, because he wasn't well. She feared it was the
change in the water that made him sick. He had then drank a whole
ice-water tank empty, and was waiting impatiently till we got to
Pittsburg, so that he could drink out of the hydrant.

Queer people also ride on the elevated trains here in New York. It is a
singular experience to a stranger to ride on these cars. It made me ill
at first, but after awhile I got so mad that I forgot about it. For
instance, at places like Fourteenth street, and Twenty-third street, and
Park Place, there are generally several people who want to get aboard a
little before the passengers get off. Two or three times I was carried
by because the guards wouldn't enforce the rule, and I had a good deal
of trouble, till I took an old pair of Mexican spurs out of my trunk and
strapped them on my elbows. After that I could stroll along Broadway, or
get off a train when I got ready, and have some comfort.

The gates on the elevated trains get shet rather sudden
sometimes, and once they shet in a part of a man, I was
told, and left the rest of him on the outside, so that after a while he
fell off over the trestle, because there was more of him on the outside
than on the inside, and he didn't seem to balance somehow. It was rare
sport for the guards to watch the man scraping along the side of the
road and sweeping off the right of way.

One day, when I was on board, there was a crowd at one of the stations,
and an old man and a little girl tried to get on. She was looking out
for the old man, and seemed to kind of steer him on the platform. Just
as he stepped on the train, the guard shut the gate and left the little
girl outside. She looked so scart and pitiful, as the train left her,
that I'll never forget it to my dying day, and as we left the platform I
saw her wring her poor little hands, and I heard her cry, "Oh, mister,
let me go with him. My poor grandpa is blind."

Sure enough, the old man groped around almost crazy on that swaying
train, without knowing where he was, and feeling through the empty air
for the gentle hand of the little girl who had been left behind. Two or
three of us took care of the old man and got him off at the next
station, where we waited till she came; but it was the most touching
thing I ever saw outside of a book.

Another day the cars were full till you couldn't seem to get even an
umbrella into the aisle, I thought, but yet the guards told people to
step along lively, and encouraged them by prodding and pinching till
most everybody was fighting mad.

Then a pale girl, with a bundle of sewing in her hand, and a hollow
cough that made everybody look that way, got into the aisle. She could
just barely get hold of the strap, and that was all. She wore a poor,
black cotton jersey, and when she reached up so high, the jersey part
would not stay where it belonged, and at the waist seemed to throw off
all responsibility. She realized it, and bit her lips, and two red spots
came on her pale face, and the tears came into her eyes, but she
couldn't let go of her bundle, and she couldn't let go of the strap, for
already the train threw her against a soiled man on one side and a tough
on the other. It was pitiful enough, so that men who had their seats
began to read advertisements and other things with their papers wrong
side up, in order to seem thoroughly engrossed in their business.

But two pretty young men, with real good clothes, and white, soft hands,
had a great deal of fun over it, and every time the train would lurch
and throw the poor girl's jersey a little more out of plumb, they would
jab each other in the ribs, and laugh very hearty. I felt sorry that I
wasn't young again, so that I could go over there and kick both of
them. Henry, if I thought you would do a thing like that, or allow it
done on the same block where you happened to be, I would give my estate
to a charitable object, and refuse to recognize you in Paradise.

Just then an oldish man of a chunky build, and with an eye as black as
the driven tomcat, reached through the crowded aisle with his umbrella
and touched the girl. She looked around, and he told her to come and
take his seat. As she squeezed through, and he rose to seat her, a large
man with black whiskers gently dropped into the vacant seat with a sigh
of relief, and began to read a two-year-old paper with much earnestness,
just as if he hadn't noticed the whole performance. The stout man was
thunderstruck. He said:

"Excuse me, sir; I didn't leave my seat."

"Yes, you did," says the black-whiskered pachyderm. "You can't expect to
keep a seat here and leave it too."

"Well, but I rose to put this young lady in it, and I must ask you to be
kind enough to let her have it."

"Excuse me," said the microbe, with a little chuckle of cussedness,
"you will have to take your chances, and wait for a vacant seat, same as
I did."

That was all the conversation there was, but just then the short fat man
ran his thumb down inside the shirt collar of the yellow fever germ, and
jerked him so high that I could see the nails on the bottoms of his
boots. Then, with the other hand, he socked the young lady into his
seat, and took hold of a strap, where he hung on white and mad, but

After that there was a loud hurrah, and general enthusiasm and hand
clapping, and cries of "Good!" "Good!" and in the midst of it the
sporadic hog and the two refined young men got off the train.

