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Title: Bill Nye's Red Book - New Edition
Author: Nye, Edgar Wilson Nye AKA Bill
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Bill Nye's Red Book - New Edition" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


By Edgar Wilson Nye

Illustrated by J. H. Smith

Thompson & Thomas Chicago


[Illustration: 0008]

[Illustration: 0009]

[Illustration: 0017]

This is the fourth book that I have published in response to the
clamorous appeals of the public. I had long hoped to publish a larger,
better, and if possible a redder book than the first; one that would
contain my better thoughts; thoughts that I had thought when I was
feeling well; thoughts that I had omitted when my thinker was rearing
up on its hind feet, if I may be allowed that term; thoughts that sprang
forth with a wild whoop and demanded recognition. This book is the
result of that hope and that wish. It is may greatest and best book.

Bill Nye.

This book is not designed specially for any one class of people. It
is for all. It is a universal repository of thought. Some of my best
thoughts are contained in this book. Whenever I would think a thought
that I thought had better remain unthought, I would omit it from this
book. For that reason the book is not so large as I had intended. When a
man coldly and dispassionately goes at it to eradicate from his work
all that may not come up to his standard of merit, he can make a large
volume shrink till it is no thicker than the bank book of an outspoken

This is the fourth book that I have published in response to the
clamorous appeals of the public. Whenever the public got to clamoring
too loudly for a new book from me and it got so noisy that I could not
ignore it any more, I would issue another volume. The first was a red
book, succeeded by a dark blue volume, after which I published a green
book, all of which were kindly received by the American people, and,
under the present yielding system of international copyright, greedily
snapped up by some of the tottering dynasties.

But I had long hoped to publish a larger, better and, if possible, a
redder book than the first; one that would contain my better thoughts,
thoughts that I had thought when I was feeling well; thoughts that I had
emitted while my thinker was rearing up on its hind feet, if I may be
allowed that term; thoughts that sprang forth with a wild whoop and
demanded recognition.

This book is the result of that hope and that wish. It is my greatest
and best book. It is the one that will live for weeks after other books
have passed away. Even to those who cannot read, it will come like a
benison when there is no benison in the house. To the ignorant, the
pictures will be pleasing. The wise will revel in its wisdom, and the
housekeeper will find that with it she may easily emphasize a statement
or kill a cockroach.

The range of subjects treated in this book is wonderful, even to me! It
is a library of universal knowledge, and the facts contained in it are
different from any other facts now in use. I have carefully guarded,
all the way through, against using hackneyed and moth-eaten facts. As
a result, I am able to come before the people with a set of new and
attractive statements, so fresh and so crisp that an unkind word would
wither them in a moment.

I believe there is nothing more to add, except that I most heartily
endorse the book. It has been carefully read over by the proof-reader
and myself, so we do not ask the public to do anything that we were not
willing to do ourselves.




Looking over my own school days, there are so many things that I would
rather not tell, that it will take very little time and space for me
to use in telling what I am willing that the carping public should know
about my early history.

I began my educational career in a log school house. Finding that other
great men had done that way, I began early to look around me for a log
school house where I could begin in a small way to soak my system full
of hard words and information.

For a time I learned very rapidly. Learning came to me with very little
effort at first. I would read my lesson over once or twice and then take
my place in the class. It never bothered me to recite my lesson and so
I stood at the head of the class. I could stick my big toe through a
knot-hole in the floor and work out the most difficult problem. This
became at last a habit with me. With my knot-hole I was safe, without it
I would hesitate.

A large red-headed boy, with feet like a summer squash and eyes like
those of a dead codfish, was my rival. He soon discovered that I was
very dependent on that knot-hole, and so one night he stole into the
school house and plugged up the knot-hole, so that I could not work my
toe into it and thus refresh my memory.

Then the large red-headed boy, who had not formed the knot-hole habit,
went to the head of the class and remained there.

After I grew larger, my parents sent me to a military school. That is
where I got the fine military learning and stately carriage that I still

My room was on the second floor, and it was very difficult for me to
leave it at night, because the turnkey locked us up at 9 o'clock every
evening. Still, I used to get out once in awhile and wander around in
the starlight. I do not know yet why I did it, but I presume it was
a kind of somnambulism. I would go to bed thinking so intently of my
lessons that I would get up and wander away, sometimes for miles, in the
solemn night.

One night I awoke and found myself in a watermelon patch. I was never so
ashamed in my life. It is a very serious thing to be awakened so rudely
out of a sound sleep, by a bull dog, to find yourself in the watermelon
vineyard of a man with whom you are not acquainted. I was not on terms
of social intimacy with this man or his dog. They did not belong to our
set. We had never been thrown together before.

After that I was called the great somnambulist and men who had
watermelon conservatories shunned me. But it cured me of my
somnambulism. I have never tried to somnambule any more since that time.

There are other little incidents of my school days that come trooping
up in my memory at this moment, but they were not startling in their
nature. Mine is but the history of one who struggled on year after year,
trying to do better, but most always failing to connect. The boys
of Boston would do well to study carefully my record and then--do


Mr. Webster, no doubt, had the best command of language of any American
author prior to our day. Those who have read his ponderous but rather
disconnected romance known as "Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, or How
One Word Led on to Another," will agree with me that he was smart. Noah
never lacked for a word by which to express himself. He was a brainy man
and a good speller.

It would ill become me at this late day to criticise Mr. Webster's
great work--a work that is now in almost every library, schoolroom and
counting house in the land. It is a great book. I do believe that had
Mr. Webster lived he would have been equally fair in his criticism of my

I hate to compare my own works with those of Mr. Webster, because it
may seem egotistical in me to point out the good points in my literary
labors; but I have often heard it said, and so do not state it solely
upon my own responsibility, that Mr. Webster's book does not retain the
interest of the reader all the way through.

He has tried to introduce too many characters, and so we cannot follow
them all the way through. It is a good book to pick up and while away an
idle hour with, perhaps, but no one would cling to it at night till the
fire went out, chained to the thrilling plot and the glowing career of
its hero.

Therein consists the great difference between Mr. Webster and myself.
A friend of mine at Sing Sing once wrote me that from the moment he got
hold of my book, he never left his room till he finished it. He seemed
chained to the spot, he said, and if you can't believe a convict, who is
entirely out of politics, who in the name of George Washington can you

Mr. Webster was most assuredly a brilliant writer, and I have discovered
in his later editions 118,000 words, no two of which are alike. This
shows great fluency and versatility, it is true, but we need something
else. The reader waits in vain to be thrilled by the author's wonderful
word painting. There is not a thrill in the whole tome. I had heard
so much of Mr. Webster that when I read his book I confess I was
disappointed. It is cold, methodical and dispassionate in the extreme.

As I said, however, it is a good book to pick up for the purpose of
whiling away an idle moment, and no one should start out on a long
journey without Mr. Webster's tale in his pocket. It has broken the
monotony of many a tedious trip for me.

Mr. Webster's "Speller" was a work of less pretentions, perhaps, and yet
it had an immense sale. Eight years ago this book had reached a sale of
40,000,000, and yet it had the same grave defect. It was disconnected,
cold, prosy and dull. I read it for years, and at last became a close
student of Mr. Webster's style, yet I never found but one thing in this
book, for which there seems to have been such a perfect stampede, that
was even ordinarily interesting, and that was a little gem. It was
so thrilling in its details, and so diametrically different from Mr.
Webster's style, that I have often wondered who he got to write it for
him. It related to the discovery of a boy by an elderly gentleman, in
the crotch of an ancestral apple tree, and the feeling of bitterness
and animosity that sprung up at the time between the boy and the elderly

Though I have been a close student of Mr. Webster for years, I am free
to say, and I do not wish to do an injustice to a great man in doing
so, that his ideas of literature and my own are entirely dissimilar.
Possibly his book has had a little larger sale than mine, but that makes
no difference. When I write a book it must engage the interest of the
reader, and show some plot to it. It must not be jerky in its style and
scattering in its statements.

I know it is a great temptation to write a book that will sell, but we
should have a higher object than that.

I do not wish to do an injustice to a man who has done so much for the
world, and one who could spell the longest word without hesitation, but
I speak of these things just as I would expect people to criticise my
work. If we aspire to monkey with the literati of our day we must expect
to be criticised. That's the way I look at it.

P. S.--I might also state that Noah Webster was a member of the
Legislature of Massachusetts at one time, and though I ought not to
throw it up to him at this date, I think it is nothing more than right
that the public should know the truth.


To Queen Victoria, Regina Dei Gracia and acting mother-in-law on the

Dear Madame.--Your most gracious majesty will no doubt be surprised to
hear from me after my long silence. One reason that I have not written
for some time is that I had hoped to see you ere this, and not because
I had grown cold. I desire to congratulate you at this time upon
your great success as a mother-in-law, and your very exemplary career
socially. As a queen you have given universal satisfaction, and your
family have married well.

But I desired more especially to write you in relation to another
matter. We are struggling here in America to establish an authors'
international copyright arrangement, whereby the authors of all
civilized nations may be protected in their rights to the profits of
their literary labor, and the movement so far has met with generous
encouragement. As an author we desire your aid and endorsement. Could
you assist us? We are giving this season a series of authors' readings
in New York to aid in prosecuting the work, and we would like to know
whether we could not depend upon you to take a part in these readings,
rendering selections from your late work.

I assure your most gracious majesty that you would meet some of our best
literary people while here, and no pains would be spared to make your
visit a pleasant one, aside from the reading itself. We would advertise
your appearance extensively and get out a first-class audience on the
occasion of your debut here.

[Illustration: 0029]

An effort would be made to provide passes for yourself, and reduced
rates, I think, could be secured for yourself and suite at the hotels.
Of course you could do as you thought best about bringing suite,
however. Some of us travel with our suites and some do not. I generally
leave my suite at home, myself.

You would not need to make any special changes as to costume for the
occasion. We try to make it informal, so far as possible, and though
some of us wear full dress we do not make that obligatory on those
who take a part in the exercises. If you decide to wear your every-day
reigning clothes it will not excite comment on the part of our literati.
We do not judge an author or authoress by his or her clothes.

You will readily see that this will afford you an opportunity to appear
before some of the best people of New York, and at the same time you
will aid in a deserving enterprise.

It will also promote the sale of your book.

Perhaps you have all the royalty you want aside from what you may
receive from the sale of your works, but every author feels a pardonable
pride in getting his books into every household.

I would assure your most gracious majesty that your reception here as
an authoress will in no way suffer because you are an unnaturalized
foreigner. Any alien who feels a fraternal interest in the international
advancement of thought and the universal encouragement of the good, the
true and the beautiful in literature, will be welcome on these shores.

This is a broad land, and we aim to be a broad and cosmopolitan people.
Literature and free, willing genius are not hemmed in by State or
national lines. They sprout up and blossom under tropical skies no less
than beneath the frigid aurora borealis of the frozen North. We hail
true merit just as heartily and uproariously on a throne as we would
anywhere else. In fact, it is more deserving, if possible, for one who
has never tried it little knows how difficult it is to sit on a hard
throne all day and write well. We are to recognize struggling genius
wherever it may crop out. It is no small matter for an almost unknown
monarch to reign all day and then write an article for the press or a
chapter for a serial story, only, perhaps, to have it returned by the
publishers. All these things are drawbacks to a literary life, that we
here in America know little of.

[Illustration: 0031]

I hope your most gracious majesty will decide to come, and that you will
pardon this long letter. It will do you good to get out this way for
a few weeks, and I earnestly hope that you will decide to lock up the
house and come prepared to make quite a visit. We have some real good
authors here now in America, and we are not ashamed to show them to any
one. They are not only smart, but they are well behaved and know how to
appear in company. We generally read selections from our own works, and
can have a brass band to play between the selections, if thought best.
For myself, I prefer to have a full brass band accompany me while I
read. The audience also approves of this plan.

[Illustration: 0034]

We have been having some very hot weather here for the past week, but
it is now cooler. Farmers are getting in their crops in good shape, but
wheat is still low in price, and cranberries are souring on the vines.
All of our canned red raspberries worked last week, and we had to can
them over again. Mr. Riel, who went into the rebellion business in
Canada last winter, will be hanged in September if it don't rain. It
will be his first appearance on the gallows, and quite a number of our
leading American criminals are going over to see his debut.

Hoping to hear from you by return mail or prepaid cablegram, I beg leave
to remain your most gracious and indulgent majesty's humble and obedient

_Bill Nye._


The editor of an Eastern health magazine, having asked for information
relative to the habits, hours of work, and style and frequency of feed
adopted by literary men, and several parties having responded who were
no more essentially saturated with literature than I am, I now take my
pen in hand to reveal the true inwardness of my literary life, so that
boys, who may yearn to follow in my footsteps and wear a laurel wreath
the year round in place of a hat, may know what the personal habits of a
literary party are.

I rise from bed the first thing in the morning, leaving my couch not
because I am dissatisfied with it, but because I cannot carry it with me
during the day.

I then seat myself on the edge of the bed and devote a few moments to
thought. Literary men who have never set aside a few moments on rising
for thought will do well to try it.

I then insert myself into a pair of middle-aged pantaloons. It is
needless to say that girls who may have a literary tendency will find
little to interest them here.

Other clothing is added to the above from time to time. I then bathe
myself. Still this is not absolutely essential to a literary life.
Others who do not do so have been equally successful.

Some literary people bathe before dressing.

I then go down stairs and out to the barn, where I feed the horse. Some
literary men feel above taking care of a horse, because there is really
nothing in common between the care of a horse and literature, but
simplicity is my watchword. T. Jefferson would have to rise early in the
day to eclipse me in simplicity. I wish I had as many dollars as I have
got simplicity.

I then go in to breakfast. This meal consists almost wholly of food. I
am passionately fond of food, and I may truly say, with my hand on
my heart, that I owe much of my great success in life to this inward
craving, this constant yearning for something better.

During this meal I frequently converse with my family. I do not feel
above my family; at least, if I do, I try to conceal it as much as
possible. Buckwheat pancakes in a heated state, with maple syrup on the
upper side, are extremely conducive to literature. Nothing jerks the
mental faculties around with greater rapidity than buckwheat pancakes.

After breakfast the time is put in to good advantage looking forward
to the time when dinner will be ready. From 8 to 10 A. M., however,
I frequently retire to my private library hot-bed in the hay mow, and
write 1,200 words in my forthcoming book, the price of which will be
$2.50 in cloth and $4 with Russia back.

I then play Copenhagen with some little girls 21 years of age, who live
near by, and of whom I am passionately fond.

After that I dig some worms, with a view to angling. I then angle. After
this I return home, waiting until dusk, however, as I do not like to
attract attention. Nothing is more distasteful to a truly good man of
wonderful literary acquirements, and yet with singular modesty, than the
coarse and rude scrutiny of the vulgar herd.

In winter I do not angle. I read the "Pirate Prince" or the
"Missourian's Mash," or some other work, not so much for the plot as the
style, that I may get my mind into correct channels of thought. I then
play "old sledge" in a rambling sort of manner. I sometimes spend an
evening at home, in order to excite remark and draw attention to my
wonderful eccentricity.

I do not use alcohol in any form, if I know it, though sometimes I am
basely deceived by those who know of my peculiar prejudice, and who do
it, too, because they enjoy watching my odd and amusing antics at the

Alcohol should be avoided entirely by literary workers, especially young
women. There can be no more pitiable sight to the tender hearted than a
young woman of marked ability writing an obituary poem while under the
influence of liquor.

I knew a young man who was a good writer. His penmanship was very good,
indeed. He once wrote an article for the press while under the influence
of liquor. He sent it to the editor, who returned it at once with a cold
and cruel letter, every line of which was a stab. The letter came at a
time when he was full of remorse.

He tossed up a cent to see whether he should blow out his brains or go
into the ready-made clothing business. The coin decided that he should
die by his own hand, but his head ached so that he didn't feel like
shooting into it. So he went into the ready-made clothing business, and
now he pays taxes on $75,000, so he is probably worth $150,000. This, of
course, salves over his wounded heart, but he often says to me that he
might have been in the literary business to-day if he had let liquor


My dear Son.--Your letter of last week reached us yesterday, and I
enclose $13, which is all I have by me at the present time. I may sell
the other shote next week and make up the balance of what you wanted.
I will probably have to wear the old buffalo overcoat to meetings
again this winter, but that don't matter so long as you are getting an

I hope you will get your education as cheap as you can, for it cramps
your mother and me like Sam Hill to put up the money. Mind you, I don't
complain. I knew education come high, but I didn't know the clothes cost
so like sixty.

I want you to be so that you can go anywhere and spell the hardest word.
I want you to be able to go among the Romans or the Medes and Persians
and talk to any of them in their own native tongue.

I never had any advantages when I was a boy, but your mother and I
decided that we would sock you full of knowledge, if your liver held
out, regardless of expense. We calculate to do it, only we want you to
go as slow on swallow-tail coats as possible till we can sell our hay.

[Illustration: 0042]

Now, regarding that boat-paddling suit, and that baseball suit, and that
bathing suit, and that roller-rinktum suit, and that lawn-tennis suit,
mind, I don't care about the expense, because you say a young man can't
really educate himself thoroughly without them, but I wish you'd send
home what you get through with this fall and I'll wear them through the
winter under my other clothes. We have a good deal severer winters here
than we used to, or else I'm failing in bodily health. Last winter I
tried to go through without underclothes, the way I did when I was a
boy, but a Manitoba wave came down our way and picked me out of a crowd
with its eyes shet.

In your last letter you alluded to getting injured in a little "hazing
scuffle with a pelican from the rural districts." I don't want any harm
to come to you, my son, but if I went from the rural districts, and
another young gosling from the rural districts undertook to haze me, I
would meet him when the sun goes down, and I would swat him across the
back of the neck with a fence board, and then I would meander across the
pit of his stomach and put a blue forget-me-not under his eye.

Your father ain't much on Grecian mythology and how to get the square
root of a barrel of pork, but he wouldn't allow any educational
institutions to haze him with impunity. Perhaps you remember once when
you tried to haze your father a little, just to kill time, and how long
it took you to recover. Anybody that goes at it right can have a good
deal of fun with your father, but those who have sought to monkey with
him, just to break up the monotony of life, have most always succeeded
in finding what they sought.

I ain't much of a pensman, so you will have to excuse this letter. We
are all quite well, except old Fan, who has a galded shoulder, and hope
this will find you enjoying the same great blessing.

_Your Father._


Archimedes, whose given name has been accidentally torn off and
swallowed up in oblivion, was born in Syracuse, 2,171 years ago last
spring. He was a philosopher and mathematical expert. During his life
he was never successfully stumped in figures. It ill befits me now,
standing by his new-made grave, to say aught of him that is not of
praise. We can only mourn his untimely death, and wonder which of our
little band of great men will be the next to go.

Archimedes was the first to originate and use the word "Eureka." It has
been successfully used very much lately, and as a result we have the
Eureka baking-powder, the Eureka suspender, the Eureka bed-bug buster,
the Eureka shirt, and the Eureka stomach bitters. Little did Archimedes
wot, when he invented this term, that it would come into such general

Its origin has been explained before, but it would not be out of place
here for me to tell it as I call it to mind now, looking back over
Archie's eventful life.

King Hiero had ordered an eighteen karat crown, size 7 1/8, and, after
receiving it from the hands of the jeweler, suspected that it had
been adulterated. He therefore applied to Archimedes to ascertain, if
possible, whether such was the case or not. Archimedes had just got in
on No. 3, two hours late, and covered with dust. He at once started for
a hot and cold bath emporium on Sixteenth street, meantime wondering how
the dickens he would settle that crown business.

He filled the bath-tub level full, and, piling up his raiment on the
floor, jumped in. Displacing a large quantity of water, equal to his
own bulk, he thereupon solved the question of specific gravity, and,
forgetting his bill, forgetting his clothes, he sailed up Sixteenth
street and all over Syracuse, clothed in shimmering sunlight and a
plain gold ring, shouting "Eureka!" He ran head-first into a Syracuse
policeman and howled "Eureka!" The policeman said: "You'll have to
excuse me; I don't know him." He scattered the Syracuse Normal school
on its way home, and tried to board a Fifteenth street bob-tail car,
yelling "Eureka!" The car-driver told him that Eureka wasn't on the car,
and refered Archimedes to a clothing store.

Everywhere he was greeted with surprise. He tried to pay his car-fare,
but found that he had left his money in his other clothes.

Some thought it was the revised statue of Hercules; that he had become
weary of standing on his pedestal during the hot weather, and had
started out for fresh air. I give this as I remember it. The story is
foundered on fact.

Archimedes once said: "Give me where I
may stand, and I will move the world." I could write it in the original
Greek, but, fearing that the nonpareil delirium tremens type might get
short, I give it in the English language.

It may be tardy justice to a great mathematician and scientist, but
I have a few resolutions of respect which I would be very glad to get
printed on this solemn occasion, and mail copies of the paper to his
relatives and friends:

"Whereas, It has pleased an All-wise Providence to remove from our
midst Archimedes, who was ever at the front in all deserving labors and
enterprises; and,

"Whereas, We can but feebly express our great sorrow in the loss of
Archimedes, whose front name has escaped our memory; therefore

"Resolved, That in his death we have lost a leading citizen of Syracuse,
and one who never shook his friends--never weakened or gigged back on
those he loved.

"Resolved, That copies of these resolutions will be spread on the
moments of the meeting of the Common Council of Syracuse, and that they
be published in the Syracuse papers eodtfpdq&cod, and that marked copies
of said papers be mailed to the relatives of the deceased."


Dear Sir.--The painful duty of turning over to you the administration
of these United States and the key to the front door of the White
House has been assigned to me. You will find the key hanging inside the
storm-door, and the cistern-pole up stairs in the haymow of the barn. .

I have made a great many suggestions to the outgoing administration
relative to the transfer of the Indian bureau from the department of the
Interior to that of the sweet by-and-by. The Indian, I may say, has been
a great source of annoyance to me, several of their number having jumped
one of my most valuable mining claims on White river. Still, I do not
complain of that. This mine, however, I am convinced would be a good
paying property if properly worked, and should you at any time wish to
take the regular army and such other help as you may need and recapture
it from our red brothers, I would be glad to give you a controlling
interest in it.

You will find all papers in their appropriate pigeon-holes, and a small
jar of cucumber pickles down cellar, which were left over and to which
you will be perfectly welcome. The asperities and heart burnings that
were the immediate result of a hot and unusually bitter campaign are
now all buried. Take these pickles and use them as though they were your
own. They are none too good for you. You deserve them. We may differ
politically, but that need not interfere with our warm personal

You will observe on taking possession of the administration, that the
navy is a little bit weather-beaten and wormy. I would suggest that
it be newly painted in the spring. If it had been my good fortune to
receive a majority of the suffrages of the people for the office which
you now hold, I should have painted the navy red. Still, that need not
influence you in the course which you may see fit to adopt.

There are many affairs of great moment which I have not enumerated in
this brief letter, because I felt some little delicacy and timidity
about appearing to be at all dictatorial or officious about a matter
wherein the public might charge me with interference.

I hope you will receive the foregoing in a friendly spirit, and whatever
your convictions may be upon great questions of national interest,
either foreign or domestic, that you will not undertake to blow out
the gas on retiring, and that you will in other ways realize the fond
anticipations which are now cherished in your behalf by a mighty people
whose aggregated eye is now on to you.

Bill Nye.

P. S.--You will be a little surprised, no doubt, to find no soap in the
laundry or bathrooms. It probably got into the campaign in some way and
was absorbed.

B. N.

[Illustration: 0050]


The word anatomy is derived from two Greek spatters and three polywogs,
which, when translated, signify "up through" and "to cut," so that
anatomy actually, when translated from the original wappy-jawed Greek,
means to cut up through. That is no doubt the reason why the medical
student proceeds to cut up through the entire course.

Anatomy is so called because its best results are obtained from the
cutting or dissecting of organism. For that reason there is a growing
demand in the neighborhood of the medical college for good second-hand
organisms. Parties having well preserved organisms that they are not
actually using, will do well to call at the side door of the medical
college after 10 P. M.

The branch of the comparative anatomy which seeks to trace the unities
of plan which are exhibited in diverse organisms, and which discovers,
as far as may be, the principles which govern the growth and development
of organized bodies, and which finds functional analogies and structural
homologies, is denominated philosophical or transcendental anatomy.
(This statement, though strictly true, is not original with me.)

[Illustration: 0054]

Careful study of the human organism after death shows traces of
functional analogies and structural homologies in people who were
supposed to have been in perfect health all their lives. Probably many
of those we meet in the daily walks of life, many, too, who wear a smile
and outwardly seem happy, have either one or both of these things. A
man may live a false life and deceive his most intimate friends in the
matter of anatomical analogies or homologies, but he cannot conceal it
from the eagle eye of the medical student. The ambitious medical student
makes a specialty of true inwardness.

The study of the structure of animals is called zootomy. The attempt to
study the anatomical structure of a grizzly bear from the inside has not
been crowned with success. When the anatomizer and the bear have been
thrown together casually, it has generally been a struggle between the
two organisms to see which would make a study of the structure of the
other. Zootomy and moral suasion are not homogeneous, analogous, nor

Vegetable anatomy is called phytonomy, sometimes. But it would not be
safe to address a vigorous man by that epithet. We may call a vegetable
that, however, and be safe.

Human anatomy is that branch of anatomy which enters into the
description of the structure and geographical distribution of the
elements of a human being. It also applies to the structure of the
microbe that crawls out of jail every four years just long enough to
whip his wife, vote and go back again.

Human anatomy is either general, specific, topographical or surgical.
These terms do not imply the dissection and anatomy of generals,
specialists, topographers and surgeons, as they might seem to imply, but
really mean something else. I would explain here what they actually do
mean if I had more room and knew enough to do it.

Anatomists divide their science, as well as their subjects, into
fragments. Osteology treats of the skeleton, myology of the muscles,
angiology of the blood vessels, splanchology the digestive organs or
department of the interior, and so on.

People tell pretty tough stories of the young carvists who study anatomy
on subjects taken from life. I would repeat a few of them here, but they
are productive of insomnia, so I will not give them.

I visited a matinee of this kind once for a short time, but I have not
been there since, When I have a holiday now, the idea of spending it in
the dissecting-room of a large and flourishing medical college does not
occur to me.

[Illustration: 0057]

I never could be a successful surgeon, I fear. While I have no
hesitation about mutilating the English, I have scruples about cutting
up other nationalities. I should always fear, while pursuing my studies,
that I might be called upon to dissect a friend, and I could not do
that. I should like to do anything that would advance the cause of
science, but I should not want to form the habit of dissecting people,
lest some day I might be called upon to dissect a friend for whom I had
a great attachment, or some creditor who had an attachment for me.


Robert Ormsby Sweeney is a druggist of St. Paul, and though a recent
chronological record reveals the fact that he is a direct descendant of
a sure-enough king, and though there is mighty good purple, royal blood
in his veins that dates back where kings used to have something to do to
earn their salaries, he goes right on with his regular business, selling
drugs at the great sacrifice which druggists will make sometimes in
order to place their goods within the reach of all.

As soon as I learned that Mr. Sweeney had barely escaped being a crowned
head, I got acquainted with him and tried to cheer him up, and I told
him that people wouldn't hold him in any way responsible, and that as
it hadn't shown itself in his family for years he might perhaps finally
wear it out.

He is a mighty pleasant man to meet, anyhow, and you can have just as
much fun with him as you could with a man who didn't have any royal
blood in his veins. You could be with him for days on a fishing trip and
never notice it at all.

But I was going to speak more in particular about Mr. Sweeney's cat.
Mr. Sweeney had a large cat, named Dr. Mary Walker, of which he was very
fond. Dr. Mary Walker remained at the drug store all the time, and was
known all over St. Paul as a quiet and reserved cat. If Dr. Mary Walker
took in the town after office hours, nobody seemed to know anything
about it. She would be around bright and cheerful the next morning and
attend to her duties at the store just as though nothing whatever had

One day last summer Mr. Sweeney left a large plate of fly-paper with
water on it in the window, hoping to gather in a few quarts of flies
in a deceased state. Dr. Mary Walker used to go to this window during
the afternoon and look out on the busy street while she called up
pleasant memories of her past life. That afternoon she thought she would
call up some more memories, so she went over on the counter and from
there jumped down on the window-sill, landing with all four feet in the
plate of fly-paper.

At first she regarded it as a joke, and treated the matter very lightly,
but later on she observed that the fly-paper stuck to her feet with
great tenacity of purpose. Those who have never seen the look of
surprise and deep sorrow that a cat wears when she finds herself glued
to a whole sheet of fly-paper, cannot fully appreciate the way Dr. Mary
Walker felt.

She did not dash wildly through a $150 plate-glass window, as some cats
would have done. She controlled herself and acted in the coolest manner,
though you could have seen that mentally she suffered intensely. She sat
down a moment to more fully outline a plan for the future. In doing so,
she made a great mistake. The gesture resulted in gluing the flypaper
to her person in such a way that the edge turned up behind in the most
abrupt manner, and caused her great inconvenience.

Some one at that time laughed in a coarse and heartless way, and I wish
you could have seen the look of pain that Dr. Mary Walker gave him.

[Illustration: 0063]

Then she went away. She did not go around the prescription case as the
rest of us did, but strolled through the middle of it, and so on out
through the glass door at the rear of the store. We did not see her go
through the glass door, but we found pieces of fly-paper and fur on the
ragged edges of a large aperture in the glass, and we kind of jumped at
the conclusion that Dr. Mary Walker had taken that direction in retiring
from the room.

Dr. Mary Walker never returned to St. Paul, and her exact whereabouts
are not known, though every effort was made to find her. Fragments of
fly-paper and brindle hair were found as far west as the Yellowstone
National Park, and as far north as the British line, but the doctor
herself was not found.

My own theory is, that if she turned her bow to the west so as to catch
the strong easterly gale on her quarter, with the sail she had set and
her tail pointing directly toward the zenith, the chances for Dr. Mary
Walker's immediate return are extremely slim.


There will always be a slight difference in the opinions of the young
and the mature, relative to the general plan on which the solar system
should be operated, no doubt. There are also points of disagreement in
other matters, and it looks as though there always would be.

To the young the future has a more roseate hue. The roseate hue comes
high, but we have to use it in this place. To the young there spreads
out across the horizon a glorious range of possibilities. After the
youth has endorsed for an intimate friend a few times and purchased the
paper at the bank himself later on, the horizon won't seem to horizon so
tumultuously as it did aforetime. I remember at one time of purchasing
such a piece of accommodation paper at a bank, and I still have it. I
didn't need it any more than a cat needs eleven tails at one and the
same time. Still the bank made it an object for me, and I secured it.
Such things as these harshly knock the flush and bloom off the cheek of
youth, and prompt us to turn the strawberry-box bottom side up before we
purchase it.

Youth is gay and hopeful, age is covered with experience and scars where
the skin has been knocked off and had to grow on again. To the young a
dollar looks large and strong, but to the middle-aged and the old it is
weak and inefficient.

When we are in the heyday and fizz of existence, we believe everything;
but after awhile we murmur: "What's that you are givin' us," or words
of like character. Age brings caution and a lot of shop-worn experience,
purchased at the highest market price. Time brings vain regrets and
wisdom teeth that can be left in a glass of water over night.

Still we should not repine. If people would repine less and try harder
to get up an appetite by persweating in some one's vineyard at so much
per diem, it would be better. The American people of late years seem to
have a deeper and deadlier repugnance for mannish industry, and there
seems to be a growing opinion that our crops are more abundant when
saturated with foreign perspiration. European sweat, if I may be allowed
to use such a low term, is very good in its place, but the native-born'
Duke of Dakota, or the Earl of York State should remember that the
matter of perspiration and posterity should not be left solely to the

There are too many Americans who toil not, neither do they spin. They
would be willing to have an office foisted upon them, but they would
rather blow their so-called brains out than to steer a pair of large
steel-gray mules from day to day. They are too proud to hoe corn, for
fear some great man will ride by and see the termination of their shirts
extending out through the seats of their pantaloons, but they are not
too proud to assign their shattered finances to a friend and their
shattered remains to the morgue.

Pride is all right if it is the right kind, but the pride that prompts
a man to kill his mother, because she at last refuses to black his boots
any more, is an erroneous pride. The pride that induces a man to muss up
the carpet with his brains because there is nothing left for him to do
but labor, is the kind that Lucifer had when he bolted the action of the
convention and went over to the red-hot minority.

