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Title: Nye and Riley's Wit and Humor (Poems and Yarns)
Author: Riley, James Whitcomb, 1849-1916, Nye, Bill, 1850-1896
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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   [Illustration]

   NYE AND RILEY'S

   Wit and Humor

   (Poems and Yarns)


   BY

   JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY & BILL NYE


   Illustrated

   BY BARON DE GRIMM, E. ZIMMERMAN,
   WALT McDOUGALL, AND OTHERS


   THOMPSON & THOMAS,
   CHICAGO.


   COPYRIGHT 1900,
   BY
   THOMPSON & THOMAS.


   COPYRIGHT 1905,
   BY
   THOMPSON & THOMAS.



Biographical

Edgar Wilson Nye was whole-souled, big-hearted and genial. Those who
knew him lost sight of the humorist in the wholesome friend.

He was born August 25, 1850, in Shirley, Piscataquis County, Maine.
Poverty of resources drove the family to St. Croix Valley, Wisconsin,
where they hoped to be able to live under conditions less severe. After
receiving a meager schooling, he entered a lawyer's office, where most
of his work consisted in sweeping the office and running errands. In his
idle moments the lawyer's library was at his service. Of this crude and
desultory reading he afterward wrote:

"I could read the same passage to-day that I did yesterday and it would
seem as fresh at the second reading as it did at the first. On the
following day I could read it again and it would seem as new and
mysterious as it did on the preceding day."

At the age of twenty-five, he was teaching a district school in Polk
County, Wisconsin, at thirty dollars a month. In 1877 he was justice of
the peace in Laramie. Of that experience he wrote:

"It was really pathetic to see the poor little miserable booth where I
sat and waited with numb fingers for business. But I did not see the
pathos which clung to every cobweb and darkened the rattling casement.
Possibly I did not know enough. I forgot to say the office was not a
salaried one, but solely dependent upon fees. So while I was called
Judge Nye and frequently mentioned in the papers with consideration, I
was out of coal half the time, and once could not mail my letters for
three weeks because I did not have the necessary postage."

He wrote some letters to the Cheyenne _Sun_, and soon made such a
reputation for himself that he was able to obtain a position on the
Laramie _Sentinel_. Of this experience he wrote:

"The salary was small, but the latitude was great, and I was permitted
to write anything that I thought would please the people, whether it was
news or not. By and by I had won every heart by my patient poverty and
my delightful parsimony with regard to facts. With a hectic imagination
and an order on a restaurant which advertised in the paper I scarcely
cared through the livelong day whether school kept or not."

Of the proprietor of the _Sentinel_ he wrote:

"I don't know whether he got into the penitentiary or the Greenback
party. At any rate, he was the wickedest man in Wyoming. Still, he was
warmhearted and generous to a fault. He was more generous to a fault
than to anything else--more especially his own faults. He gave me twelve
dollars a week to edit the paper--local, telegraph, selections,
religious, sporting, political, fashions, and obituary. He said twelve
dollars was too much, but if I would jerk the press occasionally and
take care of his children he would try to stand it. You can't mix
politics and measles. I saw that I would have to draw the line at
measles. So one day I drew my princely salary and quit, having acquired
a style of fearless and independent journalism which I still retain. I
can write up things that never occurred with a masterly and graphic
hand. Then, if they occur, I am grateful; if not, I bow to the
inevitable and smother my chagrin."

In the midst of a wrangle in politics he was appointed Postmaster of his
town and his letter of acceptance, addressed to the Postmaster-General
at Washington, was the first of his writings to attract national
attention.

He said that in his opinion, his being selected for the office was a
triumph of eternal right over error and wrong. "It is one of the epochs,
I may say, in the nation's onward march toward political purity and
perfection," he wrote. "I don't know when I have noticed any stride in
the affairs of State which has so thoroughly impressed me with its
wisdom."

Shortly after he became postmaster he started the _Boomerang_. The first
office of the paper was over a livery stable, and Nye put up a sign
instructing callers to "twist the tail of the gray mule and take the
elevator."

He at once became famous, and was soon brought to New York, at a salary
that seemed fabulous to him. His place among the humorists of the world
was thenceforth assured.

He died February 22, 1896, at his home in North Carolina, surrounded by
his family.

James Whitcomb Riley, the Hoosier poet, was for many years a close
personal friend of the dead humorist. When informed of Nye's death, he
said:

"Especially favored, as for years I have been, with close personal
acquaintance and association with Mr. Nye, his going away fills me with
selfishness of grief that finds a mute rebuke in my every memory of
him. He was unselfish wholly, and I am broken-hearted, recalling the
always patient strength and gentleness of this true man, the unfailing
hope and cheer and faith of his child-heart, his noble and heroic life,
and pure devotion to his home, his deep affections, constant dreams,
plans, and realizations. I cannot doubt but that somehow, somewhere, he
continues cheerily on in the unspoken exercise of these same
capacities."

Mr. Riley recently wrote the following sonnet:

     O William, in thy blithe companionship
       What liberty is mine--what sweet release
       From clamorous strife, and yet what boisterous peace!
     Ho! ho! It is thy fancy's finger-tip
     That dints the dimple now, and kinks the lip
       That scarce may sing in all this glad increase
       Of merriment! So, pray thee, do not cease
     To cheer me thus, for underneath the quip
     Of thy droll sorcery the wrangling fret
       Of all distress is still. No syllable
     Of sorrow vexeth me, no tear drops wet
       My teeming lids, save those that leap to tell
     Thee thou'st a guest that overweepeth yet
       Only because thou jokest overwell.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: Why it was done.]


What this country needs, aside from a new Indian policy and a style of
poison for children which will be liable to kill rats if they eat it by
accident, is a Railway Guide which will be just as good two years ago as
it was next spring--a Railway Guide, if you please, which shall not be
cursed by a plethora of facts, or poisoned with information--a Railway
Guide that shall be rich with doubts and lighted up with miserable
apprehensions. In other Railway Guides, pleasing fancy, poesy and
literary beauty, have been throttled at the very threshold of success,
by a wild incontinence of facts, figures, asterisks and references to
meal stations. For this reason a guide has been built at our own shops
and on a new plan. It is the literary _piece de resistance_ of the age
in which we live. It will not permit information to creep in and mar the
reader's enjoyment of the scenery. It contains no railroad map which is
grossly inaccurate. It has no time-table in it which has outlived its
uselessness. It does not prohibit passengers from riding on the
platform while the cars are in motion. It permits every one to do just
as he pleases and rather encourages him in taking that course.

The authors of this book have suffered intensely from the inordinate use
of other guides, having been compelled several times to rise at 3
o'clock a. m., in order to catch a car which did not go and which would
not have stopped at the station if it had gone.

They have decided, therefore, to issue a guide which will be good for
one to read after one has missed one's train by reason of one's faith in
other guides which we may have in one's luggage.

Let it be understood, then, that we are wholly irresponsible, and we
are glad of it. We do not care who knows it. We will not even hold
ourselves responsible for the pictures in this book, or the hard-boiled
eggs sold at points marked as meal stations in time tables. We have gone
into this thing wholly unpledged, and the man who gets up before he is
awake, in order to catch any East bound, or West bound, North bound,
South bound, or hide-bound train, named in this book, does himself a
great wrong without in any way advancing our own interests.

The authors of this book have made railroad travel a close study. They
have discovered that there has been no provision made for the man who
erroneously gets into a car which is side-tracked and swept out and
scrubbed by people who take in cars to scrub and laundry. He is one of
the men we are striving at this moment to reach with our little volume.
We have each of us been that man. We are yet.

He ought to have something to read that will distract his attention.
This book is designed for him. Also for people who would like to travel
but cannot get away from home. Of course, people who do travel will find
nothing objectionable in the book, but our plan is to issue a book worth
about $9, charging only fifty cents for it, and then see to it that no
time-tables or maps which will never return after they have been pulled
out once, shall creep in among its pages.

It is the design of the authors to issue this guide annually unless
prohibited by law, and to be the pioneers establishing a book which
shall be designed solely for the use of anybody who desires to subscribe
for it.

     BILL NYE.

     JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY.

P. S.--The authors desire to express their thanks to Mr. Riley for the
poetry and to Mr. Nye for the prose which have been used in this
book.



   [Illustration: Contents]

   August--Riley                                                      32

   Anecdotes of Jay Gould--Nye                                        23

   A Black Hills Episode--Riley                                      132

   A Blasted Snore--Nye                                              190

   A Brave Refrain--Riley                                            188

   A Character--Riley                                                142

   A Dose't of Blues--Riley                                          220

   A Fall Creek View of the Earthquake--Riley                         30

   A Hint of Spring--Riley                                           168

   A Letter of Acceptance--Nye                                        56

   A Treat Ode--Riley                                                170

   Craqueodoom--Riley                                                 81

   Curly Locks--Riley                                                118

   Ezra House--Riley                                                 161

   From Delphi to Camden--Riley                                       75

   Good-bye or Howdy-do--Riley                                       195

   Healthy, but Out of the Race--Nye                                 101

   Her Tired Hands--Nye                                              152

   His Crazy Bone--Riley                                              89

   His Christmas Sled--Riley                                         150

   His First Womern--Riley                                            41

   How to Hunt the Fox--Nye                                           46

   In a Box--Riley                                                   214

   In the Afternoon--Riley                                            65

   Julius Cæsar in Town--Nye                                          34

   Lines on Hearing a Cow Bawl--Riley                                107

   Lines on Turning Over a Pass--Nye                                 120

   Me and Mary--Riley                                                109

   McFeeters' Fourth--Riley                                          211

   My Bachelor Chum--Riley                                           178

   Mr Silberberg--Riley                                               96

   Niagara Falls from the Nye Side--Nye                              111

   Never Talk Back--Riley                                             20

   Oh, Wilhelmina, Come Back--Nye                                    165

   Our Wife--Nye                                                     172

   Prying Open the Future--Nye                                        90

   Says He--Riley                                                    204

   Seeking to Be Identified--Nye                                     228

   Seeking to Set the Public Right--Nye                              216

   Spirits at Home--Riley                                             99

   Society Gurgs from Sandy Mush--Nye                                197

   Sutter's Claim--Riley                                             226

   This Man Jones--Riley                                              43

   That Night--Riley                                                 124

   The Boy Friend--Riley                                              54

   The Chemist of the Carolinas--Nye                                  82

   The Diary of Darius T Skinner--Nye                                144

   The Grammatical Boy--Nye                                           77

   The Gruesome Ballad of Mr Squincher--Riley                         21

   The Man in the Moon--Riley                                        148

   The Philanthropical Jay--Nye                                      180

   The Truth about Methuselah--Nye                                   126

   The Tar-heel Cow--Nye                                             137

   The Rise and Fall of William Johnson--Nye                          66

   The Rossville Lecture Course--Riley                               134

   Wanted, a Fox--Nye                                                222

   Where He First Met His Parents--Nye                                17

   Where the Roads are Engaged in Forking--Nye                       206

   While Cigarettes to Ashes Turn--Riley                             201

   Why It Was Done--Nye & Riley                                       11



Where He First Met His Parents


[Illustration]

Last week I visited my birthplace in the State of Maine. I waited thirty
years for the public to visit it, and as there didn't seem to be much of
a rush this spring, I thought I would go and visit it myself. I was
telling a friend the other day that the public did not seem to manifest
the interest in my birthplace that I thought it ought to, and he said I
ought not to mind that. "Just wait," said he, "till the people of the
United States have an opportunity to visit your tomb, and you will be
surprised to see how they will run excursion trains up there to
Moosehead lake, or wherever you plant yourself. It will be a perfect
picnic. Your hold on the American people, William, is wonderful, but
your death would seem to assure it, and kind of crystallize the
affection now existing, but still in a nebulous and gummy state."

A man ought not to criticise his birthplace, I presume, and yet, if I
were to do it all over again, I do not know whether I would select that
particular spot or not. Sometimes I think I would not. And yet, what
memories cluster about that old house! There was the place where I first
met my parents. It was at that time that an acquaintance sprang up which
has ripened in later years into mutual respect and esteem. It was there
that what might be termed a casual meeting took place, that has, under
the alchemy of resist-less years, turned to golden links, forming a
pleasant but powerful bond of union between my parents and myself. For
that reason, I hope that I may be spared to my parents for many years to
come.

Many memories now cluster about that old home, as I have said. There is,
also, other bric-a-brac which has accumulated since I was born there. I
took a small stone from the front yard as a kind of memento of the
occasion and the place. I do not think it has been detected yet. There
was another stone in the yard, so it may be weeks before any one finds
out that I took one of them.

How humble the home, and yet what a lesson it should teach the boys of
America! Here, amid the barren and inhospitable waste of rocks and cold,
the last place in the world that a great man would naturally select to
be born in, began the life of one who, by his own unaided effort, in
after years rose to the proud height of postmaster at Laramie City, Wy.
T., and with an estimate of the future that seemed almost prophetic,
resigned before he could be characterized as an offensive partisan.

Here on the banks of the raging Piscataquis, where winter lingers in
the lap of spring till it occasions a good deal of talk, there began a
career which has been the wonder and admiration of every vigilance
committee west of the turbulent Missouri.

There on that spot, with no inheritance but a predisposition to baldness
and a bitter hatred of rum; with no personal property but a misfit
suspender and a stone-bruise, began a life history which has never
ceased to be a warning to people who have sold goods on credit.

It should teach the youth of our great broad land what glorious
possibilities may lie concealed in the rough and tough bosom of the
reluctant present. It shows how steady perseverance and a good appetite
will always win in the end. It teaches us that wealth is not
indispensable, and that if we live as we should, draw out of politics at
the proper time, and die a few days before the public absolutely demand
it, the matter of our birthplace will not be considered.

Still, my birthplace is all right as a birthplace. It was a good, quiet
place in which to be born. All the old neighbors said that Shirley was a
very quiet place up to the time I was born there, and when I took my
parents by the hand and gently led them away in the spring of '53,
saying, "Parents, this is no place for us," it again became quiet.

It is the only birthplace I have, however, and I hope that all the
readers of this sketch will feel perfectly free to go there any time and
visit it and carry their dinner as I did. Extravagant cordiality and
overflowing hospitality have always kept my birthplace back.



[Illustration: Never Talk Back.]


     Never talk back! sich things is ripperhensible;
       feller only "corks" hisse'f that jaws a man that's hot;
     In a quarrel, of you'll only keep your mouth shet and act sensible,
       The man that does the talkin'll git worsted every shot!

     Never talk back to a feller that's abusin' you--
       Jest let him carry on, and rip, and cuss and swear;
     And when he finds his lyin' and his dammin's jest amusin' you,
       You've gut him clean kaflummixed, and you want to hold him there!

     Never talk back, and wake up the whole community,
       And call a man a liar, over law, or Politics,--
     You can lift and land him furder and with gracefuller impunity
       With one good jolt of silence than a half a dozen kicks!



The Gruesome Ballad of Mr. Squincher


     "Ki-yi!" said Mr. Squincher,
       As in contemplative pose,
     He stood before the looking-glass
       And burnished up his nose,
     And brushed the dandruff from a span-
       Spick-splinter suit of clothes,--
     "Why, bless you, Mr. Squincher,
       You're as handsome as a rose!"

     [Illustration]

     "There are some," continued Squincher,
       As he raised upon his toes
     To catch his full reflection,
       And the fascinating bows
     That graced his legs,--"I reckon
       There are some folks never knows
     How beautiful is human legs
       In pantaloons like those!"

     "But ah!" sighed Mr. Squincher,
       As a ghastly phantom 'rose
     And leered above his shoulder
       Like the deadliest of foes,--
     With fleshless arms and fingers,
       And a skull, with glistening rows
     Of teeth that crunched and gritted,--
       "It's my tailor, I suppose!"

      *       *       *       *       *

     They found him in the morning--
       So the mystic legend goes--
     With the placid face still smiling
       In its statuesque repose;--
     With a lily in his left hand,
       And in his right a rose,
     With their fragrance curling upward
       Through a nimbus 'round his nose.



Anecdotes of Jay Gould


[Illustration]

Facial Neuralgia is what is keeping Jay Gould back this summer and
preventing him from making as much money as he would otherwise. With
good health and his present methods of doing business Mr. Gould could in
a few years be beyond the reach of want, but he is up so much nights
with his face that he has to keep one gas-jet burning all the time.
Besides he has cabled once to Dr. Brown-Sequard for a neuralgia pill
that he thought would relieve the intense pain, and found after he had
paid for the cablegram that every druggist in New York kept the
Brown-Sequard pill in stock. But when a man is ill he does not care for
expense, especially when he controls an Atlantic cable or two.

This neuralgia pill is about the size of a two-year-old colt and pure
white. I have been compelled to take several of them myself while
suffering from facial neuralgia; for neuralgia does not spare the good,
the true or the beautiful. She comes along and nips the poor yeoman as
well as the millionaire who sits in the lap of luxury. Millionaires who
flatter themselves that they can evade neuralgia by going and sitting in
the lap of luxury make a great mistake.

"And do you find that this large porcelain pill relieves you at all, Mr.
Gould?" I asked him during one of these attacks, as he sat in his studio
with his face tied up in hot bran.

"No, it does me no good whatever," said the man who likes to take a lame
railroad and put it on its feet by issuing more bonds. "It contains a
little morphine, which dulls the pain but there's nothing in the pill to
cure the cause. My neuralgia comes from indigestion. My appetite is four
sizes too large for a man of my height, and every little while I
overeat. I then get dangerously ill and stocks become greatly depressed
in consequence. I am now in a position where, if I had a constitution
that would stand the strain, I could get well off in a few years, but I
am not strong enough. Every little change in the weather affects me. I
see a red-headed girl on the street and immediately afterwards I see one
of these big white pills."

"Are you sure, Mr. Gould," I asked him with some solicitude, as I bent
forward and inhaled the rich fragrance of the carnation in his
button-hole, "that you have not taken cold in some way?"

"Possibly I have," he said, as he shrank back in a petulant way, I
thought. "Last week I got my feet a little damp while playing the hose
on some of my stocks, but I hardly think that was what caused the
trouble. I am apt to overeat, as I said. I am especially fond of fruit,
too. When I was a boy I had no trouble, because I always divided my
fruit with another boy, of whom I was very fond. I would always divide
my fruit in two equal parts, keeping one of these and eating the other
myself. Many and many a time when this boy and I went out together and
only had one wormy apple between us, I have divided it and given him the
worm.

[Illustration]

"As a boy, I was taught to believe that half is always better than the
hole."

"And are you not afraid that this neuralgia after it has picnicked
around among your features may fly to your vitals?"

"Possibly so," said Mr. Gould, snapping the hunting case of his
massive silver watch with a loud report, "but I am guarding against this
by keeping my pocketbook wrapped up all the time in an old red flannel
shirt."

Here Mr. Gould arose and went out of the room for a long time, and I
could hear him pacing up and down outside, stopping now and then to peer
through the keyhole to see if I had gone away. But in each instance he
was gratified to find that I had not. Lest any one should imagine that I
took advantage of his absence to peruse his private correspondence, I
will say here that I did not do so, as his desk was securely locked.

Mr. Gould's habits are simple and he does not hold his cane by the
middle when he walks. He wears plain clothes and his shirts and collars
are both made of the same shade. He says he feels sorry for any one who
has to wear a pink shirt with a blue collar. Some day he hopes to endow
a home for young men who cannot afford to buy a shirt and a collar at
the same store.

He owes much of his neuralgia to a lack of exercise. Mr. Gould never
takes any exercise at all. His reason for this is that he sees no
prospect for exercise to advance in value. He says he is willing to take
anything else but exercise.

Up to within a very few years Jay Gould has always slept well at night,
owing to regular hours for rising and retiring and his careful
abstinence from tobacco and alcohol. Lately neuralgia has kept him awake
a good deal at night, but prior to that he used to sleep as sweetly and
peacefully as a weasel.

The story circulated some years ago to the effect that a professional
burglar broke into Mr. Gould's room in the middle of the night and
before he could call the police was robbed of his tools, is not true.
People who have no higher aim in life than the peddling about of such
improbable yarns would do well to ascertain the truth of these reports
before giving them circulation.

The story that Mr. Gould once killed a steer and presented his hoofs to
the poor with the remark that it would help to keep sole and body
together, also turned out to have no foundation whatever in fact, but
was set afloat by an English wag who was passionately fond of a bit of
pleasantry, don't you know.

Thus it is that a man who has acquired a competence by means of honest
toil becomes the target for the barbed shaft of contumely.

Mr. Gould is said to be a good conversationalist, though he prefers to
close his eyes and listen to others. Nothing pleases him better than to
lure a man on and draw him out and encourage him to turn his mind wrong
side out and empty it. He then richly repays this confidence by saying
that if it doesn't rain any more we will have a long dry time. The man
then goes away inflated with the idea that he has a pointer from Mr.
Gould which will materially affect values. A great many men are playing
croquet at the poor-house this summer who owe their prosperity to tips
given them by Mr. Gould.

As a fair sample of the way a story about a great man grows and becomes
distorted at the same time, one incident will be sufficient. Some years
ago, it is said, Mr. Gould bought a general admission ticket to hear
Sarah Bernhardt as Camille. Several gentlemen who were sitting near
where he stood asked him why he did not take a seat. Instead of
answering directly that he could not get one he replied that he did not
care for a seat, as he wanted to be near the door when the building
fell. Shortly after this he had more seats than he could use. I give
this story simply to illustrate how such a thing may be distorted, for
upon investigation it was found to have occurred at a Patti concert, and
not at a Bernhardt exhibition at all.

Mr. Gould's career, with its attendant success, should teach us two
things, at least. One is, that it always pays to do a kind act, for a
great deal of his large fortune has been amassed by assisting men like
Mr. Field, when they were in a tight place, and taking their depressed
stock off their hands while in a shrunken condition. He believes also
that the merciful man is merciful to his stock.

He says he owes much of his success in life to economy and neuralgia. He
also loves to relieve distress on Wall street, and is so passionately
fond of this as he grows older that he has been known to distress other
stock men just for the pleasant thrill it gave him to relieve them.

Jay Gould is also a living illustration of what a young man may do with
nothing but his bare hands in America. John L. Sullivan and Gould are
both that way. Mr. Gould and Col. Sullivan could go into Siberia
to-morrow--little as they are known there--and with a small Gordon
press, a quire of bond paper and a pair of three-pennyweight gloves they
would soon own Siberia, with a right of way across the rest of Europe
and a first mortgage on the Russian throne. As fast as Col. Sullivan
knocked out a dynasty Jay could come in and administer on the estate.
This would be a powerful combination. It would afford us an opportunity
also to get some of those Russian hay-fever names and chilblains by red
message. Mr. Gould would get a good deal of money out of the transaction
and Sullivan would get ozone.



[Illustration: A Fall Crick View of the Earthquake]


     I kin hump my back and take the rain,
       And I don't keer how she pours,
     I kin keep kindo' ca'm in a thunder storm,
       No matter how loud she roars;
     I haint much skeered o' the lightnin',
       Ner I haint sich awful shakes
     Afeared o' _cyclones_--but I don't want none
       O' yer dad-burned old _earth_-quakes!

     As long as my legs keeps stiddy,
       And long as my head keeps plum,
     And the buildin' stays in the front lot,
       I still kin whistle, _some_!
     But about the time the old clock
       Flops off'n the mantel-shelf,
     And the bureau skoots fer the kitchen,
       I'm a-goin' to skoot, myself!

     Plague-take! ef you keep me stabled
       While any earthquakes is around!--
     I'm jist like the stock,--I'll beller,
       And break fer the open ground!
     And I 'low you'd be as nervous,
       And in jist about my fix,
     When yer whole farm slides from inunder you,
       And on'y the mor'gage sticks!

     Now cars haint a-goin' to kill you
       Ef you don't drive 'crost the track;
     Crediters never'll jerk you up
       Ef you go and pay 'em back;
     You kin stand all moral and mundane storms
       Ef you'll on'y jist behave--
     But a' EARTHQUAKE:--well, ef it wanted you
       It 'ud husk you out o' yer grave!



[Illustration: August]


     O mellow month and merry month,
       Let me make love to you,
     And follow you around the world
       As knights their ladies do.
     I thought your sisters beautiful,
       Both May and April, too,
     But April she had rainy eyes,
       And May had eyes of blue.

     And June--I liked the singing
       Of her lips, and liked her smile--
     But all her songs were promises
       Of something, _after while_;
     And July's face--the lights and shade
       That may not long beguile,
     With alternations o'er the wheat
       The dreamer at the stile.

     But you!--ah, you are tropical,
       Your beauty is so rare:
     Your eyes are clearer, deeper eyes
       Than any, anywhere;
     Mysterious, imperious,
       Deliriously fair,
     O listless Andalusian maid,
       With bangles in your hair!



Julius Cæsar in Town


[Illustration]

The play of "Julius Cæsar," which has been at the Academy of Music this
week, has made a great hit. Messrs. Booth and Barrett very wisely
decided that if it succeeded here it would do well anywhere. If the
people of New York like a play and say so, it is almost sure to go
elsewhere. Judging by this test the play of "Julius Cæsar" has a glowing
future ahead of it. It was written by Gentlemen Shakespeare, Bacon and
Donnelly, who collaborated together on it. Shakespeare did the lines and
plot, Bacon furnished the cipher and Donnelly called attention to it
through the papers.

