by Bill Nye

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Public Domain Books

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<h2>Biography of Spartacus</h2>

<p class=Spartacus, whose given name seems to have been torn off in its passage down through the corridors of time, was born in Thrace and educated as a shepherd. While smearing the noses of the young lambs with tar one spring, in order to prevent the snuffies among them, he thought that he would become a robber. It occurred to him that this calling was the only one he knew of that seemed to be open to the young man without means.

He had hardly got started, however, in the “hold up” industry, when he was captured by the Romans, sold at cost and trained as a gladiator, in a school at Capua. Here he succeeded in stirring up a conspiracy and uniting two hundred or more of the grammar department of the school in a general ruction, as it was then termed.

The scheme was discovered and only seventy of the number escaped, headed by Spartacus. These snatched cleavers from the butcher shops, pickets from the Roman fences and various other weapons, and with them fought their way to the foot hill where they met a wagon train loaded with arms and supplies. They secured the necessary weapons whereby to go into a general war business and established themselves in the crater of Mount Vesuvius.

Spartacus was a man of wonderful carriage and great physical strength. It had always been his theory that a man might as well die of old age as to feed himself to a Roman menagerie. He maintained that he would rather die in a general free fight, where he had a chance, than to be hauled around over the arena by one leg behind a Numidian lion.

So he took his little band and fought his way to Vesuvius. There they had a pleasant time camping out nights and robbing the Roman’s daytimes. The excitement of sleeping in a crater, added a wonderful charm to their lives. While others slept cold in Capua, Spartacus cuddled up to the crater and kept comfortable.

For a long time the little party had it all their own way. They sniffed the air of freedom and lived on Roman spring chicken on the half shell, and it beat the arena business all hollow.

At last, however, an army of 3,000 men was sent against them, and Spartacus awoke one morning to find himself blocked up in his crater. For a time the outlook was not cheering. Spartacus thought of telegraphing the war department for reinforcements, but finally decided not to do so.

Finally, with ladders made of wild vines, the little garrison slipped out through what had seemed an impassable fissure in the crater, got in the rear of the army and demolished it completely. That’s the kind of man that Spartacus was. Fighting was his forte.

Spartacus was also a good public speaker. One of his addresses to the gladiators has been handed down to posterity through the medium of the Fifth Reader, a work that should be in every household. In his speech he states that he was not always thus. But since he is thus, he believes that he has not yet been successfully outthussed by any body.

He speaks of his early life in the citron groves of Syrsilla, and how quiet and reserved he had been, never daring to say “gosh” within a mile of the house; but finally how the Romans landed on his coast and killed off his family. Then he desired to be a fighter. He had killed more lions than any other man in Italy. He kept a big crew of Romans busy, winter and summer, catching fresh lions for him to stick. He had killed a large number of men also. At one matinee for ladies and children he had killed a prominent man from the north, and had done it so fluently that he was encored three times. The stage manager then came forward and asked that the audience would please refrain from another encore as he had run out of men, but if the ladies and children would kindly attend on the following Saturday he hoped to be prepared with a good programme. In fact, he had just heard from his agent who wrote him that they had purchased two big lions and also had a robust gladiator up a tree. He hoped that he could get into town in a day or two with both attractions.

Spartacus finally stood at the head of an army of 100,000 men, all starting out from the little band of 70 that cut loose from Capua with borrowed cleavers and axhandles. This war lasted but two years, during which time Spartacus made Rome howl. Spartacus had too much sense to attack Rome. But at last his army was betrayed and disorganized. With nothing but death or capture for him, he rode out between the two contending armies, shot his war horse in order to save expenses, and on foot rushed into the thickest of the fight. This was positively his last appearance. He killed a large number of people, but at last he yielded to the great pressure that was brought to bear upon him and died.

Probably no man not actually engaged in the practice of medicine ever killed so many people as Spartacus. He did not kill them because he disliked them personally, but because he thought it advisable to do so. Had he lived till the present time he would have done well as a lecturer. "Ten Years in the Arena, with Illustrations,” would draw first-rate at this time among a certain class of people. The large number of people still living in this country, who will lay aside their work and go twenty miles to attend a funeral, no matter whose funeral it is, would, no doubt, enjoy a bull fight or the cairn and refining joy that hovered over the arena. Those who have paid $175,000 to see Colonel John L. Sullivan disfigure a friend, would, no doubt, have made it $350,000 if the victim could have been killed and dragged around over the ring by the leg.

Two thousand years have not refined us so much that we need be puffed up with false pride about it.

Concerning Book Publishing

“Amateur” writes me that he is about to publish a book, and asks me if I will be kind enough to suggest some good, reliable publisher for him.

This would suggest that “Amateur” wishes to confer his book on some deserving publisher with a view to building him up and pouring a golden stream of wealth into his coffers. “Amateur” already, in his mind’s eye, sees the eager millions of readers knocking each other down and trampling upon one another in the mad rush for his book. In my mind, I see his eye, lighted up with hope, and, though he lives in New Jersey, I fancy I can hear his quickened breath as his bosom heaves.

Evidently he has never published a book. There is a good deal of fun ahead of him that he does not wot of. I used to think that when I got the last page of my book ready for press, the front yard would be full of publishers tramping down the velvet lawn and the meek-eyed pansies in their crazy efforts to get hold of the manuscript, but when I had written the last word of my first volume of soul-throb, and had opened the casement to look out on the howling, hungry mob of publishers, with checkbooks in one hand and a pillow-case full of scads in the other, I was a little puzzled to notice the abrupt and pronounced manner in which they were not there.

All of us have to struggle before we can catch the eye of the speaker. Milton didn’t get one-fiftieth as much for “Paradise Lost” as I got for my first book, and yet you will find people to-day who claim that if Milton had lived he could have knocked the socks off of me with one hand tied behind him. Recollect, however, that I am not here to open a discussion on this matter. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion in relation to authors. People cannot agree on the relative merits of literature. Now, for instance, last summer I met a man over in South Park, Col., who could repeat page after page of Shakespeare, and yet, when I asked him if he was familiar with the poems of the “Sweet Singer of Michigan,” he turned upon me a look of stolid vacancy, and admitted that he had never heard of her in his life.

A Calm

The old Greeley Colony in Colorado, a genuine oasis in the desert, with its huge irrigating canals of mountain water running through the mighty wheat fields, glistening each autumn at the base of the range, affords a good deal that is curious, not only to the mind of the gentleman from the States, but even to the man who lives at Cheyenne, W.T., only a few hours’ journey to the north.

You could hardly pick out two cities so near each other and yet so unlike as Cheyenne and Greeley. The latter is quiet, and even accused of being dull, and yet everybody is steadily getting rich. It is a town of readers, thinkers and mental independents. It is composed of the elements of New England shrewdness and Western push, yet Greeley as compared with Cheyenne would be called a typical New England town in the midst of the active, fluctuating, booming West.

Cheyenne is not so tame. With few natural advantages the reputation of Cheyenne is that, in commercial parlance, she is “A 1” for promptness in paying her debts and absence of failures. There is more wealth there in proportion to the number of inhabitants than elsewhere in the civilized world, no doubt. The people take special pleasure in surprising Eastern people who visit them by a reception very often that they will long remember for cordiality, hospitality, and even magnificence.

Still I didn’t start out to write up either Cheyenne or Greeley. I intended to mention casually Dr. Law, of the latter place, who acted as my physician for a few months and coaxed me back from the great hereafter. I had been under the hands of a physician just before, who was also coroner, and who, I found afterward, was trying to treat me professionally as long as the lamp held out to burn, intending afterward to sit upon me officially. He had treated me professionally until he was about ready to summon his favorite coroner’s jury. Then I got irritated and left the county of his jurisdiction.

Learning that Dr. Law was relying solely on the practice of medicine for a livelihood, I summoned him, and after explaining the great danger that stood in the way of harmonizing the practice of medicine and the official work of the inquest business, I asked him if he had any business connection with any undertaking establishment or hic jacet business, and learning from him that he had none, I engaged him to solder up my vertebrae and reorganize my spinal duplex.

Sometimes it isn’t entirely the medicine you swallow that paralyzes pain so much as it is the quiet magnetism of a good story and the snap of a pleasant eye. I had one physician who tried to look joyous when he came into the room, but he generally asked me to run my tongue out till he could see where it was tied on, then he would feel my pulse with his cold finger and time it with a $6 watch, and after that he would write a new prescription for horse medicine and heave a sigh, look at me as he might if it had been the last time he ever expected to see me on earth, and then he would sigh and go away. When he came back he generally looked shocked and grieved to find me alive. This was the pro tem physician and ex-officio coroner. I always felt as though I ought to apologize to him for clinging to life so, when no doubt he had the jury in the hall waiting to “view” me.

Dr. Law used to tell me of the early history of the Greeley Colony, and how the original cranks of the community used to be in session most of the time, and how they sometimes neglected to do their planting to do legislating, and how they overdid the council work and neglected to “bug" their potatoes. I remember, also, of his description of how the crew, working on the original big irrigating canal, struck when it was about half done, and swore that from the Poudre the ditch was going to run up hill, and would, therefore, be a failure. The engineer didn’t know at first what was best to do with the belligerent laborers, but finally he took the leader away from the rest of the crew and said, “Now, I tell you this in confidence, because of course I know perfectly well that the stockholders may kick on it if they hear it, but I’m building the blamed thing as level as I can and putting one end of it in the Poudre and one end in the Platte. Now, if I’m building it up hill the water’ll run down from the Platte into the Poudre, and if not it’ll run from the Poudre into the Platte. Sabe?”

The ditch was built, and now a deep, still river runs from the Poudre to the Platte, according to advertisement.

Greeley is also noted for its watchmakers. I sent my watch to the first one I heard of, and he said it needed cleaning. He cleaned it. I paid him $2 and took it home, when it ran two hours and then suspended. Then I took it to another watchmaker who said that the first man had used machine oil on its works, and had heated the wheels so as to gum the oil on the cogs. He would have to eradicate the cooked oil from the watch, and it would cost me $3. I paid it, and joyfully took the watch home. The next day I found that it had gained time enough to pay for itself. By noon, it had fatigued itself so that it was losing terribly, and by the day following had folded its still hands across its pale face in the sleep that knows no waking. I took it to the third and last jeweler in the town. Everyone said he was a good workman, but a trifle slow. In the afternoon I went in to see how he was getting along with it. He was sitting at his bench with a dice cup in his eye, apparently looking into the digestive economy of the watch.

I looked at him some time, not wishing to disturb him and interfere with his diagnosis. He did not move or say anything. Several people came in to trade and get the correct time, but he paid no attention to them.

I got tired and changed from one foot to the other several times. Then I asked him how he got along, or something of that kind, but he never opened his head. He was the most preoccupied watch savant I ever saw. No outside influence could break up his chain of thought when he got after a diseased watch.

I finally got around on the outside of the shop and looked in the window, where I could get a good view of his face.

He was asleep.

The Story of a Struggler

My name is Kaulbach. William J. Kaulbach is my name, and I am spending the summer in Canada. I may remain here during the winter, also. My parents are very poor. They had never been wealthy, and at the time of my birth they were even less wealthy than they had been before. As soon as I was born the poverty of my parents attracted my attention. I decided at once to relieve their distress. I intended to aid them from my own pocket, but found upon examination that I had no funds in my pocket; also, no pocket; also, no place to put a pocket if I had brought one with me. So my parents continued to be poor, and to put by a little poverty for a rainy day. I was sole heir to the poverty they had acquired in all these years.

Nature did not do much for me in the way of beauty, either. I was quite plain when born and may still be identified by that peculiarity. Plainess with me is not only a characteristic, but it is a passion. My whole being is wrapped up in it. My hair is a sort of neutral brindle, such as grows upon the top of a retired hair trunk, and my freckles are olive green, fading into a delicate, crushed-bran color. They are very large, and actually pain me at times.

My teacher tried to encourage me by telling me of other poor boys who had grown up to be president of the United States, and he tried to get me to consent to having my name used as a candidate; but I refrained from doing so. I knew that, although I was deserving of the place, I could not endure the bitterness of a campaign, and that the illustrated papers would enlarge upon my personal appearance and bring out my freckles till you could hang your hat on them.

So I grew up to be a stage robber.

When I have my mask on my freckles do not show. I lectured on phrenology at first to get means to prosecute my studies as a stage robber, and when I had perfected myself as a burglar I went abroad to study the methods of the Italian banditti. I was two years under the teaching of the old masters, and acquired great fluency as a robber while there. I studied from nature all the time, and some of my best work was taken from life. I had an opportunity to observe all the methods of the most celebrated garroting maestro and stilletto virtuoso. He was an enthusiast and thoroughly devoted to his art. He had a large price on his head, also. Aside from that he went bareheaded winter and summer.

Finally I returned to my own native land, poor, but fired with a mighty ambition. I went west and proceeded at once to debut. I went west to hold up the country. I was very successful, indeed, and have had my hands in the pockets of our most eminent men.

We were isolated from society a good deal, but we met the better class of people now and then in the course of our business. I did not like so much night work, and sometimes we had to eat raw pork because we did not wish to build a fire that would attract mosquitoes and sheriffs. So we were liable more or less to trichina and insomnia, but still we were free from sewer gas and poll tax. We did not get our mail with much regularity, but we got a lick at some mighty fine scenery.

But all this is only incidental. What I desired to say was this: Fame and distinction come high, and when we have them in our grasp at last we find that they bring their resultant sorrows. I worked long and hard for fame, and sat up nights and rode through alkali dust for thousands of miles, that I might be known as the leading robber of the age in which I lived, only to find at last that my great fame was the source of my chief annoyance. It made me so widely known that I felt, as Christine Nilsson says, “as though I lived in a glass case.” Everyone wanted to see me. Everyone wanted my autograph. Everyone wanted my skeleton to hang up in the library.

I could have traveled with a show and drawn a large salary, but I hated to wear a boiler iron overcoat all through the hot weather, after having lived so wild and free. But all this attention worried me so that I could not sleep, and many a night I would arise from the lava bed on which I had reclined, and putting on my dressing-gown and slippers, I would wander about under the stars and wish that I could be an unknown boy again in my far away home. But I could not. I often wished that I could die a natural death, but that was out of the question.

Finally, it got so that I did not dare to take a chew of tobacco, unless I did so under an assumed name. I hardly dared to let go of my six-shooter long enough to wipe my nose, for fear that someone might get the drop on me.

That is the reason why I came to Canada. Here among so many criminals, I do not attract attention, but I use a nom de plume all the time, even here, and all these hot nights, while others take off their clothing, I lie and swelter in my heavy winter nom de plume.

The Old Subscriber

At this season of the year, we are forcibly struck with the earnest and honest effort that is being made by the publisher of the American newspaper. It is a healthy sign and a hopeful one for the future of our country. It occurs to me that with the great advancement of the newspaper, and the family paper, and the magazine, we do not expect leaders and statesmen to think for us so much as we did fifty years ago. We do not allow the newspaper to mold us so much as we did. We enjoy reading the opinion of a bright, brave, and cogent editor because we know that he sits where he can acquire his facts in a few hours from all quarters of the globe, and speak truly to his great audience in relation to those facts, but we have ceased to allow even that man to think for us.

What then is to be the final outcome of all this? Is it not that the average American is going to use, and is using, his thinker more than he ever did before? Will not that thinker then, like the muscle of the blacksmith’s arm, or the mule’s hind foot, grow to a wondrous size as a result? Most assuredly.

The day certainly is not far distant, when the American can not only out-fight, out-row, out-bat, out-run, out-lie, and out-sail all other nationalities; but he will also be able to out-think them. We already point with pride to some of the wonderful thoughts that our leading thinkists, with their thinkers, have thunk. There are native born Americans now living, who have thought of things that would make the head of the amateur thinker ache for a week.

All this is largely due to the free use of the newspaper as a home educator. The newspaper is growing more and more ubiquitous, if I may be allowed the expression. Many poor people, who, a few years ago, could not afford the newspaper, now have it scolloped and put it on their pantry shelves every year.

But I did not start out to enlarge upon the newspaper. I would like to say a word or two more, however, on that general subject. Very often we hear some wise man with the responsibility of the universe on his shoulders, the man who thinks he is the censor of the human race now, and that he will be foreman of the grand jury on the Judgment Day–we hear this kind of man say every little while:

“We’ve got too many papers. We are loaded down with reading matter. Can’t read all my paper every day. Lots of days I throw my paper aside before I get it all read through, and never have a chance to finish it. All that is dead loss.”

It is, of course, a dead loss to that kind of a man. He is the kind of man that expects his family to begin at one side of the cellar and eat right straight across, it–cabbages, potatoes, turnips, pickles, apples, pumpkins, etc., etc.,–without stopping to discriminate. There are none too many papers, so far as the subscriber is concerned. Looking at it from the publisher’s standpoint sometimes, there are too many.

To the man who has inherited too large, wide, sinewy hands, and a brain that under the microscope looks like a hepatized lung, it seems some days as though the field had been over-crowded when he entered it. To the young man who was designed to maul rails or sock the fence-post into the bosom of the earth, and who has evaded that sphere of action and disregarded the mandate to maul rails, or to take a coal-pick and toy with the bowels of the earth, hoping to win an easier livelihood by feeding sour paste to village cockroaches, and still poorer pabulum to his subscribers, the newspaper field seems to be indeed jam full.

But not so the man who is tall enough to see into the future about nine feet. He still remembers that he must live in the hearts of his subscribers, and he makes their wants his own. He is not to proud to listen to suggestions from the man who works. He recognizes that it is not the man with the diamond-mounted stomach who has contributed most to his success, but the man who never dips into society much with the exception of his family, perhaps, and that ought to be good society. A man ought not to feel too good to associate with his wife and children. Generally my sympathies are with his wife and children, if they have to associate with him very much.

But if I could ever get down to it, I would like to say a word on behalf of the old subscriber. Being an old subscriber myself, I feel an interest in his cause; and as he rarely rushes into print except to ask why the police contrive to keep aloof from anything that might look like a fight, or to inquire why the fire department will continue year after year to run through the streets killing little children who never injured the department in any way, just so that they will be in time to chop a hole in the roof of a house that is not on fire, and pour some water down into the library, then whoop through an old tin dipper a few times and go away–as the old subscriber does not generally say much in print except on the above subjects, I make bold to say on his behalf that as a rule, he is not treated half as well as the prodigal son, who has been spending his substance on a rival paper, or stealing his news outright from the old subscriber.

Why should we pat the new subscriber on the back, and give him a new album that will fall to pieces whenever you laugh in the same room? Why should you forget the old love for the new? Do we not often impose on the old subscriber by giving up the space he has paid for to flaming advertisements to catch the coy and skittish gudgeon who still lurks outside the fold? Do we not ofttimes offer a family Bible for a new subscriber when an old subscriber may be in a lost and undone state?

Do we not again and again offer to the wife of our new subscriber a beautiful, plain gold ring, or a lace pin for a year’s subscription and $1, while the wife of our old subscriber is just in the shank of a long, hard, cold winter, without a ring or a pin to her back?

We ought to remember that the old subscriber came to us with his money when we most needed it. He bore with us when we were new in the business, and used such provincialisms as “We have saw” and “If we had knew.” He bore with us when the new column rules were so sharp that they chawed the paper all up, and the office was so cold, waiting for wood to come in on subscription, that the “color” was greasy and reluctant. He took our paper and paid for it, while the new subscriber was in the penitentiary for all we know. He made a mild kick sometimes when he “didn’t git his paper reggler;” but he paid on the first day of January every year in advance, out of an old calfskin wallet that opened out like a concertina, and had a strap that went around it four times, and looked as shiny, and sweaty, and good-natured as the razor-strop that might have been used by Noah.

The old subscriber never asked any rebate, or requested a prize volume of poetry with a red cover, because he had paid for another year; but he simply warmed his numb fingers, so that he could loosen his overalls and lower one side enough to let his hand into the pocket of his best pantaloons underneath, and there he always found the smooth wallet, and inside of it there was always a $2 bill, that had been put there to pay for the paper. Then the old subscriber would warm his hands some more, ask "How’s tricks?” but never begin to run down the paper, and then he would go away to work for another year.

I want to say that this country rests upon a great, solid foundation of old, paid-up subscribers. They are the invisible, rock-ribbed resting-place for the dazzling superstructure and the slim and peaked spire. Whether we procure a new press or a new dress, a new contributor or a new printers’ towel, we must bank on the old subscriber; for the new one is fickle, and when some other paper gives him a larger or a redder covered book, he may desert our standard. He yearns for the flesh-pots and the new scroll saws of other papers. He soon wearies of a uniformly good paper, with no chance to draw a town lot or a tin mine–in Montana.

Let us, therefore, brethren of the press, cling to the old subscriber as he has clung to us. Let us say to him, on this approaching Christmas Eve, "Son, thou art always with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, that this, thy brother, who had been a subscriber for our vile contemporary many years, but is alive again, and during a lucid interval has subscribed for our paper; but, after all, we would not go to him if we wanted to borrow a dollar. Remember that you still have our confidence, and when we want a good man to indorse our note at the bank, you will find that your name in our memory is ever fresh and green.”

Looking this over, I am struck with the amount of stuff I have successfully said, and yet there is a paucity of ideas. Some writers would not use the word paucity in this place without first knowing the meaning of it, but I am not that way. There are thousands of words that I now use freely, but could not if I postponed it until I could learn their meaning. Timidity keeps many of our authors back, I think. Many are more timid about using big words than they are about using other people’s ideas.

A friend of mine wanted to write a book, but hadn’t the time to do it. So he asked me if I wouldn’t do it for him. He was very literary, he said, but his business took up all his time, so I asked him what kind of a book he wanted. He said he wanted a funny book, with pictures in it and a blue cover. I saw at once that he had fine literary taste and delicate discrimination, but probably did not have time to give it full swing. I asked him what he thought it would be worth to write such a book. “Well," he said, he had always supposed that I enjoyed it myself, but if I thought I ought to have pay besides, he would be willing to pay the same as he did for his other writing–ten cents a folio.

He is worth $50,000, because he has documentary evidence to show that a man who made that amount out of deceased hogs, had the misfortune to be his father and then die.

It was a great triumph to be born under such circumstances, and yet the young man lacks the mental stamina necessary to know how to successfully eat common mush and milk in such a low key that will not alarm the police.

I use this incident more as an illustration than anything else. It illustrates how anything may be successfully introduced into an article of this kind without having any bearing whatever upon it.

I like to close a serious essay, or treatise, with some humorous incident, like the clown in the circus out West last summer, who joked along through the performance all the afternoon till two or three children went into convulsions, and hypochondria seemed to reign rampant through the tent. All at once a bright idea struck him. He climbed up on the flying trapeze, fell off, and broke his neck. He was determined to make that audience laugh, and he did it at last. Every one felt repaid for the trouble of going to the circus.

My Dog

I have owned quite a number of dogs in my life, but they are all dead now. Last evening I visited my dog cemetery–just between the gloaming and the shank of the evening. On the biscuit-box cover that stands at the head of a little mound fringed with golden rod and pickle bottles, the idler may still read these lines, etched in red chalk by a trembling hand:


I do not know why he was called Kosciusko. I do not care. I only know that his little grave stands out there while the gloaming gloams and the soughing winds are soughing.

Do you ask why I am alone here and dogless in this weary world?

I will tell you, anyhow. It will not take long, and it may do me good:

Kosciusko came to me one night in winter, with no baggage and unidentified. When I opened the door he came in as though he had left something in there by mistake and had returned for it.

He stayed with us two years as a watch-dog. In a desultory way, he was a good watch-dog. If he had watched other people with the same unrelenting scrutiny with which he watched me, I might have felt his death more keenly than I do now.

The second year that little Kosciusko was with us, I shaved off a full beard one day while down town, put on a clean collar and otherwise disguised myself, intending to surprise my wife.

Kosciusko sat on the front porch when I returned. He looked at me as the cashier of a bank does when a newspaper man goes in to get a suspiciously large check cashed. He did not know me. I said, “Kosciusko, have you forgotten your master’s voice?”

He smiled sarcastically, showing his glorious wealth of mouth, but still sat there as though he had stuck his tail into the door-steps and couldn’t get it out.

