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Title: John Smith's Funny Adventures on a Crutch - Or The Remarkable Peregrinations of a One-legged Soldier after the War
Author: Hill, Ashbel Fairchild
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                              JOHN SMITH’S


                        ADVENTURES ON A CRUTCH!,

                     LEGGED SOLDIER AFTER THE WAR.


                              A. F. HILL,
                  “THE WHITE ROCKS, OR THE ROBBERS  OF
                      THE MONONGAHELA,” ETC., ETC.

                         _WITH ILLUSTRATIONS._

                      THE KEYSTONE PUBLISHING CO.


                       BY KEYSTONE PUBLISHING CO.


                                 TO THE



                             ARTEMUS WARD,

                             HAPPY SMILES,

                        THIS WORK IS FRATERNALLY



                              THE AUTHOR.



It is verily more difficult to write a good preface for a book than to
write the book itself. We don’t mind telling the reader, very
confidentially, that this is not, by any means, our first effort at a
preface for this work: and we earnestly hope that the public will not
pronounce this _ninth_ one so stupid as we deemed the eight preceding
ones that we tore up.

It will be perceived that our hero bears the historic name of JOHN
SMITH. Original old JOHN SMITH, the Virginia settler, met with many
adventures—some of them funny and others _not_ so funny—among the latter
was the affair with Miss Pocahontas and her stern old parent: and we
claim, for our own JOHN SMITH, as many adventures as his illustrious
namesake—some of them quite as funny and others funnier.

Nothing in this narrative of real incidents is at all calculated to
reflect on the excellent character of Mr. Smith: and this is because we
esteem him very highly and not from any dread of the law; for John Smith
is so multitudinous, that one _could_ handle the name with impunity, and
not incur any risk of prosecution for libel. What would a court say to
an action against a writer for libeling JOHN SMITH, yeoman!—especially
when the writer should plead that he never meant _that_ JOHN SMITH, but
quite another, unknown to the court.

There are those who will shrewdly guess that the hero of the narrative
represents the author himself, the chief grounds for such inference
being a striking similarity in the number of nether limbs. That,
however, should scarcely be taken as conclusive; for, since “this cruel
war is over,” there are nearly as many one-legged men in the country as
there are JOHN SMITHS!




                               CHAPTER I.
                          THE WAY IT HAPPENED.

                              CHAPTER II.

                              CHAPTER III.

                              CHAPTER IV.
                               LOCKED UP

                               CHAPTER V.

                              CHAPTER VI.

                              CHAPTER VII.
                          JOHN SMITH’S FRIEND.

                             CHAPTER VIII.

                              CHAPTER IX.

                               CHAPTER X.
                               THE “HUB.”

                              CHAPTER XI.

                              CHAPTER XII.

                             CHAPTER XIII.
                  ROMANCE IN JOHN SMITH’S “REAL LIFE.”

                              CHAPTER XIV.
                              THE HUDSON.

                              CHAPTER XV.
                           JOHN AT SARATOGA.

                              CHAPTER XVI.
                             THE SAIL-BOAT.

                             CHAPTER XVII.
                             NIAGARA FALLS.

                             CHAPTER XVIII.
                           CAVE OF THE WINDS.

                              CHAPTER XIX.

                              CHAPTER XX.
                      COL. JOHN SMITH AT AN HOTEL.

                              CHAPTER XXI.
                        COURTESIES OF TRAVELERS.

                             CHAPTER XXII.

                             CHAPTER XXIII.
                     SMITH’S EXPERIENCE ON A SKATE.

                             CHAPTER XXIV.
                          OVER THE MOUNTAINS.

                              CHAPTER XXV.

                             CHAPTER XXVI.
                      PECULIARITIES OF TRAVELERS.

                             CHAPTER XXVII.
                           MCCULLOCH’S LEAP.

                            CHAPTER XXVIII.

                             CHAPTER XXIX.
                        FALL CITY AND CAVE CITY.

                              CHAPTER XXX.

                             CHAPTER XXXI.
                           THE “NIGHTINGALE.”

                             CHAPTER XXXII.

                            CHAPTER XXXIII.
                     HOW NOT TO OPEN A PATENT LOCK.

                             CHAPTER XXXIV.
                          A GAME OF CHECKERS.

                             CHAPTER XXXV.
                            JOHN IN CHICAGO.

                             CHAPTER XXXVI.
                         TRAVELING COMPANIONS.

                            CHAPTER XXXVII.
                        MILWAUKEE AND THE LAKES.

                            CHAPTER XXXVIII.
                     SMITH IN SEARCH OF HIS UNCLE.

                             CHAPTER XXXIX.
                      SMITH’S KNOWLEDGE OF GERMAN.

                              CHAPTER XL.

                              CHAPTER XLI.

                             CHAPTER XLII.
                       MORE OF THE DREADFUL SEA.

                             CHAPTER XLIII.
                       JOHN SMITH’S END IMMINENT.

                             CHAPTER XLIV.
                           COURTESIES AT SEA.

                              CHAPTER XLV.
                          HO! FOR CALIFORNIA!

                             CHAPTER XLVI.
                            ON THE ISTHMUS.

                             CHAPTER XLVII.
                           THE “GOLDEN CITY.”

                            CHAPTER XLVIII.
                              THE DOCTOR.

                             CHAPTER XLIX.
                          A STARTLING BUNDLE.

                               CHAPTER L.
                              EXIT SMITH.


                             _John Smith's


                        Adventures On A Crutch!_


                               CHAPTER I.

                          THE WAY IT HAPPENED.

CRACK! went a rifle at the battle of Antietam. Not that it was the only
one fired, for they were rattling away at the rate of a thousand per
second just then; but there was one rifle in particular discharged,
which, so far as I was concerned, was clearly distinguishable from all
the rest. I did not see it, nor am I confident that, in the din of
battle, I heard its report; yet I was made painfully aware of its
existence and proximity, and shall no doubt entertain a recollection of
it while life lasts, and reason retains her throne.

That rifle, evidently fired by some one whom I would have shot first, if
I had had a good chance—and therefore I couldn’t blame him much for
shooting me—threw a leaden ball of one ounce in weight, and similar to
an acorn in shape; and that missile, travelling at the rate of five
thousand miles an hour—though they rarely travel a whole hour without
resting—struck and wounded me, John Smith. It passed through the thigh,
lacerating that muscle vulgarly known as the _tensor vaginæ femoris_,
and causing a compound fracture of the _femur_, barely below the
_trochanter major_; that is to say, it broke the bone about three inches
below the hip.

The ball had come diagonally from the direction of my right and front,
passing through the outside portion of the left thigh, and coming out
only an inch and a half from where it had entered; and I could not help,
when I had regained my composure, making some little geometric
calculations on the subject. I reckoned that if the man who had fired
the rifle—allowing him to have been one hundred yards distant, and the
barrel of the piece to have been four feet long—had moved the muzzle the
one-hundredth part of an inch to the right, I should have been missed;
if he had elevated it about the same distance I should have been
_missing_. My next thought was that whereas my antagonist had discharged
his rifle, I must request the government to discharge _me_.

Some of my comrades carried me from the field, and, after a little
diversion in the way of fainting, got me loaded into a one-horse
ambulance—a vehicle that can beat a wild-cat jumping on moderately rough
ground—and away it went, plunging diagonally across a corn-field, like a
schooner hove to in a storm. A shattered limb is one of the most painful
things in the world, especially when its owner is jostled about like old
rusty nails. For good, solid, substantial pain, I know of nothing worthy
of being spoken of on the same day with it. The toothache, in its worst
form, is bliss compared with it.

There was another wounded “hero” in the ambulance, lying beside me; his
leg was shattered below the knee; and I reckon that the yelling he and I
did, jointly, wasn’t the sort to be excelled by any other two youths of
medium abilities.

We were driven to a small log schoolhouse that was used as a surgical
hospital, and there unloaded. I do not know what became of my companion
in misery—that is, in the ambulance—for it was as much as I could do to
keep myself in view for some days following.

Within the schoolhouse were several surgeons busily engaged in
amputating limbs; while without, beneath some oak trees that stood near,
lay a great many sufferers awaiting their turn. I must give the surgeons
credit for considerable dispatch—and no doubt they _dispatched_ many a
poor fellow that day—for I observed that every few minutes, a whole man,
(in a bad state of repair, to be sure,) was carried in, and soon after
carried out, in from two to four pieces. They did their work up with
rapidity, and by evening, the arms and legs that were piled up against
the wall of the schoolhouse without, would have amounted to a full
cord—limb measure.

Well, as I do not intend to dwell on this part of the narrative very
long, I will simply say that the doctors finally reached my case. I was
carried into the little building, where so many pangs had been suffered
that day, and laid on an operating-table; and after a slight examination
of my wound, and a consultation of eight or nine seconds, they lulled me
to repose with chloroform, and scientifically relieved me of my left
leg. When I returned from the state of profound oblivion into which the
chloroform had thrown me, I was glad to find that they had not made a
mistake, and cut off the wrong limb—as a doctor was once known to do.
They _had_ amputated the _right_ leg, because the _left_ one was the
_right_ one—it being the wounded one—and my _right_ leg was now my
_left_ one, because it was the only one _left_. Yet, the other was
always the left one, and it has remained so, because it has been ever
since _left_ on the battle ground. However, that is all _right_.

What I suffered during the ensuing three months in Smoketown Hospital,
several miles from Sharpsburg, I will pass over with but a thought and a
shudder, and hasten on to tell of the curious and amusing adventures I
have since met with, “on a crutch.”

I will never forget my first attempt to walk on crutches. I thought it
looked easy, to see others walking about the hospital on crutches; just
as an inexperienced person is apt to think rowing a boat an easy matter,
because he sees others do it with apparent facility. So, one day, when
my strength had so increased that I thought I could bear my weight on my
only leg, I urged the nurse to lift me up and let me try a pair of

He did so. He raised me up, and I stood holding tremulously to the
tent-post—for I and five other unfortunates occupied a hospital
tent—while he carefully placed a crutch under each of my arms. It was
the first time for several months that I had been in an erect position,
and you can’t well imagine how I felt—without studying a good while
about it. The ground on which I stood seemed so far beneath that it made
me quite dizzy to look down on it, and I trembled at the awful
possibility of falling.

With the crutches under my arms, and the nurse’s strong hand on my
shoulder to keep me steady, I made two or three feeble, timid strides,
and concluding that walking on crutches was not quite what it was
“cracked up” to be, I faintly said:

“Nurse, put me down on the bed again: I fear I will never walk well on a

“Pshaw!” said he, as he assisted me to return to my couch of straw; “you
do well, and you’ll do twice as well next time you try it.”

“Twice as well would be but poorly,” I rejoined. “However, I will do my

“Certainly! Don’t think of getting discouraged.”

As I now look back on that dismal scene, and remember the sinking heart
that throbbed so feebly within me, and the wasted trembling limbs with
which I attempted to flee from my prison-like bed, I cannot help
smiling;—now, when I can skate as fast as any one, on my solitary foot,
swim as well as I ever could, climb like a squirrel, jump on a saddled
horse and ride at any pace I please, place a hand on a fence as high as
my head and spring over in a quarter of a second, or walk twenty-five or
thirty miles a day—all this with one good leg, a crutch and a cane!

When the spring came, and I could walk about with some ease, I went from
my country home to Philadelphia, to get one of Palmer’s artificial legs,
supposing that I could wear one advantageously. While on the subject, I
will simply say that I got one, but never used it much, because there
was too little of the thigh left to attach it to firmly. Not that I
would be understood to detract from the reputation of Palmer’s patent
limb; for we all liked the Doctor, and were most favorably impressed
with his handiwork; and my subsequent observations have left no doubt in
my mind that his are the most nearly perfect of any artificial limbs

Major King, Assistant Surgeon-General of Philadelphia, sent me to
Haddington Hospital, to wait till the proposed new limb should be ready
for me; and it was there that I, JOHN SMITH, fairly began my somewhat
eventful career—“ON A CRUTCH.”

The hospital, located near the beautiful suburban village of Haddington,
was set apart for such “heroes,” as had lost arms or legs, and desired
to replace them with substantial wooden ones. It was not unusual at that
time to see fifty or sixty one-legged men strolling about the grounds,
in fine weather; or squads of fifteen or twenty, supplied with passes
for the day, clambering upon a street car and going into the city for a
bit of a spree.

A person once asked me if it was not a rather sad sight, and if the boys
in this condition were not rather morose and gloomy. The very thought is
amusing. I never, anywhere, or under any circumstances, saw a livelier
crowd of fellows than the maimed and crippled soldiers at Haddington
Hospital! They were nearly all young men, from seventeen to twenty-two,
and a happier, noisier, more frolicsome set of boys I never saw! It was
no unusual thing for some of them, in a merry mood, to carry on till
they got put into the guard-house, by the impatient surgeons—sometimes
when they scarcely deserved it; but of that, I will say more hereafter.

                              CHAPTER II.


HADDINGTON Hospital had its “characters,” as every place has. I formed
ties and associations during the spring of my stay there, which can
never be forgotten. Nearly all who were there at the time, I remember
with pleasure. There was “Chris.” Miller, whose leg was amputated below
the knee, and who walked splendidly on his “Palmer leg,” when he got it.
If there was one of the boys there whom I liked better than any other,
it was “Chris.” He was a jovial fellow, humorous and witty, and the boys
were never at a loss for a laugh when he was about. When he got his
artificial leg on tight he got tight himself on the strength of it, and
made so much noise that the Doctors came to the melancholy conclusion
that it was necessary to put him into the guard-house—which was Room No.
41, fourth story. There he made more noise than ever, sat in the open
window with his feet dangling out—one a wooden one, you know—and
threatened to jump down upon the roof of the piazza, a distance of
twenty-five or thirty feet; so, the Doctors got scared, lest he should
do so, and thus sprain the ankle of his new leg, and they had him
brought down and locked up in the cellar, where there was not such a
broad field for exercise.

Nor shall I ever forget Young, a reckless boy of the New York Fire
Zouaves, whose leg was amputated five times. One evening when I was just
about to retire, he came home from the city, more than tight, fell, as
he came blundering up the steps, and bursted his unfortunate “stump”
open, so that half-an-inch more of the bone had to be sawed off. He
begged the privilege of keeping this fragment of himself, and when he
got into a convalescent state again, he worked whole days at it with a
pocket knife, and carved it into a very handsome ring, which he ever
afterwards wore on his middle finger, both at the table and elsewhere.

There, too, was Mr. Becker, (a citizen,) the clerk of the hospital. He
was a handsome fellow, with black curling hair; and he made love, _pro
tempore_, to one of the village girls.

And there was Bingham, whom I shall never forget, a religious fellow who
sung psalms of an evening, and induced the boys to make up money enough
for him to go home on—although it was subsequently ascertained that he
had plenty of money himself at the time. He was the only mean fellow I
remember; but he had lost a leg in the service of his country, and I
will spare him.

One evening, a few weeks after I had been admitted to the hospital, a
man named Thomas, who had been absent for ten days, returned and
occupied a bed by the side of mine. He was a soldier who had been
slightly wounded, and was doing guard duty at the hospital. He had been
absent without leave, had been drinking all that time, and now returned
in a very nervous and shattered state of body, and an uneasy and gloomy
frame of mind. To add to his trepidation, he was apprehensive that he
had been marked as a deserter, during his absence; and he retired to bed
in uncommonly low spirits.

I was just falling asleep, and every thing was quiet about the hospital,
when Mr. Thomas suddenly startled me by springing up to a sitting
posture in his bed, and crying out:

“No you don’t! I’ll die first! I won’t be taken! You want to try me for
a deserter and shoot me with twelve muskets! I tell you, I’ll not be

“What’s the matter, Thomas?” I asked in alarm.

“Matter? Why, don’t you see? There’s a whole company of soldiers
surrounding the house, and they want to take me for a deserter! Look!”
he exclaimed wildly, pointing through the window. “Don’t you see them?”

“No, no,” I replied, perceiving that he was afflicted with a mild attack
of the _horrors_. “There are no soldiers there. Lie down!”

“Yes, there are!” he exclaimed, springing out upon the floor. “See! See!
Twenty! Thirty! Forty! Fifty!—I’ll cut their hearts out if they try to
take me! I will!”—— ——Here he swore a profane oath.

I confess that I felt rather uneasy in the presence of this madman, but
calming my fears, I said, coaxingly:

“Come, now, Thomas, there’s no one after you. Don’t act so foolishly! Do
lie down and go to sleep!”

“But I see them! They are down there by that car, now. Do you see? O,
I’m watching them! They’ll be sharp if they take me alive!”

The terminus of the Market Street and West Philadelphia horse railway is
at the building then used as a hospital, and a car arrived and departed
every forty minutes till eleven o’clock. At this time, there was one
standing some fifty yards from the building, awaiting its time to depart
for the depot in West Philadelphia.

“Yes, I do see them now,” I said, thinking it better to humor him; “but
it is very plain they have concluded you are not here, for they are
getting on that car to leave.”

“O, I know their tricks!” he replied, quickly. “They only want to make
me think they are gone, so that I will go to sleep, and they can come
and take me easily. But they don’t catch me that way! I should think
not! Ha! Ha! Ha!”

“Really, Thomas,” said I, persuasively, “I believe they intend to go. Go
to bed, and I will watch for you. If they do not leave on that car when
it goes, and offer to come this way, I will wake you and tell you.
Depend on me.”

“Will you?”

“Yes, indeed I will. Lie down.”

“I will, then; but, mind, don’t let ’em get near. They’re sly as foxes.
Watch ’em.”

“Don’t fear,” I replied. “Go to bed, and I will wake you in good time if
I see them coming.”

Thereupon Thomas, who was a large strong man of thirty years, returned
somewhat reluctantly to his bed, while some of the other boys of the
“ward” began to wake up, and swear moderately because their slumbers had
been disturbed. The murmur soon subsided, however, Thomas seemed to
sleep, all grew quiet, and I lay down again.

I was just getting into a comfortable doze, when Thomas started
suddenly, sprung out upon the floor, between his bed and mine, making
the whole house quiver, placed his hands upon my stomach, and leaped
clear over me and my bed at a bound. At first, I thought my “time had
come,” for I fancied he was about to “slash” me in two with a knife; but
having executed the gymnastic feat just described, he withdrew his
hands, and stood in a kind of crouching position, trembling like a
leaf—especially like an aspen leaf.

“What’s the matter?” I asked, trembling about as much as he.

“Hush!” he whispered, in an awful manner. “They’re at the window! They
were pointing their muskets in! One of them touched me on the head.
Look! See their bayonets at the window! Where’s my knife? Reach and get
it for me from my pants’ pocket! Do!”

“Wait a moment,” I replied, “till I go to the door and look out. I want
to see how many there are.” My object was to get out into the hall, go
and wake the Doctor, and inform him of this sad case.

“No, no, no, no, no, no!” he said, quickly, at the same time jumping
about four feet high, and coming down on the floor like a thunderbolt;
“don’t open the door! They would all rush in!”

“Only the hall-door,” I persisted, beginning to rise. “They’re not in
the hall. Stay here, and I’ll get you a musket to defend yourself with.”

The muskets belonging to the guards off duty were kept on a kind of rack
in the hall, immediately adjoining the room I was in. I did not wait to
hear any further remonstrances on the part of Thomas, but leaving him
standing there trembling, as only a man suffering from delirium tremens
can tremble, I seized my two crutches—for I used two then—stalked to the
door, went out into the hall, closed the door after me and hastened to
the room in which the Doctor slept, which was on the same floor.

It was some little time before I succeeded in getting him awake, and
when I did, he growled out in an ill humor, asked what in the deuce I
wanted, imagined I was some one come to rob him, seized his revolver,
cocked it, threatened to blow my unhappy brains out, called to me to
“halt, or I was a dead man;” and, in fact, he was, altogether, quite

“Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!” I fairly yelled. “It is I, Doctor—I, John

“What do you want—waking a fellow at this time of night?” he demanded.
“Are you sick? Do you want medicine? Go to the cadet and tell him to
give you:

           ℞ Sac., Satur. ʒi,
                 Ext. Vr. Viride, ℈ii,
                 Emetia, ʒi,
                 Ol. Tiglii, gtt, xx.
                 Acid. Tannicum, ℥iss,
                 Fowler’s Sol. Ars., ℥ss,
                 Aqua distillata, ℥iiiss.
                 Coch. mag. every ten minutes, till relieved;
                    and if——”

“Stop! stop, for suffering humanity’s sake!” I interrupted. “I am not
sick, at all. On the contrary, am quite well—thank you. But——”

“Well, what is the matter?”

“I came to tell you that Mr. Thomas is raving mad. He imagines that a
provost-guard is after him, and that he is to be shot as a deserter; and
he is scampering about over the ward, like a rat in a hot stove. He
talks strangely about cutting people’s hearts out; and he may hurt some
of the boys.”

“O, is that it?” said the Doctor, now wide awake. “Well, I’ll attend to
him!” And he hurriedly turned out and drew on his unmentionables.

Accompanied by the Doctor, a light, and a guard of two men armed with
muskets, I soon returned to “Ward A,” and found Thomas raving like a
“wild man of the woods.” He imagined himself already attacked by a
company of soldiers, and he was hammering away at my empty bed with his
big fists, and cursing and swearing like an officer of the Regular Army.
All the boys of the “ward” were now wide awake, and more than scared.
They were all cripples, and some of them still in a weak condition, and
they really had much to fear in case of Thomas’s becoming generally

“What do you mean, Thomas?” demanded the Doctor, angrily. “Do you want
to go into the guard-house right now? or will you lie down and take a
night’s rest?”

“They’ve surrounded me!” vociferated Thomas, with a profane oath. “And
I’ll not be taken! I’ll sell my life as dearly as possible! I will!”

“Confound you!” said the Doctor, vexatiously. “You’ll cheat the man that
buys it, then!—seize him, boys, and put him in the cellar. Put on your
pantaloons, Thomas; you must sleep in the cellar to-night. You shall not
carry on in this way.”

Much to my surprise, Thomas at once cooled down, and became perfectly
tractable. He offered no resistance, nor showed any signs of
disobedience, but straightway drew on his trousaloons, put on his
blouse, placed his cap on his head, with the visor shoved down over his
eyes, and quietly accompanied the guard, and allowed himself to be
locked up in a strong room in the basement. So, our peace and
tranquillity were no more invaded till roll-call in the morning.

When one of the guards went to give Thomas his breakfast, he found him
sitting with a grave air on a low stool near the door of his prison,
with a large bloody pocket-knife in his hand. There was a pool of gore
on the floor at his feet, and his neck and breast were terribly gashed.

“Why, Thomas!” exclaimed the horrified sentinel, “What have you done?”

“Some fellow,” returned Thomas, in a calm, and even dignified tone,
“murdered my father last night in the room above, and——” pointing to the
blood on the floor—“his blood ran down here. Some of it fell on me, but
how could I help that?”

“But what are you doing with that knife? You have surely cut yourself.”

“O,” he retorted coolly, as he pointed to his lacerated breast, “I have
been merely trying to get my heart out. I had hold of it once, but it
slipped out of my hand.”

There was a wild look in his eye, and he presented a rather dangerous
appearance with the gory knife in his hand, and his clothes stained with
blood. The sentinel paused a moment, then duty triumphing over fear, he
advanced boldly, and said, in an authoritative tone:

“Give me that knife!”

Without a word, Thomas submissively handed him the bloody instrument,
with which he had been attempting self-destruction. It was a large knife
with eating-fork attached, such as was much used by soldiers during the
war—the blade being about four inches long.

Having secured this weapon, the sentinel closed and locked the door,
then hastened to inform the Doctor of what had occurred. Thereupon
Thomas was conducted to an upper room, his wounds—twenty-two in
number—were examined and dressed, and he was put to bed. There were two
Doctors at the hospital at the time, and both expressed a like opinion
on the case of poor Thomas. They said they wouldn’t be surprised if he
should die, but yet, that it was possible he might get well—if “kept
quiet:” so, by this non-committal course, they did not endanger their

                              CHAPTER III.


FOR some days, the recovery of Mr. Thomas was very doubtful. Some one
had to stay with him continually, and especially at night, for at that
dreary hour, “when churchyards yawn,” and one experiences an inclination
to sup on “hot blood,” (_vide_ Hamlet,) he was in the habit of raving a
good deal and of threatening to destroy himself, and the greater portion
of the human race.

By and by, “sitting up” with him got to be a rather sleepy task, and as
there were not very many whole men about, it was necessary for the
cripples to take turns at it.

One night, a week or so after the attempted suicide, my turn came. I was
told early in the evening that I was detailed to get up at twelve
o’clock, and stay with the sufferer till three. At the appointed time I
was awakened by one of the nurses, arose, dressed, and proceeded to the
invalid’s apartments. I entered the room with some misgivings, and
relieved a one-armed “hero,” who had been watching since nine o’clock.
The latter retired at once, and left me alone with the patient. The
latter was asleep at that time, and the single candle that was burning
in the room shed a ghastly light over his ashen face, and the white
bandage, slightly blood-stained, that was bound around his unhappy neck.

“He is asleep now,” the one-armed soldier had said, before withdrawing,
“and may not give you any trouble. If he should awake and try to hurt
you, ring the bell.”

The bell-wires, _et cetera_, used when the building was a hotel, were
still in good working order, and all that lent me courage was the
bell-pull that hung down close to my ear, when I had taken a seat on a
chair near the door.

I was just getting into an uncomfortable doze, when the patient waked
up, awoke me, and raising up quietly in bed, remarked:

“I believe I’ll jump out of this window.”

He said it as coolly as a man in good health would say: “I believe I’ll
take a walk.”

It was a third-story room, and the bed stood immediately by the window.
I thought of the disastrous consequences of such a proceeding on the
part of Thomas, and earnestly advised him not to think seriously of
embarking in such a colossal enterprise. The window was raised about two
feet, it being a warm night, and he gazed wistfully out into the sombre

“Don’t do it, Thomas,” said I, with earnestness. “We are at least thirty
feet from the ground, and in your present condition it would not be
judicious. Wait till you get well, at least.”

“_You_ jump out,” he suggested, turning and looking upon me with a wild

He seemed to have just thought of it. What could be my excuse, for not
taking a flying leap in the dark, I being in sound health—what there was
of me?

I glanced furtively at the bell-pull, and replied.

“O no; not from that window. You see, that is a back window. The
laundress has some clothes hung out to dry just below, and it might
injure them. Besides, I am in the habit of doing my leaping from a
fourth-story front window. You’ll always find, Thomas, that a man of
refinement prefers a leap from a window of the fourth floor.”

He sat awhile, in a sort of thoughtful attitude while I kept one eye on
the bell-cord, and the other on him; then, to my relief, he deliberately
lay down again, drew the covers close up to his chin, and glided off
into a gentle slumber.

I had no more trouble with him. Thomas got well, in the course of a
month, left off drinking, and got to be a pretty sensible sort of
fellow. The last time I saw him was one day, some months after I had
left the hospital, when I returned to the old place on a brief visit. He
was engaged in a four-hand game of euchre, and I observed, just as I
arrived, that he held in his hand both bowers, ace, king and queen:
would you believe it?——he had the temerity to play it “alone,” and the
extraordinarily good luck to make “four times.”

                              CHAPTER IV.

                               LOCKED UP.

THE inmates of the hospital were allowed passes, after roll-call in the
morning, to go into the city, or whither they pleased; but it was
imperative that they should return by half-past seven in the evening,
positively, without fail. One morning, as usual, I got a pass to go into
the city, and as the Doctor handed it to me, he said:

“Don’t fail to be back at half-past seven.”

“I won’t,” I replied, with the best intentions in the world.

As new patients arrived almost every day, some of whom might be ignorant
of the rules and regulations, the Doctor had got into the habit of
repeating this injunction every time he gave out a pass; and as he gave,
on an average, about one hundred and fifty per day, Sundays excluded, he
must, in the course of a year, have said, “Don’t fail to return by
half-past seven,” forty-six thousand nine hundred and fifty times.

I had just stepped from the street-car in the heart of the city, when I
ran squarely against one of the boys of my own regiment, whom I had not
seen since the battle of Antietam.

“Hallo, Charlie!” I exclaimed, delighted to see the familiar face of my
comrade; “what are you doing here?”

“I have been in the Chestnut Hill Hospital,” was his reply, as we shook
hands. “I was wounded at Fredericksburg, and am just well enough now to
return to the regiment: I go to Washington to-day. What are _you_ doing

“I am staying at Haddington Hospital,” I returned, “waiting to have a
Palmer leg fitted on me that is made of willow, and only weighs three
ounces and a half.”

“Come and go to Washington with me,” he said, as the thought appeared to
strike him. (It struck me rather forcibly about the same time, I

“I couldn’t—I—I—”

“Why couldn’t you?”

“Because I only have a pass till evening.”

“Oh, that will make no difference. They will hardly be so strict with
the cripples.”

“When do you go?” I asked, thoughtfully.

“At eleven o’clock.”

“Where is the regiment?”

“Lying at Upton’s Hill. Come—you’ll go with me!”

“I might get into trouble,” I said, wavering. “I only have a pass till
half-past seven, and if I should go away and stay whole days——”

“O, pshaw! They wouldn’t care. You have no duty to perform there.”

“No, but——”

“O, come,” he urged—all I wanted was a little urging—“the boys would be
so glad to see you! You don’t know how they felt about your losing a leg
at Antietam!”

This argument completely disarmed me. I had not been with the regiment
since I was carried away from it in the smoke of battle, and, O, I knew
that the boys would be glad to see me! No one who has not been a soldier
knows how dear one’s comrades are to him! And especially his
messmates—those with whom he has slept many a time on the cold ground,
and under the same narrow tent; those with whom he has drank from the
same canteen, or eaten from the same scanty dish! The attachment that
grows up among companions in arms is like no other. It is not like
paternal or fraternal love; it is not like the love of lovers; but it is
as fond, as deep, and as lasting!

I accompanied my comrade to Washington, thence to Upton’s Hill, and saw
the “boys;” and I think I never enjoyed so much true happiness, in the
same length of time, as I did during that pleasant visit. I never
thought of my being absent without leave, till I neared Philadelphia
again. Then I began to wonder if “any thing would be done with me” on my
return to the hospital. I tried to persuade myself that there was no
danger of any thing of the sort, but something would keep whispering to
me that I was going to “get into trouble.”

I arrived at the hospital again just one week from the day I had left.
The roll was regularly called, both in the morning and in the evening,
and I could not suppress an involuntary shudder, as I thought of the
fourteen roll-calls I had evidently missed, and of the fourteen _black
marks_ that were surely placed, by this time, opposite the honest,
unassuming name of Smith, John.

However, I put on a bold face, walked up the hospital steps, paid no
attention to the guard, who said, “Where the deuce have you been all
this time?” walked in, and calmly reported myself to the surgeon.

“Doctor,” said I, “it isn’t half-past seven yet, is it?” (It was about
two o’clock, _post meridian_.)

I had hoped he would enjoy this joke, and good-naturedly laugh the
affair off, but I saw no such indications on his stern countenance.

“Where have you been, Smith?” he asked. Do I say _asked_? I should say,
_demanded_. That is putting it mildly enough.

“I went to Upton’s Hill to see my regiment,” I replied.

“Exactly. Upton’s Hill. Let me see—that is—”

“Upton’s Hill,” said I, “is about eight or nine miles from Alexandria,
by the pike. From Washington, it is situated——”

In fact, I was going on to deliver a first class lecture on geography,
when he interrupted me with:

“So you went there, eh? A pretty way to act! I gave you a pass a week
ago to-day, as the records will show, telling you to return by half-past
seven, and, until now, have not seen you or heard of you!”

“Well,” said I, still hoping that the affair might be accepted as a
joke, “I am back, you see, before half-past seven. The mere matter of a

“Go to your ward,” interrupted the Doctor, who did not seem to be in a
joking mood.

“Glad to get off so easily,” I muttered to myself, as I withdrew. “I
really did begin to get a little scared; but it’s all right now. I
believe I’ll go and write a letter or two.”

Now, there was at the hospital, acting as sergeant of the guard, a
contemptible little fellow named Kinsley, who had never been wounded,
and probably had never seen any active service. I do not remember what
regiment he belonged to. He was very fond of displaying his sergeant’s
stripes, paper collar, and delicate little mustache. I had not been in
my ward long, when this pompous little fellow came in with a _key_ in
his hand, approached me and said:

“Come and go with me, Smith.”

Observing the key, I at first supposed that new quarters had been
assigned me—in truth, I was nearly right—and I arose and followed him.
He led the way up one flight of stairs, then another, then another. We
had not quite reached the fourth story when the horrible truth suddenly
flashed upon me. _I was to be put in the guard-house_—yes, the

“Sergeant,” said I, pausing on the stairs, “I half believe that you
contemplate locking me up.”

“So I am ordered,” he replied.

“I’ve considered the matter,” I continued, coolly, “and have come to the
conclusion not to go.”

“But you’ve got to go,” said he. “There’s no use in——”

“No, I really don’t think I’ll go: not right away, anyhow,” I said,
coolly; and I turned about and began to descend the stairs.

He quickly followed me, and roughly seized one of my arms. Letting my
crutches fall, I turned impetuously upon him, and with all the fire of
assailed dignity, seized the foppish little sergeant by both arms, and
hurled him down the stairs with all my might. I tumbled down after him,
however, for I had not then such command of my equilibrium as I have
since acquired, and we landed at the foot of the stairs all in a heap. I
was up first, and snatching up one of my crutches for a weapon, I stood
with my back to the wall, and proposed to “split his skull” if he should
dare to approach. He did not dare, however, but with a savage oath for
so small a man, he picked himself up and ran down the other two flights
of stairs. I deliberately followed. I was half-way down the last flight,
when the Doctor and two guards, armed with musket and bayonet, appeared
in the hall.

“Doctor,” said I, “did you order me to be put in the guard-house?”

“Yes,” he replied, frankly.

“You have no right to do it,” I said, with some force. “I am a sergeant,
and cannot, without a trial, be confined in a guard-house.”

“But you can,” he retorted, “if there are men enough here to carry you
up. Go, boys, and put him in No. 41.”

The two guards came up to me, and one of them said:

“Come, now, you see we are ordered to do it. We don’t like to, but——”

“I will go with _you_,” said I, “for I know you are a soldier; but if
that dandified little sergeant comes within reach of me, I will break
his head!”

I again ascended the stairs, for I saw that resistance would be both
useless and wrong; and one of the guards, inserting the key, opened the
door, and I walked in. Just then, the cowardly little sergeant made his
appearance, rushed to the door, drew it to, turned the key, and
tauntingly said:

“Now I’ve got you, my fine fellow! You see a sergeant _can_ be put in
the guard-house!”

I could not help acknowledging the truth of this, but did not do so to
him. I merely promised to lick him as soon as I should get out.

“You know nobody would hurt you, because you are a cripple,” he replied,
“or you wouldn’t talk that way.”

“And you,” I retorted, “who never went into danger enough to lose a
limb, can well afford to lounge about a hospital, and bully over the

No reply was made: I heard them going down stairs, and I was alone in my

Fortunately, during my youthful days I had not neglected one important
branch of my education. I had read, with deep interest, minute and
graphic accounts of the daring adventures and hair-breadth escapes of
Claude Duval, Dick Turpin, and Sixteen-string Jack, contained in a
series of twenty-four octavo volumes, of one hundred pages each,
handsomely bound in orange-colored paper, and illustrated with numerous
spirited lithographic engravings, done on brown stone.

There is no sort of learning that will not come in play at some time or
other; and, with my extensive theoretic knowledge of prisons, it is not
to be supposed that an ordinary hotel-room, with the lock on the
_inside_ of the door, would hold me very long. I looked about me for
means of escape. The window was too high to think of taking a jump from
it, as it will be remembered I had led Thomas to believe I was in the
habit of doing, and as Chris. Miller had threatened to do; so I resolved
to force the door open or die in the attempt.

There was a stove in the room, without fire, of course, and I opened the
door and peered in. It contained about eighteen quarts of ashes and
cinders, and——a small iron shovel with an iron handle. I seized it with
joy. I saw _liberty_ beaming all over it. First I tried to insert the
handle between the lock and the iron “catch,” into which the bolt went,
which was only secured by a couple of one-and-a-half-inch wood-screws.
The crevice was too small, or the shovel-handle too big. I next tried a
corner of the shovel itself: it entered the crevice, but it proved too
pliable—it bent. Then, with some effort, I wrenched the handle from the
shovel, and tried that end. It was smaller than the other end, and
success stared me in the face. I inserted it in the crevice, and, with a
reasonable expenditure of strength, pried the “catch” off, and it fell
to the floor, in a somewhat bent and dented condition. The door swung
open. I was free.

Thus liberated, I walked calmly down stairs, and went out on the piazza,
where the Doctor and a number of the boys were sitting, airing

“Doctor,” I said, coolly, as I boldly confronted him, “I am not
accustomed to sleeping in the fourth story: couldn’t you give me a room
lower down?”

                               CHAPTER V.


I NEVER saw a man stare with such pure unalloyed astonishment as the
Doctor did on this occasion. Not five minutes had elapsed since he had
had me locked up in the guard-house, and yet, there I was—free. He
stared at me for a moment as though I were an apparition from the dead,
then stammered:

“Why—why—is—is—this—John Smith?”

“So I am called,” I replied, coolly taking a seat on a bench.

He arose from his seat, stared for a moment, again, with contracted
brows and a puzzled expression of countenance, then said:

“I—I—thought you—were put—in No. 41!”

“So I was,” I calmly replied. And I deliberately took a newspaper from
my pocket and cast my eye over the late items.

“How—how—in the name of sense—did you get out?”

“O, that was easy,” I replied, carelessly, as I regarded the paper more

“Sergeant Kinsley,” said the Doctor, calling to the insignificant little
sergeant who was standing at the other end of the porch, “come here.”

The sergeant approached.

“Didn’t you put Smith in the guard-house?”

“Yes sir,” returned Kinsley.

“Here he is,” said the Doctor, pointing to me. “How did he get out?”

Kinsley, who had not before observed my presence, started back, turned
pale, and said: “I—I—don’t know.”

“Go and see,” said the Doctor.

Glad to get out of my presence, Kinsley ran up stairs, and in a minute
or so returned, and reported what had been done.

Now, if the Doctor had possessed the heart of a human being he would
have suspended his persecutions, after that—in a word, would have “let
up” on me—but he seemed entirely impervious to good jokes, practical or
otherwise, and was more than ever determined to punish me.

“Sergeant,” said he, no doubt thinking _he_ was perpetrating a joke—but
_I_ couldn’t see it—“Smith wants a room _lower down_, he says. I think
we can accommodate him. _Put him in the cellar!_”

There was, in the basement, a dark apartment with an iron door—the same
room in which crazy Thomas had been confined—and that was the “room
lower down” assigned me on this melancholy occasion.

“Will you go?” said Kinsley, standing off at a respectful distance: “Or
will it be necessary to call the guard?”

“It will be necessary to call the guard,” I replied, folding up my
paper, arising and taking a hostile attitude.

“You might as well go with him quietly, Smith”—the Doctor began.

“No I won’t,” I interrupted. “Should I do so, it is not positively
certain that he would get back in a sound condition, and you might lose
a valuable servant, who is not scrupulous about turning his hand to any
sort of work.”

“Call the guard,” said the Doctor.

The guard was called.

I was put in the cellar.

Only a few dim rays of light found their way into my dismal prison, and
they came struggling through a small crevice in the double partition of
thick pine boards that divided the “cell” from the knapsack-room. On
this formidable partition I at once went to work, with extraordinary
_nonchalance_, with a small six-bladed knife I had in my pocket. I think
this course was much more laudable than that pursued by Mr. Thomas, when
confined in the same apartment, with a knife for a companion.

I worked diligently, cutting off one thin shaving after another, till
night came; by which time I had actually cut a hole in the thick
partition through which I could easily thrust my arm.

Next morning, after a miserable fragment of repose on an old mattress, I
arose early, and resumed my work. I had not been long at it when
Sergeant Kinsley came down with some provisions for me, consisting of
_bread and water_. I took the large tin cup of water from his hand,
dashed it in his face, slammed the iron door to, braced it with one of
my crutches, and went at my work again; while he, strangling, sputtering
and swearing in wild rage, locked the door, and rushed up stairs.

Cutting, splintering and shaving, I worked away, and by noon, I had made
an aperture in the wall through which one might have thrown a hat—that
wasn’t too wide in the brim.

By and by, I heard some one coming down the steps, and a light from the
door above shone down through the bars of the iron door. Some one
unlocked it and entered. It was one of the guards—one who had been
wounded in the service.

“I have brought you your dinner,” said he. “They only gave me some bread
and water for you, but I stole a nice piece of boiled beef from the
cook-house. Here it is.”

“Thank you,” I said, gladly accepting the repast. “What did Kinsley

“O, he’s as mad as a hornet! He said you threw the water in his face.”

“So I did.”

“Served him right,” said the guard, laughing. “He’s an overbearing young
puppy, who never heard a bullet whistle in his life. I knocked him down
one day, and he has been civil towards me ever since. Not very
comfortable down here, is it?”

“Not very.”

“Well, you’ll soon be out. I heard the Doctor say he would let you out
this evening. He told me not to tell you, and I said I wouldn’t. I
meant, I wouldn’t till I’d see you.”

I eat my dinner with a relish and, after he had gone, I worked away at
my new window—merely for pastime. I did not make it much larger that
afternoon, but I trimmed it up around the edges, and got it into some
shape, thinking it might do to put a pane of glass into, some day.

That evening I was released, and informed by the Doctor that my name
should go on the “Black List,” for the space of one week. The “black
list” was a list of the names of those who, for misdemeanor, were denied
passes for a certain time. And on this roll was the noble name of JOHN
SMITH, to be placed for seven days! I thought the Doctor would relent by
Monday morning, so I called on him at his office and said:

“Doctor, I should be most happy to visit the city to-day, and if you
will have the kindness to favor me with——”

“No, no, Smith,” he interrupted, in a decided tone; “You can have no
pass to-day.”


“No use talking: you can have no pass to-day.”

I saw that he “meant it;” so I turned away for the time, and called
again the next morning.

“Doctor,” said I, with a beaming smile, “there is a friend of mine in
the city, whom I would like to see, and if——”

“You can have no pass to-day, Smith,” he interrupted: “nor till your
week is up. We have discovered how you cut the partition-wall when you
were in the cellar. What did you do that for?”

“To get out,” I replied.

“If I had known it,” said he, with some severity, “I would have kept you
in three days longer!”

“Then I am glad you didn’t know it,” said I.

“At least,” he rejoined, “you can have no pass till your week is up.
That will be on Saturday.”

I gave it up for that morning, but promptly returned and renewed my
importunities on Wednesday morning. I was refused, as before, and
peremptorily ordered not to solicit a pass again till Saturday. In
accordance (?) with this order, I promptly returned on Thursday morning,
and most earnestly requested the favor of a pass, stating that it was
indispensable that I should visit the city that day. The Doctor refused
again, and threatened to put me in the cellar again for three days, and
place my name on the “Black List” for two weeks, if I should “bore” him
for a pass again, sooner than Saturday.

Therefore, I concluded to go to the city anyhow. So I slipped out the
back way, threw my crutches over the fence, climbed over after them,
and, without being observed by the guard, made my way to the street-car
that stood awaiting its starting-time, and got aboard of it: thus I
clandestinely went into the city.

There, the first thing I did was to call on Doctor Levis, at his
residence. He was controlling surgeon of Haddington Hospital, and I
determined to make a “point.” I informed him that I had not been very
well treated at the hospital, talked nice to him, used the best language
of which I was master, introduced foreign words and phrases, made vague
allusions to law and history, touched on chemistry, gave him to
understand that the assistant surgeons at the hospital were the most
tyrannical fiends in existence, and that _I_ was the very paragon of all
human excellence; and, finally, requested him to do me the slight favor
of giving me a standing pass—that is, an order addressed to the
assistant-surgeons at the hospital, commanding them to allow the bearer,
John Smith, “who had friends in the city, with whom he might desire to
stay a night now and then,”—to pass in and out of the hospital, day or
night, for all time to come. This, Doctor Levis,—who, I must say, is a
perfect gentleman, and was beloved by all the wounded soldiers under his
charge—wrote, signed, and gave to me, without a word of objection; while
I poured out the overflowings of my grateful heart in the most profuse
thanks, and earnestly begged him, in case he should ever visit Western
Pennsylvania, where I then resided, to call on me by all means, assuring
him that he would be as welcome as a brother. The Doctor smiled, and,
with renewed thanks, I put on my cap, picked up my crutches, saluted him
_a la militaire_, bade him a cheerful “good morning,” and withdrew.

                              CHAPTER VI.


HAVING taken a stroll of six or seven hours about the city, I proceeded
to Market street, and got into the first car going westward. Soon after,
a dignified gentleman, whom I liked the appearance of,—and I modestly
think he liked the looks of me,—got into the car, and occupied a vacant
seat directly opposite. He glanced at my crutches, then at the vacant
space where my left leg should have been, if I had possessed one, and

“How do you do, sir? You lost your leg in the army, I suppose?”

Just here, reader, before I tell you who this excellent gentleman was,
pardon a slight digression. Did it ever occur to you that one who has
lost a limb in the service of his country, finds it necessary to answer
“a question or two” now and then—to put it mildly—for some time after
his return? He is looked upon as public property, and is almost bored to
death with questions, by the many curious strangers he meets. No one who
has not experienced it, can imagine what a nuisance this quizzing is. I
can never have a moment’s rest in any public place. I no sooner take a
seat in a car, restaurant, or lecture-room, than my right-hand or
left-hand lady or gentleman commences. I give below an impartial list of
the questions they ask, and which I, at first, answered with pride and
pleasure; but which, however, after I had answered them a few hundred
thousand times, grew rather stale. Here they are: they have been asked
me so often, as to become stereotyped upon my heart and brain:

  Did you lose your limb in battle?
  What battle?
  Did a cannon ball take it off?
  A rifle ball, eh?
  Did it knock it clear off?
  Did it sever an artery?
  Did it hit the bone?
  Did it break it?
  Did you afterward find the ball?
  Was it crushed out of shape?
  Did you fall when hit?
  Did you walk off the field?
  Who carried you off?
  Did you feel much pain?
  How long after you were wounded till it was amputated?
  Who performed the operation?
  Did you take chloroform?
  Did it put you to sleep?
  And didn’t you feel the operation?
  Not even the sawing of the bone?
  Could not your limb have been saved?
  Was it taken off right where the wound was?
  Can you wear an artificial leg?
  Would the Government furnish it if you could?
  Do you draw a pension?
  How much?
  How old are you?
  What is your name?
  What did you do before the war?
  Don’t you often wish you hadn’t lost your leg?
  How does a person feel with a leg off?
  Does it ache when the weather changes?
  Would you rather lose a leg than an arm?
  I have heard persons say that an amputated limb still feels as if it
     were on—is that so?
  How do you account for that?

All these questions, dear public, I have answered thousands of times,
and may have to answer thousands of times yet, if my miserable existence
is lengthened out for many years. Imagine how it must torment me! The
same old questions, to me long since devoid of interest, I must meekly
answer, over and again, day by day, week by week, year by year! How
would you like to commence and repeat the A B C’s five thousand times
every day, as long as you live?—Be pleasant, wouldn’t it?

But this is not all. After the affable stranger has asked all the
ridiculous questions he can think of, he commences, without being
solicited for a narrative, and entertains (?) me with a glowing (?)
account of the army experience of one of _his_ relatives—his son,
nephew, cousin, or wife’s uncle’s brother’s cousin, and I must patiently
listen. He, poor fellow, goes the story, was wounded, too: arm or leg
nearly torn off, barely hanging by a bit of the hide. Doctors wanted to
carve it off. He wouldn’t let ’em. But they said he’d die unless his
limb was amputated. Said he’d die all in one piece, then, and save the
trouble of digging two graves: wasn’t going to die a piece at a time.
Doctors said they knew best and limb _must_ come off. “Hero” declared
they didn’t, and that it shouldn’t be cut off, and, moreover, he’d shoot
’em if they tried it. Hence, limb left on. Patient got well, although
Doctors said wouldn’t live a day, “and to-day,” continues the narrator,
“the limb is sounder and stronger than before it was wounded.” I have
heard ten thousand such stories told of persons I never knew, never saw,
and never heard of, and never wished to hear of. Yet I had to sit and
listen. How interesting!!!

Nor is this all. I occasionally meet with one who, in addition to all
this, asks a few questions and makes a few remarks too ridiculous to be
believed. Once, a gentleman who had been quizzing me for half-an-hour in
a street-car, gravely asked:

“Don’t you think there are a great many _unnecessary_ legs taken off, by
army surgeons?”

He meant, I suppose, “legs taken off unnecessarily,” and I thought so;
but he had been boring me till I felt pale and looked like fainting, and
I replied:

“Yes. I think that, strictly speaking, all that are taken off are
unnecessary, for those who lose them manage to live without them.”

He didn’t bother me any more.

On a similar occasion, a gentleman asked:

“Do you ever go away and forget your crutch?”

When too late, he perceived how ridiculous the question was; but I
gravely replied:

“Yes, I once went away and left it standing in the corner of a
restaurant. I went several hundred yards before I missed it; and I then
had a deuce of a time getting back to it.”

Another once thoughtfully asked:

“Now, suppose you had lost your left arm instead of your left leg, where
would you have placed your crutch?” He never considered that in such a
case it would not have been necessary for me to use a crutch at all.

“Then,” I replied, “I would have used the crutch under the right
shoulder, and a cane in my left hand.”

Another idiot, one day, after having asked the usual questions and
entertained me with the usual incidents, consolingly remarked:

“Well, you don’t have to pay so much for shoes.”

“I never pay any thing for shoes,” I replied.

“For boots then,” he suggested, with a complacent smile.

“No, nor for boots either,” I replied.

“Why so?” he asked, with some curiosity.

“I buy neither boots nor shoes.”

“How then?”

“I buy _only one_.”

Thus, dear public, am I, John Smith, tormented for having sacrificed a
leg for my country. How often have I felt that I would be far happier if
I were still a mark for the bullets at Malvern Hill, Bull Run, or
Antietam! This accursed _quizzical_ disposition on the part of the
public has made me feel, at times, that life was actually a burden to

One day I met an elderly lady in Philadelphia who stopped me on the
street, asked a profusion of questions, and wound up by giving me an
accurate history of her son. She said he had gone into the army, had
been missing ever since a certain battle, and she feared he was no more.
Ever after that, whenever we met—and it happened frequently—she would
hail me, commence with, “I’ve never heard from my son yet!” and talk at
me till I felt weak in the knee. At last, I met her one day, and
pretending I did not see her, I was passing by, when I felt her grasp on
my elbow, and was obliged to stop.

“My son’s dead,” she said. “I’ve heard from his officers, and they say
he was killed.”

O, how I envied him! Sleeping peacefully in a quiet grave, somewhere,
with nothing to trouble him, and no one to torment him with questions,
he must have been happy compared with the wretched John Smith! The old
lady began again to give me his full history, as she had related it to
me many times before, while the cold perspiration started from my frame,
and I felt as though death was not two doors from me.

Thus am I bored without mercy. No one spares me, except such as have
been in the army themselves. Men, women, children, foreigners, fools and
even negroes, subject me to this systematic torture.

One day I was walking in front of the Naval Asylum, when two little
girls passed me, on their way to school. When they had passed, I heard
one of them say:

“O, look at that man with one leg!”

“Hush!” said the other. “How would you like it if _your_ pa had but one
leg and a little girl would call out that way.”

“_He_ aint anybody’s pa,” retorted the first.

“How do you know?” rejoined the other.

                              CHAPTER VII.

                          JOHN SMITH’S FRIEND.

NOW let me proceed. The gentleman in the Market-street car spared me.
The questions he asked were few and to the point. He was an exception.
When I replied in the affirmative to his first question, he said

“Where do you live?”

“In Western Pennsylvania,” I replied.

“Where are you staying now?”

“In Haddington Hospital.”