Youth is the spring-time of life. It is the time to acquire information,
so that we may show it off in after years and paralyze people with what
we know. The wise youth will "lay low" till he gets a whole lot of
knowledge, and then in later days turn it loose in an abrupt manner. He
will guard against telling what he knows, a little at a time. That is
unwise. I once knew a youth who wore himself out telling people all he
knew from day to day, so that when he became a bald-headed man he was
utterly exhausted and didn't have anything left to tell anyone. Some of
the things that we know should be saved for our own use. The man who
sheds all his knowledge, and don't leave enough to keep house with,
fools himself.


Two delegates to the General Convocation of the Sons of Ice Water were
sitting in the lobby of the Windsor, in the city of Denver, not long
ago, strangers to each other and to everybody else. One came from
Huerferno county, and the other was a delegate from the Ice Water
Encampment of Correjos county.

From the beautiful billiard hall came the sharp rattle of ivory balls,
and in the bar-room there was a glitter of electric light, cut glass,
and French plate mirrors. Out of the door came the merry laughter of the
giddy throng, flavored with fragrant Havana smoke and the delicate odor
of lemon and mirth and pine apple and cognac.

The delegate from Correjos felt lonely, and he turned to the Ice Water
representative from Huerferno:

"That was a bold and fearless speech you made this afternoon on the
demon rum at the convocation."

"Think so?" said the sad Huerferno man.

"Yes, you entered into the description of rum's maniac till I could
almost see the redeyed centipedes and tropical hornets in the air. How
could you describe the jimjams so graphically?"

"Well, you see, I'm a reformed drunkard. Only a little while ago I was
in the gutter."

"So was I."

"How long ago?"

"Week ago day after to-morrow."

"Next Tuesday it'll be a week since I quit."

"Well, I swan!"

"Ain't it funny?"



"It's going to be a long, cold winter; don't you think so?"

"Yes, I dread it a good deal."

* * * * *

"It's a comfort, though, to know that you never will touch rum again."

"Yes, I am glad in my heart to-night that I am free from it. I shall
never touch rum again."

When he said this he looked up at the other delegate, and they looked
into each other's eyes earnestly, as though each would read the other's
soul. Then the Huerferno man said: "In fact, I never did care much for

Then there was a long pause.

Finally the Correjos man ventured: "Do you have to use an antidote to
cure the thirst?"

"Yes, I've had to rely on that a good deal at first. Probably this vain
yearning that I now feel in the pit of my bosom will disappear after

"Have you got any antidote with you?"

"Yes, I've got some up in 232 1/2. If you'll come up I'll give you a

"There's no rum in it, is there?"


Then they went up the elevator. They did not get down to breakfast, but
at dinner they stole in. The man from Huerferno dodged nervously through
the archway leading to the dining-room as though he had his doubts about
getting through so small a space with his augmented head, and the man
from Correjos looked like one who had wept his eyes almost blind over
the woe that rum has wrought in our fair land.

When the waiter asked the delegate from Correjos for his desert order,
the red-nosed Son of Ice Water said: "Bring me a cup of tea, some
pudding without wine sauce, and a piece of mince pie. You may also bring
me a Cork screw, if you please, to pull the brandy out of the mince pie

Then the two reformed drunkards looked at each other, and laughed a
hoarse, bitter and joyous laugh.

At the afternoon session of the Sons of Ice Water, the Huerferno
delegate couldn't get his regalia over his head.

[Illustration: 0073]


To the President.--I write this letter not on my own account, but on
behalf of a personal friend of mine who is known as a mugwump. He is a
great worker for political reform, but he cannot spell very well, so he
has asked me to write this letter. He knew that I had been thrown among
great men all my life, and that, owing to my high social position and
fine education, I would be peculiarly fitted to write you in a way that
would not call forth disagreeable remarks, and so he has given me the
points and I have arranged them for you.

In the first place, my friend desires me to convey to you, Mr.
President, in a delicate manner, and in such language as to avoid giving
offense, that he is somewhat disappointed in your Cabinet. I hate to
talk this way to a bran-new President, but my friend feels hurt and
he desires that I should say to you that he regrets your short-sighted
policy. He says that it seems to him there is very little in the
administration so far to encourage a man to shake off old parties ties
and try to make men better. He desires to say that after conversing with
a large number of the purest men, men who have been in both political
parties off and on for years and yet have never been corrupted by
office, men who have left convention after convention in years past
because those conventions were corrupt and endorsed other men than
themselves for office, he finds that your appointment of Cabinet
officers will only please two classes, viz.: Democrats and Republicans.

Now, what do you care for an administration which will only gratify
those two old parties? Are you going to snap your fingers in disdain
at men who admit that they are superior to anybody else? Do you want
history to chronicle the fact that President Cleveland accepted the
aid of the pure and highly cultivated gentlemen who never did anything
naughty or unpretty, and then appointed his Cabinet from men who had
been known for years as rude, naughty Democrats?

My friend says that he feels sure you would not have done so if you had
fully realized how he felt about it. He claims that in the first week
of your administration you have basely truckled to the corrupt majority.
You have shown yourself to be the friend of men who never claimed to be
truly good.

If you persist in this course you will lose the respect and esteem of
my friend and another man who is politically pure, and who has never
smirched his escutcheon with an office. He has one of the cleanest and
most vigorous escutcheons in that county. He never leaves it out over
night during the summer, and in the winter he buries it in sawdust. Both
of these men will go back to the Republican party in 1888 if you persist
in the course you have thus far adopted. They would go back now if the
Republican party insisted on it.

Mr. President, I hate to write to you in this tone of voice, because
I know the pain it will give you. I once held an office myself, Mr.
President, and it hurt my feelings very much to have a warm personal
friend criticise my official acts.

The worst feature of the whole thing, Mr. President, is that it will
encourage crime. If men who never committed any crime are allowed to
earn their living by the precarious methods peculiar to manual labor,
and if those who have abstained from office for years, by request of
many citizens, are to be denied the endorsement of the administration,
they will lose courage to go on and do right in the future. My friend
desires to state vicariously, in the strongest terms, that both he and
his wife feel the same way about it, and they will not promise to keep
it quiet any longer. They feel like crippling the administration in
every way they can if the present policy is to be pursued.

He says he dislikes to begin thus early to threaten a President who has
barely taken off his overshoes and drawn his mileage, but he thinks it
may prevent a recurrence of these unfortunate mistakes. He claims that
you have totally misunderstood the principles of the mugwumps all the
way through. You seem to regard the reform movement as one introduced
for the purpose of universal benefit. This was not the case. While fully
endorsing and supporting reform, he says that they did not go into it
merely to kill time or simply for fun. He also says that when he became
a reformer and supported you, he did not think there were so many
prominent Democrats who would have claims upon you. He can only now
deplore the great national poverty of offices and the boundless wealth
of raw material in the Democratic party from which to supply even that
meager demand.

He wishes me to add, also, that you must have over-estimated the zeal of
his party for civil service reform. He says that they did not yearn for
civil service reform so much as many people seem to think.

I must now draw this letter to a close. We are all well with the
exception of colds in the head, but nothing that need give you any
uneasiness. Our large seal-brown hen last week, stimulated by a rising
egg market, over-exerted herself, and on Saturday evening, as the
twilight gathered, she yielded to a complication of pip and softening
of the brain and expired in my arms. She certainly led a most exemplary
life and the forked tongue of slander could find naught to utter against

Hoping that you are enjoying the same great blessing and that you
will write as often as possible without waiting for me, I remain, Very
respectfully yours,

_Bill Nye_.

(Dictated Letter.)


While visiting Naples last fall, I took a great interest in the
wonderful museum there, of objects that have been exhumed from the
ruins of Pompeii. It is a remarkable collection, including, among
other things, the cumbersome machinery of a large woolen factory,
the receipts, contracts, statements of sales, etc., etc., of bankers,
brokers, and usurers. I was told that the exhumist also ran into an
Etruscan bucket-shop in one part of the city, but, owing to the long dry
spell, the buckets had fallen to pieces.

The object which engrossed my attention the most, however, was what
seems to have been a circular issued prior to the great volcanic vomit
of 79 A. D., and no doubt prior even to the Christian era. As the date
is torn off, however, we are left to conjecture the time at which it
was issued. I was permitted to make a copy of it, and with the aid of my
hired man I have translated it with great care.

[Illustration: 0079]

Office of


Dealers in

Flour, Bran, Shorts, Middlings, Screenings, Etruscan Hen Feed, and Other
Choice Bric-a-Brac.

Highest Cash Price Paid for Neapolitan Winter Wheat and Roman Corn. Why
Haul Your Wheat Through the Sand to Herculaneum, When We Pay the Same
Price Here?

Office and Mill, Via VIII, Near the Stabian Gate, Only Thirteen Blocks
from the P. O., Pompeii.

Dear Sir: This circular has been called out by another one issued last
month by Messrs. Toecorneous & Cnilblainicus, alleged millers and
wheat buyers of Herculaneum, in which they claim to pay a quarter to
a half-cent more per bushel than we do for wheat, and charge us
with docking the farmers around Pompeii a pound per bushel more than
necessary for cockle, wild buckwheat, and pigeon-grass seed. They make
the broad statement that we have made all our money in that way, and
claim that Mr. Lucretius, of our mill, has erected a fine house, which
the farmers allude to as the "wild buckwheat villa."

[Illustration: 0080]

We do not, as a general rule, pay any attention to this kind of stuff;
but when two snide Romans, who went to Herculaneum without a dollar and
drank stale beer out of an old Etruscan tomato-can the first year they
were there, assail our integrity, we feel justified in making a prompt
and final reply. We desire to state to the Roman farmers that we do not
test their wheat with the crooked brass tester that has made more money
for Messrs. Toe-corneous & Chilblainicus than their old mill has. We do
not do that kind of business. Neither do we buy a man's wheat at a cash
price and then work off four or five hundred pounds of XXXX Imperial
hog feed on him in part payment. When we buy a man's wheat we pay him
in money. We do not seek to fill him up with sour Carthagenian cracked
wheat and orders on the store.

We would also call attention to the improvements that we have just made
in our mill. Last week we put a handle in the upper burr, and we have
also engaged one of the best head millers in Pompeii to turn the crank
day-times. Our old head miller will oversee the business at night, so
that the mill will be in full blast night and day, except when the head
miller has gone to his meals or stopped to spit on his hands.

The mill of our vile contemporaries at Herculaneum is an old one that
was used around Naples one hundred years ago to smash rock for the
Neapolitan road, and is entirely out of repair. It was also used in
a brick-yard here near Pompeii; then an old junk man sold it to a
tenderfoot from Jerusalem as an ice-cream freezer. He found that it
would not work, and so used it to grind up potato bugs for blisters. Now
it is grinding ostensible flour at Herculaneum.

We desire to state to the farmers about Pompeii and Herculaneum that we
aim to please. We desire to make a grade of flour this summer that will
not have to be run through the coffee mill before it can be used. We
will also pay you the highest price for good wheat, and give you good
weight. Our capacity is now greatly enlarged, both as to storage and
grinding. We now turn out a sack of flour, complete and ready for use,
every little while. We have an extra handle for the mill, so that in
case of accident to the one now in use, we need not shut down but a few

[Illustration: 0083]

We call attention to our XXXX Git-there brand of flour. It is the
best flour in the market for making angels' food and other celestial
groceries. We fully warrant it, and will agree that for every sack
containing whole kernels of corn, corncobs, or other foreign substances,
not thoroughly pulverized, we will refund the money already paid, and
show the person through our mill.

We would also like to call the attention of farmers and housewives
around Pompeii to our celebrated Dough Squatter. It is purely automatic
in its operation, requiring only two men to work it. With this machine
two men will knead all the bread they can eat and do it easily, feeling
thoroughly refreshed at night. They also avoid that dark maroon taste in
the mouth so common in Pompeii on arising in the morning.

To those who do not feel able to buy one of these machines, we would say
that we have made arrangements for the approaching season, so that
those who wish may bring their dough to our mammoth squatter and get
it treated at our place at the nominal price of two bits per squat.
Strangers calling for their squat or unsquat dough will have to be

Do not forget the place, Via VIII, near Stabian gate. Lucretius &

Dealers in choice family flour, cut feed and oatmeal with or without
clinkers in it. Try our lumpless bran for indigestion.


Speaking about cowboys, Sam Stewart, known from Montana to Old Mexico
as Broncho Sam, was the chief. He was not a white man, an Indian, a
greaser or a negro, but he had the nose of an Indian warrior, the curly
hair of an African, and the courtesy and equestrian grace of a Spaniard.
A wide reputation as a "broncho breaker" gave him his name. To master
an untamed broncho and teach him to lead, to drive and to be safely
ridden was Sam's mission during the warm weather when he was not riding
the range. His special delight was to break the war-like heart of the
vicious wild pony of the plains and make him the servant of man.

I've seen him mount a hostile "bucker," and, clinching his italic legs
around the body of his adversary, ride him till the blood would burst
from Sam's nostrils and spatter horse and rider like rain. Most everyone
knows what the bucking of the barbarous Western horse means. The wild
horse probably learned it from the antelope, for the latter does it the
same way, i. e., he jumps straight up into the air, at the same instant
curving his back and coming down stiff-legged, with all four of his feet
in a bunch. The concussion is considerable.

[Illustration: 0085]

I tried it once myself. I partially rode a roan broncho one spring
day, which will always be green in my memory. The day, I mean, not the

It occupied my entire attention to safely ride the cunning little beast,
and when he began to ride me I put in a minority report against it.

I have passed through an earthquake and an Indian outbreak, but I would
rather ride an earthquake without saddle or bridle than to bestride
a successful broncho eruption. I remember that I wore a large pair
of Mexican spurs, but I forgot them until the saddle turned. Then I
remembered them. Sitting down, on them in an impulsive way brought them
to my mind. Then the broncho steed sat down on me, and that gave the
spurs an opportunity to make a more lasting impression on my mind.

To those who observed the charger with the double "cinch" across his
back and the saddle in front of him, like a big leather corset,
sitting at the same time on my person, there must have been a tinge of
amusement; but to me it was not so frolicsome.

There may be joy in a wild gallop across the boundless plains in the
crisp morning, on the back of a fleet broncho; but when you return with
your ribs sticking through your vest, and find that your nimble steed
has returned to town two hours ahead of you, there is a tinge of sadness
about it all.

Broncho Sam, however, made a specialty of doing all the riding himself.
He wouldn't enter into any compromise and allow the horse to ride him.

In a reckless moment he offered to bet ten dollars that he could mount
and ride a wild Texas steer. The money was put up. That settled it. Sam
never took water. This was true in a double sense. Well, he climbed the
cross-bar of the corral-gate, and asked the other boys to turn out their
best steer, Marquis of Queensbury rules.

As the steer passed out, Sam slid down and wrapped those parenthetical
legs of his around that high-headed, broad-horned brute, and he rode him
till the fleet-footed animal fell down on the buffalo grass, ran his
hot red tongue out across the blue horizon, shook his tail convulsively,
swelled up sadly and died.

It took Sam four days to walk back.

A ten-dollar bill looks as large to me as the star-spangled banner
sometimes; but that is an avenue of wealth that had not occurred to me.

I'd rather ride a buzz-saw at two dollars a day and found.


The following paper was read by me in a clear, resonant tone of voice,
before the Academy of Science and Pugilism at Erin Prairie, last month,
and as I have been so continually and so earnestly importuned to print
it that life was no longer desirable, I submit it to you for that
purpose, hoping that you will print my name in large caps, with
astonishers, at the head of the article, and also in good display type
at the close:


No one could possibly, in a brief paper, do the subject of evolution
full justice. It is a matter of great importance to our lost and undone
race. It lies near to every human heart, and exercises a wonderful
influence over our impulses and our ultimate success or failure. When
we pause to consider the opaque and fathomless ignorance of the
great masses of our fellow men on the subject of evolution, it is not
surprising that crime is rather on the increase, and that thousands of
our race are annually filling drunkard's graves, with no other visible
means of support, while multitudes of enlightened human beings are at
the same time obtaining a livelihood by meeting with felons' dooms.

These I would ask in all seriousness and in a tone of voice that would
melt the stoniest heart: "Why in creation do you do it?" The time is
rapidly approaching when there will be two or three felons for each
doom. I am sure that within the next fifty years, and perhaps sooner
even than that, instead of handing out these dooms to Tom, Dick and
Harry, as formerly, every applicant for a felon's doom will have to pass
through a competitive examination, as he should do.

It will be the same with those who desire to fill drunkards' graves.
The time is almost here when all positions of profit and trust will
be carefully and judiciously handed out, and those who do not fit
themselves for those positions will be left in the lurch, wherever that
may be.

It is with this fact glaring me in the face that I have consented to
appear before you today and lay bare the whole hypothesis, history rise
and fall, modifications, anatomy, physiology and geology of evolution.
It is for this that I have pored over such works as Huxley, Herbert
Spencer, Moses in the bulrushes, Anaxagoras, Lucretius and Hoyle. It is
for the purpose of advancing the cause of common humanity and to jerk
the rising generation out of barbarism into the dazzling effulgence of
clashing intellects and fermenting brains that I have sought the works
of Pythagoras, Democritus and Epluribus. Whenever I could find any book
that bore upon the subject of evolution, and could borrow it, I have
done so while others slept.

That is a matter which rarely enters into the minds of those who go
easily and carelessly through life. Even the general superintendent of
the Academy of Science and Pugilism here in Erin Prairie, the hotbed of
a free and untrammeled, robust democracy, does not stop to think of the
midnight and other kinds of oil that I have consumed in order to fill
myself full of information and to soak my porous mind with thought. Even
the O'Reilly College of this place, with its strong mental faculty, has
not informed itself fully relative to the great effort necessary before
a lecturer may speak clearly, accurately and exhaustingly of evolution.

And yet, here in this place, where education is rampant, and the idea is
patted on the back, as I may say; here in Erin Prairie, where progress
and some other sentiments are written on everything; here where I am
addressing you to-night for $2 and feed for my horse, I met a little
child with a bright and cheerful smile, who did not know that evolution
consisted in a progress from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous.

So you see that you never know where ignorance lurks. The hydra-headed
upas tree and bete noir of self-acting progress is such ignorance as
that, lurking in the very shadow of magnificent educational institutions
and hard words of great cast. Nothing can be more disagreeable to the
scientist than a bete noir. Nothing gives him greater satisfaction than
to chase it up a tree or mash it between two shingles.

For this reason, as I said, it gives me great pleasure to address you
on the subject of evolution, and to go into details in speaking of it.
I could go on for hours as I have been doing, delighting you with the
intricacies and peculiarities of evolution, but I must desist. It would
please me to do so, and you would no doubt remain patiently and listen,
but your business might suffer while you were away, and so I will close,
but I hope that anyone now within the sound of my voice, and in whose
breast a sudden hunger for more light on this great subject may have
sprung up, will feel perfectly free to call on me and ask me about it
or immerse himself in the numerous tomes that I have collected from
friends, and which relate to this matter.

In closing I wish to say that I have made no statements in this
paper relative to evolution which I am not prepared to prove; and, if
anything, I have been over-conservative. For that reason I say now, that
the person who doubts a single fact as I have given it to-night, bearing
upon the great subject of evolution, will have to do so over my dumb

And a man who will do that is no gentleman. I presume that many of
these statements will be snapped up and sharply criticised by other
theologians and many of our foremost thinkers, but they will do well to
pause before they draw me into a controversy, for I have other facts
in relation to evolution, and some personal reminiscences and family
history, which I am prepared to introduce, if necessary, together with
ideas that I have thought up myself. So I say to those who may hope to
attract notice and obtain notoriety by drawing me into a controversy,
beware. It will be to your interest to beware!


I presume that I could write an entire library of personal
reminiscences relative to the eminent people with whom I have been
thrown during a busy life, but I hate to do it, because I always
regarded such things as sacred from the vulgar eye, and I felt bound to
respect the confidence of a prominent man just as much as I would that
of one who was less before the people. I remember very well my first
meeting with General W. T. Sherman. I would not mention it here if it
were not for the fact that the people seem to be yearning for personal
reminiscences of great men, and that is perfectly right, too.

It was since the war that I met General Sherman, and it was on the
line of the Union Pacific Railway, at one of those justly celebrated
eating-houses, which I understand are now abandoned. The colored waiter
had cut off a strip of the omelette with a pair of shears, the scorched
oatmeal had been passed around, the little rubber door mats fried in
butter and called pancakes had been dealt around the table, and the
cashier at the end of the hall had just gone through the clothes of a
party from Vermont, who claimed a rebate on the ground that the waiter
had refused to bring him anything but his bill. There was no sound in
the dining-room except the weak request of the coffee for more air and
stimulants, or perhaps the cry of pain when the butter, while practicing
with the dumb-bells, would hit a child on the head; then all would be
still again.

[Illustration: 0097]

General Sherman sat at one end of the table, throwing a life-preserver
to a fly in the milk pitcher.

We had never met before, though for years we had been plodding along
life's rugged way--he in the war department, I in the postoffice
department. Unknown to each other, we had been holding up opposite
corners of the great national fabric, if you will allow me that

I remember, as well as though it were but yesterday, how the
conversation began. General Sherman looked sternly at me and said:

"I wish you would overpower that butter and send it up this way."

"All right," said I, "if you will please pass those molasses."

That was all that was said, but I shall never forget it, and probably
he never will. The conversation was brief, but yet how full of food for
thought! How true, how earnest, how natural! Nothing stilted or false
about it. It was the natural expression of two minds that were too great
to be verbose or to monkey with social, conversational flapdoodle.

I remember, once, a great while ago, I was asked by a friend to go with
him in the evening to the house of an acquaintance, where they were
going to have a kind of musicale, at which there was to be some noted
pianist, who had kindly consented to play a few strains. I did not get
the name of the professional, but I went, and when the first piece
was announced I saw that the light was very uncertain, so I kindly
volunteered to get a lamp from another room. I held that big lamp,
weighing about twenty-nine pounds, for half an hour, while the pianist
would tinky tinky up on the right hand, or bang, boomy to bang down on
the bass, while he snorted and slugged that old concert grand piano and
almost knocked its teeth down its throat, or gently dawdled with the
keys like a pale moonbeam shimmering through the bleached rafters of
a deceased horse, until at last there was a wild jangle, such as the
accomplished musician gives to an instrument to show the audience that
he has disabled the piano, and will take a slight intermission while it
is sent to the junk shop.

With a sigh of relief I carefully put down the twenty-nine pound lamp,
and my friend told me that I had been standing there like liberty
enlightening the world, and holding that heavy lamp for Blind Tom.


I had never seen him before, and I slipped out of the room before he had
a chance to see me.


I am glad to notice that in the East there is a growing disfavor in
the public mind for selecting a practicing physician for the office of
coroner. This matter should have attracted attention years ago. Now it
gratifies me to notice a finer feeling on the part of the people, and
an awakening of those sensibilities which go to make life more highly
prized and far more enjoyable.

I had the misfortune at one time to be under the medical charge of a
coroner who had graduated from a Chicago morgue and practiced medicine
along with his inquest business with the most fiendish delight. I do
not know which he enjoyed best, holding the inquest or practicing on his
patient and getting the victim ready for the quest.

One day he wrote out a prescription and left it for me to have filled. I
was surprised to find that he had made a mistake and left a rough draft
of the verdict in my own case and a list of jurors which he had made in
memorandum, so as to be ready for the worst. I was alarmed, for I did
not know that I was in so dangerous a condition. He had the advantage
of me, for he knew just what he was giving me, and how long human life
could be sustained under his treatment. I did not.

That is why I say that the profession of medicine should not be allowed
to conflict with the solemn duties of the coroner. They are constantly
clashing and infringing upon each other's territory. This coroner had
a kind of tread-softly-bow-the-head way of getting around the room that
made my flesh creep. He had a way, too, when I was asleep, of glancing
hurriedly through the pockets of my pantaloons as they hung over a
chair, probably to see what evidence he could find that might aid the
jury in arriving at a verdict. Once I woke up and found him examining a
draft that he had found in my pocket. I asked him what he was doing with
my funds, and he said that he thought he detected a draft in the room
and he had just found out where it came from.

After that I hoped that death would come to my relief as speedily as
possible. I felt that death would be a happy release from the cold touch
of the amateur coroner and pro tern physician. I could look forward with
pleasure, and even joy, to the moment when my physician would come
for the last time in his professional capacity and go to work on
me officially. Then the county would be obliged to pay him, and the
undertaker could take charge of the fragments left by the inquest.

The duties of the physician are with the living, those of the coroner
with the dead. No effort, therefore, should be made to unite them. It is
in violation of all the finer feelings of humanity. When the physician
decides that his tendencies point mostly toward immortality and the
names of his patients are nearly all found on the moss-covered stones of
the cemetery, he may abandon the profession with safety and take hold
of politics. Then, should his tastes lead him to the inquest, let
him gravitate toward the office of coroner; but the two should not be

No man ought to follow his fellow down the mysterious river that
defines the boundary between the known and the unknown, and charge him
professionally till his soul has fled, and then charge a per diem to the
county for prying into his internal economy and holding an inquest over
the debris of mortality. I therefore hail this movement with joy
and wish to encourage it in every way. It points toward a degree of
enlightenment which will be in strong contrast with the darker and more
ignorant epochs of time, when the practice of medicine was united
with the profession of the barber, the well-digger, the farrier, the
veterinarian or the coroner.

Why, this physician plenipotentiary and coroner extraordinary that I
have referred to, didn't know when he got a call whether to take his
morphine syringe or his venire for a jury. He very frequently went to
see a patient with a lung tester under one arm and the revised statutes
under the other. People never knew when they saw him going to a
neighbor's house, whether the case had yielded to the coroner's
treatment or not. No one ever knew just when over-taxed nature would
yield to the statutes in such case made and provided.

When the jury was impanelled, however, we always knew that the medical
treatment had been successfully fatal.

Once he charged the county with an inquest he felt sure of, but in the
night the patient got delirious, eluded his nurse, the physician and
coroner, and fled to the foot-hills, where he was taken care of and
finally recovered. The experiences of some of the patients who escaped
from this man read more like fiction than fact. One man revived during
the inquest, knocked the foreman of the jury through the window, kicked
the coroner in the stomach, fed him a bottle of violet ink, and, with a
shriek of laughter, fled. He is now traveling under an assumed name with
a mammoth circus, feeding his bald head to the African lion twice a day
at $9 a week and found.



Rum has always been a curse to the State of Maine. The steady fight
that Maine has made, for a century past, against decent rum, has been
worthy of a better cause.

Who hath woe? who hath sorrow and some more things of that kind? He that
monkeyeth with Maine rum; he that goeth to seek emigrant rum.

In passing through Maine the tourist is struck with the ever-varying
styles of mystery connected with the consumption of rum.

In Denver your friend says: "Will you come with me and shed a tear?" or
"Come and eat a clove with me."

In Salt Lake City a man once said to me: "William, which would you
rather do, take a dose of Gentile damnation down here on the corner, or
go over across the street and pizen yourself with some real old Mormon
Valley tan, made last week from ground feed and prussic acid?" I told
him that I had just been to dinner, and the doctor had forbidden my
drinking any more, and that I had promised several people on their death
beds never to touch liquor, and besides, I had just taken a large drink,
so he would have to excuse me.

But in Maine none of these common styles of invitation prevail. It is
all shrouded in mystery. You give the sign of distress to any member in
good standing, pound three times on the outer gate, give two hard kicks
and one soft one on the inner door, give the password, "Rutherford B.
Hayes," turn to the left, through a dark passage, turn the thumbscrew of
a mysterious gas fixture 90 deg. to the right, holding the goblet of the
encampment under the gas fixture, then reverse the thumbscrew, shut your
eyes, insult you digester, leave twenty-five cents near the gas fixture,
and hunt up the nearest cemetery, so that you will not have to be
carried very far.

If a man really wants to drink himself into a drunkard's grave, he can
certainly save time by going to Maine. Those desiring the most prompt
and vigorous style of jim-jams at cut rates will do well to examine
Maine goods before going elsewhere. Let a man spend a week in Boston,
where the Maine liquor law, I understand, is not in force, and then,
with no warning whatever, be taken into the heart of Maine; let him
land there a stranger and a partial orphan, with no knowledge of the
underground methods of securing a drink, and to him the world seems very
gloomy, very sad, and extremely arid.

At the Bangor depot a woman came up to me and addressed me. She was
rather past middle age, a perfect lady in her manners, but a little

I said: "Madame, I guess you will have to excuse me. You have the
advantage. I can't just speak your name at this moment. It has been now
thirty years since I left Maine, a child two years old. So people have
changed. You've no idea how people have grown out of my knowledge. I
don't see but you look just as young as you did when I went away, but
I'm a poor hand to remember names, so I can't just call you to mind."

She was perfectly ladylike in her manner, but a little bit drunk. It is
singular how drunken people will come hundreds of miles to converse with
me. I have often been alluded to as the "drunkard's friend." Men have
been known to get intoxicated and come a long distance to talk with me
on some subject, and then they would lean up against me and converse by
the hour. A drunken man never seems to get tired of talking with me. As
long as I am willing to hold such a man up and listen to him, he will
stand and tell me about himself with the utmost confidence, and, no
matter who goes by, he does not seem to be ashamed to have people see
him talking with me.

I once had a friend who was very much liked by every one, so he drifted
into politics. For seven years he tried to live on free whiskey and
popular approval, but it wrecked him at last. Finally he formed the
habit of meeting me every day and explaining it to me, and giving me
free exhibitions of a breath that he had acquired at great expense.
After he got so feeble that he could not walk any more, this breath of
his used to pull him out of bed and drag him all over the town. It don't
seem hardly possible, but it is so. I can show you the town yet.

[Illustration: 0107]

He used to take me by the buttonhole when he conversed with me. This is
a diagram of the buttonhole.

If I had a son I would warn him against trying to subsist solely on
popular approval and free whiskey. It may do for a man engaged solely in
sedentary pursuits, but it is not sufficient in cases of great muscular
exhaustion. Free whiskey and popular approval on an empty stomach are
highly injurious.


Many people have traveled all their lives and yet do not know how to
behave themselves when on the road. For the benefit and guidance of
such, these few crisp, plain, horse-sense rules of etiquette have been

In traveling by rail on foot, turn to the right on discovering an
approaching train. If you wish the train to turn out, give two loud
toots and get in between the rails, so that you will not muss up the
right of way. Many a nice, new right of way has been ruined by getting a
pedestrian tourist spattered all over its first mortgage.

On retiring at night on board the train, do not leave your teeth in
the ice-water tank. If everyone should do so, it would occasion great
confusion in case of wreck. It would also cause much annoyance and delay
during the resurrection. Experienced tourists tie a string to their
teeth and retain them during the night.

If you have been reared in extreme poverty, and your mother supported
you until you grew up and married, so that your wife could support you,
you will probably sit in four seats at the same time, with your feet
extended into the aisles so that you can wipe them off on other people,
while you snore with your mouth open clear to your shoulder blades.

If you are prone to drop to sleep and breathe with a low death rattle,
like the exhaust of a bath tub, it would be a good plan to tie up your
head in a feather bed and then insert the whole thing in the linen
closet; or, if you cannot secure that, you might stick it out of the
window and get it knocked off against a tunnel. The stockholders of the
road might get mad about it, but you could do it in such a way that they
wouldn't know whose head it was.

Ladies and gentlemen should guard against traveling by rail while in a
beastly state of intoxication.

In the dining car, while eating, do not comb your moustache with your
fork. By all means do not comb your moustache with the fork of another.
It is better to refrain altogether from combing your moustache with a
fork while traveling, for the motion of the train might jab the fork
into your eye and irritate it.

If your desert is very hot and you do not discover it until you have
burned the rafters out of the roof of your mouth, do not utter a wild
yell of agony and spill your coffee all over a total stranger, but
control yourself, hoping to know more next time.

In the morning is a good time to find out how many people have succeeded
in getting on the passenger train, who ought to be in the stock car.

Generally, you will find one male and one female. The male goes into the
wash room, bathes his worthless carcass from daylight until breakfast
time, walking on the feet of any man who tries to wash his face during
that time. He wipes himself on nine different towels, because when he
gets home he knows he will have to wipe his face on an old door mat.
People who have been reared on hay all their lives, generally want to
fill themselves full of pie and colic when they travel.

The female of this same mammal goes into the ladies' department and
remains there until starvation drives her out. Then the real ladies have
about thirteen seconds apiece in which to dress.

If you never rode in a varnished car before and never expect to again,
you will probably roam up and down the car, meandering over the feet of
the porter while he is making up the berths. This is a good way to let
people see just how little sense you had left after your brain began to

In traveling, do not take along a lot of old clothes that you know you
will never wear.