The scene of "Julius Cæsar" is laid in Rome just before the railroad was
completed to that place. In order to understand the play itself we must
glance briefly at the leading characters which are introduced and upon
whom its success largely depends.

Julius Cæsar first attracted attention through the Roman papers by
calling the attention of the medical faculty to the now justly
celebrated Cæsarian operation. Taking advantage of the advertisement
thus attained, he soon rose to prominence and flourished considerably
from 100 to 44 B. C., when a committee of representative citizens and
property-owners of Rome called upon him and on behalf of the people
begged leave to assassinate him as a mark of esteem. He was stabbed
twenty-three times between Pompey's Pillar and eleven o'clock, many of
which were mortal. This account of the assassination is taken from a
local paper and is graphic, succinct and lacks the sensational elements
so common and so lamentable in our own time. Cæsar was the implacable
foe of the aristocracy and refused to wear a plug hat up to the day of
his death. Sulla once said, before Cæsar had made much of a showing,
that some day this young man would be the ruin of the aristocracy, and
twenty years afterwards when Cæsar sacked, assassinated and holocausted
a whole theological seminary for saying "eyether" and "nyether," the old
settlers recalled what Sulla had said.

Cæsar continued to eat pie with a knife and in many other ways to endear
himself to the masses until 68 B. C., when he ran for Quæstor. Afterward
he was Ædile, during the term of which office he sought to introduce a
number of new games and to extend the limit on some of the older ones.
From this to the Senate was but a step. In the Senate he was known as a
good Speaker, but ambitious, and liable to turn up during a close vote
when his enemies thought he was at home doing his chores. This made him
at times odious to those who opposed him, and when he defended Cataline
and offered to go on his bond, Cæsar came near being condemned to death
himself.

In 62 B. C. he went to Spain as Proprætor, intending to write a book
about the Spanish people and their customs as soon as he got back, but
he was so busy on his return that he did not have time to do so.

Cæsar was a powerful man with the people, and while in the Senate worked
hard for his constituents, while other Senators were having their
photographs taken. He went into the army when the war broke out, and
after killing a great many people against whom he certainly could not
have had anything personal, he returned, headed by the Rome Silver
Cornet Band and leading a procession over two miles in length. It was at
this time that he was tendered a crown just as he was passing the City
Hall, but thrice he refused it. After each refusal the people applauded
and encored him till he had to refuse it again. It is at about this time
the play opens. Cæsar has just arrived on a speckled courser and
dismounted outside the town. He comes in at the head of a procession
with the understanding that the crown is to be offered him just as he
crosses over to the Court-House.

Here Cassius and Brutus meet, and Cassius tries to make a Mugwump of
Brutus, so that they can organize a new movement. Mr. Edwin Booth takes
the character of Brutus and Mr. Lawrence Barrett takes that of Cassius.
I would not want to take the character of Cassius myself, even if I had
run short of character and needed some very much indeed, but Mr.
Barrett takes it and does first-rate. Mr. Booth also plays Brutus so
that old settlers here say it seems almost like having Brutus here among
us again.

Brutus was a Roman republican with strong tariff tendencies. He was a
good extemporaneous after-dinner speaker and a warm personal friend of
Cæsar, though differing from him politically. In assassinating Cæsar,
Brutus used to say afterwards he did not feel the slightest personal
animosity, but did it entirely for the good of the party. That is one
thing I like about politics--you can cut out a man's vitals and hang
them on the Christmas tree and drag the fair name of his wife or mother
around through the sewers for six weeks before election, and so long as
it is done for the good of the party it is all right.

So when Brutus is authorized by the caucus to assassinate Cæsar he feels
that, like being President of the United States, it is a disagreeable
job; but if the good of the party seems really to demand it he will do
it, though he wishes it distinctly understood that personally he hasn't
got a thing against Cæsar.

In act 4 Brutus sits up late reading a story by E. P. Roe, and just as
he is in the most exciting part of it the ghost of the assassinated
Cæsar appears and states that it will meet him with hard gloves at
Philippi. Brutus looks bored and says that he is not in condition, but
the ghost leaves it that way and Brutus looks still more bored till the
ghost goes out through a white oak door without opening it.

At Philippi, Brutus sees that there is no hope of police interference,
and so before time is called he inserts his sword into his being and
dies while the polite American audience puts on its overcoat and goes
out, looking over its shoulder to see that Brutus does not take
advantage of this moment, while the people are going away, to
resuscitate himself.

[Illustration]

The play is thoroughly enjoyable all the way through, especially Cæsar's
funeral. The idea of introducing a funeral and engaging Mark Antony to
deliver the eulogy, with the understanding that he was to have his
traveling expenses paid and the privilege of selling the sermon to a
syndicate, shows genius on the part of the joint authors. All the way
through the play is good, but sad. There is no divertisement or tank in
it, but the funeral more than makes up for all that.

Where Portia begs Brutus, before the assassination, to tell her all and
let her in on the ground floor, and asks what the matter is, and he
claims that it is malaria, and she still insists and asks, "Dwell I but
in the suburbs of your good pleasure?" and he states, "You are my true
and honorable wife, as dear to me as are the ruddy drops that visit my
sad heart," I forgot myself and wept my new plug hat two-thirds full. It
is as good as anything there is in Josh Whitcomb's play.

Booth and Barrett have the making of good actors in them. I met both of
these gentlemen in Wyoming some years ago. We met by accident. They were
going to California and I was coming back. By some oversight we had both
selected the same track, and we were thrown together. I do not know
whether they will recall my face or not. I was riding on the sleeper
truck at the time of the accident. I always take a sleeper and always
did. I rode on the truck because I didn't want to ride inside the car
and have to associate with a wealthy porter who looked down upon me. I
am the man who was found down the creek the next day gathering wild
ferns and murmuring, "Where am I?"

The play of "Julius Cæsar" is one which brings out the meanness and
magnetism of Cassius, and emphasizes the mistaken patriotism of Brutus.
It is full of pathos, duplicity, assassination, treachery, erroneous
loyalty, suicide, hypocrisy, and all the intrigue, jealousy, cowardice
and deviltry which characterized the politics of fifty years B. C., but
which now, thanks to the enlightenment and refinement which twenty
centuries have brought, are known no more forever. Let us not forget,
as we enter upon the year 1888, that it is a Presidential year, and that
all acrimony will be buried under the dew and the daisies, and that no
matter how high party spirit may run, there will be no personal
enmity.



His First Womern


[Illustration]

     I buried my first womern
       In the spring; and in the fall
     I was married to my second,
       And haint settled yit at all?--
     Fer I'm allus thinkin'--thinkin'
       Of the first one's peaceful ways,
     A-bilin' soap and singin'
       Of the Lord's amazin' grace.

     And I'm thinkin' of her, constant,
       Dyin' carpet-chain and stuff,
     And a-makin' up rag-carpets,
       When the floor was good enough!
     And I mind her he'p a-feedin'
       And I recollect her now
     A-drappin' corn, and keepin'
       Clos't behind me and the plow!

     And I'm allus thinkin' of her
       Reddin' up around the house;
     Er cookin' fer the farm-hands;
       Er a-drivin' up the cows.--
     And there she lays out yender
       By the lower medder-fence,
     Where the cows was barely grazin',
       And they're usin' ever sence.

     And when I look acrost there--
       Say its when the clover's ripe,
     And I'm settin', in the evenin',
       On the porch here, with my pipe,
     And the _other'n_ hollers "Henry!"--
       W'y, they ain't no sadder thing
     Than to think of my first womern
       And her funeral last spring
         Was a year ago.



This Man Jones


     This man Jones was what you'd call
     A feller 'at had no sand at all:
     Kindo consumpted, and undersize,
     And saller-complected, with big sad eyes,
     And a kind-of-a-sort-of-a-hang-dog style,
     And a sneakin' kind-of-a-half-way smile
     That kindo give him away to us
     As a preacher, maybe, or sumpin' wuss.

     Didn't take with the gang--well, no--
     But still we managed to _use_ him, though,--
     Coddin' the gilley along the rout'
     And drivin' the stakes that he pulled out;--
     For I was one of the bosses then
     And of course stood in with the canvas-men--
     And the way we put up jobs, you know,
     On this man Jones jes' beat the show!

     Used to rattle him scandalous,
     And keep the feller a-dodgin' us,
     And a-shyin' round jes' skeered to death,
     And a-feered to whimper above his breath;
     Give him a cussin', and then a kick,
     And then a kind-of-a back-hand lick--
     Jes' for the fun of seein' him climb
     Around with a head on half the time.

     But what was the curioust thing to me,
     Was along o' the party--let me see,--
     Who was our "Lion Queen" last year?--
     Mamzelle Zanty, er De La Pierre?--
     Well, no matter!--a stunnin' in mash,
     With a red-ripe lip, and a long eye-lash,
     And a figger sich as the angels owns--
     And one too many for this man Jones:

     He'd always wake in the afternoon
     As the band waltzed in on "the lion tune,"
     And there, from the time that she'd go in,
     Till she'd back out of the cage agin,
     He'd stand, shaky and limber-kneed--
     'Specially when she come to "feed
     The beast raw meat with her naked hand"--
     And all that business, you understand.

     And it _was_ resky in that den--
     For I think she juggled three cubs then,
     And a big "green" lion 'at used to smash
     Collar-bones for old Frank Nash;
     And I reckon now she haint forgot
     The afternoon old "Nero" sot
     His paws on her:--but as for me,
     It's a sort-of-a-mixed-up mystery.

     Kindo' remember an awful roar,
     And see her back for the bolted door--
     See the cage rock--heerd her call
     "God have mercy!" and that was all--
     For ther haint no livin' man can tell
     What it's like when a thousand yell
     In female tones, and a thousand more
     Howl in bass till their throats is sore!

     But the keeper said as they dragged her out,
     They heerd some feller laugh and shout:
     "Save her! Quick! I've got the cuss!"
     ... And yit she waked and smiled on us!
     And we daren't _flinch_--for the doctor said,
     Seein' as this man Jones was dead,
     Better to jes' not let her know
     Nothin' o' that for a week or so.



How to Hunt the Fox


[Illustration]

The joyous season for hunting is again upon us, and with the gentle fall
of the autumn leaf and the sough of the scented breezes about the
gnarled and naked limbs of the wailing trees--the huntsman comes with
his hark and his halloo and hurrah, boys, the swift rush of the chase,
the thrilling scamper 'cross country, the mad dash through the Long
Islander's pumpkin patch--also the mad dash, dash, dash of the farmer,
the low moan of the disabled and frozen-toed hen as the whooping
horsemen run her down; the wild shriek of the children, the low
melancholy wail of the frightened shoat as he flees away to the straw
pile, the quick yet muffled plunk of the frozen tomato and the dull
scrunch of the seed cucumber.

The huntsman now takes the flannels off his fox, rubs his stiffened
limbs with gargling oil, ties a bunch of firecrackers to his tail and
runs him around the barn a few times to see if he is in good order.

The foxhound is a cross of the bloodhound, the grayhound, the bulldog
and the chump. When you step on his tail he is said to be in full cry.
The foxhound obtains from his ancestors on the bloodhound side of the
house his keen scent, which enables him while in full cry 'cross country
to pause and hunt for chipmunks. He also obtains from the bloodhound
branch of his family a wild yearning to star in an "Uncle Tom" company,
and watch little Eva meander up the flume at two dollars per week. From
the grayhound he gets his most miraculous speed, which enables him to
attain a rate of velocity so great that he is unable to halt during the
excitement of the chase, frequently running so far during the day that
it takes him a week to get back, when, of course, all interest has died
out. From the bulldog the foxhound obtains his great tenacity of
purpose, his deep-seated convictions, his quick perceptions, his love of
home and his clinging nature. From the chump the foxhound gets his high
intellectuality and that mental power which enables him to distinguish
almost at a glance the salient points of difference between a
two-year-old steer and a two-dollar bill.

The foxhound is about two feet in height, and 120 of them would be
considered an ample number for a quiet little fox hunt. Some hunters
think this number inadequate, but unless the fox be unusually skittish
and crawl under the barn, 120 foxhounds ought to be enough. The trouble
generally is that hunters make too much noise, thus scaring the fox so
that he tries to get away from them. This necessitates hard riding and
great activity on the part of the whippers-in. Frightening a fox almost
always results in sending him out of the road and compelling horsemen to
stop in order to take down a panel of fence every little while that they
may follow the animal, and before you can get the fence put up again the
owner is on the ground, and after you have made change with him and
mounted again the fox may be nine miles away. Try by all means to keep
your fox in the road!

It makes a great difference what kind of fox you use, however. I once
had a fox on my Pumpkin Butte estates that lasted me three years, and I
never knew him to shy or turn out of the road for anything but a loaded
team. He was the best fox for hunting purposes that I ever had. Every
spring I would sprinkle him with Scotch snuff and put him away in the
bureau till fall. He would then come out bright and chipper. He was
always ready to enter into the chase with all the chic and embonpoint of
a regular Kenosha, and nothing pleased him better than to be about eight
miles in advance of my thoroughbred pack in full cry, scampering 'cross
country, while stretching back a few miles behind the dogs followed a
pale young man and his financier, each riding a horse that had sat down
too hard on its tail some time and driven it into his system about six
joints.

Some hunters, who are madly and passionately devoted to the sport, leap
their horses over fences, moats, donjon keeps, hedges and currant bushes
with utter sang froid and the wild, unfettered toot ongsomble of a brass
band. It is one of the most spirited and touchful of sights to see a
young fox-hunter going home through the gloaming with a full cry in
one hand and his pancreas in the other.

Some like to be in at the death, as it is called, and it is certainly a
laudable ambition. To see 120 dogs hold out against a ferocious fox
weighing nine pounds; to watch the brave little band of dogs and
whippers-in and horses with sawed-off tails, making up in heroism what
they lack in numbers, succeeding at last in ridding the country of the
ferocious brute which has long been the acknowledged foe of the human
race, is indeed a fine sight.

We are too apt to regard fox-hunting merely as a relaxation, a source of
pleasure, and the result of a desire to do the way people do in the
novels which we steal from English authors: but this is not all. To
successfully hunt a fox, to jump fences 'cross country like an unruly
steer, is no child's play. To ride all day on a very hot and restless
saddle, trying to lope while your horse is trotting, giving your friends
a good view of the country between yourself and your horse, then leaping
stone walls, breaking your collar-bone in four places, pulling out one
eye and leaving it hanging on a plum tree, or going home at night with
your transverse colon wrapped around the pommel of your saddle and your
liver in an old newspaper, requires the greatest courage.

Too much stress cannot be placed upon the costume worn while
fox-hunting, and in fact, that is, after all, the life and soul of the
chase. For ladies, nothing looks better than a close-fitting jacket,
sewed together with thread of the same shade and a skirt. Neat-fitting
cavalry boots and a plug hat complete the costume. Then, with a hue in
one hand and a cry in the other, she is prepared to mount. Lead the
horse up to a stone wall or a freight car and spring lightly into the
saddle with a glad cry. A freight car is the best thing from which to
mount a horse, but it is too unwieldy and frequently delays the chase.
For this reason, too, much luggage should not be carried on a fox-hunt.
Some gentlemen carry a change of canes, neatly concealed in a shawl
strap, but even this may be dispensed with.

[Illustration]

For gentlemen, a dark, four-button cutaway coat, with neat,
loose-fitting, white panties, will generally scare a fox into
convulsions, so that he may be easily killed with a club. A
short-waisted plug hat may be worn also, in order to distinguish the
hunter from the whipper-in, who wears a baseball cap. The only
fox-hunting I have ever done was on board an impetuous, tough-bitted,
fore-and-aft horse that had emotional insanity. I was dressed in a
swallow-tail coat, waistcoat of Scotch plaid Turkish toweling, and a
pair of close-fitting breeches of etiquette tucked into my boot-tops.
As I was away from home at the time and could not reach my own steed I
was obliged to mount a spirited steed with high, intellectual hips, one
white eye and a big red nostril that you could set a Shanghai hen in.
This horse, as soon as the pack broke into full cry, climbed over a
fence that had wrought-iron briers on it, lit in a corn field, stabbed
his hind leg through a sere and yellow pumpkin, which he wore the rest
of the day, with seven yards of pumpkin vine streaming out behind, and
away we dashed 'cross country. I remained mounted not because I enjoyed
it, for I did not, but because I dreaded to dismount. I hated to get off
in pieces. If I can't get off a horse's back as a whole, I would rather
adhere to the horse. I will adhere that I did so.

We did not see the fox, but we saw almost everything else. I remember,
among other things, of riding through a hothouse, and how I enjoyed it.
A morning scamper through a conservatory when the syringas and Jonquils
and Jack roses lie cuddled up together in their little beds, is a thing
to remember and look back to and pay for. To stand knee-deep in glass
and gladiolas, to smell the mashed and mussed up mignonette and the last
fragrant sigh of the scrunched heliotrope beneath the hoof of your
horse, while far away the deep-mouthed baying of the hoarse hounds,
hotly hugging the reeking trail of the aniseseed bag, calls on the
gorgeously caparisoned hills to give back their merry music or fork it
over to other answering hills, is joy to the huntsman's heart.

On, on I rode with my unconfined locks streaming behind me in the autumn
wind. On and still on I sped, the big, bright pumpkin slipping up and
down the gambrel of my spirited horse at every jump. On and ever on we
went, shedding terror and pumpkin seeds along our glittering track till
my proud steed ran his leg in a gopher hole and fell over one of those
machines that they put on a high-headed steer to keep him from jumping
fences. As the horse fell, the necklace of this hickory poke flew up and
adjusted itself around my throat. In an instant my steed was on his feet
again, and gayly we went forward while the prong of this barbarous
appliance, ever and anon plowed into a brand new culvert or rooted up a
clover field. Every time it ran into an orchard or a cemetery it would
jar my neck and knock me silly. But I could see with joy that it reduced
the speed of my horse. At last as the sun went down, reluctantly, it
seemed to me, for he knew that he would never see such riding again, my
ill-spent horse fell with a hollow moan, curled up, gave a spasmodic
quiver with his little, nerveless, sawed-off tail and died.

The other huntsmen succeeded in treeing the anise-seed bag at sundown,
in time to catch the 6 o'clock train home.

Fox-hunting is one of the most thrilling pastimes of which I know, and
for young men whose parents have amassed large sums of money in the
intellectual pursuit of hides and tallow, the meet, the chase, the
scamper, the full cry, the cover, the stellated fracture, the yelp of
the pack, the yip, the yell of triumph, the confusion, the whoop, the
holla, the hallos, the hurrah, the abrasion, the snort of the hunter,
the concussion, the sward, the open, the earth stopper, the strangulated
hernia, the glad cry of the hound as he brings home the quivering seat
of the peasant's pantaloons, the yelp of joy as he lays at his
master's feet, the strawberry mark of the rustic, all, all are
exhilarating to the sons of our American nobility.

Fox-hunting combines the danger and the wild, tumultuous joy of the
skating-rink, the toboggan slide, the mush-and-milk sociable and the
straw ride.

With a good horse, an air cushion, a reliable earth-stopper and an
anise-seed bag, a man must indeed be thoroughly blase who cannot enjoy a
scamper across country, over the Pennsylvania wold, the New Jersey mere,
the Connecticut moor, the Indiana glade, the Missouri brake, the
Michigan mead, the American tarn, the fen, the gulch, the buffalo
wallow, the cranberry marsh, the glen, the draw, the canyon, the ravine,
the forks, the bottom or the settlement.

For the young American nobleman whose ducal father made his money by
inventing a fluent pill, or who gained his great wealth through
relieving humanity by means of a lung pad, a liver pad, a kidney pad or
a foot pad, fox-hunting is first rate.



The Boy Friend


[Illustration]

     Clarence, my boy-friend, hale and strong,
       O, he is as jolly as he is young;
     And all of the laughs of the lyre belong
       To the boy all unsung:

     So I want to sing something in his behalf--
       To clang some chords, of the good it is
     To know he is near, and to have the laugh
       Of that wholesome voice of his.

     I want to tell him in gentler ways
       Than prose may do, that the arms of rhyme,
     Warm and tender with tuneful praise,
       Are about him all the time.

     I want him to know that the quietest nights
       We have passed together are yet with me
     Roistering over the old delights
       That were born of his company.

     I want him to know how my soul esteems
       The fairy stories of Andersen,
     And the glad translations of all the themes
       Of the hearts of boyish men.

     Want him to know that my fancy flows,
       With the lilt of a dear old-fashioned tune,
     Through "Lewis Carroll's" poemly prose,
       And the tale of "The Bold Dragoon."

     O, this is the Prince that I would sing--
       Would drape and garnish in velvet line
     Since courtlier far than any king
       Is this brave boy-friend of mine!



A Letter of Acceptance


The secretary of the Ashfield Farmer's Club, of Ashfield, Mass., Mr. E.
D. Church, informs me by United States mail that upon receipt of my
favorable reply I will become an honorary member of that Club, along
with George William Curtis, Prof. Norton, Prof. Stanley Hall, of
Harvard, and other wet-browed toilers in the catnip-infested domain of
Agriculture.

I take this method of thanking the Ashfield Farmers' Club, through its
secretary, for the honor thus all so unworthily bestowed, and joyfully
accept the honorary membership, with the understanding, however, that
during the County Fair the solemn duty of delivering the annual address
from the judges' stand, in tones that will not only ring along down the
corridors of time, but go thundering three times around a half-mile
track and be heard above the rhythmic plunk of the hired man who is
trying to ascertain, by means of a large mawl and a thumping machine,
how hard he can strike, shall fall upon Mr. Curtis or other honorary
members of the club. I have a voice that does very well to express
endearment, or other subdued emotions, but it is not effective at a
County Fair. Spectators see the wonderful play of my features, but they
only hear the low refrain of the haughty Clydesdale steed, who has a
neighsal voice and wears his tail in a Grecian coil. I received $150
once for addressing a race-track one mile in length on "The Use and
Abuse of Ensilage as a Narcotic." I made the gestures, but the
sentiments were those of the four-ton Percheron charger, Little
Medicine, dam Eloquent.

[Illustration]

I spoke under a low shed and rather adverse circumstances. In talking
with the committee afterwards, as I wrapped up my gestures and put them
back in the shawl strap, I said that I felt almost ashamed to receive
such a price for the sentiments of others, but they said that was all
right. No one expected to hear an Agricultural Address. They claimed
that it was most generally purely spectacular, and so they regarded my
speech as a great success. I used the same gestures afterwards in
speaking of "The Great Falling Off among Bare-Back Riders in the
Circuses of the Present Day."

I would also like to be excused from any duties as a judge of
curly-faced stock or as an umpire of ornamental needlework. After a
person has had a fountain pen kicked endwise through his chest by the
animal to which he has awarded the prize, and later on has his features
worked up into a giblet pie by the owner of the animal to whom he did
not award the prize, he does not ask for public recognition at the hands
of his fellow-citizens. It is the same in the matter of ornamental
needlework and gaudy quilts, which goad a man to drink and death. While
I am proud to belong to a farmers' club and "change works" with a
hearty, whole-souled ploughman like George William Curtis, I hope that
at all County Fairs or other intellectual hand-to-hand contests between
outdoor orators and other domestic animals, I may be excused, and that
when judges of inflamed slumber robes and restless tidies, which roll up
and fall over the floor or adhere to the backs of innocent people; or
stiff, hard Doric pillor-shams which do not in any way enhance the joys
of sleep; or beautiful, pale-blue satin pincushions which it would be
wicked to put a pin in and which will therefore ever and forevermore
mock the man who really wants a pin, just as a beautiful match-safe
stands idly through the long vigils of the night, year after year, only
to laugh at the man who staggers towards it and falls up against it and
finds it empty; or like the glorious inkstand which is so pretty and so
fragile that it stands around with its hands in its pockets acquiring
dust and dead flies for centuries, so that when you are in a hurry you
stick your pen into a small chamber of horrors--I say when the judges
are selected for this department I would rather have my name omitted
from the panel, as I have formed or expressed an opinion and have
reasonable doubts and conscientious scruples which it would require
testimony to remove, and I am not qualified anyway, and I have been
already placed in jeopardy once, and that is enough.

Mr. Church writes that the club has taken up, discussed and settled all
points of importance bearing upon Agriculture, from the tariff up to the
question of whether or not turpentine poured in a cow's ear ameliorates
the pangs of hollow horn. He desires suggestions and questions for
discussion. That shows the club to be thoroughly alive. It will soon be
Spring, and we cannot then discuss these matters. New responsibilities
will be added day by day in the way of stock, and we will have to think
of names for them. Would it not be well before the time comes for active
farm work to think out a long list of names before the little strangers
arrive? Nothing serves to lower us in the estimation of our
fellow-farmers or the world more than the frequent altercations between
owners and their hired help over what name they shall give a weary,
wobbly calf who has just entered the great arena of life, full of hopes
and aspirations, perhaps, but otherwise absolutely empty. Let us
consider this before Spring fairly opens, so that we may be prepared for
anything of this kind.