“I suppose you will soon be discharged?”

“Yes, I shall soon take my discharge.”

“Have you any employment in view?”

“No, sir; none.”

“If you would like to remain in Philadelphia awhile, when discharged
from the service, I will get you a situation.”

This rather took me by surprise, but I had the presence of mind to

“Thank you: I think I would like it.”

“Then,” said he, “call at my office near Fifth and Chestnut and I will
do as I promise. My name is M* * * * * * *: I am United States Marshal.”

“I am truly obliged,” I said.

“Not at all,” he returned. “When I do any thing for a soldier I am only
paying an honest debt.”

I returned to Haddington in triumph, and exhibited my pass to the
assistant-surgeon who had put me in the guard-house.

“Didn’t you know,” said I, with dignity, “that Doctor Levis and I were
particular friends?”

“No,” said he, turning slightly pale. “Are—are you acquainted?”

“Acquainted!” said I. “I should think so! We’ve known each other
for—for—I don’t know how long.”

I didn’t know exactly how long, but knew it was something short of
twenty-four hours.

“Ah? You should have told me. I am sorry. Well, go in and out of the
hospital whenever you please.”

“I will,” said I.

From that time forth I had perfect liberty, during my stay at the

In June I got my artificial leg, which I have never worn much—finding a
crutch and cane far superior as a means of locomotion—and having
received my discharge, I called one fine morning at the United States
Marshal’s office. It was early, and he had not come in yet. To pass the
time, I walked to the corner of Fifth and Chestnut streets, and stood
for a moment gazing at the good old clock in the State-house steeple.
Streams of people were passing up and down the street; and I had not
stood long before a man came up and held out his hand as though, I
thought, to shake hands. Supposing him to be some old acquaintance,
whose visage had faded from my memory in the course of the sanguinary
scenes through which I had lately passed, I was about to seize his hand,
and request him to remind me where and when we had last met, when I
observed that there was a ten-cent note in the extended hand, and he
seemed to be offering _that_ to me, and not the hand. I stared in

“Take it,” said he: “you’re welcome to it.”

I was dumb with amazement. Was the man an escaped lunatic? Might he be
dangerous, like Thomas of the hospital? I felt like “getting.”

“Take it,” he repeated, still presenting the trifling bit of fractional
currency: “I owe it to you.”

I was still lost in wonder. Could it be possible that it was some
country gentleman to whom I had lent the sum of ten cents before the
war, and that he was so honest and upright as to return it on the first
opportunity? No, he must be mistaken. I had never seen him before,

“My dear sir,” I said, “you are mistaken. I never lent you——”

“O, not that,” he interrupted. “You’ve served your country; you’ve
fought my battles for me, while I stayed at home; you’ve got crippled,
and now——”

“Really, sir,” I interrupted, smothering my indignation, “I am not in
need of pecuniary assistance. On the contrary, my income is ten thousand
dollars a year.” (That was a big one.) “If you wish to do good to the
amount of ten cents, pray give it to some one who needs it. I thank
you.” I spoke the latter words with dignity, and turned away disgusted.

Since that day, I have ever feared to stop a moment at a street corner,
no matter how tired I might be, lest some other unpardonable fool should
chance to be near, and bring a burning flush of crimson to my face. The
idea of being suspected of soliciting pecuniary assistance, simply
because I stood resting at a corner with a crutch in my hand! It is so
revolting to me that I can not look back on that little—extremely
little—incident without a shudder. Another reward for serving my
country. O, John Smith! John Smith!

I saw Mr. M * * * * * * *, who, remembering me at once, gave me a letter
to Colonel C * * * * * *, a blunt, but good-hearted old soldier, who at
once procured me a situation in the United States Arsenal. I remained in
my situation eight months, during which I saw a great many queer things,
and got a pretty fair idea of the purity, (?) probity (?) and integrity
(?) that prevail among the men who have charge of such public

                             CHAPTER VIII.


I HAD always been of a literary turn; so, while employed in the Arsenal,
I concluded to write a book, and give to the world, therein, an account
of soldier life, as I had experienced it; and I had very little doubt
that eighty or ninety thousand dollars might be made out of it. I
carried out my determination, writing in the evenings, after my daily
labors; and when I left the Arsenal, I had completed the manuscript of
my work, which, when published, a few months after, constituted a
duodecimo volume of over four hundred pages.[1]

Footnote 1:

  OUR BOYS. Comprising the personal experiences of the author while in
  the army, and embracing some of the richest and raciest scenes of army
  and camp life ever published. By A. F. Hill, of the Eighth Pa.
  Reserves. With portrait of the author on steel, and several
  characteristic illustrations on wood. 12mo. Cloth, price $1.75.

I did not make “eighty or ninety thousand” out of the work, as my
sanguine nature had led me to anticipate; but I made a “few thousand,”
and I concluded to travel a little and see some of that portion of the
world lying within the boundaries of the United States: and it was while
thus traveling,

chiefly in our own country, that I met with a great many funny
adventures which I shall relate in this book.

The first time I visited New York, I went to remain a few weeks as
correspondent of a Pennsylvania newspaper. I think any stranger’s first
impression of Gotham is, that it is a busy sort of a place; and the
longer he stays there the more he “keeps on thinking so.” The bustle of
Broadway has been so frequently dilated upon, that I will not attempt to
enter upon a regular description of it. It must be seen to be
appreciated; and I concluded to see it the first thing. So I hailed an
omnibus that came thundering along, and somewhat astonished the driver
by climbing nimbly to the _top_ of it, instead of taking a seat within.

“You get up quicker than a two-legged man,” was his brief comment.

“Havn’t so much weight to pull up,” I replied; and paid my fare.

From my lofty perch I had a good view up and down Broadway, as well as
on each side. Numberless pedestrians thronged the sidewalks, while
vehicles, of all kinds, shapes and sizes, crowded together, rolled along
and swayed to and fro in the street like a mighty torrent.

We had not proceeded far up Broadway, when cluck! went one of the front
wheels of our “bus” against another one that was coming down—they got
tangled and a “jam-up” ensued. Although I could not see that it was the
fault of either driver, they cursed each other in round terms. One
driver swore at the other, and the other swore at him; then they swore
at each other, in concert, for a quarter of a minute, in the course of
which they were very earnest and emphatic in advising each other to
emigrate to a certain fabled climate where the mercury in the
thermometer seldom falls to the freezing point. The way these drivers
curse each other is frightful. If all the men told to go to that hot
climate in the course of a year by Broadway drivers, should go, the
place would be crowded to suffocation. The expression I refer to seems
to be a favorite one among the drivers of vehicles on Broadway; and I
presume, that on that thoroughfare there are more men urged to visit
Erebus in one day, then there are warned against it in all the rest of
the land in a whole year.

For about two miles up Broadway, the rattle of omnibuses,
express-wagons, drays, furniture-cars, buggies, barouches, cabriolets,
etc., was really bewildering. As I looked upon the busy streams of men
that hurried along the sidewalks—their faces all strange to me, yet no
two alike—and saw the rumbling carriages, all crowding forward as though
life depended on their speed, I could not help thinking of this stanza
in Byron’s Childe Harold:

          “But ’midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men,
            To hear, to see, to feel and to possess,
           And roam along the world’s tired denizen,
             With none who bless us, none whom we can bless;
           Minions of splendor, shrinking from distress!
             None that with kindred consciousness endued,
           If we were not, would seem to smile the less,
             Of all that flattered, followed, sought or sued,
           This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!”

Every one who has had any experience in the matter, must have observed
that a person is more lonely in a crowded city, where he is
unacquainted, than in the depths of the forest where no human being is

As I had no money to throw away, I stayed at a modest hotel in Park Row,
where one could live on less than twenty-five dollars a day. I shall
never forget a brief acquaintance I made there. The first evening I
stayed in New York, I was seated in the hotel trying to make up my mind
whether to go to the theater or not, when I observed, sitting near me, a
sedate gentleman of prepossessing exterior, fifty or sixty years old,
and dressed in plain clothes and a broad-brimmed silk hat, of a grave
and dignified appearance. I could not help fancying that he was at least
an ex-governor, or something of the sort; and I felt somewhat flattered
when he moved his chair closer to mine, with the obvious intention of
addressing me. He opened his mouth to speak, and I nerved myself to
reply with respectful dignity, when he said, in a low tone:

“Would you lend me fifteen cents?”

The man was a “dead beat.” I resolved never to place much reliance on
appearances again.

Having made up my mind to go to the theater and see John E. Owens play
“Solon Shingle,” I walked out. At the door I met a solitary boot-black,
who greeted me with, “black ’em?”

“You may black _it_,” I replied, “for you see I have only one to black.”

“All right,” said he; whereupon I seated myself on a low railing that
guarded a cellar-way, and placed my foot on his box.

He had soon “shined” it sufficiently, but was still brushing away at it,
when I said:

“There, that will do; what do you charge?”

The dirty, ragged little fellow looked thoughtfully and earnestly up
into my face, and replied:

“O, I won’t charge _you_ any thing; you’re only got _one_.”

I compelled him to accept a ten-cent note, of course, assuring him that
I had “bushels of ’em;” but the intention was no less kind in him; and
such a noble thought, though the poor little heart from which it sprung
be clothed in rags and filth, will shine in heaven when the rust has
long covered and hidden the millions of gold which men of wealth have
contributed to “charitable institutions!”

Before leaving New York, (which is ironically styled Gotham, from an old
English town noted for the stupidity of its citizens,) let me say one
word about its early history. New York, the great commercial metropolis
of this country, is built on an island fourteen miles long, and from one
fourth of a mile to two miles and a half wide, called, originally,
Manhattan Island. This island was purchased from the Indians many years
ago for twenty-four silver dollars. No wonder that race of people have
had such bad luck during the last century; for any people who would
extort such a sum of money from simple, inoffensive Europeans, don’t
deserve any providential favors. Poor, impoverished New York has been
struggling ever since to get out of debt, but in vain; this colossal
sum, which the heartless savages demanded in ready hard cash, completely
“strapped” the mayor and city council, and they have never been able to
struggle up to an independent pecuniary position since.

Shortly before leaving the city, I was taking my usual stroll, when,
turning the corner of Broadway and Fulton street rather abruptly, I
accidentally planted my crutch fairly upon the unfortunate toes of an
elderly gentleman. He proved to be one of the irascible sort—and no
doubt it _did_ hurt like the deuce—and he turned angrily toward me,
brandished a cane, and vociferated:

“****’* fire and ***nation! If you were not a one-legged man I’d knock
your head off!”

Thus, you see, that having lost a leg saved my head.

I felt a little riled at first, but seeing that he was an old man, I
curbed my fiery passion and calmly replied:

“If I were not a one-legged man, sir, I would not be using a crutch; and
hence it wouldn’t have happened.” And we went our ways.

Without getting robbed, or garroted, or murdered in cold blood—in fact
without getting “done” in any shape, I spent several weeks in New York,
visiting many places of interest in the vicinity, such as Central Park,
High Bridge, and the various islands in the bay and harbor; and finally
returned to Philadelphia, my adopted city, with the impression that New
York wasn’t such a bad place after all.

                              CHAPTER IX.


IN January, 1865, I concluded to visit the New England—otherwise called
the “Yankee” or “Eastern”—States; and thought I would at once strike for
Boston, Massachusetts, which is called the “Hub of the Universe,” and
make that city my head-quarters during my stay in the “land of steady
habits:” that means the six New England States: Maine, New Hampshire,
Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The habits of the
people of all the rest of the United States are very _un_steady.

I fancied that a “sea voyage” must be a delightful thing, according to
all that poets and novelists had said about the “deep blue sea,” the
“ocean wave,” the “rolling deep,” and the like; so, I determined to go
by sea. I took passage aboard a large propeller one squally day, and
away we went, amid the ice and snow, down the Delaware river, down the
bay, and out upon the bosom of the “mighty deep.” Yes, and it is “mighty
deep,” as Davie Crockett would have said—a “mighty sight” deeper than is
really necessary, merely for the encouragement of navigation and the
cultivation of whales and sharks!

I had heard of such a thing as “sea-sickness,” but I believed it was
half imagination, and that any brave heart could bear up against it. In
a word, I resolved not to get “sea-sick” myself. The mate of the vessel
told me that it was “more than likely” I _would_ feel a little
“squeamish” when we should get out where it was “rough”—that was, if I
had never been to sea before. I didn’t believe it, though.

We started on Saturday morning, and it took us all day to get “outside.”
During that time I ate three hearty meals on board the propeller, for
traveling on the water lent me an appetite. It was only _lent_, for I
returned it.

Well, about dark that evening, we got out where it was “rough.” The
vessel began to roll, pitch, and plunge, and I heard the sea roaring,
the waves splashing over the deck, a few loose articles on board
rattling and tumbling about; and I began to wonder if everything about
the vessel was secure. I sat on a sofa in the cabin, and presently, I
began to feel—well, I felt, in a word, that a “voyage” was, like all
other enjoyments, not quite what one anticipates; but still, well
enough. Then, immediately, I felt a little—just a little—“worse.” I
didn’t like the way the cabin was throwing itself around: it made my
head feel queer. I thought that if the vessel would just stop rolling
for half-a-minute, I would feel all right again. It didn’t stop, though,
and I rapidly began to feel all wrong. In a word, I grew dizzy.

Dizzy? O, no! That’s no fair expression. I rather felt as though I was a
large cask filled a little too full of mixed white lead, putty, or
something heavy that way, and that the head was forced down upon it with
considerable pressure—especially about the stomach, where I fancied one
of the hoops of the imaginary cask might be located, and about the
“brow,” where the upper hoop might be, did I experience this
indescribable heaviness. I imagined the heavy cask (myself, John Smith,)
to be rolling and tumbling about loose, and the white lead or putty
straining to get out. I couldn’t stand that thought. The mate came into
the cabin, asked me if I wasn’t sick, remarked that I looked “deathly
pale,” and advised me to “turn in” as quickly as “the law would allow

“Where?” I asked, as I rapidly grew sicker. “O, dear! Where’ll I sleep?”

“Here!” he said, hastily opening a stateroom door very near me. “Get in
there. I’ll help you. Take the lower bunk. You will be the only
passenger in this room.” In fact, there were but few passengers aboard.

As I attempted to rise, the ship gave a playful lurch, laid over on her
side, then quickly tossed herself upon the other side, and if the mate
had not caught me, I should have plunged clear across the cabin and
tumbled back again, far more quickly than a man could have walked it. My
crutch and cane escaped me, however, striking an opposite stateroom door
in less than a second, and throwing themselves savagely about over the
cabin floor.

“Never mind them just now,” said the mate. “I’ll help you in.” And he
helped me in.

“There’s a bucket hanging to the side of the berth,” said he. “If you
should feel a little sick——”

Ugh! Human nature couldn’t stand it any longer. I tumbled recklessly
into the berth, and—O, wasn’t I sick! Even now, after the lapse of
several years, I shudder to think of it! Supper, dinner, breakfast—all
eaten in vain! Bauh-gosh-gslish-shesh! O, lordy! The ship was tossing
about like a man intoxicated, and I, worse still, was tossing about like
a man sick drunk; I heard the wind howling, for it was blowing hard, the
waves dashing overhead, the ship creaking and groaning; and I groaned,
and prayed for land or death! Then I regretted that I had ever been
born. I also reproached the fates for having sent me to sea in such
stormy weather, and solemnly vowed—and I kept that vow for nearly a
year—that, in case I ever reached land, (which I now thought rather
unlikely), I would never, never, never venture out upon the broad ocean
again! O, O, O, O, Ugh! Gushshshsh!

O, how I wished the ship would stop rolling for just a moment! But it
wouldn’t stop at all. It rolled, and plunged, and tossed, and tumbled,
and pitched; and I got sicker, and sicker, and sicker, till I imagined
myself at “death’s door,” with my hand on the bell-handle.

To gain a slight conception as to how I felt, fancy how a boy would
feel, if, when sick on his first cigar, he were not allowed to throw it
away, but forced to retain it in his mouth and smoke away! Thus it is
with one who is sea-sick. The motion of the vessel causes it, and when a
fellow grows dizzy, and feels _wretched_ about the bottom of the vest,
he can’t throw that motion away, like a cigar. It has made him sick, it
makes him sicker, and don’t even stop when he gets “deathly sick.” To
treat a patient scientifically, physicians remove the _cause_ of his
illness; but in this case, the cause—that is, the motion of the
vessel—cannot be removed, and there is nothing left for the unhappy
patient but to get “used to it.”

The only thing I remember of that fearful night, except pure, unbroken,
unalloyed misery, is that I asked the captain, as he passed through the
cabin, if it was actually storming. He carelessly replied:

“O, it’s only blowing a fresh little nor’-wester;” and passed on.

A fresh little nor’-wester! I groaned in agony, and rolled about in my
berth, thinking that if that was only a fresh little nor’-wester, what a
fearful thing a _stale big_ nor’-wester would be!

Next morning at daylight the steward came to my berth and asked me if I
could “eat something?” Eat! Whew? Ugh! The very thought came near
bringing on a relapse. “No, no, no!” I shuddered; and buried my face in
my bunk.

About ten o’clock he passed through the cabin, and I asked him if we
were “out of sight o’ land?”

“Out o’ sight?” he returned. “Yes, and have been for ten hours!”

I felt somewhat better—in fact, a good deal better than during the
terrible night just passed—and I determined to make my way to the deck
to view a scene that had never before blessed my eyes. The wind had
abated, but the waves ran high, and the vessel was still rolling
considerably. Feeling light-headed and queer, I got out of my berth,
grasping something all the time to keep from being spilled out into the
cabin, got my crutch, left my state-room, and began to move toward the
companion-way. By hugging the wall, grasping state-room door-knobs, and
the like, I reached the foot of the staircase without falling, and
looking up—the hatch being open—I saw the blue sky staggering about
overhead. Holding firmly to a polished brass railing, I ascended to the
deck and took a seat on the companion-hatch.

Before me and all around me was the long wished-for sight. Our ship, the
dark-green sea, the sun, the clear blue sky and a few wild sea-birds
flitting about, were all that the eye could find to rest on. The sea and
sky met on all sides, forming a grand and mighty circle around us. I
remember remarking to myself, in my enthusiasm, that to see such a sight
as this, was “worth risking a fellow’s life!”

To do “old ocean” justice, I must say that there is nothing in the world
more delightful than to be at sea a little while in mild weather; but
when a gale is blowing, as I have since seen it, the ship going to
pieces every hour, and the waves foaming, and snarling, and gnashing
their teeth, as it were, in their impatience to get you and strangle
you; then you naturally wish there wasn’t such a thing as a sea in the
world; or that your lot had been cast in the “new world,” where “there
was no more sea.” (Revelations xxi. 1.)

On Monday we came in sight of Cape Cod, and I thought we should never
get round it. Those who have noticed Cape Cod on the map have no doubt
observed that it is shaped like a human foot; and we went gliding along
near its sole, traveling from heel to toe. For hours, I was every moment
expecting to go “round the point,” which I imagined I could see all the
time a little way ahead: but it kept receding all the while, like an
_ignis fatuus_, till I began to fancy that the foot belonged to some
great giant, who was bending his knee, and drawing it back stealthily,
in order to straighten it out again and give us a kick.

                               CHAPTER X.

                               THE “HUB.”

WE arrived in Boston Harbor Monday afternoon about four o’clock, and
entered a very dense fog about the same time. The fog was so thick for
several minutes that objects could not be seen from one end of the
vessel to the other. The engine was quickly stopped, and we narrowly
escaped a collision with a steamer. But in the course of ten minutes,
the heavy mist swept down the harbor in a body, and left all clear
around us; when we were somewhat surprised to find ourselves within one
hundred yards of the shore. We floated up to the pier at the foot of
State street; the propeller was soon made fast, and I immediately went
ashore, in the midst of a soaking rain that seemed to be sent just then
for my express benefit. I got into a carriage—one that had
sleigh-runners substituted for wheels—and rode to a good comfortable
hotel which the Captain had recommended.

It rained till after dark; and, in fact, I retired to my room, went
asleep and left it raining. I remember that I heard some one remark,
just before I retired, that if it kept on raining,—he didn’t say how
long—it would spoil the sleighing, and wheels would come into
requisition again: for in the New England States, especially
Massachusetts, and those lying north of it, a vehicle with wheels is
seldom seen in the depth of winter. The sleighing usually continues good
till spring, and the wheels are removed for a time from all vehicles,
and runners are adjusted in their stead. Not even the street-cars or
omnibuses are any exceptions: they, too, cease to rattle, roll and
rumble over the streets, and go gliding about with so little noise that
one gets the queer idea into his head that they are barefooted.

Next morning I discovered that it had cleared off, and that the
thermometer had gracefully descended to zero. [Well, that was
_nothing_.] In fact, during the ensuing six weeks which I spent in the
New England States, the sleighing continued excellent, and the
thermometer ranged pretty generally from about five degrees above zero
to five below. To be sure, we had a cool night or two, now and then,
when it went down to ten or fifteen below; but no one thought much of
that. Such is the character of the winter in New England—the good
old-fashioned kind that a fellow likes to see.

I glanced over toward Charlestown early on the morning after my arrival,
beheld Bunker Hill Monument towering far above the smoke-stacks and
steeples in the perspective; and I determined to visit it at once. I
accordingly climbed to the top of an omnibus, cold as it was—for I
wanted to see all I could—and rode over.

It is not universally known that the battle of Bunker Hill is so called
because it was fought on Breed’s Hill. The latter is near Bunker’s Hill,
and it is on Breed’s Hill that the monument now stands—and always has
stood since it was built, (for they never moved it.) The reason the
battle was called the battle of Bunker Hill, and, consequently, that the
monument is styled the “Bunker Hill Monument,” is, that the engagement
_should have been_ fought there. Colonel Prescott was sent with a
thousand men to throw up earthworks on Mr. Bunker’s Hill, which
overlooked Charlestown Neck; but either mistaking his instructions, or
not being acquainted with the vicinity, he took possession of Breed’s
Hill instead, and threw up an earthwork there in rather unpleasant
proximity to the British fleet in the harbor.

The monument is built of granite, is about twenty-five feet square at
the base, and about twelve or fifteen at the top; which top is
accessible by means of an interior winding stone stairway, dimly lighted
with rather small jets of gas that are too few and too far between. At
intervals of about twenty feet there are narrow apertures to let in air;
and that cold morning they let in too much. During the previous night,
too, the rain had blown in and frozen on the stone steps, so that fully
one half of them were perfectly enameled with ice.

To ascend these with a crutch under such circumstances was no less than
a dangerous undertaking. The superintendent advised me not to try it,
but I could not act upon his advice, from the fact that I had “made up
my mind” to go up. (It’s a wonder I didn’t “go up,” in another way.) If
there had not been a small iron railing to cling to, I could never have
reached the head of that almost interminable staircase. As it was, I
came near falling backward, and only saved myself by clutching this

Should one start to fall down these steps, nothing would save him. They
wind around and around, with here and there only a narrow landing, not
more than twice the width of a stair, and too narrow to arrest the
progress of a descending form. One might as well leap down from the top,
either outside or within the circular shaft around which the stairs
wind, as to go tumbling around and around, down, down, down, the solid
spiral stairway, thumped and beaten by the edges of two or three hundred
stone steps; for in either case I suppose that brandy and water wouldn’t
save him.

I reached the top pretty tired, after having ascended two hundred and
ninety-five icy steps; and from this height of two hundred feet, had a
good view of Boston, Charlestown, Roxbury, and the harbor.

Finding it rather cold up there—for there were several good sized
windows open for the wind to blow in at, and visitors to look out of—I
soon made up my mind to descend; in fact the cold was so severe that it
had a rather benumbing effect on me; and as my thigh and the calf of my
leg fairly ached from my recent exertions, I fully realized the danger
of descending, and fancied I would have made a considerable pecuniary
sacrifice to be safely at the base of the tall structure. There was no
way to get there, however, but to _walk_ down, if it might be so called,
and I began the perilous descent. I was not half way down when my crutch
and cane both slipped from an icy step, and I fell. O, what a fall there
would have been, my countrymen, if I hadn’t caught the iron railing! I
gripped the cold iron with my right hand, and arrested my crutch with my
left; but my cane escaped me, and away it went, tumbling knocking,
cracking rattling and clattering, till it reached the bottom. I fancied
it took it something like a minute to make the descent, but the
probability is that the time it occupied in the journey was not more
than ten seconds. Its last echo had just died away, when I heard the
voice of the superintendent calling to me from below; and his voice had
a kind of twisty sound by the time it wound its way up to me.

“Did you fall?” he asked.

“No,” I replied, telling a white one, “I merely threw my cane down
because I can get down better without it.”

I did, however, get along better without it, for I could now grasp the
railing all the time with one hand while the other held the crutch.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Well, it is not my intention to write an ordinary book of travels. That
has been done too often. All the places I have visited have been
described time and again; and I will only entertain the reader with my
(John Smith’s) odd adventures therein.

While in Boston I had the pleasure of an introduction to Mrs.
Partington. That amiable old lady is a jovial, round-faced old
_gentleman_ of fifty-five or sixty. His name is B. P. Shillaber, and he
is connected with the Boston _Gazette_. He is a noble-hearted, excellent
gentleman; and the people of this country owe him their thanks for the
many happy smiles his eccentric and inimitable pen has called out upon
their faces. Long life and many happy years to Mrs. Partington!

I remained in New England during the rest of the winter, and had a
pleasant time and many sleigh-rides. I visited Lexington, Lowell,
Lawrence and most of the large towns of Massachusetts; Manchester,
Concord and Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Bellows Falls, Rutland and
Burlington, Vermont; and Portland and some smaller towns and cities in

In the city of Portland I hired a horse and sleigh one morning, and
resolved to drive a few miles into the country. It was snowing
vigorously, but was not very cold; I had a spirited horse before me; a
good light sleigh under me; and away I went, bounding over the road,
neither knowing nor caring whither I went. By and by, when I had
traveled five or six miles, and distanced a number of other travelers,
in similar vehicles, on the way, I saw a town just ahead of me. The snow
was still falling so briskly that I was almost in the town before I saw
it. As I drove along, I asked a boy what place it was, and he said,
“Westbrook.” I entered the village, and found it to be one of
considerable extent. In fact, I drove half-a-mile, and still there was
no end of houses. On the contrary, they became thicker and thicker; and
I began to conclude that “Westbrook” must be quite a city. By and by I
found myself on a street that reminded me forcibly of one I had seen in
Portland; and, what made it more remarkable, I observed that it rejoiced
in the same name. What a coincidence! But I marveled more still, as I
followed this street a little way and passed an hotel that was the very
image of the one I stayed at in Portland—and lo! there stood at the door
a porter who was dark-skinned and cross-eyed, exactly like the porter of
my hotel in that city! Was I dreaming? No, not exactly; but I must have
been during my drive, for I had wandered around among the country roads
in the snow-storm, lost my reckoning, and actually entered Portland
again. I had come in through a little suburban village, north of the
city, called “Westbrook;” and hence my delusion.

In Rutland, a beautiful little city nestling in a kind of basin high up
among the Green Mountains of Vermont, I arrived one night at a late
hour. I went to a good comfortable hotel—for they have such there—and
asked for a “single room.” The host regretted that he had no single
rooms unoccupied. Passengers from the earlier trains had taken them all.
He could put me in a double-bedded room where another guest had just
retired—one who appeared to be a “perfect gentleman:” that was the best
he could do. It was the best _I_ could do, too; so, I was shown to the

I had a few hundred dollars in my pocket, and, not being perfectly sure
that the man in the other bed was a perfect angel, I thought there would
be no harm in placing it in the watch-fob of my unimpeachables, and
placing the same rolled up in a ball, under my neck. I did so. When
morning came, the “other fellow” got up first, and I felt somewhat
amused when I chanced to observe—for I was awake, and dreading to “turn
out” on account of the sharp morning air—that he had done so too. We had
both taken each other for rogues.

Well, that is the right way to view every stranger when you are
traveling. Look on every man you meet, and especially if he speaks to
you, as a deep-dyed villain, till you have had the most incontrovertible
proof that he is not.

I made Boston my head-quarters, while visiting different portions of
Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts; and about the last of
February, I departed for Philadelphia. I didn’t try the “dark-blue sea”
again; but took the “Shore Line” railroad, stopping a short time in
Providence, New Haven and New York.

I arrived in New York one March evening, and, allowing my baggage to go
on to Philadelphia, resolved to remain in the city that night and go to
the “Quaker City” next day. I wanted to go _via_ the Camden and Amboy
Railroad, and was told that the boat—for passengers on this road take
the boat from New York to South Amboy, a distance of twenty-eight
miles—would leave at six in the morning. That evening, while in the
sitting-room of my old hotel, I observed two suspicious-looking fellows
eyeing me rather sharply, and I felt that they were entitled to a little
watching from me. So, I watched them. When I retired, I locked and
bolted my door and even braced it with my crutch. [A handy thing to have
in a house, sometimes.] I slept soundly till five o’clock, at which time
the porter, according to instructions, knocked at my door and awoke me.

There was no one in the hotel below, when I went down but a sleepy
porter, and I was wondering where my suspicious-looking friends (?)
were, and where they stayed, and congratulating myself that I was
escaping them nicely by going away at that early hour in the morning,
when the street-door opened and the two identical gentlemen stepped in,
and took a seat by the stove. Pretending not to notice them, _I_ stepped

It was still far from daylight, and the snow was flying merrily. The
wind was howling, and each blaze of gas in the street-lamps was
fluttering and struggling as though it might go out at any moment. I
wanted to go to Pier No. 1, North River, from which the boat was to
start, and I walked as fast as I could—and that was not slow—toward
Broadway, glancing back over my shoulder at intervals of two seconds, to
see if my villains were coming. It was the quietest hour I ever saw in
New York. Not a stage, carriage, cart or car was astir in that part of
the city; and neither policeman nor “any other man” was to be seen. The
snow and wind combined were fairly blinding, and it was very far from
being a “fine morning.”

I had nearly reached Broadway, when I looked back and saw the two dears
coming, a square distant. They were passing a lamp-post, and the glimpse
I caught of their figures convinced me of their identity. Without
exhibiting any haste or trepidation, I walked on to the corner of
Broadway and Park Row and turned to the left; but instead of walking
down Broadway, suddenly stepped aside and stood in the door-way of
Barnum’s old Museum—which was still standing at that time, but over
whose ashes Bennett’s majestic marble palace now stands—leaned my cane
up in a corner, drew my revolver, cocked it, and awaited the attack.

I had just completed my preparations for a defence of my position, when
the happy pair came. The light of a street-lamp at the corner shone full
upon them, and I must have been blind indeed if I had not recognized
them. Their hats were drawn down over their eyes, to shield those organs
from the driving snow, and as I was in the shade, they failed to see me,
and rushed by. They were running, their footsteps soon died away, and
their “forms” faded down Broadway, which was then as quiet as a country
lane. I was very well satisfied to escape an encounter with them,
because I preferred not to shoot them, as I would certainly have found
it necessary to do had they seen me.

I knew they would soon discover that I had dodged them, and return; so,
replacing my revolver, taking my cane, and keeping an eye down Broadway,
I glided across the silent thoroughfare, went down Vesey Street to North
River, and thence down West Street to Pier No. 1, which was not really
much out of my way.

I reached the boat in good time, and arrived in Philadelphia that day by
twelve o’clock.

                              CHAPTER XI.


ABOUT the middle of March I concluded to take a tour to Baltimore,
Harper’s Ferry, Antietam Battle-field, Hagerstown and Harrisburg: at all
of which places—and especially ANTIETAM—I had been before. I intended to
occupy three or four weeks, and made arrangements to act meantime as
correspondent for a paper.

Nothing unusual happened to me on the way to Baltimore, except that on
looking from a car window at Havre de Grace, a small particle of cinder
from the engine flew into my eye; which kept it red and inflamed, and
furnished me with first-class pain, at intervals, for the ensuing two

A bit of cinder from a locomotive, with all its “fine points,” is, I
think, the severest thing that can work its way into a man’s optic
organ. Had railroads been in vogue in the days of King John, what a
point young Arthur might have made, when remonstrating with Hubert who
had been authorized to burn his eyes out with a red-hot poker, and
eloquently descanting on the sensitiveness of the eye, by reminding him
how it felt even when a cinder from a locomotive got into it. For
example, how would the passage read in this shape?——

         “O, heaven! that there were but a mote in yours,
          A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wand’ring hair,
          _Or the ten-thousandth part of a dead spark
          From the smoke-stack of a lo-com’-o-tive_;
          Any annoyance in that precious sense!
          Then, feeling what small things are boisterous there,
          Your vile intent must needs seem horrible!”

It will be perceived that the two lines in italics are my (John Smith’s)
own production: the rest is Shakspeare’s. I will not venture to predict
what critics will say of the relative merits of the two authors in this

As the trains from Philadelphia enter Baltimore, they cross a wide,
clean, quiet street, called “Broadway.” It bears no resemblance to the
Broadway of New York, as it is occupied chiefly by private dwellings.
The trains always stop there a minute or two to allow those who wish to
get off. This street runs north and south and of course crosses
Baltimore street, the principal business thoroughfare, which runs east
and west. The Baltimore-street railway extends down Broadway, and as
several cars are always in waiting when trains arrive, many passengers
get off the train here, take a street-car, and ride into the heart of
the city. I always do so when I visit the “Monumental city.” I did so on
this occasion, having first instructed the baggage-express agent to send
my trunk to my hotel.

As I jumped from the train, (before it had quite stopped,) and walked
toward the street-car that stood waiting on Broadway, a soldier
approached me, and tapping me familiarly on the shoulder, said:

“Why, Locke! how are you?”

I saw at a glance that he had mistaken me for some one else, and soberly

“I believe this isn’t I.”

“O, so it isn’t! Excuse me,” he said, perceiving his mistake and
laughing at my joke.

I got into a crowded car and rode to my hotel on West Baltimore street;
for the principal street is divided into East and West Baltimore streets
by a canal, which it crosses near the center of the city.

Having a week or two before me, with very little to do, I determined to
see all the places of interest in the vicinity, for I had, theretofore,
neglected to visit them, although I had frequently been in Baltimore. I
had never even visited the Washington Monument there.

Here let me commend Baltimore for being the only city that has ever
erected a monument to the memory of that pure-hearted patriot to whom we
are indebted for our liberties and free institutions—GEORGE WASHINGTON!

Baltimore has another monument which was erected in honor of the
Maryland soldiers who fell in the war of 1812; and is hence styled the
“Monumental City.”

The Washington Monument is indeed quite a fine structure. It is built of
marble to the height of about two hundred feet, and its top is adorned
with a large statue of the “Father of His Country.” Within, is a spiral
stairway of stone, like that in the Bunker Hill Monument; but it is not
lighted with gas, nor has it any embrasures for the admission of air and
daylight. The superintendent, or some one employed for the purpose,
accompanies each visitor, who wishes to ascend, carrying a lantern. He
may well be termed a man who has a great many “ups and downs” in the
world. From the top of this monument, the view of the city is excellent;
almost every house in it can be seen.

Of course, I visited this monument, but as nothing extraordinary
occurred, and especially nothing funny, I will not entertain the reader
with a full description of my visit, nor of the monument itself.

I was always fond of rowing, and as the weather was mild and pleasant
next day, I concluded to go down to the harbor, hire a boat and take a
row. I was told that I could get one at the foot of a little street
running obliquely toward the piers from the junction of Broadway and
Pratt streets, the latter being the street on which the Philadelphia
trains run into the city—and I took a street-car and went down.

When I asked the man for the boat, he looked at my crutch and said:

“Can you row?”

I told him that reminded me of a lady friend of mine, who shortly after
my return from the “field of glory,” asked me if I didn’t find my
corporeal defect very inconvenient about eating. “Why shouldn’t I row?”
said I. “A man don’t hold the oars with his toes, any more than he holds
his knife and fork in them when eating at the table—which would look
rather odd, and render it necessary for him instead of sitting in the
usual manner to take a somewhat novel position.”

No further doubts were expressed as to my ability to row, and I got into
a fifty-cents-an-hour boat, and rowed out into the harbor.

“Be careful,” was the owner’s admonition as I pulled away, “that you
don’t get caught in a squall and be driven away. The weather is
uncertain in March.”

“No danger,” I replied, and my boat glided out to where there was a
stiff breeze blowing, and was soon dancing on the waves.

I moved toward the southeast a mile or so, rested awhile near a ship
that was lying at anchor, and had a chat with one of the mates. I was
beginning to pull away from the ship, when I heard an excited voice
toward my right sing out:

“Look out there! Where the deuce are you going?”

Immediately followed a confusion of voices, the ringing of bells, and
the shriek of a steam whistle. I turned in the direction, and was
somewhat alarmed to discover that I was about to cross the bow of a
propeller, that came dashing along. Had I pulled the oars but once more,
nothing would have saved me from being run down. My boat would have been
shivered to pieces, I would have been stunned and my chances of being
saved from a watery grave would have been as one against a hundred. With
all the presence of mind I could command, I “backed oars,” and checked
my boat, which of its own accord turned side-wise; and the propeller
rushed by at such a trifling distance from me as to strike the blade of
my right-hand oar.

“Whew! my young man,” said the mate with whom I had been talking—for he
still stood by the bulwark—“you came near going down.”

I fully realized this, and quite satisfied with my row, put back for
shore. The wind had increased, and I now noticed, for the first time,
that some dark clouds were coming from the west. I had a good mile to
row against the wind, which, as well as the waves, was every moment
increasing in violence. I was yet a quarter of a mile from the dock in
which the boat belonged, when a regular squall came on. Then I had a
time of it. Throwing off my coat and hat, and placing them in the bottom
of the boat, I grasped my oars and pulled away with all the strength and
energy I possessed. I made rather slow time, and when within one hundred
yards of port, perceived that I was just making out to lie still against
the wind. I was nearly exhausted, and felt like throwing down my oars in
despair; but seeing what a short distance was yet to be accomplished, I
nerved myself for a final effort; and such a battle as I had with the
wind and waves no one need want to engage in. After ten minutes of the
most strenuous exertion, I arrived in the dock, trembling from
exhaustion, perspiring from exercise, and wet all over with spray.

I concluded, taking my narrow escape into consideration, that rowing in
the harbor was no delightful recreation, and solemnly vowed never again
to venture out there in a row-boat. I kept my word faithfully till next
afternoon; when the weather being very delightful, I broke it, went out
again, and had a very pleasant row in the same boat.

At four o’clock one evening I left Baltimore for Harper’s Ferry, _via_
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, having first sent my trunk back to
Philadelphia by express. I arrived at Harper’s Ferry by nine o’clock. A
great many soldiers were there—for it will be recollected that the war
was not yet ended—and I found it difficult to secure a comfortable
lodging. Every private house was acting the part of an hotel, furnishing
supper to many soldiers and a few sorry-looking travelers; while those
desiring a night’s lodging were packed into rooms at the rate of from
seven to twenty-seven in each.

By paying a few dollars extra, talking politely, and pretending that I
was not in the best of health—although I eat an astonishing supper for
an invalid—I succeeded in securing a small room to myself, to which I
retired immediately after supper; and having carefully fastened the
door, I lay down on a clean bed and slept comfortably till the morning.

                              CHAPTER XII.


WHEN morning came, I tried for an hour to get a conveyance to
Sharpsburg, near Antietam Creek, twelve miles distant; but in vain. Not
a horse or carriage of any kind was to be had for love or money; and I
made up my mind to walk it, although I had never yet walked any such
distance on one leg. When a man makes up his mind to do a thing,
however, he will do it, if he has firmness, no matter whether he has any
limbs or not.

At eight o’clock, I went to the office of the provost-marshal to get a
pass over the bridge—for it will be recollected that the village of
Harper’s Ferry is on the Virginia side—but he had not come in yet.
Wishing to start as soon as possible, I thought I would try to face my
way over. So, I went to the bridge, bade the sentinel a cheerful
good-morning, and was moving on, when he said:

“Have you a pass?”

“No,” I replied, stopping. “I am not in the service. Is a pass

“No,” said he, after a slight pause. “Your crutch is pass enough. I
suppose you got that in the Army?”

“Yes,” I replied, “at Antietam. I am going up there to-day to see the
old ground.”

“How are you going?”

“I’m going to walk.”

“Walk! Why, can you do it?”

“I think I can, although I have never yet walked so far on a crutch.”

“You’ll have a good walk of it. It is fully twelve miles.”

“Yes, so I have been told; but I could get no conveyance, and must try

“I hope you’ll get along well.”

“Thank you.”

I passed on. When I reached the middle of the bridge, I could not
refrain from stopping to admire the scenery, which had never before
appeared so grand to me. Harper’s Ferry presents a romantic picture
indeed. All around are tall majestic wood covered hills that gaze down
upon the village and bridge with quiet and awful dignity; and the
beautiful river, wandering silently about among them, looks as if it
would never find its way out. It was the twenty-fifth of March, the
morning was pleasant, the sun was smiling on the heights and glancing
down on the little village and the pure river. I thought I had never
before seen such a beautiful sight.

I passed over the bridge, turned to my left and walked up the tow-path
of the canal. The first two or three miles I got over in an hour or so,
very smoothly; but after that I felt weary at times, and found it an
advantage to rest every mile or two.

By a quarter to twelve o’clock I had reached the mouth of Antietam
Creek, ten miles from Harper’s Ferry, and had now to leave the river and
strike over the hills for Sharpsburg, two miles distant. Nothing had
happened to me during my walk, save that a stray bullet from beyond the
river had now and then whistled about my ears. They were no doubt fired
at random by some of our pickets there who did not see me.

I had now to cross the canal, in order to direct my course toward
Sharpsburg. This was no easy matter. There was no bridge or lock near,
and no ordinary jumper could clear it at a bound. I did fancy that I
might make it in two jumps, but did not try. It was not full of water,
and, seeing no plan but to wade through it, I removed my shoe, and other
apparel liable to get saturated in the course of such an enterprise, and
stalked in. I did not find it deeper than twenty inches, but its
temperature felt very little above thirty-two degrees, Fahrenheit, and
it made my foot and the calf of my leg ache clear through by the time I
got across.

Having passed this obstruction and replaced my shoe, etc., I went to a
house not far off, where I inquired the way to Sharpsburg, and was
directed to follow a country road that took its way over the hill; and
did so. I reached Sharpsburg by one o’clock having walked a little more
than twelve miles in five hours. There was an hotel there and having
taken dinner, I started for Smoketown, three miles distant, where I had
lain in the hospital. I visited the village—a village consisting of two
dwelling-houses and a corn-crib—then returned to the battle-field and
spent an hour or two traveling about in search of the spot on which I
had received my wound.

I failed to find the interesting place, although I had felt confident of
being able to walk directly to it in a straight line. It is remarkable
what a change takes place in a year or two in the appearance of the
ground on which a battle has been fought. Thirty months had now elapsed
since the battle of Antietam, and a casual observer would not have
noticed any trace of the conflict.

I saw a Mr. Miller plowing in a field opposite the little Tunker Church
by the pike—a building that had been nearly knocked to pieces in the
fight, but had since been repaired—and he showed me a full set of
“bones” lying in a fence-corner, which he had just “plowed up.” He said
they had been scarcely under the surface of the earth; but that he would
bury them deeper. This was the famous cornfield in which the struggle
between Hooker’s and Longstreet’s corps was so terrible, and where so
many of the Pennsylvania Reserves were killed. I found in this field
several bullets, a fragment of shell, and a few canteens, straps, etc.,
lying about.

As evening approached and I had walked from eighteen to twenty miles
since morning, I started for Keedysville, several miles distant, with
the intention of staying there all night.

After the amputation of my leg at Antietam, as mentioned in the first
chapter, I had lain in a barn near the creek, a week or two; and this
evening, after crossing the creek and walking a little way toward
Keedysville, I recognized this same barn, although I had never known its
precise location: and O, what recollections of misery it brought back to
me! My sufferings in that barn were so terrible, so far exceeding any
thing that might merely be termed pain, that, as I look back now, the
time spent there seems more like a horrible dream than a reality!

The sun was sinking as I stood in the road gazing thoughtfully at the
barn; and I thought of the evenings I had lain within, almost dead, and
seen the sun’s last red rays struggling into that somber apartment of
misery, through the crevices. While I thus stood, a lady, who had come
out of an adjacent house, approached me. Her footsteps as she drew near
aroused me from my train of thought.

“Good evening, ma’am,” said I.

“How do you do? Will you walk into the house?” was the response.

“No, I thank you,” I rejoined. “I am on my way to Keedysville, and was
just looking at this barn, which I recognize as one in which I lay for
some days after the battle here.”

“Ah,” said she; “were you one of the wounded ones who occupied the

“Yes, ma’am. Who is the owner?”

“Mr. Pry—my husband.”

“I have been on the battle-ground,” I observed, “trying to find the
place I was when wounded.”

“And did you find it?”

“I am sorry to say that I failed,” said I.

“A pity. Where did you come from to-day?”

“Harper’s Ferry.”

“How did you get up?”


“Walked! You surely did not walk it on one leg?”

“Yes, ma’am, and this crutch and cane. I reached Sharpsburg by
dinner-time, and have spent the afternoon in rambling over the
battle-field and visiting Smoketown.”

“You surprise me. I did not suppose a person on crutches could do all

“Nor did I till I tried it.”

“Well, you must go no further to-night. You were our guest before, and
must be again, now that we are better prepared to accommodate you.”

“Why, really, I——”

“You musn’t think of going any further. Why, you’ve walked twenty miles
to-day—and on a crutch! No, indeed, you must not pass my house. Come in.
Mr. Pry is just coming in to supper. Come, no excuses.”

I did not further decline the proffered hospitality of this excellent
lady. I was ushered into the house, and was made no less welcome by Mr.
Pry, his sons and a beautiful and amiable daughter.

An excellent supper, a pleasant evening chat, a tidy bed, a comfortable
chamber, and, O, such a delicious, dreamless slumber, after my day’s
exertion, made me forget all my weariness; and I awoke next morning—the
beautiful Sunday morning of March twenty-sixth—with all the vigor of
youth. Never let me forget the Pry family for their cordial welcome and
hospitable entertainment!

                              CHAPTER XIII

                  ROMANCE IN JOHN SMITH’S “REAL LIFE.”

THAT Sunday morning I determined to visit the battle-ground again, and
try to find that part of the field on which I had had the honor to be
shot; then walk to Hagerstown, a distance of twelve miles. Having
discovered, the previous day, that I was something of a walker, I now
thought nothing of going that distance on foot. My excellent friends
urged me to stay till Monday morning, but I declined.

I have now to record a little incident such as we sometimes read of but
seldom gain cognizance of through our own auricular and optic organs. It
may well be termed a “Romance in real life.”

Once, while in the army, I had picked up a small white pebble on the
battle-ground of Bull Run, intending to keep it as a relic of that famed
field. I had put it in a port-monnaie, and carried it with me through
all my battles. While lying in the barn alluded to, I had lost my
port-monnaie, which only contained, besides the pebble, a small bit of
white paper on which I had made some notes of marches and their dates;
and since then I had scarcely given it a thought. In fact, it had gone
quite out of my mind.

Well, on Sunday morning, March twenty-sixth, 1865, before I left Mr.
Pry’s house, Mrs. Pry showed me a small fancy basket of curiosities,
such as little shells, bullets, and the like, and as she handed it to me
to examine, she said:

“You will find among those shells a little white pebble, to which there
is probably some story attached.”

“Ah?” I replied, moving the shells about. “How so?”

“Why, I think,” said she, “that it must have been the property of some
soldier who, no doubt, carried it as a relic. Our boys were fishing one
day, not long ago, and one of them drew up on his hook a
port-monnaie—and what a fish he thought he had!—when——”

“A port-monnaie!” I exclaimed, as the recollection of my pebble suddenly
flashed upon my mind for the first time since my leaving the army.

“Yes,” she went on; “and in it was the pebble——”

“And this is it!” I interrupted, as I found it at that moment among the
shells and instantly recognized it by its peculiar shape and a little
dark streak running through it.

“Yes, that is it.”

“And do you guess whose it is?”

“Is it yours?”

“Yes, ma’am. I recollect it distinctly now. I picked it up on the
battle-field of Bull Run, when visiting the ground one day, before I had
ever been in a fight, and carried it with me through all my campaigns,
till wounded; and I lost it from my blouse pocket while lying in the
barn. Was there not a piece of paper in the port-monnaie?”

“Yes, so the boys said.”

“With some marches and their dates noted down——”


“Well, is it not rather romantic!”

“It is, indeed. The pebble is yours now. Take it.”

“Thank you. I am indeed glad to see it again; but if you prefer to keep
it, as you have established an undoubted right to it as property, by
rescuing it from the depths of the waters, I will cheerfully leave it
with you.”

“No, no,” said the good lady. “It is a pleasure to me to be able to
restore it to you, after the lapse of more than two years. I am so glad
I happened to mention it. If I had read of such an incident I could
scarcely have believed it.”

“Nor any one. I thank you a thousand times! To think that, after thirty
months, I should recover a little thing like that!—and that after it had
been associating with the fish at the bottom of Antietam Creek! To think
that it should so happen that I should stop at this house all night and
that you should happen to mention it to me just before departing! It is
indeed romantic!”

“It is, truly. Be assured that I am as happy to restore it to you as you
are to recover it.”

I took the pebble, and have it yet in my possession. Any one calling on
John Smith at his residence, (wherever that is,) will have an
opportunity of seeing it, and of thus satisfying himself that this story
is true.

Accompanied by Mr. Pry’s two sons, I departed for the battle-ground, in
the midst of the most earnest solicitations to remain till Monday
morning, and made another tour of the battle-field. At last, we
succeeded in finding the identical spot of ground on which I had stood
when shot, which I recognized by unmistakable landmarks. Especially did
I remember a little ledge of rocks in the midst of a small grove of
trees, over which we had climbed in advancing, and where two men had
fallen back, shot dead—one at my right hand and the other at my left. I
also found and recognized the identical tree against which I had leaned
my rifle on finding myself to be too badly wounded to continue firing.
There were some graves in the quiet little grove, and on a small
head-board I found the name of one of my old regiment. Among some of the
sunken graves, were also visible whitened bones that had barely been
covered with earth, and were now, after the rains and storms of more
than two years, entirely unearthed and exposed to view.

Between ten and eleven o’clock, I started for Hagerstown. The boys
wanted me either to go back to the house or wait there till they should
get a team ready to convey me to my destination, but I declined,
assuring them that I could walk easily, and would really prefer to do
so, as the weather was fine.

I made my way to the Hagerstown pike, and had not traveled far, when I
fell in with a farmer who was returning from a Sunday-school he had been
attending at the little church, and he urged me to go home with him and
take dinner. Not wishing to stop so soon, I declined, with thanks. I met
with several similar invitations on the pike. I must say, that the
hospitality and kind-heartedness of the people of Maryland cannot be too
highly spoken of. They had no fair opportunity to show these good
qualities while whole armies were passing through their land, although
even then they did all they reasonably could do for us; but let a person
travel through the country districts, especially if he be crippled or
laboring under any physical disadvantage, and he will meet with kind
smiles of welcome from all, regardless of political sentiments.

Having traveled four or five miles, I was passing a house where dinner
was just ready, when a good-natured old gentleman came out to the gate
and said:

“How do you do, sir? Stop a moment. Which way are you traveling?”

“I am going to Hagerstown,” I replied, pausing.

“Well, you have not had your dinner yet,” he said with a tone and manner
that distinctly added, “So, of course, you simply walk in at this gate
and up into the house and get your dinner, to be sure.”

“No,” I could not help admitting; “but——”

“But What?——in the name of sense.”

“I am not decidedly hungry, and would like to walk a mile or two further
before I stop.”

“O, nonsense! Come in!” And he opened the gate with such an air that I
could not have remained in the road without insulting him. “Did you say
you intended to walk to Hagerstown?”

“Yes, sir; such is my intention.”

“Well, you mustn’t think of it. Come in, take dinner and rest awhile,
and I will hitch up to my spring wagon and take you to Hagerstown in
less time than it would take you to walk a mile! Come.”