Benjamin Franklin, formerly of Boston, came very near being an
only child. If seventeen children had not come to bless the home of
Benjamin's parents, they would have been childless. Think of getting
up in the morning and picking out your shoes and stockings from among
seventeen pairs of them. Imagine yourself a child, gentle reader, in a
family where you would be called upon, every morning, to select your own
cud of spruce gum from a collection of seventeen similar cuds stuck on
a window sill. And yet B. Franklin never murmured or repined. He desired
to go to sea, and to avoid this he was apprenticed to his brother James,
who was a printer. It is said that Franklin at once took hold of the
great Archimedean lever, and jerked it early and late in the interests
of freedom. It is claimed that Franklin at this time invented the deadly
weapon known as the printer's towel. He found that a common crash towel
could be saturated with glue, molasses, antimony, concentrated lye, and
roller composition, and that after a few years of time and perspiration
it would harden so that the "Constant Reader" or "Veritas" could be
stabbed with it and die soon.

[Illustration: 0116]

Many believe that Franklin's other scientific experiments were
productive of more lasting benefit to mankind than this, but I do not
agree with them.

This paper was called the "New England Courant." It was edited jointly
by James and Benjamin Franklin, and was started to supply a long-felt
want. Benjamin edited a part of the time and James a part of the time.
The idea of having two editors was not for the purpose of giving volume
to the editorial page, but it was necessary for one to run the paper
while the other was in jail. In those days you couldn't sass the king,
and then, when the king came in the office the next day and stopped his
paper, and took out his ad., you couldn't put it off on "our informant"
and go right along with the paper. You had to go to jail, while your
subscribers wondered why their paper did not come, and the paste soured
in the tin dippers in the sanctum, and the circus passed by on the other

[Illustration: 0118]

How many of us to-day, fellow journalists, would be willing to stay in
jail while the lawn festival and the kangaroo came and went?

Who, of all our company, would go to a prison cell for the cause of
freedom while a doublecolumn ad. of sixteen aggregated circuses, and
eleven congresses of ferocious beasts, fierce and fragrant from their
native lair, went by us?

At the age of 17, Ben got disgusted with his brother, and went to
Philadelphia and New York, where he got a chance to "sub" for a few
weeks, and then got a regular "sit." Franklin was a good printer, and
finally got to be a foreman. He made an excellent foreman, sitting
by the hour in the composing room and spitting on the stone, while he
cussed the makeup and press work of the other papers. Then he would
go into the editorial rooms and scare the editors to death with a wild
shriek for more copy. He knew just how to conduct himself as a foreman,
so that strangers would think he owned the paper.

In 1730, at the age of 24, Franklin married and established the
"Pennsylvania Gazette." He was then regarded as a great man, and most
everyone took his paper. Franklin grew to be a great journalist, and
spelled hard words with great fluency. He never tried to be a humorist
in any of his newspaper work, and everybody respected him.

Along about 1746 he began to study the construction and habits of
lightning, and inserted a local in his paper, in which he said he
would be obliged to any of his readers who might notice any new or odd
specimens of lightning, if they would send them into the Gazette office
by express for examination. Every time there was a thunder storm,
Franklin would tell the foreman to edit the paper, and, armed with a
string and an old fruit jar, he would go out on the hills and get enough
lightning for a mess.

In 1753 Franklin was made postmaster-general of the colonies. He made
a good postmaster-general, and people say there were less mistakes in
distributing their mail than there has ever been since. If a man mailed
a letter in those days, old Ben Franklin saw that it went where it was

Franklin frequently went over to England in those days, partly on
business, and partly to shock the king. He used to delight in going to
the castle with his breeches tucked in his boots, figuratively speaking,
and attract a good deal of attention. It looked odd to the English, of
course, to see him come into the royal presence, and, leaving his wet
umbrella up against the throne, ask the king: "How's trade?" Franklin
never put on any frills, but he was not afraid of a crowned head. He
used to say, frequently, that to him a king was no more than a seven

[Illustration: 0121]

He did his best to prevent the Revolutionary war, but he couldn't do
it. Patrick Henry had said that the war was inevitable, and given
it permission to come, and it came. He also went to Paris and got
acquainted with a few crowned heads there. They thought a good deal of
him in Paris, and offered him a corner lot if he would build there and
start a paper. They also promised him the county printing, but he said
no, he would have to go back to America, or his wife might get uneasy
about him.

Franklin wrote "Poor Richard's Almanac" in 1732-57, and it was
republished in England. Benjamin Franklin had but one son, and his name
was William. William was an illegitimate son, and, though he lived to be
quite an old man, he never got over it entirely, but continued to be but
an illegitimate son all his life. Everybody urged him to do differently,
but he steadily refused to do so.


Life insurance is a great thing. I would not be without it. My health
is greatly improved since I got my new policy. Formerly I used to have
a seal-brown taste in my mouth when I arose in the morning, but that
has entirely disappeared. I am more hopeful and happy, and my hair
is getting thicker on top. I would not try to keep house without life
insurance. Last September I was caught in one of the most destructive
cyclones that ever visited a republican form of government. A great deal
of property was destroyed and many lives were lost, but I was spared.
People who had no insurance were mowed down on every hand, but aside
from a broken leg I was entirely unharm.

I look upon life insurance as a great comfort, not only to the
beneficiary, but to the insured, who very rarely lives to realize
anything pecuniarily from his venture. Twice I have almost raised my
wife to affluence and cast a gloom over the community in which I lived,
but something happened to the physician for a few days so that he could
not attend me, and I recovered. For nearly two years I was under the
doctor's care. He had his finger on my pulse or in my pocket all the
time. He was a young western physician, who attended me on Tuesdays and
Fridays. The rest of the week he devoted his medical skill to horses
that were mentally broken down. He said he attended me largely for my
society. I felt flattered to know that he enjoyed my society after
he had been thrown among horses all the week that had much greater
advantages than I.

[Illustration: 0124]

My wife at first objected seriously to an insurance on my life, and said
she would never, never touch a dollar of the money if I were to die, but
after I had been sick nearly two years, and my disposition had suffered
a good deal, she said that I need not delay the obsequies on that
account.. But the life insurance slipped through my fingers somehow, and
I recovered.

In these' days of dynamite and roller rinks, and the gory meat-ax of a
new administration, we ought to make some provision for the future.


I have always had a horror of opiates of all kinds. They are so
seductive and so still in their operations. They steal through the blood
like a wolf on the trail, and they seize upon the heart at last with
their white fangs till it is still forever.

Up the Laramie there is a cluster of ranches at the base of the
Medicine Bow, near the north end of Sheep Mountain, and in sight of
the glittering, eternal frost of the snowy range. These ranches are the
homes of the young men from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and
now there are several "younger sons" of Old England, with herds of
horses, steers and sheep, worth millions of dollars. These young men
are not of the kind of whom the metropolitan ass writes as saying
"youbetcher-life," and calling everybody "pardner." They are many of
them college graduates, who can brand a wild Maverick or furnish the
easy gestures for a Strauss waltz.

They wear human clothes, talk in the United States language, and have a
bank account. This spring they may be wearing chaparajos and swinging a
quirt through the thin air, and in July they may be at Long Branch, or
coloring a meerschaum pipe among the Alps.

Well, a young man whom we will call Curtis lived at one of these ranches
years ago, and, though a quiet, mind-your-own-business fellow, who had
absolutely no enemies among his companions, he had the misfortune
to incur the wrath of a tramp sheep-herder, who waylaid Curtis one
afternoon and shot him dead as he sat in his buggy. Curtis wasn't armed.
He didn't dream of trouble till he drove home from town, and, as he
passed through the gates of a corral, saw the hairy face of the herder,
and at the same moment the flash of a Winchester rifle. That was all.

A rancher came into town and telegraphed to Curtis father, and then a
half dozen citizens went out to help capture the herder, who had fled to
the sage brush of the foot-hills.

They didn't get back till toward daybreak, but they brought the herder
with them. I saw him in the gray of the morning, lying in a coarse gray
blanket, on the floor of the engine house. He was dead.

I asked, as a reporter, how he came to his death, and they told me--
opium! I said, did I understand you to say "ropium?" They said no, it
was opium. The murderer had taken poison when he found that escape was

I was present at the inquest, so that I could report the case. There was
very little testimony, but all the evidence seemed to point to the
fact that life was extinct, and a verdict of death by his own hand was

It was the first opium work I had ever seen, and it aroused my
curiosity. Death by opium, it seems, leaves a dark purple ring around
the neck. I did not know this before. People who die by opium also tie
their hands together before they die. This is one of the eccentricities
of opium poisoning that I have never seen laid down in the books.
I bequeath it to medical science. Whenever I run up against a new
scientific discovery, I just hand it right over to the public without

Ever since the above incident, I have been very apprehensive about
people who seem to be likely to form the opium habit. It is one of the
most deadly of narcotics, especially in a new country. High up in
the pure mountain atmosphere, this man could not secure air enough
to prolong life, and he expired. In a land where clear, crisp air and
delightful scenery are abundant, he turned his back upon them both and
passed away. Is it not sad to contemplate?


My dear Son.--I tried to write to you last week, but didn't get around
to it, owing to circumstances. I went away on a little business tower
for a few days on the cars, and then when I got home the sociables broke
loose in our onct happy home.

While on my commercial tower down the Omehaw railroad buying a new
well-diggin' machine of which I had heard a good deal pro and con, I had
the pleasure of riding on one of them sleeping-cars that we read so much

I am going on 50 years old, and that's the first time I ever slumbered
at the rate of forty-five miles per hour, including stops.

I got acquainted with the porter, and he blacked my boots in the night
unbeknownst to me, while I was engaged in slumber. He must have thought
I was your father, and that we rolled in luxury at home all the time,
and that it was a common thing for us to have our boots blacked by
menials. When I left the car this porter brushed my clothes till the hot
flashes ran up my spinal column, and I told him that he had treated me
square, and I rung his hand when he held it out toards me, and I told
him that any time he wanted a good, cool drink of buttermilk, to just
holler through our telephone. We had the sociable at our house last
week, and when I got home your mother set me right to work borryin'
chairs and dishes. She had solicited some cakes and other things. I
don't know whether you are on the skedjule by which these sociables are
run or not. The idea is a novel one to me.

The sisters in our set, onct in so often, turn their houses wrong side
out for the purpose of raising four dollars to apply on the church debt.
When I was a boy we worshiped with less frills than they do now. Now it
seems that the debt is a part of the worship.

Well, we had a good time and used up 150 cookies in a short time. Part
of these cookies was devoured and the balance was trod into our all-wool
carpet. Several of the young people got to playing Copenhagen in the
setting-room and stepped on the old cat in such a way as to disfigure
him for life.

[Illustration: 0132]

They also had a disturbance in the front room and knocked off some of
the plastering. So your mother is feeling slim and I am not very chipper

I hope that you are working hard at your books so that you will be an
ornament to society. Society is needing some ornaments very much. I
sincerely hope that you will not begin to monkey with rum. I should
hate to have you meet with a felon's doom or fill a drunkard's grave. If
anybody has got to fill a drunkard's grave, let him do it himself. What
has the drunkard ever done for you, that you should fill his grave for

I expect you to do right, as near as possible. You will not do exactly
right all the time, but try to strike a good average. I do not expect
you to let your studies encroach too much on your polo, but try to unite
the two so that you will not break down under the strain. I should feel
sad and mortified to have you come home a physical wreck. I think one
physical wreck in a family is enough, and I am rapidly getting where I
can do the entire physical wreck business for our neighborhood.

I see by your picture that you have got one of them pleated coats with
a belt around it, and short pants. They make you look as you did when I
used to spank you in years gone by, and I feel the same old desire to do
it now that I did then. Old and feeble as I am, it seems to me as though
I could spank a boy that wears knickerbocker pants buttoned onto a
Garabal-dy waist and a pleated jacket. If it wasn't for them cute little
camel's hair whiskers of yours, I would not believe that you had grown
to be a large, expensive boy, grown up with thoughts. Some of the
thoughts you express in your letters are far beyond your years. Do you
think them yourself, or is there some boy in the school that thinks all
the thoughts for the rest?

Some of your letters are so deep that your mother and I can hardly
grapple with them. One of them, especially, was so full of foreign stuff
that you had got out of a bill of fare, that we will have to wait till
you come home before we can take it in. I can talk a little Chippewa,
but that is all the foreign language I am familiar with. When I was
young we had to get our foreign languages the best we could, so I
studied Chippewa without a master. A Chippewa chief took me into his
camp and kept me there for some time while I acquired his language.
He became so much attached to me that I had great difficulty in coming
away. I wish you would write in the United States dialect as much as
possible, and not try to paralyze your parents with imported expressions
that come too high for poor people.

Remember that you are the only boy we've got, and we are only going
through the motions of living here for your sake. For us the day is
wearing out, and it is now way long in the shank of the evening. All we
ask of you is to improve on the old people. You can see where I fooled
myself, and you can do better. Read and write, and sifer, and polo, and
get nolledge, and try not to be ashamed of your uncultivated parents.

When you get that checkered little sawed-off coat on, and that pair
of knee panties, and that poker-dot necktie, and the sassy little boys
holler "rats" when you pass by, and your heart is bowed down, remember
that, no matter how foolish you may look, your parents will never sour
on you.

_Your Father._


My name is Twombley, G. O. P. Twombley is my full name and I have had
a checkered career. I thought it would be best to have my career checked
right through, so I did so.

My home is in the Wasatch Mountains. Far up, where I can see the long,
green, winding valley of the Jordan, like a glorious panorama below me,
I dwell. I keep a large herd of Angora goats. That is my business. The
Angora goat is a beautiful animal--in a picture. But out of a picture he
has a style of perspiration that invites adverse criticism.

Still, it is an independent life, and one that has its advantages, too.

When I first came to Utah, I saw one day, in Salt Lake City, a young
girl arrive. She was in the heyday of life, but she couldn't talk our
language. Her face was oval; rather longer than it was wide, I noticed,
and, though she was still young, there were traces of care and other
foreign substances plainly written there.

She was an emigrant, about seventeen years of age, and, though she had
been in Salt Lake City an hour and a half, she was still unmarried.

She was about the medium height, with blue eyes, that somehow, as you
examined them carefully in the full, ruddy light of a glorious September
afternoon, seemed to resemble each other. Both of them were that way.

I know not what gave me the courage, but I stepped to her side, and in a
low voice told her of my love and asked her to be mine.

She looked askance at me. Nobody ever did that to me before and lived to
tell the tale. But her sex made me overlook it. Had she been any other
sex that I can think of, I would have resented it. But I would not
strike a woman, especially when I had not been married to her and had no
right to do so.

I turned on my heel and I went away. I most always turn on my heel when
I go away. If I did not turn on my own heel when I went away, whose heel
would a lonely man like me turn upon?

Years rolled by. I did nothing to prevent it. Still that face came to me
in my lonely hut far up in the mountains. That look still rankled in
my memory. Before that my memory had been all right. Nothing had ever
rankled in it very much. Let the careless reader who never had his
memory rankle in hot weather, pass this by. This story is not for him.

After our first conversation we did not meet again for three years,
and then by the merest accident. I had been out for a whole afternoon,
hunting an elderly goat that had grown childish and irresponsible. He
had wandered away and for several days I had been unable to find him. So
I sought for him till darkness found me several miles from my cabin. I
realized at once that I must hurry back, or lose my way and spend the
night in the mountains. The darkness became more rapidly obvious. My way
became more and more uncertain.

Finally I fell down an old prospect shaft. I then resolved to remain
where I was until I could decide what was best to be done. If I had
known that the prospect shaft was there, I would have gone another way.
There was another way that I could have gone, but it did not occur to me
until too late.

I hated to spend the next few weeks in the shaft, for I had not locked
up my cabin when I left, and I feared that some one might get in while I
was absent and play on the piano. I had also set a batch of bread and
two hens that morning, and all of these would be in sad knead of me
before I could get my business into such shape that I could return.

I could not tell accurately how long I had been in the shaft, for I had
no matches by which to see my watch. I also had no watch.

All at once, some one fell down the shaft. I knew it was a woman,
because she did not swear when she landed at the bottom. Still, this
could be accounted for in another way. She was unconscious when I picked
her up.

I did not know what to do. I was perfectly beside myself, and so was
she. I had read in novels that when a woman became unconscious people
generally chafed her hands, but I did not know whether I ought to chafe
the hands of a person to whom I had never been introduced.

I could have administered alcoholic stimulants to her, but I had
neglected to provide myself with them when I fell down the shaft. This
should be a warning to people who habitually go around the country
without alcoholic stimulants.

Finally she breathed a long sigh and murmured, "Where am I?" I told her
that I did not know, but wherever it might be, we were safe, and that
whatever she might say to me, I would promise her, should go no farther.

Then there was a long pause.

To encourage further conversation I asked her if she did not think
we had been having a rather backward spring. She said we had, but she
prophesied a long, open fall.

Then there was another pause, after which I offered her a seat on an old
red empty powder can. Still, she seemed shy and reserved. I would make a
remark to which she would reply briefly, and then there would be a pause
of a little over an hour. Still it seemed longer.

Suddenly the idea of marriage presented itself to my mind. If we never
got out of the shaft, of course an engagement need not be announced. No
one had ever plighted his or her troth at the bottom of a prospect shaft
before. It was certainly unique, to say the least. I suggested it to

She demurred to this on the ground that our acquaintance had been so
brief, and that we had never been thrown together before. I told her
that this would be no objection, and that my parents were so far away
that I did not think they would make any trouble about it.

She said that she did not mind her parents so much as she did the
violent temper of her husband.

I asked her if her husband had ever indulged in polygamy. She replied
that he had, frequently. He had several previous wives. I convinced her
that in the eyes of the law, and under the Edmunds bill, she was not
bound to him. Still she feared the consequences of his wrath.

Then I suggested a desperate plan. We would elope!

I was now thirty-seven years old, and yet had never eloped. Neither
had she. So, when the first streaks of rosy dawn crept across the soft,
autumnal sky and touched the rich and royal coloring on the rugged sides
of the grim old mountains, we got out of the shaft and eloped.


I desire to state that my position as United States Cyclonist for this
Judicial District is now vacant. I resigned on the 9th day of September,
A. D. 1884.

I have not the necessary personal magnetism to look a cyclone in the eye
and make it quail. I am stern and even haughty in my intercourse with
men, but when a Manitoba simoon takes me by the brow of my pantaloons
and throws me across Township 28, Range 18, West of the 5th Principal
Meridian, I lose my mental reserve and become anxious and even taciturn.
For thirty years I had yearned to see a grown-up cyclone, of the
ring-tail-puller variety, mop up the green earth with huge forest trees
and make the landscape look tired. On the 9th day of September, A. D.
1884, my morbid curiosity was gratified.

As the people came out into the forest with lanterns and pulled me out
of the crotch of a basswood tree with a "tackle and fall," I remember
I told them I didn't yearn for any more atmospheric phenomena. The old
desire for a hurricane that would blow a cow through a penitentiary was
satiated. I remember when the doctor pried the bones of my leg together,
in order to kind of draw my attention away from the limb, he asked me
how I liked the fall style of Zephyr in that locality.

I said it was all right, what there was of it. I said this in a tone of
bitter irony.

Cyclones are of two kinds, viz.: the dark maroon cyclone, and the iron
gray cyclone with pale green mane and tail. It was the latter kind I
frolicked with on the above-named date.

My brother and I were riding along in the grand old forest, and I had
just been singing a few bars from the opera of "Whoop 'em Up, Lizzie
Jane," when I noticed that the wind was beginning to sough through the
trees. Soon after that, I noticed that I was soughing through the
trees also, and I am really no slouch of a sougher, either, when I get

[Illustration: 0144]

The horse was hanging by the breeching from the bough of a large
butter-nut tree, waiting for some one to come and pick him.

I did not see my brother at first, but after a while he disengaged
himself from a rail fence and came where I was hanging, wrong end up,
with my personal effects spilling out of my pockets. I told him that as
soon as the wind kind of softened down, I wished he would go and pick
the horse. He did so, and at midnight a party of friends carried me into
town on a stretcher. It was quite an ovation. To think of a torchlight
procession coming way out there into the woods at midnight, and carrying
me into town on their shoulders in triumph! And yet I was once only a
poor boy!

It shows what may be accomplished by anyone if he will persevere and
insist on living a different life.

The cyclone is a natural phenomenon, enjoying the most robust health.
It may be a pleasure for a man with great will power and an iron
constitution to study more carefully into the habits of the cyclone, but
as far as I am concerned, individually, I could worry along some way if
we didn't have a phenomenon in the house from one year's end to another.

As I sit here, with my leg in a silicate cfsoda corset, and watch the
merry throng promenading down the street, or mingling in the giddy
torchlight procession, I cannot repress a feeling toward a cyclone that
almost amounts to disgust.


The Arabian language belongs to what is called the Semitic, or Shemitic
family of languages, and, when written, presents the appearance of a
general riot among the tadpoles and wrigglers of the United States.

The Arabian letter "jeem" or "jim," which corresponds with our J,
resembles some of the spectacular wonders seen by the delirium tremens
expert. I do not know whether that is the reason the letter is called
jeem or jim, or not.

The letter "sheen" or "shin," which is some like our "sh" in its effect,
is a very pretty letter, and enough of them would make very attractive
trimming for pantalets or other clothing. The entire Arabic alphabet, I
think, would work up first-rate into trimming for aprons, skirts, and so

Still it is not so rich in variety as the Chinese language. A Chinaman
who desires to publish a paper in order to fill a long-felt want,
must have a small fortune in order to buy himself an alphabet. In this
country we get a press, and then, if we have any money left, we lay it
out in type; but in China the editor buys himself an alphabet and then
regards the press as a mere annex. If you go to a Chinese type-maker and
ask him to show you his goods, he will ask you whether you want a two or
a three story alphabet.

The Chinese compositor spends most of his time riding up and down
the elevator, seeking for letters and dusting them off with a feather
duster. In large and wealthy offices the compositor sits at his case
with the copy before him, and has five or six boys running from one
floor to another, bringing him the letters of this wild and peculiar

Sometimes they have to stop in the middle of a long editorial and send
down to Hong Kong and have a letter cast specially for that editorial.

Chinese compositors soon die from heart disease, because they have to
run up stairs and down so much in order to get the different letters

One large publisher tried to have his case arranged in a high building
without floors, so that the compositor could reach each type by means
of a long pole, but one day there was a slight earthquake shock that
spilled the entire alphabet out of the case, all over the floor, and
although that was ninety-seven years ago last April there are still
two bushels of pi on the floor of that office. The paper employs rat
printers, and as they have been engaged in assorting and distributing
this mass of pi, it is called rat pi in China, and the term is quite

When the editor underscores a word, the Chinese compositor charges $9
extra for italicizing it. This is nothing more than fair, for he may
have to go all over the empire and climb twenty-seven flights of stairs
to find the necessary italics. So it is much more economical in China to
use body type mostly in setting up a paper, and the old journalist will
avoid caps and italics, unless he is very wealthy.

Arabian literature is very rich, and more especially so in verse. How
the Arabian poets succeed so well in writing their verse in their own
language, I can hardly understand. I find it very difficult to write
poetry which will be greedily snapped up and paid for, even when written
in the English language, but if I had to paw around for an hour to get a
button-hook for the end of the fourth line, so that it would rhyme with
the button-hook in the second line of the same verse, I believe it would
drive me mad.

The Arabian writer is very successful in a tale of fiction. He loves
to take a tale and rewrite it for the press by carefully expunging the
facts. It is in lyric and romantic writing that he seems to excel.

The Arabian Nights is the most popular work that has survived the harsh
touch of time. Its age is not fully known, and as the author has been
dead several hundred years, I feel safe in saying that a number of the
incidents contained in this book are grossly inaccurate.

It has been translated several times with more or less success by
various writers, and some of the statements contained in the book
are well worthy of the advanced civilization, and wild word painting
incident to a heated presidential campaign.


We arrived in Verona day before yesterday. Most every one has heard of
the Two Gentlemen of Verona. This is the place they came from. They have
never returned. Verona is not noted for its gentlemen now. Perhaps that
is the reason I was regarded as such a curiosity when I came here.

Verona is a good deal older town than Chicago, but the two cities have
points of resemblance after all. When the southern simoon from the stock
yards is wafted across the vinegar orchards of Chicago, and a load of
Mormon emigrants get out at the Rock Island depot and begin to move
around and squirm and emit the fragrance of crushed Limburger cheese, it
reminds one of Verona.

[Illustration: 0151]

The sky is similar, too. At night, when it is raining hard, the sky
of Chicago and Verona is not dissimilar. Chicago is the largest place,
however, and my sympathies are with her. Verona has about 68,000 people
now, aside from myself. This census includes foreigners and Indians not

Verona has an ancient skating rink, known in history as the
amphitheatre. It is 4043 feet by 516 in size, and the-wall is still 100
feet high in places. The people of Verona wanted me to lecture there,
but I refrained. I was afraid that some late comers might elbow their
way in and leave one end of the amphitheatre open and then there would
be a draft. I will speak more fully on the subject of amphitheatres in
another letter. There isn't room in this one.

Verona is noted for the Capitular library, as it is called. This is said
to be the largest collection of rejected manuscripts in the world. I
stood in with the librarian and he gave me an opportunity to examine
this wonderful store of literary work. I found a Virgil that was
certainly over 1,600 years old. I also found a well preserved copy of
"Beautiful Snow." I read it. It was very touching indeed. Experts said
it was 1,700 years old, which is no doubt correct. I am no judge of the
age of MSS. Some can look at the teeth of a literary production and tell
within two weeks how old it is, but I can't. You can also fool me on the
age of wine. My rule used to be to observe how old I felt the next day
and to fix that as the age of the wine, but this rule I find is not
infallible. One time I found myself feeling the next day as though I
might be 138 years old, but on investigation we found that the wine was
extremely new, having been made at a drug store in Cheyenne that same

[Illustration: 0152]

Looking these venerable MSS. over, I noticed that the custom of writing
with a violet pencil on both sides of a large foolscap sheet, and then
folding it in sixteen directions and carrying it around in the pocket
for two or three centuries is not a late American invention, as I had
been led to suppose. They did it in Italy fifteen centuries ago. I was
permitted also to examine the celebrated institutes of Gains. Gains was
a poor penman, and I am convinced from a close examination of his work
that he was in the habit of carrying his manuscript around in his
pocket with his smoking tobacco. The guide said that was impossible, for
smoking tobacco was not introduced into Italy until a comparatively late
day. That's all right, however. You can't fool me much on the odor of
smoking tobacco.

The churches of Verona are numerous, and although they seem to me
a little different from our own in many ways, they resemble ours in
others. One thing that pleased me about the churches of Verona was the
total absence of the church fair and festival as conducted in America.
Salvation seems to be handed out in Verona without ice cream and cake,
and the odor of sanctity and stewed oysters do not go inevitably hand in
hand. I have already been in the place more than two days and I have
not yet been invited to help lift the old church debt on the cathedral.
Perhaps they think I am not wealthy, however. In fact there is nothing
about my dress or manner that would betray my wealth. I have been in
Europe now six weeks and have kept my secret well. Even my most intimate
traveling companions do not know that I am the Laramie City postmaster
in disguise.

[Illustration: 0155]

The cathedral is a most imposing and massive pile. I quote this from the
guide book. This beautiful structure contains a baptismal font cut
out of one solid block of stone and made for immersion, with an inside
diameter of ten feet. A man nine feet high could be baptised there
without injury. The Veronese have a great respect for water. They
believe it ought not to be used for anything else but to wash away sins,
and even then they are very economical about it.

There is a nice picture here by Titian. It looks as though it had been
left in the smoke house 900 years and overlooked. Titian painted a great
deal. You find his works here ever and anon. He must have had all he
could do in Italy in an early day, when the country was new. I like his
pictures first rate, but I haven't found one yet that I could secure at
anything like a bed rock price.


I have just received the following letter, which I take the liberty of
publishing, in order that good may come out of it, and that the public
generally may be on the watch:

William Nye, Esq.

Dear Sir.--There has been a great religious upheaval here, and great
anxiety on the part of our entire congregation, and I write to you,
hoping that you may have some suggestions to offer that we could use at
this time beneficially.

All the bitter and irreverent remarks of Bob Ingersoll have fallen
harmlessly upon the minds of our people. The flippant sneers and wicked
sarcasms of the modern infidel, wise in his own conceit, have alike
passed over our heads without damage or disaster. These times that have
tried, men's souls have only rooted us more firmly in the faith, and
united us more closely as brothers and sisters.

We do not care whether the earth was made in two billion years or two
minutes, so long as it was made and we are satisfied with it. We do not
care whether Jonah swallowed the whale or the whale swallowed Jonah.
None of these things worry us in the least. We do not pin our faith on
such little matters as those, but we try to so live that when we pass on
beyond the Hood we may have a record to which we may point with pride.

But last Sabbath our entire congregation was visibly moved. People who
had grown gray in this church got right up during the service and went
out, and did not come in again. Brothers who had heard all kinds of
infidelity and scorned to be moved by it, got up, and kicked the pews,
and slammed the doors, and created a young riot.

For many years we have sailed along in the most peaceful faith, and
through joy or sorrow we came to the church together to worship. We have
laughed and wept as one family for a quarter of a century, and an humble
dignity and Christian style of etiquette have pervaded our incomings and
our outgoings.

That is the reason why a clear case of disorderly conduct in our church
has attracted attention and newspaper comment. That is the reason why
we want in some public way to have the church set right before we suffer
from unjust criticism and worldly scorn.

It has been reported that one of the brothers, who is sixty years of
age, and a model Christian, and a good provider, rose during the
first prayer, and, waving his plug hat in the air, gave a wild and
blood-curdling whoop, jumped over the back of his pew, and lit out.
While this is in a measure true, it is not accurate. He did do some wild
and startling jumping, but he did not jump over the pew. He tried to,
but failed. He was too old.

It has also been stated that another brother, who has done more to build
up the church and society here than any other man of his size, threw his
hymn book across the church, and, with a loud wail that sounded like the
word "Gosh!" hissed through clenched teeth, got Out through the window
and went away. This is overdrawn, though there is an element of truth in
it, and I do not try to deny it.

There were other similar strong evidences of feeling throughout the
congregation, none of which had ever been noticed before in this place.
Our clergyman was amazed and horrified. He tried to ignore the action
of the brethren, but when a sister who has grown old in the church, and
been such a model and example of rectitude that all the girls in the
county were perfectly discouraged about trying to be anywhere near equal
to her; when she rose with a wild snort, got up on the pew with her
feet, and swung her parasol in a way that indicated that she would not
go home till morning, he paused and briefly wound up the services.

Of course there were other little eccentricities on the part of the
congregation, but these were the ones that people have talked about the
most, and have done us the most damage abroad.

Now, my desire is that through the medium of the press you will state
that this great trouble which has come upon us, by reason of which
the ungodly have spoken lightly of us, was not the result of a general
tendency to dissent from the statements made by our pastor, and
therefore an exhibition of our disapproval of his doctrines, but that
the janitor had started a light fire in the furnace, and that had
revived a large nest of common, streaked, hot-nosed wasps in the warm
air pipe, and when they came up through the register and united in the
services, there was more or less of an ovation.

Sometimes Christianity gets sluggish and comatose, but not under the
above circumstances. A man may slumber on softly with his bosom gently
rising and falling, and his breath coming and going through one corner
of his mouth like the death rattle of a bath-tub, while the pastor opens
out a new box of theological thunders and fills the air full of the
sullen roar of sulphurous waves, licking the shores of eternity and
swallowing up the great multitudes of the eternally lost; but when one
little wasp, with a red-hot revelation, goes gently up the leg of that
same man's pantaloons, leaving large, hot tracks whenever he stopped and
sat down to think it over, you will see a sudden awakening and a revival
that will attract attention.

I wish that you would take this letter, Mr. Nye, and write something,
from it in your own way, for publication, showing how we happened to
have more zeal than usual in the church last Sabbath, and that it was
not directly the result of the sermon which was preached on that day.

Yours, with great respect,



I have not written much for publication lately, because I did not feel
well, I was fatigued. I took a ride on the cars last week and it shook
me up a good deal.

The train was crowded somewhat, and so I sat in a seat with a woman who
got aboard at Minkin's Siding. I noticed as we pulled out of Minkin's
Siding, that this woman raised the window so that she could bid adieu
to a man in a dyed moustache. I do not know whether he was her dolce
far niente, or her grandson by her second husband. I know that if he had
been a relative of mine, however, I would have cheerfully concealed the

She waved a little 2x6 handkerchief out of the window, said "good-bye,"
allowed a fresh zephyr from Cape Sabine to come in and play a xylophone
interlude on my spinal column,' and then burst into a paroxysm of damp,
hot tears.