One more point may properly come before the club at its next meeting,
and I mention it here because I may be so busy at Washington looking
after our other interests that I cannot get to the club meeting. I refer
to the evident change in climate here from year to year, and its effect
upon seeds purchased of florists and seedsmen generally.

Twenty years ago you could plant a seed according to directions and it
would produce a plant which seemed to resemble in a general way the
picture on the outside of the package. Now, under the fluctuating
influences of irresponsible isotherms, phlegmatic Springs, rare June
weather and overdone weather in August, I find it almost impossible to
produce a plant or vegetable which in any way resembles its portrait. Is
it my fault or the fault of the climate? I wish the club would take hold
of this at its next regular meeting. I first noticed the change in the
summer of '72, I think. I purchased a small package of early Scotch
plaid curled kale with a beautiful picture on the outside. It was as
good a picture of Scotch kale as I ever saw. I could imagine how gay and
light-hearted it was the day when it went up to the studio and had its
picture taken for this purpose. A short editorial paragraph under the
picture stated that I should plant in quick, rich soil, in rows four
inches apart, to a depth of one inch, cover lightly and then roll. I did
so. No farmer of my years enjoys rolling better than I do.

In a few weeks the kale came up but turned out to be a canard. I then
waited two weeks more and other forms of vegetation made their
appearance. None of them were kale. A small delegation of bugs which
deal mostly with kale came into the garden one day, looked at the
picture on the discarded paper, then examined what had crawled out
through the ground and went away. I began to fear then that climatic
influences had been at work on the seeds, but I had not fully given up
all hope.

At first the plants seemed to waver and hesitate over whether they had
better be wild parsnips or Lima beans. Then I concluded that they had
decided to be foliage plants or rhubarb. But they did not try to live up
to their portraits. Pretty soon I discovered that they had no bugs which
seemed to go with them, and then I knew they were weeds. Things that are
good to eat always have bugs and worms on them, while tansy and
castor-oil go through life unmolested.

I ordered a new style of gladiola eight years ago of a man who had his
portrait in the bow of his seed catalogue. If he succeeds no better in
resembling his portrait than his gladiolas did in resembling theirs, he
must be a human onion whose presence may easily be detected at a great
distance.

Last year I planted the seeds of a watermelon which I bought of a New
York seedsman who writes war articles winters and sells garden seeds in
the Spring. The portrait of this watermelon would tempt most any man to
climb a nine-rail fence in the dead of night and forget all else in
order to drown his better nature and his nose in its cool bosom. People
came for miles to look at the picture of this melon and went away with a
pleasant taste in their mouths.

The plants were a little sluggish, though I planted in hills far apart
each way in a rich warm loam enriched by everything that could make a
sincere watermelon get up and hump itself. The melons were to be very
large indeed, with a center like a rose. According to the picture, these
melons generally grew so large and plenty that most everybody had to put
side-boards on the garden fence to keep them from falling over into
other farms and annoying people who had all the melons they needed. I
fought squash bugs, cut worms, Hessian flies, chinch bugs, curculio,
mange, pip, drought, dropsy, caterpillars and contumely till the latter
part of August, when a friend from India came to visit me. I decided to
cut a watermelon in honor of his arrival. When the proper moment had
arrived and the dinner had progressed till the point of fruit, the
tropical depths of my garden gave up their season's wealth in the shape
of a low-browed citron about as large and succulent as a hot ball.

I have had other similar experiences, and I think we ought to do
something about it if we can. I have planted the seed of the morning
glory and the moon flower and dreamed at night that my home looked like
a florist's advertisement, but when leafy June came a bunch of Norway
oats and a hill of corn were trying to climb the strings nailed up for
the use of my non-resident vines. I have planted with song and laughter
the seeds of the ostensible pansy and carnation, only in tears to reap
the bachelor's button and the glistening foliage of the sorghum plant.
I have planted in faith and a deep, warm soil, with pleasing hope in my
heart and a dark-red picture on the outside of the package, only to
harvest the low, vulgar jimson weed and the night-blooming bull thistle.

Does the mean temperature or the average rainfall have anything to do
with it? If statistics are working these changes they ought to be
stopped. For my own part, however, I am led to believe that our seedsmen
put so much money into their catalogues that they do not have anything
left to use in the purchase of seeds. Good religion and very fair
cookies may be produced without the aid of caraway seed, but you cannot
gather nice, fresh train figs of thistles or expect much of a seedsman
whose plants make no effort whatever to resemble their pictures.

Hoping that you will examine into this matter, and that the club will
always hereafter look carefully in this column for its farm information,
I remain, in a sitting posture, yours truly.

     BILL NYE.

[Illustration: "YOU IN THE HAMMOCK; AND I, NEAR BY."]



In the Afternoon


     You in the hammock; and I, near by,
       Was trying to read, and to swing you, too;
     And the green of the sward was so kind to the eye,
       And the shade of the maples so cool and blue,
       That often I looked from the book to you
     To say as much, with a sigh.

     You in the hammock. The book we'd brought
       From the parlor--to read in the open air,--
     Something of love and of Launcelot
       And Guinevere, I believe, was there--
       But the afternoon, it was far more fair
     Than the poem was, I thought.

     You in the hammock; and on and on
       I droned and droned through the rhythmic stuff--
     But with always a half of my vision gone
       Over the top of the page--enough
       To caressingly gaze at you, swathed in the fluff
     Of your hair and your odorous lawn.

     You in the hammock--And that was a year--
       Fully a year ago, I guess!--
     And what do we care for their Guinevere
       And her Launcelot and their lordliness!--
       You in the hammock still, and--Yes--
     Kiss me again, my dear!



The Rise and Fall of William Johnson

(A CHRISTMAS STORY)


[Illustration]

It has always been one of my pet notions that on Christmas day we ought
not to remember those only who may be related to us and those who are
prosperous, but, that we should, while remembering them, forget not the
unfortunate who are dead to all the world but themselves and who suffer
in prison walls, not alone for their own crimes, perhaps, but for the
crimes of their parents and their grandparents before them. Few of the
prosperous and happy pause to-day to think of the convict whose days are
all alike and whose nights are filled with bitterness.

At the risk of being dull and prosy, I am going to tell a story that is
not especially humorous or pathetic, but merely true. Every Christmas I
try to tell a true story. I do not want the day to go by without some
sort of recognition by which to distinguish it from other days, and so I
celebrate it in that way.

This is the story of William Johnson, a Swede, who went to Wyoming
Territory, perhaps fifteen years ago, to seek his fortune among
strangers, and who, without even a knowledge of the English language,
began in his patient way to work at whatever his hands found to do. He
was a plain, long-legged man, with downcast eyes and nose.

There was some surprise expressed all around when he was charged one day
by Jake Feinn with feloniously taking, stealing, carrying away and
driving away one team of horses, the property of the affiant, and of the
value of $200 contrary to the statutes in such case made and provided,
and against the peace and dignity of the Territory of Wyoming.

Everybody laughed at the idea of Jake Feinn owning a team worth $200,
and, as he was also a chronic litigator, it was generally conceded that
Johnson would be discharged. But his misfortunes seemed to swoop down on
him from the very first moment. At the preliminary examination Johnson
acted like a man who was dazed. He couldn't talk or understand English
very well. He failed to get a lawyer. He pleaded guilty, not knowing
what it meant, and was permitted to take it back. He had no witnesses,
and the Court was in something of a hurry as it had to prepare a speech
that afternoon to be delivered in the evening on the "Beauties of
Eternal Justice," and so it was adjudged that in default of $500 bail
the said William Johnson be committed to the County Jail of Albany
County in said Territory, there to await the action of the Grand Jury
for the succeeding term of the District Court for the Second Judicial
District of Wyoming.

[Illustration]

Meekly and silently William Johnson left the warm and stimulating Indian
summer air of October to enter the dark and undesirable den of a felon.
Patiently he accepted the heart-breaking destiny which seemed really to
belong to some one else. He put in his days studying an English primer
all the forenoon and doing housework around the jail kitchen in the
afternoon.

He was a very tall man and a very awkward man, with large, intellectual
joints and a sad face. When he got so that he could read a little I went
in to hear him one day. He stood up like an exaggerated schoolboy, and
while he bored holes in the page of his primer with a long and corneous
forefinger he read that little poem:

     Pray tell me, bird, what you can see
     Up in the top of that tall tree?
     Have you no fear that some rude boy
     May come and mar your peace and joy?

      *       *       *       *       *

     Oh, no, my child, I fear no harm,
     While with my song I thus can charm.
     My mate is here, my youngsters, too,
     And here we sit and sing to you.

Finally, the regular term of the District Court opened. Men who had come
for a long distance to vaunt their ignorance and other qualifications as
jurors could be seen on the streets. Here and there you could see the
familiar faces of those who had served as jurors for years and yet had
never lost a case. Wealthy delinquents began to subpoena large
detachments of witnesses at the expense of the county, and the poor
petty larceny people in the jail began to wonder why their witnesses
didn't show up. Slowly the wheels of Justice began to revolve. Ever and
anon could be heard the strident notes which came from the room where
the counsel for the defense was filing his objections, while now and
then the ear was startled with the low quash of the indictment.

Finally the case of the Territory against William Johnson was called.

"Mr. Johnson," asked Judge Blair, "have you counsel?"

The defendant said he had not.

"Are you able to employ counsel?"

He evidently wasn't able to employ counsel twenty minutes, even if it
could be had at a dollar a day.

"Do you wish to have the Court appoint counsel for you?"

He saw no other way, so he said yes.

Where criminals are too poor to employ counsel the Court selects a poor
but honest young lawyer, who practices on the defendant. I was appointed
that way myself once to defend a man who swears he will kill me as soon
as he gets out of the penitentiary.

William Johnson was peculiarly unfortunate in the election of his
counsel. The man who was appointed to defend him was a very much
overestimated young man who started the movement himself. He was
courageous, however, and perfectly willing to wade in where angels would
naturally hang back. His brain would not have soiled the finest fabric,
but his egotism had a biceps muscle on it like a loaf of Vienna bread.
He was the kind of young man who loves to go and see the drama and
explain it along about five minutes in advance of the company in a loud,
trenchant voice.

He defended William Johnson. Thus in the prime of life, hardly
understanding a word of the trial, stunned, helpless, alone, the latter
began upon his term of five years in the penitentiary. His patient,
gentle face impressed me as it did others, and his very helplessness
thus became his greatest help.

It is not egotism which prompts me to tell here of what followed. It was
but natural that I should go to Judge Blair, who, besides being the most
popular Judge in the West, had, as I knew, a kind heart. He agreed with
me that Johnson's side of the case had not been properly presented and
that the jury had grave doubts about the horses having been worth enough
to constitute a felony even if Johnson had unlawfully taken them. Other
lawyers said that at the worst it was a civil offense, or trover, or
trespass, or wilful negligence, or embezzlement, or conversion, but that
the remedy was by civil process. One lawyer said it was an outrage, and
Charlie Bramel said that if Johnson would put up $50 he would agree to
jerk him out of the jug on a writ of habeas corpus before dinner.

[Illustration]

Seeing how the sentiment ran, I resolved to start a petition for
Johnson's pardon. I got the signatures of the Court, the court
officers, the jury and the leading men of business in the country. Just
as I was about to take it to Gov. Thayer, there was an incident at the
penitentiary. William Johnson had won the hearts of the Warden and the
guards to that extent that he was sent out one afternoon to assist one
of the guards in overseeing the labor of a squad working in a stone
quarry near by. Taking advantage of a time when the guard was a few
hundred feet away, the other convicts knocked Johnson down and tried to
get away. He got up, however, and interested them till the guard got to
him and the escape was prevented. Johnson waited till all was secure
again, and then fainted from loss of blood occasioned by a scalp wound
over which he had a long fight afterward with erysipelas.

This was all lucky for me, and when I presented the petition to the
Governor I had a strong case, made more so by the heroic action of a man
who had been unjustly condemned.

There is but little more to tell. The Governor intimated that he would
take favorable action upon the petition, but he wanted time. My great
anxiety, as I told him, was to get the pardon in time so that Johnson
could spend his Christmas in freedom. I had seen him frequently, and he
was pale and thin to emaciation. He could not live long if he remained
where he was. I spoke earnestly of his good character since his
incarceration, and the Governor promised prompt action. But he was
called away in December and I feared that he might, in the rush and
pressure of other business, forget the case of Johnson till after the
holidays. So I telegraphed him and made his life a burden to him till
the afternoon of the 24th, when the 4:50 train brought the pardon. In my
poor, weak way I have been in the habit for some years of making
Christmas presents, but nothing that could be bought with money ever
made me a happier donor or donee than the simple act of giving to
William Johnson four years of freedom which he did not look for.

I went away to spend my own Christmas, but not till I had given Johnson
a few dollars to help him get another start, and had made him promise to
write me how he got along. And so that to me was a memorable and a
joyous Christmas, for I had made myself happy by making others happy.

     BILL NYE.

P. S.--Perhaps I ought not to close this account so abruptly as I have
done, for the reader will naturally ask whether Johnson ever wrote me,
as he said he would. I only received one letter from him, and that I
found when I got back, a few days after Christmas. It was quite
characteristic, and read as follows:

     "Laramy the twenty-fitt dec.

     FRENT NIE.

"When you get this Letter i will Be in A nuther tearritory whare the
weekid seize from trubbling & the weery air at Reast excoose my Poor
writing i refer above to the tearritory of Utaw where i will begin Life
A new & all will be fergott.

"I hop god wil Reward you In Caise i Shood not Be Abel to Do so.

"You have Bin a good frent off me and so I am shure you will enjoy to
heer of my success i hope the slooth hounds of Justiss will not try to
folly me for it will be worse than Useles as i have a damsite better
team than i had Before.

"It is the Sheariff's team wich i have got & his name is denis, tel the
Governor to Parden me if i have seeamed Rude i shall go to some new
Plais whare i will not be Looked upon with Suchpishion wishing you a
mary Crissmus hapy new year and April Fool i will Close from your tru
Frent

     "BILL JOHNSON."

[Illustration]



From Delphi to Camden

[Illustration]


       I.

     From Delphi to Camden--little Hoosier towns,--
     But here were classic meadows, blooming dales and downs
     And here were grassy pastures, dewy as the leas
     Trampled over by the trains of royal pageantries.
     And here the winding highway loitered through the shade
     Of the hazel-covert, where, in ambuscade,
     Loomed the larch and linden, and the green-wood tree
     Under which bold Robin Hood loud hallooed to me!

     Here the stir and riot of the busy day,
     Dwindled to the quiet of the breath of May;
     Gurgling brooks, and ridges lily-marged, and spanned
     By the rustic bridges found in Wonderland!

       II.

     From Delphi to Camden--from Camden back again!--
     And now the night was on us, and the lightning and the rain;
     And still the way was wondrous with the flash of hill and plain,--
     The stars like printed asterisks--the moon a murky stain!

     And I thought of tragic idyl, and of flight and hot pursuit,
     And the jingle of the bridle, and cuirass, and spur on boot,
     As our horses's hooves struck showers from the flinty bowlders set
     In freshet ways with writhing reed and drowning violet.

     And we passed beleaguered castles, with their battlements a-frown;
     Where a tree fell in the forest was a turret toppled down;
     While my master and commander--the brave knight I galloped with
     On this reckless road to ruin or to fame, was--Dr. Smith!



[Illustration: The Grammatical Boy]


Sometimes a sad homesick feeling comes over me when I compare the
prevailing style of anecdote and school literature with the old McGuffey
brand, so well known thirty years ago. To-day our juvenile literature,
it seems to me, is so transparent, so easy to understand that I am not
surprised to learn that the rising generation shows signs of
lawlessness.

Boys to-day do not use the respectful language and large, luxuriant
words that they did when Mr. McGuffey used to stand around and report
their conversations for his justly celebrated school reader. It is
disagreeable to think of, but it is none the less true, and for one I
think we should face the facts.

I ask the careful student of school literature to compare the following
selection, which I have written myself with great care, and arranged
with special reference to the matter of choice and difficult words, with
the flippant and commonplace terms used in the average school book of
to-day.

One day as George Pillgarlic was going to his tasks, and while passing
through the wood, he spied a tall man approaching in an opposite
direction along the highway.

"Ah!" thought George, in a low, mellow tone of voice, "whom have we
here?"

"Good morning, my fine fellow," exclaimed the stranger, pleasantly. "Do
you reside in this locality?"

"Indeed I do," retorted George, cheerily, doffing his cap. "In yonder
cottage, near the glen, my widowed mother and her thirteen children
dwell with me."

"And is your father dead?" exclaimed the man, with a rising inflection.

"Extremely so," murmured the lad, "and, oh, sir, that is why my poor
mother is a widow."

"And how did your papa die?" asked the man, as he thoughtfully stood on
the other foot awhile.

"Alas! sir," said George, as a large hot tear stole down his pale cheek,
and fell with a loud report on the warty surface of his bare foot, "he
was lost at sea in a bitter gale. The good ship foundered two years ago
last Christmastide, and father was foundered at the same time. No one
knew of the loss of the ship and that the crew was drowned until the
next spring, and it was then too late."

"And what is your age, my fine fellow?" quoth the stranger.

"If I live till next October," said the boy, in a declamatory tone of
voice suitable for a Second Reader. "I will be seven years of age."

"And who provides for your mother and her large family of children?"
queried the man.

"Indeed, I do, sir," replied George, in a shrill tone. "I toil, oh, so
hard, sir, for we are very, very poor, and since my elder sister, Ann,
was married and brought her husband home to live with us, I have to toil
more assiduously than heretofore."

"And by what means do you obtain a livelihood?" exclaimed the man, in
slowly measured and grammatical words.

"By digging wells, kind sir," replied George, picking up a tired ant as
he spoke and stroking it on the back. "I have a good education, and so I
am able to dig wells as well as a man. I do this day-times and take in
washing at night. In this way I am enabled barely to maintain our family
in a precarious manner; but, oh, sir, should my other sisters marry, I
fear that some of my brothers-in-law would have to suffer."

"And do you not fear the deadly fire-damp?" asked the stranger in an
earnest tone.

"Not by a damp sight," answered George, with a low gurgling laugh, for
he was a great wag.

"You are indeed a brave lad," exclaimed the stranger, as he repressed a
smile. "And do you not at times become very weary and wish for other
ways of passing your time?"

"Indeed, I do, sir," said the lad. "I would fain run and romp and be gay
like other boys, but I must engage in constant manual exercise, or we
will have no bread to eat, and I have not seen a pie since papa perished
in the moist and moaning sea."

"And what if I were to tell you that your papa did not perish at sea,
but was saved from a humid grave?" asked the stranger in pleasing tones.

"Ah, sir," exclaimed George, in a genteel manner, again doffing his cap,
"I am too polite to tell you what I would say, and beside, sir, you are
much larger than I am."

"But, my brave lad," said the man in low musical tones, "do you not know
me, Georgie? Oh, George!"

"I must say," replied George, "that you have the advantage of me. Whilst
I may have met you before, I cannot at this moment place you, sir."

"My son! oh, my son!" murmured the man, at the same time taking a large
strawberry mark out of his valise and showing it to the lad. "Do you not
recognize your parent on your father's side? When our good ship went to
the bottom, all perished save me. I swam several miles through the
billows, and at last utterly exhausted, gave up all hope of life.
Suddenly I stepped on something hard. It was the United States.

"And now, my brave boy," exclaimed the man with great glee, "see what I
have brought for you." It was but the work of a moment to unclasp from a
shawl-strap which he held in his hand and present to George's astonished
gaze a large 40-cent water-melon, which until now had been concealed by
the shawl-strap.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: Craqueodoom.]


     The Crankadox leaned o'er the edge of the moon
       And wistfully gazed on the sea
     Where the Gryxabodill madly whistled a tune
       To the air of Ti-fol-de-ding-dee.
     The quavering shriek of the Fliupthecreek
       Was fitfully wafted afar
     To the Queen of the Wunks as she powdered her cheek
       With the pulverized rays of a star.

     The Gool closed his ear on the voice of the Grig,
       And his heart it grew heavy as lead
     As he marked the Baldekin adjusting his wig
       On the opposite side of his head;
     And the air it grew chill as the Gryxabodill
       Raised his dank, dripping fins to the skies,
     To plead with the Plunk for the use of her bill
       To pick the tears out of his eyes.

     The ghost of the Zhack flitted by in a trance;
       And the Squidjum hid under a tub
     As he heard the loud hooves of the Hooken advance
       With a rub-a-dub-dub-a-dub dub!
     And the Crankadox cried as he laid down and died,
       "My fate there is none to bewail!"
     While the Queen of the Wunks drifted over the tide
       With a long piece of crape to her tail.



The Chemist of the Carolinas


Asheville, N. C., Dec. 13--Last week I went out into the mountains for
the purpose of securing a holly tree with red berries on it for
Yuletide. I had noticed in all my pictures of Christmas festivities in
England that the holly, with cranberries on it, constituted the
background of Yuletide. A Yuletide in England without a holly bough and
a little mistletoe in it wouldn't be worth half price. Here these
vegetables grow in great confusion, owing to the equable climate, and so
the holly tree is within the reach of all.

I resolved to secure one personally, so I sped away into the mountains
where, in less than the time it takes to tell it, I had succeeded in
finding a holly tree and losing myself. It is a very solemn sensation to
feel that you are lost, and that before you can be found something is
liable to happen to the universe.

I wandered aimlessly about for half an hour, hoping that I would be
missed in society and some one sent in search of me. I was just about to
give up in despair and sink down on a bed of moss with the idea of
shuffling off six or seven feet of mortal coil when, a few rods away, I
saw a blue smoke issuing from the side of the mountain and rising toward
the sky. I went rapidly towards it and found it to be a plain dugout
with a dirt floor. I entered and cast myself upon a rude nail keg,
allowing my feet to remain suspended at the lower end of my legs, an
attitude which I frequently affect when fatigued.

[Illustration]

The place was not occupied at the time I entered, though there was a
fire and things looked as though the owner had not been long absent. It
seemed to be a kind of laboratory, for I could see here and there the
earmarks of the chemist. I feared at first that it was a bomb factory,
but as I could not see any of these implements in a perfected state I
decided that it was safe and waited for the owner to arrive.

After a time I heard a low guttural footstep approaching up the hill. I
went to the door and exclaimed to the proprietor as he came, "Merry
Christmas, Colonel."

"Merry Christmas be d----d!" said he in the same bantering tone. "What
in three dashes, two hyphens and an astonisher do you want here, you
double-dashed and double-blanketed blank to dash and return!!"

The wording here is my own, but it gives an idea of the way the
conversation was drifting. You can see by his manner that literary
people are not alone in being surly, irritable and unreasonable.

So I humored him and spoke kindly to him and smoothed down his ruffled
plumage with my gay badinage, for he wore a shawl and you can never tell
whether a man wearing a shawl is armed or not. I give herewith a view of
this chemist as he appeared on the morning I met him.

It will be noticed that he was a man about medium height with clear-cut
features and hair and retreating brisket. His hair was dark and hung in
great waves which seemed to have caught the sunlight and retained it
together with a great many other atmospheric phenomena. He wore a straw
hat, such as I once saw Horace Greeley catch grasshoppers in, on the
banks of the Kinnickinnick, just before he caught a small trout.

I spent some time with him watching him as he made his various
experiments. Finally, he showed me a new beverage that he had been
engaged in perfecting. It was inclosed in a dark brown stone receptacle
and was held in place by a common corn-cob stopper. I took some of it
in order to show that I confided in him. I do not remember anything else
distinctly. The fumes of this drink went at once to my brain, where it
had what might be termed a complete walkover.

I now have no hesitation in saying that the fluid must have been
alcoholic in its nature, for when I regained my consciousness I was
extremely elsewhere. I found myself on a road which seemed to lead in
two opposite directions, and my mind was very much confused.

I hardly know how I got home, but I finally did get there, accompanied
by a strong leaning towards Prohibition. A few days ago I received the
following letter:

Sir:--I at first thought when I saw you at my laboratory the other day
that you was a low, inquisitive cuss and so I spoke to you in harsh
tones and reproached you and upbraided you by calling you everything I
could lay my tongue to, but since then I have concluded that you didn't
know any better.

You said to me that you found my place by seeing the smoke coming out of
the chimbley; that has given me an idea that you might know something
about what's called a smoke consumer of which I have heard. I am doing a
fair business, but I am a good deal pestered, as you might say, by
people who come in on me when I do not want to mingle in society. A man
in the chemist business cannot succeed if he is all the time
interrupted by Tom, Dick and Harry coming in on him when he is in the
middle of an experiment.

I am engaged in making a remedy for which there is a great demand, but
its manufacture is regarded with suspicion by United States officials
who want to be considered zealous. Rather than be drawn into any
difficulty with these people, I have always courted retirement and
avoided the busy haunts of men. Still some strolling idiot or other will
occasionally see the smoke from my little home and drop in on me.