I could no longer resist, and allowed myself to be smiled and welcomed
into the house. The good people therein—an elderly lady and her
daughter—were somewhat astonished when I told them of my walk of the
previous day.

“Is it possible you couldn’t get a wagon?” said the old gentleman.

“I could not.”

“If I had known it,” said he, while his noble heart shone out all over
his face, “I would have hitched up and come down for you! Surely, there
ought to have been some one there—However, people get pretty
hard-hearted where soldiers are quartered so long.”

“Very natural,” I observed.

After a good dinner, which I had the appetite to enjoy, this hospitable
gentleman, despite my protestations, hitched up his horse and wagon, and
took me to Hagerstown. I offered to pay him, but he regarded that idea
as one of the best jokes he had heard lately. No, indeed; I mustn’t give
a thought to such a thing!

“The idea of taking pay from you!” he said; and laughed till we both
forgot about it.

I stayed at Hagerstown that night and next morning took an early train
for Harrisburg, arriving there about noon. I only spent a couple of
hours in Harrisburg, then took a train for Philadelphia, where I arrived
that evening, and found my trunk awaiting me.

                              CHAPTER XIV.

                              THE HUDSON.

I SPENT the remainder of the spring and the first two months of the
summer in New York, but as the extreme “caloric” of the “heated term”
began to make the giant walls and solid streets of the metropolis next
to intolerable, I determined to take a little tour up the Hudson, and
out by the lakes into Ohio: and did.

But my grateful heart will not allow me to pass quietly by New York
again without briefly acknowledging the sincere thanks I owe, for
distinguished favors, to the following excellent gentlemen: Manton
Marble, Editor of the WORLD; Drexel, Winthrop & Co., Bankers, Wall
street; Willy Wallach, Stationer, John street; Paschal S. Hughes.
Merchant, Broadway; Henry S. Camblos, Broker, New street; and E. S.
Jaffray, Merchant, Broadway. I can say no more.

Having made arrangements to correspond with a certain well-known
journal, I started, about the first of August, on my projected tour,
taking passage on the handsome steamer DANIEL DREW for Albany.

They have on the Hudson river some of the finest boats in the
world—low-pressure boats of immense size, that never think of bragging
on speed that falls below twenty miles an hour. Some of them, by
straining a muscle or two, have made twenty-five miles an hour, and felt
none the worse for it next morning.

We started at eight o’clock one August morning; and what a change of
atmosphere we experienced as we left the hot streets of the city far
behind us, and glided up the Hudson—that most picturesque and romantic
of rivers! The sky was bright and clear; and, however hot and close may
have been the narrow and crowded streets of New York, the air with us
was charming.

Most of the passengers sat on the cabin deck, which was protected from
the sun by an awning, that hovered over us like the ghost of some broad
sail that Old Ocean might have swallowed. We had not gone far, when a
band of musicians from the land of Horace, Virgil, Cicero, Titus,
Vespasian and the Cesars, treated us with some melodious strains on the
violin, harp, and some other instruments. Although we would have
regarded them as a nuisance in front of our doors in the city, we now
really appreciated their talent; and when they had played half-an-hour,
and one of them came round with an empty hat in his hand, there were but
few, if any, who did not acknowledge their approbation by contributions
of ten cent notes, or the like.

They had just disappeared, and I was beginning to regard the delightful
scenery that began to unfold itself to us along the shores, when a very
black African made his appearance on deck, and leaning over a kind of
sky-light, called out to some one below in a loud tone:

“Hillo, Bill, down dah!”

“Well, what does you want?” was the response from below. It was evident
that William was also a gentleman from the land where snakes,
crocodiles, and savage beasts grow to their full size.

“Are you gwine up to Albany?” asked the darkey on deck.

“Yes, reckon I’se gwine up dah,” came from below.

“How’d you leabe all de folks?”

“O, well enough—but don’t ask so darned many questions,” said Bill,

“Gettin’ rudder techy, ain’t you?”

“O, don’t bodder me! I didn’t git no sleep last night—I didn’t.”

By this time the attention of the passengers in the vicinity was
attracted, and all eyes were turned upon the darkey. As for myself, I
felt somewhat annoyed, and wondered why the black cuss didn’t go below
and carry on his animated chat with his friend, instead of standing up
there, yelling down, and disturbing the tranquillity of the passengers.

“Well, why didn’t you sleep? It was your own fault.”

“O, let me ’lone, Sam,” came from below. “I don’t want no foolin’!”

“I won’t let you ’lone. You ain’t gwine to get no sleep dis day, you
isn’t,” said Sam, thrusting a cane he had in his hand down through the
open sky-light.

Some one appeared to seize it from below, and at the same time the voice
of Bill said:

“Now, look yere, I say, I’ll break dis ’ole cane fur you, if you don’t
look out!”

“Yes, you bettah try dat,” said Sam, thrusting the cane down several
times, as though he were stirring a ’possum out of a hollow log.

“Now you be keerful!” vociferated the voice below, angrily; and the
stick was seized again and an effort made to wrench it from Sam’s hand.

“Let go o’ dat now, I say,” said Sam, at the same time freeing it with a
savage jerk.

“Den you let me ’lone,” said Bill, in a kind of compromising tone.

The passengers were looking on in astonishment. It was rather singular
that this black _employé_ of the boat, as he evidently was, was allowed
to come up among the passengers, and go to raising such an altercation
through the sky-light with some one below. One passenger, who had been
reading, seemed very much annoyed, and at last testily said:

“O, let the fellow alone—whoever he is!”

“I’ll let _you_ ’lone if I come up dar!” retorted the voice below,
evidently addressing the irritated passenger.

“Look out, Bill,” exclaimed Sam; “dat’s a white gemman you’s talkin’ to!
d’ye know dat?”

“Don’t car for dat. He’s no wuss dan a black gem man,” retorted Bill.
“De white cuss!”

“Confound him!” exclaimed the angry passenger, rising and going to the
sky-light. “Where is he? I’ll punch his head!”

“Don’t you wish you’d ketch me! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!” laughed the
voice, in taunting exultation; and now, to the astonishment of all, it
sounded distinctly as though it were on the awning above our heads.

All looked up as though expecting to see the shadow of some one there,
but only the broad beams of the sun covered the canvas from side to

“Ha, ha, ha! What’s de mattah?” yelled the same voice. “Ha, ha, ha!”

First it appeared on the canvas, then under the deck, next toward the
cabin-door, next toward the bow of the boat, and, after apparently
making a rapid circle around us, finally subsided in our midst—in fact,
in the very mouth of the darkey who stood on deck. He was a
ventriloquist—a skillful one, too—and had been thus beautifully “doing”
us all this time. As for “Bill,” the darkey below, he was of course a
fictitious personage. A loud laugh came from the passengers, as they
realized this, and the irascible man, who had threatened to punch Bill’s
head, returned to his seat, trying to look unconcerned. Sam passed
around his cap for tokens of our appreciation of his powers, and each
one—including the irascible passenger—contributed from five to
twenty-five cents. That was the last “tax” we paid that day.

I might give a long, and even interesting, account of my journey up the
Hudson; but such is not my intention. There are already numerous books
of travel extant, which describe the Hudson as well as it can be
described in words. My object is to amuse; and if I relate all the funny
things that happened to me, I shall succeed. I might describe the view
of the Catskill Mountains, the towns of Hudson, Peekskill, Newburg, West
Point, etc., but will leave that to tourists, as already hinted.

But I must not pass by without mentioning one or two points on the
Hudson. The Catskill Mountains, viewed from the river, present so lovely
a picture that neither pen nor brush can convey any adequate idea of
them. No one should live and die without viewing such scenery as this.

A few miles above West Point, and on the same shore of the river—the
western—rises a mountain peak called the Crow Nest. Joseph Rodman Drake,
an American poet who died in 1820, at the age of twenty-five, thus
exquisitely depicts this delightful region, in his poem entitled, “THE

          “’Tis the middle watch of a summer’s night—
          The earth is dark, but the heavens are bright;
          Nought is seen in the vault on high,
          But the moon, and the stars, and the cloudless sky,
          And the flood which rolls its milky hue,
          A river of light on the welkin blue.
          The moon looks down on old Crow Nest,
          She mellows the shades on his shaggy breast,
          And seems his huge gray form to throw
          In a silver cone on the wave below;
          His sides are broken by spots of shade,
          By the walnut bough and the cedar made,
          And through their clustering branches dark,
          Glimmers and dies the fire-fly’s spark—
          Like starry twinkles that momently break
          Through the rifts of the gathering tempest’s rack.

          “The stars are on the moving stream,
            And fling, as its ripples gently flow,
          A burnished length of wavy beam
            In an eel-like spiral line below:
          The winds are whist, and the owl is still,
            The bat in the shelvy rock is hid,
          And nought is heard on the lonely hill
          But the cricket’s chirp, and the answer shrill
            Of the gauze-winged katy-did;
          And the plaint of the wailing whip-poor-will,
            Who moans unseen and ceaseless sings,
          Ever a note of wail and woe,
            Till morning spreads her rosy wings,
          And earth and sky in her glances glow.

          “’Tis the hour of fairy ban and spell;
          The wood-tick has kept the minutes well;
          He has counted them all with click and stroke
          Deep in the heart of the mountain oak,
          And he has awakened the sentry elve,
            Who sleeps with him in the haunted tree,
          To bid him to ring the hour of twelve,
            And call the fays to their revelry.”

                              CHAPTER XV.

                           JOHN AT SARATOGA.

WE reached Albany at five o’clock, and I stepped ashore and walked
carelessly up the street, trying to look as though I had been there
before. I don’t think I succeeded. It is the most difficult thing in the
world to step off a boat or train in a strange city, and not fancy that
at least half the assembled spectators are looking at you and saying:

“There’s a fellow who never was here before: that’s clear.”

I went up to an hotel, gave my check to the porter and told him to bring
my baggage from the boat. I have hitherto forborne to give the names of
hotels, because it might look like surreptitious advertising; and John
Smith is above that sort of thing. But, it might be urged, why not
mention the names of the good hotels, that travelers who read this work
may know where to stay when they visit such cities as I mention? One
reason is, this is no traveler’s guide; and another is, that an hotel
that was comfortable and well-conducted two or three years ago, may have
changed proprietors, and become quite the reverse by this time. I have
seen this demonstrated myself, as I may have occasion to mention in the
course of this work.

I remained at Albany a week, during which time I visited the
penitentiary—_only_ as a visitor, remember—and other places of interest.
I also visited Troy, six miles above, on the east side of the river, and
some of its manufactories. At a nail and horseshoe factory there I saw
the largest wheel in this country. It is a monstrous water-wheel, which
runs the machinery of the whole establishment. I was told that its
diameter was seventy-four feet. It was in operation while I was there;
it revolved rather slowly, and looked like the world turning around on a
cloudy day. At Troy I also saw a Trojan horse; though not the one Homer
tells about.

Before going westward, I paid a visit to Saratoga Springs, the great
fashionable summer resort, which is about thirty miles from Albany. Do
not infer that I went there to spend the fashionable “season.” I am
above such a place as that. So is any one that hasn’t too much money. It
is there that glittering wealth and giddy fashion congregate during the
hot weather, and that merchants from New York and other cities go to
gamble away in a week—sometimes in a single night—all they have made in
a year.

“Faro” prevails there to an alarming extent. So do poker, roulette,
billiards, nine-pins and horse-racing. I stood by a faro-table for an
hour, and the amount of cash I saw change hands in that time was
something frightful. Thousands seemed but a trifle at that board. I saw
one gentleman looking on with idle interest, while others were betting,
losing and winning, and I said to myself, “That fellow is going to try
his luck: I can tell by the way he looks.”

And he did try it.

“I’ll put that V on the ace,” said he, laying down a five-dollar

It lost.

“Pshaw!” said he; to which nobody paid any attention.

The betting went on. Presently my man tried it again.

“Here’s an X on the ace.”

And he put an X on the ace.

It lost.

“Confound it!” he exclaimed, vexatiously. “Here’s twenty-five for the

He put two Xs and a V on the deuce.

The ace won this time, and the deuce lost. And _he_ lost. He was now
forty dollars “out.”

“Give me some checks,” he said, handing a hundred-dollar bill to the
banker. He was evidently going into it more extensively.

The banker quietly took his hundred dollars, and counted him out some
ivory checks used to represent cash in the game.

The betting went on. He laid down five dollars’ worth of checks on the
ace and won. He laid down another five and lost. He laid twenty on and
lost. He laid twenty more on and lost.

“Confound that unlucky ace!” said he, “I will not try it again.”

So, he tried betting on two others at once. He laid five on the seven,
and thirty on the eight. The seven won and the eight lost. He won five
dollars and lost thirty.

“Blast the luck!” said he. “Here are the rest of the checks on the ace.
I’ll try my luck on it again.” And he placed the remainder of his
hundred dollars’ worth of checks on the ace.

And lost.

He then abruptly mentioned the vulgar name of a place that is also
called Hades and Erebus, and wished ugly wishes on himself if he’d bet
any more. But he soon thought he would like to try it again—just once.
He resolved to risk one bet of a hundred dollars, and if that should
lose, he wouldn’t try it again.

“Let me see,” said he, “I’ll put it on the ace. No, I won’t. The ace is
unlucky for me. I’ll put it on the seven; that won for me once.”

He put it on the seven and lost. If he had put it on the ace that time
he would have won.

He then used profane language, and spoke very disrespectfully of the
cards in general, and of the seven-spot in particular. Then he left the

Presently he returned with a roll of bills in his hand—a thousand-dollar
one being placed conspicuously on the outside, as a kind of index, to
show what was within. He handed a thousand-dollar bill to the banker,
and said:

“Change that.”

The banker changed it.

He then laid down five hundred dollars on the ace and lost. He laid five
hundred more on it and lost. He took another thousand-dollar bill from
the roll, laid it down, and lost. He laid down another, and won.

“Good luck, at last,” said he. “I believe that ace will win again. It
will be sure to: it has won so little of late.” So he put three thousand
dollars on it. Others followed his example, and two thousand dollars
more were laid on the ace. All who sat at the table now, or stood by,
looked for the issue with much interest.

It lost.

This most unfortunate of the gamblers made a slight movement of the
hand, as though to place his remaining cash in his pocket and quit; but
he hesitated a moment, then placed the whole “pile” on the ace.

“There,” said he, “are seven thousand dollars.”

Yes, seven thousand.

The ace lost that time.

The unfortunate man, who had now lost about ten thousand dollars,
articulated a number of bad words, and, turning away, left the room with
as sad-looking a face as I ever saw under a hat. No one paid any
attention to him. The game went on, and he was soon forgotten.

Of course, others were betting, winning and losing all this time, for
there were a score around the table, and it would be no exaggeration to
say that at least a hundred thousand dollars changed hands while I was
standing there. I have merely mentioned this one gentleman in
particular, because his case was, perhaps, the saddest of any that came
under my notice, and made the greatest impression on my mind. Whether he
returned with any more cash, or whether he could raise any more, I do
not know, as I soon after left the room and returned to Albany; but, if
he was able to raise any more “spondoolix,” there is little doubt that
he tried it again that evening, for the more bitter lessons of this kind
a man learns, the more they don’t do him any good. “I will try it again
till I at least win back what I have lost,” is his plea. If he has been
fortunate, and won, he will say “I seem to be pretty lucky; it’s worth
trying again.” He does and often finds it _is_ worth trying again—to the
banker. Win or lose, a gambler will be a gambler.

                              CHAPTER XVI.

                             THE SAIL BOAT.

NEXT day I left Albany for Rochester, _via_ the New York Central
Railroad. Those who have done much traveling by railroad must have been
annoyed and tormented from time to time by the flying dust, and the
smoke and cinders from the locomotive. Every dying spark that flies from
the chimney seems to go right for the eyes of any unhappy visage that
dares to thrust itself from a car window for a breath of fresh air or a
glance at the scenery ahead. And O, how it does hurt! The sting of a
bumblebee is joy compared with it.

On this occasion I determined to adopt a plan that would enable me to
thrust my head out all the time if I chose, and stare at the locomotive
with impunity. Before leaving Albany, I purchased a pair of fifty-cent
goggles—window-glass focus—which I wore during my journey from Albany to
Rochester (a distance of over two hundred miles). Hence, my eyes being
secure, I paid no attention to the smoke and dust I was continually
_breathing_; and the result was, that next morning my throat and lungs
were so sore as to interfere materially with my articulation, and for
some weeks I was afflicted with a regular “grave-yard cough,” that I had
reason to fear would merge into some permanent pulmonary affection. I
got over it, though, and I also got over wearing goggles on an express

To this day, I can not help shuddering as I contemplate what a frightful
appearance I must have presented with those goggles on. A good-looking
young man like myself, on a crutch, with such an immense round patch on
either side of his nose, must have been a marvel to look at. I regret
that I did not procure a mirror, and take a look at myself while wearing
them, for I have never had the courage to put them on since.

My memory records that several passengers, with subdued smiles on their
countenances, manifested the most intense interest in my welfare, and
asked me what was the matter with my eyes? In reply to this impertinent
question, I gave them to understand that it was an hereditary weakness
of the “windows of the soul;” and intimated that the Smith family had,
from time immemorial, been amateur astronomers, and had done a good deal
of gazing at the moon and stars.

The New York Central Railroad takes its way through the beautiful Mohawk
valley. That valley is famed in history, and we read of a great many
bloody scenes enacted there by the savage Mohawk tribe; but I think that
now, with its green meadows, its fields of grain, its grazing sheep and
cattle, its farm-houses and dairies, with PEACE smiling over all, it is
far more beautiful and interesting than it was in its wildness, when the
red-skinned son of nature made it his home, and followed killing bears,
deer, and the pale-faces for a living.

There is one grand picture in the Mohawk valley which I can not forbear
to mention. It is an enchanting cascade. The amount of water is not
great, but it comes streaming down from a height of two hundred feet,
sparkling in the sunbeams, and bounding from rock to rock like a thing
of life. For calm, quiet enjoyment, I would rather sit among the trees
that hover about this romantic cascade and listen to its murmurs, than
on the banks of the Niagara, and hear the roars of that grand old

It was after night-fall when we reached Rochester, and as I wanted to
stay there a few days, I went into an hotel that was in the same
building with the depot _itself_, and registered my name. Next morning I
walked out and looked about me. Rochester is a very pleasant city of
about sixty thousand inhabitants, and is situated at the Falls of the
Genesee river, seven miles from Lake Ontario. I say _at_ the Falls, for
the city is built on all sides of the cataract, except one. It occupies
either shore, and one of its principal streets, with its solid rows of
buildings, actually _crosses_ the river on an arched bridge or viaduct
about two hundred yards above the Falls.

It will be remembered that it was at these Falls that Samuel Patch,
Esquire, made his last leap; and here I am compelled to dispel a very
popular delusion that prevails in regard to the matter. I do not wish to
detach a particle from the glory and honor of Mr. Patch, for he was an
American, like myself—not exactly like myself, either, for he is said to
have had two legs—and I feel a kind of national pride in holding him up
before the world as the paragon of jumpers. But what I wish to say, is
this: Patch did not stand in the water below, as is generally supposed,
and jump _up_ over the falls. On the contrary, he stood above on a
platform erected at the brink of the precipice, where there was not much
water pouring over at the time, and jumped _down_; and who couldn’t do
that? I saw persons in Rochester who saw him make his last leap, and
they told me all about it, confidentially.

Another thing: It is generally known that Patch leaped over the Falls of
Genesee twice, but it is not generally known on which of these occasions
he killed himself; some suppose it was the first: but I can assure them,
on the best authority, that it was his second leap at Rochester, and not
his first, that proved fatal.

On one occasion Daniel Webster was called upon to speak at a public
dinner given at Rochester. “Gentlemen,” said he, “Athens had her
Acropolis, and Rome her Coliseum, but, gentlemen, they could boast of no
such falls as those of Rochester!” Here, being slightly under the
influence of the wine which he had been drinking, he paused, and
hesitating, was about to sit down, when some one whispered to him “The
national debt!” Rising to his full height the great orator exclaimed:
“And then, gentlemen, there is the National Debt! It should be paid,
gentlemen. It must be paid, gentlemen.” And then, in louder tones, “I’ll
be d——d if it _shan’t_ be paid. _I’ll pay it myself!_” pulling out his
pocket-book. “HOW MUCH IS IT?”

Two miles below Rochester there is a wharf where steamboats and other
lake craft land, and where a man keeps boats to let. The street-cars run
to within three quarters of a mile of the place, and I got on one and
rode down. On leaving the car at the terminus of the city railway, I
walked to the river bank, and found a graded wagon-road leading down to
the landing, the bank being about two hundred feet high; and very steep.

When I reached the landing I concluded to hire a sail boat and have a
little ride on the river.

“Can you manage one?” asked the owner.

“O, yes,” I replied. “That is, pretty well.” The truth was, I had never
tried it, and therefore didn’t know whether I could manage one or not.

“Well, take that one,” said he, pointing to a small sail boat of about
three quarters of a ton burthen. “There are oars in it, and if you can
not manage it you can row it back.”

It was well enough, for without those oars I could never have brought it
back. I got in, the sail being set, and he pushed me from shore. A stiff
breeze was sweeping down the river, and I did not like to run before it,
lest it should blow me out upon the lake and clear over to Canada. So, I
thought I would try tacking, and run up the river a little way, in order
to have easy sailing back. With the helm in one hand and a line attached
to the boom in the other, I went flying across the river, which was only
about four hundred feet wide, and presently brought up against the other
shore. I looked quickly around to see if the owner was observing me,
found he wasn’t, pushed my boat off with an oar, got the sail set right
for the other tack, and went sailing for the western shore again. This
time, I “tacked” in time, turned the boat pretty skillfully, and the
boom sweeping around before the wind hit me a deuce of a “belt” on the
head and knocked my hat off into the water. I then lowered the sail and
shipped the oars. Recovering my hat, I then unshipped the oars, and
hoisted my sail again.


  “The boom sweeping around before the wind, hit me a deuce of a ‘belt’
    on the head and knocked my hat off into the water.”—_Smith on the
    Genesee.   Page 120._

I had seen persons “tack” before, and make pretty good time against a
head-wind. It looked simple and easy; but with me it went rather
awkwardly. I couldn’t make any “time” up stream at all, but found after
each “tack” that I had drifted further and further down. I had better
have cast anchor and waited for a port or starboard wind, so far as
making “time” was concerned.

At last, much disgusted with a sail boat, I lowered my sail and took her
in with the oars, vowing never to try a sail boat again: another vow I
kept for nearly a year.

I then hired a light row boat and went up to the “Lower Falls”—that is,
a cataract of some seventy or eighty feet, about a mile and a half below
the principal Falls of Genesee. I had some stiff rowing to get up, too,
for the current was very swift near the Falls. But didn’t I come back,
though, when I started to return! I only used my oars to keep the boat
straight, and the current carried me down as the wind bears a feather
before it.

The next day was Sunday, and learning that a small steam pleasure boat
was to make a trip that afternoon from the landing, to a little harbor
on the lake shore, some eight or ten miles from the mouth of the river,
I went down and embarked for the voyage.

The boat started early in the afternoon, crowded with pleasure-seekers.
It was the slowest boat and about the lightest draft steamboat I ever
had the honor to travel on. We were three or four hours reaching our
destination: and on entering the harbor, she plowed through the
shallowest water I ever saw navigated. The water in the lake was low at
that time, and we passed over some places where the rushes grew up so
thick that at a little distance the water could not be seen at all. It
looked a little more like navigating a meadow than any thing I ever saw.
At intervals, when we could see the water ahead of us, it did not appear
to be a foot deep. And, O, the way our boat stirred the mud up! I pity
the fish that lost their way in our wake: they must have been a long
time finding it again.

The voyage was a little tedious, in consequence of the slow “time” we
made, but not unpleasant. It was nine o’clock that evening when we
returned to the landing in the Genesee river, and a two-horse spring
wagon waited there for all who preferred a ten-cent ride up the long
hill to a free walk. I preferred the ride and got in. But I wished
myself out again before we reached the upper end of the perilous road,
for I never enjoyed the luxury of a more dangerous ride. It was
extremely dark—so dark that you couldn’t have seen a candle, if it had
not been lighted—and the wagon was crowded. As we moved up the road
there was a high perpendicular bank on our right hand, and on our left
was the brink of a steep precipice, whose height became greater and
greater as we advanced; and I could not help contemplating the fearful
consequences of a possible accident, such as the balking of the horses,
the breaking of the traces, or the giving way of the earth at the brink
of the declivity beneath the weight of the wheels. It was, in truth, a
perilous ride, and before we reached the top of the tall shore half the
passengers had got scared and jumped off: but I had paid for my ride,
and was determined to have it at the risk of my neck. So I stayed in.

We reached the head of the narrow road without accident, and
half-an-hour later I was in my bed, reposing after the pleasures and
perils of the day.

                             CHAPTER XVII.

                             NIAGARA FALLS.

ON the following Wednesday morning I took the accommodation train for
Niagara Falls. When I say “accommodation train,” do not fancy that we
went jogging along at the rate of six or eight miles an hour. That is
not the style of the New York Central. The accommodation trains make
twenty miles an hour, including numerous stoppages, which is better time
than is made by the express trains of some roads I have traveled on.

So, I arrived at Niagara, eighty miles from Rochester, by nine o’clock;
where I left my trunk at an hotel and walked out to see the sights.

It would be presumptuous in any man to attempt a regular description of
Niagara Falls, with the expectation of doing the subject justice—much
more so in the unpretending John Smith. No one can form a fair idea of
the mighty cataract without having seen it. Nor will one mere glance be
sufficient. You may spend whole days there before you arrive at a just
appreciation of it. The mind cannot grasp it at once.

A friend had told me that I should, on first visiting Niagara,
experience a sense of disappointment—that the Falls would not appear
quite equal to their reputation and my consequent anticipations; but
that, by and by, as I should come to contemplate them more maturely, I
should be led to regard them as infinitely grander and more majestic,
than my loftiest anticipations had painted them. I found it true. As the
train approached, I heard the roar of the cataract, and saw the green
waters tumbling down with their white robes of spray; but I somehow
thought they did not come up to my expectations, or rather experienced a
vague, indescribable impression that I had seen the like before. But
when I walked down to the bank, stood in the midst of the mighty
thunder, felt the earth tremble beneath the giant leap of the great
river, saw the dashing spray, arising like clouds of smoke and dust from
the sudden ruin of some great city; when I remembered that for ages and
ages, from time lost in dim obscurity, day and night, winter and summer,
never ceasing, never tiring, the mighty waters had been tumbling and
plunging down from the dizzy height, as now; and when I thought of the
future, when I mused of the unknown ages to come, fancied generation
after generation to have passed away; when I imagined this great round
sphere to have made thousands of annual revolutions around the sun, and
pictured the grand old cataract, with none of its vigor lost in the maze
of centuries, still thundering away, with the same old strength, young,
mighty, glorious, majestic as ever: then did I begin to realize the
magnitude of the lofty cataract, the work of the Almighty Maker of
heaven and earth, and feel the littleness, the nothingness, of man!

The following lines written in the immediate presence of the great
cataract, by David Paul Brown, Jr., Esquire, of the Philadelphia Bar,
are highly worthy of perusal:

   “Niagara! O Niagara! long thy memory will remain
   A source of mingled wonder, of happiness and pain.
   When burst thine awful grandeur on my raptured, ravished sight,
   My senses broke from Reason’s chain, in frenzied, wild delight;
   But as the God-like attribute resumed its sovereign sway,
   A calmer feeling soothed my breast—its tumult passed away,
   The spirit bowed, and then a tear—my Nature was subdued,
   A thrill of awe swept through my frame, I worshiped as I viewed;
   A moment more I silent gazed, then humbly bent the knee,
   As, in Niagara’s mightiness, I felt God’s majesty!
   I saw His glory shining round where tremblingly I stood,
   I cast a glance to His bright realm then on the foaming flood:
   And is there strength, I humbly asked, in the Almighty will
   To calm this boisterous element, and bid its rage be still?—
   To sweep it e’en from Nature’s face, with but a single breath,
   Resistlessly as human life is swept away by death?
   And can Niagara not rebel, with all its force and power,
   When crumbling Nature shall give way at the appointed hour?
   Must its fierce torrent tamely hush—its giant rocks then fall?
   The still voice of my soul replied, ‘Yes, yes, frail mortal, all!’
   Then let me meekly bow the head before such Power Divine—
   The only Power that never ends—NIAGARA’S GOD AND MINE!”

I am sure you will not quarrel with me, reader, for introducing these
graphic and eloquent lines, and for growing sentimental over my
remembrance of Niagara Falls. They are too grand to be passed over
lightly. Thus far, since my arrival at Niagara, you have not found much
of the John Smithian tone in my narrative.

I had heard a good deal about the “Cave of the Winds,” and thought I
would like to visit it. So, after standing for a full hour, wrapped up
in the glories of the thundering cataract, I inquired of a
respectable-looking gentleman where the “Cave of the Winds” was?

“You must go over on Goat Island to see that,” he said; “but I hope you
don’t think of going down?”

“O, yes,” I replied.

“What——on one leg?”

“Yes, I shall certainly take it with me.”

“But it is dangerous. You will have to go down a steep flight of wooden
steps, and pass behind the sheet of water where you cannot stand up. The
spray will blind you, and the wind will take your breath and lift you
off your feet——”

“_Foot_,” I interrupted.

“Yes, will lift you off your _foot_; and one mis-step is certain death.
Many strong men with two legs are afraid to try it.”

“They have two feet, and are therefore just twice as apt to slip or make
a mis-step.”

“Well,” said he, “go and see it, and I don’t believe you will venture
down. A look down into it will satisfy you. It will remind you of all
the accounts you have heard of Hades——”

“Where I thought _water_ was not so plenty,” I interrupted.

“You are ahead of me again,” said he, laughing. “Well, follow the bank
of the river till you reach a bridge: that will take you over to Goat

“Thank you.”

I walked up the shore of the river a little way and came to the bridge—a
suspension bridge of four or five spans—and went over to Goat Island.
This island divides the turbulent river, just before it takes its
fearful plunge, into two cataracts. That on this side is termed the
“American Fall;” that between Goat Island and Canada being termed the
“Horse-shoe Fall,” because of its shape. The American Fall is nine
hundred feet wide and one hundred and sixty-four feet high; while the
Horse-shoe Fall is two thousand feet wide and one hundred and
fifty-eight feet high. By far the larger portion of the water tumbles
over on the Canada side of the island, no doubt because the rocky bed of
the river is six feet lower on that side; the cataract on either side,
however, is stupendous enough for all practical purposes.

In this connection I am reminded of an anecdote, with which I will
conclude this chapter. Two Yankees, one of a sentimental and the other
of a practical turn of mind, were standing side by side, gazing on this
prodigy of Nature.

“How sublime!” exclaimed the former. “To think that it falls one hundred
and sixty-four feet at a single leap!”

“What’s to hinder it?” responded the other.

                             CHAPTER XVIII.

                           CAVE OF THE WINDS.

IN order to reach the “Cave of the Winds”—I don’t see why it should be
so styled, for the winds never _caved_ there yet—I had to descend a
winding stairway within a wooden tower at the north western margin of
the island. On arriving at the base of the tower, I found myself on a
shelf about forty feet above the water-line below the Falls, with the
American Fall on my right hand and the Horse-shoe Fall on my left. The
“Cave of the Winds” is simply a vacant space between the great
perpendicular wall of rock over which the torrent leaps, on the American
side, and the broad sheet of descending water itself. A flight of wooden
steps takes the visitor down nearly to the water level, behind the
foaming, dashing folds of this fearful curtain; and from the foot of the
stairs a narrow plank walk extends some distance, to a point where the
sheet of water is again parted by a projecting rock at the brink far
above. The visitor, after reaching this welcome recess in the furious
torrent, can pass out and take a seat on a great heap of rocks at the
foot of the mighty cataract, where he hears nothing but the eternal
thunder of waters and a cloud of mist hides the whole world from his

Pardon me for coming down from the sublime to the common-place, and for
stating that a suit of water-proof clothes is provided for the visitor.

At a little house near the entrance to the “Cave of the Winds” I met a
man whom I asked where the guide was.

“I am one of the guides,” said he: “but _you_ don’t want to go down into
the Cave of the Winds?”

“Yes, I had rather thought of going down,” I replied.

“O, dear me!” he said, decidedly. “You can’t go down!”

“Why?” I asked.

“I wouldn’t let you go down for a thousand dollars! you would be
drowned, certain. Just step this way and take a look down.—Did you lose
your leg in the army?”

“Yes,” I replied, as we walked to the head of the wooden stairway, “at
the battle of Antietam, in Meade’s Division, Hooker’s Corps—got struck
with a rifle ball, and the leg was amputated the same day about six
hours after; I draw a pension of eight dollars a month, but can’t wear
an artificial leg on account of the shortness of the stump; I am never
troubled by change of weather—am twenty-two years old and my name is
John Smith.—That place down there is the Cave of the Winds, is it?—Well,
it’s a much milder looking place than I had expected to find it.”

It will be perceived that I gave all this voluntary information to save
time, by sparing the guide the trouble of asking the usual questions;
for every hour a man stays at Niagara costs him from two to five
dollars, if he is economical.

“What do you think of it?” he asked, in a loud voice, so as to be heard
above the roar of the cataract.

“A fine place,” I coolly shouted.

“Wouldn’t think of going down, now, I hope?”

“I’ll go down now, by all means,” I calmly yelled.

“O, no; it would be recklessness,” he shouted. “We’ve never lost any one
here yet, and we don’t want to.”

He didn’t want me “lost.”

“No danger,” I shrieked.

“I can’t give my consent,” he yelled, decidedly.

“If you don’t,” I screamed, “I’ll jump down without it. I’ve traveled
eighteen hundred miles for the sole purpose of going down in the Cave of
the Winds, and I’ll not return to my free home in the Rocky Mountains
without it! Give me a water-proof suit!”

That began to tell on him. A man who lived in a free home among the
Rocky Mountains might be dangerous. So he yelled, in a softer tone:

“Well, if you will only go to the foot of the stairs, and will not try
to follow the walk to that heap of stones out there, I’ll give you the
water-proof clothes, and you may go down.”

“John Smith never rejected any thing like a reasonable compromise,” I
replied; “so I will promise to go no further than the foot of the steps.
Get me the water-proofs.”

He gave me the oil-cloths, and I donned them and carefully descended
into the famous Cave of the Winds, and stood on the frail plank walk,
between the thundering torrent and the black, rocky wall over which it
tumbled. As I began to descend, I felt as though I was leaving the face
of the earth for ever; but who can describe my emotions as I stood at
the very heels of the raving and raging cataract? Who shall describe
that awful place? It exceeded all the wild storms I had ever dreamed of.
The spray dashed into my face, and fairly blinded me; while the fierce,
unceasing wind rushed violently upon me from all sides, took the very
breath from me, and seemed about to snatch me up from the frail plank on
which I stood, and hurl me under the mighty torrent! It was wildly,
fearfully bewildering. The wind and spray and the roar of the cataract
fairly took away from me the senses of sight and hearing; I was
conscious that the water had thrust its way beneath my water-proof
clothes, and that I was wet all over, but could not feel the dampness; I
could scarcely command my mind so as to think or reason. I scarcely knew
whether I felt, thought, or was conscious at all, so absorbed were all
my faculties in that eternal storm. I fancy that, if one were to remain
there long, he would lose all consciousness, sink prostrate, tumble from
the walk, plunge under the wild torrent, and be no more.

On returning to the face of the earth again, and removing my water-proof
clothes, I realized how wet I was. I fancied it would not help my cough
very much, but although I got wringing wet four different times during
the few days of my sojourn at Niagara, it never injured me: which is a
strong point in favor of the water-cure system; _i. e._, if it don’t
cure, it, at least, is not quite certain to kill.

“What is your charge?” I asked of the proprietor.

“Nothing at all,” was the reply. “We charge visitors two dollars each
when we attend them through the whole walk; but, under the
circumstances, we won’t charge you any thing.”

“I am willing to pay, if——”

“No, no; not a cent. If any one ought to pay, I ought to pay you ten
dollars for the privilege of seeing you go down there. You are the first
and only one-legged man that ever ventured into the Cave of the Winds.”

I returned to my hotel, took a lemonade, changed my clothes, imbibed
another lemonade, took dinner, then another lemonade, and was about to
start for the river again, when the host said:

“Are you going to see Leslie walk the rope?”

“Walk the rope? Where?” I queried.

“Just below the railroad bridge—the large suspension bridge, two miles

“At what time?”

“Four o’clock. You will have an hour or two yet to get there.”

“I will go, by all means,” I said, much delighted at this opportunity.
“I thank you for mentioning it.”

I went out, and walked leisurely down to the Suspension Bridge. I found
a great many people collected on the bridge, and on either shore, and
observed that there was a rope stretched across from bank to bank, not
far from the bridge.

This bridge is one of the grandest of structures. It is an iron bridge
with a single span of eight hundred feet, and is suspended two hundred
and fifty feet above the water. The trains run over on top of it, while
on a level with the bank are a carriage-way and a walk for pedestrians.

I paid twenty-five cents to be admitted upon the bridge, in order to
view the feats of Mr. Leslie. It was crowded with spectators, but I
succeeded in getting a good position, from which I could see the rope.

Not long after, Mr. Leslie, arrayed in the garb of a circus actor, and
carrying a long pole in his hands, as a man is apt to carry a fence-rail
when constructing a worm fence, made his appearance on the American
shore, stepped boldly out upon the rope, over the fearful abyss, and
walked leisurely toward Canada. He moved nimbly till he had traveled
more than half the length of the rope, when he seemed to lose his
confidence for awhile, stopped, and tottered from side to side. At this
point, the ladies all became pale, a great many of them said, “O, Lord!”
fervently, and turned away; while we stronger-hearted men gazed on with
the most absorbing interest and anxiety. Leslie soon regained his
composure and equilibrium, and resumed his perilous walk.

On reaching the Canada side, he was saluted with thunders of applause
from both shores and the bridge; and, after resting awhile, and taking a
glass of lemonade (probably), he again stepped upon the rope,
balancing-pole in hand, and a coffee-sack over his head. He thus again
accomplished the fearful walk, and was again greeted with cheers. Then
he went out upon the rope, with only the balancing-pole, stopped about
the middle, and performed some gymnastic feats. He laid his pole
carefully down—one end resting on the main rope, and the other on one of
the guys—hung there by his hands a moment, two hundred and fifty feet
above the foaming waters, that were still angry from their recent leap,
then hung suspended by one hand, then by his chin, then by his feet, and
finally by one foot. To use the very mildest expression, it looked

His hanging suspended by one foot was his last _feat_ for that day; the
crowd soon after dispersed, and I got into an omnibus and returned to

                              CHAPTER XIX.


EARLY next morning I started for Canada. Just below the Falls a flight
of three hundred steps, protected by a weather-boarded frame-work and
roof, descends the steep bank to the water’s edge, and beside the flight
of steps is a track for small cars, that are drawn up and let down by
means of a windlass run by water-power. I got on one of the cars and
rode down to the water; but before taking the boat for Canada, visited
the foot of the Falls near by, and got completely wet with spray again.
Here the wind created by the vast masses of water continually tumbling
down is very strong, and the flying spray is equal to a violent rain; so
that this place reminded me of the “Cave of the Winds.” I had to climb
over a huge heap of slippery rocks that had at one time fallen from
above, and I got my shin scraped and bruised, and my knee cut in the
operation. O, what difficulties a mortal will overcome for the sake of
novelty. Charles Dickens thus speaks of this place in his “American

“Climbing over some broken rocks, deafened by the noise, half-blinded by
the spray, and wet to the skin, we were at the foot of the American
Fall. I could see an immense torrent of water tearing headlong down from
some great height, but had no idea of shape or situation, or any thing
but vague immensity.”

After getting as wet as I wanted, I (John Smith,) returned to the foot
of the stairway and got aboard the ferry-boat. This is only a kind of
yawl that will accommodate twenty or twenty-five passengers, and is
rowed across the turbulent stream by _one_ strong man. It was crowded
with visitors, of both sexes and all ages; and when we reached the
middle of the stream, where the waves were rolling, and the boat rocked
handsomely, a lady grew dizzy and pale, dropped her parasol in the
water, fainted, and fell back in the boat, into the arms of a friend. I
seized the parasol before it could float away, sprinkled a little of the
sparkling water upon her face, and she revived. We soon after reached
the Canada shore and she was all right again.

When we landed, the passengers all arose from their seats in the crowded
boat, and made a rush to see who should be first ashore, just as though
the first would see the most. The result was that one fell overboard,
and another, in making a leap from the gunwale of the boat,
miscalculated the distance, and alighted in water of such a depth that
it just ran into his watch-pocket to see what time it was. Both were
rescued, completely saturated, and terribly scared. I quietly retained
my seat in the boat till the rush was over. As I stepped ashore, last of
all, the boatman, whom I shall always remember gratefully for his
kindness, slyly said to me:

“You are going over here for the first time, I suppose, be careful that
you don’t get beat. Do not buy any thing or hire a carriage without
first making your bargain, or you will be charged six prices.”

I thanked him, and treasured up his advice.

On the Canada side, a carriage-road winds its way in a serpentine course
up the steep, high shore; and, on stepping from the boat I was
immediately assailed by half-a-dozen drivers of carriages, who expressed
a curiosity to know whether I desired to ride up or not. But I replied
that I lived “just over the hill,” and would walk up. One of them winked
at the other, and I passed on.

On gaining the top of the high shore, I visited Table Rock, from which
prominent point I had an excellent view of the whole cataract. I was
again assailed by cabmen.

“Do you want to go to Lundy’s Lane?” “Do you want to go to the Burning
Springs?” “Do you want to go to the Suspension Bridge?” “Do you want to
go to Brock’s Monument?” I was asked in a second.

“Yes, but I’m going to walk,” I replied.

“Walk! You can’t! It’s four miles to Lundy’s Lane.” [It’s only a little
over a mile, reader. J. Smith.] “It’s five miles to the Burning
Springs.” [It’s only one and a half. J. Smith.] “It’s ten miles to
Brock’s Monument.” [It’s only five or six. J. Smith.] “It’s three and a
half to the Bridge.” [It’s only two. J. Smith.]

“Is that all? Then I’ll walk, certainly.”

They left me—having probably come to the conclusion that I was a

I was told that there was a place on the Canada side similar to the
“Cave of the Winds,” where one could go behind the sheet of water.
Desiring to see all that was to be seen, I went into an adjacent
building, in which was a museum, got a water-proof suit, and, with
others, explored this dangerous place.

It is a fact worthy of remark, that the Canadian in charge of the place,
did not offer a single objection to my venturing upon the perilous walk;
nor did he offer a single objection to accepting the fee of two dollars.
Why? ’Cause I was a “Yankee.”

We walked fifty feet behind the sheet of water, on a narrow and slippery
path. The wind and spray here, as in the “Cave of the Winds,” formed a
perfect tempest. It is really surprising that so few accidents happen at
this place. Many ladies visit it. I believe only one person ever fell
from the path, and that was a gentleman. He lost his footing, rolled
down a steep and slippery declivity, fell under the resistless torrent,
and, of course, never breathed again.

Having returned to the building and removed my water-proof clothes, I
went into the museum awhile, where I saw a mummy, a native of Egypt,
that had reached the remarkable age of three thousand years, and there
wasn’t a gray hair in his head. He had a healthy and vigorous
appearance, and looked as though by being careful about his diet, and
avoiding damp weather, he might live a thousand years yet. I also saw
the skeleton of a mammoth that had been discovered at the bottom of an
oil-well. It was chiefly made of the best seasoned oak timber, and
constructed with an eye to strength and beauty combined.

On leaving the building, I saw a very black seventeen-year old negro
sitting lazily in a buggy, and I approached him and asked:

“What will you charge to drive to Lundy’s Lane?”

“Why,” he replied after regarding me attentively for a moment, “dey
charges six dol——”

“O, never mind,” I interrupted. “I’ll walk it!” And I turned away.

“No, no; wait a minute,” he said, quickly; and I stopped to learn what
he might have the honor to represent.

“Dey charges six dollahs,” said he, “but you git in an’ I’ll take you
dar an’ to de Burnin’ Springs bofe, fur dat. Did you want to go any oder

“Don’t know,” said I. “But come, I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I may want
to visit several places, or may only go to Lundy’s Lane. Now, I’ll give
you a dollar an hour for the time we’re gone.”

“O, dat’s too——”

“Very well,” I interrupted, walking away.

“Hold on! Wait!” he called, excitedly. “Let’s see. Well, don’ car. May
be I kin afford it. Git in.—Or, I’ll help you.”

He was going to get out to help me in, but I placed one hand on the
buggy and the other on the top of my crutch, and sprung up upon the seat
with ease.

“Golly!” he exclaimed. “You kin git up better’n anoder man!”

“Certainly, old coon,” I replied. “You awkward two-legged fellows can’t
get about in the world.—Drive on: don’t waste my time. Let me see——” I
looked at my watch—“it is just ten o’clock.”

“Whar’ll I go de fustest?”

“To Lundy’s Lane. Move it, now.”

My ebony companion touched up his horse, and we got over the ground
pretty fast. He might have jogged along slowly, to extend the time, as
he was paid by the hour; but he saw I was up to all that, and it
wouldn’t do.

On the old battle ground of Lundy’s Lane, there is a wooden tower fifty
or sixty feet high, from the top of which one can see not only all the
ground on which the battle was fought, but also a vast expanse of
country on both sides of the river, including the vicinity of the Falls,
and also many miles of the river, its mouth and a portion of Lake

The tower is ascended by means of a winding stairway; and a surly old
cove, who pretends that he was in the battle of Lundy’s Lane—but I’ll
bet my hat he wasn’t—stays there and acts as guide. He accompanied me to
the top of the tower, and showed me a telescope supported on a pivot.
With this I proceeded to sweep the wide, wide landscape before me, and I
began to ask the old “soldier” a few questions. He was very reticent,
and his answers were not only very brief, but also very vague,
ambiguous, and unsatisfactory. I soon discovered why. His tongue had to
be greased with a trifle of change—for he was only employed by the owner
of the tower, who kept a drinking-saloon at the bottom—that is, the

“Is that Brock’s Monument?” I queried, perceiving a tall column of
masonry in the direction of Lake Ontario.

“A-hem,” he replied, reluctantly, and with an apparent difficulty of
articulation—“I—I—it bothers my head to talk much, ever since I got my
wound in this battle. That is Brock’s—A-hem—I—Visitors usually gives
me—a—a—they generally—a little—a—a—ahem——”

“O, to be sure,” said I. “It’s perfectly right they should not forget
your services.”

I gave him a quarter, and found his speech much improved. Still, it was
not so fluent as I could have desired, and I further touched it up in
this way:

“Do you ever drink any thing?”

“Yes, sometimes,” he replied, distinctly, brightening up.

“The gentleman below keeps something, does he not?”

“Yes, I believe he—Yes, he keeps a little on hand.”

“Then,” said I, “we will take a little of a good article when we go
down. It always does me good to take a little something strengthening
that way with an old soldier—especially one who, like yourself, has that
graceful military air that can leave no doubt of his having served his
country with distinction.”

This was certainly piling it on pretty strong, but not too much so, it
seemed, for he took it all with as good a grace as a toper would take
his “bitters” in the morning. He grew extremely affable, and gave me all
the information I wanted; and more, too, for I am satisfied he made up
about thirty-nine or forty lies and told me—among which was this one:
That he was captured at Lundy’s Lane and taken before General (then
Colonel) Winfield Scott—whom he pronounced the noblest soldier that ever
lived—and that the latter gave him a drink of most excellent rum, and
said to him: “You have an air of greatness about you—you have. Are you
not a British general in disguise?”

The veteran guide also told me that Buffalo was clearly visible through
the telescope, and tried to point it out to me. I will not deny the fact
that it was visible from the tower, but I couldn’t “see it.”

When we went below, I treated him, as I had promised, tasting something
myself; then I asked the proprietor what was to pay for drinks and
visiting the tower?

He let me off for a dollar.

Returning to my sable friend in the buggy, I got in again and told him
to drive to the Burning Springs, “as fast as the law would allow him;”
and in less than half-an-hour we were there.

The water of these springs is characterized by an accompaniment of
inflammable gas—sulphuretted hydrogen, I think—and when a lighted match
is applied to it a blue flame springs up over the surface, like the
flames of burning spirits.

I returned to the Falls and found that we had been gone a little over
two hours and a half. I then gave the darkey three dollars, and told him
to drive me down to the river; which he cheerfully did.

The ferry-boat was just leaving, as I jumped from the vehicle, but the
boatman saw me, and began to push back. To reach the boat, I had to step
over some stationary rocks that protruded from the water, and in
attempting to step from one of them to the boat, I slipped, lost my
footing, and down I went into the river, striking my chin on the sharp
edge of the rock, as I descended, and cutting it to the bone. I went in
up to my neck, and would have gone lower still had I not clung to the
rock. I scrambled up into the boat, with some assistance, and the
boatman recovered my crutch and cane that were floating on the water.

The gash on my chin healed up in a few weeks, but it left a scar that
will be unpleasant ground for my barber to get over as long as I live.

A couple of days later, having visited all the points of interest in the
vicinity of Niagara, I departed for Buffalo, a city at the head of the
Niagara river, twenty-two miles from the Falls. I did not leave however,
without regret: I fancied I could never grow tired of Niagara Falls. The
great cataract, whose youth, and vigor, and might are the same they were
a thousand years ago, could never grow old to me!

                              CHAPTER XX.

                    COLONEL JOHN SMITH AT AN HOTEL.

I LOCATED in a delightful place called “Cold Spring,” in the suburbs of
Buffalo, and there remained two weeks; during which time I recovered
from my cough, and the gash on my chin healed up. I made some pleasing
acquaintances at Cold Spring, and became as much attached to the
beautiful locality as though I had lived there for years.

From Buffalo I went to Erie, Pennsylvania; thence, to Cleveland, Ohio, a
beautiful city of about forty-five thousand inhabitants, situated on the
shore of Lake Erie.

As I desired to remain at Cleveland a week or so, I took lodgings at an
hotel about two or three miles from the city, near the terminus of the
City Railway, where the air was clear and pure and the green fields lay
spread out around me; and yet where I could jump on a street-car and
ride into the heart of the city in twenty-five or thirty minutes.

While at this hotel, a little incident happened to me, which some might
term “funny”—but I did not think it so at the time, because it was
rather calculated to wound my pride and dignity—and which further
illustrates the mortification to which an unhappy one-legged fellow is
sometimes subjected, through the pardonable ignorance or want of
judgment of others. I was sitting on the piazza of the hotel one
delightful evening in September enjoying the mild balmy air and admiring
the glowing sunset, when two charming young ladies, in a buggy, drove up
to the pump in front of the hotel obviously with the intention of
quenching their delicate thirst by quaffing the pure, sparkling water.
One was about to jump out for the purpose of getting the water for
herself and her companion. No one else was near. Could I sit there and
see the beautiful creature climb out for a draught of the water, when it
was in my power to help them both to it where they sat, and thus save
them the trouble? Not while my name was John Smith—and thus far the
Legislature of my State had not been petitioned to change it.

“Do not get out, miss,” I said, rising, taking up my crutch, and walking
to the pump. “Do not get out: I will hand you a drink.—Fine evening.”

“Yes, very.—But, I am afraid it’s too much tr—”

“O, not at all,” said I, taking the pump-handle in one hand, and with
the other holding the tin cup that was at the pump under the spout.
“Pray remain where you are.”

“You are so kind——”

“O, not at all,” I interrupted, as the sparkling water gushed from the
spout and overflowed the cup.

I handed the cup to the nearest fair one, and she handed it to her

“_You_ drink,” said her companion.

“O, no; _you_,” said the fair one nearest me.

“No _you_ drink first,” said the other.

“I won’t: you _must_ drink first.” So, the one farthest from me took the
cup and drank.