So I waived the formality of going in at the front door, and went around to the portcullis, on the off side of the house, but Kosciusko was there when I arrived. The cook, seeing a stranger lurking around the manor house, encouraged Kosciusko to come and gorge himself with a part of my leg, which he did. Acting on this hint I went to the barn. I do not know why I went to the barn, but somehow there was nothing in the house that I wanted. When a man wants to be by himself, there is no place like a good, quiet barn for thought. So I went into the barn, about three feet prior to Kosciusko.

Noticing the stairway, I ascended it in an aimless kind of way, about four steps at a time. What happened when we got into the haymow I do not now recall, only that Kosciusko and I frolicked around there in the hay for some time. Occasionally I would be on top, and then he would have all the delegates, until finally I got hold of a pitchfork, and freedom shrieked when Kosciusko fell. I wrapped myself up in an old horse-net and went into the house. Some of my clothes were afterward found in the hay, and the doctor pried a part of my person out of Kosciusko’s jaws, but not enough to do me any good.

I have owned, in all, eleven dogs, and they all died violent deaths, and went out of the world totally unprepared to die.

A Picturesque Picnic

Railroads have made the Rocky Mountain country familiar and contiguous, I may say, to the whole world; but the somber canon, the bald and blackened cliff, the velvety park and the snowy, silent peak that forever rests against the soft, blue sky, are ever new. The foamy green of the torrent has whirled past the giant walls of nature’s mighty fortress myriads of years, perhaps, and the stars have looked down into the great heart of earth for centuries, where the silver thread of streams, thousands of feet below, has been patiently carving out the dark canon where the eagle and the solemn echo have their home.

I said this to a gentleman from Leadville a short time ago as we toiled up Kenoska Hill, between Platte canon and the South Park, on the South Park and Pacific Railway. He said that might be true in some cases and even more so, perhaps, depending entirely on whether it would or not.

I do not believe at this moment that he thoroughly understood me. He was only a millionaire and his soul, very likely, had never throbbed and thrilled with the mysterious music nature yields to her poet child.

He could talk on and on of porphyry walls and contact veins, gray copper and ruby silver, and sulphurets and pyrites of iron, but when my eye kindled with the majestic beauty of these eternal battlements and my voice trembled a little with awe and wonder; while my heart throbbed and thrilled in the midst of nature’s eloquent, golden silence, this man sat there like an Etruscan ham and refused to throb or thrill. He was about as unsatisfactory a throbber and thriller as I have met for years.

At an elevation of over 10,000 feet above high water mark, Fahrenheit, the South Park, a hundred miles long, surrounded by precipitous mountains or green and sloping foot-hills, burst upon us, In the clear, still air, a hundred miles away, at Pueblo, I could hear a promissory note and cut-throat mortgage drawing three per cent a month. So calm and unruffled was the rarified air that I fancied I could hear the thirteenth assessment on a share of stock at Leadville toiling away at the bottom of a two hundred and fifty foot shaft.

Colorado air is so pure that men in New York have, in several instances, heard the dull rumble of an assessment working as far away as the San Juan country.

At Como, in the park, I met Col. Wellington Wade, the Duke of Dirty Woman’s Ranch, and barber extraordinary to old Stand-up-and-Yowl, chief of the Piebiters.

Colonel Wade is a reformed temperance lecturer. I went to his shop to get shaved, but he was absent. I could smell hair oil through the keyhole, but the Colonel was not in his slab-inlaid emporium. He had been preparing another lecture on temperance, and was at that moment studying the habits of his adversary at a neighboring gin palace. I sat down on the steps and devoured the beautiful landscape till he came. Then I sat down in the chair, and he hovered over me while he talked about an essay he had written on the flowing bowl. His arguments were not so strong as his breath seemed to be. I asked him if he wouldn’t breathe the other way awhile and let me sober up. I learned afterward that although his nose was red, his essay was not.

He would shave me for a few moments, and then he would hone the razor on his breath and begin over again. I think he must have been pickling his lungs in alcohol. I never met a more pronounced gin cocktail symphony and bologna sausage study in my life.

I think Sir Walter Scott must have referred to Colonel Wade when he said, "Breathes there a man with soul so dead?” Colonel Wade’s soul might not have been dead, but it certainly did not enjoy perfect health.

I went over the mountains to Breckenridge the next day, climbed two miles perpendicularly into the sky, rode on a special train one day, a push car the next and a narrow-gauge engine the next. Saw all the beauty of the country, in charge of Superintendent Smith, went over to Buena Vista and had a congestion of the spine and a good time generally. You can leave Denver on a morning train and see enough wild, grand, picturesque loveliness before supper, to store away in your heart and hang upon the walls of memory, to last all through your busy, humdrum life, and it is a good investment, too.


This name is from two Greek words which signify “arrangement” and “skin," so that the ancient Greeks, no doubt, regarded taxidermy as the original skin-game of that period. Taxidermy did not flourish in America prior to the year 1828. At that time an Englishman named Scudder established a museum and general repository for upholstered beasts.

Since then the art has advanced quite rapidly. To properly taxiderm, requires a fine taste and a close study of the subject itself in life, akin to the requirements necessary in order to succeed as a sculptor. I have seen taxidermed animals that would not fool anybody. I recall, at this time especially, a mountain lion, stuffed after death by a party who had not made this matter a subject of close study. The lion was represented in a crouching attitude, with open jaws and red gums. As time passed on and year succeeded year, this lion continued to crouch. His tail became less rampant and drooped like a hired man on a hot day. His gums became less fiery red and his reddish skin hung over his bones in a loose and distraught manner, like an old buffalo robe thrown over the knees of a vinegary old maid. Spiders spun their webs across his dull, white fangs. Mice made their nests in his abdominal cavity. His glass eye became hopelessly strabismussed, and the moths left him bald-headed on the stomach. He was a sad commentary on the extremely transitory nature of all things terrestrial and the hollowness of the stuffed beast.

I had a stuffed bird for a long time, which showed the cunning of the stuffer to a great degree. It afforded me a great deal of unalloyed pleasure, because I liked to get old hunters to look at it and tell me what kind of a bird it was. They did not generally agree. A bitter and acrimonious fight grew out of a discussion in relation to this bird. A man from Vinegar Hill named Lyons and a party called Soiled Murphy (since deceased), were in my office one morning–Mr. Lyons as a witness, and Mr. Murphy in his great specialty as a drunk and disorderly. We had just disposed of the case, and had just stepped down from the bench, intending to take off the judicial ermine and put some more coal in the stove, when the attention of Soiled Murphy was attracted to the bird. He allowed that it was a common “hell-diver with an abnormal head,” while Lyons claimed that it was a kingfisher.

The bird had a duck’s body, the head of a common eagle and the feet of a sage hen. These parts had been adjusted with great care and the tail loaded with lead somehow, so that the powerful head would not tip the bird up behind. With this rara avis, to use a foreign term, I loved to amuse and instruct old hunters, who had been hunting all their lives for a free drink, and hear them tell how they had killed hundred of these birds over on the Poudre in an early day, or over near Elk Mountain when the country was new.

So Lyons claimed that he had killed millions of these fowls, and Soiled Murphy, who was known as the tomato can and beer-remnant savant of that country, said that before the Union Pacific Railroad got into that section, these birds swarmed around Hutton’s lakes and lived on horned toads.

The feeling got more and more partisan till Mr. Lyons made a pass at Soiled Murphy with a large red cuspidor that had been presented to me by Valentine Baker, a dealer in abandoned furniture and mines. Mr. Murphy then welted Lyons over the head with the judicial scales. He then adroitly caught a lump of bituminous coal with his countenance and fell to the floor with a low cry of pain.

I called in an outside party as a witness, and in the afternoon both men were convicted of assault and battery. Soiled Murphy asked for a change of venue on the ground that I was prejudiced. I told him that I did not allow anything whatever to prejudice me, and went on with the case.

This great taxidermic masterpiece led to other assaults afterward, all of which proved remunerative in a small way. My successor claimed that the bird was a part of the perquisites of the office, and so I had to turn it over with the docket.

I also had a stuffed weasel from Cummins City that attracted a great deal of attention, both in this country and in Europe. It looked some like a weasel and some like an equestrian sausage with hair on it.

The Ways of Doctors

“There’s a big difference in doctors, I tell you,” said an old-timer to me the other day. “You think you know something about ’em, but you are still in the fluff and bloom, and kindergarten of life, Wait till you’ve been through what I have.”

“Where, for instance?” I asked him.

“Well, say nothing about anything else, just look at the doctors we had in the war. We had a doctor in our regiment that looked as if he knew so much that it made him unhappy. I found out afterward that he ran a kind of cow foundling asylum, in Utah before the war, and when he had to prescribe for a human being, it seemed to kind of rattle him.

“I fell off’n my horse early in the campaign and broke my leg, I rickolect, and he sot the bone. He thought that a bone should be sot similar to a hen. He made what he called a good splice, but the break was above the knee, and he got the cow idea into his head in a way that set the knee behind. That was bad.

“I told him one day that he was a blamed fool. He gave me a cigar and told me I must be a mind reader.

“For several weeks our colonel couldn’t eat anything, and seemed to feel kind of billious. He didn’t know what the trouble was till he went to the doctor. He looked at the colonel a few moments, examined his tongue, and told him right off that he had lost his cud.

“He bragged a good deal on his diagnosis. He said he’d like to see the disease he couldn’t diagnose with one hand tied behind him.

“He was always telling me how he had resuscitated a man they hung over at T–– City in the early day. He was hung by mistake, it seemed. It was a dark night and the Vigilance committee was in something of a hurry, having another party to hang over at Dirty Woman’s ranch that night, and so they erroneously hung a quiet young feller from Illinois, who had been sent west to cure a case of bronchitis. He was right in the middle of an explanation when the head vigilanter kicked the board from under him and broke his neck.

“All at once, some one said: ’My God, we have made a ridiculous blunder. Boys, we can’t be too careful about hanging total strangers. A few more such breaks as these, and people from the States will hesitate about coming here to make their homes. We have always claimed that this was a good country for bronchitis, but if we write to Illinois and tell this young feller’s parents the facts, we needn’t look for a very large hegira from Illinois next season. Doc., can’t you do anything for the young man?’

“Then this young physician stepped forward, he says, and put his knee on the back of the boy’s neck, give it a little push, at the same time pulled the head back with a snap that straightened the neck, and the young feller, who was in the middle of a large word, something like ’contumely,’ when the barrel tipped over, finished out the word and went right on with the explanation. The doctor said he lived a good many years, and was loved and esteemed by all who knew him.

“The doctor was always telling of his triumphs in surgery. He did save a good many lives, too, toward the close of the war. He did it in an odd way, too.

“He had about one year more to serve, and, with his doctoring on one side and the hostility of the enemy on the other, our regiment was wore down to about five hundred men. Everybody said we couldn’t stand it more than another year. One day, however, the doctor had just measured a man for a porus plaster, and had laid the stub of his cigar carefully down on the top of a red powder-keg, when there was a slight atmospheric disturbance, the smell of burnt clothes, and our regiment had to apply for a new surgeon.

“The wife of our late surgeon wrote to have her husband’s remains forwarded to her, but I told her that it would be very difficult to do so, owing to the nature of the accident. I said, however, that we had found an upper set of store teeth imbedded in a palmetto tree near by, and had buried them with military honors, erecting over the grave a large board, on which was inscribed the name and age of the deceased and this inscription:

Not dead, but spontaneously distributed. Gone to meet his glorified throng of patients. Ta, ta, vain world.”

Absent Minded

I remember an attorney, who practiced law out West years ago, who used to fill his pipe with brass paper fasteners, and try to light it with a ruling pen about twice a day. That was his usual average.

He would talk in unknown tongues, and was considered a thorough and revised encyclopedia on everything from the tariff on a meerschaum pipe to the latitude of Crazy Woman’s Fork west of Greenwich, and yet if he went to the postoffice he would probably mail his pocketbook and carefully bring his letter back to the office.

One day he got to thinking about the Monroe doctrine, or the sudden and horrible death of Judas Iscariot, and actually lost his office. He walked up and down for an hour, scouring the town for the evanescent office that had escaped his notice while he was sorrowing over the shocking death of Judas, or Noah’s struggles against malaria and a damp, late spring.

Martin Luther Brandt was the name of this eccentric jurist. He got up in the night once, and dressed himself, and taking a night train in that dreamy way of his, rode on to Denver, took the Rio Grande train in the morning and drifted away into old Mexico somewhere. He must have been in that same old half comatose state when he went away, for he made a most ludicrous error in getting his wife in the train. When he arrived in old Mexico he found that he had brought another man’s wife, and by some strange oversight had left his own at home with five children. It hardly seems possible that a man could be so completely enveloped in a brown study that he would err in the matter of a wife and five children, but such was the case with Martin Luther. Martin Luther couldn’t tell you his own name if you asked him suddenly, so as to give him a nervous shock.

This dreamy, absent-minded, wool-gathering disease is sometimes contagious. Pretty soon after Martin Luther struck Mexico the malignant form of brown study broke out among the greasers, and an alarming mania on the somnambulistic order seemed to follow it. A party of Mexican somnambuloes one night got together, and while the disease was at its height tied Martin Luther to the gable of a ’dobe hen palace. His soul is probably at this moment floundering around through space, trying to find the evergreen shore.

An old hunter, who was a friend of mine, had this odd way of walking aimlessly around with his thoughts in some other world.

I used to tell him that some day he would regret it, but he only laughed and continued to do the same fool thing.

Last fall he saw a grizzly go into a cave in the upper waters of the Platte, and strolled in there to kill her. As he has not returned up to this moment, I am sure he has erroneously allowed himself to get mixed up as to the points of the compass, and has fallen a victim to this fatal brown study. Some think that the brown study had hair on it.

Woman’s Wonderful Influence

“Woman wields a wonderful influence over man’s destinies,” said Woodtick William, the other day, as he breathed gently on a chunk of blossom rock and then wiped it carefully with the tail of his coat.

“Woman in most cases is gentle and long suffering, but if you observe close for several consecutive weeks you will notice that she generally gets there with both feet.

“I’ve been quite a student of the female mind myself. I have, therefore, had a good deal of opportunity to compare the everedge man with the everedge woman as regards ketchin’ on in our great general farewell journey to the tomb.

“Woman has figgered a good deal in my own destinies. My first wife was a large, powerful woman, who married me before I hardly knew it. She married me down near Provost, in an early day. Her name was Lorena. The name didn’t seem to suit her complexion and phizzeek as a general thing. It was like calling the fat woman in the museum Lily. Lorena was a woman of great strength of purpose. She was also strong in the wrists. Lorena was of foreign extraction, with far-away eyes and large, earnest red hands. You ought to have saw her preserve order during the hour for morning prayers. I had a hired man there in Utah, in them days, who was inclined to be a scoffer at our plain home-made style of religion. So I told Lorena that I was a little afraid that Orlando Whoopenkaugh would rise up suddenly while I was at prayer and spatter my thinker all over the cook stove, or create some other ruction that would cast a gloom over our devotions.

“Lorena said: ’Never mind, William. You are more successful in prayer, while I am more successful in disturbances. You go on with your petition, and I will preserve order.”

“Lorena saved my life once in a singular manner. Being a large, powerful woman, of course she no doubt preserved me from harm a great many times; but on this occasion it was a clear case.

“I was then sinking on the Coopon claim, and had got the prospect shaft down a couple of hundred foot and was drifting for the side wall with indifferent success. We was working a day shift of six men, blasting, hysting and a little timbering. I was in charge of the crew and eastern capital was furnishing the ready John Davis, if you will allow me that low term.

“Lorena and me had been a little edgeways for several days, owing to a little sassy remark made by her and a retort on my part in which I thoughtlessly alluded to her brother, who was at that time serving out a little term for life down at Canyon City, and who, if his life is spared, is at it yet. If I wanted to make Lorena jump nine feet high and holler, all I had to do was just to allude in a jeering way to her family record, so she got madder and madder, till at last it ripened into open hostility, and about noon on the 13th day of September Lorena attacked me with a large butcher knife and drove me into the adjoining county. She told me, also, that if I ever returned to Provost she would cut me in two right between the pancreas and the watch pocket and feed me to the hens.

“I thought if she felt that way about it I would not return. I felt so hurt and so grieved about it that I never stopped till I got to Omaha. Then I heard how Lorena, as a means in the hands of Providence, had saved my unprofitable life.

“When she got back to the house and had put away her butcher knife, a man came rushing in to tell her that the boys had struck a big pay streak of water, and that the whole crew in the Coopon was drowned, her husband among the rest.

“Then it dawned on Lorena how she had saved me, and for the first time in her life she burst into tears. People who saw her said her grief was terrible. Tears are sad enough when shed by a man, but when we see a strong woman bowed in grief, we shudder.

“No one who has never deserted his wife at her urgent request can fully realize the pain and anguish it costs. I have been married many times since, but the sensation is just the same to-day as it was the first time I ever deserted my wife.

“As I said, though, a woman has a wonderful influence over a man’s whole life. If I had a chance to change the great social fabric any, though, I should ask woman to be more thoughtful of her husband, and, if possible, less severe. I would say to woman, be a man. Rise above these petty little tyrannical ways. Instead of asking your husband what he does with every cent you give him, learn to trust him. Teach him that you have confidence in him. Make him think you have anyway, whether you have or not. Do not seek to get a whiff of his breath every ten minutes to see whether he has been drinking or not. If you keep doing that you will sock him into a drunkard’s grave, sure pop. He will at first lie about it, then he will use disinfectants for the breath, and then he will stay away till he gets over it. The timid young man says, ’Pass the cloves, please. I’ve got to get ready to go home pretty soon.’ The man whose wife really has fun with him says, ’Well, boys, good-night. I’m sorry for you.’ Then he goes home.

“Very few men have had the opportunities for observation in a matrimonial way that I have, William. You see, one man judges all the wives in Christendom by his’n. Another does ditto, and so it goes. But I have made matrimony a study. It has been a life-work for me. Others have simply dabbled into it. I have studied all its phases and I am an expert. So I say to you that woman, in one way or another, either by strategy and winnin’ ways or by main strength and awkwardness, is absolutely sure to wield an all-fired influence over poor, weak man, and while grass grows and water runs, pardner, you will always find her presiding over man’s destinies and his ducats.”

Causes for Thanksgiving

We are now rapidly approaching the date of our great national thanksgiving. Another year has almost passed by on the wings of tireless time.

Since last we gathered about the festive board and spattered the true inwardness of the family gobbler over the table cloth, remorseless time, who knows not the weight of weariness, has sought out the good, the true and the beautiful, as well as the old, the sinful and the tough, and has laid his heavy hand upon them. We have no more fitting illustration of the great truth that death prefers the young and tender than the deceased turkey upon which we are soon to operate. How still he lies, mowed down in life’s young morn to make a yankee holiday.

How changed he seems! Once so gay and festive, now so still, so strangely quiet and reserved. How calmly he lies, with his bare limbs buried in the lurid atmosphere like those of a hippytehop artist on the west side.

Soon the amateur carver will plunge the shining blade into the unresisting bird, and the air will be filled with stuffing and half smothered profanity. The Thanksgiving turkey is a grim humorist, and nothing pleases him so well as to hide his joint in a new place and then flip over and smile when the student misses it and buries the knife in the bosom of a personal friend. Few men can retain their sang froid before company when they have to get a step ladder and take down the second joint and the merry thought from the chandelier while people are looking at them.

And what has the past year brought us? Speaking from a Republican standpoint, it has brought us a large wad of dark blue gloom. Speaking from a Democratic standpoint, it has been very prolific of fourth-class postoffices worth from $200 down to $1.35 per annum. Politically, the past year has been one of wonderful changes. Many have, during the year just past, held office for the first time. Many, also, have gone out into the cold world since last Thanksgiving and seriously considered the great problem of how to invest a small amount of actual perspiration in plain groceries.

Many who considered the life of a politician to be one of high priced food and inglorious ease, have found, now that they have the fruit, that it is ashes on their lips.

Our foreign relations have been mutually pleasant, and those who dwell across the raging main, far removed from the refining influences of our prohibitory laws, have still made many grand strides toward the amelioration of our lost and undone race. Many foreigners who have never experienced the pleasure of drinking mysterious beverages from gas fixtures and burial caskets in Maine, or from a blind pig in Iowa, or a Babcock fire extinguisher in Kansas, still enjoy life by bombarding the Czar as he goes out after a scuttle of coal at night, or by putting a surprise package of dynamite on the throne of a tottering dynasty, where said tottering dynasty will have to sit down upon it and then pass rapidly to another sphere of existence.

Many startling changes have taken place since last November. The political fabric in our own land has assumed a different hue, and men who a year ago were unnoticed and unknown are even more so now. This is indeed a healthy sign. No matter what party or faction may be responsible for this, I say in a wholly non-partisan spirit, that I am glad of it.

I am glad to notice that, owing to the active enforcement of the Edmunds bill in Utah, polygamy has been made odorous. The day is not far distant when Utah will be admitted as a State and her motto will be “one country, one flag, and one wife at a time.” Then will peace and prosperity unite to make the modern Zion the habitation of men. The old style of hand-made valley tan will give place to a less harmful beverage, and we will welcome the new sister in the great family circle of States, not clothed in the disagreeable endowment robe, but dressed up in the Mother Hubbard wrapper, with a surcingle around it, such as the goddess of liberty wears when she has her picture taken.

Crops throughout the northwest have been fairly good, though the gain yield has been less in quantity and inferior in quality to that of last year. A Democratic administration has certainly frowned upon the professional, partisan office seekers, but it has been unable to stay the onward march of the chintz bug or to produce a perceptible falling off in pip among the yellow-limbed fowls. While Jeffersonian purity and economy have seemed to rage with great virulence at Washington, in the northwest heaves and botts among horses and common, old-fashioned hollow horn among cattle have been the prevailing complaints.

And yet there is much for which we should be thankful. Many broad-browed men who knew how a good paper ought to be conducted, but who had no other visible means of support, have passed on to another field of labor, leaving the work almost solely in the hands of the vast army of novices who at the present are at the head of journalism throughout the country, and who sadly miss those timely words of caution that were wont to fall from the lips of those men whose spirits are floating through space, finding fault with the arrangement of the solar system.

The fool-killer, in the meantime, has not been idle. With his old, rusty, unloaded musket, he has gathered in enough to make his old heart swell with pride, and to this number he has added many by using “rough on rats," a preparation that never killed anything except those that were unfortunate enough to belong to the human family.

Still the fool-killer has missed a good many on account of the great rush of business in his line, and I presume that no one has a greater reason to be thankful for this oversight than I have.

Farming in Maine

The State of Maine is a good place in which to experiment with prohibition, but it is not a good place to farm it in very largely.

In the first place, the season is generally a little reluctant. When I was up near Moosehead Lake, a short time ago, people were driving across that body of water on the ice with perfect impunity. That is one thing that interferes with the farming business in Maine. If a young man is sleigh-riding every night till midnight, he don’t feel like hoeing corn the following day. Any man who has ever had his feet frost-bitten while bugging potatoes, will agree with me that it takes away the charm of pastoral pursuits. It is this desire to amalgamate dog days and Santa Claus, that has injured Maine as an agricultural hot-bed.

Another reason that might be assigned for refraining from agricultural pursuits in Maine, is that the agitator of the soil finds when it is too late that soil itself, which is essential to the successful propagation of crops, has not been in use in Maine for years. While all over the State there is a magnificent stone foundation on which a farm might safely rest, the superstructure, or farm proper, has not been secured.

If I had known when I passed through Minnesota and Illinois what a soil famine there was in Maine, I would have brought some with me. The stone crop this year in Maine will be very great. If they do not crack open during the dry weather, there will be a great many. The stone bruise is also looking unusually well for this season of the year, and chilblains were in full bloom when I was there.

In the neighborhood of Pittsfield, the country seems to run largely to cold water and chattel mortgages. Some think that rum has always kept Maine back, but I claim that it has been wet feet. In another article I refer to the matter of rum in Maine more fully.