As the black and white Poland swine went out the door I noticed that
there was blood on the back of his neck, and later on I saw the short,
stout old gentleman remove a large mole or birthmark, which he really
had no use for, from under his thumb nail.

On a Harlem train, as they call it, I saw a drunken young man in one of
the seats yesterday. He wasn't noisy, but he felt pretty fair. Next to
him was a real good young man, who seemed to feel his superiority a
great deal. Very soon the car got jammed full, and an old lady, poorly
dressed, but a mighty good, motherly old woman, I'll bet a hundred
dollars, got in. Her husband asked the good young man if he would kindly
give his wife a seat. He did not apparently hear at all, but got all
wrapped up in his paper, just as every man in a car does when he is
ashamed of himself. But the inebriated young man heard, and so he said:

"Here, mister, take my seat for the old lady; any seat is good enough
for me." Whereupon he sat down in the lap of the good young man, and so
remained till he got to his station.

This is a good town to study human nature in, Henry, and you would do
well to come here before your vacation is over, just to see what kind of
people the Lord allows to encumber the earth. It will show you how many
human brutes there are loose in the world who don't try any longer to
appear decent when they think their identity is swallowed up in the
multitude of a great city. There are just as selfish folks in the
smaller towns, but they are afraid to give themselves up to it, because
somebody in the crowd would be sure to recognize them. Here a man has
the advantage of a perpetual _nom de plume_, and he is tempted to see
how pusillanimous he can be even when he is just here on a visit. I'm
going home next week, before I completely wreck my immortal soul.

I left your mother pretty comfortable at home, but I haven't heard from
her since I left.

                                Your father,

                                                             BILL NYE.



Little did B. Franklin wot when he baited his pin hook with a good
conductor and tapped the low browed and bellowing storm nimbus with his
buoyant kite, thus crudely acquiring a pickle jar of electricity, that
the little start he then made would be the egg from which inventors and
scientists would hatch out the system which now not only encircles the
globe with messages swifter than the flight of Phoebus, but that anon
the light of day would be filtered through a cloud of cables loaded with
destruction sufficient for a whole army, and the air be filled with
death-dealing, dangling wires.

Little did he know that he was bottling an agent which has since pulled
out the stopper with its teeth and grown till it overspreads the sky,
planting its bare, bleak telegraph poles along every highway, carrying
day messages by night and night messages when it gets ready, filling the
air with its rusty wings--provided, of course, that such agents wear
wings--and with the harsh, metallic, ghoulish laughter of the
signal-key, all the while resting one foot on the neck of the sender and
one on the neck of the recipient, defying aggregated humanity to do its
worst, and commanding all civilization, in terse, well-chosen terms, to
either fish, cut bait or go ashore.

Could Benjamin have known all this at the time, possibly he might have
considered it wisdom to go in when it rained.

I am not an old fogy, though I may have that appearance, and I rejoice
to see the world move on. One by one I have laid aside my own
encumbering prejudices in order to keep up with the procession. Have I
not gradually adopted everything that would in any way enhance my
opportunities for advancement, even through tedious evolution, from the
paper collar up to the finger bowl, eyether, and nyether?

This should convince the reader that I am not seeking to clog the
wheels of progress. I simply look with apprehension upon any great
centralization of wealth or power in the hands of any one man who not
only does as he pleases with said wealth and power, but who, as I am
informed, does not read my timely suggestions as to how he shall use

To return, however, to the subject of electricity. I have recently
sought to fathom the style and _motif_ of a new system which is to be
introduced into private residences, hotels, and police headquarters. In
private houses it will be used as a burglar's welcome. In hotels it will
take the mental strain off the bell-boy, relieving him also of a portion
of his burdensome salary at the same time. In the police department it
will do almost everything but eat peanuts from the corner stands.

I saw this system on exhibition in a large room, with the signals or
boxes on one side and the annunciator or central station on the other.
By walking from one to the other, a distance in all of thirty or forty
miles, I was enabled to get a slight idea of the principle.