Could you find out about this smoke consumer and see what the price
would be and let me known as soon as possible?

If you could do so I can be of great service to you. Leave the letter
under the big stone where you found yourself the other day when you came
out of your trance. I call it a trance because this letter might fall
into the hands of your family. If you will find out about this smoke
consumer and leave the information where I have told you you will find
on the following day a large jug of mountain dew in the same place that
will make your hair grow and give a roseate hue to your otherwise gloomy
life.

Do not try to come here again. It might compromise me. A man in your
position may not have anything to risk, but with me it is different. My
unsullied reputation is all I have to bequeath to my children. If you
come often there will not be enough left to go around, as I have a large
family.

If you hear of anybody that wants to trade a good double-barrel shotgun
for a small portable worm and retort that is too small for my business,
I can give him a good trade on it if he will let you know. This is a
good machine for experimental purposes, and being no larger than a
Babcock fire-extinguisher it can be readily conveyed to a place of
safety at a very rapid rate.

You might say to your friends that we shall try in the future as we have
in the past to keep up the standard of our goods, so as to merit a
continued patronage.

Citizens of the United States, or those who have declared their
intention to become such, will always be welcome at our works, provided
they are not office-holders in any capacity. We have no use for those
who are in any way connected with the public teat.

     Dictated letter.

     I. B. MOONSHINE.

I hope that any one will feel perfectly free to address me in relation
to anything referred to in the above letter. All communications
containing remittances will be regarded as strictly confidential.

[Illustration]



His Crazy-Bone


     The man that struck his crazy-bone,
       All suddenly jerked up one foot
       And hopped three vivid hops, and put
         His elbow straight before him--then
     Flashed white as pallid Parian stone,
       And clinched his eyes, and hopped again.

     He spake no word--he made no moan--
       He muttered no invective--but
       Just gripped his eyelids tighter shut,
         And as the world whizzed past him then,
     He only knew his crazy-bone
       Was stricken--so--he hopped again.



Prying Open the Future


[Illustration]

"Ring the bell and the door will open," is the remark made by a small
label over a bell-handle in Third avenue, near Eighteenth street, where
Mme. La Foy reads the past, present and future at so much per read.
Love, marriage, divorce, illness, speculation and sickness are there
handled with the utmost impunity by "Mme. La Foy, the famous scientific
astrologist," who has monkeyed with the planets for twenty years, and if
she wanted any information has "read it in the stars."

I rang the bell the other day to see if the door would open. It did so
after considerable delay, and a pimply boy in knee pants showed me
upstairs into the waiting-room. After a while I was removed to the
consultation-room, where Mme. La Foy, seated behind a small oil-cloth
covered table, rakes up old personalities and pries into the future at
cut rates.

Skirmishing about among the planets for twenty years involves a great
deal of fatigue and exposure, to say nothing of the night work, and so
Mme. La Foy has the air of one who has put in a very busy life. She is
as familiar with planets though as you or I might be with our own
family, and calls them by their first names. She would know Jupiter,
Venus, Saturn, Adonis or any of the other fixed stars the darkest night
that ever blew.

"Mme. La Foy De Graw," said I, bowing with the easy grace of a gentleman
of the old school, "would you mind peering into the future for me about
a half dollar's worth, not necessarily for publication, et cetera."

"Certainly not. What would you like to know?"

"Why, I want to know all I can for the money," I said in a bantering
tone. "Of course I do not wish to know what I already know. It is what I
do not know that I desire to know. Tell me what I do not know, Madame. I
will detain you but a moment."

She gave me back my large, round half dollar and told me that she was
already weary. She asked me to excuse her. She was willing to unveil the
future to me in her poor, weak way, but she could not guarantee to let a
large flood of light into the darkened basement of a benighted mind for
half a dollar.

"You can tell me what year and on what day of the month you were born,"
said Mme. La Foy, "and I will outline your life to you. I generally
require a lock of the hair, but in your case we will dispense with it."

I told her when I was born and the circumstances as well as I could
recall them.

"This brings you under Venus, Mercury and Mars. These three planets were
in conjunction at the time of your birth. You were born when the sign
was wrong and you have had more or less trouble ever since. Had you been
born when the sign was in the head or the heart, instead of the feet,
you would not have spread out over the ground so much.

"Your health is very good, as is the health of those generally who are
born under the same auspices that you were. People who are born under
the reign of the crab are apt to be cancerous. You, however, have great
lung power and wonderful gastric possibilities. Yet, at times, you would
be easily upset. A strong cyclone that would unroof a court-house or tip
over a through train would also upset you, in spite of your broad, firm
feet if the wind got behind one of your ears.

"You will be married early, and you will be very happy, though your wife
will not enjoy herself very much. Your wife will be much happier during
her second marriage.

"You will prosper better in business matters without forming any
partnerships. Do not go into partnership with a small, dark man who has
neuralgia and a fine yacht. He has abundant means, but he will go
through you like an electric shock.

"Tuesdays and Saturdays will be your most fortunate days on which to
borrow money of men with light hair. Mondays and Thursdays will be your
best days for approaching dark men.

"Look out for a low-set man accompanied by an office cat, both of whom
are engaged in the newspaper business. He is crafty and bald-headed on
his father's side. He prints the only paper that contains the full text
of his speeches at testimonials and dinners given to other people. Do
not loan him money on any account.

"You would succeed as well a musician or an inventor, but you would not
do well as a poet. You have all the keen sensibility and strong passion
of a poet, but you haven't the hair. Do not try poesy.

"In the future I see you very prosperous. You are on the lecture
platform speaking. Large crowds of people are jostling each other at the
box-office and trying to get their money back.

"Then I see you riding behind a flexible horse that must have cost a
large sum of money. You are smoking a cigar that has never been in use
before. Then Venus bisects the orbit of Mars and I see you going home
with your head tied up in the lap robe, you and your spirited horse in
the same ambulance."

"But do you see anything for me in the future, Mme. La Foy?" I asked,
taking my feet off the table, the better to watch her features,
"anything that would seem to indicate political preferment, a reward for
past services to my country, as it were?"

"No, not clearly. But wait a moment. Your horoscope begins to get a
little more intelligent. I see you at the door of the Senate Chamber.
You are counting over your money and looking sadly at a schedule of
prices. Then you turn sorrowfully away and decide to buy a seat in the
House instead. Many years after I see you in the Senate. You are there
day after day attending to your duties. You are there early, before any
one else, and I see you pacing back and forth, up and down the aisles,
sweeping out the Senate Chamber and dusting off the seats and
rejuvenating the cuspidors."

"Does this horoscope which you are using this season give you any idea
as to whether money matters will be scarce with me next week or
otherwise, and if so what I had better do about it?"

"Towards the last of the week you will experience considerable monetary
prostration, but just as you have become despondent, at the very tail
end of the week, the horizon will clear up and a slight, dark gentleman,
with wide trousers, who is a total stranger to you, will loan you quite
a sum of money, with the understanding that it is to be repaid on
Monday."

"Then you would not advise me to go to Coney Island until the week after
next?"

"Certainly not."

"Would it be etiquette in dancing a quadrille to swing a young person of
the opposite sex twice round at a select party when you are but slightly
acquainted, but feel quite confident that her partner is unarmed?"

"Yes."

"Does your horoscope tell a person what to do with raspberry jelly that
will not jell?"

"No, not at the present prices."

"So you predict an early marriage, with threatening weather and strong
prevailing easterly winds along the Gulf States?"

"Yes, sir."

"And is there no way that this early marriage may be evaded?"

"No, not unless you put it off till later in life."

"Thank you," I said, rising and looking out the window over a broad
sweep of undulating alley and wind-swept roofing, "and now, how much are
you out on this?"

"Sir!"

"What's the damage?"

"Oh, one dollar."

"But don't you advertise to read the past, present and future for fifty
cents?"

"Well, that is where a person has had other information before in his
life and has some knowledge to begin with; but where I fill up a vacant
mind entirely and store it with facts of all kinds and stock it up so
that it can do business for itself, I charge a dollar. I cannot
thoroughly refit and refurnish a mental tenement from the ground up for
fifty cents."

I do not think we have as good "Astrologists" now as we used to have.
Astrologists cannot crawl under the tent and pry into the future as they
could three or four thousand years ago.



Mr. Silberberg

[Illustration]


     I like me yet dot leedle chile
       Vich climb my lap up in to-day,
       Unt took my cheap cigair avay,
     Unt laugh and kiss me purty whvile,--
       Possescially I like dose mout'
         Vich taste his moder's like--unt so,
     Off my cigair it gone glean out
       --Yust let it go!

     Vat I caire den for anyding?
       Der paper schlip out fon my hand,
       And all my odvairtizement stand,
     Mitout new changements boddering;
       I only dink--I have me dis
         Von leedle boy to pet unt love
       Unt play me vit, unt hug unt kiss--
         Unt dot's enough!

     Der plans unt pairposes I vear
       Out in der vorld all fades avay;
       Unt vit der beeznid of der day
     I got me den no time to spare;
       Der caires of trade vas caires no more--
         Dem cash accounds dey dodge me by,
       Unt vit my chile I roll der floor,
         Unt laugh unt gry!

     Ah! frient! dem childens is der ones
       Dot got some happy times--you bet!--
       Dot's vy ven I been grooved up yet
     I vish I vould been leedle vonce!
       Unt ven dot leetle roozter tries
         Dem baby-tricks I used to do,
       My mout it vater, unt my eyes
         Dey vater too!

     Unt all der summertime unt spring
       Of childhood it come back to me,
       So dot it vas a dream I see
     Ven I yust look at anyding,
       Unt ven dot leedle boy run by,
         I dink "dot's me," fon hour to hour
       Schtill chasing yet dose butterfly
         Fon flower to flower!

     Oxpose I vas lots money vairt,
       Mit blenty schtone-front schtore to rent
       Unt mor'gages at twelf per-cent,
     Unt diamonds in my ruffled shairt,--
       I make a'signment of all dot,
         Unt tairn it over mit a schmile,
       Obber you please--but don'd forgot
         I keep dot chile!

[Illustration]



Spirits at Home


(THE FAMILY)

     There was Father, and Mother, and Emmy, and Jane
       And Lou, and Ellen, and John and me--
     And father was killed in the war, and Lou
     She died of consumption, and John did too,
       And Emmy she went with the pleurisy.

(THE SPIRITS)

     Father believed in 'em all his life--
       But Mother, at first, she'd shake her head--
     Till after the battle of Champion Hill,
     When many a flag in the winder-sill
       Had crape mixed in with the white and red!

     I used to doubt 'em myself till then--
       But me and Mother was satisfied
     When Ellen she set, and Father came
     And rapped "God bless you!" and Mother's name,
       And "The flag's up here!"   And we just all cried!

     Used to come often after that,
       And talk to us--just as he used to do,
     Pleasantest kind! And once, for John,
     He said he was "lonesome but wouldn't let on--
       Fear Mother would worry, and Emmy and Lou."

     But Lou was the bravest girl on earth--
       For all she never was hale and strong
     She'd have her fun! With her voice clean lost
     She'd laugh and joke us that when she crossed
       To father, _we'd_ all come taggin' along.

     Died--just that way! And the raps was thick
       _That_ night, as they often since occur,
     Extry loud. And when Lou got back
     She said it was Father and her--and "whack!"
       She tuck the table--and we knowed _her_!

     John and Emmy, in five years more,
       Both had went.--And it seemed like fate!--
     For the old home it burnt down,--but Jane
     And me and Ellen we built again
       The new house, here, on the old estate.

     And a happier family I don't know
       Of anywheres--unless its _them_--
     Father, with all his love for Lou,
     And her there with him, and healthy, too,
       And laughin', with John and little Em.

     And, first we moved in the new house here,
       They all dropped in for a long pow-wow.
     "We like your buildin', of course," Lou said,--
     "But wouldn't swop with you to save your head--
       For _we_ live in the ghost of the old house, now!"



[Illustration: Healthy but out of the Race.]


In an interview which I have just had with myself, I have positively
stated, and now repeat, that at neither the St. Louis nor Chicago
Convention will my name be presented as a candidate.

But my health is bully.

We are upon the threshold of a most bitter and acrimonious fight. Great
wisdom and foresight are needed at this hour, and the true patriot will
forget himself and his own interests in his great yearning for the good
of his common country and the success of his party. What we need at this
time is a leader whose name will not be presented at the convention but
whose health is good.

No one has a fuller or better conception of the great duties of the hour
than I. How clearly to my mind are the duties of the American citizen
outlined to-day! I have never seen with clearer, keener vision the
great needs of my country, and my pores have never been more open. Four
years ago I was in some doubt relative to certain important questions
which now are clearly and satisfactorily settled in my mind. I hesitated
then where now I am fully established, and my tongue was coated in the
morning when I arose, whereas now I bound lightly from bed, kick out a
window, climb to the roof by means of the fire-escape and there rehearse
speeches which I will make this fall in case it should be discovered at
either of the conventions that my name alone can heal the rupture in the
party and prevent its works from falling out.

I think my voice is better also that it was either four, eight, twelve
or sixteen years ago, and it does not tire me so much to think of things
to say from the tail-gate of a train as it did when I first began to
refrain from presenting my name to conventions.

According to my notion, our candidate should be a plain man, a magnetic
but hairless patriot, who should be suddenly thought of by a majority of
the convention and nominated by acclamation. He should not be a
hide-bound politician, but on the contrary he should be greatly
startled, while down cellar sprouting potatoes, to learn that he has
been nominated. That's the kind of man who always surprises everybody
with his sagacity when an emergency arises.

In going down my cellar stairs the committee will do well to avoid
stepping on a large and venomous dog who sleeps on the top stair. Or I
will tie him in the barn if I can be informed when I am liable to be
startled.

[Illustration]

I have always thought that the neatest method of calling a man to
public life was the one adopted some years since in the case of
Cincinnatus. He was one day breaking a pair of nervous red steers in the
north field. It was a hot day in July, and he was trying to summer
fallow a piece of ground where the jimson weeds grew seven feet high.
The plough would not scour, and the steers had turned the yoke twice on
him. Cincinnatus had hung his toga on a tamarac pole to strike a furrow
by, and hadn't succeeded in getting the plough in more than twice in
going across. Dressing as he did in the Roman costume of 458 B. C., the
blackberry vines had scratched his massive legs till they were a sight
to behold. He had scourged Old Bright and twisted the tail of Bolly till
he was sick at heart. All through the long afternoon, wearing a hot,
rusty helmet with rabbit-skin ear tabs he had toiled on, when suddenly a
majority of the Roman voters climbed over the fence and asked him to
become dictator in place of Spurious Melius.

Putting on his toga and buckling an old hame strap around his loins he
said: "Gentlemen, if you will wait till I go to the house and get some
vaseline on my limbs I will do your dictating for you as low as you have
ever had it done." He then left his team standing in the furrow while he
served his country in an official capacity for a little over twenty-nine
years, after which he went back and resumed his farming.

[Illustration]

Though 2,300 years have since passed away and historians have been
busy with that epoch ever since, no one has yet discovered the methods
by which Cincinnatus organized and executed this, the most successful
"People's Movement" of which we are informed.

The great trouble with the modern boom is that it is too precocious. It
knows more before it gets its clothes on than the nurse, the physician
and its parents. It then dies before the sap starts in the maple
forests.

My object in writing this letter is largely to tone down and keep in
check any popular movement in my behalf until the weather in more
settled. A season-cracked boom is a thing I despise.

I inclose my picture, however, which shows that I am so healthy that it
keeps me awake nights. I go about the house singing all the time and
playing pranks on my grandparents. My eye dances with ill-concealed
merriment, and my conversation is just as sparkling as it can be.

I believe that during this campaign we should lay aside politics so far
as possible and unite on an unknown, homely, but sparkling man. Let us
lay aside all race prejudices and old party feeling and elect a magnetic
chump who does not look so very well, but who feels first rate.

Towards the middle of June I shall go away to an obscure place where I
cannot be reached. My mail will be forwarded to me by a gentleman who
knows how I feel in relation to the wants and needs of the country.

To those who have prospered during the past twenty years let me say they
owe it to the perpetuation of the principles and institutions towards
the establishment and maintenance of which I have given the best
energies of my life. To those who have been unfortunate let me say
frankly that they owe it to themselves.

I have never had less malaria or despondency in my system that I have
this spring. My cheeks have a delicate bloom on them like a russet
apple, and my step is light and elastic. In the morning I arise from my
couch and, touching a concealed spring, it becomes an upright piano. I
then bathe in a low divan which contains a jointed tank. I then sing
until interfered with by property owners and tax-payers who reside near
by. After a light breakfast of calf's liver and custard pie I go into
the reception-room and wait for people to come and feel my pulse. In the
afternoon I lie down on a lounge for two or three hours, wondering in
what way I can endear myself to the laboring man. I then dine heartily
at my club. In the evening I go to see the amateurs play "Pygmalion and
Galatea." As I remain till the play is over, any one can see that I am a
very robust man. After I get home I write two or three thousand words in
my diary. I then insert myself into the bosom of my piano and sleep,
having first removed my clothes and ironed my trousers for future
reference.

In closing, let me urge one and all to renewed effort. The prospects for
a speedy and unqualified victory at the polls were never more roseate.
Let us select a man upon whom we can all unite, a man who has no venom
in him, a man who has successfully defied and trampled on the infamous
Interstate Commerce act, a man who, though in the full flush and pride
and bloom and fluff of life's meridian, still disdains to present his
name to the convention.



Lines

ON HEARING A COW BAWL, IN A DEEP FIT OF DEJECTION, ON THE EVENING OF
JULY 3, A. D. 18--


[Illustration]

     Portentous sound! mysteriously vast
       And awful in the grandeur of refrain
     That lifts the listener's hair, as it swells past,
       And pours in turbid currents down the lane.

     The small boy at the woodpile, in a dream
       Slow trails the meat-rind o'er the listless saw;
     The chickens roosting o'er him on the beam
       Uplifted their drowsy heads with cootered awe.

     The "Gung-oigh" of the pump is strangely stilled;
       The smoke-house door bangs once emphatic'ly,
     Then bangs no more, but leaves the silence filled
       With one lorn plaint's despotic minstrelsy.

     Yet I would join thy sorrowing madrigal,
       Most melancholy cow, and sing of thee
     Full-hearted through my tears, for, after all
       'Tis very kine of you to sing for me.



Me and Mary


     All my feelin's, in the spring
       Gits so blame contrary
     I can't think of anything
       Only me and Mary!
     "Me and Mary!" all the time,
     "Me and Mary!" like a rhyme
     Keeps a-dinging on till I'm
         Sick o' "Me and Mary!"

     "Me and Mary! Ef us two
       Only was together--
     Playin' like we used to do
       In the Aprile weather!"
     All the night and all the day
     I keep wishin' thataway
     Till I'm gittin' old and gray
       Jist on "Me and Mary!"

     Muddy yit along the pike
       Sense the winter's freezin'
     And the orchard's backard-like
       Bloomin' out this season;
     Only heerd one bluebird yit--
     Nary robin er tomtit;
     What's the how and why of it?
       S'pect its "Me and Mary!"

     Me and Mary liked the birds--
       That is, Mary sorto'
     Liked them first, and afterwerds
       W'y I thought I orto.
     And them birds--ef Mary stood
     Right here with me as she should--
     They'd be singin', them birds would
       All fer me and Mary!

     Birds er not, I'm hopin' some
       I kin git to plowin':
     Ef the sun'll only come,
       And the Lord allowin',
     Guess to-morry I'll turn in
     And git down to work agin:
     This here loaferin' won't win;
       Not fer me and Mary!

     Fer a man that loves, like me,
       And's afeard to name it,
     Till some other feller, he
       Gits the girl--dad-shame-it!
     Wet er dry, er clouds er sun--
     Winter gone, er jist begun--
     Out-door work few me er none.
       No more "Me and Mary!"



Niagara Falls from the Nye Side


                                     ON BOARD THE BOUNDING TRAIN,}
                       LONGITUDE 600 MILES WEST OF A GIVEN POINT.}

I visited Walton, N. Y., last week, a beautiful town in the flank of the
Catskills, at the head of the Delaware. It was there in that quiet and
picturesque valley that the great philanthropist and ameliator, Jay
Gould, first attracted attention. He has a number of relatives there who
note with pleasure the fact that Mr. Gould is not frittering away his
means during his lifetime.

In the office of Mr. Nish, of Walton, there is a map of the county made
by Jay Gould while in the surveying business, and several years before
he became a monarch of all he surveyed.

Mr. Gould also laid out the town of Walton. Since that he has laid out
other towns, but in a different way. He also plotted other towns.
Plotted to lay them out, I mean.

In Franklin there is an old wheelbarrow which Mr. Gould used on his
early surveying trips. In this he carried his surveying instruments, his
night shirt and manicure set. Connected with the wheel there is an
arrangement by which, at night, the young surveyor could tell at a
glance, with the aid of a piece of red chalk and a barn door, just how
far he had traveled during the day.

This instrument was no doubt the father of the pedometer and the
cyclorama, just as the boy is frequently father to the man. It was also
no doubt the _avant courier_ of the Dutch clock now used on freight
cabooses, which not only shows how far the car has traveled, but also
the rate of speed for each mile, the average rainfall and whether the
conductor has eaten onions during the day.

This instrument has worked quite a change in railroading since my
time. Years ago I can remember when I used to ride in a caboose and
enjoy myself, and before good fortune had made me the target of the
alert and swift-flying whisk-broom of the palace car, it was my chief
joy to catch a freight over the hill from Cheyenne, on the Mountain
division. We were not due anywhere until the following day, and so at
the top of the mountain we would cut off the caboose and let the train
go on. We would then go into the glorious hills and gather sage-hens and
cotton-tails. In the summer we would put in the afternoon catching trout
in Dale Creek or gathering maiden-hair ferns in the bosky dells. Bosky
dells were more plenty there at that time than they are now.

It was a delightful sensation to know that we could loll about in the
glorious weather, secure a small string of stark, varnished trout with
chapped backs, hanging aimlessly by one gill to a gory willow stringer,
and then beat our train home by two hours by letting off the brakes and
riding twenty miles in fifteen minutes.

But Mr. Gould saw that we were enjoying ourselves, and so he sat up
nights to oppress us. The result is that the freight conductor has very
little more fun now than Mr. Gould himself. All the enjoyment that the
conductor of "Second Seven" has now is to pull up his train where it
will keep the passengers of No. 5 going west from getting a view of the
town. He can also, if he be on a night run, get under the window of a
sleeping-car at about 1:35 a. m., and make a few desultory remarks about
the delinquency of "Third Six" and the lassitude of Skinny Bates who is
supposed to brake ahead on No. 11 going west. That is all the fun he has
now.

[Illustration]

I saw Niagara Falls on Thursday for the first time. The sight is one
long to be remembered. I did not go to the falls, but viewed them from
the car window in all their might, majesty, power and dominion forever.
N. B.--Dominion of Canada.

Niagara Falls plunges from a huge elevation by reason of its inability
to remain on the sharp edge of a precipice several feet higher than the
point to which the falls are now falling. This causes a noise to make
its appearance, and a thick mist, composed of minute particles of
wetness, rises to its full height and comes down again afterwards. Words
are inadequate to show here, even with the aid of a large, powerful new
press, the grandeur, what you may call the vertigo, of Niagara.
Everybody from all over the world goes to see and listen to the remarks
of this great fall. How convenient and pleasant it is to be a cataract
like that and have people come in great crowds to see and hear you! How
much better that is than to be a lecturer, for instance, and have to
follow people to their homes in order to attract their attention!

Many people in the United States and Canada who were once as pure as the
beautiful snow, have fallen, but they did not attract the attention that
the fall of Niagara does.

For the benefit of those who may never have been able to witness Niagara
Falls in winter I give here a rough sketch of the magnificent spectacle
as I saw it from the American side. From the Canadian side the aspect of
the falls is different, and the names on the cars are not the same, but
the effect on one of a sensitive nature is one of intense awe. I know
that I cannot put so much of this awe into a hurried sketch as I would
like to. In a crude drawing, made while the train was in motion, and at
a time when the customs officer was showing the other passengers what I
had in my valise, of course I could not make a picture with much
sublimity in it, but I tried to make it as true to nature as I could.

The officer said that I had nothing in my luggage that was liable to
duty, but stated that I would need heavier underwear in Canada than the
samples I had with me.

Toronto is a stirring city of 150,000 people, who are justly proud of
her great prosperity. I only regretted that I could not stay there a
long time.

[Illustration]

I met a man in Cleveland, O., whose name was Macdonald. He was at the
Weddell House, and talked freely with me about our country, asking me a
great many questions about myself and where I lived and how I was
prospering. While we were talking at one time he saw something in the
paper which interested him and called him away. After he had gone I
noticed the paragraph he had been reading, and saw that it spoke of a
man named Macdonald who had recently arrived in town from New York, and
who was introducing a new line of green goods.