The agricultural resources of Pittsfield and vicinity are not great, the principal exports being spruce gum and Christmas trees. Here also the huckleberry hath her home. But the country seems to run largely to Christmas trees. They were not yet in bloom when I visited the State, so it was too early to gather popcorn balls and Christmas presents.

Here, near Pittsfield, is the birthplace of the only original wormless dried apple pie, with which we generally insult our gastric economy when we lunch along the railroad. These pies, when properly kiln-dried and rivetted, with German silver monogram on top, if fitted out with Yale time lock, make the best fire and burglar-proof wormless pies of commerce. They take the place of civil war, and as a promoter of intestine strife they have no equal.

The farms in Maine are fenced in with stone walls. I do not know way this is done, for I did not see anything on these farms that anyone would naturally yearn to carry away with him.

I saw some sheep in one of these enclosures. Their steel-pointed bills were lying on the wall near them, and they were resting their jaws in the crisp, frosty morning air. In another enclosure a farmer was planting clover seed with a hypodermic syringe, and covering it with a mustard plaster. He said that last year his clover was a complete failure because his mustard plasters were no good. He had tried to save money by using second-hand mustard plasters, and of course the clover seed, missing the warm stimulus, neglected to rally, and the crop was a failure.

Here may be noticed the canvas-back moose and a strong antipathy to good rum. I do not wonder that the people of Maine are hostile to rum–if they judge all rum by Maine rum. The moose is one of the most gamey of the finny tribe. He is caught in the fall of the year with a double-barrel shotgun and a pair of snow-shoes. He does not bite unless irritated, but little boys should not go near the female moose while she is on her nest. The masculine moose wears a harelip, and a hat rack on his head to which is attached a placard on which is printed:


This shows that the moose is a humorist.

Doosedly Dilatory

Since the investigation of Washington pension attorneys, it is a little remarkable how scarce in the newspapers is the appearance of advertisements like this.

Pensions! Thousands of soldiers of the late war are still entitled to pensions with the large accumulations since the injury was received. We procure pensions, back pay, allowances. Appear in the courts for nonresident clients in United States land cases, etc. Address Skinnem & Co., Washington, D.C.

I didn’t participate in the late war, but I have had some experience in putting a few friends and neighbors on the track of a pension. Those who have tried it will remember some of the details. It always seemed to me a little more difficult somehow for a man who had lost both legs at Antietam, than for the man who got his nose pulled off at an election three years after the war closed. It, of course, depended a good deal on the extemporaneous affidavit qualifications of the applicant. About five years ago an acquaintance came to me and said he wanted to get a pension from the government, and that he hadn’t the first idea about the details. He didn’t know whether he should apply to the President or to the Secretary of State. Would I “kind of put him onto the racket.” I asked him what he wanted a pension for, and he said his injury didn’t show much, but it prevented his pursuit of kopecks and happiness. He had nine children by his first wife, and if he could get a pension he desired to marry again.

As to the nature of his injuries, he said that at the battle of Fair Oaks he supported his command by secreting himself behind a rail fence and harassing the enemy from time to time, by a system of coldness and neglect on his part. While thus employed in breaking the back of the Confederacy, a solid shot struck a crooked rail on which he was sitting, in such a way as to jar his spinal column. From this concussion he had never fully recovered. He didn’t notice it any more while sitting down and quiet, but the moment he began to do manual labor or to stand on his feet too long, unless he had a bar or something to lean up against, he felt the cold chill run up his back and life was no object.

I told him that I was too busy to attend to it, and asked him why he didn’t put his case in the hands of some Washington attorney, who could be on the ground and attend to it. He decided that he would, so he wrote to one of these philanthropists whom we will call Fitznoodle. I give him the nom de plume of Fitznoodle to nip a $20,000 libel suit in the bud. Well, Fitznoodle sent back some blanks for the claimant to sign, by which he bound himself, his heirs, executors, representatives and assigns, firmly by these presents to pay to said Fitznoodle, the necessary fees for postage, stationery, car fare, concert tickets, and office rent, while said claim was in the hands of the pension department. He said in a letter that he would have to ask for $2, please, to pay for postage. He inclosed a circular in which he begged to refer the claimant to a reformed member of the bar of the District of Columbia, a backslidden foreign minister and three prominent men who had been dead eleven years by the watch. In a postscript he again alluded to the $2 in a casual way, waved the American flag two times, and begged leave to subscribe himself once more. “Yours Fraternally and professionally, Good Samaritan Fitznoodle, Attorney at Law, Solicitor in Chancery, and Promotor of Even-handed Justice in and for the District of Columbia.” The claimant sent his $2, not necessarily for publication, but as a guaranty of good faith.

Later on Mr. Fitznoodle said that the first step would be to file a declaration enclosing $5 and the names of two witnesses who were present when the claimant was born, and could identify him as the same man who enlisted from Emporia in the Thirteenth Kansas Nighthawks. Five dollars must be enclosed to defray the expenses of a trip to the office of the commissioner of pensions, which trip would naturally take in eleven saloons and ten cents in car fare. “P.S.–Attach to the declaration the signature and seal of a notary public of pure character, $5, the certificate of the clerk of a court of record as to the genuineness of the signature of the notary public, his term of appointment and $5." These documents were sent, after which there was a lull of about three months. Then the swelling in Mr. Fitznoodle’s head had gone down a little, but there was still a seal brown taste in his mouth. So he wrote the claimant that it would be necessary to jog the memory of the department about $3 dollars worth; and to file collateral testimony setting forth that claimant was a native born American or that he had declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States, that he had not formed nor expressed an opinion for or against the accused, which the testimony would not eradicate, that he would enclose $3, and that he had never before applied for a pension. After awhile a circular from the pension end of the department was received, stating that the claimant’s application had been received, filed and docketed No. 188,935,062-1/2, on page 9,847 of book G, on the thumb-hand side as you come in on the New York train. On the strength of this document the claimant went to the grocery and bought an ecru-colored ham, a sack of corn meal and a pound of tobacco. In June Mr. Fitznoodle sent a blank to be filled out by the claimant, stating whether he had or had not been baptized prior to his enlistment; and, if so, to what extent, and how he liked it so far as he had gone. This was to be sworn to before two witnesses, who were to be male, if possible, and if not, the department would insist on their being female. These witnesses must swear that they had no interest in the said claim, or anything else. On receipt of this, together with $5 in postoffice money order or New York draft, the document would be filed and, no doubt, acted upon at once. In July, a note came from the attorney saying that he regretted to write that the pension department was now 250,000 claims behind, and if business was taken up in its regular order, the claim under discussion might not be reached for between nine and ten years. However, it would be possible to “expedite” the claim, if $25 could be remitted for the purpose of buying a spike-tail coat and plug hat, in which to appear before the commissioner of pensions and mash him flat on the shape of the attorney. As the claimant didn’t know much of the practical working of the machinery of government, he swallowed this pill and remitted the $25. Here followed a good deal of red tape and international monkeying during which the claimant was alternately taking an oath to support the constitution of the United States, and promising to support the constitution and by-laws of Mr. Fitznoodle. The claimant was constantly assured that his claim was a good one and on these autograph letters written with a type-writer, the war-born veteran with a concussed vertebra bought groceries and secured the funds to pay his assessments.

For a number of years I heard nothing of the claim, but a few months ago, when Mr. Fitznoodle was arrested and jerked into the presence of the grand jury, a Washington friend wrote me that the officers found in his table a letter addressed to the man who was jarred in the rear of the Union army, and in which (the letter, I mean), he alluded to the long and pleasant correspondence which had sprung up between them as lawyer and client, and regretting that, as the claim would soon be allowed, their friendly relations would no doubt cease, would he please forward $13 to pay freight on the pension money, and also a lock of his hair that Mr. Fitznoodle could weave into a watchchain and wear always. As the claimant does not need the papers, he probably thinks by this time that Mr. Good Samaritan Fitznoodle has been kidnapped and thrown into the moaning, hungry sea.

Every Man His Own Paper-Hanger

It would please me very much, at no distant day, to issue a small book filled with choice recipes and directions for making home happy. I have accumulated an immense assortment of these things, all of general use and all excellent in their way, because they have been printed in papers all over the country–papers that would not be wrong. Some of these recipes I have tried.

I have tried the recipe for paste and directions for applying wall paper, as published recently in an agricultural paper to which I had become very much attached.

This recipe had all the characteristics of an ingenuous and honest document. I cut it out of the paper and filed it away where I came very near not finding it again. But I was unfortunate enough to find it after a long search.

The scheme was to prepare a flour paste that would hold forever, and at the same time make the paper look smooth and neat to the casual observer. It consisted of so many parts flour, so many parts hot water and so many parts common glue. First, the walls were to be sized, however. I took a common tape measure and sized the walls.

Then I put a dishpan on the cook stove, poured in the flour, boiling water and glue. This rapidly produced a dark brown mess of dough, to which I was obliged to add more hot water. It looked extremely repulsive to me, but it looked a good deal better than it smelled.

I did not have much faith in it, but I thought I would try it. I put some of it on a long strip of wall paper and got up on a chair to apply it. In the excitement of trying to stick it on the wall as nearly perpendicular as possible, I lost my balance while still holding the paper and fell in such a manner as to wrap four yards of bronze paper and common flour paste around my wife’s head, with the exception of about four feet of the paper which I applied to an oil painting of a Gordon Setter in a gilt frame.

I decline to detail the dialogue which then took place between my wife and myself. Whatever claim the public may have on me, it has no right to demand this. It will continue to remain sacred. That is, not so very sacred of course, if I remember my exact language at the time, but sacredly secret from the prying eyes of the public.

It is singular, but it is none the less the never dying truth, that the only time that paste ever stuck anything at all, was when I applied it to my wife and that picture. After that it did everything but adhere. It gourmed and it gummed everything, but that was all.

The man who wrote the recipe may have been stuck on it, but nothing else ever was.

Finally a friend came along who helped me pick the paper off the dog and soothe my wife. He said that what this paste needed was more glue and a quart of molasses. I added these ingredients, and constructed a quart of chemical molasses which looked like crude ginger bread in a molten state.

Then, with the aid of my friend, I proceeded to paper the room. The paper would seem to adhere at times, and then it would refrain from adhering. This was annoying, but we succeeded in applying the paper to the walls in a way that showed we were perfectly sincere about it. We didn’t seek to mislead anybody or cover up anything. Any one could see where each roll of paper tried to be amicable with its neighbor–also where we had tried the laying on of hands in applying the paper.

We got all the paper on in good shape–also the bronze. But they were in different places. The paper was on the walls, but the bronze was mostly on our clothes and on our hands. I was very tired when I got through, and I went to bed early, hoping to get much needed rest. In the morning, when I felt fresh and rested, I thought that the paper would look better to me.

There is where I fooled myself. It did not look better to me. It looked worse.

All night long I could occasionally hear something crack like a Fourth of July. I did not know at the time what it was, but in the morning I discovered.

It seems that, during the night, that paper had wrinkled itself up like the skin on the neck of a pioneer hen after death. It had pulled itself together with so much zeal that the room was six inches smaller each way and the carpet didn’t fit.

There is only one way to insure success in the publication of recipes. They must be tried by the editor himself before they are printed. If you have a good recipe for paste, you must try it before you print it. If you have a good remedy for botts, you must get a botty horse somewhere and try the remedy before you submit it. If you think of publishing the antidote for a certain poison, you should poison some one and try the antidote on him, in order to test it, before you bamboozle the readers of your paper.

This, of course, will add a good deal of extra work for the editor, but editors need more work. All they do now is to have fun with each other, draw their princely salaries, and speak sarcastically of the young poet who sings,

“You have came far o’er the sea, And I’ve went away from thee.”

Sixty Minutes in America

The following selections are from the advance sheets of a forthcoming work with the above title, to be published by M. Foll de Roll. It is possible that other excerpts will be made from the book, in case the present harmonious state of affairs between France and America is not destroyed by my style of translation.

In the preface M. Foll de Roll says: “France has long required a book of printed writings about that large, wide land of whom we listen to so much and yet so little sabe, as the piquant Californian shall say. America is considerable. America I shall call vast. She care nothing how high freedom shall come, she must secure him. She exclaims to all people: ’You like freedom pretty well, but you know nothing of it. We throw away every day more freedom than you shall see all your life. Come to this place when you shall run out of freedom. We make it. Do not ask us for money, but if you want personal liberty, please look over our vast stock before you elsewhere go.’

“So everybody goes to America, where he shall be free to pay cash for what the American has for sale.

“In this book will be found everything that the French people want to know of that singular land, for did I not cross it from New Jersey City, the town where all the New York people have to go to get upon the cars, through to the town of San Francisco?

“For years the writer of this book has had it in his mind to go across America, and then tell the people of France, in a small volume costing one franc, all about the grotesque land of the freedom bird.”

In the opening chapter he alludes to New York casually, and apologizes for taking up so much space.

“When you shall land in New York, you shall feel a strange sensation. The stomach is not so what we should call ’Rise up William Riley,’ to use an Americanism which will not bear translation. I ride along the Rue de Twenty-three, and want to eat everything my eyes shall fall upon.

“I stay at New York all night, and eat one large supper at 6 o’clock, and again at 9. At 12 I awake and eat the inside of my hektograph, and then lie down once more to sleep. The hektograph will be henceforth, as the American shall say, no good, but what is that when a man is starving in a foreign land?

“I leave New York in the morning on the Ferry de Pavonia, a steamer that goes to New Jersey City. Many people go to New York to buy food and clothes. Then you shall see them return to the woods, where they live the rest of the time. Some of the females are quite petite and, as the Americans have it,’scrumptious.’ One stout girl at New Jersey City, I was told, was ’all wool and a yard wide.’

“The relations between New York and New Jersey City are quite amicable, and the inhabitants seem to spend much of their time riding to and fro on the Ferry de Pavonia and other steamers. When I talked to them in their own language they would laugh with great glee, and say they could not parley voo Norwegian very good.

“The Americans are very fond of witnessing what may be called the tournament de slug. In this, two men wearing upholstered mittens shake hands, and then one strikes at the other with his right hand, so as to mislead him, and, while he is taking care of that, the first man hits him with his left and knocks out some of his teeth. Then the other man spits out his loose teeth and hits his antagonist on the nose, or feeds him with the thumb of his upholstered mitten for some time. Half the gate money goes to the hospital where these men are in the habit of being repaired.

“One of these men, who is now the champion scrapper, as one American author has it, was once a poor boy, but he was proud and ambitious. So he practiced on his wife evenings, after she had washed the dishes, until he found that he could ’knock her out,’ as the American has it. Then he tried it on other relatives, and step by step advanced till he could make almost any man in America cough up pieces of this upholstered mitten which he wears in public.

“In closing this chapter on New York, I may say that I have not said so much of the city itself as I would like, but enough so that he who reads with care may feel somewhat familiar with it. New York is situated on the east side of America, near New Jersey City. The climate is cool and frosty a part of the year, but warm and temperate in the summer months. The surface is generally level, but some of the houses are quite tall.

“I would not advise Frenchmen to go to New York now, but rather to wait until the pedestal of M. Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty has been paid for. Many foreigners have already been earnestly permitted to help pay for this pedestal.”

Rev. Mr. Hallelujah’s Hoss

There are a good many difficult things to ride, I find, beside the bicycle and the bucking Mexican plug. Those who have tried to mount and successfully ride a wheelbarrow in the darkness of the stilly night will agree with me.

You come on a wheelbarrow suddenly when it is in a brown study, and you undertake to straddle it, so to speak, and all at once you find the wheelbarrow on top. I may say, I think, safely, that the wheelbarrow is, as a rule, phlegmatic and cool; but when a total stranger startles it, it spreads desolation and destruction on every hand.

This is also true of the perambulator, or baby-carriage. I undertook to evade a child’s phaeton, three years ago last spring, as it stood in the entrance to a hall in Main street. The child was not injured, because it was not in the carriage at the time; but I was not so fortunate. I pulled pieces of perambulator out of myself for two weeks with the hand that was not disabled.

How a sedentary man could fall through a child’s carriage in such a manner as to stab himself with the awning and knock every spoke out of three wheels, is still a mystery to me, but I did it. I can show you the doctor’s bill now.

The other day, however, I discovered a new style of riding animal. The Rev. Mr. Hallelujah was at the depot when I arrived, and was evidently waiting for the same Chicago train that I was in search of. Rev. Mr. Hallelujah had put his valise down near an ordinary baggage-truck which leaned up against the wall of the station building.

He strolled along the platform a few moments, communing with himself and agitating his mind over the subject of Divine Retribution, and then he went up and leaned against the truck. Finally, he somehow got his arms under the handles of the truck as it stood up between his back and the wall. He still continued to think of the plan of Divine Retribution, and you could have seen his lips move if you had been there.

Pretty soon some young ladies came along, rosy in winter air, beautiful beyond compare, frosty crystals in their hair; smiled they on the preacher there.

He returned the smile and bowed low. As he did so, as near as I can figure it out, he stepped back on the iron edge of the truck that the baggageman generally jabs under the rim of an iron-bound sample-trunk when he goes to load it. Anyhow, Mr. Hallelujah’s feet flew toward next spring. The truck started across the platform with him and spilled him over the edge on the track ten feet below. So rapid was the movement that the eye with difficulty followed his evolutions. His valise was carried onward by the same wild avalanche, and “busted” open before it struck the track below.

I was surprised to see some of the articles that shot forth into the broad light of day. Among the rest there was a bran fired new set of ready-made teeth, to be used in case of accident. Up to that moment I didn’t know that Mr. Hallelujah used the common tooth of commerce. These teeth slipped out of the valise with a Sabbath smile and vulcanized rubber gums.

In striking the iron track below, the every-day set which the Rev. Mr. Hallelujah had in use became loosened, and smiled across the road-bed and right of way at the bran fired new array of incisors, cuspids, bi-cuspids and molars that flew out of the valise. Mr. Hallelujah got up and tried to look merry, but he could not smile without his teeth. The back seams of his Newmarket coat were more successful, however.

Mr. Hallelujah’s wardrobe and a small boy were the only objects that dared to smile.

Somnambulism and Crime

A recent article in the London Post on the subject of somnambulism, calls to my mind several little incidents with somnambulistic tendencies in my own experience.

This subject has, indeed, attracted my attention for some years, and it has afforded me great pleasure to investigate it carefully.

Regarding the causes of dreams and somnambulism, there are many theories, all of which are more or less untenable. My own idea, given, of course, in a plain, crude way, is that thoughts originate on the inside of the brain and then go at once to the surface, where they have their photographs taken, with the understanding that the negatives are to be preserved. In this way the thought may afterward be duplicated back to the thinker in the form of a dream, and, if the impulse be strong enough, muscular action and somnambulism may result.

On the banks of Bitter Creek, some years ago, lived an open-mouthed man, who had risen from affluence by his unaided effort until he was entirely free from any incumbrance in the way of property. His mind dwelt on this matter a great deal during the day. Thoughts of manual labor flitted through his mind, but were cast aside as impracticable. Then other means of acquiring property suggested themselves. These thoughts were photographed on the delicate negative of the brain, where it is a rule to preserve all negatives. At night these thoughts were reversed within the think resort, if I may be allowed that term, and muscular action resulted. Yielding at last to the great desire for possessions and property the somnambulist groped his way to the corral of a total stranger, and selecting a choice mule with great dewy eyes and real camel’s hair tail, he fled. On and on he pressed, toward the dark, uncertain west, till at last rosy morn clomb the low, outlying hills and gilded the gray outlines of the sage-brush. The coyote slunk back to his home, but the somnambulist did not.

He awoke as day dawned, and, when he found himself astride the mule of another, a slight shudder passed the entire length of his frame. He then fully realized that he had made his debut as a somnambulist. He seemed to think that he who starts out to be a somnambulist should never turn back. So he pressed on, while the red sun stepped out into the awful quiet of the dusty waste and gradually moved up into the sky, and slowly added another day to those already filed away in the dark maw of ages.

Night came again at last, and with it other somnambulists similar to the first, only that they were riding on their own beasts. Some somnambulists ride their own animals, while others are content to bestride the steeds of strangers.

The man on the anonymous mule halted at last at the mouth of a deep canon. He did so at the request of other somnambulists. Mechanically he got down from the back of the mule and stood under a stunted mountain pine.

After awhile he began to ascend the tree by means of his neck. When he had reached the lower branch of the tree he made a few gestures with his feet by a lateral movement of the legs. He made several ineffectual efforts to kick some pieces out of the horizon, and then, after he had gently oscilliated a few times, he assumed a pendent and perpendicular position at right angles with the limb of the tree.

The other somnambulists then took the mule safely back to his corral, and the tragedy of a night was over.

The London Post very truly says that where somnambulism can be proved it is a good defense in a criminal action. It was so held in this case.

Various methods are suggested for rousing the somnambulist, such as tickling the feet, for instance; but in all my own experience, I never knew of a more radical or permanent cure than the one so imperfectly given above. It might do in some cases to tickle the feet of a somnambulist discovered in the act of riding away on an anonymous mule, but how could you successfully tickle the soles of his feet while he is standing on them? In such cases, the only true way would be to suspend the somnambulist in such a way as to give free access to the feet from below, and, at the same time, give him a good, wide horizon to kick at.

Modern Architecture

It may be premature, perhaps, but I desire to suggest to anyone who may be contemplating the erection of a summer residence for me, as a slight testimonial of his high regard for my sterling worth and symmetrical escutcheon–a testimonial more suggestive of earnest admiration and warm personal friendship than of great intrinsic value, etc., etc., etc., that I hope he will not construct it on the modern plan of mental hallucination and morbid delirium tremens peculiar to recent architecture.

Of course, a man ought not to look a gift house in the gable end, but if my friends don’t know me any better than to build me a summer cottage and throw in odd windows that nobody else wanted, and then daub it up with colors they have bought at auction and applied to the house after dark with a shotgun, I think it is time that we had a better understanding.

Such a structure does not come within either of the three classes of renaissance. It is neither Florentine, Roman, or Venetian. Any man can originate such a style if he will only drink the right kind of whiskey long enough and then describe the feelings to an amanuensis.

Imagine the sensation that one of these modern, sawed-off cottages would create a hundred years from now, if it should survive! But that is impossible. The only cheering feature of the whole matter is that these creatures of a disordered imagination must soon pass away, and the bright sunlight of hard horse sense shine in through the shattered dormers and gables and gnawed-off architecture of the average summer resort.

A friend of mine a few days ago showed me his new house with much pride. He asked me what I thought of it. I told him I liked it first-rate. Then I went home and wept all night. It was my first falsehood.

The house, taken as a whole, looked to me like a skating rink that had started out to make money, and then suddenly changed its mind and resolved to become a tannery. Then ten feet higher it lost all self-respect and blossomed into a full-blown drunk and disorderly, surrounded by the smokestack of a foundry and the bright future of thirty days ahead with the chain gang. That’s the way it looked to me.

The roofs were made of little odds and ends of misfit rafters and distorted shingles that somebody had purchased at a sheriff’s sale, and the rooms and stairs were giddy in the extreme.

I went in and rambled around among the cross-eyed staircases and other night-mares till reason tottered on her throne. Then I came out and stood on the architectural wart, called the side porch, to get fresh air. This porch was painted a dull red, and it had wooden rosettes at the corners that looked like a new carbuncle on the nose of a social wreck.

Farther up on the demoralized lumber pile I saw, now and then, places where the workman’s mind had wandered and he had nailed on his clapboards wrong side up, and then painted them with Paris green that he had intended to use on something else.

It was an odd looking structure, indeed. If my friend got all the material for nothing from people who had fragments of paint and lumber left over after they failed, and then if the workmen constructed it of night for mental relaxation and intellectual repose, without charge, of course the scheme was a financial success, but architecturally the house is a gross violation of the statutes in such cases made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the State.

There is a look of extreme poverty about the structure which a man might struggle for years to acquire and then fail. No one could look upon it without a feeling of heartache for the man who built that house, and probably struggled on year after year, building a little at a time as he could steal the lumber, getting a new workman each year, building a knob here and a protuberance there, putting in a three-cornered window at one point and a yellow tile or a wad of broken glass and other debris at another, patiently filling in around the ranch with any old rubbish that other people had got through with, painting it as he went along, taking what was left in the bottom of the pots after his neighbors had painted their bob-sleds or their tree boxes–little favors thankfully received–and then surmounting the whole pile with a potpourri of roof, and grand farewell incubus of humps and hollows for the rain to wander through and seek out the different cells where the lunatics live who inhabit it.