[Illustration: In hotels it will take the mental strain off the
bell-boy, relieving him also of a portion of his burdensome salary at
the same time (Page 256)]

It is certainly a very intelligent system. I never felt my own
inferiority any more than I did in the presence of this wonderful
invention. It is able to do nearly anything, it seems to me, and the
main drawback appears to be its great versatility, on account of which
it is so complex that in order to become at all intimate with it a
policeman ought to put in two years at Yale and at least a year at
Leipsic. An extended course of study would perfect him in this line, but
he would not then be content to act as a policeman. He would aspire to
be a scientist, with dandruff on his coat collar and a far-away look in
his eye.

Then, again, take the hotel scheme, for instance. We go to a dial which
is marked Room 32. There we find that by treating it in a certain way it
will announce to the clerk that Room 32 wants a fire, ice-water, pens,
ink, paper, lemons, towels, fire-escape, Milwaukee Sec, pillow-shams, a
copy of this book, menu, croton frappé, carriage, laundry, physician,
sleeping-car ticket, berth-mark for same, Halford sauce, hot flat-iron
for ironing trousers, baggage, blotter, tidy for chair, or any of those
things. In fact, I have not given half the list on this barometer
because I could not remember them, though I may have added others which
are not there. The message arrives at the office, but the clerk is
engaged in conversation with a lady. He does not jump when the alarm
sounds, but continues the dialogue. Another guest wires the office that
he would like a copy of the _Congressional Record_. The message is filed
away automatically, and the thrilling conversation goes on. Then No.
7-5/8 asks to have his mail sent up. No. 25 wants to know what time the
'bus leaves the house for the train going East, and whether that train
will connect at Alliance, Ohio, with a tide-water train for Cleveland in
time to catch the Lake Shore train which will bring him into New York at
7:30, and whether all those trains are reported on time or not, and if
not will the office kindly state why? Other guests also manifest morbid
curiosity through their transmitters, but the clerk does not get
excited, for he knows that all these remarks are filed away in the large
black walnut box at the back of the office. When he gets ready,
provided he has been through a course of study in this brand of
business, he takes one room at a time, and addressing a pale young
"Banister Polisher" by the name of "Front," he begins to scatter to
their destinations, baggage, towels, morning papers, time-tables, etc.,
all over the house.

It is also supposed to be a great time-saver. For instance, No. 8 wants
to know the correct time. He moves an indicator around like the
combination on a safe, reads a few pages of instructions, and then
pushes a button, perhaps. Instead of ringing for a boy and having to
wait some time for him, then asking him to obtain the correct time at
the office and come back with the information, conversing with various
people on his way and expecting compensation for it, the guest can ask
the office and receive the answer without getting out of bed. You leave
a call for a certain hour, and at that time your own private gong will
make it so disagreeable for you that you will be glad to rise. Again, if
you wish to know the amount of your bill, you go through certain
exercises with the large barometer in your room; and, supposing you have
been at the house two days and have had a fire in your room three times,
and your bill is therefore $132.18, the answer will come back and be
announced on your gong as follows: _One_, pause, _three_, pause, _two_,
pause, _one_, pause, _eight_. When there is a cipher in the amount I do
not know what the method is, but by using due care in making up the bill
this need not occur.

For police and fire purposes the system shows a wonderful degree of
intelligence, not only as a speedy means of conveying calls for the fire
department, health department, department of street cleaning, department
of interior and good of the order, but it furnishes also a method of
transmitting emergency calls, so that no citizen--no matter how poor or
unknown--need go without an emergency. The citizen has only to turn the
crank of the little iron marten-house till the gong ceases to ring, then
push on the "Citizens' button," and he can have fun with most any
emergency he likes. Should he decide, however, to shrink from the
emergency before it arrives, he can go away from there, or secrete
himself and watch the surprise of the ambulance driver or the fire
department when no mangled remains or forked fire fiend is found in that

This system is also supposed to keep its eye peeled for policemen and
inform the central station where each patrolman is all the time; also as
to his temperature, pulse, perspiration and breath. It keeps a record of
this at the main office on a ticker of its own, and the information may
be published in the society columns of the papers in the morning. It
enables a citizen to use his own discretion about sounding an alarm. He
has only to be a citizen. He need not be a tax-payer or a vox populi.
Should he be a citizen, or declare his intention to become such, or even
though he be a voter only, without any notion of ever being a citizen,
he can help himself to the fire department or anything else by ringing
up the central station.