I had to go into another car for a moment, and when I returned a
pugilist from Chicago had my seat. When I travel I am uniformly
courteous, especially to pugilists. A pugilist who has started out as an
obscure boy with no money, no friends, and no one to practice on, except
his wife or his mother, with no capital aside from his bare hands; a man
who has had to fight his way through life, as it were, and yet who has
come out of obscurity and attracted the attention of the authorities,
and won the good will of those with whom he came in contact, will always
find me cordial and pacific. So I allowed this self-made man with the
broad, high, intellectual shoulder blades, to sit in my seat with
his feet on my new and expensive traveling bag, while I sat with the
tear-bedewed memento from Minkin's Siding.

[Illustration: 0164]

She sobbed several more times, then hove a sigh that rattled the windows
in the car, and sat up. I asked her if I might sit by her side for a few
miles and share her great sorrow. She looked at me askance. I did not
resent it. She allowed me to take the seat, and I looked at a paper for
a few moments so that she could look me over through the corners of her

I also scrutinized her lineaments some.

She was dressed up considerably, and, when a woman dresses up to ride in
a railway train, she advertises the fact that her intellect is beginning
to totter on its throne. People who have more than one suit of clothes
should not pick out the fine raiment for traveling purposes. This person
was not handsomely dressed, but she had the kind of clothes that look
as though they had tried to present the appearance of affluence and had
failed to do so.

This leads me to say, in all seriousness, that there is nothing so sad
as the sight of a man or woman who would scorn to tell a wrong story,
but who will persist in wearing bogus clothes and bogus jewelry that
wouldn't fool anybody.

My seat-mate wore a cloak that had started out to bamboozle the American
people with the idea that it was worth $100, but it wouldn't mislead
anyone who might be nearer than half a mile. I also discovered that
it had an air about it that would indicate that she wore it while she
cooked the pancakes and fried the doughnuts. It hardly seems possible
that she would do this, but the garment, I say, had that air about it.

She seemed to want to converse after awhile, and she began on the
subject of literature. Picking up a volume that had been left in her
seat by the train boy, entitled: "Shadowed to Skowhegan and Back; or,
The Child Fiend; price $2," we drifted on pleasantly into the broad
domain of letters.

Incidentally I asked her what authors she read mostly.

"O, I don't remember the authors so much as I do the books," said she.
"I am a great reader. If I should tell you how much I have read, you
wouldn't believe it."

I said I certainly would. I had frequently been called upon to believe
things that would make the ordinary rooster quail.

If she discovered the true inwardness of this Anglo-American
"Jewdesprit," she refrained from saying anything about it.

"I read a good deal," she continued, "and it keeps me all strung up. I
weep, O so easily." Just then she lightly laid her hand on my arm, and I
could see that the tears were rising to her eyes. I felt like asking her
if she had ever tried running herself through a clothes wringer every
morning. I did feel that someone ought to chirk her up, so I asked her
if she remembered the advice of the editor who received a letter from a
young lady troubled the same way. She stated that she couldn't explain
it, but every little while, without any apparent cause, she would shed
tears, and the editor asked her why she didn't lock up the shed.

We conversed for a long time about literature, but every little while
she would get me into deep water by quoting some author or work that I
had never read. I never realized what a hopeless ignoramus I was till I
heard about the scores of books that had made her shed the scalding,
and yet that I had never, never read. When she looked at me with that
faraway expression in her eyes, and with her hand resting lightly on
my arm in such a way as to give the gorgeous two karat Rhinestone from
Pittsburg full play, and told me how such works as "The New Made Grave;
or, The Twin Murderers" had cost her many and many a copious tear, I
told her I was glad of it. If it be a blessed boon for the student of
such books to weep at home and work up their honest perspiration into
scalding tears, far be it from me to grudge that poor boon.

I hope that all who may read these lines, and who may feel that the
pores of their skin are getting torpid and sluggish, owing to an
inherited antipathy toward physical exertion, and who feel that they
would rather work up their perspiration into woe and shed it in the
shape of common red-eyed weep, will keep themselves to this poor boon.
People have different ways of enjoying themselves, and I hope no one
will hesitate about accepting this or any other poor boon that I do not
happen to be using at the time.


I have just been through Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, on a tour of
inspection. I rode for over ten days in these States in a sleeping-car,
examining crops, so that I could write an intelligent report.

Grain in Northern Wisconsin suffered severely in the latter part of the
season from rust, chintz bug, Hessian fly and trichina. In the St. Croix
valley wheat will not average a half crop. I do not know why farmers
should insist upon leaving their grain out nights in July, when they
know from the experience of former years that it will surely rust.

In Southern Wisconsin too much rain has almost destroyed many crops, and
cattle have been unable to get enough to eat, unless they were fed, for
several weeks. This is a sad outlook for the farmer at this season.

In the Northern part of the State many fields of grain were not worth
cutting, while others barely yielded the seed, and even that of a very
inferior quality.

The ruta-baga is looking unusually well this fall, but we cannot subsist
entirely upon the ruta-baga. It is juicy and rich if eaten in large
quantities, but it is too bulky to be popular with the aristocracy.

Cabbages in most places are looking well, though in some quarters I
notice an epidemic of worms. To successfully raise the cabbage, it will
be necessary at all times to be well supplied with vermifuge that can be
readily administered at any hour of the day or night.

The crook-neck squash in the Northwest is a great success this season.
And what can be more beautiful, as it calmly lies in its bower of green
vines in the crisp and golden haze of autumn, than the cute little
crook-neck squash, with yellow, warty skin, all cuddled up together in
the cool morning, like the discarded wife of an old Mormon elder--his
first attempt in the matrimonial line, so to speak, ere he had gained
wisdom by experience.

The full-dress, low-neck-and-short-sleeve summer squash will be worn as
usual this fall, with trimmings of salt and pepper in front and revers
of butter down the back.

N. B.--It will not be used much as an outside wrap, but will be worn
mostly inside.

Hop-poles in some parts of Wisconsin are entirely killed. I suppose that
continued dry weather in the early summer did it.

Hop-lice, however, are looking well. Many of our best hop-breeders
thought that when the hop-pole began to wither and die, the hop-louse
could not survive the intense dry heat; but hop-lice have never looked
better in this State than they do this fall.

I can remember very well when Wisconsin had to send to Ohio for
hop-lice. Now she could almost supply Ohio and still have enough to fill
her own coffers.

I do not know that hop-lice are kept in coffers, and I may be wrong in
speaking thus freely of these two subjects, never having seen either
a hop-louse or a coffer, but I feel that the public must certainly and
naturally expect me to say something on these subjects. Fruit in the
Northwest this season is not a great success. Aside from the cranberry
and choke-cherry, the fruit yield in the Northern district is light. The
early dwarf crab, with or without worms, as desired--but mostly with--is
unusually poor this fall. They make good cider. This cider when put into
a brandy flask that has not been drained too dry, and allowed to stand
until Christmas, puts a great deal of expression into a country dance. I
have tried it once myself, so that I could write it up for your valuable

People who were present at that dance, and who saw me frolic around
there like a thing of life, say that it was well worth the price of
admission. Stone fence always flies right to the weakest spot. So it
goes right to my head and makes me eccentric.

[Illustration: 0171]

The violin virtuoso who "fiddled," "called off" and acted as justice of
the peace that evening, said that I threw aside all reserve and entered
with great zest into the dance, and seemed to enjoy it much better than
those who danced in the same set with me. Since that, the very sight of
a common crab apple makes my head reel. I learned afterward that this
cider had frozen, so that the alleged cider which we drank that night
was the clear, old-fashioned brandy, which, of course, would not freeze.

We should strive, however, to lead such lives that we will never be
ashamed to look a cider barrel square in the bung.


People who write for a livelihood get some queer propositions from those
who have crude ideas about the operation of the literary machine. There
is a prevailing idea among those who have never dabbled in literature
very much, that the divine afflatus works a good deal like a corn
sheller. This is erroneous.

To put a bushel of words into the hopper and have them come out a poem
or a sermon, is a more complicated process than it would seem to the
casual observer.

I can hardly be called literary, though I admit that my tastes lie in
that direction, and yet I have had some singular experiences in that
line. For instance, last year I received flattering overtures from three
young men who wanted me to write speeches for them to deliver on the
Fourth of July. They could do it themselves, but hadn't the time. If
I would write the speeches they would be willing to revise them. They
seemed to think it would be a good idea to write the speeches a little
longer than necessary and then the poorer parts of the effort could be
cut out. Various prices were set on these efforts, from a dollar to
"the kindest regards." People who have squeezed through one of our
adult winters in this latitude, subsisting on kind regards, will please
communicate with the writer, stating how they like it.

One gentleman, who was in the confectionery business, wanted a lot of
"humorous notices wrote for to put into conversation candy." It was a
big temptation to write something that would be in every lady's mouth,
but I refrained. Writing gum drop epitaphs may properly belong to the
domain of literature, but I doubt it. Surely I do not want to be haughty
and above my business, but it seems to me that this is irrelevant.

Another man wanted me to write a "piece for his boy to speak," and if I
would do so, I could come to his house some Saturday night and stay over
Sunday. He said that the boy was "a perfect little case to carry on
and folks didn't know whether he would develop into a condemb fool or a
youmerist." So he wanted a piece of one of them tomfoolery kind for the
little cuss to speak the last day of school.

A coal dealer who had risen to affluence by selling coal to the poor
by apothecaries' weight, wrote to ask me for a design to be used as a
family crest and a motto to emblazon on his arms. I told him I had run
out of crests, but that "weight for the wagon, we'll all take a ride,"
would be a good motto; or he might use the following: "The fuel and his
money are soon parted." He might emblazon this on his arms, or tattoo it
on any other part of his system where he thought it would be becoming to
his complexion. I never heard from him again, and I do not know whether
he was offended or not.

[Illustration: 0176]

Two young men in Massachusetts wrote me a letter in which they said they
"had a good thing on mother." They wanted it written up in a facetious
vein. They said that their father had been on the coast for a few weeks
before, engaged in the eeling industry. Being a good man, but partially
full, he had mingled himself in the flowing tide and got drowned.
Finally, after several days' search, the neighbors came in sadly and
told the old lady that they had found all that was mortal of James, and
there were two eels in the remains. They asked for further instructions
as to deceased. The old lady swabbed out her weeping eyes, braced
herself against the sink and told the men to "bring in the eels and set
him again."

The boys thought that if this could be properly written up, "it would
be a mighty good joke on mother." I was greatly shocked when I received
this letter. It seemed to me heartless for young men to speak lightly of
their widowed mother's great woe. I wrote them how I felt about it, and
rebuked them severely for treating their mother's grief so lightly. Also
for trying to impose upon me with an old chestnut.


My Dear Henry--Your pensive favor of the 20th inst., asking for more
means with which to persecute your studies, and also a young man from
Ohio, is at hand and carefully noted.

I would not be ashamed to have you show the foregoing sentence to
your teacher, if it could be worked, in a quiet way, so as not to look
egotistic on my part. I think myself that it is pretty fair for a man
that never had any advantages.

But, Henry, why will you insist on fighting the young man from Ohio? It
is not only rude and wrong, but you invariably get licked. There's where
the enormity of the thing comes in.

It was this young man from Ohio, named Williams, that you hazed last
year, or at least that's what I gether from a letter sent me by your
warden. He maintains that you started in to mix Mr. Williams up with the
campus in some way, and that in some way Mr. Williams resented it and
got his fangs tangled up in the bridge of your nose.

You never wrote this to me or your mother, but I know how busy you are
with your studies, and I hope you won't ever neglect your books just to
write us.

Your warden, or whoever he is, said that Mr. Williams also hung a
hand-painted marine view over your eye and put an extra eyelid on one of
your ears.

I wish that, if you get time, you would write us about it, because, if
there's anything I can do for you in the arnica line, I would be pleased
to do so.

The president also says that in the scuffle you and Mr. Williams swapped
belts as follows, to-wit: That Williams snatched off the belt of your
little Norfolk jacket, and then gave you one in the eye.

From this I gether that the old prez, as you faseshusly call him, is an
youmorist. He is not a very good penman, however; though, so far, his
words have all been spelled correct.

I would hate to see you permanently injured, Henry, but I hope that
when you try to tramp on the toes of a good boy simply because you are a
seanyour and he is a fresh, as you frequently state, that he will arise
and rip your little pleated jacket up the back and make your spinal
colyum look like a corderoy bridge in the spring tra la. (This is from a
Japan show I was to last week.)

Why should a seanyour in a colledge tromp onto the young chaps that
come in there to learn? Have you forgot how I fatted up the old cow and
beefed her so that you could go and monkey with youclid and aigebray?
Have you forgot how the other boys pulled you through a mill pond and
made you tobogin down hill in a salt barrel with brads in it? Do you
remember how your mother went down there to nuss you for two weeks and I
stayed to home, and done my own work and the housework too and cooked my
own vittles for the whole two weeks?

And now, Henry, you call yourself a seanyour, and therefore, because you
are simply older in crime, you want to muss up Mr. Williams's features
so that his mother will have to come over and nuss him. I am glad
that your little pleated coat is ripped up the back. Henry, under the
circumstances, and I am also glad that you are wearing the belt--over
your off eye. If there's anything I can do to add to the hilarity of the
occasion, please let me know and I will tend to it.

The lop-horned heifer is a parent once more, and I am trying in my poor,
weak way to learn her wayward offspring how to drink out of a patent
pail without pushing your old father over into the hay-mow. He is a cute
little quadruped, with a wild desire to have fun at my expense. He loves
to swaller a part of my coat-tail Sunday morning, when I am dressed up,
and then return it to me in a moist condition. He seems to know that
when I address the Sabbath school the children will see the joke and
enjoy it.

Your mother is about the same, trying in her meek way to adjust herself
to a new set of teeth that are a size too large for her. She has one
large bunion in the roof of her mouth already, but is still resolved to
hold out faithful, and hopes these few lines will find you enjoying the
same great blessing.

You will find enclosed a dark-blue money order for four eighty-five. It
is money that I had set aside to pay my taxes, but there is no novelty
about paying taxes. I've done that before, so it don't thrill me as it
used to.

Give my congratulations to Mr. Williams. He has got the elements of
greatness to a wonderful degree. If I happened to be participating in
that college of yours, I would gently but firmly decline to be tromped

So good-bye for this time.



Over at Kasota Junction, the other day, I found a living curiosity. He
was a man of about medium height, perhaps 45 years of age, of a quiet
disposition, and not noticeable or peculiar in his general manner.
He runs the railroad eating house at that point, and the one odd
characteristic which he has, makes him well known all through three or
four States. I could not illustrate his eccentricity any better than by
relating a circumstance that occurred to me at the Junction last week.
I had just eaten breakfast there and paid for it. I stepped up to the
cigar case and asked this man if he had "a rattling good cigar."

Without knowing it I had struck the very point upon which this man seems
to be a crank, if you will allow me that expression, though it doesn't
fit very well in this place. He looked at me in a sad and subdued manner
and said, "No sir; I haven't a rattling good cigar in the house. I have
some cigars there that I bought for Havana fillers, but they are mostly
filled with pieces of Colorado Maduro overalls. There's a box over
yonder that I bought for good, straight ten-cent cigars, but they are
only a chaos of hay and Flora, Fino and Damfino, all socked into a
Wisconsin wrapper. Over in the other end of the case is a brand of
cigars that were to knock the tar out of all other kinds of weeds,
according to the urbane rustler who sold them to me, and then drew on me
before I could light one of them. Well, instead of being a fine Colorado
Claro with a high-priced wrapper, they are common Mexicano stinkaros in
a Mother Hubbard wrapper. The commercial tourist who sold me those
cigars and then drew on me at sight was a good deal better on the draw
than his cigars are. If you will notice, you will see that each cigar
has a spinal column to it, and this outer debris is wrapped around it.
One man bought a cigar out of that box last week. I told him, though,
just as I am telling you, that they were no good, and if he bought one
he would regret it. But he took one and went out on the veranda to smoke
it. Then he stepped on a melon rind and fell with great force on his
side; when we picked him up he gasped once or twice and expired. We
opened his vest hurriedly and found that, in falling, this bouquet de
Gluefactoro cigar, with the spinal column, had been driven through his
breast bone and had penetrated his heart. The wrapper of the cigar never
so much as cracked."

[Illustration: 0185]

"But doesn't it impair your trade to run on in this wild, reckless way
about your cigars."

"It may at first, but not after awhile. I always tell people what my
cigars are made of, and then they can't blame me; so, after awhile they
get to believe what I say about them. I often wonder that no cigar
man ever tried this way before. I do just the same way about my lunch
counter. If a man steps up and wants a fresh ham sandwich I give it to
him if I've got it, and if I haven't it I tell him so. If you turn my
sandwiches over, you will find the date of its publication on every one.
If they are not fresh, and I have no fresh ones, I tell the customer
that they are not so blamed fresh as the young man with the gauze
moustache, but that I can remember very well when they were fresh, and
if his artificial teeth fit him pretty well he can try one!

"It's just the same with boiled eggs. I have a rubber dating stamp, and
as soon as the eggs are turned over to me by the hen for inspection, I
date them. Then they are boiled and another date in red is stamped on
them. If one of my clerks should date an egg ahead, I would fire him too

"On this account, people who know me will skip a meal at Missouri
Junction, in order to come here and eat things that are not clouded with
mystery. I do not keep any poor stuff when I can help it, but if I do,
don't conceal the horrible fact.

"Of course a new cook will sometimes smuggle a late date onto a
mediaeval egg and sell it, but he has to change his name and flee.

"I suppose that if every eating house should date everything, and be
square with the public, it would be an old story and wouldn't pay; but
as it is, no one trying to compete with me, I do well out of it, and
people come here out of curiosity a good deal.

"The reason I try to do right and win the public esteem is that the
general public never did me any harm and the majority of people who
travel are a kind that I may meet in a future state. I should hate to
have a thousand traveling men holding nuggets of rancid ham sandwiches
under my nose through all eternity, and know that I had lied about it.
It's an honest fact, if I knew I'd got to stand up and apologize for
my hand-made, all-around, seamless pies, and quarantine cigars, Heaven
would be no object."


If there be one thing above another that I revel in, it is science.
I have devoted much of my life to scientific research, and though it
hasn't made much stir in the scientific world so far, I am positive that
when I am gone the scientists of our day will miss me, and the rednosed
theorist will come and shed the scalding tear over my humble tomb.

[Illustration: 0191]

My attention was first attracted to insomnia as the foe of the domestic
animal, by the strange appearance of a favorite dog named Lucretia
Borgia. I did not name this animal Lucretia Borgia. He was named when I
purchased him. In his eccentric and abnormal thirst for blood he favored
Lucretia, but in sex he did not. I got him partly because he loved
children. The owner said Lucretia Borgia was an ardent lover of
children, and I found that he was. He seemed to love them best in the
spring of the year, when they were tender. He would have eaten up a
favorite child of mine, if the youngster hadn't left a rubber ball in
his pocket which clogged the glottis of Lucretia till I could get there
and disengage what was left of the child.

Lucretia soon after this began to be restless. He would come to my
casement and lift up his voice, and howl into the bosom of the silent
night. At first I thought that he had found some one in distress, or
wanted to get me out of doors and save my life. I went out several
nights in a weird costume that I had made up of garments belonging to
different members of my family. I dressed carefully in the dark and
stole out to kill the assassin referred to by Lucretia, but he was
not there. Then the faithful animal would run up to me and with almost
human, pleading eyes, hark and run away toward a distant alley. I
immediately decided that some one was suffering there. I had read in
books about dogs that led their masters away to the suffering and saved
people's lives, so when Lucretia came to me with his great, honest eyes
and took little mementoes out of the calf of my leg, and then galloped
off seven or eight blocks, I followed him in the chill air of night and
my Mosaic clothes. I wandered away to where the dog stopped behind
a livery stable, and there lying in a shuddering heap on the frosty
ground, lay the still, white feature of a soup bone that had outlived
its usefulness.

On the way back, I met a physician who had been up town to swear in an
American citizen who would vote twenty-one years later, if he lived.
The physician stopped me and was going to take me to the home of the
overshoes when he discovered who I was.

You wrap a tall man, with a William H. Seward nose, in a flannel robe,
cut plain, and then put a plug hat and a sealskin sacque and Arctic
friendless on him, and put him out in the street, under the gaslight,
with his trim, purple ankles just revealing themselves as he madly
gallops after a hydrophobia infested dog, and it is not, after all,
surprising that people's curiosity should be a little bit excited.

I told the doctor how Lucretia seemed restless nights and nervous and
irritable days, and how he seemed to be almost a mental wreck, and asked
him what the trouble was.

He said it was undoubtedly "insomnia." He said that it was a bad case
of it, too. I told him I thought so myself. I said I didn't mind the
insomnia that Lucretia had so much as I did my own. I was getting more
insomnia on my hands than I could use.

He gave me something to administer to Lucretia. He said I must put it
in a link of sausage where it would appear that I didn't want the dog to
get it, and then Lucretia would eat it greedily.

I did so. It worked well so far as the administration of the remedy was
concerned, but it was fatal to my little, high strung, yearnful dog. It
must have contained something of a deleterious character, for the next
morning a coarse man took Lucretia Borgia by the tail and laid him where
the violets blow. Malignant insomnia is fast becoming the great foe to
the modern American dog.


I have just returned from a brief visit to Duluth. After strolling
along the Bay of Naples and watching old Vesuvius vomit red-hot mud,
vapor and other campaign documents, Duluth is quite a change. The ice in
the bay at Duluth was thirty-eight inches in depth when I left there the
last week in March, and we rode across it with the utmost impunity. By
the time these lines fall beneath the eye of the genial, courteous and
urbane reader, the new railroad bridge across the bay, over a mile and
a half long, will have been completed, so that you may ride from Chicago
to Duluth over the Northwestern and Omaha railroads with great comfort.
I would be glad to digress here and tell about the beauty of the summer
scenery along the Omaha road, and the shy and beautiful troutlet,
and the dark and silent Chippewa squawlet and her little bleached out
pappooselet, were it not for the unkind and cruel thrusts that I would
invoke from the scenery cynic who believes that a newspaper man's
opinions may be largely warped with a pass.

Duluth has been joked a good deal, but she stands it first-rate and
takes it good naturedly. She claims 16,000 people, some of whom I met
at the opera house there. If the rest of the 16,000 are as pleasant as
those I conversed with that evening, Duluth must be a pleasant place to
live in. Duluth has a very pleasant and beautiful opera house that seats
1,000 people. A few more could have elbowed their way into the opera
house the evening that I spoke there, but they preferred to suffer on at

Lake Superior is one of the largest aggregations of fresh wetness in the
world, if not the largest. When I stop to think that some day all this
cold, cold water will have to be absorbed by mankind, it gives me a
cramp in the geographical center.

Around the west end of Lake Superior there is a string of towns which
stretches along the shore for miles under one name or another, all
waiting for the boom to strike and make the Northern Chicago. You cannot
visit Duluth or Superior without feeling that at any moment the tide of
trade will rise and designate the point where the future metropolis
of the Northern lakes is to be. I firmly believe that this summer will
decide it, and my guess is that what is now known as West Superior is to
get the benefit. For many years destiny has been hovering over the
west end of this mighty lake, and now the favored point is going to be
designated. Duluth has past prosperity and expensive improvements in her
favor, and in fact the whole locality is going to be benefited, but if I
had a block in West Superior with a roller rink on it, I would wear
Iny best clothes every day and claim to be a millionaire in disguise.
Ex-President R. B. Hayes has a large brick block in Duluth, but he does
not occupy it. Those who go to Duluth hoping to meet Mr. Hayes will be
bitterly disappointed.

The streams that run into Lake Superior are alive with trout, and next
summer I propose to go up there and roast until I have so thoroughly
saturated my system with trout that the trout bones will stick out
through my clothes in every direction and people will regard me as a
beautiful toothpick holder.

Still there will be a few left for those who think of going up there.
All I will need will be barely enough to feed Albert Victor and myself
from day to day. People who have never seen a crowned head with a peeled
nose on it are cordially invited to come over and see us during office
hours. Albert is not at all haughty, and I intend to throw aside my
usual reserve this summer also--for the time. P. Wales' son and I will
be far from the cares that crowd so thick and fast on greatness. People
who come to our cedar bark wigwam to show us their mosquito bites, will
be received as cordially as though no great social chasm yawned between

Many will meet us in the depths of the forest and go away thinking that
we are just common plugs of whom the world wots not; but there is where
they will fool themselves.

Then, when the season is over, we will come back into the great
maelstrom of life, he to wait for his grandmother's overshoes and I to
thrill waiting millions from the rostrum with my "Tale of the Broncho
Cow." And so it goes with us all. Adown life's rugged pathway some must
toil on from daylight to dark to earn their meagre pittance as kings,
while, others are born to wear a swallow-tail coat every evening and
wring tears of genuine anguish from their audiences.

They tell some rather wide stories about people who have gone up there
total physical wrecks and returned strong and well. One man said that he
knew a young college student, who was all run down and weak, go up there
on the Brule and eat trout and fight mosquitoes a few months, and when
he returned to his Boston home he was so stout and well and tanned
up that his parents did not know him. There was a man in our car who
weighed 300 pounds. He seemed to be boiling out through his clothes
everywhere. He was the happiest looking man I ever saw. All he seemed
to do in this life was to sit all day and whistle and laugh and trot his
stomach, first on one knee and then on the other.

He said that he went up into the pine forests of the Great Lake region
a broken-down hypochondriac and confirmed consumptive. He had been
measured for a funeral sermon three times, he said, and had never used
either of them. He knew a clergyman named Bray-ley who went up into that
region with Bright's justly celebrated disease. He was so emaciated that
he couldn't carry a watch. The ticking of the watch rattled his bones so
that it made him nervous, and at night they had to pack him in cotton so
that he wouldn't break a leg when he turned over. He got to sleeping
out nights on a bed of balsam and spruce boughs and eating venison and

When he came down in the spring, he passed through a car of lumbermen
and one of them put a warm, wet quid of tobacco in his plug hat for a
joke. There were a hundred of these lumbermen when the preacher began,
and when the train got into Eau Claire there were only three of them
well enough to go around to the office and draw their pay.

This is just as the story was given to me and I repeat it to show how
bracing the climate near Superior is. Remember, if you please, that I do
not want the story to be repeated as coming from me, for I have nothing
left now but my reputation for veracity, and that has had a very hard
winter of it.


I think I was about 18 years of age when I decided that I would be a
miller, with flour on my clothes and a salary of $200 per month. This
was not the first thing I had decided to be, and afterward changed my
mind about.

I engaged to learn my profession of a man called Sam Newton, I believe;
at least I will call him that for the sake of argument. My business was
to weigh wheat, deduct as much as possible on account of cockle, pigeon
grass and wild buckwheat, and to chisel the honest farmer out of all he
would stand. This was the programme with Mr. Newton; but I am happy to
say that it met with its reward, and the sheriff afterward operated the

On stormy days I did the book-keeping, with a scoop shovel behind my
ear, in a pile of middlings on the fifth floor. Gradually I drifted into
doing a good deal of this kind of brain work. I would chop the ice out
of the turbine wheel at 5 o'clock a. m., and then frolic up six flights
of stairs and shovel shorts till 9 o'clock p. m.

By shoveling bran and other vegetables 16 hours a day, a general
knowledge of the milling business may be readily obtained. I used to
scoop middlings till I could see stars, and then I would look out at the
landscape and ponder.

I got so that I piled up more ponder, after a while, than I did

One day the proprietor came up stairs and discovered me in a brown
study, whereupon he cursed me in a subdued Presbyterian way, abbreviated
my salary from $26 per month to $18 and reduced me to the ranks.

Afterward I got together enough desultory information so that I could
superintend the feed stone. The feed stone is used to grind hen feed
and other luxuries. One day I noticed an odor that reminded me of a hot
overshoe trying to smother a glue factory at the close of a tropical
day. I spoke to the chief floor walker of the mill about it, and he
said "dod gammit," or something that sounded like that, in a coarse and
brutal manner. He then kicked my person in a rude and hurried tone of
voice, and told me that the feed stone was burning up.

[Illustration: 0203]

He was a very fierce man, with a violent and ungovernable temper, and,
finding that I was only increasing his brutal fury, I afterward resigned
my position. I talked it over with the proprietor, and both agreed that
it would be best. He agreed to it before I did, and rather hurried up my
determination to go.

I rather hated to go so soon, but he made it an object for me to go, and
I went. I started in with the idea that I would begin at the bottom of
the ladder, as it were, and gradually climb to the bran bin by my own
exertions, hoping by honesty, industry, and carrying two bushels of
wheat up nine flights of stairs, to become a wealthy man, with corn meal
in my hair and cracked wheat in my coat pocket, but I did not seem to
accomplish it.

Instead of having ink on my fingers and a chastened look of woe on my
clear-cut Grecian features, I might have poured No. 1 hard wheat and
buckwheat flour out of my long taper ears every night, if I had stuck to
the profession. Still, as I say, it was for another man's best good
that I resigned. The head miller had no control over himself and the
proprietor had rather set his heart on my resignation, so it was better
that way.

Still I like to roll around in the bran pile, and monkey in the cracked
wheat. I love also to go out in the kitchen and put corn meal down
the back of the cook's neck while my wife is working a purple silk
Kensington dog, with navy blue mane and tail, on a gothic lambrequin.

I can never cease to hanker for the rumble and grumble of the busy mill,
and the solemn murmur of the millstones and the machinery are music to
me. More so than the solemn murmur of the proprietor used to be when
he came in at an inopportune moment, and in that impromptu and
extemporaneous manner of his, and found me admiring the wild and
beautiful scenery. He may have been a good miller, but he had no love
for the beautiful. Perhaps that is why he was always so cold and cruel
toward me. My slender, willowy grace and mellow, bird-like voice never
seemed to melt his stony heart.


Seattle, W. T., December 12.--I am up here on the Sound in two senses.
I rode down today from Tacoma on the Sound, and to-night I shall lecture
at Frye's Opera House.

Seattle is a good town. The name lacks poetic warmth, but some day the
man who has invested in Seattle real estate will have reason to pat
himself on the back and say "ha ha," or words to that effect. The city
is situated on the side of a large hill and commands a very fine view of
that world's most calm and beautiful collection of water, Puget Sound.

I cannot speak too highly of any sheet of water on which I can ride all
day with no compunction of digestion. He who has tossed for days upon
the briny deep, will understand this and appreciate it; even if he never
tossed upon the angry deep, if it happened to be all he had, he will
be glad to know that the Sound is a good piece of water to ride on. The
gentle reader who has crossed the raging main and borrowed high-priced
meals of the steamship company for days and days, will agree with me
that when we can find a smooth piece of water to ride on we should lose
no time in crossing it.

In Washington Territory the women vote. That is no novelty to me, of
course, for I lived in Wyoming for seven years where women vote, and I
held office all the time. And still they say that female voters are poor
judges of men, and that any pleasing $2 Adonis who comes along and asks
for their suffrages will get them.

Not much!!!

Woman is a keen and correct judge of mental and moral worth. Without
stopping to give logical reasons for her course, perhaps, she still
chooses with unerring judgment at the polls.

Anyone who doubts this statement, will do well to go to the old poll
books in Wyoming and examine my overwhelming majorities--with a powerful

I have just received from Boston a warm invitation to be present in that
city on Forefathers' day, to take part in the ceremonies and join in the
festivities of that occasion.

Forefathers, I thank you! Though this reply will not reach you for a
long time, perhaps, I desire to express to you my deep appreciation
of your kindness, and, though I can hardly be regarded as a forefather
myself, I assure you that I sympathize with you.

Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be with you on this day
of your general jubilee and to talk over old times with you.

One who has never experienced the thrill of genuine joy that wakens a
man to a glad realization of the fact that he is a forefather, cannot
understand its full significance. You alone know how it is yourself; you
can speak from experience.

In fancy's dim corridors I see you stand, away back in the early dawn
of our national day, with the tallow candle drooping and dying in its
socket, as you waited for the physician to come and announce to you that
you were a forefather.

Forefathers, you have done well. Others have sought to outdo you
and wrest the laurels from your brow, but they did not succeed. As
forefathers you have never been successfully scooped.

T hope that you will keep up your justly celebrated organization. If a
forefather allows his dues to get in arrears, go to him kindly and ask
him like a brother to put up. If he refuses to do so, fire him. There
is no reason why a man should presume upon his long standing as a
forefather to become insolent to other forefathers who are far his
seniors. As a rule, I notice it is the young amateur forefather, who has
only been so a few days, in fact, who is arrogant and disobedient.