I did tell my friend one thing that I thought would improve the looks of his house. He asked me eagerly what it could be. I said it would take a man of great courage to do it for him. He said he didn’t care for that. He would do it himself. If it only needed one thing he would never rest till he had it, whatever that might be.

Then I told him that if he had a friend–one he could trust–who would steal in there some night while the family were away, and scratch a match on the leg of his breeches, or on the breeches of any other gentleman who happened to be present, and hold it where it would ignite the alleged house, and then remain near there to see that the fire department did not meddle with it, he would confer a great favor on one who would cheerfully retaliate in kind on call.

Letter to a Communist

Dear Sir.–Your courteous letter of the 1st instant, in which you cordially consent to share my wealth and dwell together with me in fraternal sunshine, is duly received. While I dislike to appear cold and distant to one who seems so yearnful and so clinging, and while I do not wish to be regarded as purse-proud or arrogant, I must decline your kind offer to whack up. You had not heard, very likely, that I am not now a Communist. I used to be, I admit, and the society no doubt neglected to strike my name off the roll of active members. For a number of years I was quite active as a Communist. I would have been more active, but I had conscientious scruples against being active in anything then.

While you may be perfectly sincere in your belief that the great capitalists like Mr. Gould and Mr. Vanderbilt should divide with you, you will have great difficulty in making it perfectly clear to them. They will probably demur and delay, and hem and haw, and procrastinate, till finally they will get out of it in some way. Still, I do not wish to throw cold water on your enterprise. If the other capitalists look favorably on the plan, I will cheerfully co-operate with them. You go and see what you can do with Mr. Vanderbilt, and then come to me.

You go on at some length to tell me how the most of the wealth is in the hands of a few men, and then you attack those men and refer to them in a way that makes my blood run cold. You tell the millionaires of America to beware, for the hot breath of a bloody-handed Nemesis is already in the air.

You may say to Nemesis, if you please, that I have a double-barreled shotgun standing at the head of my bed every night, and that I am in the Nemesis business. You also refer to the fact that the sleuth-hounds of eternal justice are camped on the trail of the pampered millionaire, and you ask us to avaunt. If you see the other sleuth-hounds of your society within a week or two, I wish you would say to them that at a regular meeting of the millionaires of this country, after the minutes of the previous meeting had been read and approved, we voted almost unanimously to discourage any sleuth-hound that we found camped on our trail after ten o’clock, P.M. Sleuth-hounds who want to ramble over our trails during office hours may do so with the utmost impunity, but after ten o’clock we want to use our trails for other purposes. No man wants to go to the great expense of maintaining a trail winter and summer, and then leave it out nights for other people to use and return it when they get ready.

I do not censure you, however. If you could convince every one of the utility of Communism, it would certainly be a great boon–to you. To those who are now engaged in feeding themselves with flat beer out of a tomato can, such a change as you suggest would fall like a ray of sunshine in a rat-hole, but alas! it may never be. I tried it awhile, but my efforts were futile. The effect of my great struggle seemed to be that men’s hearts grew more and more stony, and my pantaloons got thinner and thinner on the seat, ’till it seemed to me that the world never was so cold. Then I made some experiments in manual labor. As I began to work harder and sit down less, I found that the world was not so cold. It was only when I sat down a long time that I felt how cold and rough the world really was.

Perhaps it is so with you. Sedentary habits and stale beer are apt to make us morbid. Sitting on the stone door sills of hallways and public buildings during cold weather is apt to give you an erroneous impression of life.

Of course I am willing to put my money into a common fund if I can be convinced that it is best. I was an inside passenger on a Leadville coach some years ago, when a few of your friends suggested that we all put our money into a common fund, and I was almost the first one to see that they were right. They went away into the mountains to apportion the money they got from our party, but I never got any dividend. Probably they lost my post-office address.

The Warrior’s Oration

Warriors! We are met here to-day to celebrate the white man’s Fourth of July. I do not know what the Fourth of July has done for us that we should remember his birthday, but it matters not. Another summer is on the wane, and so are we. We are the walleyed waners from Wanetown. We have monopolized the wane business of the whole world.

Autumn is almost here, and we have not yet gone upon the war path. The pale face came among us with the corn planter and the Desert Land Act, and we bow before him.

What does the Fourth of July signify to us? It is a hollow mockery! Where the flag of the white man now waves in the breeze, a few years ago the scalp of our foe was hanging in the air. Now my people are seldom. Some are dead and others drunk.

Once we chased the deer and the buffalo across the plains, and lived high. Now we eat the condemned corned beef of the oppressor, and weep over the graves of our fallen braves. A few more moons and I, too, shall cross over to the Happy Reservation.

Once I could whoop a couple of times and fill the gulch with warlike athletes. Now I may whoop till the cows come home and only my sickly howl comes back to me from the hillsides. I am as lonely as the greenback party. I haven’t warriors enough to carry one precinct.

Where are the proud chieftains of my tribe? Where are Old Weasel Asleep and Orlando the Hie Jacet Promoter? Where are Prickly Ash Berry and The Avenging Wart? Where are The Roman-nosed Pelican and Goggle-eyed Aleck, The-man-who-rides-the-blizzard-bareback?

They are extremely gone. They are extensively whence. Ole Blackhawk, in whose veins flows the blood of many chiefs, is sawing wood for the Belle of the West deadfall for the whiskey. He once rode the war pony into the fray and buried his tomahawk in the phrenology of his foe. Now he straddles the saw-buck and yanks the woodsaw athwart the bosom of the basswood chunk.

My people once owned this broad land; but the Pilgrim Fathers (where are they?) came and planted the baked bean and the dried apple, and my tribe vamoosed. Once we were a nation. Now we are the tin can tied to the American eagle.

Warriors! This should be a day of jubilee, but how can the man rejoice who has a boil on his nose? How can the chief of a once proud people shoot firecrackers and dance over the graves of his race? How can I be hilarious with the victor, on whose hands are the blood of my children?

If we had known more of the white man, we would have made it red hot for him four hundred years ago when he came to our coast. We fed him and clothed him as a white-skinned curiosity then, but we didn’t know there were so many of him. All he wanted then was a little smoking tobacco and love. Now he feeds us on antique pork, and borrows our annuities to build a Queen Anne wigwam with a furnace in the bottom and a piano in the top.

Warriors! My words are few. Tears are idle and unavailing. If I had scalding tears enough for a mill site, I would not shed a blamed one. The warrior suffers, but he never squeals. He accepts the position and says nothing. He wraps his royal horse blanket around his Gothic bones and is silent.

But the pale face cannot tickle us with a barley straw on the Fourth of July and make us laugh. You can kill the red man, but you cannot make him hilarious over his own funeral. These are the words of truth, and my warriors will do well to paste them in their plug hats for future reference.

The Holy Terror

While in New England trying in my poor, weak way to represent the “rowdy west,” I met a sad young man who asked me if I lived in Chi-eene. I told him that if he referred to Cheyenne, I had been there off and on a good deal.

He said he was there not long ago, but did not remain. He bought some clothes in Chicago, so that he could appear in Chi-eene as a “holy terror" when he landed there, and thus in a whole town of “holy terrors” he would not attract attention.

I am not, said he, by birth or instinct, a holy terror, but I thought I would like to try it a little while, anyhow. I got one of those Chicago sombreros with a gilt fried cake twisted around it for a band. Then I got a yellow silk handkerchief on the ten cent counter to tie around my neck. Then I got a suit of smoke-tanned buckskin clothes and a pair of moccasins. I had never seen a bad, bad man from Chi-eene, but I had seen pictures of them and they all wore moccasins. The money that I had left I put into a large revolver and a butcher knife with a red Morocco sheath to it. The revolver was too heavy for me to hold in one hand and shoot, but by resting it on a fence I could kill a cow easy enough if she wasn’t too blamed restless.

I went out to the stock yards in Chicago one afternoon and practiced with my revolver. One of my thumbs is out there at the stock yards now.

At Omaha I put on my new suit and sent my human clothes home to my father. He told me when I came away that when I got out to Wyoming, probably I wouldn’t want to attract attention by wearing clothes, and so I could send my clothes back to him and he would be glad to have them.

At Sidney I put on my revolver and went into the eating house to get my dinner. A tall man met me at the door and threw me about forty feet in an oblique manner. I asked him if he meant anything personal by that and he said not at all, not at all. I then asked him if he would not allow me to eat my dinner and he said that depended on what I wanted for my dinner. If I would lay down my arms and come back to the reservation and remain neutral to the Government and eat cooked food, it would be all right, but if I insisted on eating raw dining-room girls and scalloped young ladies, he would bar me out.

We landed at Chi-eene in the evening. They had hacks and ’busses and carriages till you couldn’t rest, all standing there at the depot, and a large colored man in a loud tone of voice remarked: “INTEROCEAN HO-TEL!!!!”

I went there myself. It had doors and windows to it, and carpets and gas. The young man who showed me to my room was very polite to me. He seemed to want to get acquainted. He said:

“You are from New Hampshire, are you not?”

I told him not to give it away, but I was from New Hampshire. Then I asked him how he knew.

He said that several New Hampshire people had been out there that summer, and they had worn the same style of revolver and generally had one thumb done up in a rag. Then he said that if I came from New Hampshire he would show me how to turn off the gas.

He also took my revolver down to the office with him and put it in the safe, because he said someone might get into my room in the night and kill me with it if he left it here. He was a perfect gentleman.

They have a big opera house there in Chi-eene, and while I was there they had the Eyetalian opera singers, Patty and Nevady there. The streets were lit up with electricity, and people seemed to kind of politely look down on me, I thought. Still, they acted as if they tried not to notice my clothes and dime museum hat.

They seemed to look at me as if I wasn’t to blame for it, and as if they felt sorry for me. If I’d had my United States clothes with me, I could have had a good deal of fun in Chi-eene, going to the opera and the lectures, and concerts, et cetera. But finally I decided to return, so I wrote to my parents how I had been knocked down and garroted, and left for dead with one thumb shot off, and they gladly sent the money to pay funeral expenses.

With this I got a cut-rate ticket home and surprised and horrified my parents by dropping in on them one morning just after prayers. I tried to get there prior to prayers, but was side-tracked by my father’s new anti-tramp bull dog.

Boston Common and Environs

Strolling through the Public Garden and the famous Boston Common, the untutored savage from the raw and unpolished West is awed and his wild spirit tamed by the magnificent harmony of nature and art. Everywhere the eye rests upon all that is beautiful in nature, while art has heightened the pleasing effect without having introduced the artistic jim-jams of a lost and undone world.

It is a delightful place through which to stroll in the gray morning while the early worm is getting his just desserts. There, in the midst of a great city, with the hum of industry and the low rumble of the throbbing Boston brain dimly heard in the distance, nature asserts herself, and the weary, sad-eyed stranger may ramble for hours and keep off the grass to his heart’s content.

Nearly every foot of Boston Common is hallowed by some historical incident. It is filled with reminiscences of a time when liberty was not overdone in this new world, and the tyrant’s heel was resting calmly on the neck of our forefathers.

In the winter of 1775-6, over 110 years ago, as the ready mathematician will perceive, 1,700 redcoats swarmed over Boston Common. Later on the local antipathy to these tourists became so great that they went away. They are still fled. A few of their descendants were there when I visited the Common, but they seemed amicable and did not wear red coats. Their coats this season are made of a large check, with sleeves in it. Their wardrobe generally stands a larger check than their bank account.

The fountains in the Common and the Public Garden attract the eye of the stranger, some of them being very beautiful. The Brewer fountain on Flagstaff hill, presented to the city by the late Gardner Brewer, is very handsome. It was cast in Paris, and is a bronze copy of a fountain designed by Lienard of that city. At the base there are figures representing Neptune with his fabled pickerel stabber, life size; also Amphitrite, Acis and Galatea. Surviving relatives of these parties may well feel pleased and gratified over the life-like expression which, the sculptor has so faithfully reproduced.

But the Coggswell fountain is probably the most eccentric squirt, and one which at once rivets the eye of the beholder. I do not know who designed it, but am told that it was modeled by a young man who attended the codfish autopsy at the market daytimes and gave his nights to art.

The fountain proper consists of two metallic bullheads rampart. They stand on their bosoms, with their tails tied together at the top. Their mouths are abnormally distended, and the water gushes forth from their tonsils in a beautiful stream.

The pose of these classical codfish or bullheads is sublime. In the spirited Graeco-Roman tussle which they seem to be having, with their tails abnormally elevated in their artistic catch-as-catch-can or can-can scuffle, the designer has certainly hit upon a unique and beautiful impossibility.

Each bullhead also has a tin dipper chained to his gills, and through the live-long day, till far into the night, he invites the cosmopolitan tramp to come and quench his never-dying thirst.

The frog pond is another celebrated watering place. I saw it in the early part of May, and if there had been any water in it, it would have been a fine sight. Nothing contributes to the success of a pond like water.

I ventured to say to a Boston man that I was a little surprised to find a little frog pond containing neither frogs or pond, but he said I would find it all right if I would call around during office hours.

While sitting on one of the many seats which may be found on the Common one morning, I formed the acquaintance of a pale young man, who asked me if I resided in Boston. I told him that while I felt flattered to think that I could possibly fool anyone, I must admit that I was only a pilgrim and a stranger.

He said that he was an old resident, and he had often noticed that the people of the Hub always Spoke to a Felloe till he was tired. I afterward learned that he was not an actual resident of Boston, but had just completed his junior year at the State asylum for the insane. He was sent there, it seems, as a confirmed case of unjustifiable Punist. Therefore the governor had Punist him accordingly. This is a specimen of our capitalized joke with Queen Anne do-funny on the corners. We are shipping a great many of them to England this season, where they are greedily snapped up and devoured by the crowned heads. It is a good hot weather joke, devoid of mental strain, perfectly simple and may be laughed at or not without giving the slightest offense.

Drunk in a Plug Hat

This world is filled with woe everywhere you go. Sorrow is piled up in the fence corners on every road. Unavailing regret and red-nosed remorse inhabit the cot of the tie-chopper as well as the cut-glass cage of the millionaire. The woods are full of disappointment. The earth is convulsed with a universal sob, and the roads are muddy with tears. But I do not call to mind a more touching picture of unavailing misery and ruin, and hopeless chaos, than the plug hat that has endeavored to keep sober and maintain self-respect while its owner was drunk. A plug hat can stand prosperity, and shine forth joyously while nature smiles. That’s the place where it seems to thrive. A tall silk hat looks well on a thrifty man with a clean collar, but it cannot stand dissipation.

I once knew a plug hat that had been respected by everyone, and had won its way upward by steady endeavor. No one knew aught against it till one evening, in an evil hour, it consented to attend a banquet, and all at once its joyous career ended. It met nothing but distrust and cold neglect everywhere, after that.

Drink seems to make a man temporarily unnaturally exhilarated. During that temporary exhilaration he desires to attract attention by eating lobster salad out of his own hat, and sitting down on his neighbor’s.

The demon rum is bad enough on the coatings of the stomach, but it is even more disastrous to the tall hat. A man may mix up in a crowd and carry off an overdose of valley tan in a soft hat or a cap, but the silk hat will proclaim it upon the house-tops, and advertise it to a gaping, wondering world. It has a way of getting back on the rear elevation of the head, or over the bridge of the nose, or of hanging coquettishly on one ear, that says to the eagle-eyed public: “I am chockfull.”

I cannot call to mind a more powerful lecture on temperance, than the silent pantomime of a man trying to hang his plug hat on an invisible peg in his own hall, after he had been watching the returns, a few years ago. I saw that he was excited and nervously unstrung when he came in, but I did not fully realize it until he began to hang his hat on the smooth wall.

At first he laughed in a good-natured way at his awkwardness, and hung it up again carefully; but at last he became irritated about it, and almost forgot himself enough to swear, but controlled himself. Finding, however, that it refused to hang up, and that it seemed rather restless, anyhow, he put it in the corner of the hall with the crown up, pinned it to the floor with his umbrella, and heaved a sigh of relief. Then he took off his overcoat and, through a clerical error, pulled off his dress-coat also. I showed him his mistake and offered to assist him back into his apparel, but he said he hadn’t got so old and feeble yet that he couldn’t dress himself.

Later on he came into the parlor, wearing a linen ulster with the belt drooping behind him like the broken harness hanging to a shipwrecked and stranded mule. His wife looked at him in a way that froze his blood. This startled him so that he stepped back a pace or two, tangled his feet in his surcingle, clutched wildly at the empty gas-light, but missed it and sat down in a tall majolica cuspidor.

There were three games of whist going on when he fell, and there was a good deal of excitement over the playing, but after he had been pulled out of the American tear jug and led away, everyone of the twelve whist-players had forgotten what the trump was.

They say that he has abandoned politics since then, and that now he don’t care whether we have any more November elections or not. I asked him once if he would be active during the next campaign, as usual, and he said he thought not. He said a man couldn’t afford to be too active in a political campaign. His constitution wouldn’t stand it.

At that time he didn’t care much whether the American people had a president or not. If every public-spirited voter had got to work himself up into a state of nervous excitability and prostration where reason tottered on its throne, he thought that we needed a reform.

Those who wished to furnish reasons to totter on their thrones for the National Central Committee at so much per tot, could do so; he, for one, didn’t propose to farm out his immortal soul and plug hat to the party, if sixty million people had to stand four years under the administration of a setting hen.


Spring is now here. It has been here before, but not so much so, perhaps, as it is this year. In spring the buds swell up and bust. The “violets" bloom once more, and the hired girl takes off the double windows and the storm door. The husband and father puts up the screen doors, so as to fool the annual fly when he tries to make his spring debut. The husband and father finds the screen doors and windows in the gloaming of the garret. He finds them by feeling them in the dark with his hands. He finds the rafters, also, with his head. When he comes down, he brings the screens and three new intellectual faculties sticking out on his brow like the button on a barn door.

Spring comes with joyous laugh, and song, and sunshine, and the burnt sacrifice of the over-ripe boot and the hoary overshoe. The cowboy and the new milch cow carol their roundelay. So does the veteran hen. The common egg of commerce begins to come forth into the market at a price where it can be secured with a step-ladder, and all nature seems tickled.

There are four seasons–spring, summer, autumn and winter. Spring is the most joyful season of the year. It is then that the green grass and the lavender pants come forth. The little robbins twitter in the branches, and the horny-handed farmer goes joyously afield to till the soil till the cows come home.–Virgil.

We all love the moist and fragrant spring. It is then that the sunlight waves beat upon the sandy coast, and the hand-maiden beats upon the sandy carpet. The man of the house pulls tacks out of himself and thinks of days gone by, when you and I were young, Maggie. Who does not leap and sing in his heart when the dandelion blossoms in the low lands, and the tremulous tail of the lambkin agitates the balmy air?

The lawns begin to look like velvet and the lawn-mower begins to warm its joints and get ready for the approaching harvest. The blue jay fills the forest with his classical and extremely au revoir melody, and the curculio crawls out of the plum-tree and files his bill. The plow-boy puts on his father’s boots and proceeds to plow up the cunning little angle worm. Anon, the black-bird alights on the swaying reeds, and the lightning-rod man alights on the farmer with great joy and a new rod that can gather up all the lightning in two States and put it in a two-gallon jug for future use.

Who does not love spring, the most joyful season of the year? It is then that the spring bonnet of the workaday world crosses the earth’s orbit and makes the bank account of the husband and father look fatigued. The low shoe and the low hum of the bumble-bee are again with us. The little striped hornet heats his nose with a spirit lamp and goes forth searching for the man with the linen pantaloons. All nature is full of life and activity. So is the man with the linen pantaloons. Anon, the thrush will sing in the underbrush, and the prima donna will do up her voice in a red-flannel rag and lay it away.

I go now into my cellar to bring out the gladiola bulb and the homesick turnip of last year. Do you see the blue place on my shoulder? That is where I struck when I got to the foot of the cellar stairs. The gladiola bulbs are looking older than when I put them away last fall. I fear me they will never again bulge forth. They are wrinkled about the eyes and there are lines of care upon them. I could squeeze along two years without the gladiola and the oleander in the large tub. If I should give my little boy a new hatchet and he should cut down my beautiful oleander, I would give him a bicycle and a brass band and a gold-headed cane.

O spring, spring, You giddy young thing.[1]

[Footnote 1: From poems of passion and one thing another, by the author of this sketch.]

The Duke of Rawhide

“I believe I’ve got about the most instinct bulldog in the United States," said Cayote Van Gobb yesterday. “Other pups may show cuteness and cunning, you know, but my dog, the Duke of Rawhide Buttes, is not only generally smart, but he keeps up with the times. He’s not only a talented cuss, but his genius is always fresh and original.”

“What are some of his specialties, Van?” said I.

“Oh, there’s a good many of ’em, fust and last. He never seems to be content with the achievements that please other dogs. You watch him and you’ll see that his mind is active all the time. When he is still he’s working up some scheme or another, that he will ripen and fructify later on.

“For three year’s I’ve had a watermelon patch and run it with more or less success, I reckon. The Duke has tended to ’em after they got ripe, and I was going to say that it kept his hands pretty busy to do it, but, to be more accurate, I should say that it kept his mouth full. Hardly a night after the melons got ripe and in the dark of the moon, but the Dude would sample a cowboy or a sheep-herder from the lower Poudre. Watermelons were generally worth ten cents a pound along the Union Pacific for the first two weeks, and a fifty-pounder was worth $5. That made it an object to keep your melons, for in a good year you could grow enough on ten acres to pay off the national debt.

“Well, to return to my subject. Duke would sleep days during the season and gather fragments of the rear breadths of Western pantaloons at night. One morning Duke had a piece of fancy cassimere in his teeth that I tried to pry out and preserve, so that I could identify the owner, perhaps, but he wouldn’t give it up. I coaxed him and lammed him across the face and eyes with an old board, but he wouldn’t give it to me. Then I watched him. I’ve been watchin’ him ever since. He took all these fragments of goods I found, over into the garret above the carriage shed.

“Yesterday I went in there and took a lantern with me. There on the floor the Duke of Rawhide had arranged all the samples of Rocky Mountain pantaloons with a good deal of taste, and I don’t suppose you’d believe it, but that blamed pup is collecting all these little scraps to make himself a crazy quilt.

“You can talk about instinct in animals, but, so far as the Duke of Rawhide Buttes is concerned, it seems to me more like all-wool genius a yard wide.”

Etiquette at Hotels

Etiquette at hotels is a subject that has been but lightly treated upon by our modern philosophy, and yet it is a subject that lies very near to every American heart. Had I not already more reforms on hand than I can possibly successfully operate I would gladly use my strong social influence and trenchant pen in that direction. Etiquette at hotels, both on the part of the proprietor, and his hirelings, and the guest, is a matter that calls loudly for improvement.

The hotel waiter alone, would well repay a close study. From the tardy and polished loiterer of the effete East, to the off-hand and social equal of the budding West, all waiters are deserving of philosophical scrutiny. I was thrown in contact with a waiter in New York last summer, whose manners were far more polished than my own. Every time I saw him standing there with his immediate pantaloons and swallow-tail coat, and the far-away, chastened look of one who had been unfortunate, but not crushed, I felt that I was unworthy to be waited upon by such a blue-blooded thoroughbred, and I often wished that we had more such men in Congress. And when he would take my order and go away with it, and after the meridian of my life had softened into the mellow glory of the sere and yellow leaf, when he came back, still looking quite young, and never having forgotten me, recognizing me readily after the long, dull, desolate years, I was glad, and I felt that he deserved something more than mere empty thanks and I said to him: “Ah, sir, you still remember me after years of privation and suffering. When every one else in New York has forgotten me, with the exception of the confidence man, you came to me with the glad light of recognition in your clear eye. Would you be offended if I gave you this trifling testimonial of my regard?” at the same time giving him my note at thirty days.