I have often wondered what there is about my general appearance which
seemed to draw about me a cluster of green-goods men wherever I go. Is
it the odor of new-mown hay, or the frank, open way in which I seem to
measure the height of the loftiest buildings with my eye as I penetrate
the busy haunts of men and throng the crowded marts of trade? Or do
strangers suspect me of being a man of means?

In Cleveland I was rather indisposed, owing to the fact that I had been
sitting up until 2 or 3 o'clock a. m. for several nights in order to
miss early trains. I went to a physician, who said I was suffering from
some new and attractive disease, which he could cope with in a day or
two. I told him to cope. He prescribed a large 42-calibre capsule which
he said contained medical properties. It might have contained theatrical
properties and still had room left for a baby grand piano. I do not know
why the capsule should be so popular. I would rather swallow a porcelain
egg or a live turtle. Doctors claim that it is to prevent the bad taste
of the medicines, but I have never yet participated in any medicine
which was more disagreeable than the gluey shell of an adult capsule,
which looks like an overgrown bott and tastes like a rancid nightmare.

I doubt the good taste of any one who will turn up his nose at
castor-oil or quinine and yet meekly swallow a chrysalis with varnish on
the outside.

Everywhere I go I find people who seem pleased with the manner in which
I have succeeded in resembling the graphic pictures made to represent me
in _The World_. I can truly say that I am not a vain man, but it is
certainly pleasing and gratifying to be greeted by a glance of
recognition and a yell of genuine delight from total strangers. Many
have seemed to suppose that the massive and undraped head shown in these
pictures was the result of artistic license or indolence and a general
desire to evade the task of making hair. For such people the thrill of
joy they feel when they discover that they have not been deceived is
marked and genuine.

These pictures also stimulate the press of the country to try it
themselves and to add other horrors which do not in any way interfere
with the likeness, but at the same time encourage me to travel mostly by
night.



"Curly Locks!"


[Illustration]

     "_Curly Locks! Curly Locks! wilt thou be mine?
     Thou shalt not wash the dishes, nor yet feed the swine--
     But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam,
     And feast upon strawberries, sugar and cream._"

     Curly Locks! Curly Locks! wilt thou be mine?
     The throb of my heart is in every line,
     And the pulse of a passion, as airy and glad
     In its musical beat as the little Prince had!

     Thou shalt not wash the dishes, nor yet feed the swine!--
     O, I'll dapple thy hands with these kisses of mine
     Till the pink of the nail of each finger shall be
     As a little pet blush in full blossom for me.

     But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam,
     And thou shalt have fabric as fair as a dream,--
     The red of my veins, and the white of my love,
     And the gold of my joy for the braiding thereof.

     And feast upon strawberries, sugar and cream
     From a service of silver, with jewels agleam,--
     At thy feet will I bide, at thy beck will I rise,
     And twinkle my soul in the night of thine eyes!

     "_Curly Locks! Curly Locks! wilt thou be mine?
     Thou shalt not wash the dishes, nor yet feed the swine;
     But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam,
     And feast upon strawberries, sugar and cream._"



Lines on Turning Over a Pass


[Illustration]

Some newspaper men claim that they feel a great deal freer if they pay
their fare.

That is true, no doubt; but too much freedom does not agree with me. It
makes me lawless. I sometimes think that a little wholesome restriction
is the best thing in the world for me. That is the reason I never murmur
at the conditions on the back of an annual pass. Of course they restrict
me from bringing suit against the road in case of death, but I don't
mind that. In case of my death it is my intention to lay aside the cares
and details of business and try to secure a change of scene and
complete rest. People who think that after my demise I shall have
nothing better to do than hang around the musty, tobacco-spattered
corridors of a court-room and wait for a verdict of damages against a
courteous railroad company do not thoroughly understand my true nature.

But the interstate-commerce bill does not shut out the employe! Acting
upon this slight suggestion of hope, I wrote, a short time ago, to Mr.
St. John, the genial and whole-souled general passenger agent of the
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, as follows:

                                  ASHEVILLE, N. C., Feb. 10, 1887.

   E. St. John, G. P. A., C., R. I. & P. R'y, Chicago.

Dear Sir:--Do you not desire an employe on your charming road? I do not
know what it is to be an employe, for I was never in that condition, but
I pant to be one now.

Of course I am ignorant of the duties of an employe, but I have always
been a warm friend of your road and rejoiced in its success. How are
your folks?

     Yours truly,

     COL. BILL NYE.

Day before yesterday I received the following note from General St.
John, printed on a purple typewriter:

     CHICAGO, Feb. 13, 1887.

     Col. Bill Nye, Asheville, N. C.

Sir:--My folks are quite well.

     Yours truly,

     E. ST. JOHN.

I also wrote to Gen. A. V. H. Carpenter, of the Milwaukee road, at the
same time, for we had corresponded some back and forth in the happy
past. I wrote in about the following terms:

     ASHEVILLE, N. C., Feb. 10, 1887.

     A. V. H. Carpenter, G. P. A. C., M. & St. P. R'y,
     Milwaukee, Wis.

Dear Sir:--How are you fixed for employes this spring?

I feel like doing something of that kind and could give you some good
endorsements from prominent people both at home and abroad.

What does an employe have to do?

If I can help your justly celebrated road any here in the South do not
hesitate about mentioning it.

I am still quite lame in my left leg, which was broken in the cyclone,
and cannot walk without great pain.

     Yours with kindest regards,

     BILL NYE.

I have just received the following reply from Mr. Carpenter:

     MILWAUKEE, Wis., Feb. 14, 1887.

     Bill Nye, Esq., Asheville, N. C.

Dear Sir:--You are too late. As I write this letter, there is a string
of men extending from my office door clear down to the Soldiers' Home.
All of them want to be employes. This crowd embraces the Senate and
House of Representatives of the Wisconsin Legislature, State officials,
judges, journalists, jurors, justices of the peace, orphans, overseers
of highways, fish commissioners, pugilists, widows of pugilists,
unidentified orphans of pugilists, etc., etc., and they are all just
about as well qualified to be employes as you are.

I suppose you would poultice a hot box with pounded ice, and so would
they.

I am sorry to hear about your lame leg. The surgeon of our road says
perhaps you do not use it enough.

Yours for the thorough enforcement of law,

     A. V. H. CARPENTER. Per G.

Not having written to Mr. Hughitt of the Northwestern road for a long
time, and fearing that he might think I had grown cold toward him, I
wrote the following note on the 9th:

     ASHEVILLE, N. C., Feb. 9, 1887.

     Marvin Hughitt, Second Vice-President and General
     Manager Chicago & Northwestern Railway,
     Chicago, Ill.

Dear Sir:--

Excuse me for not writing before. I did not wish to write you until I
could do so in a bright and cheery manner, and for some weeks I have
been the hot-bed of twenty-one Early Rose boils. It was extremely
humorous without being funny. My enemies gloated over me in ghoulish
glee.

I see by a recent statement in the press that your road has greatly
increased in business. Do you feel the need of an employe? Any light
employment that will be honorable without involving too much
perspiration would be acceptable.

I am traveling about a good deal these days, and if I can do you any
good as an agent or in referring to your smooth road-bed and the
magnificent scenery along your line, I would be glad to regard that in
the light of employment. Everywhere I go I hear your road very highly
spoken of.

     Yours truly,

     BILL NYE.

I shall write to some more roads in a few weeks. It seems to me there
ought to be work for a man who is able and willing to be an employe.



That Night

[Illustration]


     You and I, and that night, with its perfume and glory!--
       The scent of the locusts--the light of the moon;
     And the violin weaving the waltzers a story,
       Enmeshing their feet in the weft of the tune,
           Till their shadows uncertain,
           Reeled round on the curtain,
     While under the trellis we drank in the June.

     Soaked through with the midnight, the cedars were sleeping.
       Their shadowy tresses outlined in the bright
     Crystal, moon-smitten mists, where the fountain's heart leaping
       Forever, forever burst, full with delight;
         And its lisp on my spirit
         Fell faint as that near it
     Whose love like a lily bloomed out in the night.

     O your glove was an odorous sachet of blisses!
       The breath of your fan was a breeze from Cathay!
     And the rose at your throat was a nest of spi'led kisses!--
       And the music!--in fancy I hear it to-day,
         As I sit here, confessing
         Our secret, and blessing
     My rival who found us, and waltzed you away.



The Truth about Methuselah


[Illustration]

We first met Methuselah in the capacity of a son. At the age of
sixty-five Enoch arose one night and telephoned his family physician to
come over and assist him in meeting Methuselah.

Day at last dawned on Enoch's happy home, and its first red rays lit up
the still redder surface of the little stranger. For three hundred years
Enoch and Methuselah jogged along together in the capacity of father and
son. Then Enoch was suddenly cut down. It was at this time that little
Methuselah first realized what it was to be an orphan. He could not at
first realize that his father was dead. He could not understand why
Enoch, with no inherited disease, should be shuffled off at the age of
three hundred and sixty-five years. But the doctor said to Methuselah:
"My son, you are indeed fatherless. I have done all I could, but it is
useless. I have told Enoch many a time that if he went in swimming
before the ice went out of the creek it would finally down him, but he
thought he knew better than I did. He was a headstrong man, Enoch was.
He sneered at me and alluded to me as a fresh young gosling, because he
was three hundred years older than I was. He has received the reward of
the willful, and verily the doom of the smart Aleck is his."

Methuselah now cast about him for some occupation which would take up
his attention and assuage his wild, passionate grief over the loss of
his father. He entered into the walks of men and learned their ways. It
was at this time that he learned the pernicious habit of using tobacco.
We cannot wonder at it when we remember that he was now fatherless. He
was at the mercy of the coarse, rough world. Possibly he learned the use
of tobacco when he went away to attend business college after the death
of his father. Be that as it may, the noxious weed certainly hastened
his death, for six hundred years after this we find him a corpse!

Death is ever a surprise, even at the end of a long illness and after a
ripe old age. To those who are near it seems abrupt; so to his
grandchildren, some of whom survived him, his children having died of
old age, the death of Methuselah came like a thunderbolt from a clear
sky.

Methuselah succeeded in cording up more of a record, such as it was,
than any other man of whom history informs us. Time, the tomb-builder
and amateur mower, came and leaned over the front yard and looked at
Methuselah, and ran his thumb over the jagged edge of his scythe, and
went away whistling a low refrain. He kept up this refrain business for
nearly ten centuries, while Methuselah continued to stand out amid the
general wreck of men and nations.

Even as the young, strong mower going forth with his mower for to mow
spareth the tall and drab hornet's nest and passeth by on the other
side, so Time, with his Waterbury hour-glass and his overworked
hay-knife over his shoulder, and his long Mormon whiskers, and his high
sleek dome of thought with its gray lambrequin of hair around the base
of it, mowed all around Methuselah and then passed on.

Methuselah decorated the graves of those who perished in a dozen
different wars. He did not enlist himself, for over nine hundred years
of his life he was exempt. He would go to the enlisting places and offer
his services, and the officer would tell him to go home and encourage
his grandchildren to go. Then Methuselah would sit around Noah's front
steps, and smoke and criticise the conduct of the war, also the conduct
of the enemy.

It is said of Methuselah that he never was the same man after his son
Lamech died. He was greatly attached to Lamech, and, when he woke up one
night to find his son purple in the face with membraneous croup, he
could hardly realize that he might lose him. The idea of losing a boy
who had just rounded the glorious morn of his 777th year had never
occurred to him. But death loves a shining mark, and he garnered little
Lammie and left Methuselah to mourn for a couple of centuries.

Methuselah finally got so that he couldn't sleep any later than 4
o'clock in the morning, and he didn't see how any one else could. The
older he got, and the less valuable his time became, the earlier he
would rise, so that he could get an early start. As the centuries filed
slowly by, and Methuselah got to where all he had to do was to shuffle
into his loose-fitting clothes and rest his gums on the top of a large
slick-headed cane and mutter up the chimney, and then groan and
extricate himself from his clothes again and retire, he rose earlier and
earlier in the morning, and muttered more and more about the young folks
sleeping away the best of the day, and he said he had no doubt that
sleeping and snoring till breakfast time helped to carry off Lam. But
one day old Father Time came along with a new scythe, and he drew the
whetstone across it a few times, and rolled the sleeves of his
red-flannel undergarment up over his warty elbows, and Mr. Methuselah
passed on to that undiscovered country, with a ripe experience and a
long clean record.

We can almost fancy how the physicians, who had disagreed about his case
all the way through, came and insisted on a post-mortem examination to
prove which was right and what was really the matter with him. We can
imagine how people went by shaking their heads and regretting that
Methuselah should have tampered with tobacco when he knew that it
affected his heart.

But he is gone. He lived to see his own promissory notes rise, flourish,
acquire interest, pine away at last and finally outlaw. He acquired a
large farm in the very heart of the county-seat, and refused to move or
to plot, and called it Methuselah's addition. He came out in spring
regularly for nine hundred years after he got too old to work out his
poll-tax on the road, and put in his time telling the rising generation
how to make a good road. Meantime other old people, who were almost one
hundred years of age, moved away and went West where they would attract
attention and command respect. There was actually no pleasure in getting
old around where Methuselah was, and being ordered about and scolded and
kept in the background by him.

[Illustration]

So when at last he died, people sighed and said: "Well, it was better
for him to die before he got childish. It was best that he should die
at a time when he knew it all. We can't help thinking what an
acquisition Methuselah will be on the evergreen shore when he gets
there, with all his ripe experience and his habits of early rising."

And the next morning after the funeral Methuselah's family did not get
out of bed till nearly 9 o'clock.



A Black Hills Episode


     A little, warty, dried-up sort
     O' lookin' chap 'at hadn't ort
     A ben a-usin' round no bar,
     With gents like us a-drinkin' thar!

     And that idee occurred to me
     The livin' minit 'at I see
     The little cuss elbowin' in
     To humor his besettin' sin.

     There 're nothin' small in me at all,
     But when I heer the rooster call
     For shugar and a spoon, I says:
     "Jest got in from the States, I guess."

     He never 'peared as if he heerd,
     But stood thar, wipin' uv his beard,
     And smilin' to hisself as if
     I'd been a-givin' him a stiff.

     And I-says-I, a edgin' by
     The bantam, and a-gazin' high
     Above his plug--says I: "I knowed
     A little feller onc't 'at blowed
     Around like you, and tuck his drinks
     With shugar in--and _his_ folks thinks
     He's dead now--'cause we boxed and sent
     The scraps back to the Settlement!"

      *       *       *       *       *

     The boys tells me, 'at got to see
     His _modus operandum_, he
     Jest 'peared to come onjointed-like
     Afore he ever struck a strike!

     And I'll admit, the way he fit
     Wuz dazzlin'--what I see uv hit;
     And squarin' things up fair and fine,
     Says I: "A little 'shug' in mine!"



The Rossville Lecture Course

ROSSVILLE, Mich., March, '87.


     Folks up here at Rossville got up a lectur'-course;
     All the leadin' citizens they wus out in force;
     Met and talked at Williamses, and 'greed to meet agin,
     And helt another corkus when the next reports wuz in;
     Met agin at Samuelses; and met agin at Moore's,
     And Johnts he put the shutters up and jest barred the doors!--
     And yit, I'll jest be dagg-don'd! ef didn't take a week
     'Fore we'd settled where to write to git a man to speak!

     Found out where the Bureau wus, and then and there agreed
     To strike while the iron's hot, and foller up the lead.
     Simp was secatary; so he tuck his pen in hand,
     And ast what they'd tax us for the one on "Holy Land"--
     "One of Colonel J. De-Koombs Abelust and Best
     Lecturs," the circ'lar stated, "Give East er West!"
     Wanted fifty dollars, and his kyar-fare to and from,
     And Simp was hence instructed fer to write him not to come.
     Then we talked and jawed around another week er so,
     And writ the Bureau 'bout the town a-bein' sort o' slow
     And fogey-like, and pore as dirt, and lackin' enterprise,
     And ignornter'n any other 'cordin' to its size:
     Till finally the Bureau said they'd send a cheaper man
     Fer forty dollars, who would give "A Talk about Japan"--
     "A regular Japanee hiss'f," the pamphlet claimed; and so,
     Nobody knowed his languige, and of course we let him go!

     Kindo' then let up a spell--but rallied onc't ag'in,
     And writ to price a feller on what's called the "violin"--
     A Swede, er Pole, er somepin--but no matter what he wus,
     Doc Sifers said he'd heerd him, and he wusn't wuth a kuss!
     And then we ast fer _Swingses_ terms; and _Cook_, and Ingersoll--
     And blame! ef forty dollars looked like anything at all!
     And then _Burdette_, we tried fer him; and Bob he writ to say
     He wus busy writin' ortographts, and couldn't git away.

     At last--along in Aprile--we signed to take this-here
     Bill Nye of Californy, 'at was posted to appear
     "The Humorestest Funny Man 'at Ever Jammed a Hall!"
     So we made big preparations, and swep' out the church and all!
     And night he wus to lectur', and the neighbors all was there,
     And strangers packed along the aisles 'at come from ever'where,
     Committee got a telegrapht the preacher read, 'at run--
     "Got off at Rossville, Indiany, stead of Michigun."

[Illustration]



The Tar-heel Cow


[Illustration]

ASHEVILLE, N. C., December 9.--There is no place in the United States,
so far as I know, where the cow is more versatile or ambidextrous, if I
may be allowed the use of a term that is far above my station in life,
than here in the mountains of North Carolina, where the obese 'possum
and the anonymous distiller have their homes.

Not only is the Tar-heel cow the author of a pale but athletic style of
butter, but in her leisure hours she aids in tilling the perpendicular
farm on the hillside, or draws the products to market. In this way she
contrives to put in her time to the best advantage, and when she dies,
it casts a gloom over the community in which she has resided.

The life of a North Carolina cow is indeed fraught with various changes
and saturated with a zeal which is praiseworthy in the extreme. From the
sunny days when she gambols through the beautiful valleys, inserting her
black retrousse and perspiration-dotted nose into the blue grass from
ear to ear, until at life's close, when every part and portion of her
overworked system is turned into food, raiment or overcoat buttons, the
life of a Tar-heel cow is one of intense activity.

[Illustration]

Her girlhood is short, and almost before we have deemed her emancipated
from calfhood herself we find her in the capacity of a mother. With the
cares of maternity other demands are quickly made upon her. She is
obliged to ostracize herself from society, and enter into the prosaic
details of producing small, pallid globules of butter, the very pallor
of which so thoroughly belies its lusty strength.

The butter she turns out rapidly until it begins to be worth something,
when she suddenly suspends publication and begins to haul wood to
market. In this great work she is assisted by the pearl-gray or ecru
colored jackass of the tepid South. This animal has been referred to in
the newspapers throughout the country, and yet he never ceases to be an
object of the greatest interest.

Jackasses in the South are of two kinds, viz., male and female. Much as
has been said of the jackass pro and con, I do not remember ever to have
seen the above statement in print before, and yet it is as trite as it
is incontrovertible. In the Rocky mountains we call this animal the
burro. There he packs bacon, flour and salt to the miners. The miners
eat the bacon and flour, and with the salt they are enabled successfully
to salt the mines.

The burro has a low, contralto voice which ought to have some machine
oil on it. The voice of this animal is not unpleasant if he would pull
some of the pathos out of it and make it more joyous.

Here the jackass at times becomes a co-worker with the cow in hauling
tobacco and other necessaries of life into town, but he goes no further
in the matter of assistance. He compels her to tread the cheese press
alone and contributes nothing whatever in the way of assistance for the
butter industry.

The North Carolina cow is frequently seen here driven double or single
by means of a small rope line attached to a tall, emaciated gentleman,
who is generally clothed with the divine right of suffrage, to which he
adds a small pair of ear-bobbs during the holidays.

The cow is attached to each shaft and a small single-tree, or
swingletree, by means of a broad strap harness. She also wears a
breeching, in which respect she frequently has the advantage of her
escort.

I think I have never witnessed a sadder sight than that of a new milch
cow, torn away from home and friends and kindred dear, descending a
steep, mountain road at a rapid rate and striving in her poor, weak
manner to keep out of the way of a small Jackson Democratic wagon loaded
with a big hogshead full of tobacco. It seems to me so totally foreign
to the nature of the cow to enter into the tobacco traffic, a line of
business for which she can have no sympathy and in which she certainly
can feel very little interest.

Tobacco of the very finest kind is produced here, and is used mainly for
smoking purposes. It is the highest-price tobacco produced in this
country. A tobacco broker here yesterday showed me a large quantity of
what he called export tobacco. It looks very much like other tobacco
while growing.

He says that foreigners use a great deal of this kind. I am learning all
about the tobacco industry while here, and as fast as I get hold of any
new facts I will communicate them to the press. The newspapers of this
country have done much for me, not only by publishing many pleasant
things about me, but by refraining from publishing other things about
me, and so I am glad to be able, now and then, to repay this kindness by
furnishing information and facts for which I have no use myself, but
which may be of incalculable value to the press.

As I write these lines I am informed that the snow is twenty-six inches
deep here and four feet deep at High Point in this State. People who did
not bring in their pomegranates last evening are bitterly bewailing
their thoughtlessness to-day.

A great many people come here from various parts of the world, for the
climate. When they have remained here for one winter, however, they
decide to leave it where it is.

It is said that the climate here is very much like that of Turin. But I
did not intend to go to Turin even before I heard about that.

Please send my paper to the same address, and if some one who knows a
good remedy for chilblains will contribute it to these columns, I shall
watch for it with great interest.

     Yours as here 2 4,

     BILL NYE.

P. S.--I should have said, relative to the cow of this State, that if
the owners would work their butter more and their cows less they would
confer a great boon on the consumer of both.

     B. N.



A Character


[Illustration]

     I.

     Swallowed up in gulfs of tho't--
     Eye-glass fixed--on--who knows what?
     We but know he sees us not.

     Chance upon him, here and there--
     Base-ball park--Industrial Fair--
     Broadway--Long Branch--anywhere!

     Even at the races,--yet
     With his eye-glass tranced and set
     On some dream-land minaret.

     At the beach, the where, perchance--
     Tenderest of eyes may glance
     On the fitness of his pants.

     Vain! all admiration--vain!
     His mouth, o'er and o'er again
     Absently absorbs his cane.

     Vain, as well, all tribute paid
     To his morning coat, inlaid
     With crossbars of every shade.

     He is oblivious, tho
     We played checkers to and fro
     On his back--he would not know.


     II.

     So removed--illustrious--
     Peace! kiss hands, and leave him thus
     He hath never need of us!

     Come away! Enough! Let be!
     Purest praise, to such as he,
     Were as basest obloquy.

     Vex no more that mind of his,
     We, to him, are but as phizz
     Unto pop that knows it is.

     Haply, even as we prate
     Of him HERE--in astral state--
     Or jackastral--he, elate,

     Brouses 'round, with sportive hops
     In far fields of sphery crops,
     Nibbling stars like clover-tops.

     He, occult and psychic, may
     Now be solving why to-day
     Is not midnight.--But away!

     Cease vain queries! Let us go!
     Leave him all unfathomed.--Lo,
     He can hear his whiskers grow.



The Diary of Darius T. Skinner


[Illustration]

"FIFTH AVENUE HOTEL, New York, Dec. 31, 188-.--It hardly seems possible
that I am here in New York, putting up at a hotel where it costs me $5
or $6 a day just simply to exist. I came here from my far away-home
entirely alone. I have no business here, but I simply desired to rub up
against greatness for awhile. I need polish, and I am smart enough to
know it.

"I write this entry in my diary to explain who I am and to help identify
myself in case I should come home to my room intoxicated some night and
blow out the gas.

"The reason I am here is that last summer while whacking bulls, which is
really my business, I grub-staked Alonzo McReddy and forgot about it
till I got back and the boys told me that Lon had struck a First
National bank in the shape of the Sarah Waters claim. He was then very
low with mountain fever and so nobody felt like jumping the claim.
Saturday afternoon Alonzo passed away and left me the Sarah Waters.
That's the only sad thing about the whole business now. I am raised from
bull-whacking to affluence, but Alonzo is not here. How we would take in
the town together if he'd lived, for the Sarah Waters was enough to make
us both well fixed.

"I can imagine Lon's look of surprise and pride as he looks over the
outer battlements of the New Jerusalem and watches me paint the town.
Little did Lon think when I pulled out across the flat with my whiskers
full of alkali dust and my cuticle full of raw agency whisky, that
inside of a year I would be a nabob, wearing biled shirts every single
day of my life, and clothes made specially for me.

"Life is full of sudden turns, and no one knows here in America where
he'll be in two weeks from now. I may be back there associating with
greasers again as of yore and skinning the same bulls that I have
heretofore skun.

"Last evening I went to see 'The Mikado,' a kind of singing theater and
Chinese walk-around. It is what I would call no good. It is acted out by
different people who claim they are Chinamen, I reckon. They teeter
around on the stage and sing in the English language, but their clothes
are peculiar. A homely man, who played that he was the lord high
executioner and chairman of the vigilance committee, wore a pair of
wide, bandana pants, which came off during the first act. He was cool
and collected, though, and so caught them before it was everlastingly
too late. He held them on by one hand while he sang the rest of his
piece, and when he left the stage the audience heartlessly whooped for
him to come back.