Electricity and spiritualism have arrived at that stage of perfection
where a coil of copper wire and a can of credulity will accomplish a
great deal. The time is coming when even more surprising wonders will be
worked, and with electric wires, the rapid transit trains, and the
English sparrows all under the ground, the dawn of a better and brighter
day will be ushered in. The car-driver and the truck-man will then lie
down together, Boston will not rise up against London, he that
heretofore slag shall go forth no more for to slug, and the czar will
put aside his tailor-made boiler-iron underwear and fearlessly canvass
the nihilist wards in the interest of George Kennan and reform, nit.


       *       *       *       *       *


  James Whitcomb Riley



  "Chelifer" in "The Bookery."--Godey's Magazine.

There are writers that take Pegasus on giddier flights of fancy, and
writers that sit him more grandly, and writers that put him through
daintier paces, and writers that burden him with anguish nearer that of
the dread Rider of the White Horse, and there are writers that make him
a very bucking broncho of wit, but there is no one that turns Pegasus
into just such an ambling nag of lazy peace and pastoral content as
James--I had almost said Joshua Whitcomb--Riley. If you want a panacea
for the bitterness and the fret and the snobbishness and pretension and
unsympathy and the commercial ambition and worry and the other cankers
that gnaw and gnaw the soul, just throw a leg over the back of Riley's
Pegasus, "perfectly safe for family driving," let the reins hang loose
as you sag limply in your saddle, and gaze through drowsy eyes while the
amiable old beast jogs down lanes blissful with rural quietude, through
farmyards full of picturesque rustics and through the streets of quaint
villages. Then utter rest and a peace akin to bliss will possess your

To make readers content with life and glad to live is one of the most
dazzlingly magnificent deeds in the power of an artist. This is too
little appreciated in the melodramatic theatricism of our life. This
genius for soothing the reader with a pathos that is not anguish and a
humor that is not cynicism, this genius belongs to Mr. Riley in a
degree I have found in no other writer in all literature.

Of course, Mr. Riley is essentially a lyric poet. But his spirit is that
of Walt Whitman; he speaks the universal democracy, the equality of man,
the hatred of assumption and snobbery, that our republic stands for, if
it stands for anything. Now downright didacticism in a poet is an
abomination. But if a poet has no right to ponder the meanings of
things, the feelings of man for man and the higher "criticism of life,"
then no one has. If to Pope's "The proper study of mankind is man," you
add "nature" and "nature's God," you will fairly well outline the poet's

Mere art (Heaven save the "mere"!) is not, and has never been, enough to
place a poet among the great spirits of the world. It has furnished a
number of nimble mandolinists and exquisite dilettants
for lazy moods. But great poetry must always be something more than
sweetmeats; it must be food--temptingly cooked, winningly served, well
spiced and well accompanied, but yet food to strengthen the blood and
the sinews of the soul.

Therefore I make so bold as to insist that even in a lyrist there should
be something more than the prosperity or the dirge of personal _amours_:
there should be a sympathy with the world-joy, the world-suffering, and
the world-kinship. It is this attitude toward lyric poetry that makes me
think Mr. Riley a poet whose exquisite art is lavished on humanity so
deep-sounding as to commend him to the acceptance of immortality among
the highest lyrists.

Horace was an acute thinker and a frank speaker on the problems of life.
This didacticism seems not to have harmed his artistic welfare, for he
has undoubtedly been the most popular poet that ever wrote. Consider the
magnitude and the enthusiasm of his audience! He has been the personal
chum of everyone that ever read Latinity. But Horace, when not exalted
with his inspired preachments on the art of life and the arts of poetry
and love, was a bitter cynic redeemed by great self-depreciation and
joviality. The son of a slave, he was too fond of court life to talk

Bobby Burns was a thorough child of the people, and is more like Mr.
Riley in every way than any other poet. Yet he, too, had a vicious
cynicism, and he never had the polished art that enriches some of Mr.
Riley's non-dialectic poetry, as in parts of his fairy fancy, "The
Flying Islands of the Night."

Burns never had the versatility of sympathy that enables Mr. Riley to
write such unpastoral masterpieces as "Anselmo," "The Dead Lover," "A
Scrawl," "The Home-going," some of his sonnets, and the noble verses

  "A monument for the soldiers!
  And what will ye build it of?"

Yet it must be owned that Burns is in general Mr. Riley's prototype. Mr.
Riley admits it himself in his charming verses "To Robert Burns."