I wanted him to have something by which to always remember me, and I guess he has.

Speaking of waiters, reminds me of one at Glendive, Montana. We had to telegraph ahead in order to get a place to sleep, and when we registered the landlord shoved out an old double-entry journal for us to record our names and postoffice address in. The office was the bar and before we could get our rooms assigned us, we had to wait forty-five minutes for the landlord to collect pay for thirteen drinks and lick a personal friend. Finally, when he got around to me, he told me that I could sleep in the night bar-tender’s bed, as he would be up all night, and might possibly get killed and never need it again, anyhow. It would cost me $4 cash in advance to sleep one night in the bartender’s bed, he said, and the house was so blamed full that he and his wife had got to wait till things kind of quieted down, and then they would have to put a mattress on the 15 ball pool table and sleep there.

I called attention to my valuable valise that had been purchased at great cost, and told him that he would be safe to keep that behind the bar till I paid; but he said he wasn’t in the second-hand valise business, and so I paid in advance. It was humiliating, but he had the edge on me.

At the tea table I noticed that the waiter was a young man who evidently had not been always thus. He had the air of one who yearns to have some one tread on the tail of his coat. Meekness, with me, is one of my characteristics. It is almost a passion. It is the result of personal injuries received in former years at the hands of parties who excelled me in brute force and who succeeded in drawing me out in conversation, as it were, till I made remarks that were injudicious.

So I did not disagree with this waiter, although I had grounds. When he came around and snorted in my ear, “Salt pork, antelope and cold beans," at the same time leaning his full weight on my back, while he evaded the revenue laws by retailing his breath to the guests without a license, I thought I would call for what he had the most of, so I said if he didn’t mind and it wouldn’t be too much trouble, I would take cold beans.

I will leave it to the calm, impassionate and unpartisan reader to state whether that remark ought to create ill-feeling. I do not think it ought. However, he was irritable, and life to him seemed to be cold and dark. So he went to the general delivery window that led into the cold bean laboratory, and remarked in a hoarse, insolent, and ironical tone of voice:

“Nother damned suspicious looking character wants cold beans.”

Fifteen Years Apart

The American Indian approximates nearer to what man should be–manly, physically perfect, grand in character, and true to the instincts of his conscience–than any other race of beings, civilized or uncivilized. Where do we hear such noble sentiments or meet with such examples of heroism and self-sacrifice as the history of the American Indian furnishes? Where shall we go to hear again such oratory as that of Black Hawk and Logan? Certainly the records of our so-called civilization do not furnish it, and the present century is devoid of it.

They were the true children of the Great Spirit. They lived nearer to the great heart of the Creator than do their pale-faced conquerors of to-day who mourn over the lost and undone condition of the savage. Courageous, brave and the soul of honor, their cruel and awful destruction from the face of the earth is a sin of such magnitude that the relics and the people of America may well shrink from the just punishment which is sure to follow the assassination of as brave a race as ever breathed the air of Heaven.

I wrote the above scathing rebuke of the American people when I was 15 years of age. I ran across the dissertation yesterday. As a general rule, it takes a youth 15 years of age to arraign Congress and jerk the administration bald-headed. The less he knows about things generally, the more cheerfully will he shed information right and left.

At the time I wrote the above crude attack upon the government, I had not seen any Indians, but I had read much. My blood boiled when I thought of the wrongs which our race had meted out to the red man. It was at the time when my blood was just coming to a boil that I penned the above paragraph. Ten years later I had changed my views somewhat, relative to the Indian, and frankly wrote to the government of the change. When I am doing the administration an injustice, and I find it out, I go to the president candidly, and say: “Look here, Mr. President, I have been doing you a wrong. You were right and I was erroneous. I am not pig-headed and stubborn. I just admit fairly that I have been hindering the administration, and I do not propose to do so any more.”

So I wrote to Gen. Grant and told him that when I was 15 years of age I wrote a composition at school in which I had arraigned the people and the administration for the course taken toward the Indians. Since that time I had seen some Indians in the mountains–at a distance–and from what I had seen of them I was led to believe that I had misjudged the people and the executive. I told him that so far as possible I would like to repair the great wrong so done in the ardor of youth and to once more sustain the arm of the government.

He wrote me kindly and said he was glad that I was friendly with the government again, and that now he saw nothing in the way of continued national prosperity. He said he would preserve my letter in the archives as a treaty of peace between myself and the nation. He said only the day before he had observed to the cabinet that he didn’t care two cents about a war with foreign nations, but he would like to be on a peace footing with me. The country could stand outside interference better than intestine hostility. I do not know whether he meant anything personal by that or not. Probably not.

He said he remembered very well when he first heard that I had attacked the Indian policy of the United States in one of my school essays. He still called to mind the feeling of alarm and apprehension which at that time pervaded the whole country. How the cheeks of strong men had blanched and the Goddess of Liberty felt for her back hair and exchanged her Mother Hubbard dress for a new cast-iron panoply of war and Roman hay knife. Oh, yes, he said, he remembered it as though it had been yesterday.

Having at heart the welfare of the American people as he did, he hoped that I would never attack the republic again.

And I never have. I have been friendly, not only personally, but officially, for a good while. Even if I didn’t agree with some of the official acts of the president I would allow him to believe that I did rather than harass him with cold, cruel and adverse criticism. The abundant success of this policy is written in the country’s wonderful growth and prosperous peace.

Dessicated Mule

The red-eyed antagonist of truth is not found alone in the ranks of the newspaper phalanx. You run up against him in all walks of life. He flourishes in all professions, and he is ready at all times to entertain. There is quite a difference between a malicious falsehood and the different shades of parables, fables with a moral, Sabbath-school books, newspaper sketches, and anecdotes told to entertain.

A malicious lie is injurious personally. A business lie is a falsehood for revenue only. But the yarns that are spun around camp-fires, in mining and logging camps, to while away a dull evening, are not within the jurisdiction of the criminal code or the home missionary.

On the train, yesterday several old lumbermen were telling about hard roads and steep hills, engineering skill and so forth. Finally they told about “snubbing” a loaded team down bad hills, and one man said:

“You might ’snub’ down a cheap hill, but you couldn’t do it on our road. We tried it. Couldn’t do a thing. Finally we got to building snow-sheds and hauling sand. You build a snow-shed that covers the grade, then fill the road in with two feet of loose sand, and you’re O.K. We did that last winter, and when you drive a four-horse load of logs down through them long snow-sheds on bare ground, mind ye, and the bobs go plowing through the sand, the sled-shoes will make the fire fly so that you can read the President’s message at midnight.”

Then an old man who went to Pike’s Peak during the excitement and returned afterward, woke up and yawned two or three times, and said they used to have some trouble, a good many years ago getting over the range where the South Park road now goes from Chalk Creek Canon through Alpine Tunnel to the Gunnison.

“We tried ’snubbing’ and everything we could think of, but it was N.G.

“Finally we got hold of a new kind of ’snub’ that worked pretty well. We had a long table made a-purpose, that would reach to the foot of the hill from the top, and we’d tie a three-ton load to the end at the top of the hill; then we would hitch six mules to the end at the foot of the hill. Well, the principle of the thing was, that as the load went down on the Gunnison side it would pull the mules up the opposite side, tails first.”

“How did it work?”

“Oh, it worked all right if the mules and the load balanced; but one day we put on a light mule named Emma Abbott, and the load got a start down the Gunnison side that made that old cable sing. The wagon tipped over and concussed a keg of blasting powder, and that obliterated the rest of the goods.

“But the air on the other side was full of mules. You ought to seen ’em come up that hill!

“It takes considerable of a crisis to affect the natural reserve of six mules; but when they saw how it was, they backed up that mountain with great enthusiasm. They didn’t touch the ground but once in three thousand feet, but they struck the canopy of heaven several times.

“When the sky cleared up, we made a careful inventory of the stock.

“We had a second-hand three-inch cable and some desiccated mule. We never went to look for the wagon; but when the weather got warm, the Coyotes helped us find Emma Abbott.

“She was hanging by the ear in the crotch of an old hemlock tree.

“Life was extinct.

“We found a few more of the mules, but they were fractional.

“Emma Abbott was the only complete mule we found.”

Time’s Changes

I fixed myself and went out trout fishing on the only original Kinnickinnick river last week. It was a kind of Rip Van Winkle picnic and farewell moonlight excursion home. I believe that Rip Van Winkle, however, confined himself to hunting mostly with an old musket that was on the retired list when Rip took his sleepy drink on the Catskills. If he could have gone with me fishing last week over the old trail, digging angle-worms at the same old place where I left the spade sticking in the grim soil twenty years ago–if we could have waded down the Kinnickinnick together with high rubber boots on, and got nibbles and bites at the same places, and found the same old farmers with nearly a quarter of a century added to their lives and glistening in their hair, we would have had fun no doubt on that day, and a headache on the day following. This affords me an opportunity to say that trout may be caught successfully without a corkscrew. I have tried it. I’ve about decided that the main reason why so many large lies are told about the number of trout caught all over the country, is that at the moment the sportsman pulls his game out of the water, he labors under some kind of an optical illusion, by reason of which he sees about nine trout where he ought to see only one.

I wish I had as many dollars as I have soaked deceased angle-worms in that same beautiful Kinnickinnick. There was a little stream made into it that we called Tidd’s creek. It is still there. This stream runs across Tidd’s farm, and Tidd twenty years ago wouldn’t allow anybody to fish in the creek. I can still remember how his large hand used to feel, as he caught me by the nape of the neck and threw me over the fence with my amateur fishing tackle and a willow “stringer” with eleven dried, stiff trout on it. Last week I thought I would try Tidd’s creek again. It was always a good place to fish, and I felt the same old excitement, with just enough vague forebodings in it to make it pleasant. Still, I had grown a foot or so since I used to fish there, and perhaps I could return the compliment by throwing the old gentleman over his own fence, and then hiss in his ear "R-r-r-r-e-v-e-n-g-e!!!”

I had got pretty well across the “lower forty” and had about decided that Tidd had been gathered to his fathers, when I saw him coming with his head up like a steer in the corn. Tidd is a blacksmith by trade, and he has an arm with hair on it that looks like Jumbo’s hind leg. I felt the same old desire to climb the fence and be alone. I didn’t know exactly how to work it. Then I remembered how people had remarked that I had changed very much in twenty years, and that for a homely boy I had grown to be a remarkably picturesque-looking man. I trusted to Tidd’s failing eyesight and said:

“How are you?”

He said, “How are you?” That did not answer my question, but I didn’t mind a little thing like that.

Then he said: “I sposed that every pesky fool in this country knew I don’t allow fishing on my land.”

“That may be,” says I, “but I ain’t fishing on your land. I always fish in a damp place if I can. Moreover, how do I know this is your land? Carrying the argument still further, and admitting that every peesky fool knows that you didn’t allow fishing here, I am not going to be called a pesky fool with impunity, unless you do it over my dead body.” He stopped about ten rods away and I became more fearless. “I don’t know who you are,” said I, as I took off my coat and vest and piled them up on my fish basket, eager for the fray. “You claim to own this farm, but it is my opinion that you are the hired man, puffed up with a little authority. You can’t order me off this ground till you show me a duly certified abstract of title and then identify yourself. What protection does a gentleman have if he is to be kicked and cuffed about by Tom, Dick and Harry, claiming they own the whole State. Get out! Avaunt! If you don’t avaunt pretty quick I’ll scrap you and sell you to a medical college.”

He stood in dumb amazement a moment, then he said he would go and get his deed and his shotgun. I said shotguns suited me exactly, and I told him to bring two of them loaded with giant powder and barbed wire. I would not live alway. I asked not to stay. When he got behind the corn-crib I climbed the fence and fled with my ill-gotten gains.

The blacksmith in his prime may lick the small boy, but twenty years changes their relative positions. Possibly Tidd could tear up the ground with me now, but in ten more years, if I improve as fast as he fails, I shall fish in that same old stream again.

Letter From New York.

Dear friend.–Being Sunday, I take an hour to write you a letter in regard to this place. I came here yesterday without attracting undue attention from people who lived here. If they was surprised, they concealed it from me.

I’ve camped out on the Chug years ago, and went to sleep with no live thing near me except my own pony, and woke up with the early song of the coyote, and have been on the lonesome plain for days where it seemed to me that a hostile would be mighty welcome if he would only say something to me, but I was never so lonesome as I was here in this big town last night, although it is the most thick settled place I was ever at.

I was so kind of low and depressed that I strolled in to the bar at last, allowing that I could pound on the counter and call up the boys and get acquainted a little with somebody, just as I would at Col. Luke Murrin’s, at Cheyenne; but when I waved to the other parties, and told them to rally round the foaming beaker, they apologized, and allowed they had just been to dinner.

Just been to dinner, and there it was pretty blamed near dark! Then I asked ’em to take a cigar, but they mostly cackillated they had no occasion.

I was mad, but what could I do? They was too many for me, and I couldn’t coerce the white livered aristocratic mob, for quicker’n scat they could have hollored into a little cupboard they had there in the corner, and in less’n two minits they’d of had the whole police department and the hook and ladder company down there after me with a torch-light procession.

So I swallowed my wrath and a tame drink of cultivated whiskey with Apollo Belvidere on the side, and went out into the auditorium of the hotel.

Here I was very unhappy, being, as the editor of the Green River Gazette would say, “the cynosure of all eyes.”

I would rather not be a cynosure, even at a good salary; so I thought I would ask the proprietor to build a fire in my room. I went up to the recorder’s office, where the big hotel autograft album is, and asked to see the proprietor.

A good-looking young man came forward and asked me what he could do for me. I said if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, I wisht he would build a little fire in my room, and I would pay him for it; or, if he would show me where the woodpile was, I would build the fire myself–I wasn’t doing anything special at that time.

He then whistled through his teeth and crooked his finger in a shrill tone of voice to a young party who was working for him, and told him to “build a fire in four-ought-two.”

I then sat down in the auditorium and read out of a railroad tract, which undertook to show that a party that undertook to ride over a rival road, must do so because life was a burden to him, and facility, and comfort, and safety, and such things no object whatever. But still I was very lonely, and felt as if I was far, far away from home.

I couldn’t have been more uncomfortable if I’d been a young man I saw twenty-five years ago on the old overland trail. He had gone out to study the Indian character, and to win said Indian to the fold. When I next saw him he was twenty miles farther on. He had been thrown in contact with said Indian in the meantime. I judged he had been making a collection of Indian arrows. He was extremely no more. He looked some like Saint Sebastian, and some like a toothpick-holder.

I was never successfully lost on the plains, and so I started out after supper to find my room. I found a good many other rooms, and tried to get into them, but I did not find four-ought-two till a late hour; then I subsidized the night patrol on the third floor to assist me.

This is a nice place to stop, but it is a little too rich for my blood, I guess Not so much as regards price, but I can see that I am beginning to excite curiosity among the boarders. People are coming here to board just because I am here, and it is disagreeable. I do not court notoriety. I have always lived in a plain way, and I would give a dollar if people would look the other way while I eat my pie.

Yours truly,


To E. Wm. Nye, Esq.

P.S.–This is not a dictated letter. I left my stenograffer and revolver at Pumpkin Buttes.


Crowns and Crowned Heads

During the hot weather very few crowns are worn this season, and a few hints as to the care of the crown itself may not be out of place.

The crown should not be carelessly hung on the hat rack in the royal hall for the flies to roost upon, but it should be thoroughly cleaned and put away as soon as the weather becomes too hot to wear it comfortably.

Great care should be used in cleaning a gold-plated crown, to avoid wearing out the plate. Take a good stiff tooth brush, with a little soapsuds, and clean the crown thoroughly at first, drying it on a clean towel and taking care not to drop it on the floor and thus knock the moss-agate diadem loose. Next, get a sleeve of the royal undershirt, or, in case you can not procure one readily, the sleeve of a duke or right-bower may be used. Soak this in vinegar, and, with a coat of whiting, polish the crown thoroughly, wrap it in cotton-flannel and put in the bureau. Sometimes, the lining of the crown becomes saturated with hair-oil from constant use and needs cleaning. In such cases the lining may be removed, boiled in concentrated lye two hours, or until tender, and then placed on the grass to bleach in the sun.

Most crowns are size six-and-seven-eights, and they are therefore frequently too large for the number six head of royalty. In such cases a newspaper may be folded lengthwise and laid inside the sweat-band of the crown, thus reducing the size and preventing any accident by which his or her majesty might lose the crown in the coal-bin while doing chores.

After the Fourth of July and other royal holidays, this newspaper may be removed, and the crown will be found none too large for the imperial dome of thought.

Sceptres may be cleaned and wrapped in woolen goods during the hot months. The leg of an old pair of pantaloons makes a good retort to run a sceptre into while not in use. Never try to kill flies or drive carpet tacks with the sceptre. It is an awkward tool at best, and you might ’easily knock a thumb nail loose. Great care should also be taken of the royal robe. Do not use it for a lap robe while dining, nor sleep in it at night. Nothing looks more repugnant than a king on the throne, with little white feathers all over his robe.

It is equally bad taste to govern a kingdom in a maroon robe with white horse hairs all over it.

I once knew a king who invariably curried his horses in his royal robes; and if the steeds didn’t stand around to suit him, he would ever and anon welt them in the pit of the stomach with his cast-iron sceptre. It was greatly to the interest of his horses not to incur the royal displeasure, as the reader has no doubt already surmised.

The robe of the king should only be worn while his majesty is on the throne. When he comes down at night, after his day’s work, and goes out after his coal and kindling-wood, he may take off his robe, roll it up carefully, and stick it under the throne, where it will be out of sight. Nothing looks more untidy than a fat king milking a bobtail cow in a Mother Hubbard robe trimmed with imitation ermine.

My Physician

[An Open Letter.]

Dear Sir: I have seen recently an open letter addressed to me, and written by you in a vein of confidence and strictly sub rosa. What you said was so strictly confidential, in fact, that you published the letter in New York, and it was copied through the press of the country. I shall, therefore, endeavor to be equally careful in writing my reply.

You refer in your kind and confidential note to your experience as an invalid, and your rapid recovery after the use of red-hot Mexican pepper tea in a molten state.

But you did not have such a physician as I did when I had spinal meningitis. He was a good doctor for horses and blind staggers, but he was out of his sphere when he strove to fool with the human frame. Change of scene and rest were favorite prescriptions of his. Most of his patients got both, especially eternal rest. He made a specialty of eternal rest.

He did not know what the matter was with me, but he seemed to be willing to learn.

My wife says that while he was attending me I was as crazy as a loon, but that I was more lucid than the physician. Even with my little, shattered wreck of mind, tottering between a superficial knowledge of how to pound sand and a wide, shoreless sea of mental vacuity, I still had the edge on my physician, from an intellectual point of view. He is still practicing medicine in a quiet kind of way, weary of life, and yet fearing to die and go where his patients are.

He had a sabre wound on one cheek that gave him a ferocious appearance. He frequently alluded to how he used to mix up in the carnage of battle, and how he used to roll up his pantaloons and wade in gore. He said that if the tocsin of war should sound even now, or if he were to wake up in the night and hear war’s rude alarum, he would spring to arms and make tyranny tremble till its suspender buttons fell off.

Oh, he was a bad man from Bitter Creek.

One day I learned from an old neighbor that this physician did not have anything to do with preserving the Union intact, but that he acquired the scar on his cheek while making some experiments as a drunk and disorderly. He would come and sit by my bedside for hours, waiting for this mortality to put on immortality, so that he could collect his bill from the estate, but one day I arose during a temporary delirium, and extracting a slat from my couch I smote him across the pit of the stomach with it, while I hissed through my clenched teeth:

“Physician, heal thyself.”

I then tottered a few minutes, and fell back into the arms of my attendants. If you do not believe this, I can still show you the clenched teeth. Also the attendants.

I had a hard time with this physician, but I still live, contrary to his earnest solicitations.

I desire to state that should this letter creep into the press of the country, and thus become in a measure public, I hope that it will create no ill-feeling on your part.

Our folks are all well as I write, and should you happen to be on Lake Superior this winter, yachting, I hope you will drop in and see us. Our latch string is hanging out most all the time, and if you will pound on the fence I will call off the dog.

I frequently buy a copy of your paper on the streets. Do you get the money?

Are you acquainted with the staff of The Century, published in New York? I was in The Century office several hours last spring, and the editors treated me very handsomely, but, although I have bought the magazine ever since, and read it thoroughly, I have not seen yet where they said that "they had a pleasant call from the genial and urbane William Nye.” I do not feel offended over this. I simply feel hurt.

Before that I had a good notion to write a brief epic on the “Warty Toad," and send it to The Century for publication, but now it is quite doubtful.

The Century may be a good paper, but it does not take the press dispatches, and only last month I saw in it an account of a battle that to my certain knowledge occurred twenty years ago.

All About Oratory

Twenty centuries ago last Christmas there was born in Attica, near Athens, the father of oratory, the greatest orator of whom history has told us. His name was Demosthenes. Had he lived until this spring he would have been 2,270 years old; but he did not live. Demosthenes has crossed the mysterious river. He has gone to that bourne whence no traveler returns.

Most of you, no doubt, have heard about it. On those who may not have heard it, the announcement will fall with a sickening thud.

This sketch is not intended to cast a gloom over your hearts. It was designed to cheer those who read it and make them glad they could read.

Therefore, I would have been glad if I could have spared them the pain which this sudden breaking of the news of the death of Demosthenes will bring. But it could not be avoided. We should remember the transitory nature of life, and when we are tempted to boast of our health, and strength, and wealth, let us remember the sudden and early death of Demosthenes.

Demosthenes was not born an orator. He struggled hard and failed many times. He was homely, and he stammered in his speech; but before his death they came to him for hundreds of miles to get him to open their county fairs and jerk the bird of freedom bald-headed on the Fourth of July.

When Demosthenes’ father died, he left fifteen talents to be divided between Demosthenes and his sister. A talent is equal to about $1,000. I often wish I had been born a little more talented.

Demosthenes had a short breath, a hesitating speech, and his manners were very ungraceful. To remedy his stammering, he filled his mouth full of pebbles and howled his sentiments at the angry sea. However, Plutarch says that Demosthenes made a gloomy fizzle of his first speech. This did not discourage him. He finally became the smoothest orator in that country, and it was no uncommon thing for him to fill the First Baptist Church of Athens full. There are now sixty of his orations extant, part of them written by Demosthenes and part of them written by his private secretary.

When he started in, he was gentle, mild and quiet in his manner; but later on, carrying his audience with him, he at last became enthusiastic. He thundered, he roared, he whooped, he howled, he jarred the windows, he sawed the air, he split the horizon with his clarion notes, he tipped over the table, kicked the lamps out of the chandeliers and smashed the big bass viol over the chief fiddler’s head.

Oh, Demosthenes was business when he got started. It will be a long time before we see another off-hand speaker like Demosthenes, and I, for one, have never been the same man since I learned of his death.

“Such was the first of orators,” says Lord Brougham. “At the head of all the mighty masters of speech, the adoration of ages has consecrated his place, and the loss of the noble instrument with which he forged and launched his thunders, is sure to maintain it unapproachable forever.”

I have always been a great admirer of the oratory of Demosthenes, and those who have heard both of us, think there is a certain degree of similarity in our style.

And not only did I admire Demosthenes as an orator, but as a man; and, though I am no Vanderbilt, I feel as though I would be willing to head a subscription list for the purpose of doing the square thing by his sorrowing wife, if she is left in want, as I understand that she is.

I must now leave Demosthenes and pass on rapidly to speak of Patrick Henry.

Mr. Henry was the man who wanted liberty or death. He preferred liberty, though. If he couldn’t have liberty, he wanted to die, but he was in no great rush about it. He would like liberty, if there was plenty of it; but if the British had no liberty to spare, he yearned for death. When the tyrant asked him what style of death he wanted, he said that he would rather die of extreme old age. He was willing to wait, he said. He didn’t want to go unprepared, and he thought it would take him eighty or ninety years more to prepare, so that when he was ushered into another world he wouldn’t be ashamed of himself.

One hundred and ten years ago, Patrick Henry said: “Sir, our chains are forged. Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston. The war is inevitable, and let it come. I repeat it, sir, let it come!”