I describe this little episode in the incident, because I suppose it to
be a scene entirely new, and one that no person ever saw any thing like
before (?).

When the lovely one on the other side had drank, the lovely one on my
side took the cup, which was yet half full, drank it off and handed me
the vessel, with a sweet,

“Thank you.”

“Will you have some more?”

“No, thank you.”

“Perhaps, the other lady——” It will be seen that I was getting extremely

“No, thank you; no more,” interrupted the other lady.

They had been driving in the country—driving at a lively pace,
probably—and I noticed that the horse was perspiring and looked tired
and thirsty; so, my humanity being fully equal to my gallantry, I said:

“Here is a bucket at the pump—perhaps your horse would—”

“O, _you_ couldn’t——”

“Yes, I can easily give the animal a bucket of water.” And I set the
bucket under the spout.

“If I thought you could, easily——”

“I can, I assure you.”

I pumped the bucket full in three seconds and a fraction, picked it up
and held it to the mouth of the “noble steed.” He drank it, seemed
satisfied, and looked volumes of thanks at me with his big eyes.
Considering my mission at an end, I set the bucket down, and stood by
the pump in a position favorable to touching my cap gracefully to the
ladies as they should thank me and drive off, which I supposed they
would now do. But here comes the mortifying part. One of the ladies held
out her hand. Was she going to shake hands with me and bid me an
affectionate farewell? No. My brain reeled, as I looked closer at the

“Here, please take it,” said she.

Take——not the hand, but a ten-cent note which she held out and desired
me to “take” in return for my distinguished services. I felt the hot
blood rush to my cheeks, but mastering my emotion, I said:

“O, no, miss, I thank you, indeed. I am not the porter here now. I used
to be, but my Uncle Charles Exeter Johnson Smith died two days before
last Christmas a year ago, and left me a large fortune; since which
time, I have only been a boarder here. I thank you. Good evening.” And I
turned and walked away, while they drove slowly toward the city.

I can only impute the young lady’s conduct to the grossest ignorance. I
was not miserably clad, or any thing of that sort, and her reason for
offering me the little contribution could only have been that I had lost
a leg, and she no doubt thought it naturally followed that I was
“needy.” A great mistake. The wealthiest man in the world would have
lost his leg had he been standing where I was when I was shot.

Having spent a week at Cleveland, I departed for the smoky city of
Pittsburg; where I arrived one evening at five o’clock. Before returning
to Philadelphia, I desired to visit the celebrated “White Rocks,” near
Uniontown, about seventy miles south of Pittsburg; and as no train was
to leave for Uniontown till next morning, I was obliged to remain in
Pittsburg all night—a thing I never do if I can help it, because I never
spent a comfortable night in the smoky old place: nor do I believe any
other civilized person ever did.

Before the train reached Pittsburg, I had given orders to a
baggage-expressman to send my trunk to the St. Charles hotel, which had
once been a first-class house, but which, without my knowledge, had of
late degenerated to some extent. At the depot I got into a “bus” and
rode to the St. Charles; when I saw at a glance that it had changed
proprietors and was not conducted as of yore. It was in the hands of two
or three brothers who were lineal descendants of the patriarch Abraham.
One of them was acting as clerk. He was blustering about the office,
like a rat that had got into a hot brick-kiln and couldn’t find its way
out, giving orders to the porter, talking to several guests at once, and
getting very little accomplished.

“Can I get a single room, to-night?” I asked.

“I ton’t knows,” he said, in the odious dialect of a Teutonic Jacobite,
“I sees apout it pretty soons direcklies leetle whiles;” and he kept on
talking with some body about nothing.

I stood by the counter for some minutes, entirely unnoticed by the
contemptible fellow; and beginning to think that “pretty soons
direcklies leetle whiles” had about expired, I said:

“My friend, my trunk will be here presently, and I would like to know if
you can accommodate me with a room.”

“In vun meenutes,” he said. “We’s some fulls now, don’t knows.”

Had I not already ordered my trunk to this hotel, I would not have
trifled there many seconds, but would have gone at once to another
house. Wondering why he seemed so inattentive to me, I glanced at my
apparel and was thereby reminded that I was not well dressed. I seldom
wear good clothes during a journey of several hundred miles in a
railroad car, for the smoke and dust will ruin a good suit of clothes in
half that distance. I had on, for one thing, a military coat which I had
worn considerably, and it immediately suggested an idea to me. I opened
the register, with a commanding and dignified air, put on expressly for
the occasion, took up a pen, examined it, found it very good, but dashed
it impatiently down, as though not quite good enough for me, then took
up another, found it good enough, dipped it savagely into the ink, and


“There is my name,” said I, turning the book around, and pointing to
what I had written. “Try to hunt up a single room for me, and put my
trunk in it when it comes. My name is on it. There is my check for it. I
am going out awhile.” And I gave him the check of the baggage-express

The disgusting groveler glanced at my name, and fairly jumped from the
floor: he was all obsequiousness in a moment.

“Certainly, Colonels,” he exclaimed, and I fancied he would have
embraced me if the counter had not been between us, “I tends to it right
aways.” And he immediately wrote the number of a room opposite my name.
“Porters, see eef Colonels Schmidt’s drunks comes yet aready now. Ven it
ish comes put it in Numbers Finf. We sees to it, Colonels. You says you
goes out? Vell, you have suppers any times vat you vants it.”

All eyes were turned on me. Those present must have thought me a rather
young-looking colonel. I have no doubt that a great many went to the
register and examined my signature, after my back was turned. They were
no doubt proud of the honor, too.

I walked out, and had just descended the steps of the hotel, when I ran
against a young man who had a cane in his hand and walked a little lame.

“Excuse me,” I said.

“No harm done—” he began, then opened his eyes wide with surprise and
interrupted himself with, “Why, John Smith! this you?”

It was “Chris.” Miller, whom I had known at Haddington Hospital, and he
was walking on his artificial leg.

“Hollo! Miller, my boy! How do you do?” I exclaimed, as we shook hands.

“Fine,” he said.

“Do you live here?”

“Yes—or rather, in Alleghany City.”

“I am glad we have met. I stay at the St. Charles to-night. I hope you
are not engaged.”


“Then you must take supper with me. Come up a moment; then we will take
a walk.”

I re-entered the hotel, accompanied by Miller, and opening the register
again with the air of the owner, I wrote immediately under my name:


“Major Miller,” said I, addressing the clerk, “will take supper with

“All right, Colonels,” was the obsequious reply; “any times you blease.”

Miller and I walked out for a stroll, and I explained to him, somewhat
to his amusement, my reason for adopting those high-sounding military
titles. We then stopped at the first respectable saloon, and took a
hearty lemonade, with a powerful “stick” in it—dispensing with the
lemons, water and sugar.

We soon returned, and, after supper at the hotel, walked out for another
stroll about the city. At ten o’clock we parted, and I returned to the
hotel, ready to retire.

“Colonels,” said the clerk, “you drunks comes. We puts him in ze rooms
for you.”

“Very well; I will retire,” I said. “See that I am awakened in time for
the seven-o’clock train for Uniontown.”

“Certainly, Colonels; we tends to dat. You vants to go to pet? I shows
you de rooms.”

He went with me to a double-bedded room on the first floor, where I
found my trunk, (with a fresh dent in it,) and lighting the gas for me,
and leaving the key in the door, he bade me a humble good night, as,
with a cringing bow, he retired from my military presence.

It was after one o’clock before the mosquitoes consented to my going
asleep, and I had not been asleep long, when thump, thump, knock, knock,
knock, went some one at my door, breaking upon my slumbers most
unpleasantly. They wanted to put another man in my room, and, as I did
not concur in the arrangement, I lay still and let them pound at the
door till their knuckles were sore. At last I heard some one say:

“There’s no waking that fellow.”

Presently a hurried footstep approached, and the well-known voice of the
clerk who had assigned me my room, exclaimed excitedly:

“Vat you does dere? Dat’s de Colonels! Mein Gott!”

And I was left in peaceable and untrammeled possession of the room.

I was awakened in due time in the morning; and, putting my rusty-looking
clothes into my trunk and donning a more respectable suit, I came down
to breakfast, and received such marked attention that I began to fancy
myself a major-general, instead of a mere colonel. Immediately after
breakfast, I paid my bill—($5.25)—found a carriage awaiting me at the
door; and, having been bidden an affectionate adieu by the proprietors,
three or four times, I rode to the depot.

I have not recorded this incident for the purpose of injuring the St.
Charles Hotel; as it has since changed proprietors, and is now conducted
in a creditable manner.

If you want to get along smoothly and comfortably while traveling, do
not fail to make the clerks and proprietors of hotels believe you are
something more than mortal: if you don’t, you will find rough sailing. A
very good plan is to knock down a porter or waiter now and then, by way
of preserving your dignity. You will find it profitable. Also, threaten
to shoot the proprietor, occasionally, when you have a shadow of a
pretext: that will never fail to establish your importance. Above all, I
enjoin you to register yourself as a senator, governor or military

                              CHAPTER XXI.

                        COURTESIES OF TRAVELERS.

AFTER a ramble through the wild mountainous region of southwestern
Pennsylvania, I returned to Philadelphia; and soon afterward started for
Washington, to remain there a few weeks in the capacity of

When I travel in a railroad car, I always prefer that end of the seat
next to the window. My reasons for this are various. For one thing a
person can get a little fresh air, when he wants it—and too much when he
don’t want it—he can get a far better view of the scenery without; and,
besides, he can keep a look-out ahead for collisions, and jump out head
foremost, if he sees another train coming from the opposite direction on
the same track. Influenced by these considerations, I always manage to
get to the depot a full half-hour before the starting-time of the train,
and this course never fails to secure me my favorite end of the seat.

On this occasion, I was at the depot at Broad and Prime streets, in good
time, and had no difficulty in locating myself on the train to my
perfect satisfaction. When the car was nearly full of passengers, and it
was within two minutes of the time for starting, a lady and gentleman
came in, and began to canvass the interior in search of a wholly vacant
seat that they might both occupy; but their search proved futile. Quite
a number of the seats were occupied by but one passenger, each, but
there was not one entirely vacant. Failing to find an empty seat, the
gentleman concluded he would make one empty, and he therefore came to
me, and said:

“Young man, won’t you take a seat with another gentleman and give us
this seat?”

“Very cheerfully,” I replied, “if the other gentleman will allow me to
sit by the window.”

He regarded this as equivalent to a refusal, and became vexed.

“But,” he said, rather petulantly, “don’t you see I have my _lady_ with

Until he said this, I had supposed her to be his _wife_.

“My friend,” I returned, “I came to the station early for the express
purpose of obtaining a comfortable seat, and I do not think it right
that I should keep it this long, and then give it up to another. I
therefore respectfully decline to relinquish my seat.”

“I hope,” said he, fairly grinding his teeth with anger and vexation,
“that _you_ will some day be traveling with a lady, and——”

“I hope so,” I interrupted; “but I fear I will never be so fortunate.”

“Well,” he rejoined, changing his tactics, “I will see the conductor,
and see if _he_ don’t make the arrangement for me.”

“Very well,” I retorted; “see the conductor. I myself would like to see
a conductor with the power and authority to take this seat from me. That
conductor would be a living wonder. Barnum would pay handsomely for

“Young man,” put in a gentleman behind me, who was also occupying a seat
alone, “why don’t you give them the seat? You can sit by me.”

“Why don’t _you_?” I retorted. “_You_ can sit by _me_.”

“I like to sit by the window,” he responded; “and am not well.”

“I, too, am partial to the window,” said I, “and have been at the point
of death for a long time, with the toothache and a bad cold. I am quite
an invalid.—Now, my friend,” I went on, addressing the gentleman with
his _lady_, “why did you come to me, the first one, and ask me to move,
when you see that I am a cripple? There are others in the car who occupy
whole seats, and who could certainly move more easily than I. Were I the
only one, I would willingly resign my seat, for the accommodation of the

“I think you shouldn’t ask _him_ to move,” said a gentleman who sat with
another on an opposite seat. “A man with but one leg ought to have some
show in the world.”

This remark made the first gentleman a little ashamed of himself, and he
turned and said to his _lady_:

“Come, let us try another car.”

They walked to the car-door, and not one offered to surrender his
much-loved seat-by-the-window, to accommodate them. Man is naturally a
selfish creature, and nowhere is his selfishness brought out in so
strong a light as on a railroad car. Do not censure _me_, gentle public,
for not relinquishing my seat. This was not the first or last time I was
asked to abandon a comfortable seat in a car, after taking the trouble
to go early and secure it. It seems that in such cases they always come
right to me. I do not know why. It may be that I look young, innocent
and verdant; and that they jump to the conclusion that I am one of those
persons who, as the poet doesn’t say:

                               “Know _not_ their rights;
               And, knowing _not_, dare _not_ maintain.”

When I saw the two unfortunates about to leave the car, I called them

“Come,” I said; “you can have my seat. I cannot see a lady in a dilemma,
when I can relieve her by making so slight a sacrifice.” And I arose,
seized my crutch and was about to walk out from between the seats.

“No, no,” said the gentleman who occupied the seat behind me, and whose
better nature began to show itself, while, at the same time a dozen
others arose, ready to give up their seats. “No, _you_ musn’t move.
You’re crippled, and I am not. They can take my seat.” And he jumped up,
with an agility that one could scarcely expect to see displayed by an
_invalid_, and took a seat beside me; while the gentleman and his _lady_
returned, and took possession of the vacated seat, without a single
expression of thanks.

“Well,” said I, addressing my companion, “if you wish to take the end by
the window, I will exchange with you—at least, for part of the journey.”

“O, never mind,” he replied: “I am only going as far as Wilmington.”

Here, then, was a man who was only going about twenty miles, who had at
first refused to give up his seat for the accommodation of the lady, and
yet expected me to give up mine, which I had secured for a ride of a
hundred and forty miles. O, the selfishness of the traveler!

As I remarked before, there are always a dozen or two of passengers who
come aboard the car at the eleventh hour, and have a time of it getting
seated. Among them there are usually two or three gentlemen with their
_ladies_, as in this case, and they always come to me, the first thing,
and ask me to give up my seat. I have long since, however, adopted a
course to pursue on such occasions, which, although it involves a little
fib or two—which are certainly pardonable—spares me all controversy. On
being asked to remove from my seat and take the wrong end of another, I
smilingly state that I would cheerfully do so if I were alone, but that
unfortunately, my wife and three little boys are out on the platform,
bidding some friends good-by, and will presently come in to share the
seat with me. Of course they don’t detect the “white one” till the train
has started, and by that time, they have procured seats, by some means;
and I don’t care how much I overhear them—as I often do—wondering “where
that one-legged fellow’s wife and three little boys went to?”

                             CHAPTER XXII.


WASHINGTON City is styled the “City of Magnificent Distances,” because
it is laid out to cover a space four and a half miles long by two and a
half miles wide, that is, eleven square miles. It is the Capital of the
United States of America, and is composed of the Capitol building, the
Treasury building, the Post-Office building, the Patent Office building,
the Executive Mansion, War and State Department buildings, the
Smithsonian Institute, Willard’s Hotel and five thousand gin-mills. Such
is the Capital of our country, the “City of Magnificent Distances:” and
if it were a magnificent distance from the Country, the Country would be
much better off and much more well-to-do in the world. I regret that a
city which bears the name of that noble and pure man, George Washington,
should be such a concentration of vice, corruption, intrigue, fraud and
iniquity, as it has become of late years.

It was night when I reached Washington, and going to an hotel and
registering my name, John Smith, Major U. S. Army—I never go below the
rank of major—I received every attention. While there, my bill was only
twenty-five or thirty dollars a week, which they did not ask me to pay
till I was ready to leave, several weeks after, and then I paid it
without being asked. Meantime all the _attaches_ of the hotel were so
attentive, obliging and polite, that I did not find it necessary to kill
a single one of them.

The day following my arrival in Washington, the weather being fine, I
walked out to Tenallytown, three miles from Georgetown, to visit the old
ground on which I had been encamped for several months, while a soldier,
early in the war. I found the ground without difficulty, as well as a
handsome earthwork our division had thrown up while there, and which I
myself had worked on. It had been originally named Fort Pennsylvania,
but was now called Fort Reno. Thinking I should like to walk in I
approached the entrance, and found it guarded by a negro soldier, with
musket and bayonet; while a sable corporal stood talking to him.

“You can’t come in dis place, sah,” said the corporal with an insolent
grin, before I was near enough to solicit admittance.

I could not help feeling cut by such a greeting as this, from a negro,
at the entrance of a fort I had helped to build. I smothered my rising
indignation, however, and with a sunny smile replied:

“No admittance, eh?”

“No, sah; guess not,” was the taunting reply.

“I did not know that,” I rejoined, still keeping down my wrath. “I
helped to build the fort, and thought I would like to take a look
through it. However, I suppose you are ordered to allow no one to

“Guess we is. You helped to build it, eh?”


“You didn’t tink den us cullud fellahs ’d git possession!” he said, with
an insolent laugh.

Without replying I turned and walked away.

I cannot imagine why this black brute should thus wantonly insult an
inoffensive person like me, and especially a crippled ex-soldier who had
walked all the way from Georgetown to see his old camping-ground: but I
have given the words as he spoke them. I do not relate the incident
because it will please or displease any political party: I simply tell
the truth. No one will fail to admit that it was humiliating and
mortifying to me, after having helped to build the fort, to be
insolently turned away from it by a coarse and ignorant negro. Had a
white soldier been on post there, he would have received me cordially,
and if his orders not to admit any one had been very strict, he would
have sent some one to his officer and asked permission to let me go in.
There is always a certain sympathy between soldiers of one race; but I
never yet saw any between white and black soldiers.

Although I had been in Washington many times, I had never yet ascended
the dome of the Capitol, or visited the embryo “Washington Monument;”
so, next day, I determined to visit both. In the Capitol, at the base of
the stairway leading to the dome, the doorkeeper asked me if I had a
pass to go up.

“No,” I replied; “I was not aware that any was required.”

“Yes, visitors are not admitted to the dome without passes.”

“If you will tell me where to get one,” I rejoined, “I will go and——”

“O, never mind,” he interrupted. “I won’t send _you_ for a pass. But can
you walk to the top?”

“O, yes.”

“Go ahead then, and never mind the pass. Don’t fall.”

“Thank you,” I replied, beginning the ascent.

I must say this much for my race—for this was a _white_ man—that it is
not made up entirely of selfishness. I frequently meet with little
courtesies like this, and they are very gratifying to me: not for their
intrinsic merit, alone, but because they show cheerful little gleamings
of the bright side of the human heart.

When I reached the top of the dome, I felt a little tired; but probably
not much more so than others who ascended. It is a fatiguing task for
any one, to ascend to the height of three hundred feet, by means of a
winding stairway.

That same afternoon I visited the unfinished monument erected to the
memory of George Washington. This monument is beautiful in design. It
was to have been five hundred feet high, surrounded at the base by a
pantheon one hundred feet high and two hundred and fifty feet in
diameter. But it has only reached the height of one hundred and seventy
feet, having there abruptly stopped. It stands now a monument of the
forgetfulness and ingratitude of the American people. Till it is
finished—which I fear will never be—the whole land ought to be covered
with one broad blush of shame.

The monument was commenced years ago, by a certain “Association” which
collected large sums of money for the purpose; and for a short time the
work went on so actively that had it thus continued till now, the grand
column of stone would have pierced the clouds, and there would have been
no way of getting at the top except by means of a balloon. It stopped
short, however, at the height mentioned; and its square blunt-looking
top is covered with boards, to keep the rain off; the poorly protected
walls are cracking; and the stray swine are rooting and wallowing about
in the mud at its base. Not seventy years have elapsed since George
Washington, without whom we would probably never have been an
independent nation, passed from earth, and now, alas! it seems that his
memory has also passed from the hearts of his unworthy countrymen. Take
John Smith’s word for it, reader, a nation that can thus soon forget its
father and founder, the very author of its being, must, at no very
distant day, lose sight of itself. Byron says:

            “There is the moral of all human tales;
               Tis but the same rehearsal of the past;
             First freedom, and then glory—when that fails,
               Wealth, vice, corruption, barbarism at last.”

In the Revolutionary war we gained our freedom, in the war of 1812 we
perpetuated it; in the Mexican war we gained glory; then followed
wealth, in the acquisition of California, Texas and other territory: in
the recent civil war, we almost reached the vice, corruption and

Next day I rode out to Georgetown, in a street-car and then hired a
riding-horse, to visit Camp Pierpont, Virginia, several miles from the
Chain Bridge, where I had spent my first winter in the army. The
proprietor of the livery stable, as he led the horse out, saddled and
bridled, said:

“You can ride a horse, eh?”

“With ease,” I replied.

“How will you manage to get on?” he asked.

“This way,” I replied; and I placed one hand on the saddle and the other
on my crutch, and sprung up with ease.

He opened his eyes with astonishment.

“Whew! You get on a horse easier than I can. But don’t get thrown off.”

“I won’t,” I replied. “Get up, old hoss!” And touching the animal with a
spur I had put on—I only wear one, on ordinary occasions—darted away
toward the river at a brisk gallop.

I visited the old camping-ground, and had the satisfaction of finding
the exact spot—now lonely and deserted—on which the cabin of our mess
had stood during the first winter of the war, and on which I had slept
many a night, with a thin blanket and hard puncheon floor under me, a
wood fire in the chimney near my feet—I had two of the articles then—and
my knapsack, containing an extra shirt and pair of drawers, a few
writing-materials, letters and photographs of friends, under my head.
How the old scenes did come back to me! How vividly I saw, in
imagination, the forms and faces that have passed away, and heard the
merry voices that are hushed forever! How distinctly I saw and heard
around me a hundred of the liveliest boys of my old regiment, who sleep
in unmarked graves before Richmond, at Bull Run, South Mountain,
Antietam, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg! I had visited the old ground
because I thought it would be a pleasure, but somehow, when the scenes
of the past came crowding back upon me, and I remembered so many of my
jovial comrades, now no more, a melancholy settled over me; and when I
turned away toward Washington, it was with a sadness of heart that I
cannot express.

                             CHAPTER XXIII.

                     SMITH’S EXPERIENCE ON A SKATE.

I SPENT the ensuing winter in Philadelphia, the great city which was
laid out by William Penn, Esquire, who took a checker-board—an article
used in a game invariably played “on the square”—for a pattern, and,
hence, laid it out in squares that were perfectly square, and have
remained so to the present day. Mr. Penn deserves great credit for his
peaceable manner of acquiring the land on which the city is built.
Instead of going to work and killing the poor innocent savages, like
others did, he purchased the land from them, at a good round price in
buttons, keys, tooth picks, shoe-pegs, marbles, rum and the like. This
course, besides speaking well for the goodness of his heart, is also
strong evidence of his superior judgment and foresight, as the Indians
at that time were too numerous to be easily overcome.

One day, in the middle of the skating season, I concluded to go down to
Eastwick Park, Mr. R. O. Lowry’s popular resort, and amuse myself awhile
by watching the skaters tumbling head over heels and cracking their
brain-pans on the ice. I always had a passion for seeing any one fall,
especially on skates. There is a calm, quiet enjoyment about it—to the
observer—that is not equaled by any thing else. “We always,” remarks La
Rochefoucault “have strength enough to bear the misfortunes of others,”
a saying which, however humiliating it may be to confess it, has a
certain truth. The ancient Greek writer Isidorus puts it very bluntly
when he says: “Nothing is more pleasant than to sit at ease in the
harbor and behold the shipwreck of others,” a sentiment which is
repeated in an old English song:

                 “I wander not to seek for more:
                  In greatest storm I sit on shore,
                  And laugh at those that toil in vain,
                  To get what must be lost again;”

to wit, their life. But to return to myself:

For the information of non-residents of Philadelphia, I will state that
Eastwick Park is the largest skating-park in the world. It is a resort
for pleasure seekers, both in the winter and in the summer: for skating
and dancing in the former season; and dancing and rowing in the latter.
It is something for Philadelphia to boast of, and for which she is
indebted to the enterprise of the Park King, Mr. R. O. Lowry.

The smooth lake of ice was alive with skaters, of both sexes, and the
scene was one of the gayest. I had not seen much skating since my return
from the army, and, O, how this made me regret my inability to enjoy the
delightful exercise. For the first time, I heartily regretted that I had
ever served my country, and lost one of my nether limbs; and, in my
vexation, felt that if I had it to do over, my loved land might go to
the deuce before I would sacrifice a leg, and thus deprive myself of
such delightful recreation.

“Never more,” I muttered, “will my nimble feet glide over the smooth
ice, and the bright, ringing steel of my skates sing gleeful songs
behind me, while I fly like the wind! Never more shall I go it at the
rate of twenty miles an hour, tumble heels over head on the dear, clear,
smooth, cold ice, get my head cracked and my eyes blacked, and spring up
and try it again, cheerful and happy! Ah, John Smith! John Smith! thy
skating days are over! They are numbered with the things of the past,
and with the things that were, and are not!”

Just then, the veteran skater, Colonel P * * *, an excellent friend of
mine, came gliding gracefully along, to the shore of the lake, where I
was standing, and seeing me, said, with his usual cheerful and jovial

“How do you do, Smith? You are looking on as though you would like to
try it.”

“I wish it were possible, Colonel,” I replied.

“Did you skate before you went into the army?”

“O, yes.”

“Well, why don’t you try it?”

“On a crutch?”

“Certainly—as active as you are, I have no doubt you could skate. Try

“I would as soon risk another battle,” said I. “Who ever heard of a man
skating on one leg?”

“Have _you_ never heard of the like?”

“I think not.”

“I have then. Last year, I read of a one-legged skater in Boston. He was
hard to beat too, it was said.”

“Ah? Is that so?”

“I assure you it is. Go into the skate-room, get a skate and try it.
There is a little nook of ice extending behind the buildings, try it
there first, and if you find it a success, you can venture out upon the
main body of ice.”

“I believe I will,” I said.

I went into the skate-room, and somewhat astonished the clerk by asking
for “half-a-pair of skates.”

“Are you in earnest?” he asked.

“Yes, by all means.”

“Can you skate?”

“Yes,” I replied, although I had never yet tried it in my present
condition; “no mere amateur can beat me.”

He gave me the skate, lent me a gimlet and file, and furnished me with a
couple of nails. I drove one of the nails into the lower end of the
crutch and the other into the end of the cane, and filed them off sharp
about half-an-inch from the wood. I then put on the skate and went out
upon the ice in rear of the row of buildings. With some misgivings, I
stepped on the ice and gave myself a shove. I sailed out pretty nicely,
and didn’t fall. To my astonishment and delight, I discovered that I
could skate nearly as well as ever. This discovery lent me confidence
and vigor, and, without hesitation, I glided out upon the extensive lake
of ice, among the throng of skaters, where I was regarded as a novelty;
and, in a word, I created quite a sensation. I felt that I would much
rather all the eyes turned upon me had been bullets aimed at me; but I
“cheeked” it out, with all the “brass” I could muster, and glided
around, apparently so much at my ease, that the observers might have
fancied it was not my first attempt to skate on one leg, but that, on
the contrary, I had skated many thousand miles thus. I soon met my
friend, the Colonel, who was highly elated at my success.

As this was my first exercise of this kind, since my return from the
army, I only remained on the ice about five hours that day: by the end
of which time I felt as though I might travel two or three times around
the globe on a skate.

I did get a fall or two, of course. In fact, I had not been on the ice
fifteen minutes, when I got to skating too fast—my skate going so fast
that I couldn’t keep up—and the result was that I presently had the ice
for a pillow, and lay there gazing at the clouds, with only one
overhanging skate-clad foot to interrupt the view. Then, before I had
time to stir from this novel position, a handsome young lady, who was
trying the backward skating, endeavored to skate over me—a feat
frequently attempted without success—and the result was, she violently
took a seat upon my stomach and jobbed one of her elbows in my eye. She
struggled up and said, “O, excuse me! Did I hurt you?”

“O, no; not at all!” I replied, although she had nearly knocked the
breath out of me.

“I am glad of it,” she said, skating away.

I recovered my crutch and cane, and arose, wondering whether she meant
that she was glad she hadn’t hurt me or glad she had fallen on me. I
didn’t feel glad about any thing.

This was my first skating adventure, on a crutch; but I have skated many
times since. So, you see, that, after all, the loss of a limb does not
necessarily deprive a man of such little enjoyments. Energy, will and
self-confidence will work wonders. What I want to do, I do. I have swam
in the Schuylkill, Delaware, Monongahela, Ohio and Mississippi rivers,
and in all the lakes; skated hundreds of miles; ridden hundreds of miles
on horseback; walked hundreds of miles—all with one leg. There are only
two things I can’t do, which another man can. One is to run; the other
is to sit cross-legged. I do not say this to boast; for John Smith is
modest. I merely mention these facts, that the public may know what a
one-legged man can do, and that he’s “a man for a’ that.”

                             CHAPTER XXIV.

                          OVER THE MOUNTAINS.

AS Spring approached, I resolved to take a western tour; and with that
view left Philadelphia in February. For the sake of variety, having
frequently traveled through Pennsylvania, I concluded to go to Pittsburg
_via_ Baltimore, Maryland; Fairmont, in Western Virginia; and Uniontown,
Western Pennsylvania—certainly a circuitous route. I desired to visit
some friends in southwestern Pennsylvania, however, and it was not much
out of my way, after all, to take the Philadelphia and Wilmington, and
Baltimore and Ohio Railroads.

One very cold day, I went from Philadelphia to Baltimore, and at ten
o’clock that night left the latter place on the express train that was
to run through to Wheeling—intending myself to get off at Fairmont.

On this occasion, just after taking a seat in the car, a gentleman sat
down by me, and after regarding my countenance attentively for a moment,

“Pardon me: isn’t your name Smith?”

I pardoned him, as desired, and told him it was.

“First name John?”

There was no denying it, and I replied in the affirmative.

“Delighted to meet you!” he exclaimed, as we shook hands cordially.
“When did you leave Nashville?”

“I never left it,” was my response. “I was never there.”

“No? Then excuse me: you cannot be the gentleman I supposed you,
although your appearance and name strikingly correspond with those of a
person I knew in Nashville a year ago—especially the name. He had also
lost a leg, as you have.”

“A remarkable coincidence,” said I. “In the course of my own travels, I
have met with a great many of me—in name.”

My fellow-traveler was an agreeable and good-humored gentleman, and I
related to him the following anecdote of Doctor B. Frank Palmer, of
Philadelphia, the great manufacturer of artificial limbs. Receiving an
order for a leg from plain John Smith one day, and being in a merry
mood, the Doctor sat down and answered John’s letter thus:

  “Look here! What do you mean? I have already furnished you with five
  hundred of my patent limbs, and I don’t think the Government allows
  you any more. However, I’ll send this one yet, and if you continue
  so extravagant in the use of patent legs, I advise you to set up a
  manufactory for your own accommodation.” * * *

The Doctor, who has manufactured thousands of artificial limbs for
mutilated soldiers, once jocosely remarked to the writer that he found,
by referring to his books, that John Smith had been literally hacked to
pieces during the war. He had had his right hand cut off; his left hand;
his right arm below the elbow; his left arm below the elbow; his right
arm above the elbow; his left arm above the elbow; his right arm at
shoulder-joint, with skin-flap; his left arm at shoulder-joint, with
skin-flap; his right toes; his left toes; his right foot; his left foot;
his right leg below the knee; his left leg below the knee; his right leg
above the knee; his left leg above the knee; both hands, both arms below
the elbow; both arms above the elbow; both feet; both legs below the
knee; both legs above the knee; the right arm and left leg; the right
arm and right leg; the right arm and both legs; the left arm and right
leg; the left arm and left leg; the left arm and both legs; both arms
and both legs; _et cetera_. All that can remain of him now, it might
well be inferred, is about the size and shape of a sack of wheat, though
far less useful to himself and the world.

The number of plain John Smiths on the Doctor’s book is quite
astounding, to say nothing of the innumerable John A., John B., John C.,
John D., John E., John F., John G., John H., John I., John J., John K.,
John L., John M., John N., John O., John P., John Q., John R., John S.,
John T., John U., John V., John W., John X., John Y., and John Z.,

Things went on very finely through the night of my journey over the
snow-covered mountains of Virginia, and in the morning the train stopped
at Cumberland, on the Potomac, where the passengers took breakfast. Then
we thundered on again among the frosted hills. Within ten miles of
Grafton, Western Virginia, the wheels of the forward truck of the car I
was in, jumped off the track, and went bouncing along on the ties beside
the iron rails, in a way calculated to startle the timid. I sprang from
my seat, seized the bell-cord, and gave it a vigorous pull; but although
I surely made the engine-bell ring, I could see no immediate diminution
in the speed of the train.

I knew that this state of things could not last long before the car
should break to pieces. The stove was soon shaken from its moorings, and
fell over, scattering the fire about and filling the car with smoke and
dust; several of the seats were also shaken loose, a deliberate crashing
was heard; and, glancing around among the passengers, I saw as delicious
a collection of pale faces as I had ever seen. The men all sprang to
their feet, the women screamed, and some raised their windows, as though
to squeeze through and drop out. I raised my window and thrust my arm
out, so that I might thus cling to the side of the car, in case the
floor should be shattered and torn out, as it must soon have been if the
train had not been checked.

At last, the welcome sound of the whistle was heard, the brakes were
applied and the speed of the train began to slacken. Just then, the
axles of the front truck broke, the frame smashed up, and the floor of
the car began to give way. With screams of horror the passengers all
rushed to the rear end of the car; but in another moment, before any
further damage was done or any one hurt, the train came to a full stop.
Then the passengers all rushed out as quickly as possible, as though
there were still danger within, and some of them got their ribs
strained, squeezing through the door. I walked out and examined the
wreck. Up to this time, I had not felt any trepidation; but now, when it
was all over, and I realized what terrible danger we had passed through,
I could not help trembling. Had the train proceeded fifty yards further,
the car we were in must have been torn to pieces, and it would have been
indeed a lucky passenger who would have escaped death or severe injury.

There was one car in the rear of us, and as the wrecked car could not be
moved, the two were left standing, and all the passengers crowded into
the three or four cars in our front. Thus we proceeded to Grafton, where
other cars were added.

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is very well conducted, and accidents on
it are not of frequent occurrence. It just chanced to be my luck to
witness this. I heard the conductor say that it was the only accident of
any kind that had happened to his train for three years.

At Fairmont, on the Monongahela river, I got off the train, and took the
stage for Uniontown, which is forty-five miles from the above place.

After spending a few weeks in Fayette county, I went down the
Monongahela river to Pittsburg, intending to remain there a few days,
and learn whether the sun was to be seen there or not.

                              CHAPTER XXV.


I ARRIVED in the “Iron City,” one morning, and having registered my name
at an hotel on Grant street, I went down to the “Diamond,” to see a
friend of mine in a wholesale grocery there. Having had a talk with him
and promised to call again before leaving the city, I bade him good
morning; and, in a quiet, modest, unassuming manner, took my way up
Diamond alley, toward Grant street, intending to return to my hotel. As
I crossed Wood street, I observed a considerable crowd collected about
the corner of that street and Diamond alley, and discovered that there
was a fire in the vicinity, and that the house and goods of Openheimer &
Co., were feeding the flames. A steamer was puffing away as usual, to
try which could damage and destroy the most goods, water or fire. [This
is a question which has never been satisfactorily decided.]

Feeling no curiosity to see the fire, I crossed Wood street, passed
through the crowd, and continued up Diamond alley. I had not walked far,
and was about clear of the crowd, when an insolent voice called out near

“Get out of the way, you! Do you hear? I’m Chief of Police, and am here
to keep the crowd away!” And immediately, before I had time to look up,
a hand was laid violently on my shoulder, and I was nearly snatched from
my foot.

Now, fancying that I was a “free white male” citizen of the United
States, “of the age of twenty-one years and upwards,” I was quite
otherwise than delighted with this extraordinary treatment at the hands
of the arrogant chief of villains; and turning upon him, and verbally
apprising him of the fact that he was a “scoundrel,” I was about to
“belt” him “over the ear” with my cane, when a quiet gentleman of
prepossessing appearance, walked up to me, restrained me in a friendly
manner, and said:

“Come, my friend, I will see you righted for this. He has treated you
shamefully. I suppose you have been a soldier; I have, too. I am General
P * * * * * *, I am also a lawyer. Come with me.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“It was an unprovoked assault,” he pursued, as we walked up Diamond
alley. “That man is Bob. H * * * *, Chief of the Police. He is a coarse,
ignorant, insolent, overbearing man. He insults every one that comes in
his way, if he happens to be a little out of humor. You do not live

“No, I live in Philadelphia. I thank you for your kindness. If you will
tell me where to find an alderman, I will have this fellow’s case
attended to.”

“Go to Alderman B * * * * *,” said he; and he directed me where to find
it. “I will be a witness, if necessary. Prefer a charge of assault and
battery against Robert H * * * *, Chief of Police, and you will find Mr.
B * * * * * a man who will do you justice.”

“Thank you; I will go at once.”

And I went to the office of Alderman B * * * * *, who did not chance to
be any bosom friend of the Chief.

“Alderman,” said I, “my name is John Smith, and I reside in
Philadelphia. I come before you to prefer against one Robert
H * * * *,—a fellow calling himself Chief of Police—a charge of assault
and battery.”

“What! Not assault and battery on you—a cripple!”

“Yes, sir, sad as the case is, it is true. I charge him with assault and
battery. Please take my deposition. I have other witnesses. General
P * * * * * * is one of them. He saw it.”

“Ah! He was present?”

“Yes, sir.”

I was then sworn to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but
the truth;” and I then made my statement—“in accordance with the

“Come to-morrow afternoon at four o’clock,” said the Alderman. “I will
have him here to answer at that time.”

“I will. Thank you.”

Next day I was at the Alderman’s “on time.” I had not been there long
before Robert H * * * * stepped in. The Alderman had just finished
making out a commitment for a lady, who had struck another in the face
eight times with a broomstick for doubting her word, and saying so,
pointedly; and he was now ready to attend to our case.

“Alderman,” said Chief Robert, with his usual arrogant air, “I want to
get this trifling affair delayed for a week, as all my witnesses are out
of town. I can’t attend to it before next Friday. That will be just a
week from to-day.”

“Alderman,” I put in, rising from my chair, “I respectfully object to
any such delay. I am traveling, and it is not consistent with my
interests to remain in the city beyond a day or two: and the _prisoner_
knows it.”

On my styling the defendant the _prisoner_, he scowled on me like a very
demon, and I felt that it wouldn’t have been pleasant to have had my
life in his exclusive keeping, just then.

“Alderman,” he said, fairly choking with malignant anger, “it will be
impossible to get my witnesses soon, and you must give me a show.”

“It is singular,” I urged, addressing the Alderman, “that I, who am a
comparative stranger here, can find and produce my witnesses so much
sooner than the defendant, who is an official here, and ought to be well
acquainted. I most earnestly object to any such delay, as it would be
scarcely just to detain me here, on expense, especially when business
calls me away soon.”

“Probably,” insinuated the Chief, “the gentleman’s _business_ is not so
urgent—if he _is_ a gentleman.”

“Mr. H * * * *,” said the Alderman, who was too honest to allow any one
to be insulted in his office, “the plaintiff _appears_ to be a
gentleman. However, it is not to be discussed here whether he is or not.
That is not to the point.”

“Mr. Alderman,” I remarked, calmly, “if our respective behavior here
were taken as evidence, I think I could be proved quite as much of a
gentleman as the defendant.”

“We’ll see about that by the time I get my witnesses,” said Chief
Robert. “_I’ve_ been keeping an eye on him since he came to the city,
_I_ know——”

“Mr. H * * * *,” interrupted the Alderman, “I cannot, and _will not_,
allow any such talk in my office! For you, Chief of Police, to speak
thus, is to insinuate that Mr. Smith is a suspicious character. There is
nothing in his appearance to warrant such an insinuation. But let me not
talk of that. Let us proceed with the case. This is Friday: I will
postpone the hearing only till Monday. I think that will be dealing
fairly by both.”

“It will be no such thing!” vociferated the irate official. “You are not
giving me a fair show! You are showing partiality toward——”

“Mr. H * * * *!” interrupted the Alderman, peremptorily; “not another
such word in my office! I shall——”

“But I’ll be——”

“Do you hear? Not another word! I shall send the case right down to
court! You must go there and answer to the charge.”

“Send it! and be——”

Boiling over with rage, the Chief had seized his hat, bolted from the
office, banged the door after him, and thus prevented me from hearing
the conclusion of his invective.

“The case will be tried in court,” said the Alderman, to me. “Be at the
court-house on Monday, and give your evidence before the Grand Jury. By
Tuesday, then, it may be tried.”

“I will; thank you.”

Monday came, and I gave my evidence before the Grand Jury, making the
case against H * * * * as strong as I could, without swerving from “the
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: s’help—” _etc._

A “bill” was “found” against him, in the brief space of sixty seconds;
and early next morning the case came up before the “Criminal Court.” It
was such a plain case against the poor cuss, that his counsel advised
him to plead guilty; which he did. He was then severely reprimanded by
the Judge, in a long speech, in which he urged upon him the importance
of being careful about laying hands on an inoffensive person, without a
warrant, and mildly sentenced him to pay a fine of twenty-five dollars,
and the costs; making in all, the handsome little sum of seventy-three
dollars and eighty-two cents: and what was still more aggravating and
humiliating to the dread (?) Chief, he was immediately taken into
custody, by two tipstaves, and escorted into the sheriff’s office, where
he had to pay the fine and costs, “on sight.”

The affair cost me nothing. In fact, I gained by it; for I was about
that time commencing to write a work of fiction, (since published), and
I had been for several days at a loss for some one to represent the
villainous character. This let me out, nicely. I named my “villain”
Robert H * * * *, gave an exact description of him, went on swimmingly
with my novel, and, at the conclusion, brought him to a terrible and
tragic death.[2]

Footnote 2:

  THE WHITE ROCKS; Or, the Robbers of the Monongahela. A thrilling story
  of Outlaw Life in Western Pennsylvania. By A. F. Hill, author of “OUR
  BOYS,” etc., etc. 12mo. Cloth, price $1.75.

                             CHAPTER XXVI.

                      PECULIARITIES OF TRAVELERS.

NEXT morning I took an early train for Wheeling, which city I desired to
visit on my westward way.

On this occasion, about twelve minutes before the train started, two men
came in, and, desiring to sit together and finding no seat wholly
vacant, one of them had the incredible, the unparalleled, the
unexampled, the unheard-of audacity to ask me to move and sit with
another person—a thing I have refused to do even to accommodate a lady.
It was not yet quite light in the car, as the sun was not up, and I
pointed to my crutch, that stood leaning against the back of the seat in
front of me, and stated that I had been badly shot in the knee the
previous night, in a saloon difficulty, and that it was impossible for
me to move with any sort of comfort or ease. Moreover, I observed, that
my uncle was to accompany me on my journey, to take care of me, that he
would of course occupy the seat with me, and that he had just gone to a
neighboring saloon to get me a glass of ale and hand it in at the
window. Otherwise, I said, I should accommodate them by moving to any
part of the car they might desire, and take pleasure in it.

Taking all I said for the truth,—and thus making a wholesale
mistake—they turned and went to the rear end of the car, where they
urgently requested a respectable-looking negro passenger to get up and
let them have his seat. But he knew his rights, and, knowing, durst
maintain; and he maintained them after this manner:

“Guess not.”

“O, come, now,” argued one of the two passengers; “you might as well.
You’ll be just as comfortable some——”

“Well, now, I guess I won’t leab dis yer, by golly!”

“You might have to,” suggested one of the Caucasians.

“Hab to? Like to see de man——”

“For half-a-cent I’d move you!”

The darkey was now very much “riled,” and being, besides, a little
drunk, and naturally ill-natured and habitually profane in his language,
he railed out thus:

“No, I’ll be (profanity) if you does! (Profanity) my heart, if I jis’
didn’ fight fur dis (profanity) country, and I’ll be (profanity,
profanity, profanitied) if I ain’t as good as any oder (profanity) man!
I know what my rights is! I does! I’ll be (profanity, profanitied) if I
don’t! (Profanity, profanity, profanity, profanity)——”

“Look here!” exclaimed the conductor, who had just entered the car, and
was adjusting the bell-cord; “what the (here he made a concise and
pointed allusion to a dark personage who wears a tail with a dart on the
end of it, and carries off bad boys that won’t mind their mothers and
who run off and play base ball when sent to school) do you mean? What
are you cursing that way for? Don’t you see there are ladies in the

“Dey wants my seat, and——”

“Well, they havn’t got it, have they? You shall keep your seat, if you
want to. No one is going to take it from you! Now, another word out of
your black head, and I’ll split it for you, and throw it out of the
window, a piece at a time!”

The two troublesome travelers had, meantime, located themselves in
separate seats, as near each other as possible; the darkey said no more,
and quiet reigned for a moment or so.

Glancing out at my window, which I had raised, I presently saw two
Irishmen—both drunk—approaching the car; and one of them was carrying a
valise, a fiddle, a hat-box, a saw, a side of leather, an overcoat and
an extra pair of boots. He was evidently going on a journey; but the
other was in his shirt-sleeves, and had only accompanied him to the
train to see him off.

“Good-by, Mike,” said he in his shirt-sleeves. “Take gude care o’

“I’ll do that, Zhammie,” said the traveler, who was the drunkest of the
two. “When’ll’seeyez’gin, m’b’y?”

“I’ll mate ye’n Whalin’, Mike. Steek till the cause, me boy. Don’t
forgit the Fanians an’ yer counthry!”

By this time, a number of the passengers who sat on the same side of the
car with me had raised their windows, and were now listening to this
dialogue, much amused. The conversation was carried on in loud, harsh

“F’rgit m’ counthry an’ th’ cause? Och! I shud thaink naught,” said the
Milesian traveler, who was now about to ascend the steps to the platform
of the car I was in.

He paused a moment, before blundering up, and then struck up a patriotic
Fenian song, the first verse of which was something like this:

            “Och! Kra! Kri mo kreeh! mee barry braugh,
               Augh quih-queeh, McQuairy, O!
             Grah me Kreh! Grah me Kree! Ahkushlee! Hurrah!
               Mike graughin, Och borry bro!”

“Good me b’y!” exclaimed his friend, grasping his hand. “Wull done,
that! Now, good-by, Mike. Tak care o’ yer-sel!”

“Good-by, till ye, Zhammie. God be good till ye!”

After shaking hands cordially, they parted. He in his shirt-sleeves,
James, by name, walked away, with some sadness naturally engendered by
the parting; while Michael entered the car and took a seat by the
darkey—for all the rest were entirely occupied by this time—his saw, as
he sat down, accidentally grazing the darkey’s cheek, and coming within
half-an-inch of sawing one of his white eyes out.

“’Scuse me, dairlint,” said Mike; and he deposited his luggage down
among both their feet, threw himself carelessly back in his seat, with
his cheek resting on his dusky companion’s shoulder, and soon fell

The pleasant (?) time the conductor had waking him, when he came round
for his ticket, might be described with excellent effect, by a
professional humorist; but let the reader picture it in his imagination.

                             CHAPTER XXVII.

                           MCCULLOCH’S LEAP.

ABOUT eleven o’clock, A. M., the train arrived at the little village of
Bridgeport, opposite Wheeling, where an omnibus was in waiting to carry
over the river all passengers destined for the city. Between Bridgeport
and Wheeling is an island, whose name I forget, and there are two
bridges required for communication between the two places. That on the
Wheeling side is a very excellent suspension bridge, ninety or a hundred
feet above the water, with a span of one thousand feet. That on the
Bridgeport side is a substantial wooden bridge with five or six piers.
The steamboat channel is, as may naturally be supposed, on the Wheeling
side of the island.

I and my trunk took passage on the omnibus, and I had reason to be
pleased with the gentlemanly demeanor of the conductor, and with his
moderate charges.

The first object of interest near Wheeling that I desired to visit, was
the steep declivity down which the pioneer McCulloch made his fearful
plunge on horseback, when pursued by the Indians. This, if my memory
serves me correctly, happened in 1790.

It was on a beautiful day, late in March, that I arrived in Wheeling;
and, having taken dinner at a comfortable and tidy hotel, I walked into
the sitting-room where several gentlemen were seated poring over the
newspapers. I looked around me before venturing to speak to any one, and
was not long in making up my mind as to which to address my inquiries

This was a man of forty-five or fifty years, who was in the act of
folding up a paper he had been reading and whom I judged to be a
resident of Wheeling. Besides, his countenance was clearly the index of
a good mind, and a noble and congenial heart.

As I afterward learned, his name was Charles Cracraft—he was familiarly
styled Charlie—an intelligent, well-known and much respected citizen of
Wheeling. He and I became the warmest friends during the brief week that
I remained in Wheeling, and his society delighted me. He was one of
those “gems” of which Gray speaks in his “Elegy in a Country
Churchyard.” A man better versed in history and general literature I
have seldom met. Few notable events ever happened in the world that
Charlie could not tell all about. Why he had never made his mark in the
world, I could not tell; but I felt sure he might have done so. In
addition to his love of reading, and a good memory, I found him
possessed of most excellent judgment, strong reasoning powers, an
impressive address, liberality of views and an admirable knowledge of
language and composition. With all his gifts—gifts that would enable a
man to shine anywhere—he was not known beyond his native city; and that
is why I regard him as one of those “gems” which Gray says are “born to
blush unseen.”

Well, it was to Charlie Cracraft that I addressed my inquiries regarding
the place where McCulloch, under pressing circumstances, executed his
celebrated equestrian feat.

“It is barely half a-mile distant,” said Charlie. “Are you going to see

“Yes, by all means,” I replied.

“It is just outside the city. You go to the upper end of the city,
and—however, I was just thinking of taking a walk myself, and I will
accompany you, if you desire.”

“I shall be pleased with your company,” said I, “and I thank you.”

We were friends from that moment. Charlie arose, and we left the hotel
and walked up the street. Emerging from the upper end of the city we
followed a pike for a few hundred yards, which led us to a considerable
elevation, where I found laid before me about as grand a scene as I ever

“Here,” said Charlie, “is where McCulloch rode down.” We were standing
with our faces toward the east; behind us, deep among the tall hills,
flowed the Ohio river, and before us was a valley of great depth,
through which Wheeling creek wound its way. This stream flowed directly
toward the Ohio river, till it reached the base of the declivity
immediately beneath us; then turning about, guarded away from the river,
as it were, by the long, steep, intervening ridge, it flowed clear
around Wheeling, and emptied into the river below. That portion of the
creek which we could see, hemmed in by a semicircular range of hills on
its right side, formed a path similar in shape to a horse-shoe; only its
principal curve was more abrupt.

It was at this abrupt curve that the daring McCulloch plunged down the
declivity. He had been pursued from a northerly direction, by the
Indians, and intended to gallop along the verge of the descent, and turn
toward the east, as the creek turned far below. But just here he found
himself intercepted by another band of savages, and retreat in that
direction cut off. Behind him lay the Ohio river, three hundred feet
below, on either hand was a horde of howling bloodthirsty savages, and
before him was a steep descent of several hundred feet, whose face was
interrupted by several perpendicular ledges of rock; and, in this
terrible exigence, he clutched his reins tightly, and spurred his horse
quickly over the brink and down the fearful declivity. It is not really
so steep as some who have read the account suppose, for a line drawn
from the summit to the base, where the creek flows, would form an angle
with the horizon of only between forty and forty-five degrees; but at
intervals there are precipitous ledges of rock, quite perpendicular, of
from ten to twenty feet in height. That the horse and rider plunged down
over them in safety, seems little less than a miracle.

This range of hills, or rather this ridge, is higher and even steeper in
some places than at the point where McCulloch plunged down. Charlie and
I walked along the verge of the precipice, ascending gradually, till we
came to a point over four hundred feet above the high-water mark of the
river. From this point, we could see over many miles of Ohio landscape
beyond the river.