I have often wished that we could observe Forefathers' day more
generally in the West. Why we should allow the Eastern cities to outdo
us in this matter, while we hold over them in other ways, I cannot
understand. Our church sociables and homicides in the West will compare
favorably with those of the effeter cities of the Atlantic slope.
Our educational institutions and embezzlers are making rapid strides,
especially our embezzlers. We are cultivating a certain air of
refinement and haughty reserve which enables us at times to fool the
best judges. Many of our Western people have been to the Atlantic
seaboard and remained all summer without falling into the hands of the
bunko artist. A cow gentleman friend of mine who bathed his plumb limbs
in the Atlantic last summer during the day, and mixed himself up in
the mazy dance at night, told me on his return that he had enjoyed the
summer immensely, but that he had returned financially depressed..

"Ah," said I, with an air of superiority which I often assume while
talking to men who know more than I do, "you fell into the hands of the
cultivated confidence man?"

"No, William," he said sadly, "worse than that. I stopped at a seaside
hotel. Had I gone to New York City and hunted up the gentlemanly bunko
man and the Wall street dealer in lambs' pelts, as my better judgment
prompted, I might have returned with funds. Now I am almost insolvent.
I begin life again with great sorrow, and the same old Texas steer with
which I went into the cattle industry five years ago."

But why should we, here in the West, take readily to all other
institutions common to the cultured East and ignore the forefather
industry? I now make this public announcement, and will stick to it,
viz.; I will be one of ten full-blooded American citizens to establish
a branch forefather's lodge in the West, with a separate fund set aside
for the benefit of forefathers who are no longer young. Forefathers are
just as apt to become old and helpless as anyone else. Young men who
contemplate becoming forefathers should remember this.


To the Metropolitan Guide Publishing Co.,

New York.

Gentlemen.--I received the copy of your justly celebrated "Guide to
Rapid Affluence, or How to Acquire Wealth Without Mental Exertion,"
price twenty-five cents. It is a great boon.

I have now had this book sixteen weeks, and, as I am wealthy enough, I
return it. It is not much worn, and if you will allow me fifteen cents
for it, I would be very grateful. It is not the intrinsic value of
the fifteen cents that I care for so much, but I would like it as a

The book is wonderfully graphic and thorough in its details, and I was
especially pleased with its careful and useful recipe for ointments. One
style of ointment spoken of and recommended by your valuable book,
is worthy of a place in history. I made some of it according to your
formula. I tried it on a friend of mine. He wore it when he went away,
and he has not as yet returned. I heard, incidentally, that it adhered
to him. People who have examined it say that it retains its position on
his person similar to a birthmark.

Your cement does not have the same peculiarity. It does everything but
adhere. Among other specialties it affects a singular odor. It has a
fragrance that ought to be utilized in some way. Men have harnessed the
lightning, and it seems to me that the day is not far distant when a man
will be raised up who can control this latent power. Do you not think
that possibly you have made a mistake and got your ointment and
cement formula mixed? Your cement certainly smells like a corrupt
administration in a warm room.

Your revelations in the liquor manufacture, and how to make any mixed
drink with one hand tied, is well worth the price of the book. The
chapter on bar etiquette is also excellent.

Very few men know how to properly enter a bar-room and what to do after
they arrive. How to get into a bar-room without attracting attention,
and how to get out without police interference are points upon which our
American drunkards are lamentably ignorant.

How to properly address a bar tender, is also a page that no student of
good breeding could well omit.

I was greatly surprised to read how simple the manufacture of drinks
under your formula is. You construct a cocktail without liquor and then
rob intemperance of its sting. You also make all kinds of liquor without
the use of alcohol, that demon under whose iron heel thousands of our
sons and brothers go down to death and delirium annually. Thus you are
doing a good work.

You also unite aloes, tobacco and Rough on Rats, and, by a happy
combination, construct a style of beer that is non-intoxicating.

No one could, by any possible means, become intoxicated on your justly
celebrated beer. He would not have time. Before he could get inebriated
he would be in the New Jerusalem.

Those who drink your beer will not fill drunkards' graves. They will
close their career and march out of this life with perforated stomachs
and a look of intense anguish.

Your method of making cider without apples is also frugal and ingenious.
Thousands of innocent apple worms annually lose their lives in
the manufacture of cider. They are also, in most instances, wholly
unprepared to die. By your method, a style of wormless cider is
constructed that would not fool anyone. It tastes a good deal like rain
water that was rained about the first time that any raining was ever
done, and was deprived of air ever since.

[Illustration: 0213]

The closing chapter on the subject of "How to win the affections of
the opposite sex at sixty yards," is first-rate. It is wonderful what
triumph science and inventions have wrenched from obdurate conditions!
Only a few years ago, a young man had to work hard for weeks and months
in order to win the love of a noble young woman. Now, with your valuable
and scholarly work, price twenty-five cents, he studies over the closing
chapter an hour or two, then goes out into society and gathers in his
victim. And yet I do not grudge the long, long hours I squandered in
those years when people were in heathenish darkness. I had no book like
yours to tell me how to win the affections of the opposite sex. I could
only blunder on, week after week, and yet I do not regret it. It was
just the school I needed. It did me good.

Your book will, no doubt, be a good thing for those who now grope, but
I have groped so long that I have formed the habit and prefer it. Let
me go right on groping. Those who desire to win the affections of the
opposite sex at one sitting, will do well to send two bits for your
great work, but I am in no hurry. My time is not valuable.


Boys should never be afraid or ashamed to do little odd jobs by which
to acquire money. Too many boys are afraid, or at least seem to be
embarrassed when asked to do chores, and thus earn small sums of money.
In order to appreciate wealth we must earn it ourselves. That is the
reason I labor. I do not need to labor. My parents are still living, and
they certainly would not see me suffer for the necessities of life.
But life in that way would not have the keen relish that it would if I
earned the money myself.

Sawing wood used to be a favorite pastime with boys twenty years ago.
I remember the first money I ever earned was by sawing wood. My brother
and myself were to receive $5 for sawing five cords of wood. We allowed
the job to stand, however, until the weather got quite warm, and then we
decided to hire a foreigner who came along that way one glorious summer
day when all nature seemed tickled and we knew that the fish would be
apt to bite. So we hired the foreigner, and while he sawed, we would bet
with him on various "dead sure things" until he got the wood sawed, when
he went away owing us fifty cents.

We had a neighbor who was very wealthy. He noticed that we boys earned
our own spending money, and he yearned to have his son try to ditto. So
he told the boy that he was going away for a few weeks and that he would
give him $2 per cord, or double price, to saw the wood. He wanted to
teach the boy to earn and appreciate his money. So, when the old man
went away, the boy secured a colored man to do the job at $1 per cord,
by which process the youth made $10. This he judiciously invested in
clothes, meeting his father at the train in a new summer suit and a
speckled cane. The old man said he could see by the sparkle in the boy's
clear, honest eyes, that healthful exercise was what boys needed.

When I was a boy I frequently acquired large sums of money by carrying
coal up two flights of stairs for wealthy people who were too fat to do
it themselves. This money I invested from time to time in side shows and
other zoological attractions.

One day I saw a coal cart back up and unload itself on the walk in such
a way as to indicate that the coal would have to be manually elevated
inside the building. I waited till I nearly froze to death, for the
owner to come along and solicit my aid. Finally he came. He smelled
strong of carbolic acid, and I afterward learned that he was a physician
and surgeon.

We haggled over the price for some time, as I had to cary the coal
up two flights in an old waste paper basket and it was quite a task.
Finally we agreed. I proceeded with the work. About dusk I went up the
last flight of stairs with the last load. My feet seemed to weigh about
nineteen pounds apiece and my face was very sombre.

In the gloaming I saw my employer. He was writing a prescription by the
dim, uncertain light. He told me to put the last basketful in the little
closet off the hall and then come and get my pay. I took the coal into
the closet, but I do not know what I did with it. As I opened the door
and stepped in, a tall skeleton got down off the nail and embraced me
like a prodigal son. It fell on my neck and draped itself all over
me. Its glittering phalanges entered the bosom of my gingham shirt and
rested lightly on the pit of my stomach. I could feel the pelvis bone
in the small of my back. The room was dark, but I did not light the gas.
Whether it was the skeleton of a lady or gentleman, I never knew; but I
thought, for the sake of my good name, I would not remain. My good name
and a strong yearning for home were all that I had at that time.

So I went home. Afterwards, I learned that this physician got all his
coal carried up stairs for nothing in this way, and he had tried to get
rooms two flights further up in the building, so that the boys would
have further to fall when they made their egress.


Hudson, Wis., August 25, 1885. Hon. William F. Vilas,
Postmaster-General, Washington, D. C.

Dear Sir.--For some time I have been thinking of writing to you and
asking you how you were getting along with your department since I left
it. I did not wish to write to you for the purpose of currying favor
with an administration against which I squandered a ballot last fall.
Neither do I desire to convey the impression that I would like to open
a correspondence with you for the purpose of killing time. If you ever
feel like sitting down and answering this letter in an off-hand way
it would please me very much, but do not put yourself out to do so.
I wanted to ask you, however, how you like the pictures of yourself
recently published by the patent insides. That was my principal object
in writing. Having seen you before this great calamity befell you, I
wanted to inquire whether you had really changed so much. As I remember
your face, it was rather unusually intellectual and attractive for a
great man. Great men are very rarely pretty. I guess that, aside from
yourself, myself, and Mr. Evarts, there is hardly an eminent man in the
country who would be considered handsome. But the engraver has done you
a great injustice, or else you have sadly changed since I saw you. It
hardly seems possible that your nose has drifted around to leeward and
swelled up at the end, as the engraver would have us believe.

[Illustration: 0222]

I do not believe that in a few short months the look of firmness
and conscious rectitude that I noticed could have changed to that of
indecision and vacuity which we see in some of your late portraits as

I saw one yesterday, with your name attached to it, and it made my heart
ache for your family. As a resident in your State I felt humiliated.
Two of Wisconsin's ablest men have thus been slaughtered by the rude
broad-axe of the engraver. Last fall, Senator Spooner, who is also a man
with a first-class head and face, was libeled in this same reckless way.
It makes me mad, and in that way impairs my usefulness. I am not a good
citizen, husband or father when I am mad. I am a perfect simoon of wrath
at such times, and I am not responsible for what I do.

Nothing can arouse the indignation of your friends, regardless of
party, so much as the thought that while you are working so hard in the
postoffice at Washington with your coat off, collecting box rent and
making up the Western mail, the remorseless engraver and electrotyper
are seeking to down you by making pictures of you in which you appear
either as a dude or a tough.

While I have not the pleasure of being a member of your party, having
belonged to what has been sneeringly alluded to as the g. o. p., I
cannot refrain from expressing my sympathy at this time. Though we may
have differed heretofore upon important questions of political economy,
I cannot exult over these portraits. Others may gloat over these efforts
to injure you, but I do not. I am not much of a gloater, anyhow.

I leave those to gloat who are in the gloat business.

Still, it is one of the drawbacks incident to greatness. We struggle
hard through life that we may win the confidence of our fellow-men, only
at last to have pictures of ourselves printed and distributed where they
will injure us.

I desire to add before closing this letter, Mr. Vilas, that with those
who are acquainted with you and know your sterling worth, these
portraits will make no difference. We will not allow them to influence
us socially or politically. What the effect may be upon offensive
partisans who are total strangers to you, I do not know.

My theory in relation to these cuts is, that they are combined and
interchangeable, so that, with slight modifications, they are used for
all great men. The cut, with the extras that go with it, consists of one
head with hair (front view), one bald head (front view), one head
with hair (side view), one bald head (side view), one pair eyes (with
glasses), one pair eyes (plain), one Roman nose, one Grecian nose,
one turn-up nose, one set whiskers (full), one moustache, one pair
side-whiskers, one chin, one set large ears, one set medium ears, one
set small ears, one set shoulders, with collar and necktie for above,
one monkey-wrench, one set quoins, one galley, one oil-can, one
screwdriver. These different features are then arranged so that a
great variety of clergymen, murderers, senators, embezzlers, artists,
dynamiters, humorists, arsonists, larcenists, poets, statesmen, base
ball players, rinkists, pianists, capitalists, bigamists and sluggists
are easily represented. No newspaper office should be without them. They
are very simple, and any child can easily learn to operate it. They are
invaluable in all cases, for no one knows at what moment a revolting
crime may be committed by a comparatively unknown man, whose portrait
you wish to give, and in this age of rapid political transformations,
presentations and combinations, no enterprising paper should delay the
acquisition of a combined portrait for the use of its readers.

[Illustration: 0224]

Hoping that you are well, and that you will at once proceed to let no
guilty man escape, I remain,

Yours truly,

Bill Nye.


The Old South Meeting House, in Boston, is the most remarkable
structure in many respects to be found in that remarkable city. Always
eager wherever I go to search out at once the gospel privileges, it
is not to be wondered at, that I should have gone to the Old South the
first day after I landed in Boston.

It is hardly necessary to go over the history of the Old South, except,
perhaps, to refresh the memory of those who live outside of Boston. The
Old South Society was organized in 1669, and the ground on which the
old meeting-house now stands was given by Mrs. Norton, the widow of Rev.
John Norton, since deceased. The first structure was of wood, and in
1729 the present brick building succeeded it. King's Handbook of Boston
says: "It is one of the few historic buildings that have been allowed to
remain in this iconoclastic age."

So it seems that they are troubled with iconoclasts in Boston, too. I
thought I saw one hanging around the Old South on the day I was there,
and had a good notion to point him out to the authorities, but thought
it was none of my business.

I went into the building and registered, and then from force of habit or
absent-mindedness handed my umbrella over the counter and asked how soon
supper would be ready. Everybody registers, but very few, I am told, ask
how soon supper will be ready. The Old South is now run on the European
plan, however.

The old meeting-house is chiefly remarkable for the associations that
cluster around it. Two centuries hover about the ancient weather-vane
and look down upon the visitor when the weather is favorable.

[Illustration: 0228]

Benjamin Franklin was baptised and attended worship here, prior to his
wonderful invention of lightning. Here on each succeeding Sabbath sat
the man who afterwards snared the forked lightning with a string and
put it in a jug for future generations. Here Whitefield preached and the
rebels discussed the tyranny of the British king. Warren delivered his
famous speech here upon the anniversary of the Boston massacre and
the "tea party" organized in this same building. Two hundred years ago
exactly, the British used the Old South as a military riding school,
although a majority of the people of Boston were not in favor of it.

It would be well to pause here and consider the trying situation in
which our ancestors were placed at that time. Coming to Massachusetts as
they did, at a time when the country was new and prices extremely high,
they had hoped to escape from oppression and establish themselves so far
away from the tyrant that he could not come over here and disturb them
without suffering from the extreme nausea incident to a long sea voyage.
Alas, however, when they landed at Plymouth rock, there was not a decent
hotel in the place. The same stern and rock-bound coast which may be
discovered along the Atlantic sea-board today was there, and a cruel and
relentless sky frowned upon their endeavors.

Where prosperous cities now flaunt to the sky their proud domes and
floating debts, the rank jimson weed nodded in the wind and the pumpkin
pie of to-day still slumbered in the bosom of the future. What glorious
facts have, under the benign influence of fostering centuries, been born
of apparent impossibility. What giant certainties have grown through
these years from the seeds of doubt and discouragement and uncertainty!
(Big firecrackers and applause.)

At that time our ancestors had but timidly embarked in the forefather
business. They did not know that future generations in four-button
cutaways would rise up and call them blessed and pass resolutions of
respect on their untimely death. It they stayed at home the king taxed
them all out of shape, and if they went out of Boston a few rods to get
enough huckleberries for breakfast, they would frequently come home
so full of Indian arrows that they could not get through a common door
without great pain.

Such was the early history of the country where now cultivation and
education and refinement run rampant and people sit up all night to
print newspapers so that we can have them in the morning.

The land on which the Old South stands is very valuable for business
purposes, and $400,000 will have to be raised in order to preserve the
old landmark to future generations. I earnestly hope that it will be
secured, and that the old meeting-house--dear not alone to the people of
Boston, but to the millions of Americans scattered from sea to sea, who
cannot forget where first universal freedom plumed its wings--will
be spared to entertain within it hospitable walls, enthusiastic and
reverential visitors for ages without end.


When you come to think of it, it is surprising that so many newspaper
men write so that anyone but an expert can read it. The rapid and
voluminous work, especially of daily journalism, knocks the beautiful
business college penman, as a rule, higher than a kite. I still have
specimens of my own handwriting that a total stranger could read.

I do not remember a newspaper acquaintance whose penmanship is so
characteristic of the exacting neatness and sharp, clear-cut style of
the man, as that of Eugene Field, of the Chicago News. As the "Nonpareil
Writer" of the Denver Tribune, it was a mystery to me when he did the
work which the paper showed each day as his own. You would sometimes
find him at his desk, writing on large sheets of "print paper" with a
pen and violet ink, in a hand that was as delicate as the steel plate
of a bank note and the kind of work that printers would skirmish for. He
would ask you to sit down in the chair opposite his desk, which had two
or three old exchanges thrown on it. He would probably say, "Never mind
those papers. I've read them. Just sit down on them if you want to."
Encouraged by his hearty manner, you would sit down, and you would
continue to sit down till you had protruded about three-fourths of your
system through that hollow mockery of a chair. Then he would run to help
you out and curse the chair, and feel pained because he had erroneously
given you the ruin with no seat to it. He always felt pained over such
things. He always suffered keenly and felt shocked over the accident
until you had gone away, and then he would sigh heavily and "set" the
chair again.

Frank Pixley, editor of the San Francisco Argonaut, is not beautiful,
though the Argonaut is. He is grim and rather on the Moses Montefiore
style of countenance, but his handwriting does not convey the idea of
the man personally, or his style of dealing with the Chinese question.
It is rather young looking, and has the uncertain manner of an
eighteen-year-old boy.

Robert J. Burdette writs a small but plain hand, though he sometimes
suffers from the savage typographical error that steals forth at such a
moment as ye think not and disfigures and tears and mangles the bright
eyed children of the brain.

Very often we read a man's work and imagine we shall find him like it,
cheery, bright and entertaining, but we know him and find that personally
he is a refrigerator, or an egotist, or a man with a torpid liver and a
nose like a rose geranium. You will not be disappointed in Bob Burdette,
however; you think you will like him, and you always do. He will never
be too famous to be a gentleman.

George W. Peck's hand is of the free and independent order of
chirography. It is easy and natural, but not handsome. He writes very
voluminously, doing his editorial writing in two days of the week,
generally Friday and Saturday. Then he takes a rapid horse, a zealous
bird dog and an improved double-barrel duck destroyer and communes with

[Illustration: 0235]

Sam Davis, an old time Californian, and now in Nevada, writes the freest
of any penman I know. When he is deliberate, he may be be-traved into
making a deformed letter and a crooked mark attached to it, which he
characterizes as a word. He puts a lot of these together and actually
pays postage on the collection under the delusion that it is a letter,
that it will reach its destination, and that it will accomplish its

He makes up for his bad writing, however, by being an unpublished volume
of old time anecdotes and funny experiences.

Goodwin, of the old Territorial Enterprise, and Mark Twain's old
employer, writes with a pencil in a methodical manner and very plainly.
The way he sharpens a "hard medium" lead pencil and skins the apostle
of the so-called Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, makes my
heart glad. Hardly a day passes that his life is not threatened by the
low browed thumpers of Mormondom, and yet the old war horse raises the
standard of monogamy and under the motto, "One country, one flag and one
wife at a time," he smokes his old meerschaum pipe and writes a column
of razor blades every day. He is the buzz saw upon which polygamy
has tried to sit. Fighting these rotten institutions hand to hand and
fighting a religious eccentricity through an annual message, or a feeble
act of congress, are two separate and distinct things.

If I had a little more confidence in my longevity than I now have, I
would go down there to the Valley of the Jordan, and I would gird up my
loins, and I would write with that lonely warrior at Salt Lake, and with
the aid and encouragement of our brethren of the press who do not favor
the right of one man to marry an old woman's home, we would rotten egg
the bogus Temple of Zion till the civilized world, with a patent clothes
pin on its nose, would come and see what was the matter.

I see that my zeal has led me away from my original subject, but I
haven't time to regret it now.


When I was young and used to roam around over the country gathering
watermelons in the light of the moon, I used to think I could milk
anybody's cow, but I do not think so now. I do not milk a cow now unless
the sign is right, and it hasn't been right for a good many years. The
last cow I tried to milk was a common cow, born in obscurity; kind of a
self-made cow. I remember her brow was low, but she wore her tail high
and she was haughty, oh, so haughty.

I made a common-place remark to her, one that is used in the very
best of society, one that need not have given offense anywhere. I said
"So"--and she "soed." Then I told her to "hist" and she histed. But I
thought she overdid it. She put too much expression in it.

Just then I heard something crash through the window of the barn and
fall with a dull,' sickening thud on the outside. The neighbors came to
see what it was that caused the noise.

[Illustration: 0239]

They found that I had done it in getting through the window.

I asked the neighbor if the barn was still standing. They said it was.
Then I asked if the cow was injured much. They said she seemed to be
quite robust. Then I requested them to go in and calm the cow a little,
and see if they could get my plug hat off her horns.

I am buying all my milk now of a milkman. I select a gentle milkman who
will not kick, and feel as though I could trust him. Then, if he feels
as though he could trust me, it is all right.


So many people have shown a pardonable curiosity about the above named
disease, and so few have a very clear idea of the thrill of pleasure it
affords the patient, unless they have enjoyed it themselves, that I have
decided to briefly say something in answer to the innumerable inquiries
I have received.

Up to the moment I had a notion of getting some meningitis, I had never
employed a physician. Since then I have been thrown in their society a
great deal. Most of them were very pleasant and scholarly gentlemen,
who will not soon be forgotten; but one of them doctored me first for
pneumonia, then for inflammatory rheumatism, and finally, when death was
contiguous, advised me that I must have change of scene and rest.

I told him that if he kept on prescribing for me, I thought I might
depend on both. Change of physicians, however, saved my life. This horse
doctor, a few weeks afterward, administered a subcutaneous morphine
squirt in the arm of a healthy servant girl because she had the
headache, and she is now with the rest of this veterinarian's patients
in a land that is fairer than this.

She lived six hours after she was prescribed for. He gave her change
of scene and rest. He has quite a thriving little cemetery filled with
people who have succeeded in cording up enough of his change of scene
and rest to last them through all eternity. He was called once to
prescribe for a man whose head had been caved in by a stone match-box,
and, after treating the man for asthma and blind staggers, he prescribed
rest and change of scene for him, too. The poor asthmatic is now
breathing the extremely rarefied air of the New Jerusalem.

Meningitis is derived from the Latin Meninges, membrane, and--itis, an
affix denoting inflammation, so that, strictly speaking, meningitis
is the inflammation of a membrane, and when applied to the spine, or
cerebrum, is called spinal meningitis, or cerebro-spinal meningitis,
etc., according to the part of the spine or brain involved in the
inflammation. Meningitis is a characteristic and result of so-called
spotted fever, and by many it is deemed identical with it.

When we come to consider that the spinal cord, or marrow, runs down
through the long, bony shaft made by the vertebrae and that the brain
and spine, though connected, are bound up in one continuous bony
wall and covered with this inflamed membrane, it is not difficult to
understand that the thing is very hard to get at. If your throat gets
inflamed, a doctor asks you to run your tongue out into society about
a yard and a half, and he pries your mouth open with one of Rogers
Brothers' spoon handles. Then he is able to examine your throat as he
would a page of the Congressional Record, and to treat it with some
local application. When you have spinal meningitis, however, the doctor
tackles you with bromides, ergots, ammonia, iodine, chloral hydrate,
codi, bromide of ammonia, hasheesh, bismuth, valerianate of ammonia,
morphine sulph., nux vomica, turpentine emulsion, vox humana, rex
magnus, opium, cantharides, Dover's powders, and other bric-a brae.
These remedies are masticated and acted upon by the salivary glands,
passed down the esophagus, thrown into the society of old gastric,
submitted to the peculiar motion of the stomach and thoroughly
chymified, then forwarded through the pyloric orifice into the smaller
intestines, where they are touched up with bile, and later on handed
over through the lacteals, thoracic duct, etc., to the vast circulatory
system. Here it is yanked back and forth through the heart, lungs and
capillaries, and if anything is left to fork over to the disease, it has
to squeeze into the long, bony, air-tight socket that holds the spinal
cord. All this is done without seeing the patient's spinal cord before
or after taking. If it could be taken out, and hung over a clothes
line and cleansed with benzine, and then treated with insect powder,
or rolled in corn meal, or preserved in alcohol, and then put back, it
would be all right; but you can't. You pull a man's spine out of his
system and he is bound to miss it, no matter how careful you have been
about it. It is difficult to keep house without the spine. You need
it every time you cook a meal. If the spinal cord could be pulled by a
dentist and put away in pounded ice every time it gets a hot-box, spinal
meningitis would lose its stinger.

I was treated by thirteen physicians, whose names I may give in a future
article. They were, as I said, men I shall long remember. One of them
said very sensibly that meningitis was generally over-doctored. I told
him that I agreed with him. I said that if I should have another year of
meningitis and thirteen more doctors, I would have to postpone my trip
to Europe, where I had hoped to go and cultivate my voice. I've got
a perfectly lovely voice, if I could take it to Europe and have it
sand-papered and varnished, and mellowed down with beer and bologna.

But I was speaking of my physicians. Some time I'm going to give their
biographies and portraits, as they did those of Dr. Bliss, Dr. Barnes
and others. Next year, if I can get railroad rates, I am going to hold
a reunion of my physicians in Chicago. It will be a pleasant relaxation
for them, and will save the lives of a large percentage of their



The comet is a kind of astronomical parody on the planet. Comets look
some like planets, but they are thinner and do not hurt so hard when
they hit anybody as a planet does. The comet was so called because
it had hair on it, I believe, but late years the bald-headed comet is
giving just as good satisfaction everywhere.

The characteristic features of a comet are: A nucleus, a nebulous light
or coma, and usually a luminous train or tail worn high. Sometimes
several tails are observed on one comet, but this occurs only in flush

When I was young I used to think I would like to be a comet in the sky,
up above the world so high, with nothing to do but loaf around and play
with the little new-laid planets and have a good time, but now I can see
where I was wrong. Comets also have their troubles, their perihilions,
their hyperbolas and their parabolas. A little over 300 years ago Tycho
Brahe discovered that comets were extraneous to our atmosphere, and
since then times have improved. I can see that trade is steadier and
potatoes run less to tows than they did before.

Soon after that they discovered that comets all had more or less
periodicity. Nobody knows how they got it. All the astronomers had been
watching them day and night and didn't know when they were exposed, but
there was no time to talk and argue over the question. There were two or
three hundred comets all down with it at once. It was an exciting time.

[Illustration: 0247]

Comets sometimes live to a great age. This shows that the night air is
not so injurious to the health as many people would have us believe. The
great comet of 1780 is supposed to have been the one that was noticed
about the time of Caesar's death, 44 B. C, and still, when it appeared
in Newton's time, seventeen hundred years after its first grand farewell
tour, Ike said that it was very well preserved, indeed, and seemed to
have retained all its faculties in good shape.

Astronomers say that the tails of all comets are turned from the sun. I
do not know why they do this, whether it is etiquette among them or just
a mere habit.

A later writer on astronomy said that the substance of the nebulosity
and the tail is of almost inconceivable tenuity. He said this and then
death came to his relief. Another writer says of the comet and its tail
that "the curvature of the latter and the acceleration of the periodic
time in the case of Encke's comet indicate their being affected by a
resisting medium which has never been observed to have the slightest
influence on the planetary periods."

I do not fully agree with the eminent authority, though he may be right.
Much fear has been the result of the comet's appearance ever since the
world began, and it is as good a thing to worry about as anything I know
of. If we could get close to a comet without frightening it away, we
would find that we could walk through it anywhere as we could through
the glare of a torchlight procession. We should so live that we will
not be ashamed to look a comet in the eye, however. Let us pay up our
newspaper subscription and lead such lives that when the comet strikes
we will be ready.

Some worry a good deal about the chances for a big comet to plow into
the sun some dark, rainy night, and thus bust up the whole universe.
I wish that was all I had to worry about. If any respectable man will
agree to pay my taxes and funeral expenses, I will agree to do his
worrying about the comet's crashing into the bosom of the sun and
knocking its daylights out.


This luminous body is 92,000,000 miles from the earth, though there have
been mornings this winter when it seemed to me that it was further than
that. A railway train going at the rate of 40 miles per hour would be
263 years going there, to say nothing of stopping for fuel or water, or
stopping on side tracks to wait for freight trains to pass. Several
years ago it was discovered that a slight error had been made in the
calculations of the sun's distance from the earth, and, owing to a
misplaced logarithm, or something of that kind, a mistake of 3,000,000
miles was made in the result. People cannot be too careful in such
matters. Supposing that, on the strength of the information contained in
the old timetable, a man should start out with only provisions
sufficient to take him 89,000,000 miles and should then find that
3,000,000 miles still stretched out ahead of him. He would then have to
buy fresh figs of the train boy in order to sustain life. Think of
buying nice fresh figs on a train that had been en route 250 years!

Imagine a train boy starting out at ten years of age, and perishing at
the age of 60 years with only one-fifth of his journey accomplished.
Think of five train boys, one after the other, dying of old age on the
way, and the train at last pulling slowly into the depot with not a
living thing on board except the worms in the "nice eating apples!"

The sun cannot be examined through an ordinary telescope with impunity.
Only one man ever tried that, and he is now wearing a glass eye that
cost him $9.

If you examine the sun through an ordinary solar microscope, you
discover that it has a curdled or mottled appearance, as though
suffering from biliousness. It is also marked here and there by long
streaks of light, called faculse, which look like foam flecks below a
cataract. The spots on the sun vary from minute pores the size of an
ordinary school district to spots 100,000 miles in diameter, visible to
the nude eye. The center of these spot's is as black as a brunette cat,
and is called the umbra, so called because is resembles an umbrella. The
next circle is less dark, and called the penumbra, because it so closely
resembles the penumbra.

There are many theories regarding these spots, but, to be perfectly
candid with the gentle reader, neither Prof. Proctor nor myself can
tell exactly what they are. If we could get a little closer, we flatter
ourselves that we could speak more definitely. My own theory is they are
either, first, open air caucuses held by the colored people of the sun;
or, second, they may be the dark horses in the campaign; or, third, they
may be the spots knocked off the defeated candidate by the opposition.

Frankly, however, I do not believe either of these theories to be
tenable. Prof. Proctor sneers at these theories also on the ground that
these spots do not appear to revolve so fast as the sun. This, however,
I am prepared to explain upon the theory that this might be the result
of delays in the returns. However, I am free to confess that speculative
science is filled with the intangible. .

The sun revolves upon his or her axletree, as the case may be, Once in
25 to 28 of our days, so that a man living there would have almost two
years to pay a 30-day note. We should so live that when we come to die
we may go at once to the sun.

Regarding the sun's temperature, Sir John Herschel says that it is
sufficient to melt a shell of ice covering its entire surface to a depth
of 40 feet. I do not know whether he made this experiment personally or
hired a man to do it for him.

The sun is like the star spangled banner--as it is "still there." You
get up to-morrow morning just before sunrise and look away toward the
east, and keep on looking in that direction, and at last you will, see a
fine sight, if what I have been told is true. If the sunrise is as grand
as the sunset, it indeed must be one of nature's most sublime phenomena.

The sun is the great source of light and heat for our earth. If the sun
were to go somewhere for a few weeks for relaxation and rest, it would
be a cold day for us. The moon, too, would be useless, for she is
largely dependent on the sun. Animal life would soon cease and real
estate would become depressed in price. We owe very much of our
enjoyment to the sun, and not many years ago there were a large number
of people who worshiped the sun. When a man showed signs of emotional
insanity, they took him up on the observatory of the temple and
sacrificed him to the sun. They were a very prosperous and happy people.
If the conqueror had not come among them with civilization and guns and
grand juries they would have been very happy, indeed.


There is much in the great field of astronomy that is discouraging to
the savant who hasn't the time nor the means to rummage around through
the heavens. At times I am almost hopeless, and feel like saying to
the great yearnful, hungry world: "Grope on forever. Do not ask me for
another scientific fact. Find it out yourself. Hunt up your own new-laid
planets, and let me have a rest. Never ask me again to sit up all night
and take care of a new-born world, while you lie in bed and reck not."