In the spring of 1860, I used almost the same language. So did Horace Greeley. There were four or five of us who got our heads together and decided that the war was inevitable, and consented to let it come.

Then it came. Whenever there is a large, inevitable conflict loafing around waiting for permission to come, it devolves on the great statesmen and bald-headed literati of the nation to avoid all delay. It was so with Patrick Henry. He permitted the land to be deluged in gore, and then he retired. It is the duty of the great orator to howl for war, and then hold some other man’s coat while he fights.

Strabusmus and Justice.

Over in St. Paul I met a man with eyes of cadet blue and a terra cotta nose. His eyes were not only peculiar in shape, but while one seemed to constantly probe the future, the other was apparently ransacking the dreamy past. While one rambled among the glorious possibilities of the remote yet golden ultimately, the other sought the somber depths of the previously.

He told me that years ago he had a mild case of strabismus and that both eyes seemed to glare down his nose till he got restless and had them operated on. Those were the days when they used to fasten a crochet hook under the internal rectus muscle and cut it a little with a pair of optical sheep shears. The effect of this course was to allow the eye to drift back to a direct line; but this man fell into the hands of a drunken surgeon who cut the muscle too much, and thereby weakened it so that it gradually swung past the point it ought to have stopped at, and he saw with horror that his eye was going to turn out and protrude, as it were, so that a man could hang his hat on it. The other followed suit, and the two orbs that had for years looked along the bridge of the terra cotta nose, gradually separated, and while one looked toward next Christmas with fond anticipations, the other loved to linger over the remembrances of last fall.

This thing continued till he had to peer into the future with his off eye closed, and vice versa.

It is needless to say that he hungered for the blood of that physician and surgeon. He tried to lay violent hands on him and wipe up the ground with him and wear him out across a telegraph pole. But the authorities always prevented the administration of swift and lawful justice.

Time passed on, till one night the abnormal wall-eyed man loosened a board in the sidewalk up town so that the physician and surgeon caught his foot in it and caused an oblique fracture of the scapula, pied his dura mater, busted his cornucopia and wrecked his sarah-bellum.

Perhaps I am in error as to some of these medical terms and their orthography, but that is about the way the man with the divergent orbs told it to me.

The physician and surgeon was quite a ruin. He had to wear clapboards on himself for months, and there were other doctors, and laudable pus and threatened gangrene and doctors’ bills, with the cemetery looming up in the near future. Day after day he took his own anti-febrile drinks, and rammed his busted system full of iron and strychnine and beef tea and dover’s powders and hypodermic squirt till he wished he could die, but death would not come. He pawed the air and howled. They fed him his own nux vomica, tincture of rhubarb and phosphates and gruel, and brought him back to life with a crooked collar bone, a shattered shoulder blade and a look of woe.

Then he sued the town for $50,000 damages because the sidewalk was imperfect, and the wild-eyed man with the inflamed nose got on the jury.

I will not explain how it was done, but there was a verdict for defendant with costs on the Esculapian wreck. The man with the crooked vision is not handsome, but he is very happy. He says the mills of the gods grind slowly, but they pulverise middling fine.

A Spencerian Ass

After I had accumulated a handsome competence as city editor of the old Morning Sentinel at Laramie City, and had married and gone to housekeeping with a gas stove and other luxuries, my place on the Sentinel was taken by a newspaper man named Hopkins, who had just graduated from a business college, and who brought a nice glazed grip sack and a diploma with him that had never been used.

Hopkins wrote a fine Spencerian hand and wore a black and tan dog where-ever he went. The boys were willing to overlook his copper-plate hand, but they drew the line at the dog. He not only wrote in beautiful style, but he copied his manuscript, so that when it went in to the printer it was as pretty as a wedding invitation.

Hopkins ran the city page nine days, and then he came into the city hall where I was trying a simple drunk and bade me adieu.

I just say this to show how difficult it is for a fine penman to get ahead as a journalist. Of course good, readable writers like Knox and John Hancock may become great, but they have to be men of sterling ability to start with.

I have some of the most bloodcurdling horrors preserved for the purpose of showing Hopkins’ wonderful and vivid style. I will throw them in.

“A little son of our esteemed fellow townsman, J.H. Hayford, suffered greatly last evening with virulent colic, but this A.M., as we go to press, is sleeping easily.”

Think of shaking the social foundations of a mountain mining and stock town with such grim, nervous prostrators as that! The next day he startled Southern Wyoming and Northern Colorado and Utah with the maddening statement that “our genial friend, Leopold Gussenhoven’s fine, yellow dog, Florence Nightingale, had been seriously threatened with insomnia.”

That was the style of mental calisthenics he gave us in a town where death by opium and ropium was liable to occur, and where five men with their Mexican spurs on climbed one telegraph pole in one night and sauntered into the remote indefinitely. Hopkins told me that he had tried to do what was right, but that he had not succeeded very well. He wrung my hand and said:

“I have tried hard to make the Sentinel fill a long want felt, but I have not been fortunate. The foreman over there is a harsh man. He used to come in and intimate in a frowning and erect tone of voice, that if I did not produce that copy p.d.q., or some other abbreviation or other, that he would bust my crust, or words of like import.

“Now that’s no way to talk to a man of a nervous temperament who is engaged in copying a list of hotel arrivals, and shading the capitals as I was. In the business college it was not that way. Everything was quiet, and there was nothing to jar a man like that.

“Of course I would like to stay on the Sentinel and draw the princely salary, but there are two hundred reasons why I cannot do it. So far as the physical effort is concerned, I could draw the salary with one hand tied behind me, but there is too much turmoil and mad haste in daily journalism to suit me, and another thing, the proprietor of the Sentinel this morning stole up behind me and struck me over the head with a wrought-iron side stick weighing ten pounds. If I had not concealed a coil spring in my plug hat, the blow would have been deleterious to me.

“Then he threw me out of the door against a total stranger, and flung pieces of coal at me and called me a copper-plate ass, and said that if I ever came into the office again he would assassinate me.

“That is the principal reason why I have severed my connection with the Sentinel.”

As he said this, Mr. Hopkins took out a polka-dot handkerchief wiped away a pearly tear the size of a walnut, wrung my hand, also the polka-dot wipe, and stole out into the great, horrid hence.

Anecdotes of Justice

The justice of the peace is sometimes a peculiarity, and if someone does not watch him he will exceed his jurisdiction. It took a constable, a sheriff, a prosecuting attorney and a club to convince a Wyoming justice of the peace that he had no right to send a man to the penitentiary for life. Another justice in Utah sentenced a criminal to be hung on the following Friday between twelve and one o’clock of said day, but he couldn’t enforce the sentence. A Wisconsin justice of the peace granted a divorce and in two weeks married the couple over again–ten dollars for the divorce and two dollars for the relapse. Another Badger justice bound a young man over to appear and answer at the next term of the Circuit Court for the crime of chastity, and the evidence was entirely circumstantial, too.

Another one, when his first case came up, jerked a candle box around behind the dining-room table, put his hat on the back of his head, borrowed a chew of tobacco from the prisoner and said: “Now, boys, the court’s open. The first feller that says a word unless I speak to him will get paralyzed. Now tell your story.” Then each witness and the defendant reeled off his yarn without being sworn. The justice fined the defendant ten dollars and made the complaining witness pay half the costs. The justice then took the fine and put it in his pocket, adjourned court, and in an hour was so full that it took six men to hold his house still long enough for him to get into the doors.

A North Park justice of the peace and under-sheriff formed a partnership years ago for the purpose of supplying people with justice at New York prices, and by doing a strictly cash business they dispensed with a good deal of justice, such as it was.

It was a misdemeanor to kill game and ship it out of the State, and as there was a good deal killed there, consisting of elk, antelope and black tail deer especially, and as it could not be hauled out of the Park at that season without going across the Wyoming line and back again into the State of Colorado, the under-sheriff would load himself down with warrants, signed in blank, and station himself on horseback at the foot of the pass to the North. He would then arrest everybody indiscriminately who had any fraction of a deer, antelope or elk on his wagon, try the case then and there, put on a fine of $25 to $75, which if paid never reached the treasury, and then he would wait for another victim. The average man would rather pay the fine than go back a hundred miles through the mountains to stand trial, so the under-sheriff and justice thrived for some time. But one day the under-sheriff served his patent automatic warrant on a young man who refused to come down. The officer then drew one of those large baritone instruments that generally has a coward at one end and a corpse at the other. He pointed this at the young man and assessed a fine of $50 and costs. Instead of paying this fine, the youth, who was quite nimble, but unarmed, knocked the bogus officer down with the butt end of his six-mule whip, took his self-cocking credentials away and lit out. In less than a week the justice and his copper were in the refrigerator.

I was once a justice of the peace, and a good many funny little incidents occurred while I held that office. I do not allude to my official life here in order to call attention to my glowing career, for thousands of others, no doubt, could have administered the affairs of the office as well as I did, but rather to speak of one incident which took place while I was a J.P.

One night after I had retired and gone to sleep a milkman, called Bill Dunning, rang the bell and got me out of bed. Then he told me that a man who owed him a milk bill of $35 was all loaded up and prepared to slip across the line overland into Colorado, there to grow up with the country and acquire other indebtedness, no doubt. Bill desired an attachment for the entire wagon-load of goods and said he had an officer at hand to serve the writ.

“But,” said I, as I wrapped a “welcome” husk door mat around my glorious proportions, “how do you know while we converse together he is not winging his way down the valley of the Paudre?”

“Never mind that, jedge,” says William. “You just fix the dockyments and I’ll tend to the defendant.”

In an hour Bill returned with $35 in cash for himself and the entire costs of the court, and as we settled up and fixed the docket I asked Bill Dunning how he detained the defendant while we made out the affidavit bond and writ of attachment.

“You reckollect, jedge,” says William, “that the waggin wheel is held onto the exle with a big nut. No waggin kin go any length of time without that there nut onto the exle. Well, when I diskivered that what’s-his-name was packed up and the waggin loaded, I took the liberty to borrow one o’ them there nuts fur a kind of momento, as it were, and I kept that in my pocket till we served the writ and he paid my bill and came to his milk, if you’ll allow me that expression, and then I says to him, ’Pardner,’ says I, you are going far, far away where I may never see you again. Take this here nut,’ says I, ’and put it onto the exle of the oft hind wheel of your waggin, and whenever you look at it hereafter, think of poor old Bill Dunning, the milkman.’”

The Chinese God

I presume that I shall not be accused of sacrilege in referring to the Chinese god as an inferior piece of art. Viewed simply from an artistic and economical standpoint, it seems to me that the Chinaman should have less pride in his bow-legged and inefficient god than in any other national institution.

I do not wish to be understood as interfering with any man’s religious views; but when polygamy is made a divine decree, or a basswood deity is whittled out and painted red, to look up to and to worship, I cannot treat that so-called religious belief with courtesy and reverence. I am quite liberal in all religious matters. People have noticed that and remarked it, but the Oriental god of commerce seems to me to be greatly over-rated. He seems to lack that genuine decision of character which should be a feature of an over-ruling power.

I ask the phrenologist to come with me and examine the head of the alleged Josh, and to state whether or not he believes that the properly balanced head of a successful god should not have a more protuberant knob of spirituality, and a less pronounced alimentiveness. Should the bump of combativeness hang out over the ear, while time, tune and calculation are noticeably reticent? I certainly wot not.

Again, how can the physiognomy of the Celestial Josh be consistent with a moral and temperate god? The low brow would not indicate a pronounced omniscience, and the Jumbo ears and the copious neck would not impress me with the idea of purity and spirituality.

It is, no doubt, wrong to attack sacred matters for the purpose of gaining notoriety; but I believe I am right, when I assert that the Chinese god must go. We should not be Puritanical, but we might safely draw the line at the bow-legged and sedentary goddess of leprosy.

If Confucius bowed the suppliant knee to that goggle-eyed jim-jam Josh, I am grieved to know it. If such was the case, the friends of Confucius should keep the matter from me. I cannot believe that the great philosopher wallowed in the dust at the feet of such a polka-dot carricature of a gorilla’s horrid dream.

I bought a Chinese god once, for four bits. He was not successful in the profession which he aimed to follow. Whatever he may have been in China, he was not a very successful god in the English language. I put him upon the mantel, and the clock stopped, the servant girl sent in her resignation, and a large dog jumped through the parlor-window. All this happened within two hours from the time I erected the lop-eared, knocked-kneed and club-footed Oolong in my household.

Perhaps this may have been largely due to my ignorance of his habits. Possibly if I had been more familiar with his eccentricities, it would have been all right; but as it was, there was no book of instructions given with him, and I couldn’t seem to make him work.

During the week following, the prospect shaft of the New Jerusalem mine struck a subterranean gulf-stream and water-logged the stock, a tall yellow dog, under the weight of a great woe, picked out my cistern to suicide in, and I skated down the cellar-stairs on my shoulder-blades and the phrenological location known as Love of Home, in such a terrible manner as to jar the foundations of the earth, and kick a large hole out of the bosom of the night.

I then met with a change of heart, and overthrew the warty heathen god, and knocked him galley west. My hens at once began to watch the produce market, and, noticing the high price of eggs, commenced to orate with great zeal instead of standing around with their hands in their pockets. I saw the new moon over my right shoulder, and all nature seemed gay once more.

The above are a few of my reasons for believing that the Chinese god is either greatly over-estimated, or else shippers and producers are flooding the market with fraudulent gods.

A Great Spiritualist

I have an uncle who is a physician, and a very busy one at that. He is a very active man, and allows himself very little relaxation indeed. How many times he has said to me, “Well, I can’t stand here and fool away my time with you. I’ve got a typhoid fever patient down in the lower end of town who will get well if I don’t get over there this forenoon.”

He never allows himself any relaxation to speak of, except to demonstrate the truth of spiritualism. He does love to monkey with the supernatural, and he delights in getting hold of some skeptical friend and convincing him of the presence of spirits beyond a doubt. I’ve known him to ignore two cases of croup and one case of twins to attend a seance and help convince a doubting Thomas on the spirit question.

I believe that he and I, together with a little time in which to prepare, could convince the most skeptical. He says that with a friend to assist him, who is en rapport, and who has a little practice, he can reach the stoniest heart. He is a very susceptible medium indeed, and created a great furore in his own town. He said it was a great comfort to him to converse with his former patients, and he felt kind of attached to them, so that he hated to be separated from them, even in death.

Spiritualism had quite a run in his neighborhood at one time, as I have said. Even his own family yielded to the convincing proof and the astounding phenomena. If his wife hadn’t found some of his spiritual tracks down cellar, she would have remained firm, no doubt, but the doctor forgot and left his step-ladder down there, and that showed where the hole in the floor opened into his mysterious cabinet.

He said if he had been a little more careful, no doubt he could have convinced anybody of the presence of spirits or anything else. He said he didn’t intend to give up as long as there was anything left in the cellar.

He had such unwavering confidence in the phenomena that all he asked of anybody was faith and a buckskin string about two feet long.

He and his brother, a reformed member of Congress, read the inmost thoughts of a skeptical friend all one evening by the aid of supernatural powers and a tin tube. The reformed member of Congress acted as medium, and the doctor, who was unfortunately and ostensibly called away into the country early in the evening, remained at the window outside, where he could read the queries written by the victim on a slip of paper. Then he would run around the house and murmur the same through a tin tube at another window by the medium’s ear.

It was astounding. The skeptical man would write some deep question on a slip of paper, and after the medium had felt of his brow, and groaned a few hollow groans, and rolled his eyes up, he would answer it without having been within twenty feet of the question or the questioner. The victim said he would never doubt again.

What a comfort it was to know that immortality was an established fact. If he could have heard a man talking in a low tone of voice through an old tin dipper handle, at the south window on the ground floor, and occasionally swearing at a mosquito on the back of his neck, he would have hesitated.

An old-timer over there said that Woodworth would be a mighty good physician if he would let spiritualism alone. He claimed that no man could be a great physician and surgeon and still be a fanatic on spiritualism.

General Sheridan’s Horse

I have always taken a great interest in war incidents, and more so, perhaps, because I wasn’t old enough to put down the rebellion myself. I have been very eager to get hold of and hoard up in my memory all its gallant deeds of both sides, and to know the history of those who figured prominently in that great conflict has been one of my ambitions.

I have also watched with interest the steady advancement of Phil Sheridan, the black-eyed warrior with the florid face and the Winchester record. I have also taken some pains to investigate the later history of the old Winchester war horse.

“Old Rienzi died in our stable a few years after the war,” said a Chicago livery man to me, a short time ago. “General Sheridan left him with us and instructed us to take good care of him, which we did, but he got old at last, and his teeth failed upon him, and that busted his digestion, and he kind of died of old age, I reckon.”

“How did General Sheridan take it?”

“Oh, well, Phil Sheridan is no school girl. He didn’t turn away when old Rienzi died and weep the manger full of scalding regret. If you know Sheridan, you know that he don’t rip the blue dome of heaven wide open with unavailing wails. He just told us to take care of its remains, patted the old cuss on the head a little and walked off. Phil Sheridan don’t go around weeping softly into a pink bordered wipe when a horse dies. He likes a good horse, but Rienzi was no Jay-Eye-See for swiftness, and he wasn’t the purtiest horse you ever see, by no means.”

“Did you read lately how General Sheridan don’t ride on horseback since his old war horse died, and seems to have lost all interest in horses?”

“No, I never did. He no doubt would rather ride in a cable car or a carriage than to jar himself up on a horse. That’s all likely enough, but, as I say, he’s a matter of fact little fighter from Fighttown. He never stopped to snoot and paw up the ground and sob himself into bronchitis over old Rienzi. He went right on about his business, and, like old King What’s-His-name he hollered for another hoss, and the War Department never slipped a cog.”

Later on I read that the old war horse was called Winchester and that he was still alive in a blue grass pasture in Kentucky. The report said that old Winchester wasn’t very coltish, and that he was evidently failing. I gathered the idea that he was wearing store teeth, and that his memory was a little deficient, but that he might live yet for years. After that I met a New York livery stable prince, at whose palace General Sheridan’s well-known Winchester war horse died of botts in ’71. He told me all about it and how General Sheridan came on from Chicago at the time, and held the horse’s head in his lap while the fleet limbs that flew from Winchester down and saved the day, stiffened in the great, mysterious repose of death. He said Sheridan wept like a child, and as he told the touching tale to me I wept also. I say I wept. I wept about a quart, I would say. He said also that the horse’s name wasn’t Winchester nor Rienzi; it was Jim.

I was sorry to know it. Jim is no name for a war horse who won a victory and a marble bust and a poem. You can’t respect a horse much if his name was Jim.

After that I found out that General Sheridan’s celebrated Winchester horse was raised in Kentucky, also in Pennsylvania and Michigan; that he went out as a volunteer private; that he was in the regular service prior to the war, and that he was drafted, and that he died on the field of battle, in a sorrel pasture, in ’73, in great pain on Governor’s Island; that he was buried with Masonic honors by the Good Templars and the Grand Army of the Republic; that he was resurrected by a medical college and dissected; that he was cremated in New Orleans and taxidermed for the Military Museum at New York. Every little while I run up against a new fact relative to this noted beast. He has died in nine different States, and been buried in thirteen different styles, while his soul goes marching on. Evidently we live in an age of information. You can get more information nowadays, such as it is, than you know what to do with.

A Circular

To my friends, regardless of party.–Many friends having solicited me to apply for a foreign mission under the present administration, I have finally consented to do so, and last week filed my application for such missions as might still remain vacant.

To insure my appointment, much will remain for you to do. I now call upon my friends to aid me by their united effort. I especially solicit the aid of my friends who have repeatedly heretofore promised it to me while drunk.

You will see at a glance that I can only make the application. You must support it by your petitions and letters. It would be of little use for one man to write five thousand letters to the president, but if five thousand people each write him a letter in which casual reference is made to my social worth and 7-1/3 octave brain, it will make him pay attention.

My idea would be for each of my friends to set aside one day in each week to write to the president, opening it in a chatty way by asking him if he does not think we are having rather a backward spring, and what he is doing for his cut worms now, and how his folks are, etc., etc. Then gradually lead up to the statement that you think I would be an ornament to the administration if I should go abroad and linger on a foreign strand at $2,000 per linger and stationery.

This will keep the president properly stirred up, and cause him to earn his salary. The effect will be to secure the appointment at last, as you will see if you persevere.

I need not add that I will do what is right by my friends upon receiving my commission.

Do not neglect this suggestion because it comes to you in the form of a circular, but remember it and act upon it. Remember that, although the president is stubborn as Sam Hill, he will at last yield to fatigue, and when tired nature can hold out no longer, the last letter will drop from his nerveless hand and he will surrender.

Some of you will urge that I have been an offensive partisan, but when you come to think it over I have not been so all-fired partisan. There have been days and days when it did not show itself very much. However, that is not the point. I want your hearty indorsement and I want it to be entirely voluntary, and if you do not give it, and give it freely and voluntarily, you hadn’t better ask me for any more favors.

All the newspapers most heartily indorse me. The Rocky Mountain Whoop very truthfully says:

“Mr. Nye called at our office yesterday and subscribed for our paper. We are proud to add him to our list of paid-up subscribers, and should he renew his subscription next year, paying in advance, we will cheerfully refer to it among other startling news.”

I have a scrap-book full of such indorsements as this, and now, if my friends will peel their coats and write as they should, I can make this administration open its eyes.

Several papers in Iowa have alluded to my being in town, and referred to the fact that I had paid my bills while there. But press indorsements alone are not sufficient. What is needed is the written testimony of friends and neighbors. No matter how poor or humble or worthless you may be, write to Mr. Cleveland and tell him how much confidence you have in me, and if you can call to mind any little acts of kindness, or any times when I have got up in the night to give you a dollar, or nurse a colicky horse for you, throw that in. Throw it in anyhow. It will do no harm, and may do much good.

I can solemnly promise all my friends that if they will secure my appointment to a foreign country for four years, I will not return during that time. What more can I offer? I will stay longer if I am reappointed. I would do anything for my friends.

Do not throw this circular carelessly aside. Read it carefully over and act upon it. Some of you are poor spellers, and will try to get out of it in that way. Others are in the penitentiary and cannot spare the time. But to one and all I say, write, and write regularly, to the president. Do not wait for a reply from him, because he is pretty busy now; but he will be tickled to death to hear from you, and anything you say about me will give him great pleasure.

N.B.–Please be careful not to inclose this circular in your letter to the president.

The Photograph Habit

No doubt the photograph habit, when once formed, is one of the most baneful, and productive of the most intense suffering in after years, of any with which we are familiar. Some times it seems to me that my whole life has been one long, abject apology for photographs that I have shed abroad throughout a distracted country.

Man passes through seven distinct stages of being photographed, each one exceeding all previous efforts in that line.

First he is photographed as a prattling, bald-headed baby, absolutely destitute of eyes, but making up for this deficiency by a wealth of mouth that would make a negro minstrel olive green with envy. We often wonder what has given the average photographer that wild, hunted look about the eyes and that joyless sag about the knees. The chemicals and the indoor life alone have not done all this. It is the great nerve tension and mental strain used in trying to photograph a squirming and dark red child with white eyes, in such a manner as to please its parents.

An old-fashioned dollar store album with cerebro-spinal meningitis, and filled with pictures of half-suffocated children in heavily-starched white dresses, is the first thing we seek on entering a home, and the last thing from which we reluctantly part.

The second stage on the downward road is the photograph of the boy with fresh-cropped hair, and in which the stiff and protuberant thumb takes a leading part.

Then follows the portrait of the lad, with strongly marked freckles and a look of hopeless melancholy. With the aid of a detective agency, I have succeeded in running down and destroying several of these pictures which were attributed to me.

Next comes the young man, 21 years of age, with his front hair plastered smoothly down over his tender, throbbing dome of thought. He does not care so much about the expression on the mobile features, so long as his left hand, with the new ring on it, shows distinctly, and the string of jingling, jangling charms on his watch chain, including the cute little basket cut out of a peach stone, stand out well in the foreground. If the young man would stop to think for a moment that some day he may become eminent and ashamed of himself, he would hesitate about doing this.