It was at this highest point that, a few years ago, a man named Wheat, a
citizen of Wheeling, actually drove over the precipice in a two-horse
sleigh. Two other persons were in the sleigh with him, riding along the
summit of the ridge, and on his declaring that he was going to eclipse
McCulloch, they jumped out, and the fool actually touched up his horses
and drove down the precipice. His name was _Wheat_, as I stated; but
Charlie told me that _rye_ had more to do with it than any one else.

Down tumbled Wheat, the sleigh and two horses; and only that good luck
that ever seems to attend an intoxicated man could have saved him from a
violent and speedy death. While the sleigh was dashed to splinters, and
both the horses precipitated into Wheeling creek and killed, Mr. Wheat
lodged among some stunted trees, about half-way down—badly bruised and
“stove up,” it is true, but still alive and in moderate _spirits_. He is
still living, but has been a cripple ever since his mad and daring

Charlie and I returned from our pleasant walk, feeling as though we had
been acquainted for years. We had considerable conversation, on various
topics, and I will never forget a remark I heard him make. We were
speaking of religion, and I found that he, like myself, was a dissenter
from the orthodox faith. Speaking of the doubts and perplexities that
always arose, when he thought on the subject, he said:

“If I possessed the wealth of the whole world; if the lands, the houses,
the gold, the gems, the kingdoms, and the thrones were mine; I would
gladly give them all to know the TRUTH!”

The reader has, no doubt, heard or read of a certain cave among the
rocks on Wheeling creek, in which an Indian once concealed himself with
a rifle, and, by imitating the voice of a turkey, decoyed several men
from the fort in succession, and shot them. His stratagem was at last
detected, however, and a pioneer who was as shrewd as he, went in the
night, concealed himself in the neighborhood, and in the morning saw the
dusky savage go and ensconce himself in his usual hiding-place, and
begin the song of the turkey. The pioneer, who could see his dark visage
among the rocks, took aim with his rifle, and with one shot silenced him

Charlie pointed this cave out to me, and I went the next day and visited
it. He would have accompanied me, but he was subject to rheumatism, and
was suffering considerably that day; so I went alone. The cave is about
a mile from Wheeling. I had to climb up the rocks fifteen or twenty
feet, in order to get into it, and I sat there awhile, aiming my crutch
at a stump beyond Wheeling creek, and imagining myself the cunning but
unfortunate Indian who personated a turkey and got shot for it. The cave
is not large—in fact, one cannot stand erect; but half-a-dozen persons
could be stowed in it in a reclining position, provided none of them
were ladies in capacious crinoline.

Returning from the cave, _via_ McCulloch’s Leap, it was my lot to
encounter one of the greatest bores I ever met. He was one of those
persons who, it is said, can “talk a man to death.” He made me think of
the celebrated lines of Pope:

        “No place so sacred from such fops is barred,
         Nor is Paul’s church more safe than Paul’s churchyard.
         Nay, fly to altars, there they talk you dead,
         And fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

He lived in a solitary house, by the creek at the base of the declivity,
and he happened to come out just as I was about to make the ascent. He
was a fast talker, said a great many words in a few seconds, and often
spoke a good many seconds at a time.

“How do you do, sir? How do you do?” he said familiarly. “Fine day.”

“Very,” I said. “Quite pleasant.”

I wanted to get back to my hotel, for my stomach admonished me that it
was fully dinner-time; and so, I made an attempt to pass on and begin to
climb the hill. It was no use, though. He commenced by asking me if I
lost my leg in the army, then went on asking one question after
another—in such rapid succession that I only got each one about half
answered—till he had asked three times the number usually proposed. He
asked questions such as I had never thought of before, and kept on so
fast that I fancied he asked them merely for the pleasure of it, and not
for the sake of hearing them answered. He not only asked me if I was
born in this country, where I was brought up, what kind of saw-mills we
had there, and what barbers charged for cutting hair; but also desired
to know if I had ever looked at the moon through a telescope, and if I
thought corn as good a diet for horses as oats. Every question that any
mortal man could think of in so short a time, he asked me, till I
finally felt that I must either move on, or die. I moved on, in the
midst of the conversation, and looked back over my shoulder now and then
to answer questions, which he continued to ask.

“Are you going to walk up the hill?”


“Can you do it?”

“O, yes.”

“Aint you afraid you’ll fall?”


I began to ascend the acclivity, and he talked on.

“Did you ever go up such a steep place before?”

“Yes, steeper,” I yelled back, thinking of Bunker Hill Monument.

“And didn’t fall?” he continued, as I took another labored stride onward
and upward.


“Wasn’t you afraid of falling?”


“You must be plucky.”

As this did not strictly demand any answer, I took advantage of a
momentary pause to say,

“Good day.”

“Good——But say? What regiment did you say you were in?”

“Eighth Pennsyl——”

“Did you know a man in that regiment by the name of—”

I had now ascended to the height of seventy-five or eighty feet, when I
stopped on a sort of shelf, to rest a moment, turned about and said:

“What was his name?”

“I forget—I was just trying to think—O, yes, it was—let me see—was
it—no—was it—Harbertson?”

“I knew none of that name in my regiment.” I yelled back; for the
conversation now had to be carried on in a loud voice.

“I don’t think that was the name,” said he. “Now that I come to think of
it, he was in a New Jersey regiment. I used to work with him, in——”

“Well,” said I, facing the hill again to continue the ascent, “I’ll move
on. Good——”

“Wait a minute,” he interrupted, coming up ten or fifteen feet to where
it began to grow pretty steep, and there stopping. “What did you say
your name was.”

“Smith,” I yelled. “Good——”

“I have relations of that name in Pennsyl——”

“Ah, well, good-day,” and I continued up the ascent.

“When will you leave Wheeling?”

“I have to leave on the two o’clock train,” I sinfully replied, without
pausing in the ascent.

“Where going?”

“To Pitt——, Cleve——, Cincinnati!” I replied, scarcely knowing what lie
to tell.

“You’ll have plenty of time,” he yelled. “It isn’t more’n twelve now.”
And thus he went on till he talked me clear to the top of the rugged


“I was going to ask you——”

“—— Day,” I madly yelled, as I reached the summit, and disappeared,
half-fainting, from his view.

Of all the bores I ever met, this man was incomparably the greatest. If
I ever visit McCulloch’s Leap again, I will remain at the summit, and
not go near enough the verge for that dread man, who lives in the lone
cottage far below, to catch a glimpse of me!

                            CHAPTER XXVIII.


IT was about the first of April, when the weather was delightful, and
the nights were lighted by the full moon, that I left Wheeling for
Cincinnati, on board the new little steamer “Como.” I had a pleasant
voyage of two days and two nights, and might write a good many pages
descriptive of it; but that’s old. Moreover, it is not John-Smithian.

As I wished to remain in Cincinnati for a month, I hired a lodging-room
for that length of time, paying the money in advance, because it was not
perfectly clear that I wasn’t a “deep-dyed villain.”

The landlady, for the sum of eighteen dollars, placed me in possession
of a neat, tidy room, upstairs, and I there wrote and slept for one
month; taking my meals at a neighboring saloon.

The proprietress of my lodging-house, who was a German lady—one of the
Germanest I ever saw—accompanied me to the hall-door as I walked out to
have my trunk sent up. On reaching the foot of the stairs in the hall, I
noticed a room on the left-hand side, with the door standing open, and,
involuntarily glancing in, perceived that it was handsomely furnished.

“Dat,” said the landlady, whose knowledge of English, it will be
perceived, was very imperfect, “is—is—two—ah—ah—play-mens—actors, you
knows. Dey rent it from me. Dirty-five tollar pays.”

“Quite reasonable,” said I. “A nice room. Where do they play?”

“At de—de Deaters, you knows.”

I had naturally inferred as much, but pretended to receive this as a
piece of extraordinary information, and said:

“Ah? Indeed?”

“Yes. Dey gets—lots—great big much—vat you call ’em—vages.”

“O, yes. They get good wages?”

“Yes, von pig much tollars.”

I had my trunk sent to my new quarters, then took a leisurely stroll
through the “City of Pork.” I first called on my friend Major J. P.
Kline, on Sixth street, and before I left him, he made me promise to
accompany him to the theater that night, stating that Proctor was to
play the tragedy of “Virginius,” at the I-forget-the-name-of-it Theater.
I then took a further walk, and in a couple of hours returned to my
lodgings and wrote a letter to an eastern paper, in which I gave a great
deal of valuable information concerning Cincinnati—considering my
limited knowledge of it.

I accompanied my friend to the theater that evening, and saw Proctor
play “Virginius.” He performed his part well; but there was one actor,
of lofty mien, who personated Icilius in the tragedy, and who attracted
my attention and won my admiration more than any other. He was perfectly
majestic. I thought he should have been born a king, at least. He
uttered every word with a loftiness and dignity, and in clear, ringing,
impressive, awe-inspiring tones, that would have graced an emperor.
Every word he uttered he seemed to feel; and whenever he was on the
stage, I fancied I was looking on the genuine Icilius, himself, and on
those real tragic events that occurred in the days of the Decemviri;
instead of a mere representation of them.

Virginius was cheered, applauded, encored; but Icilius more than
“brought down the house.” When _he_ came out with the eloquent and
brilliant passages which it was his office to repeat, the effect was
electrical. The audience was dumb with admiration, and seemed ready to
rise up in the air on the wings of enthusiasm, bear Icilius to the
skies, and have him enrolled among the gods!

That night, on reaching my “apartments” on Plum street, (having loitered
by the way,) I observed that the ground-floor room I mentioned was
lighted, and that its occupants were at home. As I entered the hall and
closed the street-door behind me, I observed that the room-door stood
wide open; and I heard voices within. One of them, who was standing at
the center of the room, adjusting the gas-burner, just then vexedly
exclaimed to his companion:

“Pshaw! Gol-darn it, Bill! Where’s me pipe?”

Wondering if a person so harsh-spoken could be one of the actors
mentioned by the landlady, I involuntarily glanced in, as I walked past
the door toward the hall-stairs. The face of the speaker, who continued
to growl about “me pipe,” was toward the door, and the glare of several
gas-burners shone full upon his visage.

Ye mythic gods! Ye gods, Grecian and Roman! Ye gods, from great Jupiter
down to the nude little cuss with the bow and arrows, inclusive! It was
Icilius! Where now his gallant bearing—his majestic mien—his glittering
armor—his proud helmet—his waving plume—and the burnished sword I had
seen him flourish, as though it were a king’s scepter? Where!! Where,
too, was that noble look of defiance with which he had confronted
Claudius Appius? Where that expression of more than mortal anguish that
had settled upon his god-like face when beautiful Virginia, loved
Virginia, _his_ Virginia, was slain with a butcher-knife by her own
father, to avert dishonor? All gone! Gone!!

“Dash it, then, give me a cigar,” I heard him say, as I passed the door.

He was in his shirt-sleeves, his shirt was unbuttoned at the collar, and
carelessly thrown open to let the air in upon his manly breast, after
his exertion; and, instead of the “raven locks” he had worn that night,
his head was covered with short, stiff, reddish hair—_locks_ not so
easily broken. Still, in his eyes, features, and voice, with all his
change of dress and bearing, I recognized Icilius! “How are the mighty
fallen!” Was it for him I had that night stamped, clapped my hands, and
screamed “Encore?” I felt small, and said, to myself, “Icilius!
I-cili-us! I silly ass! To think how I yelled, cheered, and _encored_
this night for such a worm as thou!” I then went up to my room,
resolving never to applaud an actor again, without knowing him to be a
“star.” It is perfectly safe then, for we seldom see _them_ in

Next day Major Kline and I visited a pleasant resort on the river shore,
several miles above the city, known as “Ohmer’s Zoological Gardens.”
“Pete” Ohmer, the proprietor, was a friend of Major Kline, and he
cheerfully accompanied us through his pleasant grounds, showed us the
numerous animals which he had on exhibition, and explained their
peculiarities. They were all in cages, because some of them were
dangerous, while the others might run away.

He had one “gentle” bear that was a perfect pet, and would fondle upon
one like a dog. (That sentence is ambiguous. I do not mean that he would
fondle upon one who was like unto a dog, (the son of a female dog,) but
that he would fondle in a manner similar to that of that sagacious
animal.) I put my hand in his mouth, and he playfully closed on it with
his excellent teeth, just enough to make the blood come: no more. After
that, I patted him affectionately on the head and left the cage. As I
did so, he left the marks of his teeth on my crutch, and growled a
pleasant “good-by.”

Another cage we visited contained an animal which I thought looked fully
as good-natured as the pet bear.

“What animal is this, Mr. Ohmer?” I asked, as I walked up to the cage,
and was about to thrust my hand through the bars and pat the
gentle-looking creature on the head.

“That is the Cal——Look out! Don’t put your hand in! Were you going to?”

“Yes: he looks so pleasant, and——”

“O, it’s well you didn’t. You think him a good-natured fellow, eh?
That’s what we call a California Tiger. Watch me stir him up, if you
think him a pleasant fellow.”

He picked up an iron rod, thrust it into the cage, between the bars, and
gave the creature, which had the honor to hail from California, an
abrupt poke on the ribs. The result fairly startled me. The animal,
which had appeared as docile as a kitten a moment before, now sprang up,
uttered a growl as fierce as thunder only ten yards distant, displayed a
mouthful of sharp white teeth an inch long, and fastened upon the iron
rod with its savage jaws. At the same time its eyes glared like balls of
fire, and seemed ready to dart out at me. Altogether, the savage
creature looked as though it could bite a man’s leg off without noticing
that there was a bone in it.

“What if you had put your hand in?” said Major Kline.

“It would have bit it off, I suppose,” I returned; “and I couldn’t well
afford to lose it.”

“Yes,” said Pete Ohmer, “he could snap your hand off in a second, and
eat it up; and it would only give him an appetite to eat the rest of

I could not help congratulating myself on my narrow escape, and resolved
never to trust my hand to an unknown animal, merely because I liked its
gentle appearance.

                             CHAPTER XXIX.

                       FALLS CITY AND CAVE CITY.

EARLY in May, I left Cincinnati and went to Louisville, Kentucky, one
hundred and fifty miles down the river. I took passage on a splendid
steamer—one of the finest on the Ohio or Mississippi. The fare was only
two dollars, and each passenger was furnished with two excellent meals
by the way, and a state-room berth when night came. It will naturally be
thought that this was remarkably cheap; and so it was. But it was the
result of competition. “Opposition” boats were at that time running
between Cincinnati and Louisville, and the fare—usually four or five
dollars—had crawled down to two. Certainly “Competition is the life of

This, however, does not quite equal, for extreme consistence, the rates
of fare on the Hudson river boats some years ago, when an “Opposition
line” from New York to Albany was established. The distance from New
York to Albany is about the same as that from Cincinnati to Louisville;
and the fare got lower and lower, at one period, till any weary traveler
could go from New York to Albany—or _vice versa_—for twelve cents—meals
_not_ included. Nor did the freaks of competition end then. One of the
lines, at last, concluding that the difference between twelve cents and
nothing was but a mere trifle, reduced the fare twelve cents, and
carried passengers a week or two for nothing. Not to be outdone, the
other line not only carried all for nothing, but promptly paid each
passenger a premium of six cents for riding from one place to the other.
It will be naturally supposed that they could not make much at such
rates, but it is said that the number of passengers was so great that
they did a better business then than they had done when the fare was
two-and-a-half dollars.

Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky—its population being now
about ninety thousand. It is a great tobacco market, and has some of the
most extensive warehouses, for the storage of that weed, in the United
States. The principal business street in the city is called Main street,
and it is one that would do no discredit to any city. It is wide,
perfectly straight, about four miles long, and is lined with fine large
buildings occupied by merchants. A well-conducted passenger railway is
laid on this street.

Louisville is also called the “Falls City,” because the Ohio river there
takes a considerable fall, so that steamboats, except at high water, are
compelled to pass through a canal with several locks. The Falls of the
Ohio at Louisville, are not abrupt, but extend with a gradual descent,
over two or three miles. Opposite Louisville is the town of
Jeffersonville, Indiana; and three miles below, on the Indiana side, is
the city of New Albany, with a population of about sixteen thousand. Of
course I visited those places.

From Louisville I determined to go on a visit to the celebrated Mammoth
Cave, a very considerable and extraordinary hole in the ground, situated
about half-way between Louisville and Nashville—that is to say, nearly
one hundred miles from each place. I was informed at the Falls City,
that I should take the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and get off at
Cave City, whence I should take a stage for the Mammoth Cave, ten miles
from the railroad.

Leaving my trunk at my hotel in Louisville, I took the five o’clock
evening train, and arrived at Cave City—a small village that isn’t a
city at all—by reasonable bedtime, where I retired to rest for the night
in a good but rather expensive hotel. I was put in a double-bedded room
with another passenger from Louisville, who also intended to visit the
Mammoth Cave next day.

The clerk having conducted us to our room, withdrew from the chamber and
closed the door after him.

“I wonder if there is a lock on the door?” said my companion.

“There ought to be,” I replied. “We should secure it by some means, at
all events.”

“Yes,” he remarked, “I always make it a rule, when traveling, to see
that every thing is secure.—Yes, here is a lock and bolt,” he said, as
he walked to the door and examined it. He turned the key and shot the
bolt. “Are you going to the Cave to-morrow?”

“Yes, that is my object.”

“Did you come on the train from Louisville?”

“Yes; did you?”

“Yes, I too. I am from Missouri: and you?”—

“I am from Pennsylvania.”

“Were you engaged in the war?”


“Federal side, I suppose.”

“Yes; and were you also—”


“Exactly. Well, we are fellow-citizens and countrymen once more, and let
us congratulate each other that the strife is over. If you are going in
the stage in the morning, we will be traveling companions, and, I am
sure, will prove agreeable to each other, notwithstanding that we have
been fighting in opposing armies, and possibly shooting at each other.”

“I agree with you,” he replied, “and was about to make such a remark
myself. True soldiers never carry animosities home with them, when the
contest on the field is over.”

My Confederate companion was a young man of prepossessing appearance,
twenty-five or twenty-six years of age, intelligent, affable and polite;
and, as the lamp was extinguished and we retired to our respective beds
in opposite corners of the room, I congratulated myself on my prospect
of having an agreeable companion to join me in my visit to the Mammoth
Cave on the morrow. Nor was I mistaken. My new acquaintance proved to be
all that he appeared—a perfect gentleman.

With a confidence I seldom feel while a stranger is sleeping in the same
room with me, I fell asleep, and enjoyed a good night’s rest, after my
ride on the train from Louisville.

                              CHAPTER XXX.


NEXT morning, having taken breakfast, we got into the coach, and
departed for the Mammoth Cave, which we reached after a not unpleasant
ride of ten miles, over a hilly and wooded country. It was one of the
pleasantest days of the year, and the conversation between my companion
and myself was of such an agreeable nature, that when we reached the
hotel near the cave, I fancied we had scarcely traveled half-a-dozen
miles. The length of time we had been on the road, however, indicated
that we must have traveled fully ten miles. It was about ten o’clock.

We each paid two dollars for the services of a guide; and the latter
providing three lanterns, and some combustible material for temporary
lights at certain particular points, accompanied us into a deep valley
near by: and in this valley, in so obscure a place as to be almost hid
from the eyes of men, we found the entrance to the renowned Mammoth

It is not my intention to give a general description of it. Many a
graphic account of the great cave has been furnished by tourists; and
yet, as in the case of Niagara Falls, no one has ever given an adequate
description, and no one can form any proper conception of it without
having seen it. However, I’ll mention a point or two that may prove
interesting or amusing to the “gentle reader.”

Once within the cave,—which we entered without striking our “brows” on
the overhanging rocks at the entrance, where a little cascade sings away
its happy life—the guide lighted the three lamps he carried. It is
customary to give one to each visitor, on entering the cave; but as I
could not have carried one conveniently, the guide, having given one to
my Confederate friend, carried two himself.

We then walked on, following a straight and narrow passage for a quarter
of a mile; by which time we began to feel quite independent of the sun.
It would be natural to suppose that dampness would predominate in this
cave, but such is not the case. On the contrary, quite the opposite
state of things prevails. Except near the subterranean streams, the
cave, both over-head and under-foot, is as dry as one could wish the
paper on which he writes—and you know that isn’t sloppy.

The temperature of the atmosphere within the cave, at all seasons of the
year, is about fifty-nine degrees; and chemists have decided that the
air is purer there than without—that it contains a far less proportion
of carbonic acid gas.

The first point to which the guide respectfully directed our
attention—for he was very polite—was a place called the “Rotunda,”
situated at the first turn of the passage—or rather at the junction of
this passage with another running off toward the left, nearly at a right
angle. The “ceiling” of this “Rotunda”—so-called from its resemblance to
the interior of a dome—is about one hundred feet high, and eighty feet
in diameter. Over the floor are still strewn some of the wooden pipes,
used by the miners in 1812, at which time saltpeter was taken from the
cave in large quantities.

Turning to the left, we soon passed a small stone hut, and, somewhat
surprised, we asked the guide what it meant to see a building thus far
under ground, half-a-mile from the light of the sun.

“That,” said he, “and another similar one, which we shall soon pass,
were built ten or fifteen years ago, for residences for consumptive
patients, who, it was thought, would be benefited by the mild and
regular temperature of the air.”

“And is it possible that any came in here to live, and thus shut
themselves up from the light of day,” I asked.

“Yes,” returned the guide, “a number tried the experiment.”

“And with what result?” asked my companion.

“Not a very satisfactory one. Several of them died in here, and never
saw the sun again; while nearly all who lived to be taken out, died
within a week or two after. When they reached the light again, it was
discovered that all their eyes were perfectly black, no matter what
their original color had been.”

This fact, my friend and I silently doubted; but subsequent inquiry
convinced us that it was true. Any person who desires black eyes can
acquire them by a residence of a few months in the Mammoth Cave. If any
of my lady readers are afflicted with eyes of celestial blue, and are
tired of them, they can have them promptly dyed black by taking
apartments for three months in the Mammoth Cave. I don’t advise them to
do it, though, for I—John Smith is but mortal—have a weakness for blue
eyes that I cannot overcome.

A few hundred yards from the Rotunda, the passage widens out into a
spacious apartment, styled the “Methodist Church.” It is so-called
because a congregation of Methodists used to hold “divine services”
there. A good idea; for if they _were_ a little noisy in their
adorations, they did not disturb any one; and their prayers could as
easily ascend through the two hundred feet of earth above them, as
through a slate roof, with a tall spire to point out the way.

A little further on we saw a huge rock which had evidently at some time
or other fallen from above—I mean from the roof of the cave—which, to
look at it from a certain position, is a most perfect semblance of a
coffin. It is termed the “Giant’s Coffin,” as the guide informed us. It
is forty feet long, twenty feet wide and eight feet deep. It would make
a good sarcophagus to bury some great politician in, some day.

Just beyond, the guide called our attention to some huge figures on the
ceiling above. They represented the outlines of several persons of
immense size. He informed us that they were styled the “Giant, his Wife
and Child;” and I just wondered, but didn’t ask him, if they were to be
put in the “Giant’s Coffin,” when they should die? These figures had
been formed by some dark substance that had apparently oozed from the
rocky roof.

Soon after passing them, we emerged into another spacious apartment,
called the “Star Chamber.” It is so called, because the ceiling, which
is there of a dark hue, is covered with white spots; and when we gazed
upon it for a moment, in the meager light of the lanterns, it looked
like the mighty heavens studded with stars.

“Now,” said the guide, “sit down on those rocks there a little while,
and I will take all the lamps and retire into a recess, where you cannot
see a single beam of them. You can then see what perfect darkness is.”

We sat down, and the guide, taking all the lamps, walked away, descended
into a kind of pit, and disappeared in a small sub-cavern; and every ray
of light soon vanished. The darkness was indeed perfect; and it occurred
to me that if a man intended to remain in such a position, he might as
well have his eyes sewed up and covered with black sealing-wax.

Neither my companion nor myself spoke. The darkness was so absolute, and
the silence so profound that strange thoughts came into my head. I
thought of the busy world without—fancied I saw the thronging multitudes
of all the cities and towns of the globe; and the moving men and women
scattered over the broad land; the ships with their crews, tossing about
over the breasts of the great oceans; and I asked myself: “Does the eye
of the great unknown, incomprehensible, Almighty Being who created and
who governs the Universe, take note of all these, and still peer into
this silent and secret place?”

“There is a light!” exclaimed my companion, after a minute or so of
black darkness and grave-like silence.

Silence? No—all the while I had heard the beating of my own heart,
although I was almost unconscious of it as I sat musing, and the very
absence of sound caused a singular imaginary ringing in my ears that I
had never experienced before.

I looked and saw our guide approaching from a different direction. He
had traversed a small passage not known to visitors, and emerged from it
some forty yards distant.

“Now, gentlemen,” said the guide, when he reached us again, “I am ready
to accompany you further.”

“I presume we will see the ‘Bottomless Pit,’ by and by,” observed my
Confederate friend, as we arose.

“Yes,” returned the guide, while we walked on. “That is a mile from
here. We will pass over it.”

“And the river Styx,” said I—“where is it?”

“About two miles from here,” responded the guide.

The _nonchalance_ with which the guide would speak of miles of distance
in the cave was very remarkable. He would say of such and such a point,
“Why, that is two-and-a-half (or three or five, as the case might be,)
miles from here,” just the same as one in the outside world would say,
“You will find the Cross-roads about two miles from here;” or, “The
village is just four miles distant.” I remember his once telling us that
some point—I forget what—was “five miles from here.” Five miles
underground! Think of it. However, that is not the extreme. Persons who
go in to spend the whole day, travel as far as nine miles from the
entrance. We only went three or four miles from the entrance that day,
but we visited a great many intermediate passages, _etc._; so that we
probably traveled ten miles in the aggregate.

In half-an-hour, after having seen many curiosities by the way, we
reached the celebrated “Bottomless Pit.” Much curiosity regarding this
pit prevails among those who have only heard it spoken of: therefore, I
will remark that its very name is a contradiction in terms. A pit, in
order to be _bottomless_, must have no bottom at all; but this pit has
one bottom, in a very good state of preservation, and, therefore, cannot
be bottomless. If the word _bottomless_ is an adjective of the
comparative order, I would say of the “Bottomless Pit;” “There are no
doubt bottomlesser pits in the world than it is, but it is the
bottomlessest pit I ever saw.”

Directly over the Pit is constructed a wooden bridge, which—for every
thing is named there—is called the “Bridge of Sighs.” It might be termed
the “Bridge of rather small Size,” for it is not much wider than a
darkey’s foot.

We stepped upon this structure—which the guide assured us was perfectly
safe—and stood directly over the center of the yawning pit. While we
stood there he lighted a piece of peculiar paper he carried with him for
the purpose, and dropped it from the bridge. Away it went, glaring,
flaring, blazing, fluttering, down, down, down, till it reached the
bottom of the pit that has no bottom. I do not mean to make light of
it—in fact, it is too dark and gloomy to be made _light_ of—for it is
grand and terrible even as it is. Its depth is probably one hundred and
fifty feet. It is round, like a well, and about twenty feet in diameter.
Water a few inches deep stands silently on the bottom, and the loose
stones—probably such as have been cast down from time to time—can be
seen peeping above the surface.

The guide showed us another pit called “Side-saddle Pit”—so named
because to see into it one must thrust his head through a small
aperture, the lower part of which is in shape very similar to a
side-saddle. This pit is very little wider than an ordinary well, and
is, we were informed, more than one hundred feet deep.

Not far from this we arrived at a wide place in the subterraneous
passage called “Revelers’ Hall;” because it is customary for visitors to
stop there awhile, rest from their rambles and drink each other’s, or
somebody else’s health—if they have anything to drink it with. I
happened to have about my person somewhere—say in the breast pocket of
my coat, for example—a willow-encased receptacle containing a strong
unmixed toddy, without water or sugar. I produced it, and my companion,
the guide and I imbibed all our healths, the healths of all other
visitors, the healths of distant friends, the health of the owner, and
finally of the Cave itself, with all its curiosities and wonders. If I
had thought of it at the time, I would, moreover, have proposed Horne
Tooke’s regular after-dinner sentiment: “All kings in h—l; the door
locked, _the key lost_!”

We soon after visited the river “Styx,” which, unlike the Styx of
mythology, we can cross without arriving in Erebus. We went over it on a
natural bridge of rock, with a single arch through which the dark river
flows, and found the other shore about the same as this—either being
gloomy enough to represent Erebus, on a small scale. We descended to the
water’s edge on the opposite shore, and embarked in a small boat, which
the guide propelled with a long pole, and rode a few hundred yards on
the bosom of the awful stream. As we went gliding along through those
gloomy passages that frown in everlasting silence, our figures barely
seen in the dim light of the lamps, and the black walls grumbling at
each sound, and echoing it back and forth, I thought that nothing in the
depths of the earth could be more like the fabled mythic river over
which Charon ferries his passengers to Hades. Certainly, the
subterranean stream could not have been more appropriately named.

In some places we passed under dark arches that hovered over us so
closely that they seemed ready to close upon us and crush us in their
dismal grasp; and in other places we passed through narrow passages
where there was no path on either shore, and we were hemmed in on both
sides by perpendicular walls of sombre rock. The stream is from twenty
to fifty feet wide, and is not very deep, except in some noted places.
The guide assured us that it is inhabited by fish without eyes. I have
heard doubts expressed on this point, but there can be no reasonable
doubt about it. In fact, why should they need eyes there? What material
eye could penetrate the awful gloom?

While gliding leisurely down the dusky river, the guide struck up a
song; and whether his voice was sonorous or not, or the words beautiful,
I thought I had never heard anything sound so majestically musical. The
dim dark walls took up the words and echoed them again and again; and
they rolled along the passages, like half-tamed thunder, and returned to
us again from remote pits and recesses.

O, what’s the use for humble John Smith to attempt to describe those
scenes of awful and gloomy grandeur! Let me desist, and escort the
reader from the grandly dismal labyrinths, the yawning pits and frowning
recesses, to the bright day again! As we go toward the entrance I will
mention a few other things that I saw. The guide conducted us into an
avenue—I forgot what he called it: some “arcade,” I think—which was
adorned with innumerable stalactites and stalagmites, and many grand
columns that seemed placed there to support the ceiling, which had been
formed by the meeting and blending together of stalactites and
stalagmites. The stalactites form like icicles. They are carbonate of
lime, _i. e._, limestone. The carbonate of lime, mingled with some other
chemical substance, has oozed from the ceiling, and, as the other
substance leaves, it hardens into suspending columns, as water freezes
into icicles when the cold air carries away the caloric from it.

In one place, four columns arise in a kind of cluster, so that one can
stand among them. They constitute what is termed the “Altar.” The guide
told us that a marriage ceremony was once performed there. A young lady
had promised her mother during the latter’s dying moments, that she
would “never get married on top o’ ground;” but as time rolled on, and
the dear creature concluded that it was not good to be alone, she and
her “intended,” accompanied by a minister, entered the Mammoth Cave,
repaired to this novel place, and were married _under_ ground.
Literally, she kept her promise, but scarcely in spirit. It looked like
“whipping the—’ould one—round the stump.” I do not censure her, though;
nor should I, even if she had got married on the “cloud-capped” crest of
Mount Hood; for, “a bad promise is better broken than kept.”

It was three o’clock when we emerged from the cave, and experienced the
blinding influence of suddenly returning daylight. Without delay we
repaired to the hotel and took dinner—for which we had acquired a good
appetite—then got into a coach and returned to Cave City. My Confederate
friend wanted to travel into Tennessee, and cordially bidding me good-by
at Cave City, he left on an evening train. I had to wait till twelve
o’clock for a train northward; and I passed the interim very agreeably,
playing “All-fours” with an ugly gentleman who wore spectacles, and
begged on three trumps.

Although this work is no “Traveler’s Guide,” as I have mildly insinuated
before, I will favor the reader with a tabular statement of the cost of
visiting the Mammoth Cave, making Louisville the starting-point:

       From Louisville to Cave City,                        $4.00
       Supper at Cave City,                                  1.00
       Night’s repose at Cave City,                          1.00
       Breakfast at Cave City,                               1.00
       Coach from Cave City to Mammoth Cave,                 2.00
       For guide, (paid to proprietor,)                      2.00
       Trifle presented to guide as mark of esteem,          1.00
       Dinner at Mammoth Cave Hotel,                         1.00
       Coach back to Cave City,                              2.00
       Supper at Cave City,                                  1.00
       Playing “All-fours” with ugly gent. for lemonade,     1.00
       Train back to Louisville,                             4.00
       Incidentals,                                          5.00
       Other incidentals,                                    2.00

That was what it cost me, and I’ll venture to say that anyone, by being
economical, can visit the Mammoth Cave from Louisville for the same

                             CHAPTER XXXI.

                            THE NIGHTINGALE.

IN the course of my stay in Louisville, I had the pleasure of an
introduction to George D. Prentice, Esquire, the well-known editor of
the Louisville Journal; and I found him as agreeable and good-natured as
he is witty. He was engaged in writing a scathing article denunciatory
of Parson Brownlow, at the time my friend and I entered his sanctum, and
was in excellent spirits.

Perhaps no one of the many who have heard of the witty journalist, and
read his writings, but have never seen him, has ever formed any correct
impression of his personal appearance. He is quite homely, does not look
half as bright as he really is, is noble-hearted, kind, affable, polite,
and exhibits a partiality for grain products in a liquid form, at all
seasons of the year. But this is nobody’s business but his own.

About the middle of May, or a little later, perhaps, I took passage on
the steamer Nightingale, for Saint Louis. The steamer was a stern-wheel
one, pretty well loaded, and did not make very fast time; but the
weather was delightful, every thing on board was comfortable and
pleasant, and, as I was in no hurry, I could not have complained if the
journey had occupied a week.

Fellow passengers on board a steamer soon make themselves acquainted
with each other, and I had not been aboard twenty-four hours before the
faces of all were as familiar to me as though I had known them for
years. With but few exceptions they were agreeable persons. The captain
was a handsome man of twenty-eight or thirty, and one glance at him was
enough to convince any one that he was a true gentleman. All the
_attaches_ of the boat, including the bartender and porter, were just
what they should be.

Among the passengers was a fellow of twenty-seven or twenty-eight, who
called himself a Doctor. He told me he was from New York, and was going
to Saint Louis to establish a practice for himself.

“I don’t care,” said he, “whether I am successful at first or not. I
have five thousand dollars in my pocket, and that will keep me a year or
so without my doing much. By that time, I’ll get myself worked into a
practice, no doubt.”

“Certainly,” I agreed.

He was not a fine-looking man, but he was obviously a vain fool, and one
whom I thought I should not like to trust further than I could throw a
comet by the tail. Every one called him “Doctor,” and he seemed to like
it. I will say more of him by and by.

The sharer of my state-room—he occupied the lower berth—was a venerable
man of eighty years, a native of Missouri. He was a man of finished
education, and, by profession, a physician. He and I were so much
pleased with each other, that we have since corresponded; and I have
found his acquaintance truly edifying, as well as agreeable. His name
was Crele.

Dr. Crele told me a sad tale of his troubles in Missouri during the war.
He resided in Lafayette county, of that State, where old feuds held
carnival during the desolating civil war. He had taken no part in the
contest, in any way, he told me; and he said that his nearest and best
friend on earth had lately been an only son of thirty years—whom he
pictured to me as all that was manly, noble, pure, honorable, and worthy
of a parent’s fond affection. This son, he said, had studied for the
ministry, had acquired a rare education, and, like himself, had taken no
part in the war. But one bitter night, when he himself was seriously
ill, and his son was sitting by his bedside, a party of armed men,
headed by an old enemy of his family, abruptly burst into his house, and
shot down that son—the last prop of his old age. One of the reckless and
deluded men was going to shoot him, as he lay in bed, but another
interrupted him, saying:

“Never mind the old white-headed reprobate. It isn’t worth while. He’ll
soon die, anyhow.”

So, sparing him a few dim years of bitterness, they ransacked the house,
carried off all the valuables they could find, damaged much of the
furniture, set the building on fire, and departed. The flames were
extinguished by friendly neighbors, who came to his assistance, and who
lifted up from a pool of blood the lifeless form of his son.

There were tears in the old man’s eyes as he told me this; and no
wonder. His hair was white, his hand trembled, and his step was unsteady
with age. He must have felt alone in the world.

I will not state which cause the villains professed to be attached to,
who murdered the Doctor’s son, and left him a blank and desolate old
age. There were wrongs and outrages committed on both sides during the
war. No reasonable person will fail to admit this. A civil war gives a
horrible license to bad men; and God forbid that our land should ever be
blighted by another.

Gambling was not allowed on board the Nightingale, but there was a good
deal of euchre-playing, for amusement, during the voyage. At Evansville,
Indiana, a flourishing town of eight thousand inhabitants, we landed for
half-an-hour, and, while there, several passengers came aboard; among
them was a well-dressed young man, with what I considered a bad
countenance. He had cold, gray, almost expressionless “windows” for his
“soul,” to look out at, a smooth, beardless face, and a mouth with an
unusually crescent-like shape.

This person had not been aboard very long—in fact, the boat had barely
backed away from the landing and begun to move on down the river, when
he suggested to a green-looking fellow that they should get up “a little
four-handed game of euchre—just for amusement.” Mr. Greeney assented;
and inducing two other passengers to join them, they began to while away
the time, as we glided down the river, “passing,” “taking it up,”
“turning it down,” “ordering it up,” “assisting”, “making it,” “going it
alone,” and the like. If I remember correctly, Mr. Greeney and Mr.
Sharper—I take the liberty of providing these names for them—were

Well, a game was played through, pleasantly enough, and another
commenced: and, by and by, it was Mr. Sharper’s deal, for the third
time. There is something magical about that number _three_. “The third
time is the charm,” it is said. The third time a man does any particular
thing, something unusual is sure to happen. This was no exception.

“My hand would be a good one if we were playing poker,” observed Mr.
Sharper, carelessly, as he took up his cards.

I chanced to be standing behind Mr. Greeney at the moment, and lo! as he
picked up his cards, he, too, held no trifling poker hand: four kings
and a seven spot.

“I myself,” said Mr. Greeney, “haven’t a bad hand on poker.”

“A pity we’re not playing it then,” Mr. Sharper lazily rejoined. “Well,
what will you do?” He addressed this pointed inquiry to the player on
his left.

“I pass,” replied the latter.

“I pass.” said Mr. Greeney.

“I pass,” repeated the player on Mr. Greeney’s left and Mr. Sharper’s

“I turn it down,” said Mr. Sharper, adroitly whirling the face of the
trump card downward. “Who will make it?”

“I won’t,” said the player on his left.

“I won’t,” said Mr. Greeney. “But—but—”

“Well, what is it?” said Mr. Sharper, in a tone barely tinged with

“Why,” rejoined Mr. Greeney, with a frankness that spoke better for his
heart than his head, “I just wish it was poker!”

“Why?” asked Mr. Sharper.

“Because, I’d bet some—”

“Well,” suggested Mr. Sharper, with a careless yawn, “we might get up a
little bet on our hands, anyhow, just to pass away the time. I’ve felt
dull for the last half-hour, I’d risk something on my hand, if I were
_sure_ of losing. But I warn you, it is not a bad hand. Have you all any
thing like poker hands? Come: a pair of deuces——”

“I haven’t,” said his left-hand man, interrupting him.

“Nor I,” said his left-hand-man’s partner, who sat on his right.

“Well, darned if _I_ haven’t, though,” said Mr. Greeney.

“Have you, really?” responded Mr. Sharper. “Well, I’ll bet five dollars
on my hand, win or lose.” And he carelessly threw upon the table a
crumpled five-dollar bill, which he took from his vest pocket.

Mr. Greeney got a little excited at this demonstration, laid his cards
on the table, faces downwards, of course, thrust his hand deep into his
right-hand trousers pocket, and nervously drew forth his pocketbook.

“I’ll cover your five dollars, and go five dollars better,” he said,
with firmness, as he laid down a ten-dollar bill.

Who wouldn’t have ventured something on four kings—next to the best hand
in the pack—that had thus come out by chance, while playing euchre for

“You do?” said Mr. Sharper, glancing up and down the cabin. “Now, the
captain wouldn’t allow—however, he isn’t about. I didn’t think of
risking more than five dollars, but I guess you are trying to bluff me.
I’ll not back out. Here’s fifteen dollars more, and that makes the bet
twenty.” And he produced the amount specified.

“Ten dollars better still,” said Mr. Greeney, promptly, as he laid down
twenty dollars. It was quite clear he had played poker before.

Mr. Sharper hesitated. “Thirty dollars,” said he. “I—no, confound
it!—I’ll put fifty on the top of it, and that’s all I _will_
risk!—No—or, yes; I’ve said it now, and will stick to it. It won’t make
me a bankrupt, if I _do_ lose.” Thereupon, he produced three
twenty-dollar bills and laid them on the table—making the bet eighty

“I call you,” said Mr. Greeney, eagerly, as he counted out five
ten-dollar bills and threw them down upon the table.

“_Four aces_,” said Mr. Sharper, as he smilingly displayed the hateful
four that can’t be beat. “What have _you_?”

What could he have, in a case of that kind?

“Only four kings! Darn the luck!” poor Mr. Greeney exclaimed, in
unfeigned vexation. Then he said, “Pshaw!” “The deuce on it!” “I’ll
be!——” and several other words, better and worse; while Mr. Sharper,
with a calmness, complacence and benignity that one could not but
admire, raked down the “pile,” and stowed it away in his pocket.

“Well, whose deal is it?” said Mr. Sharper, who seemed to devote no
further thought to the trifle he had won.

They finished that game of euchre—for amusement—then Mr. Greeney, with a
most extraordinary expression of countenance, arose from his seat at the
table, and, in a rather husky voice, said he believed he wouldn’t play
any more: he seemed to have lost all interest in the game: and he walked
away _whistling_.

Whistling? Yes. But, O, what a dull, dry sort of a whistle he made of
it! The sudden loss of eighty dollars is not very elevating to the
spirits of a person in moderate circumstances; and who can say what the
poor dupe suffered? Notwithstanding all his attempts to appear
unconcerned, and to emit a forced whistle, it was plain that he was
suffering no ordinary mental torture.

How remarkable it is, that when a man feels right bad, and don’t want
the fact made public, he tries to turn it off with _whistling_! There
seems to be something soothing in a strain or two of this species of
music, if only executed with any skill; but a man who is suffering
inward “pangs” can rarely get the right “pucker” on his lips. Poor Mr.
Greeney made a miserable whistle of it, and if he had wept aloud for his
lost cash, he could not have more clearly exhibited his anguish to the
unsympathizing spectators.

The game being ended, Mr. Sharper purchased a good cigar at the bar,
lighted it, and, taking an armchair out upon the cabin deck, seated
himself, rested his polished boots on the railing, and laid back in his
chair, quietly smoking, and at the same time regarding the picturesque
shores of the river, with a calmness and self-satisfaction that must
have been agonizing for poor Mr. Greeney to look at.

When the Captain learned what had happened in the cabin, he went to Mr.
Sharper, and told him he must leave the boat at Cairo, as soon as a
landing could be conveniently effected, as he could not tolerate a
gambler on his boat.

Mr. Sharper coolly replied that he had not intended to go further than
Cairo, anyhow; but, if he had——

The Captain interrupted him with a friendly warning against any thing
bordering on defiance or insolence. He remarked that he had not picked a
blackleg or thief up by the neck and heels, and pitched him into the
river, for nearly a year, and that he was beginning to feel marvelously
like taking a bit of such exercise; and that he would assuredly do so,
if so much as one more articulate sound should escape him (Mr. Sharper).
The latter appreciated the warning, and during the remainder of his stay
on board the Nightingale, maintained a commendable silence.

At Cairo, where the Ohio river empties into the Mississippi, we landed,
and laid for a couple of hours before proceeding up the broad
Mississippi; and Mr. Sharper promptly left us.

Cairo is a city of about twelve thousand inhabitants, and but for the
unhealthy nature of the low country surrounding, it would eventually
become one of the greatest cities of the Mississippi Valley. Its
geographic location is one of the best in the country, being, as it is,
at the junction of two noble rivers. But in that vicinity, the land is
so low that it becomes inundated for many miles around; so that the air,
especially in the summer season, becomes fraught with miasma. Cairo
itself is built on very low ground, and but for the high levee, that
stands as a perpetual sentinel before the gates of the city, the river
would be continually staring in at all the doors and windows in the
place. Even the levee is overflowed sometimes, and the streets become
navigable for boats of moderate size.

I went up to a periodical store, on the principal street, and purchased
several newspapers of a late date. Among them was a Louisville Journal;
and, on casting my eye over it, what was my astonishment to run across a
very flattering notice of myself, which Mr. Prentice had inserted. It
stated that “J. Smith, Esquire, the celebrated author and poet, who had
lost a limb in the civil war, was making a tour of the Western States;
had honored both him and the Mammoth Cave with a visit, and had just
departed for Saint Louis, on board the steamer Nightingale!!!”

This really alarmed me, and I fancied that every one who looked at me
recognized me as the redoubtable John Smith, the “celebrated author and
poet,” who was “making a tour of the Western States.”

Fearing that some enthusiastic demonstration might be made by the
citizens of Cairo, who had probably read of my approach, and that I
might be called upon for a speech—and I hadn’t as much as the framework
of one ready—I hastily returned to the boat, and shut myself up in my
stateroom, and did not sally forth again till the Nightingale was
steaming gallantly up the Mississippi.

Nothing worthy of note occurred during our voyage up the river, except
that the mosquitoes tormented us in a style entirely new to me. They
were about the first crop of the season, fresh and vigorous, and they
attacked the boat in numbers amounting to millions of millions. O, the
misery of that night! How the little fiends tormented me! Warm as it
was, I shut myself up almost air-tight in my stateroom and tried to defy
them. I thought I would rather be smothered to death than eaten up
alive. But even there, they found me. They came in through the keyhole,
in two ranks, military order, and at once began the attack. I fought
bravely, but it was of no use. Faster than I could cut them down, they
received reinforcements through the keyhole—while, to utterly dishearten
me, and drive me to despair, I could hear myriads of them still without,
knocking at the door, and impatiently waiting their respective turns to
file in at the key-hole and drink some of me.

I could not stand it. I opened the back door and fled—fled to the cabin
deck—to the hurricane deck—to the boiler deck—up stairs and down—and
down and up—and back and forth, and forth and back half crazed—I knew
not, cared not, where! I had half a mind to jump into the river, and
take refuge from these and my other woes in the bosom of the Father of
Waters—but didn’t.

They pursued me everywhere; some of them, I believe, went in advance of
me, to be ready to meet me at any new point I should flee to. My eyes,
ears, mouth, nose, cheeks, chin, neck, hands and wrists were covered
with them; and, while thus tormenting me, they sang musically in my
ears, even as Nero played “Hail Columbia, happy land!” on a banjo, while
Rome was burning. O, the agonies of that night! The thundering cannon of
battle, the shrieking shell, the hissing bullet, and glistening bayonet,
are mere toys compared with these fiendish tormentors! How I ever got
through the night I cannot remember distinctly. It seems like a kind of
long-continued dream to me. I have a vague recollection of standing at
the bar and asking the bar-tender if he had “anything calculated to keep
the mosquitoes away?” This scene recurs to me as having been repeated
several times that night; but I think it only originated in the imagery
of delirium—for I must have grown delirious.

The next night, for some reason, they “let up” on us a little, and I got
some sleep; and early on the second morning after leaving Cairo, we
arrived at the “Mound City,” Saint Louis, the chief city of the
Mississippi Valley. It was a charming morning, not too warm, and leaving
my trunk on board, I walked up into the city for the purpose of securing
lodgings for a month. Before I did so, the passengers had all bid each
other good-by, and were beginning to go their different ways, wondering
if any two of us should ever meet again.

My aged companion bade me a cordial farewell, and took passage on the
steamer “Post Boy,” bound up the Missouri river.

The vain _young_ “Doctor,” whom I have mentioned, went to the Southern
Hotel—one of the grandest and most aristocratic in the country—and
registered his name, stating that he would remain a couple of weeks.
That I may not be troubled to speak again of so worthless a fellow, I
will here state, that, a week after, I met another fellow-passenger in
Saint Louis, who told me that the “Doctor” had stayed four days at the
Southern Hotel, and then absconded without paying his bill. This most
pretentious and presumptuous of the passengers of the Nightingale,
proved to be an unworthy loafer and a base fraud. Such is life!

                             CHAPTER XXXII.


WE had landed at the foot of Pine street, which I followed directly up
into the city. I was just about to cross Third street, when my attention
was irresistibly attracted to a very beautiful girl of eighteen, who
came walking down Third, on the lower side, and turned to cross and go
up Pine street but a few feet in advance of me. I was just thinking how
happy a man her husband would be, in case she should ever take it into
her head to get one, when, as she reached the opposite corner, a man
standing in the door of a periodical store near the corner, called to
his dog, which had strayed across the street. The dog was a fine, large,
sleek, spotted, good-natured, intelligent-looking fellow, dressed in a
burnished brass collar. He wore a pleasant smile on his sagacious face,
and looked as though he wouldn’t harm a flea that was biting him. With
all the ready obedience of the faithful animal, he came bounding toward
his master just as the young lady in question arrived opposite the door.
It appeared that she had not observed the owner of the dog, or heard him
call to his property; and seeing the animal come bouncing toward her,
she naturally imagined that the sagacious creature was “going for”
her—and how did she know but that he was afflicted with chronic
hydrophobia? On the impulse of the moment, she uttered a musical scream,
whirled around to rush back across Third street, and came in direct
contact with me. It was so sudden, and unexpected, that the shock came
near knocking me down under a cart-wheel as the heavy vehicle went
jogging by, near the curbstone; and, to make the matter worse, she
slipped on a bit of orange-rind, and we came near falling down together,
all mixed up. To prevent this catastrophe, I instinctively clasped her
waist in my encircling arms, while she, on the spur of the moment, threw
her plump arms confidingly around my manly neck! And there we stood, at
one of the most public street-corners of Saint Louis, unconsciously
embracing, like two gentle lovers that hadn’t seen each other for a
month of Sundays.


  “It was so sudden and unexpected.”—_Page 235._

“O!—O!—O-o-oo-oo!” she exclaimed; “excuse me! I was so afraid of that

“He shall not hurt you,” I gallantly replied, as I released her from my
protecting arms, and picked up my cane, which had fallen in the

“I declare!” she said, blushing confusedly,—I have always thought this
was because she perceived that I was young and handsome—“I might have
pushed you over! I’m sorry! Did I hurt you?”

“O, no!” I replied warmly, wondering at the same time whether she meant
she was _sorry_ she hadn’t pushed me over; “I was only anxious on _your_
account. I am happy that it was my privilege to save you from falling,
when you slipped.”

“Thank you; but it wouldn’t have hurt _me_. If _you_ had fallen,
though—and you—you”—

She was going to allude to the trifling circumstance that I lacked one
of the usual number of legs, but, with some delicacy, hesitated.

“O, it wouldn’t have hurt me,” I said, coming to her relief; “there
isn’t so much of me to fall now and I, therefore, don’t fall so hard as

As we were both going up Pine street, we walked on, side by side, and I
had the pleasure of her company for four squares. We walked slowly, too.
I could have walked four hundred squares, if she had kept on; but when
we reached Seventh street, she told me she lived just around the corner.
Thereupon, we bade each other an affectionate farewell and parted.

I crossed Seventh street and walked about half way to Eighth, when,
thinking that the young lady had had time to get out of sight, I
retraced my steps. After I had gone a little way below Seventh, I
descried a card on a door, containing the following notice:

                       “FURNISHED ROOMS TO LET.”

I rang the door-bell, was soon shown in, and, stating that I desired a
lodging-room for three or four weeks, was shown a neat, well-furnished
room on the second floor, which the landlady said was worth five dollars
a week, and would be very suitable for a gentleman and wife. I stated
that I would occupy it alone, gave the landlady twenty dollars for four
weeks’ possession of the room, then went down to the boat and sent my
trunk up by an express wagon.

I was again walking up Pine street, and once more crossing Third, when
some one tapped me on the shoulder, and a voice behind me exclaimed,

“Why, Smith! is this you?”