"'The Mikado' is not funny or instructive as a general thing, but last
night it was accidently facetious. It has too much singing and not
enough vocal music about it. There is also an overplus of conversation
through the thing that seems like talking at a mark for $2 a week. It
may be owing to my simple ways, but 'The Mikado' is too rich for my
blood.

"We live well here at the Fifth Avenue. The man that owns the place puts
two silver forks and a clean tablecloth on my table every day, and the
young fellows that pass the grub around are so well dressed that it
seems sassy and presumptions for me to bother them by asking them to
bring me stuff when I'd just as soon go and get it myself and nothing
else in the world to do.

"I told the waiter at my table yesterday that when he got time I wished
he would come up to my room and we could have a game of old sledge. He
is a nice young man, and puts himself out a good deal to make me
comfortable.

"I found something yesterday at the table that bothered me. It was a new
kind of a silver dingus, with two handles to it, for getting a lump of
sugar into your tea. I saw right away that it was for that, but when I
took the two handles in my hand like a nut cracker and tried to scoop up
a lump of sugar with it I felt embarrassed. Several people who were
total strangers to me smiled.

"After dinner the waiter brought me a little pink-glass bowl of lemonade
and a clean wipe to dry my mouth with, I reckon, after I drank the
lemonade. I do not pine for lemonade much, anyhow, but this was
specially poor. It was just plain water, with a lemon rind and no sugar
into it.

"One rural rooster from Pittsburg showed his contempt for the blamed
stuff by washing his hands in it. I may be rough and uncouth in my
style, but I hope I will never lower myself like that in company."



[Illustration: THE MAN IN THE MOON]


     O, The Man in the Moon has a crick in his back;
       Whee!
         Whimm!
           Ain't you sorry for him?
     And a mole on his nose that is purple and black;
     And his eyes are so weak that they water and run
     If he dares to dream even he looks at the sun,--
     So he just dreams of stars, as the doctors advise--
       My!
         Eyes!
           But isn't he wise--
       To just dream of stars, as the doctors advise?

     And The Man in the Moon has a boil on his ear--
       Whee!
         Whing!
           What a singular thing!
     I know; but these facts are authentic, my dear,--

     There's a boil on his ear, and a corn on his chin--
     He calls it a dimple,--but dimples stick in--
     Yet it might be a dimple turned over, you know;
       Whang!
         Ho!
           Why, certainly so!--
       It might be a dimple turned over, you know!

     And The Man in the Moon has a rheumatic knee--
       Gee!
         Whizz!
           What a pity that is!
     And his toes have worked round where his heels ought to be.--
     So whenever he wants to go North he goes South,
     And comes back with porridge-crumbs all round his mouth,
     And he brushes them off with a Japanese fan,
       Whing!
         Whann!
           What a marvelous man!
       What a very remarkably marvelous man!



[Illustration: His Christmas Sled.]


     I watch him, with his Christmas sled;
       He hitches on behind
     A passing sleigh, with glad hooray,
       And whistles down the wind;
     He hears the horses champ their bits,
       And bells that jingle-jingle--
     You Woolly Cap! you Scarlet Mitts!
       You miniature "Kriss Kringle!"

     I almost catch your secret joy--
       Your chucklings of delight,
     The while you whizz where glory is
       Eternally in sight!
     With you I catch my breath, as swift
       Your jaunty sled goes gliding
     O'er glassy track and shallow drift,
       As I behind were riding!

     He winks at twinklings of the frost.
       And on his airy race,
     Its tingles beat to redder heat
       The rapture of his face:--
     The colder, keener is the air,
       The less he cares a feather.
     But, there! he's gone! and I gaze on
       The wintriest of weather!

     Ah, boy! still speeding o'er the track
       Where none returns again,
     To Sigh for you, or cry for you,
       Or die for you were vain.--
     And so, speed on! the while I pray
       All nipping frosts forsake you--
     Ride still ahead of grief, but may
       All glad things overtake you!



Her Tired Hands


[Illustration]

On board a western train the other day I held in my bosom for over
seventy-five miles the elbow of a large man whose name I do not know. He
was not a railroad hog or I would have resented it. He was built wide
and he couldn't help it, so I forgave him.

He had a large, gentle, kindly eye, and when he desired to spit, he went
to the car door, opened it and decorated the entire outside of the
train, forgetting that our speed would help to give scope to his
remarks.

[Illustration]

Naturally as he sat there by my side, holding on tightly to his ticket
and evidently afraid that the conductor would forget to come and get it,
I began to figure out in my mind what might be his business. He had
pounded one thumb so that the nail was black where the blood had settled
under it. This might happen to a shoemaker, a carpenter, a blacksmith or
most anyone else. So it didn't help me out much, though it looked to me
as though it might have been done by trying to drive a fence-nail
through a leather hinge with the back of an axe, and nobody but a farmer
would try to do that. Following up the clue, I discovered that he had
milked on his boots and then I knew I was right. The man who milks
before daylight, in a dark barn, when the thermometer is down to 28
degrees below and who hits his boot and misses the pail, by reason of
the cold and the uncertain light and the prudishness of the cow, is a
marked man. He cannot conceal the fact that he is a farmer unless he
removes that badge. So I started out on that theory and remarked that
this would pass for a pretty hard winter on stock.

[Illustration]

The thought was not original with me, for I have heard it expressed by
others either in this country or Europe. He said it would.

"My cattle has gone through a whole mowful o' hay sence October and
eleven ton o' brand. Hay don't seem to have the goodness to it thet it
hed last year, and with their new _pro_-cess griss mills they jerk all
the juice out o' brand, so's you might as well feed cows with excelsior
and upholster your horses with hemlock bark as to buy brand."

"Well, why do you run so much to stock? Why don't you try diversified
farming, and rotation of crops?"

"Well, probably you got that idee in the papers. A man that earns big
wages writing Farm Hints for agricultural papers can make more money
with a soft lead pencil and two or three season-cracked idees like
that'n I can carrying of 'em out on the farm. We used to have a feller
in the drugstore in our town that wrote such good pieces for the _Rural
Vermonter_ and made up such a good condition powder out of his own head,
that two years ago we asked him to write a nessay for the annual meeting
of the Buckwheat Trust, and to use his own judgment about choice of
subject. And what do you s'pose he had selected for a nessay that took
the whole forenoon to read?"

"What subject, you mean?"

"Yes."

"Give it up!"

"Well, he'd wrote out that whole blamed intellectual wad on the subject
of 'The Inhumanity of Dehorning Hydraulic Rams.' How's that?"

"That's pretty fair."

"Well, farmin' is like runnin' a paper in regards to some things. Every
feller in the world will take and turn in and tell you how to do it,
even if he don't know a blame thing about it. There ain't a man in the
United States to-day that don't secretly think he could run airy one if
his other business busted on him, whether he knows the difference
between a new milch cow and a horse hayrake or not. We had one of these
embroidered night-shirt farmers come from town better'n three years ago.
Been a toilet soap man and done well, and so he came out and bought a
farm that had nothing to it but a fancy house and barn, a lot of medder
in the front yard and a southern aspect. The farm was no good. You
couldn't raise a disturbance on it. Well, what does he do? Goes and gits
a passle of slim-tailed, yeller cows from New Jersey and aims to handle
cream and diversified farming. Last year the cuss sent a load of cream
over and tried to sell it at the new creamatory while the funeral and
hollercost was goin' on. I may be a sort of a chump myself, but I read
my paper and don't get left like that."

"What are the prospects for farmers in your State?"

"Well, they are pore. Never was so pore, in fact, sence I've ben there.
Folks wonder why boys leaves the farm. My boys left so as to get
protected, they said, and so they went into a clothing-store, one of
'em, and one went into hardward and one is talking protection in the
Legislature this winter. They said that farmin' was gittin' to be like
fishin' and huntin', well enough for a man that has means and leisure,
but they couldn't make a livin at it, they said. Another boy is in a
drug store, and the man that hires him says he is a royal feller."

"Kind of a castor royal feller," I said, with a shriek of laughter.

He waited until I had laughed all I wanted to and then he said:

[Illustration]

"I've always hollered for high terriff in order to hyst the public debt,
but now that we've got the national debt coopered I wish they'd take a
little hack at mine. I've put in fifty years farmin'. I never drank
licker in any form. I've worked from ten to eighteen hours a day, been
economical in cloze and never went to a show more'n a dozen times in my
life, raised a family and learned upward of two hundred calves to drink
out of a tin pail without blowing all their vittles up my sleeve. My
wife worked alongside o' me sewin' new seats on the boys' pants,
skimmin' milk and even helpin' me load hay. For forty years we toiled
along to-gether and hardly got time to look into each others' faces or
dared to stop and get acquainted with each other. Then her health
failed. Ketched cold in the spring house, prob'ly skimmin' milk and
washin' pans and scaldin' pails and spankin' butter. Any how, she took
in a long breath one day while the doctor and me was watchin' her, and
she says to me, 'Henry,' says she, 'I've got a chance to rest,' and she
put one tired, wore-out hand on top of the other tired, wore-out hand,
and I knew she'd gone where they don't work all day and do chores all
night.

"I took time to kiss her then. I'd been too busy for a good while
previous to that, and then I called in the boys. After the funeral it
was too much for them to stay around and eat the kind of cookin' we had
to put up with, and nobody spoke up around the house as we used to. The
boys quit whistlin' around the barn and talked kind of low by themselves
about going to town and gettin' a job.

"They're all gone now and the snow is four feet deep on mother's grave
up there in the old berryin' ground."

Then both of us looked out of the car window quite a long while without
saying anything.

"I don't blame the boys for going into something else long's other
things paysbetter; but I say--and I say what I know--that the man who
holds the prosperity of this country in his hands, the man that actually
makes money for other people to spend, the man that eats three good,
simple, square meals a day and goes to bed at nine o'clock, so that
future generations with good blood and cool brains can go from his farm
to the Senate and Congress and the While House--he is the man that gets
left at last to run his farm, with nobody to help him but a hired man
and a high protective terriff. The farms in our State is mortgaged for
over seven hundred million dollars. Ten of our Western States--I see by
the papers--has got about three billion and a half mortgages on their
farms, and that don't count the chattel mortgages filed with the town
clerks on farm machinery, stock, waggins, and even crops, by gosh! that
ain't two inches high under the snow. That's what the prospects is for
farmers now. The Government is rich, but the men that made it, the men
that fought perarie fires and perarie wolves and Injuns and potato-bugs
and blizzards, and has paid the war debt and pensions and everything
else and hollered for the Union and the Republican party and free
schools and high terriff and anything else that they was told to, is
left high and dry this cold winter with a mortgage of seven billions and
a half on the farms they have earned and saved a thousand times over."

"Yes; but look at the glory of sending from the farm the future
President, the future Senator and the future member of Congress."

"That looks well on paper, but what does it really amount to? Soon as a
farmer boy gits in a place like that he forgets the soil that produced
him and holds his head as high as a holly-hock. He bellers for
protection to everybody but the farmer, and while he sails round in a
highty-tighty room with a fire in it night and day, his father on the
farm has to kindle his own fire in the morning with elm slivvers, and he
has to wear his own son's lawn-tennis suit next to him or freeze to
death, and he has to milk in an old gray shawl that has held that member
of Congress when he was a baby, by gorry! and the old lady has to
sojourn through the winter in the flannel that was wore at the riggatter
before he went to Congress.

"So I say, and I think that Congress agrees with me. Damn a farmer,
anyhow!"

He then went away.

[Illustration]



Ezra House


     Come listen, good people, while a story I do tell,
     Of the sad fate of one which I knew so passing well;
     He enlisted at McCordsville, to battle in the south,
     And protect his country's union; his name was Ezra House.

     He was a young school-teacher, and educated high
     In regards to Ray's arithmetic, and also Alegbra.
     He give good satisfaction, but at his country's call
     He dropped his position, his Alegbra and all.

     "It's Oh, I'm going to leave you, kind scholars," he said--
     For he wrote a composition the last day and read;
     And it brought many tears in the eyes of the school,
     To say nothing of his sweet-heart he was going to leave so soon.

     "I have many recollections to take with me away,
     Of the merry transpirations in the school-room so gay;
     And of all that's past and gone I will never regret
     I went to serve my country at the first of the outset!"

     He was a good penman, and the lines that he wrote
     On that sad occasion was too fine for me to quote,--
     For I was there and heard it, and I ever will recall
     It brought the happy tears to the eyes of us all.

       [Illustration]

     And when he left, his sweetheart she fainted away,
     And said she could never forget the sad day
     When her lover so noble, and gallant and gay,
     Said "Fare you well, my true love!" and went marching away.

     He hadn't gone for more than two months
     When the sad news come--"he was in a skirmish once,
     And a cruel rebel ball had wounded him full sore
     In the region of the chin, through the canteen he wore."

     But his health recruited up, and his wounds they got well;
     But while he was in battle at Bull Run or Malvern Hill,
     The news come again, so sorrowful to hear--
     "A sliver from a bombshell cut off his right ear."

     But he stuck to the boys, and it's often he would write,
     That "he wasn't afraid for his country to fight."
     But oh, had he returned on a furlough, I believe
     He would not, to-day, have such cause to grieve.

     For in another battle--the name I never heard--
     He was guarding the wagons when an accident occurred,--
     A comrade, who was under the influence of drink,
     Shot him with a musket through the right cheek, I think.

     But his dear life was spared, but it hadn't been for long
     Till a cruel rebel colonel came riding along,
     And struck him with his sword, as many do suppose,
     For his cap-rim was cut off, and also his nose.

     But Providence, who watches o'er the noble and the brave,
     Snatched him once more from the jaws of the grave;
     And just a little while before the close of the war,
     He sent his picture home to his girl away so far.

     And she fell into decline, and she wrote in reply,
     "She had seen his face again and was ready to die";
     And she wanted him to promise, when she was in her tomb,
     He would only visit that by the light of the moon.

     But he never returned at the close of the war,
     And the boys that got back said he hadn't the heart;
     But he got a position in a powder-mill, and said
     He hoped to meet the doom that his country denied.



"Oh, Wilhelmina, Come Back!"


     PERSONAL--Will the young woman who edited the gravy department and
     corrected proof at our pie foundry for two days and then jumped the
     game on the evening that we were to have our clergyman to dine with
     us, please come back, or write to 32 Park Row, saying where she
     left the crackers and cheese?

[Illustration]

Come back, Wilhelmina, and be our little sunbeam once more. Come back
and cluster around our hearthstone at so much per cluster.

If you think best we will quit having company at the house, especially
people who do not belong to your set.

We will also strive, oh, so hard, to make it pleasanter for you in every
way. If we had known four or five years ago that children were
offensive to you, it would have been different. But it is too late now.
All we can do is to shut them up in a barn and feed them through a
knot-hole. If they shriek loud enough to give pain to your throbbing
brow, let no one know and we will overcome any false sentiment we may
feel towards them and send them to the Tombs.

Since you went away we can see how wicked and selfish we were and how
little we considered your comfort. We miss your glad smile, also your
Tennessee marble cake and your slat pie. We have learned a valuable
lesson since you went away, and it is that the blame should not have
rested on one alone. It should have been divided equally, leaving me to
bear half of it and my wife the other half.

Where we erred was in dividing up the blame on the basis of tenderloin
steak or peach cobbler, compelling you to bear half of it yourself. That
will not work, Wilhelmina. Blame and preserves do not divide on the same
basis. We are now in favor of what may be called a sliding scale. We
think you will like this better.

We also made a grave mistake in the matter of nights out. While young, I
formed the wicked and pernicious habit of having nights out myself. I
panted for the night air and would go a long distance and stay out a
long time to get enough of it for a mess and then bring it home in a
paper bag, but I can see now that it is time for me to remain indoors
and give young people like yourself a chance, Wilhelmina.

So, if I can do anything evenings while you are out that will assist
you, such as stoning raisins or neighboring windows, command me. I am no
cook, of course, but I can peel apples or grind coffee or hold your
head for you when you need sympathy. I could also soon learn to do the
plain cooking, I think, and friends who come to see us after this have
agreed to bring their dinners.

There is no reason why harmony should not be restored among us and the
old sunlight come back to our roof tree.

Another thing I wish to write before I close this humiliating personal.
I wish to take back any harsh and bitter words about your singing. I
said that you sang like a shingle-mill, but I was mad when I said it,
and I wronged you. I was maddened by hunger and you told me that mush
and milk was the proper thing for a brain worker, and you refused to
give me any dope on my dumpling. Goaded to madness by this I said that
you sang like a shingle-mill, but it was not my better, higher nature
that spoke. It was my grosser and more gastric nature that asserted
itself, and I now desire to take it back. You do not sing like a
shingle-mill; at least so much as to mislead a practiced ear.

Your voice has more volume, and when your upper register is closed, is
mellower than any shingle-mill I ever heard.

Come back, Wilhelmina. We need you every hour.

After you went away we tried to set the bread as we had seen you do it,
but it was not a success. The next day it come off the nest with a
litter of small, sallow rolls which would easily resist the action of
acids.

If you cannot come back will you please write and tell me how you are
getting along and how you contrive to insert air-holes into home-made
bread?



[Illustration: A HINT of SPRING.]


     'Twas but a hint of Spring--for still
     The atmosphere was sharp and chill--
     Save where the genial sunshine smote
     The shoulders of my overcoat,
     And o'er the snow beneath my feet
     Laid spectral fences down the street.

     My shadow even seemed to be
     Elate with some new buoyancy,
     And bowed and bobbed in my advance
     With trippingest extravagance,
     And when a bird sang out somewhere,
     It seemed to wheel with me, and stare.

     Above I heard a rasping stir--
     And on the roof the carpenter
     Was perched, and prodding rusty leaves
     From out the choked and dripping eaves--
     And some one, hammering about,
     Was taking all the windows out.

     Old scraps of shingles fell before
     The noisy mansion's open door;
     And wrangling children raked the yard,
     And labored much, and laughed as hard
     And fired the burning trash I smelt
     And sniffed again--so good I felt!



[Illustration: A Treat Ode]


     "Scurious-like," said the treetoad,
     "I've twittered fer rain all day;
       And I got up soon,
       And hollered till noon--
     But the sun hit blazed away,
       Till I jest clumb down in a crawfish-hole
       Weary at heart, and sick at soul!

     "Dozed away fer an hour,
     And I tackled the thing agin;
       And I sung, and sung,
       Till I knowed my lung
     Was jest about to give in;
       And then, thinks I, ef it don't rain now,
       There're nothin' in singin' anyhow.

     "Once in a while some farmer
     Would come a driven' past
       And he'd hear my cry,
       And stop and sigh--
     Till I jest laid back, at last,
       And I hollered rain till I thought my throat
       Would bust wide open at ever' note!

     "But I _fetched_ her!--O I _fetched_ her!--
     'Cause a little while ago,
       As I kindo' set
       With one eye shet,
     And a-singin' soft and low,
       A voice drapped down on my fevered brain
       Sayin',--'Ef you'll jest hush I'll rain!'"



"Our Wife"


[Illustration]

The story opens in 1877, when, on an April morning, the yellow-haired
"devil" arrived at the office of the Jack Creek _Pizenweed_, at 7
o'clock, and found the editor in. It was so unusual to find the editor
in at that hour that the boy whistled in a low contralto voice, and
passed on into the "news room," leaving the gentlemanly, genial and
urbane editor of the _Pizenweed_ as he had found him, sitting in his
foundered chair, with his head immersed in a pile of exchanges on the
table and his venerable Smith & Wesson near by, acting as a
paper-weight. The gentlemanly, genial and urbane editor of the
_Pizenweed_ presented the appearance of a man engaged in sleeping off a
long and aggravated case of drunk. His hat was on the back of his head,
and his features were entirely obscured by the loose papers in which
they nestled.

Later on, Elijah P. Beckwith, the foreman, came in, and found the
following copy on the hook, marked "Leaded Editorial," and divided it up
into "takes" for the yellow-haired devil and himself:

"In another column of this issue will be found, among the legal notices,
the first publication of a summons in an action for divorce, in which
our wife is plaintiff and we are made defendant. While generally
deprecating the practice of bringing private matters into public through
the medium of the press, we feel justified in this instance, inasmuch as
the summons sets forth, as a cause of action, that we are, and have
been, for the space of ten years, a confirmed drunkard without hope of
recovery, and totally unwilling to provide for and maintain our said
wife.

"That we have been given to drink, we do not, at this time, undertake to
deny or in any way controvert, but that we cannot quit at any time, we
do most earnestly contend.

"In 1867, on the 4th day of July, we married our wife. It was a joyful
day, and earth had never looked to us so fair or so desirable as a
summer resort as it did that day. The flowers bloomed, the air was fresh
and exhilarating, the little birds and the hens poured forth their
respective lays. It was a day long to be remembered, and it seemed as
though we had never seen Nature get up and hump herself to be so
attractive as she did on that special morning--the morning of all
mornings--the morning on which we married our wife.

"Little did we then dream that after ten years of varying fortune we
would to-day give utterance to this editorial, or that the steam
power-press of the _Pizenweed_ would squat this legal notice for
divorce, _a vinculo et thoro_, into the virgin page of our paper. But
such is the case. Our wife has abandoned us to our fate, and has seen
fit to publish the notice in what we believe to be the spiciest paper
published west of the Missouri River. It was not necessary that the
notice should be published. We were ready at any time to admit service,
provided that plaintiff would serve it while we were sober. We cannot
agree to remain sober after ten o'clock a. m. in order to give people a
chance to serve notices on us. But in this case plaintiff knew the value
of advertising, and she selected a paper that goes to the better classes
all over the Union. When our wife does anything she does it right.

"For ten years our wife and we have trudged along together. It has been
a record of errors and failures on our part; a record of heroic devotion
and forbearance on the part of our wife. It is over now, and with
nothing to remember that is not soaked full of bitterness and wrapped up
in red flannel remorse, we go forth to-day and herald our shame by
publishing to the world the fact, that as husband, we are a depressing
failure, while as a red-eyed and a rum-soaked ruin and all-around
drunkard, we are a tropical triumph. We print this without egotism, and
we point to it absolutely without vain glory.

"Ah, why were we made the custodian of this fatal gift, while others
were denied? It was about the only talent we had, but we have not
wrapped it up in a napkin. Sometimes we have put a cold, wet towel on
it, but we have never hidden it under a bushel. We have put it out at
three per cent a month, and it has grown to be a thirst that is worth
coming all the way from Omaha to see. We do not gloat over it. We do not
say all this to the disparagement of other bright, young drinkers, who
came here at the same time, and who had equal advantages with us. We do
not wish to speak lightly of those whose prospects for filling a
drunkard's grave were at one time even brighter than ours. We have
simply sought to hold our position here in the grandest galaxy of
extemporaneous inebriates in the wild and woolly West. We do not wish to
vaunt our own prowess, but we say, without fear of successful
contradiction, that we have done what we could.

"On the fourth page of this number will be found, among other
announcements, the advertisement of our wife, who is about to open up
the old laundry at the corner of Third and Cottonwood streets, in the
Briggs building. We hope that our citizens will accord her a generous
patronage, not so much on her husband's account, but because she is a
deserving woman, and a good laundress. We wish that we could as safely
recommend every advertiser who patronizes these columns as we can our
wife.

"Unkind critics will make cold and unfeeling remarks because our wife
has decided to take in washing, and they will look down on her, no
doubt, but she will not mind it, for it will be a pleasing relaxation to
wash, after the ten years of torch-light procession and Mardi Gras
frolic she has had with us. It is tiresome, of course, to chase a pillow
case up and down the wash-board all day, but it is easier and
pleasanter than it is to run a one-horse Inebriate Home for ten years
on credit.

"Those who have read the _Pizenweed_ for the past three years will
remember that it has not been regarded as an outspoken temperance organ.
We have never claimed that for it. We have simply claimed that, so far
as we are personally concerned, we could take liquor or we could let it
alone. That has always been our theory. We still make that claim. Others
have said the same thing, but were unable to do as they advertised. We
have been taking it right along, between meals for ten years. We now
propose, and so state in the prospectus, that we will let it alone. We
leave the public to judge whether or not we can do what we claim."

[Illustration]

After the foreman had set up the above editorial, he went in to speak to
the editor, but he was still slumbering. He shook him mildly, but he did
not wake. Then Elijah took him by the collar and lifted him up so that
he could see the editor's face.

It was a pale, still face, firm in its new resolution to forever "let it
alone." On the temple and under the heavy sweep of brown hair there was
a powder-burned spot and the cruel affidavit of the "Smith & Wesson"
that our wife had obtained her decree.

The editor of the _Pizenweed_ had demonstrated at he could drink or he
could let it alone.



My Bachelor Chum


     O a corpulent man is my bachelor chum,
       With a neck apoplectic and thick,
     And an abdomen on him as big as a drum,
       And a fist big enough for the stick;
     With a walk that for grace is clear out of the case,
       And a wobble uncertain--as though
     His little bow-legs had forgotten the pace
       That in youth used to favor him so.