  "Sweet singer, that I lo'e the maist
  O' ony, sin' wi' eager haste
  I smacket bairn lips ower the taste
  O' hinnied sang."

The classic pastoral poets, Theokritos, Vergandil, the others, sang with
an exquisite art, indeed, yet their farm-folk were really Dresden-china
shepherds and shepherdesses speaking with affected simplicity or with
impossible elegance. Theokritos, like Burns and Riley, wrote partly in
dialect and partly in the standard speech, and to those who are never
reconciled to anything that can quote no "authority," there should be
sufficient justification for dialect poetry in this divine Sicilian
musician of whom his own Goatherd might have said:

  "Full of fine honey thy beautiful mouth was, Thyrsis, created
  Full of the honeycomb; figs Ægilean, too, mayest thou nibble,
  Sweet as they are; for ev'n than the locust more bravely thou singest."

I have no room to argue the _pro's_ of dialect here, but it always seems
strange that those lazy critics who are unwilling to take the trouble to
translate the occasional hard words in a dialect form of their own
tongue, should be so inconsistent as ever to study a foreign language.
Then, too, dialect is necessary to truth, to local color, to intimacy
with the character depicted. Besides, it is delicious. There is
something mellow and soul-warming about a plebeian metathesis like
"congergation." What orthoepy could replace lines like these?:

  "Worter, shade and all so mixed, don't know which you'd orter
  Say, th' _worter_ in the shadder--_shadder_ in the _worter_!"

One thing about Mr. Riley's dialect that may puzzle those not familiar
with the living speech of the Hoosiers, is his spelling, which is
chiefly done as if by the illiterate speaker himself. Thus
"rostneer-time" and "ornry" must be Æolic Greek to those barbarians who
have never heard of "roasting-ears" of corn or of that contemptuous
synonym for "vulgar," "common," which is smoothly elided,
"or(di)n(a)ry." Both of these words could be spelled with a suggestive
and helpful use of apostrophes: "roast'n'-ear," and or'n'ry.

Jumbles like "jevver" for "did you ever?" and the like can hardly be
spelled otherwise than phonetically, but a glossary should be appended
as in Lowell's "Biglow Papers," for the poems are eminently worth even
lexicon-thumbing. Another frequent fault of dialect writers is the
spelling phonetically of words pronounced everywhere alike. Thus
"enough" is spelled "enuff," and "clamor," "clammer," though Dr. Johnson
himself would never have pronounced them otherwise. In these
misspellings, however, Mr. Riley excuses himself by impersonating an
illiterate as well as a crude-speaking poet. But even then he is
inconsistent, and "hollowing" becomes "hollerin'," with an apostrophe to
mark the lost "g"--that abominable imported harshness that ought to be
generally exiled from our none too smooth language. Mr. Riley has
written a good essay in defense of dialect, which enemies of this form
of literature might read with advantage.

But Mr. Riley has written a deal of most excellent verse that is not in
dialect. One whole volume is devoted to a fairy extravaganza called "The
Flying Islands of the Night," a good addition to that quaint literature
of lace to which "The Midsummer Night's Dream," Herrick's "Oberon's
Epithalamium," or whatever it is called, Drake's "Culprit Fay," and
other bits of most exquisite foolery belong. While hardly a complete
success, this diminutive drama contains some curiously delightful
conceits like this "improvisation:"

  "Her face--her brow--her hair unfurled!--
  And O the oval chin below,
  Carved, like a cunning cameo,
  With one exquisite dimple, swirled
  With swimming shine and shade, and whirled
  The daintiest vortex poets know--
  The sweetest whirlpool ever twirled
  By Cupid's finger-tip--and so,
  The deadliest maelstrom in the world!"

It is a strange individuality that Mr. Riley has, suggesting numerous
other masters--whose influence he acknowledges in special odes--and yet
all digested and assimilated into a marked individuality of his own. He
has studied the English poets profoundly and improved himself upon them,
till one is chiefly impressed, in his non-dialectic verse, with his
refinement, subtlety, and ease. He has a large vocabulary, and his
felicity is at times startling. Thus he speaks of water "chuckling,"
which is as good as Horace's ripples that "gnaw" the shore. Note the
mastery of such lines as

  "And the dust of the road is like velvet."

  "Nothin' but green woods and clear
  Skies and unwrit poetry
  By the acre!"