Soon after, he has a tintype taken in which a young lady sits in the alleged grass, while he stands behind her with his hand lightly touching her shoulder as though he might be feeling of the thrilling circumference of a buzz saw. He carries this picture in his pocket for months, and looks at it whenever he may be unobserved.

Then, all at once, he discovers that the young lady’s hair is not done up that way any more, and that her hat doesn’t seem to fit her. He then, in a fickle moment, has another tintype made, in which another young woman, with a more recent hat and later coiffure, is discovered holding his hat in her lap.

This thing continues, till one day he comes into the studio with his wife, and tries to see how many children can be photographed on one negative by holding one on each knee and using the older ones as a back-ground.

The last stage in his eventful career, the old gentleman allows himself to be photographed, because he is afraid he may not live through another long, hard winter, and the boys would like a picture of him while he is able to climb the dark, narrow stairs which lead to the artist’s room.

Sadly the thought comes back to you in after years, when his grave is green in the quiet valley, and the worn and weary hands that have toiled for you are forever at rest, how patiently he submitted while his daughter pinned the clean, stiff, agonizing white collar about his neck, and brushed the velvet collar of his best coat; how he toiled up the long, dark, lonesome stairs, not with the egotism of a half century ago, but with the light of anticipated rest at last in his eyes–obediently, as he would have gone to the dingy law office to have his will drawn–and meekly left the outlines of his kind old face for those he loved and for whom he had so long labored.

It is a picture at which the thoughtless may smile, but it is full of pathos, and eloquent for those who knew him best. His attitude is stiff and his coat hunches up in the back, but his kind old heart asserts itself through the gentle eyes, and when he has gone away at last we do not criticise the picture any more, but beyond the old coat that hunches up in the back, and that lasted him so long, we read the history of a noble life.

Silently the old finger-marked album, lying so unostentatiously on the gouty centre table, points out the mile-stones from infancy to age, and back of the mistakes of a struggling photographer is portrayed the laughter and the tears, the joy and the grief, the dimples and the gray hairs of one man’s life-tine.


In answer to a former article relative to the dearth of woman here, we are now receiving two to five letters per day from all classes and styles of young, middle-aged and old women who desire to come to Wyoming.

Some of them would like to come here to work and obtain an honest livelihood, and some of them desire to come here and marry cattle kings.

A recent letter from Michigan, written in lead pencil, and evidently during hours when the writer should have been learning her geography lesson, is very enthusiastic over the prospect of coming out here where one girl can have a lover for every day in the week. She signs herself Rosalinde, with a small r, and adds in a postscript that she “means business.”

Yes, Rosalinde, that’s what we are afraid of. We had a kind of a vague fear that you meant business, so we did not reply to your letter. Wyoming already has women enough who write with a lead pencil. We are also pretty well provided with poor spellers, and we do not desire to ransack Michigan for affectionate but sap-headed girls.

Stay in Michigan, Rosalinde, until we write to you, and one of these days when you have been a mother eight or nine times, and as you stand in the golden haze in the back yard, hanging out damp shirts on an uncertain line, while your ripe and dewy mouth is stretched around a bass-wood clothes pin, you will thank us for this advice.

Michigan is the place for you. It is the home of the Sweet Singer and the abiding place of the Detroit Free Press. We can’t throw any such influences around you here as those you have at your own door.

Do not despair, Rosalinde. Some day a man, with a great, warm, manly heart and a pair of red steers, will see you and love you, and he will take you in his strong arms and protect you from the Michigan climate, just as devotedly as any of our people here can. We do not wish to be misunderstood in this matter. It is not as a lover that we have said so much on the girl question, but in the domestic aid department, and when we get a long letter from a young girl who eats slate pencils and reads Ouida behind her atlas, we feel like going over there to Michigan with a trunk strap and doing a little missionary work.

The Church Debt

I have been thinking the matter over seriously and I have decided that if I had my life to live over again, I would like to be an eccentric millionaire.

I have eccentricity enough, but I cannot successfully push it without more means.

I have a great many plans which I would like to carry out, in case I could unite the two necessary elements for the production of the successful eccentric millionaire.

Among other things, I would be willing to bind myself and give proper security to any one who would put in money to offset my eccentricity, that I would ultimately die. We all know how seldom the eccentric millionaire now dies. I would be willing to inaugurate a reform in that direction.

I think now that I would endow a home for men whose wives are no longer able to support them. In many cases the wife who was at first able to support her husband comfortably, finally shoulders a church debt, and in trying to lift that she overworks and impairs her health so that she becomes an invalid, while hor husband is left to pine away in solitude or dependent on the cold charities of the world.

My heart goes out toward those men even now, and in case I should fill the grave of the eccentric millionaire, I am sure that I would do the square thing by them.

The method by which our wives in America are knocking the church debt silly, by working up their husbands’ groceries into “angel food” and selling them below actual cost, is deserving of the attention of our national financiers.

The church debt itself is deserving of notice in this country. It certainly thrives better under a republican form of government than any other feature of our boasted civilization. Western towns spring up everywhere, and the first anxiety is to name the place, the second to incur a church debt and establish a roller rink.

After that a general activity in trade is assured. Of course the general hostility of church and rink will prevent ennui and listlessness, and the church debt will encourage a business boom. Naturally the church debt cannot be paid without what is generally known through the West as the "festival and hooraw.” This festival is an open market where the ladies trade the groceries of their husbands to other ladies’ husbands, and everybody has a “perfectly lovely time.” The church clears $2.30, and thirteen ladies are sick all the next day.

This makes a boom for the physicians and later on for the undertaker and general tombist. So it will be seen that the Western town is right in establishing a church debt as soon as the survey is made and the town properly named. After the first church debt has been properly started, others will rapidly follow, so that no anxiety need be felt if the church will come forward the first year and buy more than it can pay for.

The church debt is a comparatively modern appliance, and yet it has been productive of many peculiar features. For instance, we call to mind the clergyman who makes a specialty of going from place to place as a successful debt demolisher. He is a part of the general system, just as much as the ice cream freezer or the buttonhole bouquet.

Then there is a row or social knock-down-and-drag-out which goes along with the church debt. All these things add to the general interest, and to acquire interest in one way or another is the mission of the c.d.

I once knew a most exemplary woman who became greatly interested in the wiping out of a church debt, and who did finally succeed in wiping out the debt, but in its last expiring death struggle it gave her a wipe from which she never recovered. She had succeeded in begging the milk and the cream, and the eggs and the sandwiches, and the use of the dishes and the sugar, and the loan of an oyster, and the use of a freezer and fifty button-hole bouquets to be sold to men who were not in the habit of wearing bouquets, but she could not borrow a circular artist to revolve the crank of the freezer, so she agitated it herself. Her husband had to go away prior to the festivities, but he ordered her not to crank the freezer. He had very little influence with her, however, and so to-day he is a widower. The church debt was revived in the following year, and now there isn’t a more thriving church debt anywhere in the country. Only last week that church traded off $75 worth of groceries, in the form of asbestos cake and celluloid angel food, in such a way that if the original cost of the groceries and the work were not considered, the clear profit was $13, after the hall rent was paid. And why should the first cost of the groceries be reckoned, when we stop to think that they were involuntarily furnished by the depraved husband and father.

I must add, also, that in the above estimate doctors’ bills and funeral expenses are not reckoned.

A Collection of Keys

I’m getting to be quite a connoisseur of hotel keys as I get older. For ten years I have been collecting these mementoes of travel and cording them away in my key cabinet. Some have square brass tags attached to them, others have round ones. Still others affect the octagonal, the fluted, the hexagonal, the scalloped, the plain, the polished, the docorated, the chaste, the Etruscan, the metropolitan, the rural, the cosmopolitan, the shirred, the tucked, the biased, the high neck and long sleeve or the decolette style of brass check.

I have, so far, paid my bills, but I have not returned the keys to my room. Hotel proprietors will please take notice and govern themselves accordingly. When my visit to a pleasant city has become a beautiful memory only, I all at once sit down on something hard and find that it is the key to my former room at the hotel. Sitting down on a key tag of corrugated brass, as big as a buckwheat pancake, would remind most anyone of something or other.

I generally leave my tooth-brush in my room and carry off the key as a kind of involuntary swap, so far as the hotel proprietor is concerned, but I do not think it is a mutual benefit, particularly. I cannot use the key to a hotel 500 miles away, and so far as a tooth-brush is concerned, it generally has pleasant associations only for the owner. A man is fond of his own toothbrush, but it takes years for him to love the tooth-brush of a stranger.

There are a good many associations attached to these keys, like the tags. They point backward to the rooms to which the keys belong. Here is a fat one that led to room number 33-1/2 in the Synagogue hotel. It was a cheerful room, where the bell boy said an old man had asphyxiated himself with gas the previous week. I had never met the old man before, but that night, about 1 o’clock A.M., I had the pleasure of his acquaintance. He came in a sad and reproachful way, and showed me how the post-mortem people had disfigured him. Of course it was a little tough to be mutilated by an inquest, but that’s no reason why he should come back there and occupy a room that I was paying for so that I could be alone. He showed me how he blew out the gas, and told me how a man could successfully blow down the muzzle of a shot-gun or a gas jet, but both of these weapons had a way of blowing back.

I have a key that brings back to me the memory of a room that I lived in two days at one time. I do not mean that I lived the two days at once, but that at one period I occupied that room, partially, for two days and two nights, I say I partially occupied it, because I used to occupy it days and share it nights with others; that is, I tried to occupy it nights. I tried to get the clerk to throw off something because I didn’t have the exclusive use of the room. He wouldn’t throw off anything. He even wanted to fight me because I said that the room was occupied before I got it and after I left it. Finally, I told him that if he would throw a bed quilt over his diamond, so I could see him, I would fight him with buckwheat cakes at five-hundred miles. I took my position the next morning at the place appointed, but he did not appear.

Extracts from a Queen’s Diary

January 1.–I awoke late this forenoon with a pain through the head and a taste of ennui in the mouth, which I can hardly account for. Can it be a result of the party last evening? I ween it may be so. We had a lovely card party last evening. It was very enjoyable, indeed. Whist was the game.

January 3.–Yesterday all day I was unable to leave my room, owing to a headache and nervous prostration, caused by late hours and too much company, the doctor said. It is too bad, and yet I do so much enjoy our card parties and the excitement of the game. To-night I am to take part in a little quiet game of draw poker, I think they call it. I have not had any experience heretofore in the game, but trust I shall soon learn it. There has been some talk about 1 ante and 5 limit. I do not exactly understand the terms. I hope it does not mean anything wrong.

January 4.–Poker is an odd game, indeed. I think it quite exciting, though at first the odd terms rather confused me. I had not been accustomed to such phrases as “show down,” “bob-tail flush,” and “King full.” I must ask Brown, as soon as his knees are able to be out, to explain the meaning of these terms a little more fully to me. If poor Brown’s knees are not better soon, I shall be on kneesy about him. [Here the diary has the appearance of being blurred with tears.] A bob-tail flush, I learn, is something very disagreeable to have. One gentleman said last evening that another bob-tail flush would certainly paralyze him. I gather from that that it is something like a hectic flush. I can understand the game called “old sledge,” and have become quite familiar with such terms as “beg,” “gimmeone,” “I’ve got the thin one,” “how high is that?” “one horse on me,” “saw-off,” etc., etc., but poker is full of surprises. It seems so odd to see a gentleman “show out on a pair of deuces” and gather in upward of two pounds with great merriment, while the remainder of the party seem quite bored. One gentleman last evening showed out on a full hand with “treys at the head,” putting 3 12s. in his purse with great glee, while another one of the party who had not shown up, but I am positive had a better hand, became so angered that he got up and kicked four front teeth out of the mouth of a favorite dog worth 20. I took part in a spade flush during the evening and was quite successful, so that I can easily pay my traveling expenses and have a few shillings to buy ointment for poor Brown. It was my first winning, and made me quiver all over with excitement. The game is already very fascinating to me, and I am becoming passionately fond of it.

January 6.–I have just learned fully what a bob-tail flush is. It cost me 50. I like information, but I do not like to buy it when it comes so high. I drew two to fill in a heart flush last evening, and advanced the money to back up my judgment; but one of the hearts I drew was a club, which was entirely useless to me. I have sent out a sheriff with a bulldog to ascertain if he can find the whereabouts of the party who started this poker game, I do not know when I have felt so bored. After that I was so timid that I allowed a friend to walk off with 2 on a pair of deuces. I said to him that I called that a deuced bore, and he laughed heartily.

I find that you should not be too ready to show by your countenance whether you are bored or pleased in poker. Tour opponent will take advantage of it and play accordingly. It cost me 8 10s. to acquire a knowledge of this fact. If all the information I ever got had cost me as much as this poker wisdom, I would not now have two pennies to jingle together in my purse. Still, we have had a good time, take it all in all, and I shall not soon forget the evenings we have spent here together buying knowledge regardless of cost. I think I shall try to control my wild thirst for information awhile, however, till I can get some more funds.

[Here the diary breaks off abruptly, and on turning the book over we find the royal signature at the foot of the last page, “The Queen of Spades."]


A Colorado burro has been shipped across the Atlantic and presented to the Prince of Wales. It is a matter of profound national sorrow that this was not the first American jackass presented to his Tallness, the Prince.

At Omaha last week a barrel of sauer kraut rolled out of a wagon and struck O’Leary H. Oleson, who was trying to unload it, with such force as to kill him instantly and to flatten him out like a kiln-dried codfish. Still, after thousands of such instances on record, there are many scientists who maintain that sauer kraut is conducive to longevity.

As an evidence of the healthfulness of mountain climate, the people of Denver point to a man who came there in ’77 without flesh enough to bait a trap, and now he puts sleeves in an ordinary feather-bed and pulls it on over his head for a shirt. People in poor health who wish to communicate with the writer in relation to the facts above stated, are requested to enclose two unlicked postage stamps to insure a reply.

At Ubet, M.T., during the cold snap in January, one of the most inhuman outrages known in the annals of crime was perpetrated upon a young man who went West in the fall, hoping to make his pile in time to return in May and marry the New York heiress selected before he went.

While stopping at the hotel, two frolicsome young women hired the porter to procure the young man’s pantaloons at dead of night They then sewed up the bottoms of the legs, threw the doctored garment back through the transom and squealed “Fire!”

When he got into the hall he was vainly trying to stab one foot through the limb of his pantaloons while he danced around on the other and joined in the general cry of “Fire!” The hall seemed filled with people, who were running this way and that, ostensibly seeking a mode of egress from the flames, but in reality trying to dodge the mad efforts of the young man, who was trying to insert himself in his obstinate pantaloons.

He did not tumble, as it were, until the night watchman got a Babcock fire extinguisher and played on him. I do not know what he played on him. Very likely it was, “Sister, what are the wild waves saying?”

Anyway, he staggered into his room, and although he could hear the audience outside in their wild, tumultuous encore, he refused to come before the curtain, but locked his door and sobbed himself to sleep,

How often do we forget the finer feelings of others and ignore their sorrow while we revel in some great joy.


The world is full of literary people to-day, and they are divided into three classes, viz: Those who have written for the press, those who are writing for the press, and those who want to write for the press. Of the first, there are those who tried it and found that they could make more in half the time at something else, and so quit the field, and those who failed to touch the great heart and pocketbook of the public, and therefore subsided. Those who are writing for the press now, whether putting together copy by the mile within the sound of the rumbling engine and press, or scattered through the country writing more at their leisure, find that they have to lay aside every weight and throw off all the incumbrances of the mossy past.

One thing, however, still clings to the editor like a dab of paste on a white vest or golden fleck of scrambled egg on a tawny moustache. One relic of barbarism rears in gaunt form amid the clash and hurry and rush of civilization, and in the dazzling light of science and smartness.

It is “we.”

The budding editor of the rural civilizer for the first time peels his coat and sharpens his pencil to begin the work of changing the great current of public opinion. He is strong in his desire to knock error and wrong galley west. He has buckled on his armor to paralyze monopoly and purify the ballot He has hitched up his pantaloons with a noble resolve and covered his table with virgin paper.

He is young, and he is a little egotistical, also. He wants to say, “I believe” so and so, but he can’t. Perspiration breaks out all over him. He bites his pencil, and looks up with his clenched hand in his hair. The slimy demon of the editor’s life is there, sitting on the cloth bound volume containing the report of the United States superintendent of swine diseases.

Wherever you find a young man unloading a Washington hand press to fill a long-felt want, there you will find the ghastly and venomous “we,” ready to look over the shoulder of the timid young mental athlete. Wherever you find a ring of printer’s ink around the door knob, and the snowy towel on which the foreman wipes the pink tips of his alabaster fingers, you will find the slimy, scaly folds of “we” curled up in some neighboring corner.

From the huge metropolitan journal, whose subscribers could make or bust a president, or make a blooming king wish he had never been born, down to the obscure and unknown dodger whose first page is mostly electrotype head, whose second and third pages are patent, whose news is eloquent of the dear dead past, whose fourth page ushers in a new baby, or heralds the coming of the circus, or promulgates the fact that its giant editor has a felon on his thumb, the trail of the serpent “we” is over them all. It is all we have to remind us of royalty in America, with the exception, perhaps, of the case now and then where a king full busts a bob-tail flush.

A Mountain Snowstorm

September does not always indicate golden sunshine, and ripening corn, and old gold pumpkin pies on the half-shell. We look upon it as the month of glorious perfection in the handiwork of the seasons and the time when the ripened fruits are falling; when the red sun hides behind the bronze and misty evening, and says good night with reluctance to the beautiful harvests and the approaching twilight of the year.

It was on a red letter day of this kind, years ago, that Wheeler and myself started out under the charge of Judge Blair and Sheriff Baswell to visit the mines at Last Chance, and more especially the Keystone, a gold mine that the Judge had recently become president of. The soft air of second summer in the Rocky Mountains blew gently past our ears as we rode up the valley of the Little Laramie, to camp the first night at the head of the valley behind Sheep Mountain. The whole party was full of joy. Even Judge Blair, with the frosts of over sixty winters in his hair, broke forth into song. That’s the only thing I ever had against Judge Blair. He would forget himself sometimes and burst forth into song.

The following day we crossed the divide and rode down the gulch into the camp on Douglass Creek, where the musical thunder of the stamp mills seemed to jar the ground, and the rapid stream below bore away on its turbid bosom the yellowish tinge of the golden quartz. It was a perfect day, and Wheeler and I blessed our stars and, instead of breathing the air of sour paste and hot presses in the newspaper offices, away in the valley, we were sprawling in the glorious sunshine of the hills, playing draw poker with the miners in the evening, and forgetful of the daily newspaper where one man does the work and the other draws the salary. It was heaven. It was such luxury that we wanted to swing our hats and yell like Arapahoes.

The next morning we were surprised to find that it had snowed all night and was snowing still. I never saw such flakes of snow in my life. They came sauntering through the air like pure, white Turkish towels falling from celestial clothes-lines. We did not return that day. We played a few games of chance, but they were brief. We finally made it five cent ante, and, as I was working then for an alleged newspaper man who paid me $50 per month to edit his paper nights and take care of his children daytimes, I couldn’t keep abreast of the Judge, the Sheriff and the Superintendent of the Keystone.

The next day we had to go home. The snow lay ankle-deep everywhere and the air was chilly and raw. Wheeler and I tried to ride, but the mountain road was so rough that the horses could barely move through the snow, dragging the buggy after them. So we got out and walked on ahead to keep warm. We gained very fast on the team, for we were both long-legged and measured off the miles like a hired man going to dinner. I wore a pair of glove-fitting low shoes and lisle-thread socks. I can remember that yet. I would advise anyone going into the mines not to wear lisle-thread socks and low shoes. You are liable to stick your foot into a snow-bank or a mud hole and dip up too much water. I remember that after we had walked through the pine woods down the mountain road a few miles, I noticed that the bottoms of my pantaloons looked like those of a drowned tramp I saw many years ago in the morgue. We gave out after a while, waited for the team, but decided that it had gone the other road. All at once it flashed over us that we were alone in the woods and the storm, wet, nearly starved, ignorant of the road and utterly worn out!

It was tough!

I never felt so blue, so wet, so hungry, or so hopeless in my life. We moved on a little farther. All at once we came out of the timber. There was no snow whatever! At that moment the sun burst forth, we struck a deserted supply wagon, found a two-pound can of Boston baked beans, got an axe from the load, chopped open the can, and had just finished the tropical fruit of Massachusetts when our own team drove up, and joy and hope made their homes once more in our hearts.

We may learn from this a valuable lesson, but at this moment I do not know exactly what it is.

Lost Money

Most anyone could collect and tell a good many incidents about lost money that has been found, if he would try, but these cases came under my own observation and I can vouch for their truth.

A farmer in the Kinnekinnick Valley was paid $1,000 while he was loading hay. He put it in his vest pocket, and after he had unloaded the hay he discovered that he had lost it, and no doubt had pitched the whole load into the mow on top of it. He went to work and pitched it all out, a handful at a time, upon the barn floor, and when the hired man’s fork tine came up with a $100 bill on it he knew they had struck a lead. He got it all.

A man gave me two $5 bills once to pay a balance on some store teeth and asked me to bring the teeth back with me. The dentist was fifteen miles away and when I got there I found I had lost the money. That was before I had amassed much of a fortune, so I went to the tooth foundry and told the foreman that I had started with $10 to get a set of teeth for an intimate friend, but had lost the funds. He said that my intimate friend would, no doubt, have to gum it awhile. Owing to the recent shrinkage in values he was obliged to sell teeth for cash, as the goods were comparatively useless after they had been used one season. I went back over the same road the next day and found the money by the side of the road, although a hundred teams had passed by it.

A young man, one spring, plowed a pocket-book and $30 in greenbacks under, and by a singular coincidence the next spring it was plowed out, and, though rotten clear through, was sent to the Treasury, where it was discovered that the bills were on a Michigan National Bank, whither they were sent and redeemed.

I lost a roll of a hundred dollars the spring of ’82, and hunted my house and the office through, in search for it, in vain. I went over the road between the office and the house twenty times, but it was useless. I then advertised the loss of the money, giving the different denominations of the bills and stating, as was the case, that there was an elastic band around the roll when lost. The paper had not been issued more than an hour before I got my money, every dollar of it. It was in the pocket of my other vest.

This should teach us, first, the value of advertising, and, secondly, the utter folly of two vests at the same time.

Apropos of recent bank failures, I want to tell this one on James S. Kelley, commonly called “Black Jim.” He failed himself along in the fifties, and by a big struggle had made out to pay everybody but Lo Bartlett, to whom he was indebted in the sum of $18. He got this money, finally, and as Lo wasn’t in town, Black Jim put it in a bank, the name of which has long ago sunk into oblivion. In fact, it began the oblivion business about forty-eight hours after Jim had put his funds in there.

Meeting Lo on the street, Jim said:

“Your money is up in the Wild Oat Bank, Lo. I’ll give you a check for it.”

“No use, old man, she’s gone up.”


“Yes, she’s a total wreck.”

Jim went over to the president’s room. He knocked as easy as he could, considering that his breath was coming so hard.

“Who’s there?”

“It’s Jim Kelley, Black Jim, and I’m in something of a hurry.”

“Well, I’m very busy, Mr. Kelley. Come again this afternoon.”

“That will be too remote. I am very busy myself. Now is the accepted time. Will you open the door or shall I open it.”

The president opened it because it was a good door and he wanted to preserve it.

Black Jim turned the key in the door and sat down.

“What did you want of me?” says the president

“I wanted to see you about a certificate of deposit I’ve got here on your bank for eighteen dollars.”

“We can’t pay it. Everything is gone.”

“Well, I am here to get $18 or to leave you looking like a giblet pie. Eighteen dollars will relieve you of this mental strain, but if you do not put up I will paper this wall with your classic features and ruin the carpet with what remains.”

The president hesitated a moment. Then he took a roll out of his boot and paid Jim eighteen dollars.

“You will not mention this on the street, of course,” said the president.

“No,” says Jim, “not till I get there.”

When the crowd got back, however, the president had fled and he has remained fled ever since. The longer he remained away and thought it over, the more he became attached to Canada, and the more of a confirmed and incurable fugitive he became.