I turned, stating that it was—for I never ignored my proud name—and
beheld a familiar face. It was that of one whom I had known when a boy,
but had not seen for some years. His history is somewhat remarkable.
When I knew him in my youth, he was a young man of twenty years, and
quite proverbial for his piety. He was often pointed out, to the
profligate youth of the village I lived in, as a shining example of
Christianity, and he was, in truth—or seemed—so sober, honest, and good,
as to put ordinary young fellows to shame, by comparison.

His name was Albert Hague. His occupation was that of salesman in a
dry-goods store; and such confidence did he ever command, that his
employers trusted him implicitly with everything about their stores—safe
keys, cash accounts, and the like. By and by, however, much to the
astonishment and amazement of all who knew him, he actually stole ten
thousand dollars from his employer, and absconded. From that time forth,
nothing, to my knowledge, had been heard of him in the old neighborhood;
and this was the man I unexpectedly met in Saint Louis.

“Why, Bert!” I exclaimed, shaking hands with him—for I was truly glad to
meet any familiar face in a strange city—“is this you? Where do you come

“I am living here,” he said. “I saw you crossing the street, and did not
know whether to hail you or not. I fancied that, after what you know of
me, you would not speak to me.”

“Then you do not know me,” I replied. “You never injured me, if you did
commit a grievous offense. It is a great mistake to cast every one down
as soon as he commits an error. It is no way to recover him. It only
discourages him, and renders him indifferent about reforming.—I have
just hired a room on Pine street. Come with me, and tell me all about

We walked up Pine street, and were soon sitting in my room. There he
told me all that had happened to him. He had eluded the law, and fled
with his ill-gotten ten thousand dollars to California, where, he said,
he saw no rest, day or night. He declared that when I knew him as a
pious young man, he was all that he appeared to be; but said that, by
and by, he began to be tempted to take advantage of the excellent
opportunity he had to acquire a large amount of money; and, in an evil
moment, yielded.

He did not remain in California three weeks, he said, before his
conscience compelled him to return to Pennsylvania and restore the
ill-gotten cash to its owner; which, he said, he had recently done.

He had now determined, he remarked, never to yield to temptation again,
and was resolved to atone for the past by a future life of integrity and
uprightness; he now had a position as salesman in a wholesale house in
Saint Louis, and was doing well. He gave me the name of the house, and
asked me to call and see him. He remarked that he could freely confide
in one who had so readily overlooked his former disgrace.

I replied that, as a matter of course, it would injure him for his
employers to know his past history, that I believed he was sincere in
his good resolution, and that he need not feel apprehensive that I
should ever cast a stumbling-block in his way.

The strictly “pious,” with the blindness that too often characterizes
them, may censure me for not warning his employers; but let them do so.
Do they think, that when a man commits one crime, he is necessarily
lost, forever? Suppose I should have regarded it as a duty to go to his
employers and tell them what I knew of Hague? He would have been
discharged at once, because they could never have relied on him. He
would then have despaired of recovering from the effects of that one
error; and no matter how good his intentions might have been, while his
prospects were bright, he would, probably, have turned a rogue again, on
the first opportunity, because he had no other alternative.

It is a fearful mistake to thrust a man down at once, for his first
crime, instead of taking him by the hand and lifting him up: it is that
unchristian-like policy that fills our penitentiaries, and gives such
frequent employment to the hangman. Frown on vice as much as you please;
but do not frown on all who once yield to temptation. If you hope or
wish to save them, display some forbearance. Remember we all have our
faults. And we are all only too apt to

                “Compound for sins we are inclined to,
                 By damning those we have no mind to,”—

as Hudibras says.

“There is none good: no, not one.” We have all committed bad deeds, of
some kind or other, whether they come within the pale of the law or not.
If you demand strict _justice_, look to yourself. “Use every man after
his desert,” says Hamlet, “and who shall ’scape whipping?”

My pious friends, remember that none of you are quite perfect. Remember,
that if there is a God,—“And that there is, all Nature cries aloud!”—His
eye is upon you; and if you cannot tolerate your fellow-creatures,
simply because their sins happen to be of a different class from
yours—though probably no worse—how can you expect Him to bear with you?

I did not remove from Saint Louis for four weeks, and during that time
made a number of little excursions into the interior of the state, and
also into the state of Illinois, which lies on the east side of the

I liked the “Mound City” very well. As it may not be generally known why
Saint Louis is styled the “Mound City,” I will state that it is because
the ground on which it is built was once occupied by numerous artificial
mounds, supposed to have been built by the Indians.

It may not be out of place, either, to say a word regarding the
pronunciation of the name of the city. I observed that all the citizens
give it the old French pronunciation—that is, Saint Loo-ee—the final “s”
not being sounded. It should be so pronounced by all, as the citizens of
a place are generally accepted as authority in such matters. I observed
the same fact in Louisville, Kentucky. The citizens there pronounce it
Lou-ee-ville. It would sound harsh to them to hear it pronounced as it
is spelled—Lou-is-ville. The sibilant sound of the “s” would make the
drums of their ears quiver.

I was not at first favorably impressed with the water in Saint Louis;
but I soon became fond even of that. The water is taken from the
Mississippi river, and is always very muddy. Let an ordinary bucketful
of it stand awhile, and an inch of “mire” will settle on the bottom.
This muddy state of the fluid is owing to the turbid Missouri river,
which empties into the Mississippi twenty miles above Saint Louis.
Chemically, however, this water has been pronounced, by scientific men,
the purest in the country. It is said to be perfectly free from all
deleterious minerals, and, when the mud is taken from it, is as nearly
pure water as can be produced.

The fire arrangements in Saint Louis, as in most western cities, are
very imperfect. While there, it was my luck one day—and I had had the
same luck in Louisville, where I made the same observations—to stand in
the immediate presence of a destructive fire, when it first broke out. A
heavy volume of black smoke rolled up toward the blue sky, the flames
burst out through roofs and windows, and leaped for mad joy, walls
crumbled down at their leisure, and I think that twenty-five minutes or
half-an-hour elapsed before any steamer or hose-carriage made its
appearance. I do not attach so much blame to the firemen
themselves—although they are not so active as New York or Philadelphia
firemen—as to the deficiency of the force. On this occasion I was told
that the same firemen had been working all the afternoon, at a fire in a
distant part of the city, and I could not wonder that they were a little
tardy. Their force should be at least doubled—but I think they will
realize this ere long. Louisville and Saint Louis are now fast
recovering from the paralyzing effects of the recent unhappy war; they
do not lack enterprise; and I predict that in a few years their
arrangements for protecting property against the flames will be equal to
those of the eastern cities.

                            CHAPTER XXXIII.

                     HOW NOT TO OPEN A PATENT LOCK.

WISHING to visit some portions of Iowa, I started up the Mississippi in
June, on a boat running regularly between Saint Louis and Keokuk, an
Iowa town or city with a population of eight thousand, situated at the
mouth of the Des Moines river. It is two hundred and twenty-four miles
above Saint Louis.

Only one funny thing happened during my voyage from Saint Louis to
Keokuk, and, probably, one of the parties concerned could not have been
led to agree that even that was funny. It occurred during the day
following our departure from Saint Louis, while the boat was lying at
the landing at Quincy, a city of twenty-five thousand souls, on the
Illinois shore.

The boat laid there for half an-hour; I know not what for, as no freight
was being shipped or put ashore. During that brief half-hour, two
sharpers came aboard. They were confederates, or “pals,” but pretended
not to know each other. In fact, one of them, whom I shall style Number
One—although they were both _number one_ rogues—came aboard a few
minutes before the other, whom I shall call Number Two. He did not go up
to the cabin deck, but stood on the boiler deck, talking with the
deck-hands—most of whom were darkeys—and asking such questions as were
calculated to convince any one that he was badly green.

By and by, Number Two, Esquire, came aboard, carrying a kind of padlock
in his hand, and, with a respectful manner, said to Number One:

“My friend, can you tell me how soon this boat will go up the river?”

“No, sir,” replied Number One; “I just came aboard.”

“She go up de riber in a little bit,” put in one of the darkeys that
were lounging idly about the bulkhead.

“Thank you,” said Number Two, who appeared to be a perfect gentleman. He
was walking up the steps leading to the cabin deck, when Number One
called out:

“Stranger—excuse me—but are you the gentleman I saw up in town with the
new patent lock?”

“Yes,” returned Number Two, pausing on the stairs: “this is it.”

“Would you be kind enough to let me look at it?”

“Certainly,” returned Number Two, with an obliging air, as he descended
the stairs.

“Perhaps,” suggested Number One, “you are in a hurry, and—”

“O, no,” replied Number Two; “not at all. I intend to take passage on
the boat, and I can go up to the office at any time and pay my fare.”
And he handed Number One the lock.

“I believe I heard you say,” observed Number One, as he began to inspect
it, “that this is your own invention.”

“It is,” replied Number Two.

“Have you a patent for it?”

“Yes, it was patented but lately.”

The deck-hands and several passengers, who happened to be strolling
about the lower deck, now collected around and gazed on the lock with
curious eyes.

“Did I understand you to say,” queried Number One, “that no key is used
to open the lock?”

“Correct. No key is required, I can simply take it, shoot the ring-bolt
into its place, and I’ll bet any man a hundred dollars that he can’t
open it.”

The spectators looked on with increased interest.

“Lock it for me,” said Number One, handing it back to the owner. “I
would like to try it.”

“Certainly.” Number Two took the lock—a spring-lock, apparently—shot the
bolt into its place, with a snap, and returned it to Number One.
“There,” said he, “you’ll be the sharpest man I ever saw if you open

The spectators now gathered around closer, and looked on with an
interest that was intense.

Number One took the lock, inserted his finger in the ring-bolt and took
a dead pull on it.

“It won’t come open that way,” he remarked, as he pretended to scan it
more closely.

“No,” replied Number Two; “you might as well pull against two yoke of

Presently, Number One appeared to discover a slight,—almost
imperceptible,—protuberance, which looked as though it might connect
with a secret spring; and pressing this slyly, he opened the lock, and
handed it back to Number Two, with an air of triumph.

“There,” said he; “when you invent another lock bring it to me and I’ll
open it for you.”

A loud laugh went round at the expense of Number Two, who seemed much

“Ha, ha, ha,” laughed an ebony deck-hand. “If all de locks was dat easy
opened a fellah’s prwopehty wouldn’t be very safe.”

“_You_ can’t open it,” retorted Number Two, a little irritated.

“What’ll you bet?” said darkey.

“I’ll bet a hundred dollars you can’t,” said Number Two, whom
discomfiture seemed to have rendered reckless.

“Will you bet _me_ a hundred dollars that _I_ can’t open it?” asked
Number One, boldly.

“No,” returned Number Two. “You have opened it once, and know how; or
else I would. Why didn’t you bet before you tried it? you would have won

“I’m sorry I didn’t now,” said Number One.

“O, pshaw!” said the same darkey who had spoken before. “I seen how him
opened it!”

“Well, _you_ can’t open it,” retorted Number Two, banteringly.

“An’ will you bet me a hundred dollahs I can’t?” said the darkey, on
whose black face I could read _enterprise_.

I happened to be sitting by the railing of the cabin deck just above,
and could look down and witness the whole scene.

“Why—I—yes—yes, I will,” stammered Number Two, with well-feigned

“You’ll lose then,” Number One said, in a low tone, as though speaking
to himself.

“Will you put up de money?” pursued the darkey.

“I—why wouldn’t—yes, I will. I won’t be backed out, even if I lose. I’ll
put up the money in the hands of this gentleman or any one else.” When
he said “this gentleman,” he pointed to Number One.

“You had better not trust me with the stakes,” said the latter jocosely,
“I might run off.”

“O, no fear of that,” replied Number Two. “We’ll trust you. I know a
_gentleman_ when I see one.”

“By golly!—I—I bet,” said the darkey, decidedly. And he produced a
fifty-dollar bill and some odd tens and fives amounting in all to one
hundred dollars; and he handed the money to Number One, who was to act
as stake holder.

“Come, now,” said another darkey, to Number Two, as the latter
hesitated. “Don’t back out. Put up your money.”

“Confound me if I’ll be backed out!” he said, as he took out his
pocket-book, counted out one hundred dollars and handed it to the

O, that money was in precious hands!

“Now,” said the darkey, who had made up his mind to win or lose one
hundred dollars, “fix de lock fur me.”

Number Two “fixed” it.

The darkey took it, and first, merely as a matter of form, took a pull
at the ring-bolt. It would not open, of course. Well, no matter: _he_
knew where that “secret spring” was. You bet! He easily found the little
protuberance, and pressed on it with his thumb. But it wouldn’t open. He
pressed harder. No go. He pressed harder still, and pulled harder at the
ring-bolt, at the same time. Bootless. He pressed harder still and
pulled harder still. Vain efforts. He got a little apprehensive and a
little desperate. The sum of one hundred dollars was at stake. The lock
_must_ be opened. He inserted the ring-bolt between his white teeth,
placed his thumb on the imaginary spring, and pulled and pressed, and
pressed and pulled, with the energy of despair. The lock was firm: his
efforts futile.

A laugh now went round at the poor darkey’s expense; and he trembled,
perceptibly, while his face assumed a sort of lead-color, with a
greenish tinge. His thick lips also became quite void of moisture, and
he spoke in a husky voice.

“Dun’no—dun’no—wedder I kin open him or not.”

“I don’t think you can,” said Number Two, calmly.

The poor darkey saw that his “stamps” were gone. Still, he tried it once
more. He shook the lock—and something loose within rattled with a
taunting sound, tapped it against the capstan, pulled at the bolt,
pressed the delusive spring, pulled and pressed, again and again. All
was in vain. He gave it up; but, O, with what a poor grace! and handed
the lock to Number Two.

“I b’lieve dah’s som’in’ wrong about it,” said he.

“It seems, I’ve won the money,” Number Two observed, carelessly; and
Number One handed him the two hundred dollars.

Another laugh went round. O, the heartlessness of human beings! What
they would regard as a grave misfortune, if it happened to themselves,
they look upon as an excellent joke, when another is the victim.

“Dat’s nuffin,” said the darkey, trying to appear unconcerned. But, O,
how poorly he succeeded!

“Nothing, when you get used to it once,” observed one of the spectators,

“But it takes a fellow a deuce of a time to get used to it,” put in
another unfeeling passenger.

Poor darkey turned away, as sad a picture as I ever saw, went and took a
seat on the capstan, and tried to whistle a careless tune. But his
clumsy lips were dry and unsteady, and he couldn’t get them puckered in
any sort of shape.

“Confound if I haven’t come near forgetting my valise, with this
fooling,” said Number Two, abruptly, after he had stowed away his money.
“I left it up in Quincy, and must go and get it.” So, he walked down the
gangway plank, up the wharf, and disappeared in the city.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if that fellow were a regular rogue,” observed
Number One, gazing after him. “I intend to keep my eye on him.” And he,
too, went ashore.

Soon after, the boat backed out from the landing, and proceeded up the
river; but neither Number One nor Number Two were among the passengers.

                             CHAPTER XXXIV.

                          A GAME OF CHECKERS.

IN traveling up the Mississippi river, I could not help remarking that
the Illinois shore was, with but few exceptions, very low—in many places
not more than a foot or two above ordinary water, and, in some places,
even submerged; while the western shore—that of Missouri and Iowa—was,
with some exceptions, reasonably high.

Illinois is a low, swampy State, nearly all over. I have visited all
portions of it, both the borders and the interior; and, excepting the
vicinity of Peoria, and some few bluffs along the Mississippi river, the
ground is low, flat, marshy, and evidently anything but salubrious. The
soil, however, is as rich as any in the world; and things grow there in
a way that would be quite novel to an eastern man. By and by, it will be
drained, grow more healthy, and, perhaps, become the richest and most
desirable State of the Mississippi Valley.

The most beautiful land I ever saw any where, was in Iowa, between
Davenport, on the Mississippi shore, and Iowa City, in the interior. It
is difficult to look upon that garden-like land, when clothed in its
dress of summer, without actually breaking forth in words of admiration.
It is slightly rolling—just enough so to relieve it from excess of
water—the view is little obstructed by timber; and one can stand on a
somewhat elevated point, and see for eight or ten miles in any
direction—see the smooth green fields spread out before him, like the
face of the ocean, till they fade in dimness and kiss the blue sky at
the distant horizon!

But, in winter, stay away from these regions, with all their beauty,
unless you are fond of being frozen; for the winter winds there can
split a tough white-oak into rails, in no time, and fire itself couldn’t
stand it long out-of-doors, without being frozen into icicles. Even
their thermometers cannot stand it out-of-doors. They are obliged to
hang them by the stove or fireplace—where they make it a point to keep
the temperature of the air as high as twenty-five or thirty degrees
_below_ zero.

But this is a digression I did not intend.

At Keokuk, I stayed all night, and, next morning, took an early train
for Fort Madison, a flourishing town situated at the head of the Rapids,
twenty-five miles above Keokuk. Not every one is aware that the
navigation of the Mississippi is obstructed for some miles above Keokuk,
by extensive rapids, in the course of which the water falls
considerably. Yet such is the case. To obviate the difficulty, a
railroad has been constructed from Keokuk to Fort Madison, where the
traveler takes another boat up the river. When the water is high,
however, boats of any size go over the rapids, as they do over the Falls
of the Ohio at Louisville.

In the car, a gentleman, who was a native of Iowa, occupied the same
seat with me. Noticing that I had a checker-board in my hand, which I
had taken out of my trunk while on board the boat, the previous day, he

“Do you play checkers?”

“A little,” I replied. “Do you?”

“I don’t often get beat,” was his modest (?) rejoinder.

“Will you take the boat at Fort Madison?”


“Then, if you desire, we will play a game or two, when we get aboard.”

“I was just about to make the same proposition,” he returned.

The train had not proceeded far, when, as we were passing a saw-mill, we
saw a man, who had charge of a yoke of oxen, standing, with open mouth,
gazing upon the train, and staring the very locomotive out of
countenance. He was one of the homeliest men I ever saw. My companion
and I had had some conversation with two lively young ladies, who
occupied the seat in front of us, and one of them remarked:

“What a singular-looking man!”

The other laughed.

“He isn’t a very pretty man, is he?” said I.

“No,” retorted my male companion, who probably thought this (because he
knew me to be from Pennsylvania,) a thrust at Iowa generally, “he looks
like a Pennsylvanian.” This, he certainly meant for a hit at the old
Keystone State.

I said nothing, however, but silently determined to have revenge at
checkers, when we should get on the boat—unless my companion should
prove to be a remarkable player.

So, when we had embarked at Fort Madison, and were gliding up the river,
I saw the Iowa gentleman sauntering through the cabin, and said:

“Are you ready for that game of checkers?”

“O, yes,” he replied; “I was looking for you.”

We sat down by one of the tables, arranged the board and “men,” and went
at it. He moved with much circumspection, and was very careful lest he
should make a blunder. But, with all his caution, he soon made one,
which I quickly saw; and I gave him one of my men, took three of his in
exchange, and hopped into the king-row.

“Pshaw!” he exclaimed, in a tone of vexation. “I wasn’t watching!”

I soon won that game, and he didn’t get a king.

“Let’s try it again,” said he. “I will do better next time.”

“I hope so,” I replied, as we replaced the men—but I _didn’t_ hope so.

This time he moved with more care than ever, and succeeded—in getting
beaten as badly as before.

He tried it again and again, till we had played eight games, and I had
won two-thirds of a dozen of them.

“I will not play any more,” he said, petulantly, as he arose from the
table. “I never met with such a player.”

“I play the Pennsylvania game,” I complacently observed.

I landed at Muscatine, Iowa, that evening, where I remained all night.
Muscatine is about thirty miles below Davenport, and is called a city.
Its population is eight or ten thousand.

Next morning, I took an early train for Wilton, a flourishing town
situated at the intersection of two railroads, in the interior of the
State. I visited some relatives there, and passed a week or two with
them very pleasantly.

                             CHAPTER XXXV.

                            JOHN IN CHICAGO.

EARLY in July, having visited various sections of Iowa, I started one
evening for Chicago, where I arrived next morning about daylight—the
distance from Wilton being a little over two hundred miles.

Chicago is styled the “Garden City,” because handsome private gardens
are attached to many of the residences. There are other cities, however,
which, for the same reason, are equally entitled to the sobriquet.

Chicago is much the largest city of the north-west. It has sprung up
faster than any other, and has now a population of about two hundred and
ten thousand. It is situated in North-eastern Illinois, on the shore of
Lake Michigan. It is one of the liveliest cities in the country, and
must always be the largest city of the Mississippi Valley, except Saint
Louis, which will naturally stand number one, on account of the numerous
advantages of its position.

An appropriate sobriquet for Chicago, I think, would be “City of
Boards”—because it is built chiefly of boards. Most of the houses are
frame buildings, weather-boarded; the sidewalks are nearly all composed
of thick pine boards; and the streets are paved with the “Nicholson
pavement.” The sidewalks are raised some feet above what was once the
original height of the ground, leaving many dirty caverns beneath—an
arrangement highly gratifying to the rats. The rat population of Chicago
is supposed to amount to about one hundred to each inhabitant of the
_genus homo_, which would make their whole number about twenty-one
millions. As Josh Billings remarks, “This shows at a glance how many
waste rats there is.” They are very playful, especially about eleven
o’clock, when one is going home from the theater. One night, returning
from Crosby’s Opera House, I counted all I saw on my way to my
lodging-house. I had but three or four squares to go, however, and
therefore only counted eighteen. Of these, I succeeded in knocking only
two over with my cane, by way of amusement.

As I had done in Cincinnati and Saint Louis, I hired a lodging-room, and
took my meals at a restaurant. The room was a very good one, in a house
on Dearborn street, opposite the Post office.

I spent some weeks quite pleasantly in the “Garden City,” during which,
the only very funny thing that happened to me, was my nearly getting
drowned in Lake Michigan. My love of rowing led to this. On a beautiful
moonlight evening, two young ladies, and a young gentleman who lived in
the same house, went down with me to the lake, and we hired a row-boat.

We seated ourselves comfortably in the boat—I taking the oars—glided
away from the shore, and were soon outside of the breakwater, where the
full moon, rising in the eastern sky, made an endless path of quivering
and shining silver over the limpid waves. The air was still, balmy and
pleasant on the water. But the wind had been blowing that day, the
waters were agitated, and the waves rolled considerably. When we were
two miles from shore, we lay-to for a time; and while the waves rocked
us about, in a playful manner, the two young ladies and the gentleman—I
never sing—sung a beautiful song, which, the murmuring of the lake
blending with it, and the beauty of the evening, rendered quite
enchanting. When they ceased singing, one of the young ladies said:

“I wonder if I could row?”

“I have no doubt of it,” I responded; “did you ever try it?”

“No, never.”

“Then,” I rejoined, “it is possible you are an excellent rower, and have
never given yourself an opportunity to discover it. Will you try it?”

“I’m afraid,” she said, timidly.

“Nothing to fear,” I urged; “the oars are stationary in the row-locks,
and you cannot lose them. Moreover, there is no wind or tide, and the
boat cannot run away with you.”

Thus encouraged, she said, “I believe I’ll try it.”

“Then let us exchange seats,” said I.


She was sitting aft, and as we moved to exchange seats, we awkwardly
attempted to pass each other on the same side of the boat thus throwing
too much weight on the port gunwale, and destroying the equilibrium of
the boat and all the crew. Just then, too, a fine fresh, unusually large
wave came rolling along. The lady caught at the side of the boat as she
lost her balance, but missed it, and pitched out! The boat dipped; the
wave swept over, nearly filling it with the pure waters of the lake; and
a wild scream of terror from the other lady lent interest to the scene.

I seized the unfortunate one in time, dragged her into the boat and
called quickly to the gentleman to go to bailing, and never mind the
price of hats. He wore a fine silk castor that held a gallon or so, and
it was refreshing to see the way he began bailing with it. I hastily
turned the head of the boat toward the waves, and we rose with the next
one. Managing to keep her straight with one oar, I took my “beaver” in
the other hand, and went to bailing for dear life. Meantime, the two
ladies were trembling with terror, one of them coughing, sneezing and
strangling, too—and uttering brief impromptu prayers, such as “Lord,
save us!” and the like.

I assured them there was not the slightest danger—that the water was not
deep there anyhow, that I could reach the bottom with an ordinary
poker—I meant by jumping out and diving with it, though—and I succeeded
in restoring their nerves to something like composure.

As we were all soaking wet, from top to toe—and especially the young
lady who had taken an involuntary dive into the deep-green waters—we
began to steer for the “Garden City:” which we reached with thankful
hearts, wet clothes and hats utterly ruined.

As the others stepped out of the boat before me, I observed that, with
the exception of my person, it was entirely empty, and said:

“Where in the deuce is my crutch?”

“Isn’t it in the boat?” responded the young gentleman, who stood on the

I will never forget the picture he presented, as he stood there in the
moonlight. His ruined hat was on his head, and it had lost all its
stiffening, the nap was no longer sleek, smooth and shiny, but was
rumpled and crooked, and stuck out in all directions; while the now
pliable crown was crushed down till it rested on his cranium, like a wet
dishcloth laid on the top of his head, and looked as though it had been
beaten down by a terrific hail-storm. The dull, lifeless, lead-like way
in which his garments hung about him may be imagined.

“Your crutch?” said he. “Can it be possible that it fell out when the
boat tipped?”

“Blazes!” I exclaimed. “How will I get home?”

I might have hopped all the way—four squares—but that novel mode of
locomotion would have attracted public attention and placed me in an
undignified light.

“Here it is,” said one of the girls, laughing. “I took it out when I
left the boat.” And, much to my relief and delight, she handed it to me.

The other young lady also handed me my cane, which she had picked up on
leaving the boat.

You had better believe I was glad, if you are fond of being correct in
your opinion, for I was just making up my mind to row out upon the Lake
again, and look for my crutch, as I thought it possible I might find it
floating about somewhere. I would have had a wide bit of territory to

                             CHAPTER XXXVI.

                         TRAVELING COMPANIONS.

ABOUT the middle of July, I resolved to return to Philadelphia before
completing my tour; and one evening I took an express train for
Pittsburg, via the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad. The train
was not crowded, and each passenger in the car I was in had a whole seat
to himself.

We had traveled about a hundred miles, and were rolling across the State
of Indiana, in the darkness of night, when two persons got on at a
station, somewhere, came to the middle of the car, and one took a seat
beside me, while the other sat immediately in front. I glanced casually
at my companion, and had not the slightest difficulty in making out that
he was a sharper.

“This is a fine evening,” he said to me, politely, as the train
thundered onward.

“Very,” I replied.

Let it be borne in mind, however, that he had no special reason for
stating, nor I for agreeing, that it was a “fine evening.” On the
contrary, it was dark and cloudy, and looked like rain.

“How far are you going?” he asked.

“To Philadelphia,” I frankly replied.

“Ah? So am I.”

“Do you live there?” I queried.

“No; but I have an uncle there—a merchant——”

“What street?” I asked, pertly.

“Why—I—O, yes! Market street.” He then changed the subject, and said: “I
see you have lost a leg.”

“Yes,” I assented.

“In the war, I suppose?”


“Ah!” he pursued, with earnestness, “many noble youths have made this
sacrifice for their country, and I hope they will never be forgotten.”

“I hope so, truly,” I replied.

“I know,” he went on, “that you must find it very inconvenient
traveling, in your condition—especially when it comes to changing cars,
and the like—and I was going to suggest that I would remain with you
till we reach Philadelphia, and render you any assistance——”

“Thank you,” I interrupted. “The truth is, I used to get around very
clumsily, when I had two feet to take care of; but now, having got rid
of one of the encumbrances, I get about astonishingly well. If you knew
how convenient it is to have but one leg to take care of, you wouldn’t
retain both yours a week. You’d have one of them sawed off, sir. You
would indeed.”

Mr. Sharper began to see that I wasn’t his man, and he presently got up
and took a seat just in front of his pal. On the same seat was a young
man who evidently had not made a regular business of traveling, and with
him Mr. Sharper struck up an animated conversation, soon gaining his
confidence. By and by, he introduced a very curious puzzle, with two
cups and ivory balls, which he said he had bought that day from an
Italian peddler with one eye, who had lost a brother and two wives in a
storm at sea, on his way to this country. I was not near enough to see
the exact construction of the cups and balls; but it was not long before
he got up a bet about them, with the green traveler. His confederate,
sitting on the seat between him and me, still pretending to be a
stranger to him, made a sham bet of thirty dollars, and the other man on
the same seat—also a man who had never been sharpened on the grindstone
of experience—bet fifteen dollars. The money was put up in the hands of
a passenger, and, of course, Sharper won. He and his confederate got off
at the next station, each about twenty dollars “in;” leaving a couple of
foolish passengers so much poorer, and, it is to be hoped, so much

Reader, in your travels, beware of friendly strangers. John Smith always
bewares of ’em, and it pays.

A description of a forty hours’ ride by railroad, would prove as
tiresome to the reader as the ride always does to me. It is a delightful
thing, in fine weather, to take a ride of fifty or a hundred miles on a
train; to see the fields, and houses, and gardens, and barns, and woods,
and fences flying past you, and to feel that lightning would get tired
before it could catch you: but when you have to ride a thousand miles,
as I have often done, the thing becomes frightfully monotonous, and is
any thing but a pastime.

Especially when night comes does the ride grow tiresome. As for
sleeping-cars, I have long since vetoed _them_, as far as I am
concerned. I decide that they are a nuisance, and I believe the majority
of travelers will ratify and endorse my decision—and thus render it
legal. I never slept in one yet, that I did not suffer all the time,
either from heat or cold. Such a thing as an even or moderate
temperature, I never experienced in a sleeping-car. Then the space! To
be stuffed, as tight as the wad in a pop-gun, into a narrow cell, which
they honor with the appellation of “berth,” a cell so narrow as to evoke
unpleasant contemplations of the anticipated long and narrow home we
must all go to; so narrow and contracted that you haven’t room for your
elbows; so narrow that you can’t turn over without getting out upon the
floor for the purpose; so narrow and close that, as you lie on your
back, you are afraid to wink, lest you should scrape your eyelids
against the ceiling above you and break the lashes off: to be crammed
into a place like this, I say, with an implied promise of repose, is the
opposite extreme of extraordinary felicity!

However, occupying a seat in a car, for a whole night, is no delicacy,
either; although I prefer it to the “berth.” How frequently one consults
his time-piece on such an occasion! I look at my watch, and find it,
say, twelve o’clock, P. M. Then I recline on my seat and try to steal a
little sleep. At first, I feel quite comfortable, and fancy I can sleep
in that position for several hours. But scarcely have I time to draw a
breath, before I find that my head does not rest quite comfortably
against the window-sill or the back of the seat; I move it slightly;
then I find that my arm is going asleep; I move it; then my ankle is
twisted; I move it; then I find that my whole body is out of shape; I
move, turn round and lie with my head the other way; then I close my
eyes, and doze; I wake, presently, with a start; find my nose itching,
and my leg asleep and beginning to tingle as though ten million insects
were swarming in it; I then rub my eyes, think an hour has passed, look
at my watch, and find it thirteen minutes after eleven. Find I made a
mistake of an hour when I looked the other time.

At last, the night has dragged itself away; and, O, how welcome are the
tips of morning’s “rosy wings,” as they flutter upon the horizon among
the hills or over the plains! How welcome are the gray streaks that play
in the east, ushering glorious morning upon the skies! How welcome the
green fields again, as the curtain of the gloomy night is lifted from
the face of Nature! I involuntarily exclaim with Shakspeare:

                          “Look what streaks
              Do lace the severing clouds in yonder East!
              Night’s candles are put out; and jocund day
              Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain top.”

                            CHAPTER XXXVII.

                        MILWAUKEE AND THE LAKES.

I REMAINED in Philadelphia a month, then returned to Chicago, in order
to begin where I left off and finish my tour. I only remained in the
“Garden City” long enough to give my old friends there a call, and to
get a slight attack of cholera; then moved northward. I went by railroad
to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a city with a population of sixty thousand,
situated on the shore of Lake Michigan, about ninety miles from Chicago.

Milwaukee is remarkable for at least three things. First, it is built,
almost exclusively, of a kind of yellow brick that presents a neat
appearance I much admire. Second, the German element predominates in the
population. In fact, I believe that fully three-fourths of the
inhabitants are Germans. Third, the lager-beer there is of a superior
quality. So superior is it, that it deserves more than a passing remark.
It is everywhere conceded among intelligent persons, that Milwaukee
produces the best lager-beer that is made in this country. It has such
extraordinary “body.” It has none of that resin soap-and-old-boot taste,
which we frequently have the misfortune to discover in beer; but is the
pure, unadulterated, unsophisticated lager-beer, even such as nature
intended it should be, when she produced the grain, hops and water to
make it of. Beside, they give a fellow such a large glass there for five
cents! The glass holds about a pint. I confess that I felt
conscience-stricken whenever I took one, and only paid five cents for
it. That was the price, however. I would have offered more, only I
feared that I might be thought verdant; and John Smith does not desire
to rest under such an imputation.

Early in September, I embarked for Detroit, Michigan, on the _St.
Louis_, a handsome lake propeller, running between Chicago and Buffalo.
Our route was _via_ Lake Michigan, Fort Mackinaw, (in the straits,) Lake
Huron, the St. Clair river, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit river. If you
will take the trouble to glance at a map of the United States, dear
reader, you will perceive that Lakes Huron and Michigan are two parallel
lakes running north and south, and that they curve round and intersect
each other at the north, forming an inverted letter U.

I look back upon my voyage on the Lakes, as the pleasantest of my life.
Our vessel was a first-class steamer, the passengers were all jolly and
good-natured, taken collectively; the ladies were amiable, affable and
beautiful; and the gentleman were sober, intelligent, agreeable, and
good judges of beer.

I will never forget my first evening on board the _St. Louis_. We were
steering N. N. E., the western shore had just faded from view, and the
sun was sinking into his rosy couch. A few light clouds hung over the
horizon, like crimson and purple curtains, as the god of day sunk into
his luxuriant bed of rest, reminding one of McDonald Clark’s beautiful

                  “Now twilight lets her curtain down
                   And pins it with a star.”

The lake was nearly smooth, and the red light, making its lengthy paths
over the wide waters, from west to east, looked like myriads of playful
little flames chasing each other over the crests of the waves.

The sun rose next morning and smiled on us over the north-western shore
of the State of Michigan, and we found ourselves approaching Mackinaw
Straits. That afternoon the vessel laid for a couple of hours at an
island in the Straits, and the passengers all went ashore. We discovered
the earth to be about as nearly barren as any soil could be. Late as it
was in the season, September, we found a few stunted raspberries, that
were just making a feeble effort to ripen.

While the propeller lay there, half-a-dozen of the male passengers, I
among them, hired a sail boat, and, accompanied by three or four of the
lady passengers, took a pleasant sail of an hour. I think I never saw
such clear water anywhere as I saw there. A pin could have been
distinctly seen at the depth of twenty feet. I was so charmed with the
limpid water, and the white sand and pebbles at the bottom, that I
fancied it would have been almost a luxury to be drowned there.

That night we stopped for an hour at Fort Mackinaw.

Next morning—Sunday morning—we found ourselves in Lake Huron. Another
beautiful day passed away in perfect harmony and happiness on board the
_St. Louis_, and another night came. All this time the propeller glided
along so smoothly that one could scarcely believe, at times, that she
moved at all, till he should go out, look over the side, and see the
green waters rushing by, and the waves receding from the prow on either
side. I never slept anywhere more tranquilly than on board the _St.

Next morning, we found ourselves in the St. Clair river, which runs
north and south, and connects Lake Huron with Lake St. Clair. On its
eastern shore is Canada, and on its western the State of Michigan.

About nine o’clock, we landed at the town of Newport, Michigan, the home
of the captain. Being assured by him that she would lie there several
hours, another passenger and myself went ashore and walked up into the
town, with the view of hunting a billiard-table and playing a game or
two. Some others also went ashore for a stroll.

We found one, and played one game. I do not remember who won it. What
happened shortly after was calculated to rub out trifles from one’s

“Now,” said I, when we had finished the game, “we had better go.
Something tells me we will not have time to play another.”

“O, pshaw!” replied my companion. “Didn’t the captain tell us the boat
would lie here several hours?”

“True, but I cannot help feeling uneasy.”

“O, nonsense! let’s play another.”

We commenced another game, and had each made fifteen or twenty points,
when another fit of uneasiness seized me.

“Come,” said I, “something tells me the boat is ready to leave; I’ll
give you this game. Let us go.”

“O, there’s no danger of the boat’s going,” he replied. “It will whistle
first, anyhow.”

We played about seven minutes longer, when a boy came in.

“Bub,” said I, “is the _St. Louis_ lying at the landing yet?”

“Why,” he replied, “did you ’uns intend to go on her?”

“Yes,” said I.

“Yonder she goes!” he said, coolly, as he pointed out the window looking
down the river.

Yes, the _St. Louis_ had gone, and was just disappearing round a bend
nearly half a mile distant.

If the reader wants to know what pure, unalloyed anguish is, I can tell
him that I experienced it on this occasion. There I was, fifty miles
from my destination, and the propeller, on which I had spent several
such happy days, gliding away and disappearing from my gaze, bearing
from me the many good friends I had made among the passengers, whom I
should now never, probably, see again, depriving me of the melancholy
pleasure of bidding them good-by, and also of taking the address of a
handsome young lady I fell in love with—to say nothing of my trunk, and
some other articles I prized highly, scattered about in my state-room.

“I told you so,” said I to my conscience-stricken companion.

He gazed from the window, threw down his cue, and pronounced a great
many words, in rapid succession, which, if found in the Scriptures, are
not found exactly in the same order in which he uttered them. His case
was worse than mine. His destination was Buffalo; and should we fail to
reach Detroit ere the propeller should leave there—and we had little
hope in that direction—he would lose four hundred miles of his ride.
Besides, he had left his overcoat and revolver in his state-room, and
who should answer for their safety?

As for me, my trunk was checked to Detroit, and I felt sure that it
would be put off there; but in my state-room were left my chess-board, a
set of chessmen, and other property, amounting in all to the value of
about fifteen dollars—and what hope had I of ever seeing them again?

“Well,” said I, “let us make the best of it.”

“Yes, we might as well finish the game now,” said he, ruefully.

“First,” I proposed, “let us drown our sorrows in a glass of beer.”

“Agreed,” said he.

And we did.

“There’ll be another boat along soon,” observed the boy.

“How soon?” we both asked, eagerly.

“It ought to be here by eleven o’clock; that’s its time.”

“Does it run to Detroit?”

“Yes; it’s a little side-wheeler.”

“Then we’ll watch for it.”

“If you will give me a glass of beer,” said the boy, “I’ll watch for it,
and tell you when it comes.”

“Very well, watch for it. Whenever you see it coming, run and tell us,
and we’ll give you the beer.”

In less than half an hour, sure enough, we received the welcome
intelligence that the boat was coming; and, giving the boy his beer, we
hurried down to the landing, and reached it as the little steamer came
up. We went aboard, and paid our fare to Detroit—another net loss of two
dollars—and she soon moved on after the _St. Louis_. But we soon saw,
with sinking hearts, that her speed was not equal to that of the

When we reached Lake St. Clair—a lake as round as a dollar, (or the city
of Boston,) and twenty-five miles in diameter—we fancied we could see
the _St. Louis_ just sinking beneath the southern horizon. If we did, we
never saw her again—at least _I_ never did. When we reached Detroit, she
had been gone half an hour. My trunk was there, but my other articles
were clearly forfeited.

My companion and I got on the ferry-boat, went over to Windsor, Canada,
just opposite Detroit, and inquired when the first train would depart
for Buffalo. We were informed that an express-train would go at seven.
He determined to go, and did so, no doubt, arriving at Buffalo a dozen
hours in advance of the propeller. I have never heard of him since. I
told him, when we parted, to go to my state-room when he should reach
the propeller, and take possession of my chess-board, et cetera,
remarking that I “willed” them to him; and I presume that he did so.

The city of Detroit, where I remained a week, is about the size of
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is the largest city in Michigan. It was there
that Hull surrendered to the British, during the war of 1812; and it was
there that the Fenians crossed into Canada and frightened the Canadians
in 1866. So much for its historical importance. Its _sobriquet_ is, “The
City of the Straits.” Its location on the Detroit river—which is, more
properly, a _strait_, connecting Lake St. Clair with Lake Erie—gives it
this name. Detroit is a French word for _strait_.

                            CHAPTER XXXVIII.

                     SMITH IN SEARCH OF HIS UNCLE.

FROM Detroit, I went, by railroad, to Toledo, Ohio, distant eighty or
ninety miles. I stopped there with the view of visiting an uncle of
mine, whom I had never seen, and who resided near a little village
called Holland, nine miles from the city. I inquired a whole day for a
village of that name, but no one knew where it was. I began to think of
offering a reward for it; but at last went to the post-office, where I
gained the desired information. I was told that Holland was a little
place on the Air Line Railroad, and that it was also—and, in fact,
regularly—called Springfield. I was furthermore told that the first
train would go at ten o’clock that night.

As I did not contemplate remaining long at my uncle’s, I left my trunk
at an hotel in Toledo, and went out to Holland, _alias_ Springfield, on
that ten-o’clock train. It happened to be a naturally slow train, and,
besides, it met with a little accident on the way; so that it was eleven
o’clock when we reached Holland, which I found to be a little village,
comprising a couple of dwelling-houses and a small grocery-store.

When I got off the train, it moved on, and I found myself standing
beside the track, alone—a “stranger in a strange land,” at night-time.
What was I to do? The village appeared to be wrapped in sleep, and not a
light was to be seen. Presently, however, I looked toward Toledo, and
saw a man—obviously an employé of the road—approaching me, carrying a
red lantern in his hand.

“Good evening,” said I.

“How do you do?” he returned, sleepily. “Did you just come up?”

“Yes—just got off the train.”

“How did you—O, I thought it was Simon McCann,” he said, as he drew

“No, I am not Simon,” I replied. “On the contrary, my name is
Smith—first name John. Do you know any one of that name here?”

What a question to ask anywhere in the world!

“O, yes; half-a-dozen families. There’s old John, and——”

“Do you know William Smith?”

“Yes—quite an old man, is he not?”

“Probably he is. I never saw him. He moved here twenty-five years ago.”

“From Pennsylvania?”


“Are you from Pennsylvania?”

“Yes; can you——”

“I see you’ve lost a”—I began to tremble now—“leg.”

“Yes, can——”

“In the army?”

I shuddered at the thought of having to stand there and answer four or
five hundred questions, at that time of night; and I determined, as I
perceived he was getting into a regular train of army questions, to make
a desperate attempt at insulation.

“Yes, can——”

“What battle?”

“Antietam where does——”

“What reg——”

I had already begun to ignore commas, and I now saw the necessity of
throwing out the spaces between my words; and I hurriedly replied:


The spell was broken, and he responded, like a white man:

“About two miles from here.”

“Is there no hotel here?”


“No house of entertainment?”


“Is there any chance then to get a conveyance?”

“None that I know of.”

“Then I must walk it. Will you direct me to his house?”

“Yes; you go——”

He gave me the directions, and they appeared so plain that I fancied I
could find my uncle’s house with my eyes shut.

The moon was just up, the night was beautiful and pleasant, and the
roads surpassingly muddy; and I had a walk that night that, I think,
will never “slip my memory.” The land in this portion of Ohio is low and
flat, the soil black, loose and soft—very fertile, too, so far as that
is concerned; but a man isn’t particular about rich ground to walk on
with a crutch—and the soundings were from three to thirty inches.

At the first cross-road, I went astray—took the wrong road, traveled
half-a-mile on it, and, beginning to grow apprehensive, stopped by a
gate, yelled, waked somebody’s neighbor, and asked if that was the road
to William Smith’s?

“Did you come from the station?” was the response of the neighbor, who
was in his night-dress.


“Then you are on the wrong road. You should have kept on toward the
south at the cross-roads. It is at the next cross-road after that. Then
you turn to the——” I thought he said——“right.”

“Thank you,” I said. “Good-night.”


The door closed, and I was alone. I retraced my muddy way, followed
closely by a large savage dog belonging to the owner of the house,
while—the soil being unusually pliable there—my crutch sunk in eighteen
inches at every step.

Before reaching my uncle’s that night, I got off the wrong road, and on
it again, five times, did two miles of superfluous walking and two miles
of the requisite article, waked whole dozens of neighbors, and alarmed
whole battalions of dogs. These faithful creatures barked furiously as I
approached, and set others to barking, in response, at a distance, and
_they_ barked and set others to barking at another distance, and they
others, and so on, and so on, again; till I must have indirectly and
innocently aroused or disturbed the greater portion of the population of
Ohio that night. Cleveland, Sandusky, Steubenville, Columbus, Dayton,
and Cincinnati, all heard from me through the dogs.

At last, worn and weary and covered with mud, I found the place, and not
without apprehensions of getting shot for a robber, approached the door,
and knocked.

As intimated, I had never seen my uncle, and how did I know what kind of
man he was, or what sort of reception awaited me? Suppose he should be
ill-natured, being disturbed at that time of night, and make me feel as
though I were not welcome? Such misgivings suggested themselves to me,
as I stood at the door.

I knocked a couple of times, without getting any reply, and began to
fear that my uncle supposed me to be a burglar and was getting his gun
ready to shoot through the door. I therefore stepped aside, and yelled:


I heard a movement within, but no reply.

“Hallo!” I repeated: the somber echoes of my voice rang through a gloomy
wood near by; and I was a little afraid it might stir up a panther or
wildcat, and tempt it to come out and eat a piece of me.

“Who is there?” came from within.

“Does William Smith live here?” was my non-committal rejoinder.


“I am his nephew from Pennsylvania, John Smith, Junior,” said I, in a
distinct voice.

The whole house shook, as my uncle sprung from the bed and alighted on
the floor of the little old-fashioned farm-house.

“Wait one moment,” said he, in a voice that was musical with welcome.

There was a hasty fumbling among garments for a moment, and a glad
little light sprung up within, and peeped slyly out at me from crevices
about the door. Then the door opened, and before me stood a strong old
man of seventy-three, with snow-white hair and beard.

“Is this my uncle?” I asked.

“Yes,” he replied, cordially grasping my hand. “Come in, my boy! You are
my nephew John?”


“And have lost your leg. Too bad!”

“O, I don’t mind that any more, uncle,” I said, as I walked in.

Never have I been received anywhere with such open-hearted welcome, as
by this aged uncle. It was nearly two o’clock; my aunt—only two years
younger than he—soon made her appearance, and welcomed me as cordially
as he had done: ten thousand questions were asked and answered, and the
early morning would have found us still in conversation, but that my
uncle, by and by, observed that I must be tired, after my walk, and said
I had better take some rest.

That I had walked from the station with my crutch and cane, lost my way
several times, and wandered about over some portion of the State of
Ohio, was a matter of marvel to him.

Not to tire the reader with family affairs—however interesting a general
history of the Smith Family might be—I will silently pass over the brief
and happy period I spent with my good uncle and aunt.

I took a propeller at Toledo, for Buffalo, and after a pleasant voyage
of two nights and a day, on Lake Erie, arrived at that city.

I spent a few days there among my Cold Spring friends—in the course of
which I had but one narrow escape from drowning, while out on the lake
on a pleasure-excursion—then returned to Philadelphia, _via_ the New
York and Erie, Northern Central, and Pennsylvania Central Railroads.

                             CHAPTER XXXIX.


IN the fall, I determined on another western tour, which I accomplished.
In this tour I visited the following places: Columbus, Dayton, and
Cincinnati, Ohio; Indianapolis and Lafayette, Indiana; Springfield,
Decatur, Bloomington, El Paso, and Peoria, Illinois. I had intended to
go on into Iowa again, but winter came on, and it began to get too cold
for me. So, I returned to Philadelphia shortly before Christmas, _via_
Logansport, Fort Wayne, and Pittsburg.

During this tour, not much happened that would interest or divert the
reader. I might briefly mention one or two amusing incidents that came
under my notice.

Often as I had passed through Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I had never
stopped there; and, on my way west, I determined to drop off for
twenty-four hours. In Lancaster every one talks English and German, (or
Dutch, as they call it there,) with equal fluency; and it is not unusual
for a person relating an incident or making some remarks, to begin in
English, and end in Dutch; or _vice versa_.

While I was sitting in my hotel, not far from the depot, a Lancastrian,
who lounged in, got to telling the proprietor a very interesting story,
of an adventure he had recently met with while hunting ducks. He was
relating the story in English, and I listened with interest. The purport
of the story was that he and another man had shot at a duck
simultaneously; it had fallen, and a dispute had arisen as to which had
brought it down. Just as he reached the crisis of the story, where the
dispute was about to be decided, against the other fellow, of course—and
there seemed some funny circumstance about it, for they laughed
immoderately—he jumped off the track, as it were, and finished in Dutch,
something like this: “Undsehrichtienochtuchuherkroshomlustienblosterb
hionmemmtehtehtchtchch-h-h—h-h-h—h——h——h —— ——-h—— — —h— — —h—cht—AUGH!”

Imagine how tantalizing this was to me. My knowledge of German or Dutch
is very limited. Beyond _Lager Bier und Schweitzer Kase_, _ein_, _swei_,
_drei_ I simply know nothing of any of those Teutonic languages; and I,
therefore, do not, to this day, know the _denouement_ of the
Lancastrian’s story.

While in Lancaster, I took the liberty of calling on two prominent men
of opposite political parties, both of whom have since passed away. I
allude to James Buchanan and Thaddeus Stevens. Each received me
cordially and conversed with me in an easy and pleasant manner. From the
citizens of Lancaster, I learned that they were kind-hearted and noble
men, and that their private characters were above reproach. Those two
public men were regarded with some bitterness during their lives; but
whatever may have been their errors, I believe they were errors of the
head and not of the heart. They are at rest now, and I earnestly ask the
whole people of our Country to join me in saying—“PEACE TO THE ASHES OF

I shall never forget the extraordinary courage I saw displayed by an
hotel clerk, in Columbus, Ohio, while sojourning there during the little
tour in question. I was in the sitting-room, one day, when a large,
rough-looking man, in a state of inebriation, came in, took a seat in
one of the arm-chairs, and manifested symptoms of slumber. The clerk
soon saw him, went promptly to him, and gave him to understand that that
state of things wouldn’t do.

“Come,” said the clerk, “this won’t do. You must get out of this. We
don’t want a man to come in here drunk, and sit around half asleep.”

“Wha-at?” growled the inebriate.

“I say you must get out of this,” said the clerk, laying his hand on his
shoulder. “Come!”

He said this in a decided tone, as though he expected the drunken
gentleman to get up and be led out. But the man made no move toward
getting up, and, moreover, didn’t appear to be much afraid of the clerk.

“Did you hear what I said?” demanded the latter, shaking him slightly.

“Well, s’pose I did? What then?”

Such impudence to an hotel clerk!

“What then! I’ll show you what then! Now, you get out o’ here!” And he
seized the inebriate’s shoulder.

Thereupon the latter arose slowly, and I supposed he was going out; but
when he got straightened up, he turned defiantly on the clerk, and
raised his fist as though about to strike “from the shoulder.”

“Clear out, you darn cuss!” he said, to the frightened clerk, who
retreated with agility. “Don’ come layin’ yer hands onto me, or I’ll
batter the nose off o’ yer face!”

“Well, you’ve got to get out of here,” said the clerk.

“You can’t put me out,” retorted the intoxicated gentleman, defiantly.

“You’ll see pretty soon,” said the clerk, who, however, kept at a safe
distance. “I’m not going to allow a fellow that’s been somewhere and got
full of rum to come in here and sleep it off! You got nothing to drink
in _this_ house.”

“I would if I’d ’a’ wanted it.”

“You would, eh?” The clerk now walked toward the door, and, in doing so,
was obliged to pass within a few feet of the intruder; and the latter,
not knowing what his intentions were, turned round slowly, as if on a
pivot, so as to keep his face toward the clerk till he went out. In
about three-quarters of a minute the latter returned, and exclaimed:

“What! Haven’t you gone yet?”