  "Then God smiled and it was morning!"

  Life is "A poor pale yesterday of Death."

          "And O I wanted so
           To be felt sorry for!"

  "Always suddenly they are gone,
  The friends we trusted and held secure."

               "At utter loaf."

           "Knee-deep in June."

--But I can not go on quoting forever.

Technically, Mr. Riley is a master of surpassing finish. His meters are
perfect and varied. They flow as smoothly as his own Indiana streams.
His rimes are almost never imperfect. To prove his own understanding he
has written one _scherzo_ in technic that is a delightful example of bad
rime, bad meter, and the other earmarks of the poor poet. It is "Ezra
House," and begins:

  "Come listen, good people, while a story I do tell
  Of the sad fate of one I knew so passing well!"

The "do" and the "so" are the unfailing index of crudity. Then we have
rimes like "long" and "along" (it is curious that modern English is the
only tongue that finds this repetition objectionable); "moon" and
"tomb," "well" and "hill," and "said" and "denied" are others, and the
whole thing is an enchanting lesson in How Poetry Should Not be Written.

Mr. Riley is fond of dividing words at the ends of lines, but always in
a comic way, though Horace, you remember, was not unwilling to use it
seriously, as in his

  Xorius amnis."

Mr. Riley's animadversions on "Addeliney Bowersox" constitute a
fascinating study in this effect. He is also devoted to dividing an
adjective from its noun by a line-end. This is a trick of Poe's, whose
influence Mr. Riley has greatly profited by. In his dialect poetry Mr.
Riley gets just the effect of the jerky drawl of the Hoosier by using
the end of a line as a knife, thus:

          "The wood's
  Green again, and sun feels good's

His masterly use of the cæsura is notable, too. See its charming
despotism in "Griggsby Station."

But it is not his technic that makes him ambrosial, not the loving care
_ad unguem_ that smooths the uncouthest dialect into lilting tunefulness
without depriving it of its colloquial verisimilitude--it is none of
these things of mechanical inspiration, but the spirit of the man, his
democracy, his tenderness, the health and wealth of his sympathies. If
he uses "memory" a little too often as a vehicle for his rural pictures,
the utter charm of the pictures is atonement enough. He has caught the
real American. He is the laureate of the bliss of laziness. His child
poems are the next best thing to the child itself; they have all the
infectious essence of gayety, and all the _naïveté_, and all the
knife-like appeal. It could not reasonably be demanded that his prose
should equal the perfection of his verse, but nothing more eerie has
ever been done than the little story, "Where is Mary Alice Smith?" with
its strange use of rime at the end.

Of all dialect writers he has been the most versatile. Think of the
author of "The Raggedy Man" or "Orphant Annie" writing one of the finest
sonnets in the language! this one which I must quote here as a noble
ending to my halt praise:

  "Being his mother, when he goes away
    I would not hold him overlong, and so
    Sometimes my yielding sight of him grows O
  So quick of tears, I joy he did not stay
  To catch the faintest rumor of them! Nay,
    Leave always his eyes clear and glad, although
    Mine own, dear Lord, do fill to overflow;

  "Let his remembered features, as I pray,
  Smile ever on me. Ah! what stress of love
    Thou givest me to guard with Thee thiswise:
    Its fullest speech ever to be denied
  Mine own--being his mother! All thereof
    Thou knowest only, looking from the skies
    As when not Christ alone was crucified."

Life is the more tolerable, the more full of learned sympathy, and
thereby of joy and value, for the very existence of such a man.

       *       *       *       *       *


A CHILD WORLD. (NEW.) Tales in verse of childhood days. Cloth, 12mo,
$1.25. Half calf, $2.50. Hand-made Paper edition, bound uniform with
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NEGHBORLY POEMS, including "The Old Swimmin' Hole," by Benjamin F.
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SKETCHES IN PROSE, and Occasional Verses. Cloth, $1.25. Half calf,

AFTERWHILES. Sixtieth thousand. With Portrait. Cloth, $1.25. Half calf,

PIPES O' PAN AT ZEKESBURY. Five Sketches and fifty Poems. Cloth, $1.25.
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RHYMES OF CHILDHOOD. Dialect and other Verses. With Portrait. Cloth,
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THE FLYING ISLANDS OF THE NIGHT. A Fantastic Drama in Verse. Cloth,
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