I get no salary for examining the trackless void night after night when
I ought to be in bed. I sacrifice my health in order that the public may
know at once of the presence of a red-hot comet, fresh from the factory.
And yet, what thanks do I get?

Is it surprising that every little while I contemplate withdrawing from
scientific research, to go and skin an eight-mule team down through the
dim vista of relentless years?

Then, again, you take a certain style of star, which you learn from
Professor Simon Newcomb is such a distance that it takes 50,000 years
for its light to reach Boston. Now, we will suppose that after looking
over the large stock of new and second-hand stars, and after examining
the spring catalogue and price list, I decide that one of the smaller
size will do me, and I buy it. How do I know that it was there when I
bought it? Its cold and silent rays may have ceased 49,000 years before
I was born and the intelligence be still on the way. There is too much
margin between sale and delivery. Every now and then another astronomer
comes to me and says: "Professor, I have discovered another new star and
intend to file it. Found it last night about a mile and a half south of
the zenith, running loose. Haven't heard of anybody who has lost a star
of the fifteenth magnitude, about thirteen hands high, with light mane
and tail, have 7011?" Now, how do I know that he has discovered a brand
new star? How can I discover whether he is or is not playing and old,
threadbare star on me for a new one?

[Illustration: 0256]

We are told that there has been no perceptible growth or decay in the
star business since man began to roam around through space, in his mind,
and make figures on the barn door with red chalk showing the celestial
time table.

No serious accidents have occurred in the starry heavens since I began
to observe and study their habits. Not a star has waxed, not a star has
waned to my knowledge. Not a planet has season-cracked or shown any of
the injurious effects of our rigorous climate. Not a star has ripened
prematurely or fallen off the trees. The varnish on the very oldest
stars I find on close and critical examination to be in splendid
condition. They will all no doubt wear as long as we need them, and wink
on long after we have ceased to wink back.

In 1866 there appeared suddenly in the northern crown a star of about
the third magnitude and worth at least $250. It was generally conceded
by astronomers that this was a brand new star that had never been used,
but upon consulting Argelander's star catalogue and price list it was
found that this was not a new star at all, but an old, faded star of
the ninth magnitude, with the front breadths turned wrong side out and
trimmed with moonlight along the seams. After a few days of phenomenal
brightness, it gently ceased to draw a salary as a star of the third
magnitude, and walked home with an Uncle Tom's Cabin company.

It is such things as this that make the life of the astronomer one of
constant and discouraging toil. I have long contemplated, as I say, the
advisability of retiring from this field of science and allowing
others to light the northern lights, skim chores. I would do it myself
cheerfully if my health would permit, but for years I have realized, and
so has my wife, that my duties as an astronomer kept me up too much at
night, and my wife is certainly right about it when she says if I insist
on scanning the heavens night after night, coming home late with
the cork out of my telescope and my eyes red and swollen with these
exhausting night vigils, I will be cut down in my prime. So I am liable
to abandon the great labor to which I had intended to devote my life, my
dazzling genius and my princely income. I hope that other savants will
spare me the pain of another refusal, for my mind is fully made up
that unless another skimmist is at once secured, the milky way will
henceforth remain unskum.


I had a very thrilling experience the other evening. I had just filled
an engagement in a strange city, and retired to my cozy room at the

The thunders of applause had died away, and the opera house had been
locked up to await the arrival of an Uncle Tom's Cabin Company. The last
loiterer had returned to his home, and the lights in the palace of the
pork packer were extinguished.

No sound was heard, save the low, tremulous swash of the sleet outside,
or the death-rattle in the throat of the bath-tub. Then all was as still
as the bosom of a fried chicken when the spirit has departed.

The swallow-tail coat hung limp and weary in the wardrobe, and the gross
receipts of the evening were under my pillow. I needed sleep, for I was
worn out with travel and anxiety, but the fear of being robbed kept
me from repose. I know how desperate a man becomes when he yearns for
another's gold. I know how cupidity drives a wicked man to angle his
victim, that he may win precarious prosperity, and how he will often
take a short cut to wealth by means of murder, when, if he would enter
politics, he might accomplish his purpose as surely and much more

Anon, however, tired nature succumbed. I know I had succumbed, for the
bell-boy afterward testified that he heard me do so.

The gentle warmth of the steam-heated room, and the comforting assurance
of duty well done and the approval of friends, at last lulled me into a
gentle repose.

Anyone who might have looked upon me, as I lay there in that innocent
slumber, with the winsome mouth slightly ajar and the playful limbs
cast wildly about, while a merry smile now and then flitted across the
regular features, would have said that no heart could be so hard as to
harbor ill for one so guileless and so simple.

I do not know what it was that caused me to wake. Some slight sound or
other, no doubt, broke my slumber, and I opened my eyes wildly. The room
was in semi-darkness.


A slight movement in the corner, and the low, regular breathing of a
human being! I was now wide awake. Possibly I could have opened my eyes
wider but not without spilling them out of their sockets.

Regularly came that soft, low breathing. Each time it seemed like a sigh
of relief, but it did not relieve me. Evidently it was not done for that
purpose. It sounded like a sigh of blessed relief, such as a woman might
heave after she has returned from church and transferred herself from
the embrace of her new Russia iron, black silk dress into a friendly

Regularly, like the rise, and fall of a wave on the summer sea, it rose
and fell, while my pale lambrequin of hair rose and fell fitfully with

I know that people who read this will laugh at it, but there was nothing
to laugh at. At first I feared that the sigh might be that of a woman
who had entered the room through a transom in order to see me, as I lay
wrapt in slumber, and then carry the picture away to gladden her whole

But no. That was hardly possible. It was cupidity that had driven some
cruel villain to enter my apartments and to crouch in the gloom till the
proper moment should come in which to spring upon me, throttle me, crowd
a hotel pillow into each lung, and, while I did the Desdemona act, rob
me of my hard-earned wealth.

Regularly still rose the soft breathing, as though the robber might be
trying to suppress it. I reached gently under the pillow, and securing
the money I put it in the pocket of my robe de nuit. Then, with great
care, I pulled out a copy of Smith & Wesson's great work on "How to
Ventilate the Human Form." I said to myself that I would sell my life
as dearly as possible, so that whoever bought it would always regret the

Then I opened the volume at the first chapter and addressed a
thirty-eight calibre remark in the direction of the breath in the

When the echoes had died away a sigh of relief welled up from the dark
corner. Also another sigh of relief later on.

I then decided to light the gas and fight it out. You have no doubt seen
a man scratch a match on the leg of his pantaloons. Perhaps you have
also seen an absent-minded man undertake to do so, forgetting that his
pantaloons were hanging on a chair at the other end of the room.

However, I lit the gas with my left hand and kept my revolver pointed
toward the dark corner where the breath was still rising and falling.

People who had heard my lecture came rushing in, hoping to find that
I had suicided, but they found that, instead of humoring the public in
that way, I had shot the valve off the steam radiator.

It is humiliating to write the foregoing myself, but I would rather do
so than have the affair garbled by careless hands.


A pleasing anecdote is being told through the press columns recently,
of an encounter on the South Platte, which occurred some years ago
between a Texan and a buffalo. The recital sets forth the fact that the
Texans went out to hunt buffalo, hoping to get enough for a mess during
the day. Toward evening they saw two gentlemen buffalo on a neighboring
hill near the Platte, and at once pursued their game, each selecting an
animal. They separated at once, Jack going one way galloping-after his
beast, while Sam went in the other direction. Jack soon got a shot at
his game, but the bullet only tore a large hole in the fleshy shoulder
of the bull and buried itself in the neck, maddening the animal to such
a degree that he turned at once and charged upon horse and rider.

The astonished horse, with the wonderful courage, sagacity and sang
froid peculiar to the broncho, whirled around two consecutive times,
tangled his feet in the tall grass and fell, throwing his rider about
fifty feet. He then rose and walked away to a quiet place, where
he could consider the matter and give the buffalo an opportunity to

The infuriated bull then gave chase to Jack, who kept out of the way for
a few yards only, when, getting his legs entangled in the grass, he
fell so suddenly that his pursuer dashed over him without doing him any
bodily injury. However, as the animal went over his prostrate form, Jack
felt the buffalo's tail brush across his face, and, rising suddenly, he
caught it with a terrific grip and hung to it, thus keeping out of the
reach of his enemy's horns, till his strength was just giving out, when
Sam hove in sight and put a large bullet through the bull's heart.

This tale is told, apparently, by an old plainsman and scout, who reels
it off as though he might be telling his own experience.

[Illustration: 0267]

Now, I do not wish to seem captious and always sticking my nose into
what is none of my business, but as a logical and zoological fact, I
desire, in my cursory way, to coolly take up the subject of the buffalo
tail. Those who have been in the habit of killing buffaloes, instead of
running an account at the butcher shop, will remember that this noble
animal has a genuine camel's hair tail about eight inches long, with
a chenille tassel at the end, which he throws lip into the rarefied
atmosphere of the far west, whenever he is surprised or agitated.

In passing over a prostrate man, therefore, I apprehend that in order to
brush his face with the average buffalo tail, it would be necessary for
him to sit down on the bosom of the prostrate scout and fan his features
with the miniature caudal Tud.

The buffalo does not gallop an hundred miles a day, dragging his tail
across the bunch grass and alkali of the boundless plains.

He snorts a little, turns his bloodshot eyes toward the enemy a moment
and then, throwing his cunning little taillet over the dash-boardlet, he
wings away in an opposite direction.

The man who could lie on his back and grab that vision by the tail would
have to be moderately active. If he succeeded, however, it would be a
question of the sixteenth part of a second only, whether he had his arms
jerked out by the roots and scattered through space or whether he had
strength of will sufficient to yank out the withered little frizz and
hold the quivering ornament in his hands. Few people have the moral
courage to follow a buffalo around over half a day holding on by the
tail. It is said that a Sioux brave once tried it, and they say his
tracks were thirteen miles apart. After merrily sauntering around with
the buffalo one hour, during which time he crossed the territories of
Wyoming and Dakota twice and surrounded the regular army three times, he
became discouraged and died from the injuries he had received. Perhaps,
however, it may have been fatigue.

It might be possible for a man to catch hold of the meager tail of a
meteor and let it snatch him through the coming years.

It might be, that a man with a strong constitution could catch a cyclone
and ride it bareback across the United States and then have a fresh one
ready to ride back again, but to catch a buffalo bull in the full flush
of manhood, as it were, and retain his tail while he crossed three
reservations and two mountain ranges, requires great tenacity of purpose
and unusual mental equipoise.

Remember, I do not regard the story I refer to as false, at least I do
not wish to be so understood. I simply say that it recounts an incident
that is rather out of the ordinary. Let the gentle reader lie down and
have a Jack-rabbit driven across his face, for instance. The J. Rabbit
is as likely to brush your face with his brief and erect tail as
the buffalo would be. Then carefully note how rapidly and promptly
instantaneous you must be. Then closely attend to the manner in which
you abruptly and almost simultaneously, have not retained the tail in
your memory.

A few people may have successfully seized the grieved and startled
buffalo by the tail, but they are not here to testify to the
circumstances. They are dead, abnormally and extremely dead.


After viewing the birthplace of the Adamses out at Quincy I felt more
reconciled to my own birthplace. Comparing the house in which I was
born with those in which other eminent philanthropists and high-priced
statesmen originated, I find that I have no reason to complain. Neither
of the Adamses were born in a larger house than I was, and for general
tone and eclat of front yard and cook-room on behind, I am led to
believe that I have the advantage.

John Adams was born before John Quincy Adams. A popular idea seems to
prevail in some sections of the Union that inasmuch as John Q. was bald
headed, he was the elder of the two; but I inquired about that while on
the ground where they were both born, and ascertained from people who
were familiar with the circumstances, that John was born first.

John Adams was the second president of the United States. He was a
lawyer by profession, but his attention was called to politics by the
passage of the stamp act in 1765. He was one of the delegates who
represented Massachusetts in the first Continental Congress, and about
that time he wrote a letter in which he said: "The die is now cast; I
have passed the rubicon. Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish
with my country is my unalterable determination." Some have expressed
the opinion that "the rubicon" alluded to by Mr. Adams in this letter
was a law which he had succeeded in getting passed; but this is not
true. The idea of passing the rubicon first originated with Julius
Cæsar, a foreigner of some note who flourished a good deal B. C.

In June, 1776, Mr. Adams seconded a resolution, moved by Richard Henry
Lee, that the United States "are, and of right ought to be, free and
independent." Whenever Mr. Adams could get a chance to whoop for liberty
now and forever, one and inseparable, he invariably did so.

In 1796, Mr. Adams ran for president. In the convention it was nip and
tuck between Thomas Jefferson and himself, but Jefferson was understood
to be a Universalist, or an Universalist, whichever would look the best
in print, and so he only got 68 votes out of a possible 139. In 1800,
however, Jefferson turned the tables on him, and Mr. Adams only received
65 to Jefferson's 73 votes.

Mr. Adams made a good president and earned his salary, though it wasn't
so much of a job as it is now. When there was no Indian war in those
days the president could put on an old blue flannel shirt and such other
clothes as he might feel disposed to adopt, and fish for bull-heads in
the Potomac till his nose peeled in the full glare of the fervid sun.

[Illustration: 0273]

Now it is far different. By the time we get through with a president
nowadays he isn't good for much. Mr. Hayes stood the fatigue of being
president better, perhaps, than any other man since the republic became
so large a machine. Mr. Hayes went home to Fremont with his mind just as
fresh and his brain as cool as when he pulled up his coat tails to sit
down in the presidential chair. The reason why Mr. Hayes saved his mind,
his brain and his salary, was plain enough when we stop to consider that
he did not use them much during his administration.

John Quincy Adams was the sixth president of the United States and the
eldest son of John Adams. He was one of the most eloquent of orators,
and shines in history as one of the most polished of our eminent and
baldheaded Americans. When he began to speak, his round, smooth head, to
look down upon it from the gallery, resembled a nice new billiard ball,
but as he warmed up and became more thoroughly stirred, his intellectual
dome changed to a delicate pink. Then, when he rose to the full height
of his eloquent flight, and prepared to swoop down upon his adversaries
and carry them into camp, it is said that his smooth intellectual rink
was as red as the flush of rosy dawn on the 5th day of July.

He was educated both at home and abroad. That is the reason he was so
polished. After he got so that he could readily spell and pronounce the
most difficult words to be found in the large stores of Boston, he was
sent to Europe, where he acquired several foreign tongues, and got so
that he could converse with the people of Europe very fluently, if they
were familiar with English as she is spoke.

John Quincy Adams was chosen president by the House of Representatives,
there being no choice in the electoral contest, Adams receiving 84
votes, Andrew Jackson 99, William H. Crawford 41, and Henry Clay 37.
Clay stood in with Mr. Adams in the House of Representatives deal, it
was said, and was appointed secretary of state under Mr. Adams as a
result. This may not be true, but a party told me about it who got it
straight from Washington, and he also told me in confidence that he made
it a rule never to prevaricate.

Mr. Adams was opposed to American slavery, and on several occasions in
Congress alluded to his convictions.

He was in Congress seventeen years, and during that time he was
frequently on his feet attending to little matters in which he felt an
interest, and when he began to make allusions, and blush all over
the top of his head, and kick the desk, and throw ink-bottles at the
presiding officer, they say that John Q. made them pay attention. Seward
says, "with unwavering firmness, against a bitter and unscrupulous
opposition, exasperated to the highest pitch by his pertinacity--amidst
a perfect tempest of vituperation and abuse--he persevered in presenting
his anti-slavery petitions, one by one, to the amount sometimes of 200
in one day." As one of his eminent biographers has truly said: "John
Quincy Adams was indeed no slouch."


Ethel" has written a letter to me and asked for a printed reply.
Leaving off the opening sentences, which I would not care to have fall
into the hands of my wife, her note is about as follows:

"------------, Vt., Feb. 28, 1885.

"My Dear Sir,...................... [Tender part of letter omitted for
obvious reasons.] Would it be asking too much for me to request a brief
reply to one or two questions which many other married women as well as
myself would like to have answered?

I have been married now for five years. Today is the anniversary of
my marriage. When I was single I was a teacher and supported myself in
comfort. I had more pocket-money and dressed fully as well if not better
than I do now. Why should girls who are abundantly able to earn their
own livelihood struggle to become the slave of a husband and children,
and tie themselves to a man when they might be free and happy?

I think too much is said by the men in a light and flippant manner about
the anxiety of young ladies to secure a home and a husband, and still
they do deserve a part of it, as I feel that I do now for assuming a
great burden when I was comparatively independent and comfortable.

Now, will you suggest any advice that you think would benefit the yet
unmarried and selfsupporting girls who are liable to make the same
mistake that I did, and thus warn them in a manner that would be so much
more universal in its range, and reach so many more people than I
could if I should raise my voice? Do this and you will be gratefully
remembered by Ethel.

It would indeed be a tough, tough man who could ignore thy gentle
plea, Ethel; tougher far than the pale, intellectual hired man who now
addresses you in this private and underhanded manner, unknown to your
husband. Please destroy this letter, Ethel, as soon as you see it in
print, so that it will not fall into the hands of Mr. Ethel, for if it
should, I am gone. If your husband were to run across this letter in the
public press I could never look him in the eye again.

You say that you had more pocket-money before you were married than you
have since, Ethel, and you regret your rash step. I am sorry to hear it.
You also say that you wore better clothes when you were single than you
do now. You are also pained over that. It seems that marriage with you
has not paid any cash dividends. So that if you married Mr. Ethel as
a financial venture, it was a mistake. You do not state how it has
affected your husband. Perhaps he had more pocket-money and better
clothes before he married than he has since. Sometimes two people do
well in business by themselves, but when they go into partnership
they bust higher than a kite, if you will allow me the free, English
translation of a Roman expression which you might not fully understand
if I should give it to you in the original Roman.

Lots of self-supporting young ladies have married and had to go very
light on pin-money after that, and still they did not squeal, as you,
dear Ethel. They did not marry for revenue only. They married for
protection. (This is a little political bon mot which I thought of
myself. Some of my best jokes this spring are jokes that I thought of

No, Ethel, if you married expecting to be a dormant partner during the
day and then to go through Mr. Ethel's pantaloons pocket at night and
declare a dividend, of course life is full of bitter, bitter regret and

Perhaps it is also for Mr. Ethel. Anyhow, I can't help feeling a pang
of sympathy for him. You do not say that he is unkind or that he so far
forgets himself as to wake you up in the morning with a harsh tone
of voice and a yearling club. You do not say that he asks you for
pocket-money, or, if so, whether you give it to him or not.

[Illustration: 0280]

Of course I want to do what is right in the solemn warning business, so
I will give notice to all simple young women who are now selfsupporting
and happy, that there is no statute requiring them to assume the burdens
of wifehood and motherhood unless they prefer to do so. If they now have
abundance of pin-money and new clothes, they may remain single if they
wish without violating the laws of the land. This rule is also good when
applied to young and self-supporting young men who wear good clothes
and have funds in their pockets. No young man who is free, happy and
independent, need invest his money in a family or carry a colicky child
twenty-seven miles and two laps in one night unless he prefers it. But
those who go into it with the right spirit, Ethel, do not regret it.

I would just as soon tell you, Ethel, if you will promise that it shall
go no farther, that I do not wear as good clothes as I did before I was
married. I don't have to. My good clothes have accomplished what I got
them for. I played them for all they were worth, and since I got married
the idea of wearing clothes as a vocation has not occurred to me.

Please give my kind regards to Mr. Ethel, and tell him that although I
do not know him personally, I cannot help feeling sorry for him.

[Illustration: 0282]


Last week for the first time I visited the granite obelisk known all
over the civilized world as Bunker Hill monument. Sixty years ago, if my
memory serves me correctly, General La Fayette, since deceased, laid the
corner-stone, and Daniel Webster made a few desultory remarks which I
cannot now recall. Eighteen years later it was formally dedicated, and
Daniel spoke a good piece, composed mostly of things that he had thought
up himself. There has never been a feature of the early history
and unceasing struggle for American freedom which has so roused my
admiration as this custom, quite prevalent among congressmen in those
days, of writing their own speeches.

Many of Webster's most powerful speeches were written by himself or at
his suggestion. He was a plain, unassuming man, and did not feel
above writing his speeches. I have always had the greatest respect
and admiration for Mr. Webster as a citizen, as a scholar and as an
extemporaneous speaker, and had he not allowed his portrait to appear
last year in the Century, wearing an air of intense gloom and a plug hat
entirely out of style, my respect and admiration would have continued

Bunker Hill monument is a great success as a monument, and the view from
its summit is said to be well worth the price of admission. I did not
ascend the obelisk, because the inner staircase was closed to visitors
on the day of my visit and the lightning rod on the outside looked to me
as though it had been recently oiled.

On the following day, however, I engaged a man to ascend the monument
and tell me his sensations. He assured me that they were first-rate. At
the feet of the spectator Boston and its environments are spread out in
the glad sunshine. Every day Boston spreads out her environments just
that way.

Bunker Hill monument is 221 feet in height, and has been entirely paid
for. The spectator may look at the monument with perfect impunity,
without being solicited to buy some of its mortgage bonds. This adds
much to the genuine thrill of pleasure while gazing at it.

There is a Bunker Hill in Macoupin County, Illinois, also in Ingham
County, Michigan, and in Russell County, Kansas, but General Warren was
not killed at either of these points.

One hundred and ten years ago, on the 17th day of the present month, one
of America's most noted battles with the British was fought near where
Bunker Hill monument now stands. In that battle the British lost 1,050
in killed and wounded, while the American loss numbered but 450. While
the people of this country are showing such an interest in our war
history, I am surprised that something has not been said about Bunker
Hill. The Federal forces from Roxbury to Cambridge were under command
of General Arte-mus Ward, the great American humorist. When the American
humorist really puts on his war paint and sounds the tocsin, he can
organize a great deal of mourning.

General Ward was assisted by Putnam, Starke, Prescott, Gridley and
Pomeroy. Colonel William Prescott was sent over from Cambridge to
Charlestown for the purpose of fortifying Bunker Hill. At a council of
war it was decided to fortify Breeds Hill, not so high but nearer to
Boston than Bunker Hill. So a redoubt was thrown up during the night on
the ground where the monument now stands.

The British landed a large force under Generals Howe and Pigot, and at
2 p. m. the Americans were reinforced by Generals Warren and Pomeroy.
General Warren was of a literary turn of mind and during the battle took
his hat off and recited a little poem beginning:

               "Stand, the ground's your own, my braves!

               Will ye give it up to slaves?"

A man who could deliver an impromptu and extemporaneous address like
that in public, and while there was such a bitter feeling of hostility
on the part of the audience, must have been a good scholar. In our great
fratricidal strife twenty years ago, the inferiority of our generals in
this respect was painfully noticeable. We did not have a commander who
could address his troops in rhyme to save his neck. Several of them were
pretty good in blank verse, but it was so blank that it was not just the
thing to fork over to posterity and speak in school afterward.

Colonel Prescott's statue now stands where he is supposed to have stood
when he told his men to reserve their fire till they saw the whites
of the enemy's eyes. Those who have examined the cast-iron flint-lock
weapons used in those days will admit that this order was wise. Those
guns were injurious to health, of course, when used to excess, but not
necessarily or immediately fatal.

At the time of the third attack by the British, the Americans were out
of ammunition, but they met the enemy with clubbed muskets, and it was
found that one end of the rebel flintlock was about as fatal as the
other, if not more so.

Boston still meets the invader with its club. The mayor says to the
citizens of Boston: "Wait till you can see the whites of the visitor's
eyes, and then go for him with your clubs." Then the visitor surrenders.

I hope that many years may pass before it will again be necessary for us
to soak this fair land in British blood. The boundaries of our land are
now more extended, and so it would take more blood to soak it.

Boston has just reason to be proud of Bunker Hill, and it was certainly
a great stroke of enterprise to have the battle located there.

Bunker Hill is dear to every American heart, and there are none of us
who would not have cheerfully gone into the battle then if we had known
about it in time.


I have just returned from a little impromptu farewell tour in the
lumber camps toward Lake Superior. It was my idea to wade around in the
snow for a few weeks and swallow baked beans and ozone on the one-half
shell. The affair was a success. I put up at Bootjack camp on the raging
Willow River, where the gay-plumaged chipmunk and the spruce gum have
their home.

Winter in the pine woods is fraught with fun and frolic. It is more
fraught with fatigue than funds, however. This winter a man in the
Michigan and Wisconsin lumber camps could arise at 4:30 a. m., eat a
patent pail full of dried apples soaked with Young Hyson and sweetened
with Persian glucose, go out to the timber with a lantern, hew down the
giants of the forest, with the snow up to the pit of his stomach, till
the gray owl in the gathering gloom whooped and hooted in derision, and
all for $12 per month and stewed prunes.

I did not try to accumulate wealth while I was in camp. I just allowed
others to enter into the mad rush and wrench a fortune from the hand
of fate while I studied human nature and the cook. I had a good many
pleasant days there, too. I read such literary works as I could find
around the camp and smoked the royal Havana smoking tobacco of the
coo-kee. Those who have not lumbered much do not know much of true joy
and sylvan smoking tobacco.

They are not using a very good grade of the weed in the lumber regions
this winter. When I say lumber regions I do not refer entirely to the
circumstances of a weak back. (Monkey-wrench, oil can and screwdriver
sent with this joke; also rules for working it in all kinds of goods.)
The tobacco used by the pine choppers of the northern forest is called
the Scandihoovian.

I do not know why they call it that, unless it is because you can smoke
it in Wisconsin and smell it in Scandihoovia.

When night came w: would gather around the blazing fire and talk over
old times and smoke this tobacco. I smoked it till last week then I
bought a new mouth and resolved to lead a different life.

I shall never forget the evenings we spent together in that log shack
in the heart of the forest. They are graven on my memory where time's
effacing fingers can not monkey with them. We would most always
converse. The crew talked the Norwegian language and I am using the
English language mostly this winter. So each enjoyed himself in his own
quiet way. This seemed to throw the Norwegians a good deal together. It
also threw me a good deal together. The Scandinavians soon learn our
ways and our language, but prior to that they are quite clannish.

The cook, however, was an Ohio man. He spoke the Sandusky dialect with
rich, nut brown flavor that did me much good, so that after I talked
with the crew a few hours in English, and received their harsh, corduroy
replies in Norske, I gladly fled to the cook shanty. There I could
rapidly change to the smoothly flowing sentences peculiar to the Ohio
tongue, and while I ate the common twisted doughnut of commerce, we
would talk on and on of the pleasant days we had spent in our native
land. I don't know how many hours I have thus spent, bringing the glad
light into the eye of the cook as I spoke to him of Mrs. Hayes, an
estimable lady, partially married, and now living at Fremont, Ohio.

I talked to him of his old home till the tears would unbidden start, as
he rolled out the dough with a common Budweiser beer bottle, and poured
the scalding into the flour barrel. Tears are always unavailing, but
sometimes I think they are more so when they are shed into a barrel
of flour. He was an easy weeper. He would shed tears on the slightest
provocation, or anything else. Once I told him something so touchful
that his eyes were blinded with tears for the nonce. Then I took a pie,
and stole away so that he could be alone with his sorrow.

[Illustration: 0292]

He used to grind the coffee at 2 a. m. The coffee mill was nailed up
against a partition on the opposite side from my bed. That is one reason
I did not stay any longer at the camp. It takes about an hour to grind
coffee enough for thirty men, and as my ear was generally against the
pine boards when the cook began, it ruffled my slumbers and made me a
morose man.

We had three men at the camp who snored. If they had snored in my own
language I could have endured it, but it was entirely unintelligible
to me as it was. Still, it wasn't bad either. They snored on different
keys, and still there was harmony in it--a kind of chime of imported
snore as it were. I used to lie and listen to it for hours. Then the
cook would begin his coffee mill overture and I would arise.

When I got home I slept from Monday morning till Washington's Birthday
without food or water.


Having at last yielded to the entreaties of Great Britain, I have
decided to make a professional farewell tour of England with my new and
thrilling lecture, entitled "Jerked Across the Jordan, or the Sudden and
Deserved Elevation of an American Citizen."

I have, therefore, already written some of the cablegrams which will
be sent to the Associated Press, in order to open the campaign in good
shape in America on my return.

Though I have been supplicated for some time by the people of England to
come over there and thrill them with my eloquence, my thriller has been
out of order lately, so that I did not dare venture abroad.

This lecture treats incidentally of the ease with which an American
citizen may rise in the Territories, when he has a string tied around
his neck, with a few personal friends at the other end of the string. It
also treats of the various styles of oratory peculiar to America,
with specimens of American oratory that have been pressed and dried
especially for this lecture. It is a good lecture, and the few
straggling facts scattered along through it don't interfere with the
lecture itself in any way.

I shall appear in costume during the lecture.

At each lecture a different costume will be worn, and the costume worn
at the previous lecture will be promptly returned to the owner.

Persons attending the lecture need not be identified.

Polite American dude ushers will go through the audience to keep the
flies away from those who wish to sleep during the lecture.

Should the lecture be encored at its close, it will be repeated only
once. This encore business is being overdone lately, I think.

Following are some of the cablegrams I have already written. If any
one has any suggestions as to change, or other additional favorable
criticisms, they will be gratefully received; but I wish to reserve the
right, however, to do as I please about using them:

London,------,------.--Bill Nye opened his foreign lecture engagement
here last evening with a can-opener. It was found to be in good order.
As soon as the doors were opened there was a mad rush for seats, during
which three men were fatally injured. They insisted on remaining through
the lecture, however, and adding to its horrors. Before 8 o'clock 500
people had been turned away. Mr. Nye announced that he would deliver
a matinee this afternoon, but he has been petitioned by tradesmen to
refrain from doing so as it will paralyze the business interests of the
city to such a degree that they offer to "buy the house," and allow the
lecturer to cancel his engagement.

London,------,------. --The great lecturer and contortionist, Bill Nye,
last night closed his six weeks' engagement here with his famous lecture
on "The Rise and Fall of the American Horse Thief," with a grand benefit
and ovation. The elite of London was present, many of whom have attended
every evening for six weeks to hear this same lecture. Those who can
afford it will follow the lecturer back to America, in order to be where
they can hear this lecture almost constantly.

Mr. Nye, at the beginning of the season, offered a prize to anyone who
should neither be absent nor tardy through the entire six weeks.

After some hot discussion last evening, the prize was awarded to the
janitor of the hall.

[Associated Press Cablegram.]

London,------,------.--Bill Nye will sail for

America tomorrow in the steamship Senegambia. On his arrival in America
he will at once pay off the national debt and found a large asylum for
American dudes whose mothers are too old to take in washing and support
their sons in affluence.


Receiving another notice of assessment on my stock in the Aladdin mine
the other day, reminded me that I was still interested in a bottomless
hole that was supposed at one time to yield funds instead of absorbing
them. The Aladdin claim was located in the spring of '76 by a syndicate
of journalists, none of whom had ever been openly accused of wealth. If
we had been, we could have proved an alibi.

We secured a gang of miners to sink on the discovery, consisting of a
Chinaman named How Long. How Long spoke the Chinese language with great
fluency. Being perfectly familiar with that language, and a little musty
in the trans-Missouri English, he would converse with us in his own
language, sometimes by the hour, courteously overlooking the fact that
we did not reply to him in the same tongue. He would converse in this
way till he ran down, generally, and then he would refrain for a while.

Finally, How Long signified that he would like to draw his salary. Of
course he was ignorant of our ways, and as innocent of any knowledge
of the intricate details peculiar to a mining syndicate as the child
unborn. So he had gone to the president of our syndicate and had been
referred to the superintendent, and he had sent How Long to the auditor,
and the auditor had told him to go to the gang boss and get his time,
and then proceed in the proper manner, after which, if his claim turned
out to be all right, we would call a meeting of the syndicate and take
early action in relation to it. By this, the reader will readily see
that, although we were not wealthy, we know how to do business just the
same as though we had been a wealthy corporation.

How Long attended one of our meetings and at the close of the session
made a few remarks. As near as I am able to recall his language, it was
very much as follows:

"China boy no sabbe you dam slyndicate. You allee sam foolee me too
muchee. How Long no chopee big hole in the glound allee day for health.
You Melican boy Laddee silver mine all same funny business. Me no likee
slyndicate. Slyndicate heap gone all same woodbine. You sabbe me? How
Long make em slyndicate pay tention. You April foolee me. You makee me
tlired. You putee me too much on em slate. Slyndicate no good. Allee
time stanemoff China boy. You allee time chin chin. Dlividend allee time
heap gone."