     He is forty, at least; and the top of his head
       Is a bald and a glittering thing;
     And his nose and his two chubby cheeks are as red
       As three rival roses in spring.
     His mouth is a grin with the corners tucked in
       And his laugh is so breezy and bright
     That it ripples his features and dimples his chin
       With a billowy look of delight.

     He is fond of declaring he "don't care a straw"--
       That "the ills of a bachelor's life
     Are blisses compared with a mother-in-law,
       And a boarding-school miss for a wife!"
     So he smokes, and he drinks, and he jokes and he winks,
       And he dines, and he wines all alone,
     With a thumb ever ready to snap as he thinks
       Of the comforts he never has known.

     But up in his den--(Ah, my bachelor chum!)
       I have sat with him there in the gloom,
     When the laugh of his lips died away to become
       But a phantom of mirth in the room!
     And to look on him there you would love him, for all
       His ridiculous ways, and be dumb
     As the little girl-face that smiles down from the wall
       On the tears of my bachelor chum.



The Philanthropical Jay


It had been ten long years since I last met Jay Gould until I called
upon him yesterday to renew the acquaintance and discuss the happy past.
Ten years of patient toil and earnest endeavor on my part, ten years of
philanthropy on his, have been filed away in the grim and greedy
heretofore. Both of us have changed in that time, though Jay has changed
more than I have. Perhaps that is because he has been thrown more in
contact with change than I have.

Still, I had changed a good deal in those years, for when I called at
Irvington yesterday Mr. Gould did not remember me. Neither did the
watchful but overestimated dog in the front yard. Mr. Gould lives in
comfort, in a cheery home, surrounded by hired help and a barbed-wire
fence.

By wearing ready-made clothes, instead of having his clothing made
especially for himself, he has been enabled to amass a good many
millions of dollars with which he is enabled to buy things.

Carefully concealing the fact that I had any business relations with the
press, I gave my card to the person who does chores for Mr. Gould, and,
apologizing for not having dropped in before, I took a seat in the spare
room to wait for the great railroad magnate.

Mr. Gould entered the room with a low, stealthy tread, and looked me
over in a cursory way and yet with the air of a connoisseur.

"I believe that I have never had the pleasure of meeting you before,
sir," said the great railroad swallower and amateur Philanthropist with
a tinge of railroad irony.

[Illustration]

"Yes, sir, we met some ten years ago," said I, lightly running my
fingers over the keys of the piano in order to show him that I was
accustomed to the sight of a piano. "I was then working in the rolling
mill at Laramie City, Wyo., and you came to visit the mill, which was
then operated by the Union Pacific Railroad Company. You do not remember
me because I have purchased a different pair of trousers since I saw
you, and the cane which I wear this season changes my whole appearance
also. I remember you, however, very much."

"Well, if we grant all that, Mr. Nye, will you excuse me for asking you
to what I am indebted for this call?"

[Illustration]

"Well, Mr. Gould," said I, rising to my full height and putting my soft
hat on the brow of the Venus de Milo, after which I seated myself
opposite him in a _degage_ Western way, "you are indebted to _me_ for
this call. That's what you're indebted to. But we will let that pass.
We are not here to talk about indebtedness, Jay. If you are busy you
needn't return this call till next winter. But I am here just to
converse in a quiet way, as between man and man; to talk over the past,
to ask you how your conduct is and to inquire if I can do you any good
in any way whatever. This is no time to speak pieces and ask in a
grammatical way, 'To what you are indebted for this call.' My main
object in coming up here was to take you by the hand and ask you how
your memory is this spring? Judging from what I could hear, I was led to
believe that it was a little inclined to be sluggish and atrophied days
and to keep you awake nights. Is that so, Jay?"

"No, sir; that is not so."

"Very well, then I have been misled by the reports in the papers, and I
am glad it is all a mistake. Now one thing more before I go. Did it ever
occur to you that while you and your family are all out in your yacht
together some day, a sudden squall, a quick lurch of the lee scuppers, a
tremulous movement of the main brace, a shudder of the spring boom might
occur and all be over?"

"Yes, sir. I have often thought of it, and of course such a thing might
happen at any time; but you forget that while we are out on the broad
and boundless ocean we enjoy ourselves. We are free. People with morbid
curiosity cannot come and call on us. We cannot get the daily
newspapers, and we do not have to meet low, vulgar people who pay their
debts and perspire."

"Of course, that is one view to take of it; but that is only a selfish
view. Supposing that you have made no provision for the future in case
of accident, would it not be well for you to name some one outside of
your own family to take up this great burden which is now weighing you
down--this money which you say yourself has made a slave of you--and
look out for it? Have you ever considered this matter seriously and
settled upon a good man who would be willing to water your stock for
you, and so conduct your affairs that nobody would get any benefit from
your vast accumulations, and in every way carry out the policy which you
have inaugurated?

"If you have not thoroughly considered this matter I wish that you would
do so at an early date. I have in my mind's eye just such a man as you
need. His shoulders are well fitted for a burden of this kind, and he
would pick it up cheerfully any time you see fit to lay it down. I will
give you his address."

"Thank you," said Mr. Gould, as the thermometer in the next room
suddenly froze up and burst with a loud report. "And now, if you will
excuse me from offsetting my time, which is worth $500 a minute, against
yours, which I judge to be worth about $1 per week, I will bid you good
morning."

He then held the door open for me, and shortly after that I came away.
There were three reasons why I did not remain, but the principal reason
was that I did not think he wanted me to do so.

And so I came away and left him. There was little else that I could say
after that.

It is not the first time that a Western man has been treated with
consideration in his own section, only to be frowned upon and frozen
when he meets the same man in New York.

Mr. Gould is below the medium height, and is likely to remain so through
life. His countenance wears a crafty expression, and yet he allowed
himself to be April-fooled by a genial little party of gentlemen from
Boston, who salted the Central Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad by
holding back all the freight for two weeks in order to have it on the
road while Jay was examining the property.

Jay Gould would attract very little attention here on the streets, but
he would certainly be looked upon with suspicion in Paradise. A man who
would fail to remember that he had $7,000,000 that belonged to the Erie
road, but who does not forget to remember whenever he paid his own hotel
bills at Washington, is the kind of man who would pull up and pawn the
pavements of Paradise within thirty days after he got there.

After looking over the above statement carefully, I feel called upon, in
justice to myself, to state that Dr. Burchard did not assist me in
constructing the last sentence.

For those boys who wish to emulate the example of Jay Gould, the example
of Jay Gould is a good example for them to emulate.

If any little boy in New York on this beautiful Sabbath morning desires
to jeopardize his immortal soul in order to be beyond the reach of want,
and ride gayly over the sunlit billows where the cruel fangs of the
Excise law cannot reach him, let him cultivate a lop-sided memory, swap
friends for funds and wise counsel for crooked consols.

If I had thought of all this as I came down the front steps at Irvington
the other day, I would have said it to Mr. Gould; but I did not think of
it until I got home. A man's best thoughts frequently come to him too
late for publication.

[Illustration]

But the name of Jay Gould will not go down to future generations linked
with those of Howard and Wilberforce. It will not go very far anyway. In
this age of millionaires, a millionaire more or less does not count very
much, and only the good millionaires who baptize and beautify their
wealth in the eternal sunlight of unselfishness will have any claim on
immortality.

In this period of progress and high-grade civilization, when Satan takes
humanity up to the top of a high mountain and shows his railroads and
his kerosene oil and his distilleries and his coffers filled with pure
leaf lard, and says: "All this will I give for a seat in the Senate," a
common millionaire with no originality of design does not excite any
more curiosity on Broadway than a young man who is led about by a little
ecru dog.

I do not wish to crush capital with labor, or to further intensify the
feeling which already exists between the two, for I am a land-holder and
taxpayer myself, but I say that the man who never mixes up with the
common people unless he is summoned to explain something and shake the
moths out of his memory will some day, when the grass grows green over
his own grave, find himself confronted by the same kind of a memory on
the part of mankind.

I do not say all this because I was treated in an off-hand manner by Mr.
Gould, but because I think it ought to be said.

As I said before, Jay Gould is considerably below the medium height, and
I am not going to take it back.

He is a man who will some day sit out on the corner of a new-laid planet
with his little pink railroad maps on his knees and ask, "Where am I?"
and the echoes from every musty corner of miasmatic oblivion will take
up the question and refer it to the judiciary committee; but it will
curl up and die like the minority report against a big railroad land
grant.



[Illustration: "A Brave Refrain."]


     When snow is here, and the trees look weird,
       And the knuckled twigs are gloved with frost;
     When the breath congeals in the drover's beard,
       And the old pathway to the barn is lost:

     When the rooster's crow is sad to hear,
       And the stamp of the stabled horse is vain,
     And the tone of the cow-bell grieves the ear--
       O then is the time for a brave refrain!

     When the gears hang stiff on the harness-peg,
       And the tallow gleams in frozen streaks:
     And the old hen stands on a lonesome leg,
       And the pump sounds hoarse and the handle squeaks;
     When the woodpile lies in a shrouded heap,
       And the frost is scratched from the window-pane,
     And anxious eyes from the inside peep--
       O then is the time for a brave refrain!

     When the ax-helve warms at the chimney-jamb!
       And hob-nailed boots on the hearth below,
     And the house cat curls in a slumber calm,
       And the eight-day clock ticks loud and slow;
     When the harsh broom-handle jabs the ceil
       'Neath the kitchen-loft, and the drowsy brain
     Sniffs the breath of the morning meal--
       O then is the time for a brave refrain!


     'ENVOI.

     When the skillet seethes, and a blubbering hot
     Tilts the lid of the coffee-pot,
     And the scent of the buckwheat cake grows plain--
     O then is the time for a brave refrain!



A Blasted Snore


Sleep, under favorable circumstances, is a great boon. Sleep, if natural
and undisturbed, is surely as useful as any other scientific discovery.
Sleep, whether administered at home or abroad, under the soporific
influences of an under-paid preacher or the unyielding wooden cellar
door that is used as a blanket in the sleeping car, is a harmless
dissipation and a cheerful relaxation.

Let me study a man for the first hour after he has wakened and I will
judge him more correctly than I would to watch him all winter in the
Legislature. We think we are pretty well acquainted with our friends,
but we are not thoroughly conversant with their peculiarities until we
have seen them wake up in the morning.

I have often looked at the men I meet and thought what a shock it must
be to the wives of some of them to wake up and see their husbands before
they have had time to prepare, and while their minds are still chaotic.

The first glimpse of a large, fat man, whose brain has drooped down
behind his ears, and whose wheezy breath wanders around through the
catacombs of his head and then emerges from his nostrils with a shrill
snort like the yelp of the damned, must be a charming picture for the
eye of a delicate and beautiful second wife: one who loves to look on
green meadows and glorious landscapes; one who has always wakened with
a song and a ripple of laughter that fell on her father's heart like
shower of sunshine in the somber green of the valley.

It is a pet theory of mine that to be pleasantly wakened is half the
battle for the day. If we could be wakened by the refrain of a joyous
song, instead of having our front teeth knocked out by one of those
patent pillow-sham holders that sit up on their hind feet at the head of
the bed, until we dream that we are just about to enter Paradise and
have just passed our competitive examination, and which then swoop down
and mash us across the bridge of the nose, there would be less insanity
in our land and death would be regarded more in the light of a calamity.

When you waken a child do it in a pleasant way. Do not take him by the
ear and pull him out of bed. It is disagreeable for the child, and
injures the general _tout ensemble_ of the ear. Where children go to
sleep with tears on their cheeks and are wakened by the yowl of
dyspeptic parents, they have a pretty good excuse for crime in after
years. If I sat on the bench in such cases I would mitigate the
sentence.

It is a genuine pleasure for me to wake up a good-natured child in a
good-natured way. Surely it is better from those dimpled lids to chase
the sleep with a caress than to knock out slumber with a harsh word and
a bed slat.

No one should be suddenly wakened from a sound sleep. A sudden awaking
reverses the magnetic currents, and makes the hair pull, to borrow an
expression from Dante. The awaking should be natural, gradual, and
deliberate.

A sad thing occurred last summer on an Omaha train. It was a very warm
day, and in the smoking car a fat man, with a magenta fringe of whiskers
over his Adam's apple, and a light, ecru lambrequin of real camel's hair
around the suburbs of his head, might have been discovered.

He could have opened his mouth wider, perhaps, but not without injuring
the mainspring of his neck and turning his epiglottis out of doors.

He was asleep.

He was not only slumbering, but he was putting the earnestness and
passionate devotion of his whole being into it. His shiny, oilcloth
grip, with the roguish tip of a discarded collar just peeping out at the
side, was up in the iron wall-pocket of the car. He also had, in the
seat with him, a market basket full of misfit lunch and a two-bushel bag
containing extra apparel. On the floor he had a crock of butter with a
copy of the Punkville _Palladium_ and _Stock Grower's Guardian_ over the
top.

He slumbered on in a rambling sort of way, snoring all the time in
monosyllables, except when he erroneously swallowed his tonsils, and
then he would struggle awhile and get black in the face, while the
passengers vainly hoped that he had strangled.

While he was thus slumbering, with all the eloquence and enthusiasm of a
man in the full meridian of life, the train stopped with a lurch, and
the brakeman touched his shoulder.

"Here's your town," he said. "We only stop a minute. You'll have to
hustle."

The man, who had been far away, wrestling with Morpheus, had removed his
hat, coat, and boots, and when he awoke his feet absolutely refused to
go back into the same quarters.

[Illustration]

At first he looked around reproachfully at the people in the car. Then
he reached up and got his oilcloth grip from the bracket. The bag was
tied together with a string, and as he took it down the string untied.
Then we all discovered that this man had been on the road for a long
time, with no object, apparently, except to evade laundries. All kinds
of articles fell out in the aisle. I remember seeing a chest-protector
and a linen coat, a slab of seal-brown gingerbread and a pair of stoga
boots, a hairbrush and a bologna sausage, a plug of tobacco and a porous
plaster.

He gathered up what he could in both arms, made two trips to the door
and threw out all he could, tried again to put his number eleven feet
into his number nine boots, gave it up, and socked himself out of the
car as it began to move, while the brakeman bombarded him through the
window for two miles with personal property, groceries, dry-goods, boots
and shoes, gents' furnishing goods, hardward, notions, _bric-a-brac_,
red herrings, clothing, doughnuts, vinegar bitters, and facetious
remarks.

Then he picked up the retired snorer's railroad check from the seat, and
I heard him say: "Why, dog on it, that wasn't his town after all."



Good-bye er Howdy-do

[Illustration]


     Say good-bye er howdy-do--
     What's the odds betwixt the two?
     Comin'--goin'--every day
     Best friends first to go away--
     Grasp of hands you druther hold
     Than their weight in solid gold,
     Slips their grip while greetin' you.--
     Say good-bye er howdy-do?

     Howdy-do, and then, good-bye--
     Mixes jest like laugh and cry;
     Deaths and births, and worst and best
     Tangled their contrariest;
     Ev'ry jinglin' weddin'-bell
     Skeerin' up some funeral knell.--
     Here's my song, and there's your sigh:
     Howdy-do, and then, good-bye!

     Say good-bye er howdy-do--
     Jest the same to me and you;
     'Taint worth while to make no fuss,
     'Cause the job's put up on us!
     Some one's runnin' this concern
     That's got nothin' else to learn--
     If he's willin', we'll pull through.
     Say good-bye or howdy-do!



[Illustration: SOCIETY GURGS From SANDY MUSH]


The following constitute the items of great interest occurring on the
East Side among the colored people of Blue Ruin:

Montmorency Tousley of Pizen Ivy avenue cut his foot badly last week
while chopping wood for a party on Willow street. He has been warned
time and again not to chop wood when the sign was not right, but he
would not listen to his friends. He not only cut off enough of his foot
to weigh three or four pounds, but completely gutted the coffee sack in
which his foot was done up at the time. It will be some time before he
can radiate around among the boys on Pizen avenue again.

Plum Beasley's house caught on fire last Tuesday night. He reckons it
was caused by a defective flue, for the fire caught in the north wing.
This is one of Plum's bon mots, however. He tries to make light of it,
but the wood he has been using all winter was white birch, and when he
got a big dose of hickory at the same place last week it was so dark
that he didn't notice the difference, and before he knew it he had a
bigger fire than he had allowed. In the midst of a pleasant flow of
conversation gas collected in the wood and caused an explosion which
threw a passel of live coals on the bed. The house was soon a solid mass
of flame. Mr. Beasley is still short two children.

Mr. Granulation Hicks, of Boston, Mass., who has won deserved
distinction in advancing the interests of Sir George Pullman, of
Chicago, is here visiting his parents, who reside on Upper Hominy. We
are glad to see Mr. Hicks and hope he may live long to visit Blue Ruin
and propitiate up and down our streets.

Miss Roseola Cardiman has just been the recipient of a beautiful pair of
chaste ear-bobs from her brother, who is a night watchman in a jewelry
store run by a man named Tiffany in New York. Roseola claims that
Tiffany makes a right smart of her brother, and sets a heap by him.

Whooping cough and horse distemper are again making fearful havoc among
the better classes at the foot of Pizen Ivy avenue.

We are pained to learn that the free reading room, established over
Amalgamation Brown's store, has been closed up by the police. Blue Ruin
has clamored for a free temperance reading room and brain retort for ten
years, and now a ruction between two of our best known citizens, over
the relative merits of a natural pair and a doctored flush, has called
down the vengeance of the authorities, and shut up what was a credit to
the place and a quiet resort, where young men could come night after
night and kind of complicate themselves at. There are two or three men
in this place that will bully or bust everything they can get into, and
they have perforated more outrages on Blue Ruin than we are entitled to
put up with.

There was a successful doings at the creek last Sabbath, during which
baptism was administered to four grown people and a dude from Sandy
Mush. The pastor thinks it will take first-rate, though it is still too
soon to tell.

Surrender Adams got a letter last Friday from his son Gladstone, who
filed on a homestead near Porcupine, Dak., two years ago. He says they
have had another of those unprecedented winters there for which Dakota
is so justly celebrated. He thinks this one has been even more so that
any of the others. He wishes he was back here at Blue Ruin, where a man
can go out doors for half an hour without getting ostracized by the
elements. He says they brag a good deal on their ozone there, but he
allows that it can be overdone. He states that when the ozone in Dakota
is feeling pretty well and humping itself and curling up sheet-iron
roofs and blowing trains of the track, a man has to tie a clothes-line
to himself, with the other end fastened to the door knob, before it is
safe to visit his own hen-house. He says that his nearest neighbor is
seventeen miles away, and a man might as well buy his own chickens as to
fool his money away on seventeen miles of clothes-line.

It is a first-rate letter, and the old man wonders who Gladstone got to
write it for him.

The valuable ecru dog of our distinguished townsman, Mr. Piedmont
Babbit, was seriously impaired last Saturday morning by an east-bound
freight.

He will not wrinkle up his nose at another freight train.

George Wellington, of Hickory, was in town the front end of the week. He
has accepted a position in the livery, feed and sale stable at Sandy
Mush. Call again, George.

Gabriel Brant met with a sad mishap a few days since while crossing the
French Broad river, by which he lost his leg.

Any one who may find an extra leg below where the accident occurred will
confer a favor on Mr. Brant by returning same to No. 06-1/2 Pneumonia
street. It may be readily identified by any one, as it is made of an old
pickhandle and weighs four pounds.

J. Quincy Burns has written a war article for the Century Magazine,
regarding a battle where he was at. In this article he aims to describe
the sensations of a man who is ignorant of physical fear and yet yearns
to have the matter submitted to arbitration. He gives a thorough expose
of his efforts in trying to find a suitable board of arbitration as soon
as he saw that the enemy felt hostile and eager for the fray.

The forthcoming number of the Century will be eagerly snapped up by Mr.
Burns' friends who are familiar with his pleasing and graphic style of
writing. He describes with wonderful power the sense of utter exhaustion
which came over him and the feeling of bitter disappointment when he
realized that he was too far away to participate in the battle and too
fatigued to make a further search for suitable arbitrators.



While Cigarettes to Ashes Turn


     I.

     "He smokes--and that's enough," says Ma--
     "And cigarettes, at that!" says Pa.

     "He must not call again," says she--
     "He _shall_ not call again!" says he.

     They both glare at me as before--
     Then quit the room and bang the door,--

     While I, their willful daughter, say,
     "I guess I'll love him, anyway!"


     II.

     At twilight, in his room, alone,
     His careless feet inertly thrown

     Across a chair, my fancy can
     But worship this most worthless man!

     I dream what joy it is to set
     His slow lips round a cigarette,

     With idle-humored whiff and puff--
     Ah! this is innocent enough!

     To mark the slender fingers raise
     The waxen match's dainty blaze,

     Whose chastened light an instant glows
     On drooping lids and arching nose,

     Then, in the sudden gloom, instead,
     A tiny ember, dim and red,

     Blooms languidly to ripeness, then
     Fades slowly, and grows ripe again.

[Illustration: "HE SMOKES--AND THAT'S ENOUGH," SAYS MA--]

     III.

     I lean back, in my own boudoir--
     The door is fast, the sash ajar;

     And in the dark, I smiling stare
     At one window over there,

     Where some one, smoking, pinks the gloom,
     The darling darkness of his room!

     I push my shutters wider yet,
     And lo! I light a cigarette;

     And gleam for gleam, and glow for glow,
     Each pulse of light a word we know,

     We talk of love that still will burn
     While cigarettes to ashes turn.



Says He


[Illustration]

     "Whatever the weather may be," says he--
       "Whatever the weather may be--
     Its plaze, if ye will, an' I'll say me say--
     Supposin' to-day was the winterest day,
     Wud the weather be changing because ye cried,
     Or the snow be grass were ye crucified?
     The best is to make your own summer," says he,
     "Whatever the weather may be," says he--
       "Whatever the weather may be!"

     "Whatever the weather may be," says he--
       "Whatever the weather may be,
     Its the songs ye sing, an' the smiles ye wear
     That's a-makin' the sunshine everywhere;
     An' the world of gloom is a world of glee,
     Wid the bird in the bush, an' the bud in the tree,
     Whatever the weather may be," says he--
       "Whatever the weather may be!"

     "Whatever the weather may be," says he--
       "Whatever the weather may be,
     Ye can bring the spring, wid its green an' gold,
     An' the grass in the grove where the snow lies cold,
     An' ye'll warm your back, wid a smiling face,
     As ye sit at your heart like an owld fireplace,
     Whatever the weather may be," says he,
       "Whatever the weather may be!"



Where the Roads Are Engaged in Forking


I am writing this at an imitation hotel where the roads fork. I will
call it the Fifth Avenue Hotel because the hotel at a railroad junction
is generally called the Fifth Avenue, or the Gem City House, or the
Palace Hotel. I stopped at an inn some years since called the Palace,
and I can truly say that if it had ever been a palace it was very much
run down when I visited it.

Just as the fond parent of a white-eyed, two-legged freak of nature
loves to name his mentally-diluted son Napoleon, and for the same reason
that a prominent horse owner in Illinois last year socked my name on a
tall, buckskin-colored colt that did not resemble me, intellectually or
physically, a colt that did not know enough to go around a barbed-wire
fence, but sought to shift himself through it into an untimely grave, so
this man has named his sway-backed wigwam the Fifth Avenue Hotel.

It is different from the Fifth Avenue in many ways. In the first place
there is not so much travel and business in its neighborhood. As I said
before, this is where two railroads fork. In fact that is the leading
industry here. The growth of the town is naturally slow, but it is a
healthy growth. There is nothing in the nature of dangerous or wild-cat
speculation in the advancement of this place, and while there has been
no noticeable or rapid advance in the principal business, there has been
no falling off at all and these roads are forking as much to-day as they
did before the war, while the same three men who were present for the
first glad moment are still here to witness the operation.

Sometimes a train is derailed, as the papers call it, and two or three
people have to remain over as we did all night. It is at such a time
that the Fifth Avenue Hotel is the scene of great excitement. A large
codfish, with a broad and sunny smile and his bosom full of rock salt,
is tied in the creek to freshen and fit himself for the responsible
position of floor manager of the codfish ball.

A pale chambermaid, wearing a black jersey with large pores in it
through which she is gently percolating, now goes joyously up the stairs
to make the little post-office lock-box rooms look ten times worse than
they ever did before. She warbles a low refrain as she nimbly knocks
loose the venerable dust of centuries and sets it afloat throughout the
rooms. All is bustle about the house.

Especially the chambermaid.

We were put in the guests' chamber here. It has two atrophied beds made
up of pains and counterpanes.

This last remark conveys to the reader the presence of a light, joyous
feeling which is wholly assumed on my part.

The door of our room is full of holes where locks have been wrenched off
in order to let the coroner in. Last night I could imagine that I was
in the act of meeting, personally, the famous people who have tried to
sleep here and who moaned through the night and who died while waiting
for the dawn.

I have no doubt in the world but there is quite a good-sized delegation
from this hotel, of guests who hesitated about committing suicide,
because they feared to tread the red-hot sidewalks of perdition, but who
became desperate at last and resolved to take their chances, and they
have never had any cause to regret it.