“No—nor aint a goin’ till I’m ready. An’, look out!” he exclaimed, as
the clerk approached him again. “Don’t ye come near me, or I’ll
_spilter_ ye!”

I do not know exactly what he meant by this remarkable word, as I have
searched in vain for it in the lexicons of several languages; but I
suppose he meant something dreadful.

The clerk, however, did not seem inclined, as yet to make any aggressive
movement: he merely walked past him, as before and again the pugnacious
gentleman stood on the defensive, and personated a first-class pivot.
Strange as it may seem, I could not help fancying that if I had been in
authority at the hotel, as the clerk was, I would not have trifled quite
so long with an insolent drunken man.

While these sage thoughts were revolving in my mind, the clerk seemed to
grow all at once inspired with extraordinary courage. Starting suddenly
from where he stood, he walked briskly toward the intruder, saying,

“Now walk out of here in less than a second!” And he actually laid hands
on the big fellow.

The secret of the matter was that two policemen entered at that moment,
having been sent for by the clerk at the time of his brief absence from
the room; and that was what raised his courage so wonderfully. The two
officers walked the pugnacious inebriate out, and the clerk followed him
to the door, saying:

“Confound you! You won’t come in here loafing around! Next time you try
such a game, I’ll kick you out!”

“Go to——” The sound of the loafer’s voice died away, as he was trotted
out by the preservers of the peace, and I am unable to record what the
rest of the sentence was.

While at Decatur, Illinois, I heard a conversation between a traveler
and an hotel clerk, that strikingly exemplifies the irregularity of
western railroad trains.

“What time does the train go to Springfield?” he inquired, at the
counter, about eight o’clock in the evening.

“At twelve,” replied the clerk.

“Then,” rejoined the traveler, who was evidently posted, “give me a
room, and wake me at about one. That will be time enough.”

He was right. The “twelve o’clock train” from Lafayette, going through
to Springfield, did not come along till about fifteen minutes after one.
In the winter time, a traveler in the west can always count on a train
about one hour after its time, unless some unusual accident has delayed

At Logansport, Indiana, I got taken down a little. The way of it was
this: On the train from Peoria, I made the acquaintance of a gentleman
who kept an hotel in Logansport, and, in the course of the morning, as
we neared that place, I borrowed a literary paper from him, which I
forgot to return. Having an hour or two to wait for a train to Fort
Wayne, where I should be obliged to change cars again for Pittsburg, I
went into the hotel of the gentleman mentioned, for the purpose of
getting breakfast. Having taken breakfast, I thought of the paper I had
borrowed, and not seeing the landlord, and desiring to return it to the
owner in person, and thank him for the favor, I asked the clerk where he

“He is out at the stables,” returned the clerk.

“Will he be in soon?”

“I don’t know. He went out to show a man a horse that he has for sale.”

“Then I will go out; shall I go through this way?” I asked, pointing to
a path leading from the rear of the house to the stables.

“Yes, go right out that way. But be careful. There is a dog out in the
yard that is a little cross sometimes, and——”

“O,” I interrupted, carelessly, “no dog bites _me_. I am not afraid.”

The fact is, I have ever prided myself on the “charm” I can exercise
over the canine race, and have often taken the most ill-natured dogs in
my hands, picked them up bodily, and even put my hands invitingly to
their mouths, and they have not harmed me. The reason is simply that I
never shrink from them, or exhibit any fear; which demeanor inspires the
sagacious creatures with respect for a fellow.

It was a large, and beautifully-spotted black-and-white dog, and, as I
pursued my way to the stables, it came trotting out from a kennel it
occupied, and looked at me as much as to say:

“Are you afraid of me, sir?”

I looked calmly down upon the animal, as if to reply:

“Sagacious creature, I am not.”

To prove that I wasn’t, I paused to admire it, and fearlessly laid my
hand upon its head. Thereupon, it capered around me, joyfully, and made
a succession of springs upon me as though to kiss me. Just then three
juvenile canines, that I had not observed before, came running from the
kennel; and their resemblance to the adult one was so striking, that I
had no difficulty in making out the fact that a near relationship
existed between and among them. I stooped down to pat one of the little
beauties on the head, and just then, the big one made another playful
spring at my face, not with any intention of biting me,—I’ll be sworn to
that,—when one of its confounded, awkward teeth struck me just below the
eye and penetrated to the cheek-bone; and the crimson “gore” flowed from
the incision.

It was a most provoking circumstance, for the clerk was looking from the
window, and the landlord and another man just then appeared at the
stable-door, all thinking that the dog had bitten me; which placed me in
a ridiculous light, in the eyes of the clerk, after my boast that dogs
were not in the habit of biting me. Although the dog did not purposely
hurt me, and was still capering about, playfully, I execrated its
awkwardness, and felt that I could have knocked the top of its head off
with my crutch—had no one been looking. It was a female dog, too, and I
told it so, very concisely, in my vexation: which was all the
satisfaction I had.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Traveling incessantly for forty-eight hours, I reached Philadelphia on a
winter night, when the wind was howling and the snow falling fast. I had
slept very little on the trains during the last two nights, and it might
well be surmised that an individual like John Smith (or “any other man”)
would feel like “turning in,” under the circumstances. Such a conclusion
would be but rational.

But it is said that, “Man is a creature of circumstances;” and that
adage was fully exemplified by my remarkable experience on that
memorable night.

I had already instructed the baggage-agent on the Pennsylvania Central
train to send my trunk to my residence, and I was just stepping forth
from the depot, at Thirty-first and Market streets, with the view of
walking home through the jovial snow-storm, when a familiar voice
accosted me with:

“Hallo, Smith! Where have you been this long time? Where are you going?”

I recognized a young friend named Feeny, who was standing near a sleigh,
to which two handsome and spirited horses were attached. In the sleigh
sat another friend named Aaron, who also said:

“Why, Smith! How do you do? Glad to see you. Where have you been?”

“In the West,” I replied.

“Going home?”


“Not going to walk?”


“O, don’t do that! Get into the sleigh with Feeny and me, and ride.”

“By all means,” urged Feeny.

“Are you going directly home?” They lived near my residence.

“N—no—but that need make no difference. We were just taking a little
sleigh-ride. You don’t mind a ride of an hour before you go home?”

“I am rather weary,” I replied. “I have been rattling along in the cars
for two days and two nights. Have come all the way from Peoria,

“Well, jump in. We will at least take a little drive down Darby Road.
You must feel chilly. Here is something to warm you.”

This was an article of glassware, containing a genial fluid, designed
for the interior of mankind. Having availed myself of this blessing, I
sprung into the sleigh; Feeny jumped in after me; and we dashed away in
the blinding storm.

“We were just at the depot to meet a friend we expected,” said he, “but
he did not come.”

Away we went out Market street, defying even the wintry wind to outstrip
us. Instead of turning down the Darby Road, as proposed, we kept on out
Market street.

“We’ll take a little ride out this way first,” said Mr. Aaron, “then we
will return, go down Darby Road, cross Gray’s Ferry Bridge, and go

“All right!”

We had an extensive ride through West Philadelphia; and candor compels
me to say that some of the proprietors of hotels in that vicinity lost
nothing by it.

At last, we found ourselves dashing down Darby Road: the noble steeds
still fresh and vigorous, and we three “jolly boys” suffering nothing at
all from the malady known as “depression of spirits.”

Rest! I thought not of it now. I remembered not that I had slept none
for two nights. Away we went in the snow-storm; the wide fields of snow
my imaginary bed, the murky clouds my curtains, the wind and
sleigh-bells singing a merry song in concert to lull me to—wakefulness
and mirth.

We approached a certain toll-gate. What hour it was, I can never know;
but any one supposing it to be earlier than the beginning of another
day, would subject himself to great ridicule among the “posted.”

“Wonder if the toll-man’s up?” said Feeny.

“Doubtful,” responded Aaron.

“We’ll wake him, of course,” said I.

“Certainly—if we can yell loud enough.”

We dashed onward. So far from tiring, our horses seemed to gain new
strength and energy just then. The toll-gate and the little house there
situated, were very near.

We did not slacken our speed.

“Toll!” yelled Feeny, in a loud voice.

“Toll! Toll!” shouted Aaron, as we reached the gate without stopping.

“Toll! Toll! Toll!” I shrieked, in a jolly mood as we dashed by.

Alas! the keeper of the gate never had the felicity to receive that
“toll.” He did not get his _due_; but we got plenty of _snow_.

“Get up! Get up!” screamed Aaron, addressing the horses.

The animals “flew.”

The snow-covered road rushed away behind us so fast that I fancied we
were leaving the whole earth behind, and plunging away into space.

“Hurrah! Hurrah!” shouted Feeny.


We reached the road leading to Gray’s Ferry Bridge, and Mr. Aaron, who
had the lines, drove recklessly “round the corner.”

The result may be imagined. The centrifugal force overturned the sleigh
in about the sixteenth part of a second; we were all spilt; Aaron was
hurled into a fence-corner; Feeny was scattered along the road behind
the sleigh; I, with my crutch and cane strewn all around me, was
“chucked” into a snow-bank at the road-side, in an inverted
position—fairly buried in the cold snow, and my lonely foot pointing up
toward the clouded heavens: and in the midst of this scene of general
confusion, our conveyance dashed away through the winter night, and—we
had to pick ourselves up and walk home, a distance of two miles and
three quarters!


  “I was chucked into a snow bank and fairly buried in an inverted
    position, my lonely foot pointing up towards the clouded
    heavens.”—_On the Darby Road._ _Page_ 292.

                              CHAPTER XL.


FOR some time I had projected, for the spring of 1867, a voyage to San
Francisco, _via_ Cape Horn. My friends advised me, if I wanted to go to
California, to take a steamer and go by way of the Isthmus; but, for the
novelty of the thing, I determined to take passage on a sailing-ship and
double Cape Horn, South America, where the Patagonians live, who eat up
all the unfortunate sailors driven on their shores. [It’s a pity Cape
Horn should ever be _doubled_, for there is too much of it now.]

When March came, and it began to get windy and stormy, I went to New
York, with the intention of taking passage on the first sailing-vessel
that should clear for San Francisco.

My friends again gave me a little wholesome advice, and endeavored to
dissuade me from attempting the voyage till after the stormy season, but
I replied that I didn’t mind seeing a storm at sea, that, in fact, I
rather desired it: so, I went.

Some of the merchants, shipowners and underwriters of New York, have
occasion to remember the clipper-ship BREWSTER, which sailed from New
York for San Francisco, on the fourteenth of March, 1867, with a fresh
north-west wind and under good auspices, generally. I, John Smith, was
that ship’s only passenger. She was not a passenger ship; but I was
allowed to take passage on her, because I wanted to go round Cape Horn.
Captain Collins, the master of the vessel, asked me whether I thought I
could stand up on my crutch, when the ship should come to be tossed
about on a rough sea: I replied that I didn’t know about that, but that
I was quite skillful at falling down.

As before hinted, we sailed on the fourteenth of March; and as a
powerful little tug towed us out of the harbor, past Forts Richmond,
Lafayette and Hamilton, and I looked back and saw Trinity Church steeple
fading from view, I pondered on the long voyage of four or five months
before me, and wondered when, if ever, I should see New York and the
Atlantic coast again.

That day, and the day following, the weather was so extremely cold, that
the salt water of old Ocean, as it splashed over the bulwarks, froze
into a nasty uncomfortable slush, upon the deck. On the third
morning—that of Saturday, the sixteenth of March—the air was much
milder, and I began to entertain the liveliest hopes that we were to be
favored with pleasant weather, that I might sit by the low bulwarks of
the forecastle deck, and watch the blue waves foaming and splashing as
the ship plowed its way through them.

Captain Collins was an excellent fellow, a lively and agreeable
companion, and a perfect gentleman. The two mates, Messrs. Trufant and
Gorham, were unexceptionable; I was soon on the best terms with them,
and anticipated a pleasant voyage.

But, somehow or other, these three gentlemen were a little morose on
this pleasant Saturday morning. It was quite unaccountable to me.

“What can be the reason?” I asked myself. “Can it be that they don’t
like pleasant weather, and would prefer it cold and stormy?” I had heard
such things, of sea-faring men. [Reader, when _you_ hear it said that
sailors enjoy stormy weather, don’t believe it.]

About ten o’clock the first mate, Mr. Trufant, after several earnest
consultations with the Captain, came out of the cabin,—while I was
standing on deck enjoying the pleasant breeze and the fine view I had of
the waste of waters—and called out:


“Ay, ay, sir,” responded the steward, from the galley.

“Get up a few barrels of potatoes, and what other things you may need
from the after-hatch: we’re going to have a gale o’ wind.”

[That was what the matter was. The barometer was getting low.]

“Ay, ay, sir,” said the steward.

The wind was still N. W., and glancing in that direction, I perceived
that some solid-looking, lead colored clouds were rising above the

“Going to blow, is it?” I said, to the mate, as he walked by me.

“Yes, a little,” he replied, as he proceeded to give some order to the

A couple of hours passed by, and I saw no indications of a storm. It had
grown a trifle cloudy; and the wind had increased but little.

“We won’t have that gale, after all, will we?” I remarked, as we sat at

The captain laughed. “Give it time,” said he. “The barometer usually
warns in advance. If you don’t see a fresh breeze before morning, there
will be a big change in the weather somewhere.”

I said no more.

After dinner I was on deck, and, observing that the sailors were working
the pumps, I said to Mr. Gorham, the second mate:

“The ship leaks a little, does it?”

“O, yes,” he replied, indifferently: “all ships leak more or less.”

“I hope ours will leak _less_, then, if we get in a gale,” I said.

“So do I,” he returned; “but I fear it will leak _more_.”

The ship was rocking somewhat, but I had not yet grown sea-sick. In
fact, persons who have once been sea-sick are not quite so easily or so
severely affected the second time.

I walked to the bulwark, scanned the north-western horizon, and
perceived that it was beginning to wear a threatening aspect. The wind
was stronger, the waves rolling higher, and the sailors grave and

It was no easy matter for me to stand, without holding to something: and
hatch-houses, masts, bulwarks, ropes and belaying-pins came quite handy
to brace myself against, or cling to with one hand.

In another hour, the wind was blowing hard, the waves were running high,
and one of them jumped over the bulwarks, and wet everybody on
deck—myself included. That is what sailors term, “Shipping a sea.”

“You had better stand within the cabin,” observed the second mate.

I thought so, too, made my way to the door, and stepped in. The cabin
was built on deck; but a high sill at the bottom of the door-way kept
the water from running in.

I then stood at the cabin-door for a couple of hours, grasping each side
of the door-way to brace myself, and watched the rising gale.

                              CHAPTER XLI.


ANOTHER heavy wave dashed over the bulwarks, and fell upon the deck,
with a thump that made the ship tremble. The wind rose higher, and was
soon howling among the rigging with a fierceness entirely new to me.
Wave after wave swept over, and the deck was continually washed with the
agitated waters. Evening came and I had no appetite for supper.

Night came, darkness frowned on the furious sea, the wind increased in
violence, and fairly screamed among the ropes, shrouds, masts, and
yards; we were indeed in a gale.

The ship tumbled about so, that I got sick; but determined not to give
way to it. I stood by the cabin door, leaned over the high sill, and
contributed my dinner to the waters of the ocean.

The sails had all been taken in but the three lower top-sails, and with
those still unfurled, we had been running before the wind. These were
now taken in—except the lower main top-sail, which is always left
unfurled, in order to control the ship—and the vessel was hove to: that
is, turned with her head to the wind, her bow a point or two off, in
order that she might rise on the waves.

When these measures had been taken, it seemed to me that the wind just
tried how hard it could blow; and to do it justice, I must say, that it
blew much harder than I had ever before thought it could. Wave after
wave—every successive one seeming to run higher and higher—struck the
ship, which was continually trembling, and straining, and “working,” as
though it might at any moment break to splinters.

Ah, I began to realize that a storm at sea is no luxury! Reader, if you
have not seen one, you are fortunate. If you ever start on a voyage,
pray earnestly for smooth weather, and if your prayers are answered be
very thankful.

I retired to my room at last, and “turned in.” That is the nautical
phrase for “going to bed.” You never hear a sailor say he will “go to
bed.” He never “goes to bed.” Such an expression would sound very odd at
sea. “Turn in,” is the proper term there. If a sailor should hear a man
talk about “going to bed,” he would think that man had actually never
been out of sight of land in his life.

I “turned in,” and slept. When I awoke again, the ship was tumbling
about so that I wondered I had not been pitched out of my berth. Seeing
one of the mates pass through the cabin, I accosted him with—

“How is it, without?”

“Blowing a regular gale,” he replied.

“What time is it?”

“Seven bells.”

At sea, they never say eight, nine, ten, eleven, or half-past eleven
o’clock. There is a large bell at the forecastle, which is tapped every
half-hour. At half-past twelve, it receives one tap; which is called
“one bell.” At one o’clock, it is tapped twice: that is, “two bells.” At
half-past one, it is tapped three times: that is “three bells;” and so
on, till four o’clock, which time is “eight bells.” Then at half-past
four “one bell” is struck again; at five o’clock, “two bells;” and so
on, up to eight o’clock, which is “eight bells,” again. Commencing at
half-past eight, “one bell” is again sounded, “two bells” at nine; and
so on till twelve, when “eight bells” is reached once more. So, when the
mate told me it was “seven bells,” it will be perceived that it was
half-past eleven.

I tried to sleep again, and succeeded. How long I slept, I could not
tell; but when I awoke again, the vessel was tossing about fearfully,
and the waves dashing over her fore and aft, with a fierceness that
threatened to burst her to pieces. But the wind had suddenly lulled. Not
a breath of air was stirring; the lower main top-sail was flapping idly
about; they had lost control of the ship, because she would no longer
steer when the wind ceased; and so, falling fairly into the trough of
the sea, she could not struggle up over the billows; and there she lay
at the mercy of the waves, being buffeted by them without any mercy at

It was indeed a perilous time. The captain, with his many years of
experience at sea, knew our danger; but what could be done? Should this
state of things continue long, the ship must inevitably be beaten to
pieces. All hands had been called on deck; and I got out of my bunk and
struggled to the cabin-door. I opened it a little way, but a fearful sea
swept over and dashed it shut in my face. I could hear the voice of the
captain giving hurried commands to the sailors who were at work securing
the rigging. The shrouds were growing slack, and it was every minute
expected that the masts would be carried away.

No breeze came; and probably the angry sea would have crushed us down
then and there, but that the clouds gathered thickly over, and a heavy
rain came pattering upon the agitated waters—a very unusual
accompaniment of a north-west wind.

It may be wondered, by the uninitiated, how a heavy shower of rain could
help us. It is not generally known that rain has a soothing effect on
the angry sea. Yet, such is the case. No matter how fiercely the waves
are running, let the wind lull, and a brisk rain of an hour will take
all the rough edge off them. It is the dashing and breaking waves that
sailors dread. A regular swelling wave, no matter how high it towers,
will do no harm, as a vessel will rise with it, and ride lightly over.

This rain of twenty-five or thirty minutes, so far soothed the turbulent
waves as to place us out of immediate danger; and not long after, the
wind sprung up again, command of the ship was recovered, and so the
night passed—and the morning of Sunday, the seventeenth of March, St.
Patrick’s Day, dawned upon the wide ocean.

The wind was still blowing freshly, but the sky was clear, the sun
shining brightly, and the waves of the sea rolling within the pale of
moderation. They still washed the deck at intervals, but I had got used
to that, for the deck had scarcely been free from the briny water since
the middle of the previous day. The officers and sailors all wore high
rubber boots, and oil-cloth hats and clothes. But still, the water
dashed over them so violently, that they were wet to the skin all the
time. If any one ever asks you, dear reader, whether a sailor’s life is
a pleasant one or not, say “No!”

                  *       *       *       *       *

A strong breeze blew all day, and as night approached, it increased to a
gale again. I had hoped the storm was over; but a storm at sea seldom
subsides entirely within twenty-four hours.

What we had experienced on Saturday night, was not to be compared with
the terrors of that memorable Sunday night. I have suffered much, and
undergone much danger in my time, but I never, either before or since,
passed such a terrible night.

The gale grew fierce again—fiercer even than before—and the lofty waves
thundered over us so, that much of the time it was difficult to
determine whether we were still floating or not.

But the most fearful time was about midnight. Light clouds were hurrying
over, driven by the mighty wind, while, at intervals, portions of the
sky grew clear, and the moon shone down upon us. It was an odd
sight—such an awful tempest seen in the moonlight. The wind blew with
such violence that the ship was nearly the whole time on her beam-ends,
that is, lying over on her side. At intervals she would struggle up for
a moment, but the fierce blast would soon hurl her over again. On one
occasion, while she stood up for a moment, the pumps were sounded, and
the captain soon after called out,

“Starboard watch to the pumps!”

The fact was, the ship was found to be leaking badly, and the hold
already contained about four-and-a-half feet of water! One of the mates
informed me of this. I had requested him to be frank with me, and to let
me know the full extent of any danger; stating, that if it became
necessary for us to die, I would do my share of it with as good a grace
as possible under the circumstances.

The crew of a vessel is divided into two watches—one called the
Starboard, and the other the Port. The port watch is commanded by the
first mate, and the starboard by the second. [The port side of a ship is
the left-hand side, the starboard the right.] While the starboard watch
worked most energetically at the pumps, the port watch went aft with the
captain and first mate, and proceeded to heave cargo overboard.

All that was cared for now was to save our lives, and to do that, the
ship must be kept afloat. What cared we now for stores of wealth! The
wealth of the whole world would not have been more highly regarded than
an old rusty nail! What cared I for my trunk, my clothes, my books,
money, papers, manuscripts, and little valuable and favorite trinkets! I
could have seen them all, and a million times more, swept overboard into
the dashing sea, without giving them another thought.

How faithfully those sailors worked! both at the pumps, and at the
after-hatch, where the valuable cargo was being dashed from the ship, as
though a sacrifice to appease the wrath of the billows! How quickly and
submissively they sprung to execute every slight command! There was no
tardiness now. They were working for dear life, and it was only
necessary for them to know _what_ to do. The commands of the officers
were merely instructions. There was no cursing the sailors by the
officers. [As for the captain, _he_ seldom swore at the sailors; but the
mates could do so, in mild weather, with a skill that no reasonable
person could impeach.]

There was no longer any distinction between officers and men. All
appeared equal. All labored for a common end. Death, which lays every
one low, with an impartial hand, was apparently near us, and we were
comrades now. Kings and emperors, had they been aboard that seemingly
doomed ship, must have felt that they were only men!

I remained at the cabin door, most of the time, watching, at times—as
the receding sea would allow me to open the door a little way—the second
mate, Mr. Gorham, and his watch, working at the pumps, and the
phosphorescent sparks chasing each other over the deck and out at the
ports and scuppers. I could also see long lines of gleaming phosphorus
on the crests of the waves far out upon the dreadful sea.

The steward, who had been helping at the pumps, made his way into the
cabin for some purpose, and said to me,

“Passenger, don’t you think we’re gone?”

His voice indicated that he had already abandoned all hope.

“Things look rather gloomy,” I replied.

“Well,” he rejoined, “we have but once to die. If we go down, it will
soon be over; we won’t suffer long.”

This was all the consolation any of us had. The water in the hold did
not decrease—the storm raged with unabated fury—and the question now,
was not, “Shall we go down?” but, “How soon?” It seemed but a question
of time. If we had a spark of hope left, it was merely as one compared
with one hundred. The mate told me it was _possible_ the ship could be
kept afloat till morning, and that then it was _possible_ some vessel
might be in sight and come to our assistance. But these vague
possibilities were worse than no hope at all. They were too tantalizing.
I should really have felt better if I had known, beyond a doubt, that we
should go down in ten minutes.

Still, it is natural for man to cling to any hope that is held out to
him, however slight. Probably, hope, faint as it was, saved us on this
occasion. Had all given up, and sat down, with the conviction that we
were lost—although no one on board was really of any other opinion—the
ship would have filled in an hour, and we must have gone down to our
dismal graves in the depths of the Gulf Stream.

In this awful extremity, I could not help remembering certain verses
from Byron’s “Don Juan” which were very applicable to the occasion. I
quote them:

           “It may be easily supposed, while this
             Was going on, some people were unquiet;
           That passengers would find it much amiss
             To lose their lives, as well as spoil their diet;
           That even the able seaman, deeming his
             Days nearly o’er, might be disposed to riot;
           As, upon such occasions, tars will ask
           For grog, and sometimes drink rum from the cask.

              *       *       *       *       *

           “Then came the carpenter, at last, with tears
             In his rough eyes, and told the captain he
           Could do no more; he was a man in years,
             And long had voyaged through many a stormy sea,
           And if he wept, at length, they were not fears
             That made his eyelids as a woman’s be;
           But he, poor fellow, had a wife and children—
           Two things for dying people quite bewildering.

           “The ship was evidently settling now
             Fast by the head; and, all distinction gone,
           Some went to prayers again and made a vow
             Of candle to their saints—but there were none
           To pay them with; and some looked o’er the bow,
             Some hoisted out the boats: and there was one,
           That begged Pedrillo[3] for an absolution,
           Who told him to be d——d, in his confusion.”

Footnote 3:

    Pedrillo, a licentiate who accompanied Don Juan, and was his tutor.

The night passed—I scarcely know how—and, contrary to our anticipation,
morning found us still afloat. The storm was yet raging, and the sailors
were still busy pumping and heaving cargo overboard. I took my position
at the cabin door again, standing in water six or eight inches deep—for
the water had made its way into the cabin, where my trunk was

leisurely soaking. I heard the first mate tell one of the sailors to
climb up to the mast-head and keep a look out for a vessel. Shortly
afterward he came to the door, held it a little way open and said:

“Mr. Smith, just glance out! There is the wildest sight I ever saw,
during all my experience at sea!” And he pointed to windward.

I looked; but how shall I describe that sublime and awful picture! The
sun was shining brightly, the wind blowing so fiercely that it shattered
the green waves, lifted up the waters bodily and dispersed them into a
thick spray, so that I could not discern where sea and sky met. The next
moment we were enveloped in such a cloud that we could not see thirty
yards around us; the heavens grew black and it began to look like the
dusk of evening. A minute later, the clouds had swept over, and the
bright sun burst once more upon that scene of fearful grandeur. Never
did the god of day shed light on a wilder picture! It was
grand—majestically grand—awfully grand, beyond the expression of human
tongue! Notwithstanding our prospect of speedy death, I was lost and
swallowed up in momentary admiration. How vividly came to my mind, as I
stood there gazing on the tempestuous scene, those sublime words from
the one-hundred-and-seventh Psalm—words that I had never before properly

“They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great

“These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.

“For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, _which lifteth up the
waves thereof_.

“They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths; their
soul is melted because of trouble.

“They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their
wit’s end.”

Presently the whole wild picture was again wrapped in gloom, and I was
only conscious of the thunder of the waves beating over the ship, of the
howling wind and dashing, blinding spray; a moment of gloom: then the
clouds were dashed away by the wind, the sun burst out and the wild day
shone round again.

We were in the Gulf Stream, which is of a warmer temperature than the
other waters of the Atlantic in the same latitude; and the cooler wind
seemed to grasp the water up and dash it into the sky; so that, at
times, as the spray mounted up and formed in clouds, the sea and sky
appeared to leave their places, rushing about through space and
commingling in unutterable confusion.

In the midst of all this, how frail did our ship seem!—so frail, that I
fancied it lived only because the battling elements did not deign to
notice it, or think it worth their while to crush it, as they might have
done with a breath!

But now, a beam of hope dawned on us; and it could be seen shining on
the faces of all. Every countenance was radiant with it. There was, at
last, after eight hours of constant pumping, a perceptible decrease of
water in the hold. Sixty or seventy tons of cargo had been thrown from
the after part of the ship; the carpenter had gone down and succeeded in
patching up one of the rifts: and, to our joy, it was found that the
pumps were now capable of throwing the water out a little faster than it
ran in. Although the gale was still blowing, and many planks had been
torn from the bulwarks by the waves, imminent death no longer threatened
us, and we felt comparatively happy.

All that day, (Monday,) that night, and a portion of the following day,
the storm raged. But on Tuesday afternoon it gradually lulled, and on
Wednesday morning the sun smiled cheerfully on a nearly smooth sea. A
slight breeze was blowing, the sky was clear and blue, the air perfectly
charming; and I began to forget the terrors and dangers of the storm
through which we had passed. After all, now, it was pleasant to be at

Of course, such a thing as proceeding on a voyage of fifteen thousand
miles was not to be thought of; and the captain put back for New York,
which was now about seven hundred miles distant, as we had drifted a
long way during the north-west gale.

That beautiful morning, as I went up on the after deck—a deck, usually
called the poop deck, which surrounds the cabin, and is raised about
three or four feet above the main deck—I met the captain walking to and
fro, and he said:

“Well, Mr. Smith, taking into consideration our recent gale, what do you
think of the man who wrote ‘A life on the ocean wave?’”

“One of two things,” I replied: “he was either a lunatic, or else never
saw the ‘ocean wave.’ In the latter case, he was, at least, a fool.”

“That,” rejoined the captain, “reminds me of a certain Doctor—a friend
of mine—who once took a voyage with me. He was much elated with the idea
of going to sea, and, as we sailed from port, and he gazed out upon the
endless expanse before us, he was perfectly enraptured. But, by and by,
as we got out where it was a little rough, he became sea-sick—terribly
so—and I found him aft, in a little while, hanging over the bulwark, and
ready to turn inside out. O, wasn’t he sick! ‘Hallo, Doctor,’ said I;
‘not sick, I hope?’ ‘O, Lordy! yes,’ said he. ‘O, dear!’ Then I thought
his stomach itself would come up. ‘What do you now think of the man who
wrote, “_A life on the ocean wave_?” I was cruel enough to ask. ‘Think!’
said he. ‘I think—bawk!—think he was a d——d fool! Bawk! Bawk! O, Lordy,

                             CHAPTER XLII.

                       MORE OF THE DREADFUL SEA.

WITH Thursday morning came an east wind: it was moderate, at first, but
freshened up, and blew positively strong; the sky became heavily
overcast with clouds, the rain fell—so did the mercury in the
barometer—and there was every indication of an easterly gale.

Still, as night came on, and it had not yet amounted to a gale, the ship
was kept running before the wind under her three lower top-sails, and we
made pretty good time toward New York.

I retired that night not quite at ease, but still sufficiently so to
rest well; and as the vessel was kept before the wind all night, and did
not rock much, I didn’t tumble out of my berth, as one may reasonably
expect to do when the vessel rolls heavily.

I am not in the habit of paying any attention to dreams, or of relating
them; but one that visited me that night was so inexpressibly ludicrous,
that I must “out with it.”

I dreamed that I, in company with a very black African, armed with an
axe, was in a deep, thick wood in California, looking for a pole to make
sled-soles of, when a big bear made his appearance, and immediately
“went for” us. The darkey dropped the axe, sprung upon a stump near by,
and squatted on the top of it, trembling with terror; but I, not being
in a condition to retreat with speed, caught up the axe, threw down my
crutch, balanced myself on my foot, and as the bear came on and reared
up to hug me to death, I aimed a blow at his head. But it missed his
head and cut off one of his fore-paws—a bear has _four_ of them, you
know—the blood spurting forth from the stump, in a way that was quite
gratifying to me. He was not placed _hors du combat_, however, but
persisted in his attack on me with extraordinary vigor. I aimed another
blow at the seat of his intellect; but, singularly enough, missed it
again, and cut off the other fore-paw. As I did so, the axe flew from my
hands, and fell at the foot of a big tree, thirty feet distant. The
bear, not yet discomfitted, growled savagely, showed his teeth, and came
dancing at me, holding up his bloody stumps, as though still determined,
even with them, to crush me. Finding myself unarmed, and without so much
leisure time as to pick up my crutch, I turned about and made a hop
toward the stump on which the darkey sat. The bear hopped after me. I
had thought of climbing up on the stump, but the frightened darkey
occupied all the space there; so I just kept on retreating round the
stump, hopping as fast as I could, and close at my heel came the bloody
bear, hopping, too, as fast as _he_ could.

The whole picture, with the scared nigger on the stump in the
center,—his thick lips mumbling unintelligible words of fright, and his
white eyes starting out so that they could have been knocked off with a
club, without touching his flat nose—was so unprecedentedly ludicrous,
that terrified, as I fancied I was, I laughed outright, in the very
midst of my visionary peril; and so awoke.

It was daylight; the roar of the agitated sea struck on my ear; the
waves were dashing over the stern of the ship and rolling over the roof
of the cabin; the winds were howling without; the ship was plunging and
pitching, rising in the misty air and sinking into the depths among the
waves: it was blowing a regular gale. I got up and was making my way
toward the cabin door, when the captain entered.

“Good-morning,” said I. “How are things now?”

“O,” he replied, in a tone of vexation, “about as bad as they can be,
this side of the bottom. We have an easterly gale to contend with, and
the ship is still before the wind. I wanted to run as long as I could,
in order to get out of this cursed Gulf Stream. Now, I am half afraid to
heave the ship to, lest it should strain her. Every thing goes wrong.
This is the most unlucky voyage of my life. I have followed the sea for
twenty years; I have been in innumerable gales; I have had ships burnt
under me; I have been shipwrecked on coasts; I have run upon icebergs,
and been attacked by pirates; but never had such continued ill-luck. I
hoped the other gale would have been enough for one trip. We got out of
that by barely a hair’s-breadth; and now, in our crippled condition,
before we have time to get out of the Gulf Stream, we have a black,
blustering easterly gale rushing upon us. If it lasts as long as the
other, we must either go to the bottom or be driven upon the coast.
Nothing can save us.”

“Too bad,” said I, taking advantage of a momentary lull, to attempt to
walk across the cabin.

But just then the ship gave a fearful lurch, and I was dashed violently
back upon a sofa, striking, upon the back of it, that leader in the
elbow commonly styled the “crazy-bone,” and temporarily, paralyzing my

“Are you hurt?” asked the captain.

“Only my arm,” I replied, grasping the back of the sofa with my other
hand to keep from rolling off. “Only my arm. It, I am inclined to
believe, is broken.”

“I hope not.”

My arm was so paralyzed that I could not move it for a quarter of a
minute; when, as it began to recover from the benumbing effects of the
shock, it tingled in a way that was agonizing. It was not broken,
however, but badly bruised.

“I think,” said the captain, “you must be the _Jonah_ of this ship. It
is said when ships are unfortunate, that they have a Jonah on board.
Hadn’t we better throw you overboard?”

“If you will insure me a safe voyage to land in a whale’s stomach,” I
replied, “you may do so. If it will take me to New York in three days
and three nights, I think I will reach land much sooner than this leaky
old ship.”

“I don’t know,” he rejoined. “We may reach the nearest point of land
much sooner.”

“Where is that,” I asked.

“The _bottom_.”

The gale did not grow so fierce that day as our north-western gale had
done; but still it was a bigger gale than any man need wish for.

Two of the men were severely injured at the wheel, and had to be
conveyed to the forecastle and stowed away. Moreover, one or two others
had fallen ill, from sheer exhaustion; and as the crew only numbered
twenty-three, including officers, steward, and carpenter, this was a
considerable diminution of force. The ship leaked as badly as ever, and
the pumps had to be kept going continually.

That night, in the midst of the gale, the wind hushed suddenly, as on
the night of the sixteenth, while the sea was running high, and left us
again struggling in a trough of the sea.

               “At mercy of the waves, whose mercies are
                As human beings’ during civil war.”

However, it was soon blowing again, and the captain, who wanted to get
across the Gulf Stream as soon as possible—for the sea is always more
turbulent there than elsewhere—put the ship before the wind, determined
to run her “as long as she would float.”

                             CHAPTER XLIII

                       JOHN SMITH’S END IMMINENT.

BY morning—Saturday, the twenty-third of March—a fearful gale was
blowing, and the weather was so heavy that the dismal, misty clouds
seemed to float on the bosom of the sea.

The ship was leaking worse than ever, the water in the hold was actually
gaining; and the second mate, who was on watch, told the captain that
unless the vessel was hove to soon, she must go down, as it was
impossible, with the gale astern—the chief leakage being aft—to keep her
from filling. The captain told him to call all hands on deck at once;
and he came to the cabin door and called the first mate.

Mr. Trufant, the first mate, “turned out” hastily, put on his
water-proof clothes, and stepped forth on deck. Just then a heavy sea
swept over and carried him off his feet, dashing him against the
starboard bulwark, where both his feet slipped under one of the spare
spars that was loosely lashed there, and was floating on the water. As
the wave receded, and the water ran off through the rents in the
bulwarks, the spar settled down again, its immense weight resting on one
of his legs, which he could not withdraw in time. He uttered an
exclamation of pain, and Mr. Gorham and the sailors at the pumps,
hurried to his assistance. They could not move the heavy spar, and the
unfortunate man was obliged to lie there, suffering the most
excruciating pain, till another sea swept over, half drowning him, and
floated it again.

Then Mr. Gorham and the sailors hastily dragged him from the bulwark,
and carried him, groaning and fainting, into the cabin. His leg was
broken about five inches below the knee.

Here then was another important portion of our force rendered useless;
to say nothing of the depressing influence their officer’s misfortunes
and sufferings had on the sailors, who, like most seamen, were
superstitious, and were heard declaring that the BREWSTER was an
“unlucky ship.” Mr. Trufant was an exemplary seaman, and could have
handled the ship as well as the captain.

At this most distressing time, the gale grew more violent than ever;
heavy seas swept over from stern to stem, in rapid succession; the main
hatch-house was stove to pieces; both galley doors were stove in, and
the sea dashed through, putting out the fires, washing away provisions
and important utensils, and hurling the steward out against the bulwark,
and almost overboard; nearly all the remaining planks of the bulwarks
were torn away; the wheel-house began to go to pieces; the lower fore
top-sail was blown to ribbons; and the ship broached to—that is, came
round into the trough of the sea, and lay with her side to the wind and

The captain hurried out upon the after-deck, had the lower mizzen
top-sail taken in, and ordered the lower main top-sail to be braced so
that the ship should lie close to the wind, and steer over the waves.
This done, he returned to the cabin, and he and I “set” Mr. Trufant’s
broken leg—and a deuce of a “set” we made of it. I had read “anatomy” in
my time, and fancied I knew something of surgery and the general
construction of the human frame; but, tossing about as the ship was at
that time, the most skillful surgeon could scarcely have done justice to
the case.

Only the _tibia_—that is, the large bone of the leg—was broken, and we
applied three splints to it, bound it too tightly, with too much
bandage, and fancied we had “reduced the fracture,” in a scientific
manner. When we arrived in New York Harbor, nine days later, and the
mate was taken to the Brooklyn City Hospital, the surgeons there had to
set it over again, and attach a forty-pound weight to the foot to keep
it in its place.

Our troubles were not over when Mr. Trufant’s accident occurred. Another
man at the wheel had his shoulder dislocated, and was carried to the
forecastle. Every wave that swept over did some additional
damage—crushing in a panel of the house on deck, or tearing a plank from
the bulwarks. Mr. Gorham told the captain that the water in the hold was
increasing, and that one of the two pumps was out of order. The rigging
grew slack again; the shrouds had endured such a strain that some of
them were beginning to give way and were flapping loosely in the wind:
and it began to be pretty clear that the main-mast would soon go.

The sky was not quite so heavy as it had been; and the captain went aft
with his glass and anxiously scanned the horizon. There was a schooner
in sight, three or four miles to windward, and as she rose on the waves
we could see her distinctly. So, he went into the cabin, got an
odd-looking flag from his private state-room, took it out and hoisted it
at the mizzen-mast. It was a _signal of distress_.

“Mr. Gorham,” he shouted, “don’t give it up! Keep the pump going! She
may not see us!”

“Ay, ay, sir!” responded the brave mate. “I will not give it up!—Work
away with a will, men!”

The remaining effective pump was worked with unusual energy for
half-an-hour; during which time, I climbed up the companion-way, went
out on the stormy after-deck, clung to a rope with which the wheel-house
was lashed, and anxiously watched the schooner. She was standing several
points off, and did not change her course. Whether she had failed to see
our signal, or was herself in a bad condition, or both, I am unable to
say: but she moved on, and finally grew dim at the misty horizon.

Again the captain scanned the ocean on all sides; but no sail was in
sight. He then, with an air of sadness and disappointment, hauled down
the signal. Next, he went to Mr. Gorham, and asked him how the water
was. There was no hope in that direction. He could not tell how much
water was in the hold, but any one could see that the ship was slowly
settling. If any one had mentioned hope to us now, we would have laughed
at him—laughed with the wild laugh of despair!

A thousand thoughts of home and friends came crowding upon me; and I
wondered how many months the fathomless waters would roll over me—how
many months I should lie entangled, perhaps, among some slimy sea-weeds,
if not immediately devoured by the monsters of the deep, before the dear
ones, whom I had seen for the last time, would give me up for lost. They
could never know how I perished, I mused; none would be left to tell the

In an hour, perhaps the waves would be dashing a thousand fathoms above
us all. Time would roll on, the BREWSTER would never be heard of, no
letter from San Francisco would ever bear to my friends the welcome
words, “All is well!” Years would pass away—no tidings of the
wanderer—one by one, all who were dear to me would grow old and die, and
sink down into the grave, thinking of the lost one who disappeared in
the dim years gone by, and wondering how he died!

These thoughts were saddening indeed to one who believed that his end
was nigh; but I remembered that no fretting, or repining, or yearning
for loved faces, could at all help the matter; and made up my mind to
die like a man!

The captain returned to the after-deck, and I went down into the cabin
and stayed with Mr. Trufant, whose sufferings, as the vessel tossed
about, were indeed heartrending. He was a brave fellow, though, and
stood it with fortitude. He had served in the navy, and his face was
disfigured from the explosion of a shell; and he told me he had been
unlucky all his life. He did not know the extent of our danger—and I did
not tell him—and related some of his misfortunes, as I sat there on a
sofa, near his berth, clinging to it to retain my seat. He said that,
only a year before, he had met with an accident on a ship, had nearly
been crushed by a falling yard, that it had taken him eight or nine
months to recover, during which time he had spent, in doctor-bills, and
the like, all the hard-earned money he had saved up in the course of
years; that now, just when he had got able to start on a voyage again,
with hopes of a brighter future, this sad accident had occurred, and
would lay him up for months, should we reach shore. It was hard, he
said, after what he had suffered in the navy; and I thought so, too.

Well, his misfortunes and sorrows, my misfortunes and sorrows, and the
misfortunes and sorrows of the whole crew would soon have ended, had the
storm continued so much as an hour longer. But at six bells—vulgarly
called on land, eleven o’clock—it began to abate, as though its very
strength was exhausted; and by evening, had entirely subsided. The ship
was again comparatively relieved from water; and there’s no use in any
ordinary mortal attempting to give a passable description of our joy, as
we found ourselves once more basking in the full light of hope!

                             CHAPTER XLIV.

                           COURTESIES AT SEA.

NEXT day, (Sunday,) a fresh north-west breeze blew all day, and we made
but little progress toward New York. The weather was pleasant, and the
ship did not leak so much as before. The sailors were busy all day,
repairing the damages, as best they could, securing the rigging and so
forth; the carpenter nailed some boards on the almost bare framework of
the bulwarks, made another inspection of the hold, and got some of the
leaks stopped: especially did he secure one of the stern planks, that
was so loose that a man might have pulled it off with his hands.

On Monday morning, the sea was perfectly calm. Not the slightest breeze
stirred, the surface of the water was glassy, and scarcely any swell was
perceptible. [They have _swells_ at sea, as well as on land.]

By and by, as we laid perfectly motionless, we saw a steamer coming from
the southward, and the captain ran up his “ensign,” as a signal that he
wanted to communicate with her. It was the _Moro Castle_, from Havana
for New York. As she passed astern of us, within half a cable’s length,
Captain Collins called out:

“This is the BREWSTER, leaking badly and returning in distress! Please
report me in New York!”

“Ay, ay,” replied the captain of the steamer, as she rushed by.

On Monday evening, a stiff north-west breeze sprung up again, as though
determined to keep us away from New York harbor; and it lasted a whole

On Thursday, the twenty-eighth, after we had been tacking about for
three days without gaining much distance, a pilot-boat came dancing out
to us, over the rough waves, and a pilot left her in a yawl and came
aboard the BREWSTER.

“HAVE YOU ANY NEWSPAPERS?” was the question the captain and I asked him,
in a breath, as he came up over the bulwark.

I shall never forget the anxiety and impatience with which we asked this
question. We had been absent from the world, as it were, about three
weeks: and so full of terror and danger had the period been that it
seemed like a moderate life-time. I almost fancied that my country might
have undergone a revolution during my absence, and that I might find it
necessary, on going ashore, to bend my solitary knee to a crowned
monarch. However, I saw no indications of any such state of things, in
the _World_, _Herald_ and _Times_ with which the pilot responded to our
earnest inquiries. Things seemed to be going on about as usual in
Gotham, and the remainder of the United States: the markets appeared to
be good; whisky, cotton and iron were quoted at fair figures: while the
usual healthy number of fires, accidents and murders were reported in
the proper columns.

On Monday morning, the first day of April, having been all this time
beating about in front of the harbor, we found ourselves becalmed again,
about seventy miles from New York. The sky was heavily clouded, a dull,
damp, misty rain fell, and the barometer was low. Every thing augured
ugly weather. Soundings were taken, which indicated that we were in
fifty fathoms water. Other sails could be seen on all sides.

By and by, we saw a small side-wheel steamer coming toward us, from the
direction of the harbor; whereupon the captain said to the pilot:

“Don’t you think that’s a steamer coming to take us in tow?”

“It looks very like it,” was the reply.

The captain then called the carpenter and instructed him to remove from
the stern of the ship the board on which the name BREWSTER was painted.

“What is that for, Captain?” I asked.

“Don’t you know?” he replied.


“How dull you are,” said he.

“You would be dull, too,” I retorted, “if you had never been out of
sight of land but three or four times in your life. But, tell me—what is
it for?”

“Why, you see, we have already been reported in distress; and if that
fellow coming should recognize us, he would ask a thousand or fifteen
hundred dollars to tow us in.”

“Ah?” said I, somewhat enlightened. “Is that their style?”

“Yes, indeed: let them get a fellow in a tight place once, as we are
now, and they’ll pile it on—no telling how high.—Hurry, carpenter.”

The steamer reached us at last, crossed our stern, and with a graceful
curve, came round on our port side, within hailing distance.

“Good morning,” said the captain of the little steamer—the WM.
FLETCHER—who stood in the pilot-house.

“Good morning,” returned Captain Collins.

“Where are you from?” asked the steamer captain, looking curiously at
the blank place where the BREWSTER’S name ought to have been.

“San Francisco,” responded Captain Collins.

“What vessel?”

This was a stunner, and Collins, after hesitating a moment, pretended
not to have heard, and said:

“How do the Highlands bear from here?”

“About north-west,” was the response. “What ves——”

“What will you charge to tow me in?” interrupted Captain Collins.

“Three hundred dollars,” was the prompt reply.

“O, nonsense,” rejoined Collins. “That’s too much. That’s all they
charge when the harbor is full of ice.”

“Our regular price,” said the other.

“O, no, captain,” said Collins; “come, be reasonable. I’ll give you a
hundred and fifty.”

“Couldn’t do it, really.”

“Well,” rejoined Collins, “I think we will have a favorable wind soon,
and I can get in without being towed.”

“Yes,” retorted the other, ironically; “quite likely. If you have no
barometer on board, I’ll lend you one. The mercury has gone clean down
out of sight, and we’re going to have a deuce of a blow. I’ll venture it
will be a nor’-wester, too.”

“Pooh! No danger. I’ll sail in.”

“All right,” said the steamer captain. “Now that I come to think, I’m
sorry I made so good an offer. I begin to believe you have an
underwriter’s job of it. You haven’t been to San Francisco.”

“I’ll give you two hundred dollars,” said Collins, without paying any
attention to the other’s last remark.

“No, not a cent lower than three hundred. I wouldn’t do it for that, if
I had not already offered to. I’ll swear, I believe that is the
BREWSTER! We heard of it.”

“The what?” said Collins.

“The BREWSTER. Come, isn’t it now? Captain Adams, of the _Moro Castle_,
reported her returning in distress.”

“What do I know of the _Blueskin_? I never heard of such a ship.—Come,
I’ll give you two hundred and fifty.”

“No, three hundred; not a cent less. I’ll put you alongside the pier for

“O, you’re a hard one! Well, you can tow us in, and I’ll lick you the
first time I catch you in New York. Mind, now, you are to take the ship
to the pier whenever I want you to. I will anchor in the harbor to-day.”

“All right; I’ll stick to that.”

“Well, Mr. Gorham, give him our hawser.”

“Ay, ay, sir.”

The hawser is a very thick, heavy line, used for towing or making a ship
fast; and one end of this rope the sailors gladly threw over to the
steamer, while the other was made fast to the capstan on the forecastle

We arrived in the harbor about four o’clock that afternoon, and had just
cast anchor when we were visited with a rough north-west gale. But we
did not care now, we were safe.

We anchored near Hart’s Island, and I got on the little steamer, with
Captain Collins, and went up to the city. We landed at the foot of
Catharine street, and my glad heart never before bounded as it did when,
after the perils of the past three weeks, I stepped upon _terra firma_
once more. I felt that I wouldn’t care if somebody would knock a hole in
the bottom of the nasty old sea and let all the salty water run out. It
isn’t of any use, anyhow, only to raise sharks, and whales, and
mermaids, and porpoises, and sea-horses, and sea-serpents, and such like
hideous creatures, to float iron-clads and drown people; and for idiots
that never saw it to write pretty verses about. I am not habitually a
fighting man; on the contrary, quite a peaceably-disposed citizen of the
United States; but if I ever come across the cuss that wrote,

                   “A life on the ocean wave,
                    A home on the rolling deep;
                    Where the scattered waters rave,
                    And the winds their revels keep,”

I’ll lick him or he’ll lick me!

                              CHAPTER XLV.

                          HO! FOR CALIFORNIA!

ABOUT the middle of April, a little more than a year after my fearful
experience on board the BREWSTER, I might have been seen, (if anybody
had been watching), in the vicinity of the Pacific Steamship Company’s
buildings, at the foot of Canal street, New York, making inquiry as to
the rates of passage from New York to San Francisco. I had about
recovered from my maritime scare.

“One hundred dollars, first cabin,” said the clerk; “seventy-five
dollars second; and forty dollars steerage. The cabin tickets, however,
are all sold. We have but a few steerage tickets left.”

“The deuce!” I exclaimed, forgetting my good manners, in the agony of

It was two days prior to the sailing of the _Ocean Queen_. I did not
like the idea of going in the steerage, for I had been informed that it
was “rough,” and that even a soldier would find it so; nor did I relish
waiting eight days for the next steamer.

“Pshaw!” I ejaculated.

“You wanted a cabin ticket, I suppose?”

“Couldn’t think of going in the steerage; I have distant relations who
have been in Congress.”

“You might,” he said, with some hesitation, “be crowded into the cabin,
but I have no cabin ticket to sell you. If you will take a steerage
ticket, I am confident you can arrange it with the purser to get
transferred to the cabin.”

“Do you think so?”

“I am sure of it.”

“Then I will take one.”

I paid forty dollars, and the clerk filled out a steerage ticket for
me—which I took with thanks, and walked away, fancying I had learned a
great secret.

It _was_ a great secret, for I afterward discovered that it was
necessary to intrust it to a great many people in order to have it well

The day the _Ocean Queen_ sailed was a rainy, dismal day. The steamer
was crowded, and it required the neatest bit of skill to set one’s
crutch down anywhere on the steerage deck without injuring any one’s
toes. There were more than fourteen hundred passengers aboard.