Owing to a strike which then took place in our mine, we found that, in
order to complete our assessment work, we must get in another crew or do
the job ourselves. Owing to scarcity of help and a feeling of antagonism
on the part of the laboring classes toward our giant enterprise, a
feeling of hostility which naturally exists between labor and capital,
we had to go out to the mine ourselves. We had heard of other men who
had shoveled in their own mines and were afterward worth millions of
dollars, so we took some bacon and other delicacies and hied us to the

Buck, our mining expert, went down first. Then he requested us to hoist
him out again. We did so. I have forgotten what his first remark was
when he got out of the bucket, but that don't make any difference, for I
wouldn't care to use it here anyway.

[Illustration: 0301]

It seems that How Long, owing to his heathenish ignorance of our customs
and the unavoidable delay in adjusting his claim for work, labor and
services, had allowed his temper to get the better of him and he had
planted a colony of American skunks in the shaft of the Aladdin.

That is the reason we left the Aladdin mine and no one jumped it. We had
not done the necessary work in order to hold it, but when we went out
there the following spring we found that no one had jumped it.

Even the rough, coarse miner, far from civilizing influences and beyond
the reach of social advantages recognizes the fact that this little
unostentatious animal plodding along through life in its own modest
way, yet wields a wonderful influence over the destinies of man. So the
Aladdin mine was not disturbed that summer.

We paid How Long, and in the following spring had a flattering offer
for the claim if it assayed as well as we said it would, so Buck, our
expert, went out to the Aladdin with an assayer and the purchaser. The
assay of the Aladdin showed up very rich indeed, far above anything that
I had ever hoped for, and so we made a sale. But we never got the money,
for when the assayer got home he casually assayed his apparatus and
found that his whole outfit had been salted prior to the Aladdin assay.

I do not think our expert, Buck, would salt an assayer's kit, but he was
charged with it at this time, and he said he would rather lose his
trade than have trouble over it. He would rather suffer wrong than to do
wrong, he said, and so the Aladdin came back on our hands.

It is not a very good mine if a man wants it as a source of revenue, but
it makes a mighty good well. The water is cold and clear as crystal. If
it stood in Boston, instead of out there in northern Colorado, where you
can't get at it more than three months in the year, it would be worth
$150. The great fault of the Aladdin mine is its poverty as a mine, and
its isolation as a well.


Last week we went up to the Coliseum, at Minneapolis, to hear Theodore
Thomas' orchestra, the Wagner trio and Christine Nilsson. The Coliseum
is a large rink just out of Minneapolis, on the road between that city
and St. Paul. It can seat 4,000 people comfortably, but the management
like to wedge 4,500 people in there on a warm day, and then watch the
perspiration trickle out through the clapboards on the outside. On the
closing afternoon, during the matinee performance, the building was
struck by lightning and a hole knocked out of the Corinthian duplex that
surmounts the oblique portcullis on the off side. The reader will see at
once the location of the bolt.

The lightning struck the flag-staff, ran down the leg of a man who was
repairing the electric light, took a chew of his tobacco, turned his
boot wrong side out and induced him to change his sock, toyed with a
chilblain, wrenched out a soft corn and roguishly put it in his
ear, then ran down the electric light wire, a part of it filling an
engagement in the Coliseum and the balance following the wire to the
depot, where it made double-pointed toothpicks of a pole fifty feet
high. All this was done very briefly. Those who have seen lightning toy
with a cottonwood tree, know that this fluid makes a specialty of it at
once and in a brief manner. The lightning in this case, broke the glass
in the skylight and deposited the broken fragments on a half dozen
parquette chairs, that were empty because the speculators who owned them
couldn't get but $50 apiece, and were waiting for a man to mortgage his
residence and sell a team. He couldn't make the transfer in time for
the matinee, so the seats were vacant when the lightning struck. The
immediate and previous fluid then shot athwart the auditorium in the
direction of the platform, where it nearly frightened to death a
large chorus of children. Women fainted, ticket speculators fell $2 on
desirable seats, and strong men coughed up a clove. The scene beggared
description. I intended to have said that before, but forgot it.
Theodore Thomas drew in a full breath, and Christine Nilsson drew her
salary. Two thousand strong men thought of their wasted lives, and two
thousand women felt for their back hair to see if it was still there. I
say therefore, without successful contradiction, that the scene beggared
description. Chestnuts!

In the evening several people sang, "The Creation." Nilsson was Gabriel.
Gabriel has a beautiful voice cut low in the neck, and sings like a
joyous bobolink in the dew-saturated mead. How's that? Nilsson is proud
and haughty in her demeanor, and I had a good notion to send a note up
to her, stating that she needn't feel so lofty, and if she could sit up
in the peanut gallery where I was and look at herself, with her dress
kind of sawed off at the top, she would not be so vain. She wore a
diamond necklace and silk skirt. The skirt was cut princesse, I think,
to harmonize with her salary. As an old neighbor of mine said when
he painted the top board of his fence green, he wanted it "to kind of
corroborate with his blinds." He's the same man who went to Washington
about the time of the Guiteau trial, and said he was present at the
"post mortise" examination. But the funniest thing of all, he said, was
to see Dr. Mary Walker riding one of these "philosophers" around on the

[Illustration: 0307]

But I am wandering. We were speaking of the Festival. Theodore Thomas is
certainly a great leader. What a pity he is out of politics. He pounded
the air all up fine there, Thursday. I think he has 25 small-size
fiddles, 10 medium-size, and 5 of those big, fat ones that a bald-headed
man generally annoys. Then there were a lot of wind instruments, drums,
et cetera. There were 600 performers on the stage, counting the chorus,
with 4,500 people in the house and 8,000 outside yelling at the ticket
office--also at the top of their voices--and swearing because they
couldn't mortgage their immortal souls and hear Nilsson's coin silver
notes. It was frightful. The building settled twelve inches in those
two hours and a half, the electric lights went out nine times for
refreshments, and, on the whole, the entertainment was a grand success.
The first time the lights adjourned, an usher came in on the stage
through a side entrance with a kerosene lamp. I guess he would have
stood there and held it for Nilsson to sing by, if 4,500 people hadn't
with one voice laughed him out into the starless night. You might as
well have tried to light benighted Africa with a white bean. I shall
never forget how proud and buoyant he looked as he sailed in with that
kerosene lamp with a solid chimney on it, and how hurt and grieved
he seemed when he took it and groped his way out while the Coliseum
trembled with ill-concealed merriment. I use the term "ill-concealed
merriment" with permission of the proprietors, for this season only.


I take occasion at this time to ask the American people as one man,
what are we to do to prevent, the spread of the most insidious and
disagreeable disease known as hydrophobia? When a fellow-being has to be
smothered, as was the case the other day right here in our fair land, a
land where tyrant foot hath never trod nor bigot forged a chain, we look
anxiously into each other's faces and inquire, what shall we do?

Shall we go to France at a great expense and fill our systems full of
dog virus and then return to our glorious land, where we may fork over
that virus to posterity and thus mix up French hydrophobia with the
navy-blue blood of free-born American citizens?

I wot not.

If I knew that would be my last wot I would not change it. That is just
wot it would be.

But again.

What shall we do to avoid getting impregnated with the American dog and
then saturating our systems with the alien dog of Paris?

It is a serious matter, and if we do not want to play the Desdemona act
we must take some timely precautions. What must those precautions be?

Did it ever occur to the average thinking mind that we might squeeze
along for weeks without a dog? Whole families have existed for years
after being deprived of dogs. Look at the wealthy of our land. They go
on comfortably through life and die at last with the unanimous consent
of their heirs dogless.

Then why cannot the poor gradually taper oft on dogs? They ought not to
stop all of a sudden, but they could leave off a dog at a time until at
last they overcame the pernicious habit.

I saw a man in St. Paul last week who was once poor, and so owned seven
variegated dogs. He was confirmed in that habit. But he summoned all his
will-power at last and said he would shake off these dogs and become a
man. He did so, and today he owns a city lot in St. Paul, and seems to
be the picture of health.

The trouble about maintaining a dog is that he may go on for years in a
quiet, gentlemanly way, winning the regard of all who know him, and then
all of a sudden he may hydrophobe in the most violent manner. Not only
that, but he may do so while we have company. He may also bite our twins
or the twins of our warmest friends. He may bite us now and we may laugh
at it, but in five years from now, while we are delivering a humorous
lecture, we may burst forth into the audience and bite a beautiful young
lady in the parquet or on the ear.

It is a solemn thing to think of, fellow-citizens, and I appeal to
those who may read this, as a man who may not live to see a satisfactory
political reform--I appeal to you to refrain from the dog. He is purely
ornamental. We may love a good dog, but we ought to love our children
more. It would be a very, very noble and expensive dog that I would
agree to feed with my only son.

I know that we gradually become attached to a good dog, but some day he
may become attached to us, and what can be sadder than the sight of
a leading citizen drawing a reluctant mad dog down the street by main
strength and the seat of his pantaloons? (I mean his own, not the dog's
pants. This joke will appear in book form in April. The book will be
very readable, and there will be another joke in it also, eod tf.)

I have said a good deal about the dog, pro and con, and I am not a rabid
dog abolitionist, for no one loves to have his clear-cut features licked
by the warm, wet tongue of a noble dog any more than I do, but rather
than see hydrophobia become a national characteristic or a leading
industry here, I would forego the dog.

Perhaps all men are that way, however. When they get a little forehanded
they forget that they were once poor, and owned dogs. If so, I do not
wish to be unfair. I want to be just, and I believe I am. Let us yield
up our dogs and tack the affection that we would otherwise bestow on
them on some human being. I have tried it and it works well. There are
thousands of people in the world, of both sexes, who are pining and
starving for the love and money that we daily shower on the dog.

If the dog would be kind enough to refrain from introducing his justly
celebrated virus into the person of those only who kiss him on the cold,
moist nose, it would be all right; but when a dog goes mad he is very
impulsive, and he may bestow himself on an obscure man. So I feel a
little nervous myself.


Probably few people have been more successful in the discovering line
than Christopher Columbus. Living as he did in a day when a great many
things were still in an undiscovered state, the horizon was filled with
golden opportunities for a man possessed of Mr. C.'s pluck and ambition.
His life at first was filled with rebuffs and disappointments, but at
last he grew to be a man of importance in his own profession, and the
people who wanted anything discovered would always bring it to him
rather than take it elsewhere.

And yet the life of Columbus was a stormy one. Though he discovered a
continent wherein a millionaire attracts no attention, he himself was
very poor.

Though he rescued from barbarism a broad and beautiful land in whose
metropolis the theft of less than half a million of dollars is regarded
as petty larceny, Chris himself often went to bed hungry. Is it not
singular that the gray-eyed and gentle Columbus should have added a
hemisphere to the history of our globe, a hemisphere, too, where pie
is a common thing, not only on Sunday, but throughout the week, and yet
that he should have gone down to his grave pieless!

Such is the history of progress in all ages and in all lines of thought
and investigation. Such is the meagre reward of the pioneer in new
fields of action.

I presume that America today has a larger pie area than any other
land in which the Cockney English language is spoken. Right here where
millions of native born Americans dwell, many of whom are ashamed of the
fact that they were born here and which shame is entirely mutual between
the Goddess of Liberty and themselves, we have a style of pie that no
other land can boast of.

From the bleak and acid dried apple pie of Maine to the irrigated
mince pie of the blue Pacific, all along down the long line of igneous,
volcanic and stratified pie, America, the land of the freedom bird with
the high instep to his nose, leads the world.

Other lands may point with undissembled pride to their polygamy and
their cholera, but we reck not. Our polygamy here is still in its
infancy and our leprosy has had the disadvantage of a cold, backward
spring, but look at our pie.

Throughout a long and disastrous war, sometimes referred to as a
fraticidal war, during which this fair land was drenched in blood, and
also during which aforesaid war numerous frightful blunders were
made which are fast coming to the surface--through the courtesy of
participants in said war who have patiently waited for those who
blundered to die off, and now admit that said participants who are dead
did blunder exceedingly throughout all this long and deadly struggle for
the supremacy of liberty and right--as I was about to say when my mind
began to wobble, the American pie has shown forth resplendent in the
full glare of a noonday sun or beneath the pale-green of the electric
light, and she stands forth proudly today with her undying loyalty to
dyspepsia untrammeled and her deep and deadly gastric antipathy still
fiercely burning in her breast.

That is the proud history of American pie. Powers, principalities,
kingdoms and handmade dynasties may crumble, but the republican form of
pie does not crumble. Tyranny may totter on its throne, but the American
pie does not totter. Not a tot. No foreign threat has ever been able
to make our common chicken pie quail. I do not say this because it is
smart; I simply say it to fill up.

But would it not do Columbus good to come among us today and look
over our free institutions? Would it not please him to ride over this
continent which has been rescued by his presence of mind from the
thraldom of barbarism and forked over to the genial and refining
influences of prohibition and pie?

America fills no mean niche in the great history of nations, and if you
listen carefully for a few moments you will hear some American, with his
mouth full of pie, make that remark. The American is always frank and
perfectly free to state that no other country can approach this one. We
allow no little two-for-a-quarter monarchy to excel us in the size of
our failures or in the calm and self-poised deliberation with which
we erect a monument to-the glory of a worthy citizen who is dead, and
therefore politically useless.

The careless student of the career of Columbus will find much in these
lines that he has not yet seen. He will realize when he comes to read
this little sketch the pains and the trouble and the research necessary
before such an article on the life and work of Columbus could be
written, and he will thank me for it; but it not for that that I have
done it. It is a pleasure for me to hunt up and arrange historical and
biographical data in a pleasing form for the student and savant. I am
only too glad to please and gratify the student and the savant. I was
that way myself once and I know how to sympathize with them.

P. S.--I neglected to state that Columbus was a married man. Still, he
did not murmur or repine.


Office of Daily Boomerang,

Laramie City, Wy., Aug. 9, 1882.

My Dear General.--I have received by telegraph the news of my nomination
by the President and my confirmation by the Senate, as postmaster at
Laramie, and wish to extend my thanks for the same.

I have ordered an entirely new set of boxes and postoffice outfit,
including new corrugated cuspidors for the lady clerks.

[Illustration: 0321]

I look upon the appointment, myself, as a great triumph of eternal
truth over error and wrong. It is one of the epochs, I may say, in the
Nation's onward march toward political purity and perfection. I do not
know when I have noticed any stride in the affairs of state, which so
thoroughly impressed me with its wisdom.

Now that we are co-workers in the same department, I trust that you
will not feel shy or backward in consulting me at any time relative to
matters concerning postoffice affairs. Be perfectly frank with me, and
feel perfectly free to just bring anything of that kind right to me.
Do not feel reluctant because I may at times appear haughty and
indifferent, cold or reserved. Perhaps you do not think I know the
difference between a general delivery window and a three-m quad, but
that is a mistake.

My general information is far beyond my years.

With profoundest regard, and a hearty endorsement of the policy of the
President and the Senate, whatever it may be,

I remain, sincerely yours.

Bill Nye, P. M.

Gen. Frank Hatton, Washington, D, C,


Most everyone who has tried the publication of a newspaper will call to
mind as he reads this item, a similar experience, though, perhaps, not
so pronounced and protuberant.

Early one summer morning a gawky young tenderfoot, both as to the West
and the details of journalism, came into the office and asked me for a
job as correspondent to write up the mines in North Park. He wore his
hair longish and tried to make it curl. The result was a greasy coat
collar and the general tout ensemble of the genus "smart Aleck." He had
also clothed himself in the extravagant clothes of the dime novel scout
and beautiful girl-rescuer of the Indian country. He had been driven
west by a wild desire to hunt the flagrant Sioux warrior, and do a
general Wild Bill business; hoping, no doubt, before the season closed,
to rescue enough beautiful captive maidens to get up a young Vassar
College in Wyoming or Montana.

I told him that we did not care for a mining-correspondent who did not
know a piece of blossom rock from a geranium. I knew it took a man
a good many years to gain knowledge enough to know where to sink a
prospect shaft even, and as to passing opinions on a vein, it would seem
almost wicked and sacrilegious to send a man out there among those old
grizzly miners who had spent their lives in bitter experience, unless
the young man could readily distinguish the points of difference between
a chunk of free milling quartz and a fragment of bologna sausage.

He still thought he could write us letters that would do the paper some
eternal good, and though I told him, as he wrung my hand and left, to
refrain from writing or doing any work for us, he wrote a letter before
he had reached the home station on the stage road, or at least sent us
a long letter from there. It might have been written before he started,

The letter was of the "we-have-went" and "I-have-never-saw" variety, and
he spelt curiosity "qrossity." He worked hard to get the word into his
alleged letter, and then assassinated it.

Well, we paid no attention whatever to the letter, but meantime he got
into the mines, and the way he dead-headed feed and sour mash, on the
strength of his relations with the press, made the older miners weep.

Buck Bramel got a little worried and wrote to me about it. He said that
our soft-eyed mining savant was getting us a good many subscribers,
and writing up every little gopher hole in North Park, and living on
Cincinnati quail, as we miners call bacon; but he said that none of
these fine, blooming letters, regarding the assays on "The Weasel
Asleep," "The Pauper's Dream," "The Mary Ellen" and "The Over Draft,"
ever seemed to crop out in the paper.

Why was it?

I wrote back that the white-eyed pelican from the buckwheat-enamelled
plains of Arkansas had not remitted, was not employed by us, and that
I would write and publish a little card of introduction for the bilious
litterateur that would make people take in their domestic animals, and
lock up their front fences and garden fountains..

In the meantime they sent him up the gulch to find some "float." He had
wandered away from camp thirty miles before he remembered that he
didn't know what float looked like. Then he thought he would go back and
inquire. He got lost while in a dark brown study and drifted into the
bosom of the unknowable. He didn't miss the trail until a perpendicular
wall of the Rocky Mountains, about 900 feet high, rose up and hit him
athwart the nose.

[Illustration: 0327]

He communed with nature and the coyotes one night and had a pretty tough
time of it. He froze his nose partially off, and the coyotes came and
gnawed his little dimpled toes. He passed a wretched night and was
greatly annoyed by the cold, which at that elevation sends the mercury
toward zero all through the summer nights.

Of course he pulled the zodiac partially over him, and tried to button
his alapaca duster a little closer, but his sleep was troubled by the
sociability of the coyotes and the midnight twitter of the mountain
lion. He ate moss agates rare and spruce gum for breakfast. When he got
to the camp he looked like a forty-day starvationist hunting for a job.

They asked him if he found any float, and he said he didn't find a
blamed drop of water, say nothing about float, and then they all laughed
a merry laugh, and said that if he showed up at daylight the next
morning within the limits of the park, the orders were to burn him at
the stake.

The next morning neither he nor the best bay mule on the Troublesome was
to be seen with naked eye. After that we heard of him in the San Juan

He had lacerated the finer feelings of the miners down there, and had
violated the etiquette of San Juan, so they kicked a flour barrel out
from under him one day when he was looking the other way, and being a
poor tightrope performer, he got tangled up with a piece of inch rope in
such a way that he died of his injuries.


In my opinion every professional man should keep a chest of carpenters'
tools in his barn or shop, and busy himself at odd hours with them in
constructing the varied articles that are always needed about the house.
There is a great deal of pleasure in feeling your own independence of
other trades, and more especially of the carpenter. Every now and then
your wife will want a bracket put up in some corner or other, and with
your new, bright saw and glittering hammer you can put up one upon which
she can hang a cast-iron horse-blanket lambrequin, with inflexible water
lilies sewed in it.

A man will, if he tries, readily learn to do a great many such little
things and his wife will brag on him to other ladies, and they will make
invidious comparisons between their husbands who can't do anything of
that kind whatever, and you who are "so handy."

Firstly, you buy a set of amateur carpenter tools. You do not need to
say that you are an amateur. The dealer will find that out when you ask
him for an easy-running broad-ax or a green-gage plumb line. He will
sell you a set of amateur's tools that will be made of old sheet-iron
with basswood handles, and the saws will double up like a piece of

After you have nailed a board on the fence successfully, you will very
naturally desire to do something much better, more difficult. You will
probably try to erect a parlor table or rustic settee.

I made a very handsome bracket last week, and I was naturally proud of
it. In fastening it together, if I hadn't inadvertently nailed it to the
barn floor, I guess I could have used it very well, but in tearing it
loose from the barn, so that the two could be used separately, I ruined
a bracket that was intended to serve as the base, as it were, of a
lambrequin which cost nine dollars, aside from the time expended on it.

During the month of March I built an ice-chest for this summer. It was
not handsome, but it was roomy, and would be very nice for the season of
1886, I thought. It worked pretty well through March and April, but as
the weather begins to warm up that ice-chest is about the warmest place
around the house. There is actually a glow of heat around that ice-chest
that I don't notice elsewhere. I've shown it to several personal
friends. They seem to think it is not built tightly enough for an
ice-chest. My brother looked at it yesterday, and said that his idea of
an ice-chest was that it ought to be tight enough at least to hold the
larger chunks of ice so that they would not escape through the pores
of the ice-box. He says he never built one, but that it stood to reason
that a refrigerator like that ought to be constructed so that it would
keep the cows out of it. You don't want to have a refrigerator that the
cattle can get through the cracks of and eat up your strawberries on
ice, he says.

A neighbor of mine who once built a hen resort of laths, and now wears a
thick thumbnail that looks like a Brazil nut as a memento of that pullet
corral, says my ice-chest is all right enough, only that it is not
suited to this climate. He thinks that along Behring's Strait, during
the holidays, my ice-chest would work like a charm. And even here, he
thought, if I could keep the fever out of my chest there would be less

I have made several other little articles of virtu this spring, to the
construction of which I have contributed a good deal of time and two
finger nails. I have also sawed into my leg two or three times. The leg,
of course, will get well, but the pantaloons will not. Parties wishing
to meet me in my studio during the morning hour will turn into the alley
between Eighth and Ninth streets, enter the third stable door on the
left, pass around behind my Gothic horse, and give the countersign and
three kicks on the door in an ordinary tone of voice.


I am convinced that there is great economy in keeping hens if we have
sufficient room for them and a thorough knowledge of how to manage the
fowl properly. But to the professional man, who is not familiar with the
habits of the hen, and whose mind does not naturally and instinctively
turn henward I would say: Shun her as you would the deadly upas tree of
Piscataquis County, Me.

Nature has endowed the hen with but a limited amount of brain-force.
Any one will notice that if he will compare the skull of the average
self-made hen with that of Daniel Webster, taking careful measurements
directly over the top from one ear to the other, the well-informed
brain student will at once notice a great falling-off in the region of
reverence and an abnormal bulging out in the location of alimentiveness.

Now take your tape-measure and, beginning at memory, pass carefully over
the occipital bone to the base of the brain in the region of love of
home and offspring and you will see that, while the hen suffers much
in comparison with the statement in the relative size of sublimity,
reflection, spirituality, time, tune, etc., when it comes to love of
home and offspring she shines forth with great splendor.

The hen does not care for the sublime in nature. Neither does she care
for music. Music hath no charms to soften her tough old breast. But she
loves her home and her country. I have sought to promote the interests
of the hen to some extent, but I have not been a marked success in that

I can write a poem in fifteen minutes. I always could dash off a poem
whenever I wanted to, and a very good poem, too, for a dashed poem. I
could write a speech for a friend in congress--a speech that would be
printed in the Congressional Record and go all over the United States
and be read by no one. I could enter the field of letters anywhere and
attract attention, but when it comes to setting a hen I feel that I am
not worthy. I never feel my utter unworthiness as I do in the presence
of a setting hen.

When the adult hen in my presence expresses a desire to set I excuse
myself and go away. That is the supreme moment when a hen desires to be
alone. That is no time for me to introduce my shallow levity. I never do

It is after death that I most fully appreciate the hen. When she has
been cut down early in life and fried I respect her. No one can look
upon the still features of a young hen overtaken by death in life's
young morning, snuffed out as it were, like an old tin lantern in a gale
of wind, without being visibly affected.

But it is not the hen who desires to set for the purpose of getting out
an early edition of spring chickens that I am averse to. It is the aged
hen, who is in her dotage, and whose eggs, also, are in their second
childhood. Upon this hen I shower my anathemas. Overlooked by the
pruning-hook of time, shallow in her remarks, and a wall-flower in
society, she deposits her quota of eggs in the catnip conservatory, far
from the haunts of men, and then in August, when eggs are extremely
low and her collection of no value to any one but the antiquarian, she
proudly calls attention to her summer's work.

This hen does not win the general confidence. Shunned by good society
during life, her death is only regretted by those who are called upon to
assist at her obsequies. Selfish through life, her death is regarded as
a calamity by those alone who are expected to eat her.

And what has such a hen to look back upon in her closing hours? A long
life, perhaps, for longevity is one of the characteristics of this class
of hens; but of what has that life been productive? How many golden
hours has she frittered away hovering over a porcelain doorknob trying
to hatch out a litter of Queen Anne cottages. How many nights has she
passed in solitude on her lonely nest, with a heart filled with
bitterness toward all mankind, hoping on against hope that in the fall
she would come off the nest with a cunning little brick block, perhaps.

Such is the history of the aimless hen. While others were at work she
stood around with her hands in her pockets and criticised the policy of
those who labored, and when the summer waned she came forth with nothing
but regret to wander listlessly about and freeze off some more of her
feet during the winter. For such a hen death can have no terrors.

[Illustration: 0336]


We had about as ornery and triflin' a crop of kids in Calaveras county,
thirty years ago, as you could gather in with a fine-tooth comb and a
brass band in fourteen States. For ways that was kittensome they were
moderately active and abnormally protuberant. That was the prevailing
style of Calaveras kid, when Mr. George W. Mulqueen come there and
wanted to engage the school at the old camp, where I hung up in the days
when the country was new and the murmur of the six-shooter was heard in
the land.

"George W. Mulqueen was a slender young party from the effete East, with
conscientious scruples and a hectic flush. Both of these was agin him
for a promoter of school discipline and square root. He had a heap of
information and big sorrowful eyes.

"So fur as I was concerned, I didn't feel like swearing around George or
using any language that would sound irrelevant in a ladies' boodore; but
as for the kids of the school, they didn't care a blamed cent. They just
hollered and whooped like a passle of Sioux.

"They didn't seem to respect literary attainments or expensive
knowledge. They just simply seemed to respect the genius that come to
that country to win their young love with a long-handled shovel and a
blood-shot tone of voice. That's what seemed to catch the Calaveras kids
in the early days.

[Illustration: 0339]

"George had weak lungs, and they kept to work at him till they drove him
into a mountain fever, and finally into a metallic sarcophagus.

"Along about the holidays the sun went down on George W. Mulqueen's
life, just as the eternal sunlight lit up the dewy eyes. You will pardon
my manner, Nye, but it seemed to me just as if George had climbed up to
the top of Mount Cavalry, or wherever it was, with that whole school on
his back, and had to give up at last.

"It seemed kind of tough to me, and I couldn't help blamin' it onto the
school some, for there was a half a dozen big snoozers that didn't go to
school to learn, but just to raise Ned and turn up Jack.

"Well, they killed him, anyhow, and that settled it.

"The school run kind of wild till Feboowary, and then a husky young
tenderfoot, with a fist like a mule's foot in full bloom, made an
application for the place, and allowed he thought he could maintain
discipline if they'd give him a chance. Well, they ast him when he
wanted to take his place as tutor, and he reckoned he could begin to
tute about Monday follering.

"Sunday afternoon he went up to the school-house to look over the
ground, and to arrange a plan for an active Injin campaign agin the
hostile hoodlums of Calaveras.

"Monday he sailed in about 9 a. m. with his grip-sack, and begun the
discharge of his juties.

"He brought in a bunch of mountain-willers, and, after driving a big
railroad-spike into the door-casing, over the latch, he said the senate
and house would sit with closed doors during the morning session.
Several large, whiteeyed holy terrors gazed at him in a kind of dumb,
inquiring tone of voice, but-----

"People passing by thought they must be beating carpets in the
school-house. He pointed the gun at his charge with his left and
manipulated the gad with his right duke. One large, overgrown Missourian
tried to crawl out of the winder, but, after he had looked down the
barrel of the shooter a moment, he changed his mind. He seemed to
realize that it would be a violation of the rules of the school, so he
came back and sat down.

"After he wore out the foliage, Bill, he pulled the spike out of that
door, put on his coat and went away. He never was seen there again. He
didn't ask for any salary, but just walked off quietly, and that summer
we accidently heard that he was George W. Mulqueen's brother."


I have just returned from a polite and recherche party here. Washington
is the hotbed of gayety, and general headquarters for the recherche
business. It would be hard to find a bontonger aggregation than the one
I was just at, to use the words of a gentleman who was there, and who
asked me if I wrote "The Heathen Chinee."

He was a very talented man, with a broad sweep of skull and a vague
yearning for something more tangible--to drink. He was in Washington, he
said, in the interests of Mingo county. I forgot to ask him where Mingo
county might be. He took a great interest in me, and talked with me
long after he really had anything to say. He was one of those fluent
conversationalists frequently met with in society. He used one of these
web-perfecting talkers--the kind that can be fed with raw Roman
punch, and that will turn out punctuated talk in links, like varnished
sausages. Being a poor talker myself, and rather more fluent as a
listener, I did not interrupt him.

He said that he was sorry to notice how young girls and their parents
came to Washington as they would to a matrimonial market.

I was sorry also to hear it. It pained me to know that young ladies
should allow themselves to be bamboozled into matrimony. Why was it, I
asked, that matrimony should ever single out the young and fair?

"Ah," said he, "it is indeed rough!"

He then breathed a sigh that shook the foliage of the speckled geranium
near by, and killed an artificial caterpillar that hung on its branches.

"Matrimony is all right," said he, "if properly brought about. It breaks
my heart, though, to notice how Washington is used as a matrimonial
market. It seems to me almost as if these here young ladies were brought
here like slaves and exposed for sale." I had noticed that they were
somewhat exposed, but I did not know that they were for sale. I asked
him if the waists of party dresses had always been so sadly in the
minority, and he said they had.

I do not think a lady ought to give too much thought to her apparel;
neither should she feel too much above her clothes. I say this in the
kindest spirit, because I believe that man should be a friend to
woman. No family circle is complete without a woman. She is like a glad
landscape to the weary eye. Individually and collectively, woman is a
great adjunct of civilization and progress. The electric light is a good
thing, but how pale and feeble it looks by the light of a good woman's
eyes. The telephone is a great invention. It is a good thing to talk at,
and murmur into and deposit profanity in; but to take up a conversation,
and keep it up, and follow a man out through the front door with it, the
telephone has still much to learn from woman.

It is said that our government officials are not sufficiently paid; and
I presume that is the case, so it became necessary to economize in every
way; but, why should wives concentrate all their economy on the waist of
a dress? When chest protectors are so cheap as they now are, I hate to
see people suffer, and there is more real suffering, more privation and
more destitution, pervading the Washington scapula and clavicle this
winter than I ever saw before.

But I do not hope to change this custom, though I spoke to several
ladies about it, and asked them to think it over. I do not think they
will. It seems almost wicked to cut off the best part of a dress and put
it at the other end of the skirt, to be trodden under feet of men, as
I may say. They smiled good hu-moredly at me as I tried to impress my
views upon them, but should I go there again next season and mingle in
the mad whirl of Washington, where these fair women are also mingling
in said mad whirl I presume that I will find them clothed in the same
gaslight waist, with trimmings of real vertebrae down the back.

Still, what does a man know about the proper costume of a woman? He
knows nothing whatever. He is in many ways a little inconsistent. Why
does a man frown on a certain costume for his wife, and admire it on the
first woman he meets? Why does he fight shy of religion and Christianity
and talk very freely about the church, but get mad if his wife is an

Crops around Washington are looking well. Winter wheat, crocuses and
indefinite postponements were never in a more thrifty condition. Quite a
number of people are here who are waiting to be confirmed. Judging
from their habits, they are lingering around here in order to become
confirmed drunkards.

I leave here to-morrow with a large, wet towel in my plug hat. Perhaps
I should have said nothing on this dress reform question while my hat
is fitting me so immediately. It is seldom that I step aside from the
beaten path of rectitude, but last evening, on the way home, it seemed
to me that I didn't do much else but step aside. At these parties no
charge is made for punch. It is perfectly free. I asked a colored man
who was standing near the punch bowl, and who replenished it ever and
anon, what the damage was, and he drew himself up to his full height.

Possibly I did wrong, but I hate to be a burden on anyone. It seemed
hard to me to go to a first-class dance and find the supper and the band
and the rum all paid for. It must cost a good deal of money to run this


During the past season I was considerably interested in agriculture. I
met with some success, but not enough to madden me with joy. It takes
a good deal of success to unscrew my reason and make it totter on its
throne. I've had trouble with my liver, and various other abnormal
conditions of the vital organs, but old reason sits there on his or her
throne, as the case may be, through it all.