[Illustration]

We washed our hands on doorknob soap, wiped them on a slippery elm
court-plaster, that had made quite a reputation for itself under the
nom-de-plume of "Towel," tried to warm ourselves at a pocket inkstand
stove, that gave out heat like a dark lantern and had a deformed elbow
at the back of it.

The chambermaid is very versatile, and waits on the table while not
engaged in agitating the overworked mattresses and puny pillows
up-stairs. In this way she imparts the odor of fried pork to the
pillow-cases and kerosene to the pie.

She has a wild, nervous and apprehensive look in her eye, as though she
feared that some herculean guest might seize her in his great strong
arms and bear her away to a justice of the peace and marry her. She
certainly cannot fully realize how thoroughly secure she is from such a
calamity. She is just as safe as she was forty years ago, when she
promised her aged mother that she would never elope with any one.

Still, she is sociable at times and converses freely with me at table,
as she leans over my shoulder, pensively brushing the crumbs into my lap
with a general utility towel, which accompanies her in her various
rambles through the house, and she asks what we would rather have--"tea
or eggs?"

This afternoon we will pay our bill, in accordance with a life-long
custom of ours, and go away to permeate the busy haunts of men. It will
be sad to tear ourselves away from the Fifth Avenue Hotel at this place;
still, there is no great loss without some small gain, and at our next
hotel we may not have to chop our own wood and bring it up stairs when
we want to rest. The landlord of a hotel who goes away to a political
meeting and leaves his guests to chop their own wood, and then charges
them full price for the rent of a boisterous and tempest-tossed bed,
will never endear himself to those with whom he is thrown in contact.

We leave at 2:30 this afternoon, hoping that the two railroads may
continue to fork here just the same as though we had remained.



McFeeters' Fourth

[Illustration]


     It was needless to say 'twas a glorious day,
     And to boast of it all in that spread-eagle way
     That our forefathers had since the hour of the birth
     Of this most patriotic republic on earth!
     But 'twas justice, of course, to admit that the sight
     Of the old Stars-and-Stripes was a thing of delight
     In the eyes of a fellow, however he tried
     To look on the day with a dignified pride
     That meant not to brook any turbulent glee,
     Or riotous flourish of loud jubilee!

     So argued McFeeters, all grim and severe,
     Who the long night before, with a feeling of fear,
     Had slumbered but fitfully, hearing the swish
     Of the sky-rocket over his roof, with a wish
     That the urchin who fired it were fast to the end
     Of the stick to forever and ever ascend;
     Or to hopelessly ask why the boy with the horn
     And its horrible havoc had ever been born!
     Or to wish, in his wakefulness, staring aghast,
     That this Fourth of July were as dead as the last!

     So, yesterday morning, McFeeters arose,
     With a fire in his eyes, and a cold in his nose,
     And a gutteral voice in appropriate key
     With a temper as gruff as a temper could be.
     He growled at the servant he met on the stair,
     Because he was whistling a national air,
     And he growled at the maid on the balcony, who
     Stood enrapt with the tune of "The Red, White and Blue"
     That a band was discoursing like mad in the street,
     With drumsticks that banged, and with cymbals that beat.

     And he growled at his wife, as she buttoned his vest,
     And applausively pinned a rosette on his breast
     Of the national colors, and lured from his purse
     Some change for the boys--for firecrackers--or worse:
     And she pointed with pride to a soldier in blue
     In a frame on the wall, and the colors there, too;
     And he felt, as he looked on the features, the glow
     The painter found there twenty long years ago,
     And a passionate thrill in his breast, as he felt
     Instinctively round for the sword in his belt.

     What was it that hung like a mist o'er the room?--
     The tumult without--and the music--the boom
     Of the canon--the blare of the bugle and fife?--
     No matter!--McFeeters was kissing his wife,
     And laughing and crying and waving his hat
     Like a genuine soldier, and crazy, at that!
     --But it's needless to say 'twas a glorious day,
     And to boast of it all in that spread-eagle way
     That our forefathers have since the hour of birth
     Of this most patriotic republic on earth!



In a Box

[Illustration]


     I saw them last night in a box at the play--
       Old age and young youth side by side--
     You might know by the glasses that pointed that way
       That they were--a groom and a bride;
     And you might have known, too, by the face of the groom,
       And the tilt of his head, and the grim
     Little smile of his lip, he was proud to presume
       That we men were all envying him.

     Well, she was superb--an Elaine in the face,
       A Godiva in figure and mien,
     With the arm and the wrist of a Parian "Grace,"
       And the high-lifted brow of a queen;
     But I thought, in the splendor of wealth and of pride,
       And in all her young beauty might prize,
     I should hardly be glad if she sat by my side
       With that far-away look in her eyes.



Seeking to Set the Public Right


[Illustration]

I would like to make an explanation at this time which concerns me, of
course, more than any one else, and yet it ought to be made in the
interests of general justice, also. I refer to a recent article
published in a Western paper and handsomely illustrated, in which, among
others, I find the foregoing picture of my residence:

The description which accompanies the cut, among other things, goes on
to state as follows: "The structure is elaborate, massive and beautiful.
It consists of three stories, basement and attic, and covers a large
area on the ground. It contains an elevator, electric bells,
steam-heating arrangements, baths, hot and cold, in every room, electric
lights, laundry, fire-escapes, etc. The grounds consist of at least five
acres, overlooking the river for several miles up and down, with fine
boating and a private fish-pond of two acres in extent, containing
every known variety of game fish. The grounds are finely laid out in
handsome drives and walks, and when finished the establishment will be
one of the most complete and beautiful in the Northwest."

No one realizes more fully than I the great power of the press for good
or evil. Rightly used the newspaper can make or unmake men, and wrongly
used it can be even more sinister. I might say, knowing this as I do, I
want to be placed right before the people. The above is not a correct
illustration or description of my house, for several reasons. In the
first place, it is larger and more robust in appearance, and in the
second place it has not the same _tout ensemble_ as my residence. My
house is less obtrusive and less arrogant in its demeanor than the
foregoing, and it has no elevator in it.

My house is not the kind that seems to crave an elevator. An elevator in
my house would lose money. There is no popular clamor for one, and if I
were to put one in I would have to abolish the dining-room. It would
also interfere with the parlor.

I have learned recently that the correspondent who came here to write up
this matter visited the town while I was in the South, and as he could
not find me he was at the mercy of strangers. A young man who lives here
and who is just in the heyday of life, gleefully consented to show the
correspondent my new residence not yet completed. So they went over and
examined the new Oliver Wendell Holmes Hospital, which will be completed
in June and which is, of course, a handsome structure, but quite
different from my house in many particulars.

For instance, my residence is of a different school of architecture,
being rather on the Scandinavian order, while the foregoing has a
tendency toward the Ironic. The hospital belongs to a very recent
school, as I may say, while my residence, in its architectural methods
and conception, goes back to the time of the mound builders, a time when
a Gothic hole in the ground was considered the _magnum bonum_ and the
scrumptuous thing in art. If the reader will go around behind the above
building and notice it carefully on the east side, he will not discover
a dried coonskin nailed to the rear breadths of the wood-shed. That
alone ought to convince an observing man that the house is not mine. The
coonskin regardant will always be found emblazoned on my arms, together
with a blue Goddess of Liberty and my name in green India ink.

[Illustration]

Above I give a rough sketch of my house. Of course I have idealized it
somewhat, but only in order to catch the eye of the keenly observant
reader. The front part of the house runs back to the time of Polypus the
First, while the L, which does not show in the drawing, runs back as far
as the cistern.

In closing, let me say that I am not finding fault with any one because
the above error has crept into the public prints, for it is really a
pardonable error, after all. Neither do I wish to be considered as
striving to eliminate my name from the columns of the press, for no one
could be more tickled than I am over a friendly notice of my arrival in
town or a timely reference to my courteous bearing and youthful
appearance, but I want to see the Oliver Wendell Holmes Hospital
succeed, and so I come out in this way over my own signature and admit
that the building does not belong to me and that, so far as I am
concerned, the man who files a lien on it will simply fritter away his
time.



A Dose't of Blues

[Illustration]


     I' got no patience with blues at all!
       And I ust to kindo' talk
     Aginst 'em, and claim, 'tel along last fall,
       They was none in the fambly stock;
     But a nephew of mine, from Eelinoy,
       That visited us last year,
     He kindo' convinct me different
       While he was a-stayin' here.
     Frum ever'-which-way that blues is frum,
       They'd tackle him ever' ways;
     They'd come to him in the night, and come
       On Sundys, and rainy days;
     They'd tackle him in corn-plantin' time,
       And in harvest, an airly fall,
     But a dose't of blues in the wintertime
       He 'lowed was the worst of all!
     Said all diseases that ever he had--
       The mumps, er the rheumatiz--
     Er ever-other-day aigger's bad
       Purt' nigh as anything is!--
     Er a cyarbuncle, say, on the back of his neck,
       Er a fellon on his thumb,--
     But you keep the blues away frum him,
       And all o' the rest could come!
     And he'd moan, "they's narry a leaf below!
       Ner a spear o' grass in sight!
     And the whole wood-pile's clean under snow!
       And the days is dark as night!
     And you can't go out--ner you can't stay in--
       Lay down--stand up--ner set!"
     And a case o' reguller tyfoid blues
       Would double him jest clean shet!

     I writ his parents a postal-kyard
       He could stay 'tel spring-time come;
     And Aprile first, as I rickollect,
       Was the day we shipped him home.
     Most o' his relatives, sence then,
       Has either give up, er quit,
     Er jest died off, but I understand
       _He's_ the same old color yit!



Wanted, a Fox


                                           SLIPPERY ELMHURST,}
                                STATEN ISLAND, July 18, 1888.}

  TO THE EDITOR:

Dear Sir: Could you inform a constant reader of your valuable paper
where he would be most likely to obtain a good, durable, wild fox which
could be used for hunting purposes on my premises? I desire a fox that
is a good roadster, and yet not too bloodthirsty. If I could secure one
that would not bite, it would tickle me most to death.

You know, perhaps, that I am of English origin. Some of the best and
bluest blood of the oldest and most decrepit families in England flows
in my veins. There is no better blood extant. We love the exhilarating
sports of our ancestors, and nothing thrills us through and through like
the free chase 'cross country behind the fleeing fox. Joyously we gallop
over the sward behind the yelping pack, as we clearly scent high, low,
jack and the game.

My ancestors are haughty English people from Piscataquis county, Maine.
For centuries, our rich, warm, red blood has been mellowed by the
elderberry wine and huckleberry juice of Moosehead lake; but now and
then it will assert itself and mantle in the broad and indestructible
cheek of our race. Ever and anon in our family you will notice the
slender triangular chest, the broad and haughty sweep of abdomen, and
the high, intellectual expanse of pelvic bone, which denotes the true
Englishman; proud, high-spirited, soaked full of calm disdain, wearing
checked pantaloons, and a soft, flabby tourist's hat that has a bow at
both ends, so that a man cannot get too drunk to put it on his head
wrong.

[Illustration]

I know that here is democratic America, where every man has to earn his
living or marry rich, people will scorn my high-born love of the
fox-chase, and speak in a slighting manner of my wild, wild yearn for
the rush and scamper of the hunt. By Jove, but it is joy indeed to
gallop over the sward and the cover, and the open land, the meet and the
cucumber vines of the Plebian farmer, to run over the wife of the
peasant and tramp her low, coarse children into the rich mould, to
"sick" the hounds upon the rude rustic as he paris greens his potatoes,
to pry open the jaws of the pack and return to the open-eyed peasant
the quivering seat of his pantaloons, returning it to him not because it
is lacking in its merit, but because it is not available.

Ah, how the pulses thrill as we bound over the lea, out across the wold,
anon skimming the outskirts of the moor and going home with a stellated
fracture of the dura mater through which the gas is gently escaping.

Let others rave over the dreamy waltz and the false joys of the skating
rink, but give me the maddening yelp of the pack in full cry as it
chases the speckled two-year-old of the low-born rustic across the open
and into the pond.

Let others sing of the zephyrs that fan the white sails of their
swift-flying yacht, but give me a wild gallop at the tail of my
high-priced hounds and six weeks at the hospital with a fractured rib
and I am proud and happy. All our family are that way. We do not care
for industry for itself alone. We are too proud ever to become slaves to
habits of industry. We can labor or we can let it alone.

This shows our superiority as a race. We have been that way for hundreds
of years. We could work in order to be sociable, but we would not allow
it to sap the foundations of our whole being.

I write, therefore, to learn, if possible, where I can get a good red or
gray fox that will come home nights. I had a fox last season for hunting
purposes, but he did not give satisfaction. He was constantly getting
into the pound. I do not want an animal of that kind. I want one that I
shall always know where I can put my hand upon him when I want to hunt.

Nothing can be more annoying than to be compelled to go to the pound
and redeem a fox, when a party is mounted and waiting to hunt him.

I do not care so much for the gait of a fox, whether he lopes, trots or
paces, so that his feet are sound and his wind good. I bought a
light-red fox two years ago that had given perfect satisfaction the
previous year, but when we got ready to hunt him he went lame in the off
hind foot and crawled under a hen house back of my estate, where he
remained till the hunt was over.

What I want is a young, flealess fox of the dark red or iron-gray
variety, that I can depend upon as a good roadster; one that will come
and eat out of my hand and yearn to be loved.

I would like also a tall, red horse with a sawed-off tail; one that can
jump a barbed wire fence without mussing it up with fragments of his
rider. Any one who may have such a horse or pipless fox will do well to
communicate with me in person or by letter, enclosing references. I may
be found during the summer months on my estate, spread out under a tree,
engaged in thought.

     E. FITZWILLIAM NYE.

     Slipperyelmhurst, Staten Island, N. Y.



[Illustration: SUTTERS CLAIM]


IMITATED.

     Say! _you_ feller! _You_--
       With that spade and the pick!--
     What do you 'pose to do
       On this side o' the crick?
     Goin' to tackle this claim? Well, I reckon
       You'll let up agin purty quick!
     No bluff, understand,--
       But the same has been tried,
     And the claim never panned--
       Or the fellers has lied,--
     For they tell of a dozen that tried it,
       And quit it most onsatisfied.

     The luck's dead agin it!--
       The first man I see
     That stuck a pick in it
       Proved _that_ thing to me,--
     For he sorto took down, and got homesick,
       And went back whar he'd orto be!

     Then others they worked it
       Some--more or less,
     But finally shirked it,
       In grades of distress,--
     With an eye out--a jaw or skull busted,
       Or some sort o' seriousness.

     The _last_ one was plucky--
       He wasn't afeerd,
     And bragged he was "lucky,"
       And said that "he'd heerd
     A heep of bluff-talk," and swore awkard
       He'd work any claim that he keered!

     Don't you strike nary lick
       With that pick till I'm through;
     This-here feller talked slick
       And as peart-like as you!
     And he says: "I'll abide here
       As long as I please!"
     But he didn't.... He died here--
       And I'm his disease!



Seeking to Be Identified


CHICAGO, Feb. 20, 1888.

[Illustration]

Financial circles here have been a good deal interested in the discovery
of a cipher which was recently adopted by a depositor and which began to
attract the attention at first of a gentleman employed in the
Clearing-House. He was telling me about it and showing me the vouchers
or duplicates of them.

It was several months ago that he first noticed on the back of a check
passing through the Clearing-House the following cipher, written in a
symmetrical, Gothic hand:

     DEAR SIR:--Herewith find payment for last month's butter. It was
     hardly up to the average. Why do you blonde your butter? Your
     butter last month tried to assume an effeminate air, which
     certainly was not consistent with its great vigor. Is it not
     possible that this butter is the brother to what we had the month
     previous, and that it was exchanged for its sister by mistake? We
     have generally liked your butter very much, but we will have to
     deal elsewhere if you are going to encourage it in wearing a full
     beard.

     Yours truly,

     W.

Moneyed men all over Chicago and financial cryptogrammers came to read
the curious thing and to try and work out its bearing on trade.
Everybody took a look at it and went away defeated. Even the men who
were engaged in trying to figure out the identity of the Snell murderer,
took a day off and tried their Waterbury thinkers on this problem. In
the midst of it all another check passed through the Clearing-House with
this cipher, in the same hand:

     SIR:--Your bill for the past month is too much. You forget the eggs
     returned at the end of second week, for which you were to give me
     credit. The cook broke one of them by mistake, and then threw up
     the portfolio of pie-founder in our once joyous home. I will not
     dock you for loss of cook, but I cannot allow you for the eggs. How
     you succeed in dodging quarantine with eggs like that is a mystery
     to yours truly,

     W.

Great excitement followed the discovery of this indorsement on a check
for $32.87. Everybody who knew anything about ciphering was called in to
consider it. A young man from a high school near here, who made a
specialty of mathematics and pimples, and who could readily tell how
long a shadow a nine-pound ground-hog would cast at 2 o'clock and 37
minutes p. m., on ground-hog day, if sunny, at the town of Fungus, Dak.,
provided latitude and longitude and an irregular mass of red chalk be
given to him, was secured to jerk a few logarithms in the interests of
trade. He came and tried it for a few days, covered the interior of the
Exposition Building with figures and then went away.

The Pinkerton detectives laid aside their literary work on the great
train book, entitled "The Jerkwater Bank Robbery and other Choice
Crimes," by the author of "How I Traced a Lame Man through Michigan and
other Felonies." They grappled with the cipher, and several of them
leaned up against something and thought for a long time, but they could
make neither head nor tail to it. Ignatius Donnelly took a powerful dose
of kumiss, and under its maddening influence sought to solve the great
problem which threatened to engulf the national surplus. All was in
vain. Cowed and defeated, the able conservators of coin, who require a
man to be identified before he can draw on his overshoes at sight, had
to acknowledge if this thing continued it threatened the destruction of
the entire national fabric.

About this time I was calling at the First National Bank of Chicago, the
greatest bank, if I am not mistaken, in America. I saw the bonds
securing its issue of national currency the other day in Washington, and
I am quite sure the custodian told me it was the greatest of any bank in
the Union. Anyway, it was sufficient, so that I felt like doing my
banking business there whenever it became handy to do so.

I asked for a certificate of deposit for $2,000, and had the money to
pay for it, but I had to be identified. "Why," I said to the receiving
teller, "surely you don't require a man to be identified when he
deposits money, do you?"

"Yes, that's the idea."

"Well, isn't that a new twist on the crippled industries of this
country?"

"No; that's our rule. Hurry up, please, and don't keep men waiting who
have money and know how to do business."

"Well, I don't want to obstruct business, of course, but suppose, for
instance, I get myself identified by a man I know and a man you know,
and a man who can leave his business and come here for the delirious joy
of identifying me, and you admit that I am the man I claim to be,
corresponding as to description, age, sex, etc., with the man I
advertise myself to be, how would it be about your ability to identify
yourself as the man you claim to be? I go all over Chicago, visiting all
the large pork-packing houses in search of a man I know, and who is
intimate with literary people like me, and finally we will say I find
one who knows me and who knows you, and whom you know, and who can leave
his leaf lard long enough to come here and identify me all right. Can
you identify yourself in such a way that when I put in my $2,000 you
will not loan it upon insufficient security as they did in Cincinnati
the other day, as soon as I go out of town?"

"Oh, we don't care especially whether you trade here or not, so that you
hurry up and let other people have a chance. Where you make a mistake is
in trying to rehearse a piece here instead of going out to Lincoln Park
or somewhere in a quiet part of the city. Our rules are that a man who
makes a deposit here must be identified."

"All right. Do you know Queen Victoria?"

"No, sir; I do not."

"Well, then, there is no use in disturbing her. Do you know any of the
other crowned heads?"

"No, sir."

"Well, then, do you know President Cleveland, or any of the Cabinet, or
the Senate or members of the House?"

"No."

"That's it, you see. I move in one set and you in another. What
respectable people do you know?"

[Illustration]

"I'll have to ask you to stand aside, I guess, and give that string of
people a chance. You have no right to take up my time in this way. The
rules of the bank are inflexible. We must know who you are, even before
we accept your deposit."

I then drew from my pocket a copy of the Sunday World, which contained a
voluptuous picture of myself. Removing my hat and making a court salaam
by letting out four additional joints in my lithe and versatile limbs, I
asked if any further identification would be necessary.

[Illustration]

Hastily closing the door to the vault and jerking the combination, he
said that would be satisfactory. I was then permitted to deposit in the
bank.

I do not know why I should always be regarded with suspicion wherever I
go. I do not present the appearance of a man who is steeped in crime,
and yet when I put my trivial little two-gallon valise on the seat of a
depot-waiting-room a big man with a red moustache comes to me and hisses
through his clinched teeth: "Take yer baggage off the seat!!" It is so
everywhere. I apologize for disturbing a ticket agent long enough to
sell me a ticket, and he tries to jump through a little brass wicket and
throttle me. Other men come in and say: "Give me a ticket for Bandoline,
O., and be dam sudden about it, too," and they get their ticket and go
aboard the car and get the best seat, while I am begging for the
opportunity to buy a seat at full rates and then ride in the wood-box. I
believe that common courtesy and decency in America need protection. Go
into an hotel or a hotel, whichever suits the eyether and nyether
readers of these lines, and the commercial man who travels for a big
sausage-casing house in New York has the bridal chamber, while the meek
and lowly minister of the Gospel gets a wall-pocket room with a cot, a
slippery-elm towel, a cake of cast-iron soap, a disconnected bell, a
view of the laundry, a tin roof and $4 a day.

But I digress. I was speaking of the bank check cipher. At the First
National Bank I was shown another of these remarkable indorsements. It
read as follows:

     DEAR SIR:--This will be your pay for chickens and other fowls
     received up to the first of the present month. Time is working
     wondrous changes in your chickens. They are not such chickens as we
     used to get of you before the war. They may be the same chickens,
     but oh! how changed by the lapse of time! How much more
     indestructible! How they have learned since then to defy the
     encroaching tooth of remorseless ages, or any other man! Why do you
     not have them tender like your squashes? I found a blue poker chip
     in your butter this week. What shall I credit myself for it? If you
     would try to work your butter more and your customers less it would
     be highly appreciated, especially by, yours truly,

     W.



Looking at the signature on the check itself, I found it to be that of
Mrs. James Wexford, of this city. Knowing Mr. Wexford, a wealthy and
influential publisher here, I asked him to-day if he knew anything about
this matter. He said that all he knew about it was that his wife had a
separate bank account, and had asked him several months ago what was the
use of all the blank space on the back of a check, and why it couldn't
be used for correspondence with the remittee. Mr. Wexford said he'd bet
$500 that his wife had been using her checks that way, for he said he
never knew of a woman who could possibly pay postage on a note,
remittance or anything else unless every particle of the surface had
been written over in a wild, delirious, three-story hand. Later on I
found that he was right about it. His wife had been sassing the grocer
and the butter-man on the back of her checks. Thus ended the great bank
mystery.

I will close this letter with a little incident, the story of which may
not be so startling, but it is true. It is a story of child faith.
Johnny Quinlan, of Evanston, has the most wonderful confidence in the
efficacy of prayer, but he thinks that prayer does not succeed unless it
is accompanied with considerable physical strength. He believes that
adult prayer is a good thing, but doubts the efficacy of juvenile
prayer.

He has wanted a Jersey cow for a good while and tried prayer, but it
didn't seem to get to the central office. Last week he went to a
neighbor who is a Christian and believer in the efficacy of prayer, also
the owner of a Jersey cow.

[Illustration]

"Do you believe that prayer will bring me a yaller Jersey cow?" said
Johnny.

"Why, yes, of course. Prayer will remove mountains. It will do
anything."

"Well, then, suppose you give me the cow you've got and pray for another
one."

[Illustration: END]



THE OLD CIDER MILL.


     If I could be a boy again
     For fifteen minutes, or even ten,
     I'd make a bee-line for that old mill,
     Hidden by tangled vines down by the rill,
     Where the apples were piled in heaps all 'round,
     Red, streaked and yellow all over the ground;
     And the old sleepy horse goes round and round
     And turns the wheels while the apples are ground.

     Straight for that old cider mill I'd start,
     With light bare feet and lighter heart,
     A smiling face, a big straw hat,
     Hum made breeches and all o' that.
     And when I got there I would just take a peep,
     To see if old cider mill John was asleep,
     And if he was I'd go snooking round
     'Till a great big round rye straw I'd found;
     I'd straddle a barrel and quick begin
     To fill with cider right up to my chin.

     As old as I am, I can shut my eyes
     And see the yellow-jackets, bees and flies
     A-swarming 'round the juicy cheese,
     And bung-holes; drinking as much as they please
     I can see the clear sweet cider flow
     From the press above to the tub below,
     And a-steaming up into my old nose
     Comes the smell that only a cider mill knows.

     You may talk about your fine old Crow,
     Your champagne, sherry, and so and so,
     But of all the drinks of press or still,
     Give me the juice of that old cider mill,
     A small boy's energy and suction power
     For just ten minutes or quarter of an hour,
     And the happiest boy you ever saw
     You'd find at the end of that rye straw,
     And I'll forego forevermore
     All liquors known on this earthly shore.

     --_Anonymous_





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