The steamer did not get out of the harbor before five o’clock, and the
purser being busy collecting tickets, I was unable to see him in order
to make that little “arrangement;” and as night closed in and we plunged
out among the waves of the mighty deep, I felt myself doomed to “turn
in” in the steerage.

How shall I describe that night of horror? It fairly takes away my
appetite to think of it! As the shores disappeared in the darkness and
distance, a strong wind blew, the waves rolled savagely, then began that
pitching and tossing of the vessel so terrible to the stomachs of the

No sooner had we got “outside” and some slight “motion” was perceptible,
than some of the more susceptible passengers grew blue under the eyes
and white as a sheet all over the face, and proceeded to manifest their
regret for having dined, by violently casting up the masticated
provisions, to the celebrated and popular tune of “New York!” Then, as
the vessel went plunging on, growing more and more reckless in its
manner of tossing itself about, others began to feel the wretched
reeling of the brain and morbid heaviness of the stomach—others grew
sick, while the already sick grew sicker—others turned deathly pale,
groaned in agony, gasped, shrieked “New York!” and let their
recently-procured nourishment rush out with a gush, and gush out with a
rush; while a wild, agonizing chorus of “O, deary!” “O, Lordy!”
“Oo-oo-oo-Godbemerciful,” and the like, resounded and reverberated
through the ship, penetrated dark recesses and corners, mingled with the
dash of the surging waves without, and the dull splash of repudiated
nutrition on the main deck within.

As for myself—I wasn’t exactly sick; I’ll never acknowledge that I was,
as long as I live. That I felt slightly indisposed—just enough so not to
feel in the humor for receiving visitors—I will not deny; but it was not
sea-sickness. It was only a kind of nausea and dizziness, accompanied by
violent spasms just beneath the lungs and a rapid ejectment from the
stomach of some trifling article of food that didn’t agree with me—under
the circumstances. I am subject to these spells—usually on the water. On
such occasions, the natural depression of spirits makes me rather
morose, and I am not apt to talk much. On the occasion in question, all
I said was “New York,” when a man asked another where he was from, and I
thought he was talking to me. I should have said “Philadelphia,” instead
of “New York,” but I didn’t care much, just then, where I was from.
Realizing that I had articulated when I was not spoken to, I was about
to excuse myself when the vessel plunged violently, and I simply said,
“O, Lordy! Ugh!”

Such was all the conversation I indulged in that night.

I went to the purser next day—late in the day, for I felt better in the
afternoon than in the morning—told him the circumstances, and requested
him to make that little “arrangement;” stating that I was willing to pay
the difference. He said the cabin was crowded, but that, in
consideration of about thirty-five dollars, he could probably find me a
place. This I paid him; and, to make the matter short, I paid
thirty-five more in gold on the other side—that is, from Panama to San
Francisco—making in all about one hundred and twenty-five dollars for
the luxury of a voyage to San Francisco.

In a day or two, I was able to stagger about the vessel in a very
successful manner, considering my means of perambulating, and on the
first Sunday out—three days from New York—the weather being fine, I
wended my way forward to give a drink of wine to a sick
steerage-passenger, and it was on that occasion that I witnessed a very
amusing scene which I shall endeavor to describe.

My sick friend was lying on the hurricane deck, shaded by an awning, and
very near him were four unchristian-like passengers engaged in the
absorbing game of “seven-up.” About that time, a Methodist minister came
over from the cabin to conduct a “divine service” or two, and enlighten
the benighted steerage-passengers as to the great probability of their
losing their immortal souls.

He took his position a little way from our “seven-up” party, gave out a
text from memory, and proceeded to preach the gospel—during which the
game went on—my attention being divided between it and the sermon.

“My Christian friends,” began the minister, “I would have you know, in
the beginning, that ——”

[“You’re bound to trump or follow _suit_, if you have it,” interrupted
one of the card-players.]

“—— There are two ——”

[“Trumps! by jingo!”]

“—— Spheres of existence for all mankind. First ——”

[“Whose deal is it?”]

“—— We are placed on earth to ——”

[“Play for a quarter a game.”]

“—— Live such a life of honesty, integrity, piety, and godliness, ——”

[“Confound such a game!”]

“—— That when we come to ——”

[“Deal a little faster.”]

“—— Leave the scenes of our earthly labors, and trials, and woes, and
miseries, we may be ——”

[“Skunked, by thunder!”]

“—— Prepared to enter upon ——”

[“A new game.”]

“—— A new and holy existence among ——”

[“Clubs or spades.”]

“—— The angels.”

[“There! he’s turned a jack!”]

“But what, my thoughtless friends, what will become of the wicked and
ungodly man who ——”

[“Deals all the time! That’s three times that I know of!”]

“—— Persists in his evil ways till ——”

[“The trump is turned.”]

“—— The day of judgment? What will be the fate of those who refuse ——”

[“Trump three times!”]

“—— The offers of mercy, and reject the offered salvation till it is
forever too late? When the awful ——”


“—— Trumpet shall sound and they are summoned from their graves to
answer for ——”

[“Fifty cents: let’s play another.”]

“—— The deeds done in the body, they shall be damb with the
consciousness of their guilt, and shall have ——”

[“High, low, jack, and the game! Run ’em.”]

“—— Their part in the lake that burneth with ——”


“—— Fire and brimstone, which is the ——”

[“Third game.”]

“—— Second death!”

[“The deuce. I thought it was the trey.”]

“Now, my friends, you are ——”

[“High, low, to our jack, game.”]

“—— Aware of the uncertainty of life, at all times, but especially at


“—— Sea, where ships may ——”

[“Play trump.”]

“—— Go down at any moment, and where those on board may ——”

[“Follow suit.”]

“—— Be hurled upon the merciless waters ——”

[“Without a single trump.”]

“—— Without a straw between them and ——”

[“The end of the game.”]

“—— The awful judgment seat! What would be your cry then?”

[“There now! play the square game, or I won’t play any more!”]

“What could you, who are unprepared to die, say in your defense?”

[“Twenty-nine for game.”]

“Nothing—simply nothing. You could only turn away in shame and
wretchedness, and cry ——”

[“We’re out! Fork over the stamps! Don’t let’s play any more; it’s about
dinner time.”]

“—— Unto the rocks, ‘Fall on us!’ and unto the hills, ‘Cover us!’”

[“That makes it right. I’m just a dollar ahead.”]

The game now broke up, the sermon, for lack of variety, began to lose
its interest, and I returned to the cabin much edified by the preaching
and that scientifically played game of “seven-up.”

I will not attempt to give a full account of the incidents of the voyage
from New York to Aspinwall—a distance of nineteen hundred and eighty
three nautical miles—but will conclude this chapter by mentioning the
death of a middle-aged lady, who died the day before our arrival in
port. She had been ill of pneumonia for some days, and early on the
morning in question she breathed her last, leaving a sorrow-stricken
husband and eight children to continue the voyage and life’s cheerless
journey, without the light of a wife’s and mother’s smile.

The children were all small—the oldest not more than ten years old—and
were not able to realize their loss and their desolate condition; but
that heart-broken man, whose haggard face and dark sunken eyes I can
never forget, mourned enough for all. Every innocent prattle of the
motherless ones was a thrust into his stricken heart, and if they did
not weep he wept for them.

I have seen many horrible sights, such as the mangling of men in battle;
but I never saw any thing so calculated to make the heart weep as the
sorrow of that lone-hearted father of motherless children. Never can I
forget how I saw him, just after a dull splash aft of the leeward wheel
announced that the corpse had been committed to the deep, come languidly
out of his stateroom, surrounded by his wondering little ones, sit down
on the deck under the shadow of a companion-way, bury his face in his
hands, and weep like a lone and friendless child!

It is sad to see a woman weep; but when a strong man sheds tears they
must be wrung out by an anguish of soul too poignant for the simple name
of grief!

                             CHAPTER XLVI.

                            ON THE ISTHMUS.

EARLY on the morning of the ninth day from New York we landed at
Aspinwall, New Granada, United States of Columbia. The eastern shores of
this country, which is a portion of Central America, are washed by the
Caribbean Sea. Aspinwall is composed of a score of substantial
buildings, such as we see in our own country, and a few hundred thatched

A few Americans and Europeans are engaged in business there; but it
might be suggested that the _natives_ are the chief feature in the

These natives are a remarkable people—a true type of a mongrel race. We
see among them every shade of complexion, from the hue of midnight in a
coal-pit to that of wood ashes mixed with lime. Having stated that they
are a mongrel people, it is but proper to say what races they are
composed of, as nearly as I can guess, and I will do so in a tabular
manner, thus:

                  Caucasian              1½ per cent.
                  American              19½     “
                  Mongolian               0     “
                  Australian              1     “
                  Arctic                  0     “
                  Malay                   0     “
                  European                1     “
                  Ethiopian              77     “

                  Amounting to          100

They speak the Spanish tongue: how well I am unable to judge, as I am
unfamiliar with that language; but, considering the general character of
the benighted creatures, it is fair to presume that they cold-bloodedly
murder it.

They seldom address each other by name, but style each other Hombre
(pronounced almost _Umbra_, with a frightful quiver on the “r”): which
is equivalent to “Fellow.”

As I before remarked, they have all shades of color; and I will add,
that while some have straight, black, glossy hair, like that of the
aborigines, others “sport” the fearfully-“kinked” article, like that of
the pure African.

They are a mean, cowardly, pusillanimous set. They cheat, lie, swear,
get drunk, steal, murder, _etc._, with great _nonchalance_: and for the
last-named crime their law condemns the criminal to imprisonment—_for
one year_.

There is a railroad, belonging to an American company, running from
Aspinwall to Panama, a distance of forty-seven miles. Panama, it will be
remembered, is on the Pacific side of the Isthmus. In this connection, I
will remark, that persons sometimes find it difficult to remember which,
of the two cities, Aspinwall and Panama, is on the Atlantic side, and
which on the Pacific. A rule that will always enable one to remember it
is, that the initial letter of each city is the same as that of the
ocean on whose shore it stands. Aspinwall, beginning with the letter A,
is on the Atlantic side; Panama, with P, on the Pacific. No one will
forget this.

During our ride in the cars from Aspinwall to Panama, we saw hundreds of
natives—all wearing about the same appearance as those in Aspinwall. One
remarkable feature was, that their children were running about in a
state of nudity that was quite shocking to modest persons. Children
under twelve years wear no raiment from the neck down, and usually go
bare-headed. Even the adult males wear nothing but hat and breeches, and
are therefore always in trim for a pugilistic encounter. Some of the
ladies wear only a petticoat and a cigar. It is fashionable for the
ladies there to “use the weed.”

Panama is a much larger and more important place than Aspinwall. Its
population is probably ten thousand. There are many more houses of
respectable appearance there, among which are several hotels. There are
also two antiquated Catholic churches, one of which is said to be nearly
two hundred years old.

A dilapidated old wall surrounds the city, but it would prove a feeble
protection against a civilized navy.

The weather is extremely hot all the year, the temperature never falling
much below ninety degrees Fahrenheit. The heat is not so extreme,
however, during the “rainy season,” which comprises our fall, and a
portion of our summer and winter months. All kinds of tropical fruits
grow there in abundance. I saw oranges, lemons, limes, bananas,
pineapples, cocoanuts, and other fruits, on the trees.

The natives obtain these fruits by merely gathering them, and do a good
business by selling them to travelers, at prices which, though lower
than New York prices, are there considered enormous.

In justice to these natives I will say that travelers who conduct
themselves with propriety, are always civilly treated by them. But it is
not safe to injure or abuse them, where they are in such a decided
majority; for, like most cowards, they are brutal and vicious, and, if
irritated, do not hesitate to murder foreigners.

Many, no doubt, remember the terrible riot that occurred in Panama, a
dozen years ago, between foreigners and natives. It was occasioned by
one rascally drunken passenger, who managed to raise a dispute with a
fruit-vender, and concluded to settle the matter by knocking over the
fruit-stand and shooting at the owner. Thus it originated: the natives
making an assault on the offender, and his fellow-passengers attempting
to defend him. The riot soon became general; and the military of the New
Granadian Government being called out to quell the disturbance, did so
by wantonly shooting down every white man that came in their way. The
slaughter was fearful. It should be a warning to all coarse and reckless
fools, like the originator of this difficulty, who do not know how to
conduct themselves with common decency in a foreign country.

                             CHAPTER XLVII.

                           THE “GOLDEN CITY.”

WE embarked at Panama on the steamer “Golden Age,” the same day we
landed at Aspinwall, and made the passage to San Francisco in fourteen
days—touching at the ports of Acapulco and Manzanillo, Mexico—coaling at
the former place. The distance from Panama to San Francisco is three
thousand two hundred and sixty-seven nautical miles, according to the
record of our run. Manzanillo is about midway between the two places,
while Acapulco is about three hundred miles nearer Panama.

I will not trouble the reader with the details of this voyage, but,
simply stating that we arrived in the grand harbor of San Francisco
early in May, and landed early one pleasant Sunday morning, I will
proceed to tell what kind of place it is, and relate what befell the
redoubtable John Smith there.

First, I will briefly mention the peculiarities of San Francisco,
commencing with—

THE CLIMATE.—In San Francisco, as well as along the whole coast of
California and Oregon, the temperature of the air does not vary much
during the year. There are no extremes of heat or cold. The trade winds
prevail during the summer, and there is no rain except in the winter
months—the period of the “rainy season.” It seldom snows or freezes—and
never to any considerable extent. In the summer the thermometer seldom
indicates a higher degree of temperature than eighty. This would be
rather warm, but for the steady breeze that sweeps in from the broad

THE HARBOR of San Francisco has not, probably, an equal in the world.
The entrance is narrow, and tall, abrupt hills stand guard on either
side. This entrance is termed the “Golden Gate.” The harbor is large
enough to float all the vessels in the world; it is adorned with several
picturesque islands; and its shores, where not occupied with buildings,
are beautiful and green, except on the south side near the entrance,
where immense heaps (almost mountains) of sand are the prevailing

THE POPULATION was fifty-six thousand in 1860, according to the National
Census, but it is now _three times_ as great. It is, of course, composed
of people from all parts of the world, but chiefly from the United
States. A large proportion of the population are the Chinese. These
people are small in stature, yellow in color, pagan in religion,
ingenious, industrious, inoffensive, cowardly, low-lived, filthy, and
ugly as toads—creatures to which they bear a striking family
resemblance. They work at any and every thing, many of them doing
housework, washing and ironing, and the like. I remember seeing the
following names of “Orientals” on their business signs: Wo Hop, Hung
Gee, Cum Lum Sam, Sam Lee, Wo Lee, Wo Wing, Ah Sing, Wing Wo, Yek Wa.
These distinguished gentlemen from the Orient, (or rather, to one in
California, from the Occident) were all extensively engaged in the
laundry business. There are but few negroes in San Francisco. I do not
think I saw a dozen while there.

THE MONEY in circulation in the “Golden City” is only silver and gold.
No paper money of any kind is seen.

EARTHQUAKES are a luxury which this city indulges in occasionally. We
had one gentle shock while I was there. A few years ago they were
favored with one that did much damage, and scared many of the
inhabitants out of a year’s growth: and in October, 1868, they had one
still more severe. Slight shocks are quite common.

San Francisco is one of the greatest fruit, vegetable, and grain markets
in the world.

During my sojourn in San Francisco, I was employed as “Funny Man” of a
well-known literary paper, the “GOLDEN CITY;” and shortly after my
arrival I published an article, under a _nom de plume_, in which I
touched up some of the peculiarities of the city as they presented
themselves to me, in the following manner:


“One morning, shortly after my arrival in San Francisco, I strolled out
to take a view of the city as it was and is—the clerk of my hotel having
kindly informed me that it was ‘piled up all around us.’

“I first directed my steps to the post-office, where, making my way up
to the ‘J’ window, I modestly inquired if there was any letter for O.
Job Jones? The clerk without looking, informed me that there wasn’t.
Wondering how he found it out, I asked if there were any newspapers?
Yes, wrong as it was to annoy him with so many foolish questions, I

“What was his reply?

“I will tell you.

“The truth of the matter was, the steamer hadn’t been in more than
twenty-four hours, and the papers had not yet been distributed. This the
clerk _might_ have informed me, in calm, gentlemanly and comprehensive
language: but, did he? No. Such a course would have been inconsistent
with his dignity. Here’s the way he answered me; he says—and that in a
rude tone that startled me—says he:


“Abashed and mortified at this exhibition of superior greatness, and
enjoying a full sense of my littleness—my comparative _nothingness_—I
turned away, trembling. If I had never before felt that I was but
mortal, I felt it now—felt it sensibly, deeply, awfully, as I shrunk
from the stern presence of this great being.

“I was patient, however. I remembered that the morning was a little
damp; and, wishing to return good for evil, I informed this mighty man
that there was a more genial climate located somewhere—a climate where
they have warm weather the year round—and recommended his emigration
thither at once. All this in the most laconic language imaginable.

“The Atheist claims that there is no God: but he is clearly mistaken.
Just let him go to that post-office window and inquire for a paper or
letter inopportunely, and he will see before him the stern, exalted
countenance of as fine a little god as any one would wish to see.
Vulcan, the god of fire; Mars, the god of war; Neptune, the god of the
deep; and Jupiter, the great big god of all, are simply nowhere,
compared with that pompous and pretentious clerk of the P. O.!

“Full of these thoughts, I wended my way westward, towards the more
elevated regions of the city. I had not gone far till I met a singular
being, whose name (I have since learned) was John Hung Kee Dung Kee Lung
Kee Mung Kee Choo Bang. This person, I understood, constituted a
considerable portion of the population of San Francisco. The most
remarkable feature about him was, that he didn’t resemble anybody else I
had ever seen, in _any_ feature. His color was a mixture about half-way
between that of a bay colt and that of a cream-colored pony. His nose
was the puggest of the pug, and the ugliest of the ugly. He wore a blue
cotton petticoat on each leg, and a black shirt, which he hadn’t the
decency to stuff in anywhere. He had a pair of skates on, but the iron
part was broken off, and he walked on the wood. He had no hat on, but
his head was tied up in a piece of goods such as they make black cotton
umbrellas of. He had no hair on his head at all, except just one single
one that grew out at the back about as thick as a corn-cob, and hung
down to his heels, where it came to a point. This, I fancied, would be
very convenient to hang him. He appeared to be an adult male, not
younger than fifteen, or older than forty-nine; but somewhere along
about there.

“I have been informed that this individual was imported in large numbers
from a little island, somewhere in the Pacific, called China. It is but
a small island, inhabited by only a few hundred millions of these
people; so they can never do much harm anywhere.

“As I walked up street, I was a little surprised to meet a house on its
way down to the post-office.[4] It was traveling slowly, to be sure; but
it looked smiling and happy, and even intelligent. I am informed that
when a man gets dissatisfied with the location of his dwelling, he just
ties a rope round the door-knob and leads it away, up or down street, to
some more agreeable vicinity, like a man leading a horse to water with a
halter. I have since met quite a number walking about. They seem quite
tractable and docile, and will follow where led, just like a
good-natured elephant.

Footnote 4:

  This is an allusion to the moving of buildings, which is carried on to
  a considerable extent in San Francisco. It is no unusual thing there,
  to move a frame building as much as a mile when the owner finds it
  profitable to sell the ground it stands on.

“I like this system very much. I cannot help thinking how convenient it
would be if I had a house up in that neighborhood where the “John”
element prevails. I should just put a halter on and lead it away a mile
or two to-morrow morning before breakfast.

“I like several things about San Francisco. I like its ‘fractional
currency’ for one thing. The material it is printed on is better
calculated for standing all sorts of weather, and the wear and tear of
time, than that in the States. Moreover, it is not near so likely to be
repudiated, and enjoys a better foreign reputation.

“I like the ladies here; they have but one fault. That fault is similar
to that of the very small congregation that turned out one Sunday
morning at the church I used to attend. There were not more than
nineteen of us, and the parson scolded us for an hour because we didn’t
turn out better. It wasn’t our fault that the rest didn’t come. I’m sure
I was all there. So, I suppose it is hardly just to censure the ladies
here because there are not more of them; it isn’t their fault.

“I am also pleased with the elevated points around;[5] they give a man a
chance to rise in the world, without principle, capital or reputation.
Besides, one of them would be such a fine start for a monument. One
might be topped out on Telegraph Hill, for instance, with very little
expense; and in a graphic description of it, it might be stated that the
top was five hundred and twenty-three feet above tide-water. No allusion
need be made to the bottom.

Footnote 5:

  I have already intimated that there were a few rough hills in this
  vicinity. There are streets in San Francisco which it is difficult to
  ascend without ladders.

“Among other peculiarities of San Francisco, I perceive that the
blacking of boots and shoes is done by grown-up adult men, and that they
have regular establishments for the accommodation of the customer. This
is a grand idea. The customer not only has a comfortable seat to sit in
while his brogans are being rubbed down and shined up, but he also
enjoys the luxury of a shelter, which is ample protection against the
heavy summer rains and winter snows, which, I believe, prevail very
extensively here.

“Pardon me if I make any blunders in giving my views of San

Footnote 6:

  As the reader may have already gathered, they have no rain in summer
  or snow in winter.

“I have perceived, in the course of my perambulations, that they were
moving Kearny street further up the hill.[7] I didn’t like to ask any
questions concerning it, lest I should be considered green; but I
supposed that the reason was that it had slid down at the time of the
earthquake here, a few years ago.

Footnote 7:

  An allusion to the widening and improving of that street.

“I have heard so much about the rough state of society here, that I am
surprised and delighted to find that law and order are as strictly
observed here as in any city of the States. From what I have heard in
times gone by, I was led to anticipate that I should hear a bullet whiz
every time I should step from my door, and that I should find a fresh
dead man lying at every corner. I am glad to find, however, that the
streets are entirely clear of such obstructions, and that men are not
killed here, except in cases of absolute necessity. I highly approve of
this orderly state of things. I don’t deny that it is quite a pleasant
pastime to a new beginner to help kill a man or two each week; but, as
is the case with every other enjoyment, the novelty soon wears off, and
one gets tired of it.”

I carried a letter of introduction from a gentleman in Philadelphia to
Mr. J. M. Foard, of the “Golden City,” San Francisco, and was very
cordially received.

“Mr. Foard,” I said one day, shortly after my arrival, “I am very fond
of the water——”

“Not as a beverage, I hope,” he interrupted.

“Not as a regular beverage; but as a medium of navigation. I love riding
on the water. I would like to go out and take a row.”

“Where?” he asked.

“On the harbor,” I replied.

“Don’t do it.”


“You are not familiar with our harbor. It is an unsafe one for an
inexperienced boatman. Even some of the most skillful lose their lives.
It may be calm and smooth as a river one moment; the next, the tide may
change, the wind rise against it, and it may become so boisterous, all
at once, that you might imagine it was ready to boil over. Don’t venture
out in a small boat. We have a list of drownings to record every week,
and should be most unhappy to place your name in our next week’s list.
Don’t go!”

“I won’t,” I replied, fully impressed with the dangers of the harbor.

I meant it.

But—perfidious as it was—I afterward basely disregarded the advice of my
excellent friend Foard, and justly came to grief.

Five minutes after leaving the office of the “Golden City,” I met two
fellow-passengers, named Gilmore and Brooker—both good fellows, and fond
of fun—the latter a nephew of a celebrated “ornament of the stage,” then
“drawing houses” in San Francisco.

“Smith,” said Gilmore, “suppose we take a ride somewhere?”

“Where?” I asked.

“Any where,” said he.

“Let us take a boat-ride,” suggested Brooker.

“The very thing!” said Gilmore.

“I have been told,” I interposed, “that the harbor here is rather
dangerous, and——”

“O, never mind! We can manage a boat in any harbor. I am some oarsman,

“There can’t be much danger with three of us to run the craft,” remarked
Brooker. “Let us go!”

We went.

The face of the harbor was as smooth and gentle as that of a “sleeping
beauty,” and the three of us glided gracefully out from one of the
piers—a pair of oars, in my skillful (?) hands, gently dipping into the
unruffled waters at irregular intervals. The friendly warning of Foard
was entirely forgotten.

O, Foard! Thou best of friends! Though John Smith may be wandering
thousands of miles from the happy spot where thy kind face first smiled
a welcome to him in a strange land, yet fresh in his memory is that
noble and pleasing face, as on the day thy warning voice said: “Don’t go
out on the harbor, Smith!”

The air is usually quiet in the morning, at San Francisco, but as the
day advances, a stiff breeze springs up, and, on meeting the ebbing
tide, stirs up the waters of the harbor, as though a young son of
Neptune were just beneath the surface, lashing them with his toy-whip:
the waterman must then exercise his utmost strength and skill to
navigate with safety.

We had not proceeded more than a mile, when the tide commenced to run
out, the wind came sweeping in through the “Golden Gate,” and the waters
began to evince their illest humor.

The first trifling mishap that befel us was that a rough, ill-natured,
foam-crested wave came slashing along, wrested an oar from my hand, and
left it floating on the “briny deep.” The boat became unmanageable,
turned with her side to the waves, and lay in a trough of the—harbor.

In endeavoring to recover the truant oar, Gilmore pitched out into the
“yeast of waves;” and, in endeavoring to recover _him_, by means of his
coat-tail, _I_ pitched out; and, in endeavoring to save himself from the
same fate, Brooker pitched out; and there, with

                    “Nothing save the waves and”—us,

and the boat, (half-full of water,) we commenced a manly and awkward
struggle for existence. With this boon in view, Gilmore clung to the
oar, and Brooker and I to the boat.

By this time, the wind was blowing with actual fierceness, and the waves
swept clear over our heads every second. There can be little doubt that
we would all have found an eternal _nest_ among the slimy _harbor_-weed,
with only the monsters of the _shallow_ to drop a (crocodile) tear upon
our “moist, uncomfortable bodies,” but for certain timely “succor” that
appeared on the scene at this critical juncture. The said “succor”
comprised two skillful oarsmen, who owned the boat, and, having seen
that we managed it poorly, and fearing the loss of their property, had
put out to our assistance some minutes prior to the startling
accident—arriving just in time to save their boat (and us) from an
aqueous tomb.

They hauled us and the lost oar aboard their own boat, like so many
packages of damaged goods, (_flotsam_ Blackstone would have styled us,)
took the other boat in tow, and started for shore,—giving us a good
round cursing for our awkwardness in so nearly sacrificing their

I never told Foard of this adventure till about two months had elapsed,
and it had got a little “old.” Then, having first exacted a promise from
him that he would not scold me for what I was about to tell him, frankly
confessed the whole affair, bringing out all the little extenuating
points, such as, “The morning was _so_ fine,” “The harbor was _so_
smooth,” “We thought that three of us could surely manage one boat.” “We
had partaken of fluid refreshments,” “We hadn’t seen each other for
several days, and felt so jolly glad,” _et cetera_.

He did not break his promise: but——

“Smith,” said he, “if I had not promised not to scold you, I would give
you the (blank)est blackguarding any man ever got in San Francisco! To
think that, in the very face of the good, healthy advice I gave you, you
should have the unparalleled audacity to—Well, never mind: I promised
not to scold: but if you ever do such a thing again—I wonder what time
it is? I feel dry.”

_I_ didn’t, the day I pitched out of the boat.

                            CHAPTER XLVIII.

                              THE DOCTOR.

DEAR reader, before bidding adieu to San Francisco, let your one-legged
friend introduce you to a noble citizen of that cosmopolitan city, whom,
for the sake of a name, shall be styled Dr. Charles Rowell of Kearny

Let us call this chapter an imaginary sketch of what might be, what has
been, and what will be. Let us suppose your friend John Smith on a
crutch to be only mortal: let us suppose him, after all, an ordinary
object for—

             “The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,”

as well as subject to—

            “The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
             That flesh is heir to:”

let us suppose him a human being who eats, drinks—yes, _drinks_!—sleeps,
and indulges in other like amusements, and let us suppose him
susceptible of suffering, when the means of these enjoyments are, by any
chance, temporarily withheld. Let us even suppose that he may be
“broke,” sick, and “in a strange land,” all at once. Let us suppose that
the “Panama Fever,” which is “no respecter of persons” may lay hold of
him on any proper occasion, and let us suppose that poverty which is
another “no-respecter-of-persons,” may happen to pay him a friendly
visit about the same time. Let us suppose both visitors going hand in
hand and calling on John Smith at the same time at his lodging-house in
San Francisco.

In asking the reader to assume all this, I do not positively assert that
such things did actually happen to John Smith himself, in this
connection, but I can testify to the substantial truth of what I am
about to relate, and it is no harm to make use of Mr. Smith as an actor.

I have heard a good deal said about angels: but as no one now living can
prove to the satisfaction of the public that he ever saw one, the
personal appearance and general traits of their characters can be but
matters of conjecture.

We are inclined, however, when speaking or thinking of an angel, to
fancy it a lovely creature—whether male or female, I cannot say—of fair
complexion, blue eyes and light curling hair, and clothed in a long
white robe, with the hue of the “driven snow”—the handsome toes just
peeping out from beneath the lower folds. In addition to this, we fancy
a pair of gentle wings protruding from the shoulder blades. These,
however useful, when the angel happens to be in a hurry, are rather
calculated to detract from the handsome outline of a fine figure, in
case the fashionable clothing of the present day should be used, instead
of the robe. I believe that every reader will readily comprehend me,
without my going to the trouble to say that the wings alluded to, if
covered with a neat dress coat, (or other fashionable garment,) would
give the wearer a lamentable appearance of being hump-backed.

Such, however, are not my ideas of an angel. As we cannot know,
positively, what shape we are to assume after leaving the scenes of our
present existence, I have selected my _beau ideal_ of an angel from
among the sons of men. The angel I shall describe has a handsome, manly,
noble, genial, smiling face; the calm gray eyes twinkle with merriment
and good nature; a heavy black beard flows from the lower half of the
countenance; the brow is one of the intelligent order, the hair is dark;
the figure is full and strong, and dressed—not in a flowing white
robe—but in black pantaloons, vest and frock-coat, actually made by a
corporeal tailor. For the latter article of clothing, while the owner
lounges easily in his neat office, during hours of leisure, might be
substituted a dressing-gown. At such times, too, place a common,
brierwood pipe in the hand, and the figure of my angel is complete.

Such was Doctor Rowell, whose image, but poorly portrayed here, may well
supersede the bright one of the winged angel in the fancy of John Smith.

John Smith being in San Francisco; without employment; attacked with a
return of Panama Fever contracted on the Isthmus; suffering a natural
depression of spirits; withal, in “reduced circumstances;” and being of
too delicate a nature to apply to friends,—although he had some there
who would have rushed to his assistance with a relish—came to the
melancholy conclusion that the best thing he could do, sad as it was,
was to enter the City Hospital for—say—an indefinite period.

With this view, he, languid, pale and emaciated, walked into the office
of a physician—walked into the same office on a crutch—to ask for
information as to the measures to be resorted to in order to gain
admittance to the City Hospital.

This physician chanced to be the man whom we style Dr. Charlie Rowell.
This was the angel, who, unlike the popular angel with robe and wings,
wore a common black suit, a smile, a merry twinkle of the eye, and
carried a pipe in his hand, at which he took occasional deliberate

“Sit down,” he said to the one-legged young man.

The latter seated himself on a sofa.

“You are the Doctor?”

“That’s what they call me,” answered the physician, cheerfully. Then he
took a calm whiff of that pipe, and deliberately sat down in a

Smith would have remarked that the weather was fine, but he remembered
that the weather is always pleasant in San Francisco. So, he switched
off on an other subject—_the_ subject—and said:

“Doctor, I have simply come in to ask for a little information. I am a
stranger here, and I suppose you can tell me what I desire to know.”

“What is that?”

“I wish information as to the means of gaining admittance to the City

“Why do you want to go to the hospital?”

“Because, I am quite unwell, have no immediate business prospects, and
am nearly broke.”

“What seems to be the matter with you?”

“Something like ague.”

“Have you come through Panama lately?”

“Yes, I only landed here a week or two ago. I have not felt quite well
since my arrival, and since I fell out of a boat in the harbor the other
day and got wet, I have felt worse.”

After some discussing of symptoms, the Doctor said:

“You have what is called Panama Fever. But that’s nothing. Where did you
lose your leg?”

“In the army.”

“Well, it is not necessary for you to go to the hospital. It would be a
hard place for you to go to, any how, and I cannot allow it. Do not be
discouraged. It is nothing here for new-comers to find themselves
pecuniarily reduced. Such things happen every day. A great many persons
are arriving here now, and many of them come with but little spare
means. As numbers do not get into business so soon as they hope, the
result is very natural. Now, as for yourself, if you suppose that I, who
can easily cure you in a short time, would sit here with my arms folded,
smoking my pipe, and see you go into the hospital for want of treatment,
and that, too, after you have lost a limb in the service of your
country, I must say that it speaks poorly for your discernment of human
character. I should——”

“But I am almost without means, and——”

“Well, suppose you are? _I_ am not. You shall not go into the hospital;
you shall accept medicine from me; you shall also allow me to see that
you want for nothing in the way of living till you are well and succeed
in getting into business.”

“But, Doctor, it would not be right for me to——”

“Excuse me one moment,” interrupted the Doctor, rising and going into
another room.

When, after a brief absence, he returned, it was with several small
packages of medicines in his hand with “directions” pasted on them.

“Take these with you to your lodging-house, and come in and see me

“But how can I, consistently——”

“Come, now, after I have prepared the medicines for your particular
case, you would not surely refuse them, and thus render them useless.”

“Very well, Doctor, I will take them; but remember that I do not accept
them gratuitously. That, however, does not lessen your kindness in
offering them. I will accept treatment at present, but it must be with
the understanding that I am to pay you as soon as I——”

“Have more money than I have,” interrupted the Doctor.

On arriving at his lodging-house, and entering his room, the owner of
the packages began to examine them. One was a small vial with a
brandy-colored liquid in it, and a label on instructing the patient to
indulge in a certain number of drops at certain intervals. Another was a
small, round paper box, which rattled in such a way as to entirely
preclude the idea of its containing any thing else than pills. A label
on this box suggested to the afflicted the expedience of enveloping one
of them in his stomach each evening about bed-time.

A third box, however, was a puzzle. It was like the second in size, was
heavier, did not rattle, and bore the following astounding directions:

                      “USE ACCORDING TO JUDGMENT.”

What could this mean? How should the patient know what rules to observe
in the use of this box of “medicine,” limited as was his knowledge of
the art of Esculapius? Still, it would do no harm to open the box and
see what manner of medicine it contained.

This proceeding being carried out, developed the fact that it contained
several hard, shiny, yellowish, metallic, button-shaped “pills,” wrapped
in paper, each containing the following strange inscription:


                             CHAPTER XLIX.

                          A STARTLING BUNDLE.

EARLY one Monday morning in August, after a sojourn of about three
months in San Francisco, in the course of which I had been, on the
whole, rather prosperous than otherwise, I was sitting in the office of
the “Golden City,” when I suddenly, without knowing why, conceived the
idea of returning to “the States.” The steamer _Nevada_, of the
“Opposition Line,” was to leave for Panama on the ensuing Wednesday; and
I walked down to the office of the company and bought a ticket—being
just in time to secure the last stateroom.

The astonishment and sadness of my numerous friends—for by this time
there were two full semicircles of them in San Francisco—on learning of
this rash act, were a source of mingled amusement and pain to me. I half
regretted what I had done, and if I had not already purchased my ticket,
I should have relinquished the idea of going. But the die was cast, and,
concealing from them the regret I felt, I lightly reminded them that
they too well knew that “When I took a notion to go to any place,” I was
moderately certain to go.

Not till the steamer floated away from the pier amid the cheers and
blessings of several thousand spectators, and I saw the waving hands,
hats, and handkerchiefs, and heard the friendly farewells of a score who
had come to see me off, and of hundreds who had come to bid other
passengers adieu, did I fully realize that I was leaving the city I had
so soon learned to love—again starting on a long journey of more than
five thousand geographic miles. When I did realize it, it was with a
depth of sadness I cannot describe: and had I not been a man, I think I
should hardly have subdued that moisture of the eyes that is looked upon
as an evidence of weakness—though it is sometimes a noble and heavenly

The voyage to Panama, in the course of which we put in at Manzanillo,
Mexico, for coal, occupied fourteen days. Much space might be absorbed
with a full description of it; but it would be scarcely pertinent. Let
us close our eyes on the voyage, imagine a lapse of two weeks, and we
find the good steamer _Nevada_ quietly anchored at early morn in the
picturesque harbor of Panama, New Granada. There are no piers for the
accommodation of large vessels at Panama, so that ocean steamers must
anchor three miles from shore, in the deep water, and be relieved of
their cargoes and passengers, or loaded therewith, by means of lighters
and small steamboats.

We rose from our berths on the morning the _Nevada_ anchored in the
harbor of Panama, elated with the prospect of crossing the Isthmus and
taking another steamer at Aspinwall for New York. It was, therefore,
somewhat to our chagrin that we learned that an accident had happened to
the connecting steamer, _Dakotah_, that although due at Aspinwall five
or six days previously, she had barely arrived, and that we must lie at
Panama and wait till she should have discharged her cargo. The
prospective delay was variously estimated by the officers at from “a few
days,” to “some little time.”

The natives learned that we were to lie in the harbor for some days, and
soon flocked about the steamer in small boats, offering to convey to
shore all who wished to visit the rusty old city. The price they asked
was _cuarto rialos_ per head—which means half-a-dollar.

Many of us took advantage of this means of escaping from the confinement
of the vessel, and in an hour or two the greater portion of the steamer
_Nevada’s_ “population” might have been seen intermingled with the
inhabitants of benighted Panama. Prominent among those who visited the
city might have been seen the owner of a certain crutch.

It was now the “rainy season,” but the heat, between the showers that
visited us daily, was intense and oppressive. To counteract its effects,
the thirsty Caucasians resorted to certain iced drinks, containing
stimulants, which were to be had at the saloons at twenty-five cents
(coin) each. I regret to chronicle the fact that many of them used these
beverages to an extent rather calculated to engender thirst (next
morning) than to allay it.

As the shades of evening began to fall over the tropics, three persons,
Monsieur Figaro, a Frenchman; Mr. Hawes, an Englishman; and I, John
Smith, Esq., an Americo-Caucasian, wended their way down a street of
Panama, with the intention of taking a small boat at the beach, and
returning to the steamer _Nevada_.

Now, at the lower end of this street, near the archway in the city’s
wall, affording an outlet to the beach, there is a certain saloon with
the alluring name of “OREGONIAN SHADES.” The proprietor is an
intelligent native, about the color of new leather who speaks both
Spanish and English.

When we had come over to Panama, that morning, there was in “our crowd”
a humorous and witty passenger named Briggs; but, in the course of the
day, we had lost sight of him, and I just glanced in at the “Oregonian
Shades,” as we passed, deeming it possible that he might be there; and
hoping for the pleasure of his company, together with that of my French
and English friends, to the steamer. Mr. Briggs was not there; but there
was within a lady passenger of the _Nevada_, who was one of the most
remarkable persons I ever met. This lady, whose husband was also a
passenger, was about twenty-eight years old, five feet four inches high,
and weighed two hundred and ten pounds. Her width may be imagined. To
add that she was inclined to _embonpoint_, would be rather mild
language. She was obviously of Irish birth and parentage: but whatever I
may have occasion to say, of her personal merits or demerits, must not
be construed into any invidious insinuations against her nationality,
for I am not prejudiced against the Irish, but rather in their favor,
claiming that, everything fairly considered, they possess as many noble
traits as any other people.

This corpulent lady was not, I regret to say, in a rational mood. She
had visited Panama early in the day, in the company of her husband—a
big, ill-looking, muscular American—who had become intoxicated during
the day and basely deserted her. His name was Philip—somebody—and he was
termed “Pheel” by the lady in question, whose accent was peculiar. When
I have stated that Mrs. “Pheel,” however _temperate_, was not of the
_total abstinence_ “stripe,” but rather given to the moderate use of
aqueous stimulus, and that she had not departed a hair’s breadth from
her principles on the day in question, I think that the intelligent
reader will not fail to comprehend the true state of things.

“_Hombre_,” said I, addressing the proprietor of the _Oregonian Shades_,
as I looked in, “have you seen the gentleman with side-whiskers who was
in here with us to-day, and whom we called Briggs?”

“Not since two o’clock,” replied _Hombre_.

At this moment Mrs. “Pheel” started up from her seat like one excited.

“Hov ye seen Pheel?” she eagerly asked.

“I have not, madam,” I replied.

“Och, he’s lift me!” she exclaimed, throwing herself back into her seat,
and dropping two of five bundles of goods she had been buying.

This was too much for me. My sympathies were aroused in a moment. I knew
by Philip’s complexion that he was a drinking man, and here was the
patient and gentle wife anxiously awaiting his return to the “Oregonian
Shades.” Can it be wondered at that, meantime, hot weather, corpulence,
anxiety, and general depression of spirits all taken into consideration,
she had not sat there all that time dying of thirst, while the means of
allaying it were before her? Not rationally. The proprietor afterward
informed me that she had “drank nothing but ale:” how much, he could not
undertake to compute.

“Probably,” said I, to the deserted woman, as I stepped in and gently
picked up her bundles for her, “Philip has taken a little too much, and
forgotten you. You had better return to the steamer.”

“Is he in there?” asked my English companion at the door.



“No, _he_ is not: but here is a lady whom you have seen on the steamer,
and who has lost sight of her husband. Had she not better return with

“I suppose so.”

“Well, madam,” said I, “we are going back to the steamer now; will you
come with us? Phil will be all right. No doubt he is there by this

“Och, Mr. Smith, ye won’t desart me, will ye!” she exclaimed, letting
two more bundles fall.

Mr. Smith! she actually called me by name! That she knew my name I was
not aware. How she had learned it was a mystery to me; but it was more
marvelous still that, having learned so strange and rare a name, she
remembered it!

“No, madam,” said I, “you shall go with us to the ship. Come.” And I
gallantly picked up her two bundles and restored them to her fulsome

By this time Monsieur Figaro was looking over Mr. Hawes’s shoulder at
the door, and I fancied I saw him smile. It may have been imagination.

“Come, madam,” said I. “we are going down to hire a boat immediately.
Will you go with us?”

“Och! Indade I wull!”

She now rose—being very little taller standing than when
sitting—dropping all her bundles but one.

I picked up all but one.

“Come, let us go.”

It was now fully dark.

Somewhat to my chagrin, this charming and confiding creature grasped my
gallant arm, as a support; and we all started for the beach.

With the care of two hundred and ten unsteady pounds on my arm, and I
walking on a frail crutch, I confess that I experienced a difficulty in
traveling to the beach which I did not acknowledge at the time.

On the way to the boat, my voluptuous companion dropped all her bundles,
one by one, and they were promptly picked up, taken care of, and carried
after us, by a little native with nothing but a hat on—whose attention
and fidelity I generously rewarded with a silver half-dollar on arriving
at the water’s edge.

I will not take it upon myself to say that Mrs. “Pheel” had drank too
much, as I should not wish to do her the slightest injustice: it may
have been the extreme heat of the climate; it may have been her obesity;
it may have been her anxiety; it may have been that she was not blessed
with a strong constitution; it may have been all or part of these
combined that governed her conduct: but certain it is, that Mrs.
“Pheel,” acted strangely and unlike a lady at the beach. Some little
delay was occasioned there, by the fact that the native who engaged to
take us to the steamer, had to go and hunt up his partner; and during
the interval, Mrs. “Pheel” not only talked strangely, walked strangely,
and bore herself in an unaccountable manner; but actually became
unreasonable, unmanageable, and even pugnacious. She first opened our
eyes by declaring that we were going to rob her, and adding:

“Bedad, I’ll make Pheel put a head on yez all!”

This was somewhat startling to me, as I had one head that suited me very
well, and, with my means of perambulating, did not desire to be
encumbered with another.

“Madam,” I remonstrated, “I pray that you will be quiet. We are your
friends, and you are welcome to go with us to the steamer. I hope——”

“Where’s my fan?” she interrupted, springing with some abruptness to a
new theme of conversation.

“I do not know. Have you lost one?”

“Bedad some one’s sthole it,” she vociferated.

By this time a dozen natives had collected on the beach, and were
viewing the female Caucasian with mingled wonder and amusement.

Mr. Hawes was sitting on an old spar at this time, calmly fanning
himself with a palm-leaf fan he had carried all day. The object, at this
unfortunate moment, caught the eye of Mrs. Pheel.

“Ye _blaggard_ ye!” she fairly screamed, staggering clumsily toward the
startled Englishman; “ye hov me fan! Bad luck to ye, ye divil! Give me

Without waiting for a word of remonstrance from Mr. Hawes, she dealt him
a blow on the cheek bone that sent him backward over the spar, with his
feet elevated in the night air; and, at the same time, staggered,
herself, whirled round and fell prostrate on the rough stones and sand
of the beach.

She was actually crazy. She screamed, struggled convulsively, swore a
few regular brimstone oaths, then lay a little while apparently
insensible, and gasping as though she were in a retort and the air had
suddenly been pumped away.

By this time, quite a concourse of curious natives had collected around

After an apparent death-struggle of three-quarters of a minute, she
actually ceased to breathe, and I feared she was dead. I took her ample
wrist in my hand and there was not the slightest perceptible pulsation.
Here was a go! Here was a fix for John Smith! Night; foreign country; a
dead woman on the beach; only two of my race present, and they scared
like the deuce; surrounded by a score or two of the swarthy,
blood-thirsty natives of a semi-barbarous land! O, how I wished that
crutch of mine were but clicking on the side-walk in front of Trinity
church, New York; or the State House, Philadelphia. But no, there I was;
and the gloom of night, mingled with the black faces of vicious and
cowardly ruffians, frowned on me. O, Smith! Smith!

What was to be done? What _could_ be done? Fortunately, the boat was
soon after ready, and I thought the best thing we could do would be to
have the “body” put aboard, and take it along. My companions concurred.
But how should we get it into the boat? The quickest way was to hire the
natives, so, I spoke to them. In my extremity, I remembered that but a
small proportion of those present could speak English, so I endeavored
to address them with a mixture of both English and Spanish. As nearly as
I can recollect, I thus spoke to any and all of them, individually and

“_Hombre! Signor! Carryo this hero fatwomano into boato for cuarto
rialos! Do you mind!_”

It appears they comprehended me, for eight of them, in view of
half-a-dollar each, laid hold of the “form” and proceeded to carry it
into the boat. It was indeed a clumsy burden. Yet they conveyed it to
the boat on scientific principles. The following was the programme: any
anatomist will readily comprehend:

Two of the _Hombres_ supported their share of the weight by locking
hands beneath the _glutæus maximi_; two others, in like manner,
supported the _clavicles_, _coracoid process_ and _acromion_ of
_scapula_, the _humeri_, _ulna_, _radius_, _et cetera_, besides the
_sternum_ and _latissimus dorsi_; two others supported the _tibia_,
_fibula_, _gastrocnemius_, _tibialis anticus_ and _extensor communis
digitorum_; the seventh supported the base of _tibia_, _astragalus_,
_peronæus tertius_, _abductor minimi digiti_, and _extensor pollicis
proprius_; while the eighth took charge of the _occipito-frontalis
temporalis_, _os frontis_, _parietal_ and _orbicularis palpebrarum_.

Thus they conveyed the inanimate form to the small boat; but they were
just on the point of “dumping” it in, when it returned to consciousness,
opened its eyes and mouth, breathed, and was once more Mrs. “Pheel.”

“Murther!” was the first articulate sound of the resuscitated.

“Hush, my good woman,” I implored. “You are all right now. We are
starting for the steamer.”

Thereupon, she opened her mouth and uttered a series of screams that
made the night hateful, and causes me to shudder yet, when I think of
them. The substance of them was:

“Murther! Murther! Murther! Robbery! Robbery! Help! Police! Watch!
Watch! Police! Murther! Murther! Watch! Help! Help! Help! Murther!
Murther! Murther! Police! Police! Police! Och! ye bloody divils!
Murther! Murther! Murther!”

This, however, is but an abridged edition of the original. For five
minutes—every one seeming like an age—she continued to scream in this
manner, making the old walls of Panama to resound as with the voices of
all the fiends.

Had this happened at the piers of any civilized town or city, the
_gens-d’armes_ would soon have been down upon us and arrested the whole
party; but as it was, we were not molested, and much to our relief, at
last succeeded in getting clear of shore, and we glided away toward the
steamer in the dim darkness, with our baleful charge.

                               CHAPTER L.

                              EXIT SMITH.

ENOUGH. I need not tell of our arrival at the steamer; of the trouble
the sailors had getting the drunken woman up the gang-ladder; of our
meeting Briggs there; of his suggesting, while they were tugging away at
the again insensible creature, pulling her up step by step, to “send for
the _baggage-master_,” as the proper person to take charge of the
immense bundle; of our lying in the harbor five days; of my meeting
drunken “Pheel” in Panama, the day after our adventure with his charming
bigger half; of his threatening to “punch a hole through” me with a
sword-cane, for “running away with” his gentle wife—the proprietor of
the _Oregonian Shades_ having told him, on inquiry, that “she went away
with that one-legged fellow;”—of our final crossing the Isthmus; of our
embarking at last on the crippled _Dakotah_; of our tedious voyage of
fourteen days, from Aspinwall to New York; of the various events on the
passage; of the death and burial at sea of a bright little boy, who had
eaten too much tropical fruit; of our suffering for cold water—there
being no ice on board the miserable ship; of our poor food, and but
little of it—being restricted to two meals a day; of the machinery
giving out off the coast of Cuba, and our danger of not being able to
reach any port; of our being towed by a bark, to whom we showed a signal
of distress; of a fire on board, which was happily extinguished; of a
hard blow off Cape Hatteras; of our final arrival in New York: _et
cetera_, and all that.

It is proper, in this chapter, to make some disposition of myself, as
writers usually do of their principal characters in the concluding
chapter. Therefore, prepare to bid John Smith an everlasting farewell.

To wind up by stating that I got married to a beautiful heiress, after
the usual stern opposition, but final consent of her stony-hearted old
“parient,” and that I settled down after my rambles, and lived to a
green old age, would be a very happy termination; but the events
narrated are of too recent occurrence, and would appear like
anachronisms. So, I must abandon that idea.

Still, I must make some disposition of myself, for if the reader is
allowed to suppose me still perambulating over the world with the
inevitable CRUTCH, he will feel that he has not yet read the conclusion
of my story, and will look forward to the publication of a supplementary
volume of adventures, similar to these—look forward, I heartily assure
him, only to be bitterly disappointed. Linger over this volume, gentle
reader, for when you have laid it down you will hear of John Smith, the
man of the CRUTCH, no more. He is a dead letter.

But now for that disposition. This remarkable character must be got rid
of some how. But how? I can think of no end for him so fitting as

So, dear reader, as I have abandoned the idea of concluding with an
account of my marriage; as death is a circumstance of almost as much
importance in one’s history; and as I am supported in this course by
eminent precedent—Moses having given a graphic account of his own death
in Deuteronomy; and as, moreover, this may be read years hence, when the
hand that is writing it has indeed grown cold, and the pen fallen from
its weary grasp, (and when there will be a vacant crutch to let,) I will
conclude by simply stating that I died.




                          Transcriber's Notes

All changes were typographical in nature. Punctuation errors were
silently fixed. Inconsistent or older spellings of words were not
changed. Differences between chapter titles in the Table of Contents and
at the beginning of a chapter were left as printed. The other spelling
changes were:

          p. 21 athough was replaced with although
          p. 26 hurridly was replaced with hurriedly
          p. 42 persecucutions was replaced with persecutions
          p. 66 eat was replaced with ate
         p. 193 nevet was replaced with never
         p. 194 strategem was replaced with stratagem
         p. 209 scarely was replaced with scarcely
         p. 244 Misouri was replaced with Missouri
         p. 288 circumtances replaced with circumstances
         p. 332 endeaver replaced with endeavor
         p. 343 do not not replaced with do not
         p. 376 vogage replaced with voyage
         p. 368 "to" inserted after "had happened"
         p. 370 occuence replaced with occurrence
         p. 372 vogage replaced with voyage.

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