Agriculture has a charm about it which I can not adequately describe.
Every product of the farm is furnished by nature with something that
loves it, so that it will never be neglected. The grain crop is loved
by the weevil, the Hessian fly, and the chinch bug; the watermelon, the
squash-and the cucumber are loved by the squash bug; the potato is loved
by the potato bug; the sweet corn is loved by the ant, thou sluggard;
the tomato is loved by the cut worm; the plum is loved by the curculio,
and so forth, and so forth, so that no plant that grows need be a
wall-flower. [Early blooming and extremely dwarf joke for the table.
Plant as soon as there is no danger of frosts, in drills four inches
apart. When ripe, pull it, and eat raw with vinegar. The red ants may be
added to taste.]

Well, I began early to spade up my angleworms and other pets, to see
if they had withstood the severe winter. I found they had. They were
unusually bright and cheerful. The potato bugs were a little sluggish
at first, but as the spring opened and the ground warmed up they
pitched right in, and did first-rate. Every one of my bugs in May looked
splendidly. I was most worried about my cutworms. Away along in April
I had not seen a cut-worm, and I began to fear they had suffered, and
perhaps perished, in the extreme cold of the previous winter.

One morning late in the month, however, I saw a cut-worm come out from
behind a cabbage stump and take off his ear muff. He was a little stiff
in the joints, but he had not lost hope. I saw at once now was the time
to assist him if I had a spark of humanity left. I searched every work I
could find on agriculture to find out what it was that farmers fed their
blamed cut-worms, but all scientists seemed to be silent. I read the
agricultural reports, the dictionary, and the encyclopedia, but they
didn't throw any light on the subject.

I got wild. I feared that I had brought but one cut-worm through the
winter, and I was liable to lose him unless I could find out what to
feed him. I asked some of my neighbors, but they spoke jeeringly and
sarcastically. I know now how it was. All their cut-worms had frozen
down last winter, and they couldn't bear to see me get ahead.

All at once, an idea struck me. I haven't recovered from the concussion
yet. It was this: the worm had wintered under a cabbage stalk; no doubt
he was fond of the beverage. I acted upon this thought and bought him
two dozen red cabbage plants, at fifty cents a dozen. I had hit it the
first pop. He was passionately fond of these plants, and would eat three
in one night. He also had several matinees and sauerkraut lawn festivals
for his friends, and in a week I bought three dozen more cabbage plants.
By this time I had collected a large group of common scrub cutworms,
early Swedish cut-worms, dwarf Hubbard cut-worms, and short-horn
cut-worms, all doing well, but still, I thought, a little hidebound and
bilious. They acted languid and red book listless. As my squash bugs,
currant worms, potato bugs, etc., were all doing well without care, I
devoted myself almost exclusively to my cut-worms. They were all strong
and well, but they seemed melancholy with nothing to eat, day after day,
but cabbages.

I therefore bought five dozen tomato plants that were tender and large.
These I fed to the cut-worms at the rate of eight or ten in one night.
In a week the cut-worms had thrown off that air of ennui and languor
that I had formerly noticed, and were gay and light-hearted. I got them
some more tomato plants, and then some more cabbage for change. On
the whole I was as proud as any young farmer who has made a success of

One morning I noticed that a cabbage plant was left standing unchanged.
The next day it was still there. I was thunderstruck. I dug into the
ground. My cut-worms were gone. I spaded up the whole patch, but there
wasn't one. Just as I had become attached to them, and they had learned
to look forward each day to my coming, when they would almost come up
and eat a tomato-plant out of my hand, some one had robbed me of them. I
was almost wild with despair and grief. Suddenly something tumbled
over my foot. It was mostly stomach, but it had feet on each corner. A
neighbor said it was a warty toad. He had eaten up my summer's work! He
had swallowed my cunning little cut-worms. I tell you, gentle reader,
unless some way is provided, whereby this warty toad scourge can be
wiped out, I for one shall relinquish the joys of agricultural pursuits.
When a common toad, with a sallow complexion and no intellect,' can
swallow up my summer's work, it is time to pause.

[Illustration: 0350]


This autograph business is getting to be a little bit tedious. It is
all one-sided. I want to get even some how, on some one. If I can't come
back at the autograph fiend himself, perhaps I might make some other
fellow creature unhappy. That would take my mind off the woes that are
inflicted by the man who is making a collection of the autographs of
"prominent men," and who sends a printed circular formally demanding
your autograph, as the tax collector would demand your tax.

John Comstock, the President of the First National Bank, of Hudson, the
other day suggested an idea. I gave him an autograph copy of my last
great work, and he said: "Now, I'm a man of business. You gave me your
autograph, I give you mine in return. That's what we call business." He
then signed a brand new $5 national bank note, the cashier did ditto,
and the two autographs were turned over to me.

Now, how would it do to make a collection of the signatures of the
presidents and cashiers of national banks of the United States in the
above manner? An album containing the autographs of these bank officials
would not only be a handsome heirloom to fork over to posterity, but it
would possess intrinsic value. In pursuance of this idea, I have been
considering the advisability of issuing the following-letter:

To the Presidents and Cashiers of the National Banks of the United

Gentlemen--I am now engaged in making a collection of the autographs of
the presidents and cashiers of national banks throughout the Union, and
to make the collection uniform, I have decided to ask for autographs
written at the foot of the national currency bank note of the
denomination of $5. I am not sectarian in my religious views, and I
only suggest this denomination for the sake of uniformity throughout the

Card collections, cat albums and so forth, may please others, but I
prefer to make a collection that shall show future ages who it was that
built up our finances, and furnished the sinews of war. Some may look
upon this move as a mercenary one, but with me it is a passion. It is
not simply a freak, it is a desire of my heart.

In return I would be glad to give my own autograph, either by itself or
attached to some little gem of thought which might occur to my mind at
the time.

I have always taken a great interest in the currency of the country. So
far as possible I have made it a study. I have watched its growth, and
noted with some regret its natural reserve. I may say that, considering
meagre opportunities and isolated advantages afforded me, no one is more
familiar with the habits of our national currency than I am. Yet, at
times my laboratory has not been so abundantly supplied with specimens
as I could have wished. This has been my chief drawback.

I began a collection of railroad passes some time ago, intending to file
them away and pass the collection down through the dim vista of coming
years, but in a rash moment I took a trip of several thousand miles, and
those passes were taken up.

I desire, in conclusion, gentlemen, to call your attention to the fact
that I have always been your friend and champion. I have never robbed
the bank of a personal friend, and if I held your autographs I should
deem you my personal friends, and feel in honor bound to discourage any
movement looking toward an unjust appropriation of the funds of your
bank. The autographs of yourselves in my possession, and my own in your
hands, would be regarded as a tacit agreement on my part never to rob
your bank. I would even be willing to enter into a contract with you
not to break into your vaults, if you insist upon it. I would thus be
compelled to confine myself to the stage coaches and railroad trains in
a great measure, but I am getting now so I like to spend my evenings
at home, anyhow, and if I do well this year, I shall sell my burglars'
tools and give myself up to the authorities.

You will understand, gentlemen, the delicate nature of this request,
I trust, and not misconstrue my motives. My intentions are perfectly
honorable, and my idea in doing this is, I may say, to supply a long
felt want.

Hoping that what I have said will meet with your approval and hearty
co-operation, and that our very friendly business relations, as they
have existed in the past, may continue through the years to come, and
that your bank may wallow in success till the cows come home, or words
to that effect, I beg leave to subscribe myself, yours in favor of one

one flag and one bank account.


Postoffice Divan, Laramie City, W. T.,

Oct. 1, 1883.

To the President of the United States:

Sir--I beg leave at this time to officially tender my resignation as
postmaster at this place, and in due form to deliver the great seal and
the key to the front door of the office. The safe combination is set on
the numbers 33, 66 and 99, though I do not remember at this moment which
comes first, or how many times you revolve the knob, or which direction
you should turn it at first in order to make it operate.

There is some mining stock in my private drawer in the safe, which I
have not yet removed. This stock you may have, if you desire it. It is
a luxury, but you may have it. I have decided to keep a horse instead of
this mining stock. The horse may not be so pretty, but it will cost less
to keep him.

You will find the postal cards that have not been used under the
distributing table, and the coal down in the cellar. If the stove draws
too hard, close the damper in the pipe and shut the general delivery

Looking over my stormy and eventful administration as postmaster here,
I find abundant cause for thanksgiving. At the time I entered upon the
duties of my office the department was not yet on a paying basis. It was
not even self-sustaining. Since that time, with the active co-operation
of the chief executive and the heads of the department, I have been able
to make our postal system a paying one, and on top of that I am now able
to reduce the tariff on average-sized letters from three cents to two. I
might add that this is rather too too, but I will not say anything that
might seem undignified in an official resignation which is to become a
matter of history.

[Illustration: 0361]

Through all the vicissitudes of a tempestuous term of office I have
safely passed. I am able to turn over the office to-day in a highly
improved condition, and to present a purified and renovated institution
to my successor.

Acting under the advice of Gen. Hatton, a year ago, I removed the
feather bed with which my predecessor, Deacon Hayford, had bolstered
up his administration by stuffing the window, and substituted glass.
Finding nothing in the book of instructions to postmasters which made
the feather bed a part of my official duties, I filed it away in an
obscure place and burned it in effigy, also in the gloaming. This act
maddened my predecessor to such a degree, that he then and there became
a candidate for justice of the peace on the Democratic ticket. The
Democratic party was able, however, with what aid it secured from the
Republicans, to plow the old man under to a great degree.

It was not long after I had taken my official oath before an era of
unexampled prosperity opened for the American people. The price of beef
rose to a remarkable altitude, and other vegetables commanded a good
figure and a ready market. We then began to make active preparations
for the introduction of the strawberry-roan two-cent stamps and the
black-and-tan postal note. One reform has crowded upon the heels of
another, until the country is to-day upon the foam-crested wave of
permanent prosperity.

Mr. President, I cannot close this letter without thanking yourself
and the heads of departments at Washington for your active, cheery and
prompt co-operation in these matters. You can do as you see fit,
of course, about incorporating this idea into your Thanksgiving
proclamation, but rest assured it would not be ill-timed or inopportune.
It is not alone a credit to myself. It reflects credit upon the
administration also.

I need not say that I herewith transmit my resignation with great sorrow
and genuine regret. We have toiled on together month after month, asking
for no reward except the innate consciousness of rectitude and the
salary as fixed by law. Now we are to separate. Here the roads seem to
fork, as it were, and you and I, and the cabinet, must leave each other
at this point.

You will find the key under the door-mat, and you had better turn the
cat out at night when you close the office. If she does not go readily,
you can make it clearer to her mind by throwing the cancelling stamp at

If Deacon Hayford does not pay up his box-rent, you might as well put
his mail in the general delivery, and when Bob Head gets drunk and
insists on a letter from one of his wives every day in the week, you
can salute him through the box delivery with an old Queen Anne tomahawk,
which you will find near the Etruscan water pail. This will not in any
manner surprise either of these parties.

Tears are unavailing. I once more become a private citizen, clothed
only with the right to read such postal cards as may be addressed to me
personally, and to curse the inefficiency of the postoffice department.
I believe the voting class to be divided into two parties, viz.: Those
who are in the postal service and those who are mad because they cannot
receive a registered letter every fifteen minutes of each day, including

Mr. President, as an official of this Government I now retire. My term
of office would not expire until 1886. I must, therefore, beg pardon
for my eccentricity in resigning. It will be best, perhaps, to keep the
heart-breaking news from the ears of European powers until the dangers
of a financial panic are fully past. Then hurl it broadcast with a
sickening thud.


I have decided to sacrifice another valuable piece of mining property
this spring. It would not be sold if I had the necessary capital to
develop it. It is a good mine, for I located it myself. I remember well
the day I climbed up on the ridge-pole of the universe and nailed my
location notice to the eaves of the sky.

It was in August that I discovered the Vanderbilt claim in a snow-storm.
It cropped out apparently a little southeast of a point where the arc
of the orbit of Venus bisects the milky way, and ran due east eighty
chains, three links and a swivel, thence south fifteen paces and a half
to a blue spot in the sky, thence proceeding west eighty chains, three
links of sausage and a half to a fixed star, thence north across the
lead to place of beginning.

The Vanderbilt set out to be a carbonate deposit, but changed its mind.
I sent a piece of the cropping to a man over in Salt Lake, who is a good
assayer and quite a scientist, if he would brace up and avoid humor. His
assay read as follows, to wit:

Salt Lake City, U. T., August 25, 1877.

Mr. Bill Nye--Your specimen of ore No. 35,832, current series, has been
submitted to assay and shows the following result:

Metal. Ounces. Value per ton.



Railroad iron..................... 1 . .

Pyrites of poverty................ 9 . .

Parasites of disappointment....... 90 . .

McVicker, Assayer.

[Illustration: 0366]

Note.--I also find that the formation is igneous, prehistoric and
erroneous. If I were you I would sink a prospect shaft below the
vertical slide where the old red brimstone and preadamite slag cross-cut
the malachite and intersect the schist. I think that would be schist
about as good as anything you could do. Then send me specimens with $2
for assay and we shall see what we shall see.

Well, I didn't know he was "an humorist," you see, so I went to work
on the Vanderbilt to try and do what Mac. said. I sank a shaft and
everything else I could get hold of on that claim. It was so high that
we had to carry water up there to drink when we began and before fall we
had struck a vein of the richest water you ever saw. We had more water
in that mine than the regular army could use.

When we got down sixty feet I sent some pieces of the pay streak to the
assayer again. This time he wrote me quite a letter, and at the same
time inclosed the certificate of assay.

Salt Lake City, U. T., October 3, 1877. Mr. Bill Nye--Your specimen of
ore No. 36,132, current series, has been submitted to assay and shows
the following result:

[Illustration: 0367]

In the letter he said there was, no doubt, something in the claim if I
could get the true contact with calcimine walls denoting a true fissure.
He thought I ought to run a drift. I told him I had already run adrift.

Then he said to stope out my stove polish ore and sell it for enough to
go on with the development. I tried that, but capital seemed coy. Others
had been there before me and capital bade me soak my head and said other
things which grated harshly on my sensitive nature.

The Vanderbilt mine, with all its dips, spurs, angles, variations,
veins, sinuosities, rights, titles, franchises, prerogatives and
assessments is now for sale. I sell it in order to raise the necessary
funds for the development of the Governor of North Carolina. I had so
much trouble with water in the Vanderbilt, that I named the new claim
the Governor of North Carolina, because he was always dry.


Lately I have been giving a good deal of attention to hygiene--in other
people. The gentle reader will notice that, as a rule, the man who gives
the most time and thought to this subject is an invalid himself; just
as the young theological student devotes his first sermon to the care of
children, and the ward politician talks the smoothest on the subject of
how and when to plant rutabagas or wean a calf from the parent stem.

Having been thrown into the society of physicians a great deal the past
two years, mostly in the role of patient, I have given some study to the
human form; its structure and idiosyncrasies, as it were. Perhaps few
men in the same length of time have successfully acquired a larger or
more select repertoire of choice diseases than I have. I do not say this
boastfully. I simply desire to call the attention of our growing youth
to the glorious possibilities that await the ambitious and enterprising
in this line.

Starting out as a poor boy, with few advantages in the way of disease,
I have resolutely carved my way up to the dizzy heights of fame as a
chronic invalid and drug-soaked relic of other days. I inherited no
disease whatever. My ancestors were poor and healthy. They bequeathed me
no snug little nucleus of fashionable malaria such as other boys had. I
was obliged to acquire it myself. Yet I was not discouraged. The results
have shown that disease is not alone the heritage of the wealthy and the
great. The poorest of us may become eminent invalids if we will only
go at it in the right way. But I started out to say something on the
subject of health, for there are still many common people who would
rather be healthy and unknown than obtain distinction with some dazzling
new disease.

Noticing many years ago that imperfect mastication and dyspepsia walked
hand in hand, so to speak, Mr. Gladstone adopted in his family a regular
mastication scale; for instance, thirty-two bites for steak, twenty-two
for fish, and so forth. Now I take this idea and improve upon it. Two
statesmen can always act better in concert if they will do so.

With Mr. Gladstone's knowledge of the laws of health and my own musical
genius, I have hit on a way to make eating not only a duty, but a
pleasure. Eating is too frequently irksome. There is nothing about it to
make it attractive.

What we need is a union of mush and melody, if I may be allowed that
expression. Mr. Gladstone has given us the graduated scale, so that we
know just what metre a bill of fare goes in as quick as we look at it.
In this way the day is not far distant when music and mastication will
march down through the dim vista of years together.

The Baked Bean Chant, the Vermicelli Waltz, the Mush and Milk March, the
sad and touchful Pumpkin Pie Refrain, the gay and rollicking Oxtail Soup
Gallop, and the melting Ice Cream Serenade will yet be common musical

Taking different classes of food, I have set them to music in such a
way that the meal, for instance, may open with a Soup Overture, to be
followed by a Roast Beef March in C, and so on, closing with a kind of
Mince Pie La Somnambula pianissimo in G. Space, of course, forbids an
extended description of this idea as I propose to carry it out, but the
conception is certainly grand. Let us picture the jaws of a whole family
moving in exact time to a Strauss waltz on the silent remains of the
late lamented hen, and we see at once how much real pleasure may be
added to the process of mastication.

[Illustration: 0372]


I have just formed the acquaintance of a blase young man. I have been
on an extended trip with him. He is about twenty-two years old, but he
is already weary of life. He was very careful all the time never to
be exuberant. No matter how beautiful the landscape, he never allowed
himself to exube.

Several times I succeeded in startling him enough to say "Ah!" but that
was all. He had the air all the time of a man who had been reared in
luxury and fondled so much in the lap of wealth that he was weary of
life, and yearned for a bright immortality. I have often wished that the
pruning-hook of time would use a little more discretion. The blase young
man seemed to be tired all the time. He was weary of life because life
was hollow.

He seemed to hanker for the cool and quiet grave. I wished at times that
the hankering-might have been more mutual. But what does a cool, quiet
grave want of a young man who never did anything but breathe the nice
pure air into his froggy lungs and spoil it for everybody else?

This young man had a large grip-sack with him which he frequently
consulted. I glanced into it once while he left it open. It was not
right, but I did it. I saw the following articles in it:

31 Assorted Neckties.

1 pair Socks (whole).

1 pair do. (not so whole).

17 Collars.

1 Shirt.

1 Quart Cuff-Buttons.

1 suit discouraged Gauze Underwear.

1 box Speckled Handkerchiefs.

1 box Condition Powders.

1 Toothbrush (prematurely bald).

1 copy Martin F. Tupper's Works.

1 box Prepared Chalk.

1 Pair Tweezers for encouraging Moustache to come out to breakfast.

1 Powder Rag.

1 Gob ecru-colored Taffy.

1 Hair-brush, with Ginger Hair in it.

1 Pencil to pencil Moustache at night.

1 Bread and Milk Poultice to put on Moustache on retiring, so that
it will not forget to come out again the next day.

1 Box Trix for the breath,

1 Box Chloride of Lime to use in case breath becomes

1 Ear-spoon (large size),

1 Plain Mourning Head for Cane,

1 Vulcanized Rubber Head for Cane (to bite on).

1 Shoe-horn to use in working Ears into Ear-Muffs.

1 Pair Corsets.

1 Dark-brown Wash for Mouth, to be used in the morning.

1 Large Box Ennui, to be used in Society,

1 Box Spruce Gum, made in Chicago and warranted pure.

1 Gallon Assorted Shirt Studs,

1 Polka-dot Handkerchief to pin in side-pocket, but not for nose.

1 Plain Handkerchief for nose,

1 Fancy Head for Cane (morning),

1 Fancy Head for Cane (evening),

1 Picnic Head for Cane,

1 Bottle Peppermint,

1 Catnip,

1 Waterbury Watch.

7 Chains for same,

1 Box Letter Paper,

1 Stick Sealing Wax (baby blue),

1 do " " (Bismarck brindle).

1 do " " (mashed gooseberry),

1 Seal for same.

1 Family Crest (wash-tub rampant on a field calico).

There were other little articles of virtu and bric-a-brac till you
couldn't rest, but these were all that I could see thoroughly before he
returned from the wash-room.

I do not like the blase young man as a traveling companion. He is nix
bonuin. He is too E pluribus for me. He is not de trop or sciatica
enough to suit my style.

[Illustration: 0376]

If he belonged to me I would picket him out somewhere in a hostile
Indian country, and then try to nerve myself up for the result.

It is better to go through life reading the signs on the ten-story
buildings and acquiring knowledge, than to dawdle and "Ah!" adown our
pathway to the tomb and leave no record for posterity except that we
had a good neck to pin a necktie upon. It is not pleasant to be
called green, but I would rather be green and aspiring than blase and
hide-bound at nineteen.

Let us so live that when at last we pass away our friends will not be
immediately and uproariously reconciled to our death.


The history of Babylon is fraught with sadness. It illustrates, only
too painfully, that the people of a town make or mar its success rather
than the natural resources and advantages it may possess on the start.

Thus Babylon, with 3,000 years the start of Minneapolis, is to-day a
hole in the ground, while Minneapolis socks her XXXX flour into every
corner of the globe, and the price of real estate would make a common
dynasty totter on its throne.

Babylon is a good illustration of the decay of a town that does not
keep up with the procession. Compare her to-day with Kansas City. While
Babylon was the capital of Chaldea, 1,270 years before the birth of
Christ, and Kansas City was organized so many years after that event
that many of the people there have forgotten all about it, Kansas City
has doubled her population in ten years, while Babylon is simply a
gothic hole in the ground.

Why did trade and emigration turn their backs upon Babylon and seek out
Minneapolis, St. Paul, Kansas City and Omaha? Was it because they were
blest with a bluer sky or a more genial sun? Not by any means. While
Babylon lived upon what she had been and neglected to advertise, other
towns with no history extending back into the mouldy past, whooped with
an exceeding great whoop and tore up the ground and shed printers' ink
and showed marked signs of vitality. That is the reason that Babylon is
no more.

This life of ours is one of intense activity. We cannot rest long in
idleness without inviting forgetfulness, death and oblivion. "Babylon
was probably the largest and most magnificent city of the ancient
world." Isaiah, who lived about 300 years before Herodotus, and whose
remarks are unusually free from local or political prejudice, refers
to Babylon as "the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldic's
excellency," and, yet, while Cheyenne has the electric light and two
daily papers, Babylon hasn't got so much as a skating rink. .

A city fourteen miles square with a brick wall around it 355 feet
high, she has quietly forgotten to advertise, and in turn she, also, is

Babylon was remarkable for the two beautiful palaces, one on each side
of the river, and the great temple of Relus. Connected with one of these
palaces was the hanging garden, regarded by the Greeks as one of the
seven wonders of the world, but that was prior to the erection of the
Washington monument and civil service reform.

This was a square of 400 Greek feet on each side. The Greek foot was
not so long as the modern foot introduced by Miss Mills, of Ohio. This
garden was supported on several tiers of open arches, built one over
the other, like the walls of a classic theatre, and sustaining at each
stage, or story, a solid platform from which the arches of the next
story sprung. This structure was also supported by the common council of
Babylon, who came forward with the city funds, and helped to sustain the
immense weight.

It is presumed that Nebuchadnezzar erected this garden before his mind
became affected. The tower of Belus, supposed by historians with a good
memory to have been 600 feet high, as there is still a red chalk mark
in the sky where the top came, was a great thing in its way. I am glad I
was not contiguous to it when it fell, and also that I had omitted being
born prior to that time.

"When we turn from this picture of the past," says the historian,
Rawlinson, referring to the beauties of Babylon, "to contemplate the
present condition of these localities, we are at first struck with
astonishment at the small traces which remain of so vast and wonderful a
metropolis. The broad walls of Babylon are utterly broken down. God has
swept it with the besom of destruction."

One cannot help wondering why the use of the besom should have been
abandoned. As we gaze upon the former site of Babylon we are forced
to admit that the new besom sweeps clean. On its old site no crumbling
arches or broken columns are found to indicate her former beauty. Here
and there huge heaps of debris alone indicate that here Godless wealth
and wicked, selfish, indolent, enervating, ephemeral pomp, rose and
defied the supreme laws to which the bloated, selfish millionaire
and the hard-handed, hungry laborer alike must bow, and they are dust

Babylon has fallen. I do not say this in a sensational way or to
depreciate the value of real estate there, but from actual observation,
and after a full investigation, I assert without fear of successful
contradiction, that Babylon has seen her best days. Her boomlet is
busted, and, to use a political phrase, her oriental hide is on the
Chaldean fence.

Such is life. We enter upon it reluctantly; we wade through it
doubtfully, and die at last timidly. How we Americans do blow about what
we can do before breakfast, and, yet, even in our own brief history, how
we have demonstrated what a little thing the common two-legged man is.
He rises up rapidly to acquire much wealth, and if he delays about going
to Canada he goes to Sing Sing, and we forget about him. There are
lots of modern Babylonians in New York City to-day, and if it were my
business I would call their attention to it. The assertion that gold
will procure all things has been so common and so popular that too many
consider first the bank account, and after that honor, home, religion,
humanity and common decency. Even some of the churches have fallen into
the notion that first comes the tall church, then the debt and mortgage,
the ice cream sociable and the kingdom of Heaven. Cash and Christianity
go hand in hand sometimes, but Christianity ought not to confer
respectability on anybody who comes into the church to purchase it.

I often think of the closing appeal of the old preacher, who was more
earnest than refined, perhaps, and in winding up his brief sermon on the
Christian life, said: "A man may lose all his wealth and get poor and
hungry and still recover, he may lose his health and come down dost
to the dark stream and still git well again, but, when he loses his
immortal soul it is good-bye, John."


I dropped in the other day to see New York's great congress of wax
figures and soft statuary carnival. It is quite a success. The first
thing you do on entering is to contribute to the pedestal fund. New York
this spring is mostly a large rectangular box with a hole in the top,
through which the genial public is cordially requested to slide a dollar
to give the goddess of liberty a boom.

I was astonished and appalled at the wealth of apertures in Gotham
through which I was expected to slide a dime to assist some deserving
object. Every little while you run into a free-lunch room where there
is a model ship that will start up and operate if you feed it with a
nickle. I never visited a town that offered so many inducements for
early and judicious investments as New York.

But we were speaking of the wax works. I did not tarry long to notice
the presidents of the United States embalmed in wax, or to listen to the
band of lutists who furnished music in the winter garden. I ascertained
where the chamber of horrors was located, and went there at once. It is
lovely. I have never seen a more successful aggregation of horrors under
one roof and at one price of admission.

If you want to be shocked at cost, or have your pores opened for a
merely nominal price, and see a show that you will never forget as long
as you live, that is the place to find it. I never invested my money so
as to get so large a return for it, because I frequently see the whole
show yet in the middle of the night, and the cold perspiration ripples
down my spinal column just as it did the first time I saw it.

The chamber of horrors certainly furnishes a very durable show. I don't
think I was ever more successfully or economically horrified.

I got quite nervous after a while, standing in the dim religious light
watching the lovely horrors. But it is the saving of money that I
look at most. I have known men to pay out thousands of dollars for a
collection of delirium tremens and new-laid horrors no better than these
that you get on week days for fifty cents and on Sundays for two bits.
Certainly New York is the place where you get your money's worth.

There are horrors there in that crypt that are well worth double the
price of admission. One peculiarity of the chamber of horrors is that
you finally get nervous when anyone touches you, and you immediately
suspect that he is a horror who has come out of his crypt to get a
breath of fresh air and stretch his legs.

That is the reason I shuddered a little when I felt a man's hand in my
pocket. It was so unexpected, and the surroundings were such that I must
have appeared startled. The man was a stranger to me, though I could see
that he was a perfect gentleman. His clothes were superior to mine in
every way, and he had a certain refinement of manners which betrayed his
ill-concealed knickerbocker lineage high.

I said, "Sir, you will find my fine cut tobacco in the other pocket."
This startled him so that he wheeled about and wildly dashed into the
arms of a wax policeman near the door. When he discovered that he was in
the clutches of a suit of second-hand clothes filled with wax, he seemed
to be greatly annoyed and strode rapidly away.

[Illustration: 0387]

I turned to view the chaste and truthful scene where one man had
successfully killed another with a club. I leaned pensively against a
column with my own spinal column, wrapped in thought.

Pretty soon a young gentleman from New Jersey with an Adam's apple on
him like a full-grown yam, and accompanied by a young lady also from the
mosquito jungles of Jersey, touched me on the bosom with his umbrella
and began to explain me to his companion.

"This," said the Adam's apple with the young man attached to it, "is
Jesse James, the great outlaw chief from Missouri. How lifelike he is.
Little would you think, Emeline, that he would as soon disembowel a
bank, kill the entire board of directors of a railroad company and ride
off the rolling stock, as you would wrap yourself around a doughnut. How
tender and kind he looks. He not only looks gentle and peaceful, but he
looks to me as if he wasn't real bright."

[Illustration: 0389]

I then uttered a piercing shriek and the young man from New Jersey went
away. Nothing is so embarrassing to an eminent man as to stand quietly
near and hear people discuss him.

But it is remarkable to see people get fooled at a wax show. Every day
a wax figure is taken for a live man, and live people are mistaken for
wax. I took hold of a waxen hand in one corner of the winter garden to
see if the ring was a real diamond, and it flew up and took me across
the ear in such a life-like manner that my ear is still hot and there is
a roaring in my head that sounds very disagreeable, indeed.


A "Family Physician," published in 1883, says, for the bite of a mad
dog: "Take ashcolored ground liverwort, cleaned, dried, and powdered,
half an ounce; of black pepper, powdered, a quarter of an ounce. Mix
these well together, and divide the powder into four doses, one of which
must be taken every morning, fasting, for four mornings successively
in half an English pint of cow's milk, warm. After these four doses
are taken, the patient must go into the cold bath, or a cold spring or
river, every morning, fasting, for a month. He must be dipped all over,
but not stay in (with his head above water) longer than half a minute if
the water is very cold. After this he must go in three times a week
for a fortnight longer. Fie must be bled before he begins to take the

It is very difficult to know just what is best to do when a person is
bitten by a mad dog, but my own advice would be to kill the dog. After
that feel of the leg where bitten, and ascertain how serious the injury
has been. Then go home and put on another pair of pantaloons, throwing
away those that have been lacerated. Parties having but one pair of
pantaloons will have to sequester themselves or excite remarks. Then
take a cold bath, as suggested above, but do not remain in the bath
(with the head above water) more than half an hour. If the head is under
water, you may remain in the bath until the funeral, if you think best.

When going into the bath it would be well to take something in your
pocket to bite, in case the desire to bite something should overcome
you. Some use a common shingle-nail for this purpose, while others
prefer a personal friend. In any event, do not bite a total stranger on
an empty stomach. It might make you ill.

Never catch a dog by the tail if he has hydrophobia. Although that end
of the dog is considered the most safe, you never know when a mad dog
may reverse himself.

If you meet a mad dog on the street, do not stop and try to quell
him with a glance of the eye. Many have tried to do that, and it took
several days to separate the two and tell which was mad dog and which
was queller.

The real hydrophobia dog generally ignores kindness, and devotes himself
mostly to the introduction of his justly celebrated virus. A good thing
to do on observing the approach of a mad dog is to flee, and remain fled
until he has disappeared.

Hunting mad dogs in a crowded street is great sport. A young man with a
new revolver shooting at a mad dog is a fine sight. He may not kill the
dog, but he might shoot into a covey of little children and possibly get

It would be a good plan to have a balloon inflated and tied in the back
yard during the season in which mad dogs mature, and get into it on the
approach of the infuriated animal (get into the balloon, I mean, not the

This plan would not work well, however, in case a cyclone should come at
the same time. When we consider all the uncertainties of life, and
the danger from hydrophobia, cyclones and breach of premise, it seems
sometimes as though the penitentiary was the only place where a man
could be absolutely free from anxiety.

If you discover that your dog has hydrophobia, it is absolutely foolish
to try to cure him of the disease. The best plan is to trade him off at
once for anything you can get. Do not stop to haggle over the price, but
close him right out below cost.

Do not tie a tin can to the tail of a mad dog. It only irritates him,
and he might resent it before you get the can tied on. A friend of mine,
who was a practical joker, once sought to tie a tin can to the tail of
a mad dog on an empty stomach. His widow still points with pride to the
marks of his teeth on the piano. If mad dogs would confine themselves
exclusively to practical jokers, I would be glad to endow a home for
indigent mad dogs out of my own private funds.

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