I saw Black Jim last evening and he said he had passed through two bank failures, but had always realized on his certificates of deposit. One cashier told Jim that he was the homeliest man that ever looked through the window of a busted bank. He said Kelley looked like a man who ate bank cashiers on toast and directors raw with a slice of lemon on top.

Dr. Dizart’s Dog

A man whose mother-in-law had been successfully treated by the doctor, one day presented him with a beautiful Italian hound named Nemesis.

When I say that the able physician had treated the mother-in-law successfully, I mean successfully from her son-in-law’s standpoint, and not from her own, for the doctor insisted on treating her for small-pox when she had nothing but an attack of agnostics. She is now sitting on the front stoop of the golden whence.

So, after the last sad rites, the broken-hearted son-in-law presented the physician with a handsome hound with long, slender legs and a wire tail, as a token of esteem and regard.

The dog was young and playful, as all young dogs are, so he did many little tricks which amused almost everyone.

One day, while the doctor was away administering a subcutaneous injection of morphine to a hay-fever patient, he left Nemesis in the office alone with a piece of rag-carpet and his surging thoughts.

At first Nemesis closed his eyes and breathed hard, then he arose and ate part of an ottoman, then he got up and scratched the paper off the office wall and whined in a sad tone of voice.

A young Italian hound has a peculiarly sad and depressing song.

Then Nemesis got up on the desk and poured the ink and mucilage into one of the drawers on some bandages and condition-powders that the doctor used in his horse-practice.

Nemesis then looked out of the window and wailed. He filled the room with robust wail and unavailing regret.

After that he tried to dispel his ennui with one of the doctor’s old felt hats that hung on a chair; but the hair oil with which it was saturated changed his mind.

The doctor had magenta hair, and to tone it down so that it would not raise the rate of fire insurance on his office, he used to execute some studies on it in oil–bear’s oil.

This gave his hair a rich mahogany shade, and his hat smelled and looked like an oil refinery.

That is the reason Nemesis spared the hat, and ate a couple of porousplasters that his master was going to use on a case of croup.

At that time the doctor came in, and the dog ran to him with a glad cry of pleasure, rubbing his cold nose against his master’s hand. The able veterinarian spoke roughly to Nemesis, and throwing a cigar-stub at him, broke two of the animal’s delicate legs.

After that there was a low discordant murmur and the angry hum of medical works, lung-testers, glass jars containing tumors and other bric-a-brac, paper-weights and Italian grayhound bisecting the orbit of a redheaded horse-physician with dude shoes.

When the police came in, it was found that Nemesis had jumped through a glass door and escaped on two legs and his ear.

Out through the autumnal haze, across the intervening plateau, over the low foot-hills, and up the Medicine Bow Range, on and ever onward sped the timid, grieved and broken-hearted pup, accumulating with wonderful eagerness the intervening distance between himself and the cruel promoter of the fly-blister and lingering death.

How often do we thoughtlessly grieve the hearts of those who love us, and drive forth into the pitiless world those who would gladly lick our hands with their warm loving tongues, or warm their cold noses in the meshes of our necks.

How prone we are to forget the devotion of a dumb brute that thoughtlessly eats our lace lambrequins, and ere we have stopped to consider our mad course, we have driven the loving heart and the warm wet tongue and the cold little black nose out of our home-life, perhaps into the cold, cold grave or the bleak and relentless pound.

Chinese Justice

They do things differently in China. Here in America, when a man burgles your residence, you go and confide in a detective, who keeps your secret and gets another detective to help him. Generally that is the last of it. In China, not long ago, the house of a missionary was entered and valuables taken by the thieves. The missionary went to the authorities with his tale and told them whom he suspected. That’s the last he heard of that for three weeks. Then he received a covered champagne basket from the Department of Justice. On opening it he found the heads of the suspected burglars packed in tinfoil and in a good state of preservation. These heads were not sent necessarily for publication, but as an evidence of good faith on the part of the Department of Unimpeded Justice. Mind you, there was no postponement of the preliminary examination, no dilatory motions and changes of venue, no pleas to the jurisdiction of the court, no legal delays and final challenges of jurors until an idiotic jury had been procured who hadn’t read the papers, no ruling out of damaging testimony, and finally filing of bill of exceptions, no appeal and delay, or appeal afterward to another court which returned the defendant to the court of original jurisdiction for review, and years of waiting for the prosecuting witnesses to die of old age and thus release the defendant. There is nothing of that kind in China. You just hand in your orders to the judicial end of the administration, and then you retire. Later on, the delivery man brings in your package of heads, makes a salaam, and goes away.

Now, this is swift and speedy justice for you. I don’t know how the guilt of the defendants is arrived at, but there’s nothing tedious about it. At least, there’s nothing tedious to the complainant I presume they make it red-hot for the criminal.

Still this style of justice has its drawbacks. For instance, you are at dinner. You have a large and select company dining with you. You are about to carve the roast There is a ring at the door. The servant announces that a judicial officer is at the drawbridge and desires to speak with you. You pull your napkin out of your bosom, lay the carving knife down on the virgin table cloth, and go to the door. There the minister of justice presents you with a champagne basket and retires. You return to the dining hall, leaving your basket on the sideboard. After a while you announce to your guests that you have just received a basket of Mumm’s extra dry with the compliments of the government, and that you will, with the permission of those present, open a bottle. You arm yourself with a corkscrew, open the basket, and thoughtlessly tip it over, when two or three human heads, with a pained and grieved expression on the face, roll out on the table.

When you are looking for a quart bottle of sparkling wine and find instead the cold, sad features and reproachful stare of the extremely deceased and hic jacet Chinaman, you naturally betray your chagrin. I like to see justice moderately swift, and, in fact I’ve seen it pretty forthwith in its movements two or three times; but I cannot say that I would be prepared for this style.

Perhaps I’m getting a little nervous in my old age, and a small matter jars my equilibrium; but I’m sure a basket of heads handed in as I was seated at the table would startle me a little at first, and I might forget myself.

A friend of mine, under such circumstances, made what the English would call “a doosed clevah” remark once in Shanghai. When he opened the basket he was horrified, but he was cool. He was old sang froid from Sangfroidville. He first took the basket and started for the back room, with the remark: “My friends, I guess you will have to ex-queuese me." Then he pulled down his eyelids and laughed a hoarse English laugh.

Answers to Correspondents

Caller–Your calling cards should be modest as to size and neatly engraved, with an extra flourish.

In calling, there are two important things to be considered: First, when to call, and, second, when to rise and hang on the door handle.

Some make one-third of the call before rising, and then complete the call while airing the house and holding the door open, while others consider this low and vulgar, making at least one-fourth of the call in the hall, and one-half between the front door and the gate. Different authorities differ as to the proper time for calling. Some think you should not call before 3 or after 5 P.M., but if you have had any experience and had ordinary sense to start with, you will know when to call as soon as you look at your hand.

Amateur Prize Fighter.–The boxing glove is a large upholstered buckskin mitten, with an abnormal thumb and a string by which it is attached to the wrist, so that when you feed it to an adversary he cannot swallow it and choke himself. There are two kinds of gloves, viz., hard gloves and soft gloves.

I once fought with soft gloves to a finish with a young man who was far my inferior intellectually, but he exceeded me in brute force and knowledge of the use of the gloves. He was not so tall, but he was wider than myself. Longitudinally he was my inferior, but latitudinally he outstripped me. We did not fight a regular prize-fight. It was just done for pleasure. But I do not think we should abandon ourselves entirely to pleasure. It is enervating, and makes one eye swell up and turn blue.

I still think that a young man ought to have a knowledge of the manly art of self-defense, and if I could acquire such a knowledge without getting into a fight about it I would surely learn how to defend myself.

The boxing glove is worn on the hand of one party, and on the gory nose of the other party as the game progresses. Soft gloves very rarely kill anyone, unless they work down into the bronchial tubes and shut off the respiration.

Lecturer, New York City.–You need not worry so much about your costume until you have written your lecture, and it would be a good idea to test the public a little, if possible, before you do much expensive printing. Your idea seems to be that a man should get a fine lithograph of himself and a $100 suit of clothes, and then write his lecture to fit the lithograph and the clothes. That is erroneous.

You say that you have written a part of your lecture, but do not feel satisfied with it. In this you will no doubt find many people will agree with you.

You could wear a full dress suit of black with propriety, or a Prince Albert coat, with your hand thrust into the bosom of it. I once lectured on the subject of phrenology in the southern portion of Utah, being at that time temporarily busted, but still hoping to tide over the dull times by delivering a lecture on the subject of “Brains, and how to detect their presence.” I was not supplied with a phrenological bust at that time, and as such a thing is almost indispensable, I borrowed a young man from Provost and induced him to act as bust for the evening. He did so with thrilling effect, taking the entire gross receipts of the lecture course from my coat pocket while I was illustrating the effect of alcoholic stimulants on the raw brain of an adult in a state of health.

You can remove spots of egg from your full dress suit with ammonia and water, applied by means of a common nail brush. You do not ask for this recipe, but, judging from your style, I hope that it may be of use to you.

Martin F. Tupper, Texas.–The poem to which you allude was written by Julia A. Moore, better known as the Sweet Singer of Michigan. The last stanza was something like this:

“My childhood days are past and gone, And it fills my heart with pain, To think that youth will nevermore Return to me again. And now, kind friends, what I have wrote, I hope you will pass o’er And not criticise as some has hitherto here– before done.”

Miss Moore also wrote a volume of poems which the farmers of Michigan are still using on their potato bugs. She wrote a large number of poems, all more or less saturated with grief and damaged syntax. She is now said to be a fugitive from justice. We should learn from this that we cannot evade the responsibility of our acts, and those who write obituary poetry will one day be overtaken by a bob-tail sleuth hound or a Siberian nemesis with two rows of teeth.

Alonzo G., Smithville.–Yes, you can learn three card monte without a master. It is very easy. The book will cost you twenty-five cents and then you can practice on various people. The book is a very small item, you will find, after you have been practicing awhile. Three card monte and justifiable homicide go hand in hand. 2. You can turn a jack from the bottom of the pack in the old sledge, if you live in some States, but west of the Missouri the air is so light that men who have tried it have frequently waked up on the shore of eternity with a half turned jack in their hand, and a hole in the cerebellum the size of an English walnut.

You can get “Poker and Three Card Monte without a Master” for sixty cents, with a coroner’s verdict thrown in. If you contemplate a career as a monte man, you should wear a pair of low, loose shoes that you can kick off easily, unless you want to die with your boots on.

Henry Ubet, Montana.–No, you are mistaken in your assumption that Socrates was the author of the maxim to which you allude. It is of more modern origin, and, in fact, the sentence of which you speak, viz: “What a combination of conflicting and paradoxical assertions is life? Of what use are logic and argument when we find the true inwardness of the bologna sausage on the outside?” were written by a philosopher who is still living. I am willing to give Socrates credit for what he has said and done, but when I think of a sentiment that is worthy to be graven on a monolith and passed on down to prosperity, I do not want to have it attributed to such men as Socrates.

Leonora Vivian Gobb, Oleson’s Forks, Ariz.–Yes. You can turn the front breadths, let out the tucks in the side plaiting and baste on a new dagoon where you caught the oyster stew in your lap at the party. You could also get trusted for a new dress, perhaps. But that is a matter of taste. Some dealers are wearing their open accounts long this winter and some are not. Do as you think best about cleaning the dress. Benzine will sometimes eradicate an oyster stew from dress goods. It will also eradicate everyone in the room at the same time. I have known a pair of rejuvenated kid gloves to break up a funeral that started out with every prospect of success. Benzine is an economical thing to use, but socially it is not up to the standard. Another idea has occurred to me, however. Why not riprap the skirt, calk the solvages, readjust the box plaits, cat stitch the crown sheet, file down the gores, sandpaper the gaiters and discharge the dolman. You could then wear the garment anywhere in the evening, and half the people wouldn’t know anything had happened to it.

James, Owatonna, Minn.–You can easily teach yourself to play on the tuba. You know what Shakespeare says: “Tuba or not tuba? That’s the question.”

How true this is? It touches every heart. It is as good a soliliquy as I ever read. P.S.–Please do not swallow the tuba while practicing and choke yourself to death. It would be a shame for you to swallow a nice new tuba and cast a gloom over it so that no one else would ever want to play on it again.

Florence.–You can stimulate your hair by using castor oil three ounces, brandy one ounce. Put the oil on the sewing machine, and absorb the brandy between meals. The brandy will no doubt fly right to your head and either greatly assist your hair or it will reconcile you to your lot. The great attraction about brandy as a hair tonic is, that it should not build up the thing. If you wish, you may drink the brandy and then breathe hard on the scalp. This will be difficult at first but after awhile it will not seem irksome.

Great Sacrifice of Bric-a-brac.

Parties desiring to buy a job-lot of garden tools, will do well to call and examine my stock. These implements have been but slightly used, and are comparatively as good as new. The lot consists in part of the following:

One three-cornered hoe, Gothic in its architecture and in good running order. It is the same one I erroneously hoed up the carnation with, and may be found, I think, behind the barn, where I threw it when I discovered my error. Original cost of hoe, six bits. Will be closed out now at two bits to make room for new goods.

Also one garden rake, almost as good as new. One front tooth needs filling, and then it will be as good as ever. I sell this weapon, not so much to get rid of it, but because I do not want it any more. I shall not garden any next spring. I do not need to. I began it to benefit my health, and my health is now so healthy that I shall not require the open-air exercise incident to gardening any more. In fact, I am too robust, if anything. I will, therefore, acting upon the advice of my royal physician, close this rake out, since the failure of the Northwestern Car Company, at 50 cents on the dollar.

Also one lawn-mower, only used once. At that time I cut down what grass I had on my lawn, and three varieties of high-priced rose bushes. It is one of the most hardy open-air lawn-mowers now made. It will outlive any other lawn-mower, and be firm and unmoved when all the shrubbery has gone to decay. You can also mow your peony bed with it, if you desire. I tried it. This is also an easy running lawn-mower, I would recommend it to any man who would like to soak his lawn with perspiration. I mowed my lawn, and then pushed a street-car around in the afternoon to relax my over-strained muscles. I will sacrifice this lawn-mower at three-quarters of its original cost, owing to depression in the stock of the New Jerusalem gold mine, of which I am a large owner and cashier-at-large.

Will also sell a bright new spade, only used two hours spading for angle-worms. This is a good, early-blooming and very hardy angle-worm spade, built in the Doric style of architecture. Persons desiring a spade flush, and lacking one spade to “fill,” will do well to give me a call. No trouble to show the goods.

I will also part with a small chest of carpenter’s tools, only slightly used. I had intended to do a good deal of amateur carpenter work this summer, but, as the presidential convention occurs in June, and I shall have to attend to that, and as I have already sawed up a Queen Anne chair, and thoughtlessly sawed into my leg, I shall probably sacrifice the tools. These tools are all well made, and I do not sell them to make money on them, but because I have no use for them. I feel as though these tools would be safer in the hands of a carpenter. I’m no carpenter. My wife admitted that when I sawed a board across the piano-stool and sawed the what-do-you-call-it all out of the cushion.

Anyone desiring to monkey with the carpenter’s trade, will do well to consult my catalogue and price-list. I will throw in a white holly corner-bracket, put together with fence nails, and a rustic settee that looks like the Cincinnati riot. Young men who do not know much, and invalids whose minds have become affected, are cordially invited to call and examine goods. For a cash trade I will also throw in arnica, court-plaster and salve enough to run the tools two weeks, if ordinary care be taken.

If properly approached, I might also be wheedled into sacrificing an easy-running domestic wheelbarrow. I have domesticated it myself and taught it a great many tricks.

A Convention

The officers and members of the Home for Disabled Butter and Hoary-headed Hotel Hash met at their mosque last Saturday evening, and, after the roll call, reading of the moments of the preceding meeting by the Secretary, singing of the ode and examination of all present to ascertain if they were in possession of the quarterly password, explanation and signs of distress, the Most Esteemed Toolymuckahi, having reached the order of communications and new business and good of the order, stated that the society was now ready to take action, or, at least, to discuss the feasibility of holding a series of entertainments at the rink. These entertainments had been proposed as a means of propping up the tottering finances of the society, and procuring much-needed funds for the purpose of purchasing new regalia for the Most Esteemed Duke of the Dishrag and the Most Esteemed Hired Man, each of whom had been wearing the same red calico collar and cheese-cloth sash since the organization of the society. Funds were also necessary to pay for a brother who had walked through a railroad trestle into the shoreless sea of eternity, and whose widow had a policy of $135.25 against this society on the life of her husband.

Various suggestions were made; among them was the idea advanced by the Most Highly Esteemed Inside Door-Slammer that, as the society’s object was, of course, to obtain funds, would it not be well to consider, in the first place, whether it would not be as well for the Most Esteemed Toolymuckahi to appoint six brethren in good standing to arm themselves with great care, gird up their loins and muzzle the pay-car as it started out on its mission. He simply offered this as a suggestion, and, as it was a direct method of securing the coin necessary, he would move that such a committee be appointed by the Chair to wait on the pay-car and draw on it at sight.

The Most Esteemed Keeper of the Cork-screw seconded the motion, in order, as he said, to get it before the house. This brought forward very hot discussion, pending which the presiding officer could see very plainly that the motion was unpopular.

A visiting brother from Yellowstone Park Creamery No. 17, stated that in their society “an entertainment of this kind had been given for the purpose of pouring a flood of wealth into the coffers of the society, and it had been fairly successful. Among the attractions there had been nothing of an immoral or lawless nature whatever. In the first place, a kind of farewell oyster gorge had been given, with cove oysters as a basis, and $2 a couple as an after-thought. A can of cove oysters entertained thirty people and made $30 for the society. Besides, it was found after the party had broken up that, owing to the adhesive properties of the oysters, they were not eaten; but the juice, as it were, had been scooped up and the puckered and corrugated gizzards of the sea had been preserved. Acting upon this suggestion, the society had an oyster patty debauch the following evening at $2 a couple. Forty suckers came and put their means into the common fund. We didn’t have enough oysters to quite go around, so some of us cut a dozen out of an old boot leg, and the entertainment was a great success. We also had other little devices for making money, which worked admirably and yielded much profit to the society. Those present also said that they had never enjoyed themselves so much before. Many little games were played, which produced great merriment and considerable coin. I could name a dozen devices for your society, if desired, by which money could be made for your treasury, without the risk or odium necessarily resulting from robbing the pay-car or a bank, and yet the profit will be nearly as great in proportion to the work done.”

Here the gavel of the Most Esteemed Toolymuckahi fell with a sickening thud, and the visiting brother was told that the time assigned to communications, new business and good of the order had expired, but that the discussion would be taken up at the next session, in one week, at which time it was the purpose of the chair to hear and note all suggestions relative to an entertainment to be given at a future date by the society for the purpose of obtaining the evanescent scad and for the successful flash of the reluctant boodle.

Come Back

Personal.–Will the young woman who used to cook in our family, and who went away ten pounds of sugar and five and a half pounds of tea ahead of the game, please come back, and all will be forgiven.

If she cannot return, will she please write, stating her present address, and also give her reasons for shutting up the cat in the refrigerator when she went away?

If she will only return, we will try to forget the past, and think only of the glorious present and the bright, bright future.

Come back, Sarah, and jerk the waffle-iron for us once more.

Your manners are peculiar, but we yearn for your doughnuts, and your style of streaked cake suits us exactly.

You may keep the handkerchiefs and the collars, and we will not refer to the dead past.

We have arranged it so that when you snore it will not disturb the night police, and if you do not like our children we will send them away.

We realize that you do not like children very well, and our children especially gave you much pain, because they were not so refined as you were.

We have often wished, for your sake, that we had never had any children; but so long as they are in our family, the neighbors will rather expect us to take care of them.

Still, if you insist upon it, we will send them away. We don’t want to seem overbearing with our servants.

We would be willing, also, to give you more time for mental relaxation than you had before. The intellectual strain incident to the life of one who makes gravy for a lost and undone world must be very great, and tired nature must at last succumb. We do not want you to succumb. If anyone has got to succumb, let us do it.

All we ask is that you will let us know when you are going away, and leave the crackers and cheese where we can find them.

It was rather rough on us to have you go away when we had guests in the house, but if you had not taken the key to the cooking department we could have worried along.

You ought to let us have company at the house sometimes if we will let you have company when you want to. Still, you know best, perhaps. You are older than we are, and you have seen more of the world.

We miss your gentle admonitions and your stern reproofs sadly. Come back and reprove us again. Come back and admonish us once more, at so much per admonish and groceries.

We will agree to let you select the tender part of the steak, and such fruit as seems to strike you favorably, just as we did before. We did not like it when you were here, but that is because we were young and did not know what the custom was.

If a life-time devoted to your welfare can obliterate the injustice we have done you, we will be glad to yield it to you.

If you could suggest a good place for us to send the children, where they would be well taken care of, and where they would not interfere with some other cook who is a friend of yours, we would be glad to have you write us.

My wife says she hopes you will feel perfectly free to use the piano whenever you are lonely or sad, and when you or the bread feel depressed you will be welcome to come into the parlor and lean up against either one of us and sob.

We all know that when you were with us before we were a little reserved in our manner toward you, but if you come back it will be different.

We will introduce you to more of our friends this time, and we hope you will do the same by us. Young people are apt to get above their business, and we admit that we were wrong.

Come back and oversee our fritter bureau once more.

Take the portfolio of our interior department.

Try to forget our former coldness.

Return, oh, wanderer, return!

A New Play

The following letter was written, recently, in reply to a dramatist who proposed the matter of writing a play jointly.

Hudson, Wis., Nov. 13, 1886.

Scott Marble, Esq.–Dear Sir: I have just received your favor of yesterday, in which you ask me to unite with you in the construction of a new play.

This idea has been suggested to me before, but not in such a way as to inaugurate the serious thought which your letter has stirred up in my seething mass of mind.

I would like very much to unite with you in the erection of such a dramatic structure that people would cheerfully come to this country from Europe, and board with us for months in order to see this play every night.

You will surely agree with me that someone ought to write a play. Why it has not been done long ago, I cannot understand. A well known comedian told me a year ago that he hadn’t been able to look into a paper for sixteen months. He could not even read over the proof of his own press notices and criticisms, to ascertain whether the printer had set them up as he wrote them or not, simply because it took all his spare time off the stage to examine the manuscripts of plays that had been submitted to him.

But I think we could arrange it so that we might together construct something in that line which would at least attract the attention of our families.

Would you mind telling me, for instance, how you write a play? You have been in the business before, and you could tell me, of course, some of the salient points about it. Do you write it with a typewriter, or do you dictate your thoughts to someone who does not resent being dictated to?

Do you write a play and then dramatize it, or do you write the drama and then play on it? Would it not be a very good idea to secure a plot that would cost very little, and then put the kibosh on it, or would you put up the lines first, and then hang the plot or drama, or whatever it is, on the lines? Is it absolutely necessary to have a prologue? If so, what is a prologue? Is it like a catalogue?

I have a great many crude ideas, but you see I am not practical. One of my crude ideas is to introduce into the play an artist’s studio. This would not cost much, for we could borrow the studio evenings and allow the artist to use it daytimes. Then we would introduce into the studio scene the artist’s living model. Everybody would be horrified, but they would go. They would walk over each other to attend the drama, and we would do well. Our living model in the studio act would be made of common wax, and if it worked well, we would discharge other members of the company and substitute wax. Gradually we could get it down to where the company would be wax, with the exception of a janitor with a feather duster. Think that over.

But seriously, a play, it seems to me, should embody an idea. Am I correct in that theory or not? It ought to convey some great thought, some maxim or aphorism, or some such a thing as that. How would it do to arrange a play with the idea of impressing upon the audience that “the fool and his money are soon parted?” Are you using a hero and a heroine in your plays now? If so, would you mind writing their lines for them, while I arrange the details and remarks for the young man who is discovered asleep on a divan when the curtain rises, and who sleeps on through the play with his mouth slightly ajar till the close–the close of the play, not the close of his mouth–when it is discovered that he is dead. He then plays the cold remains in the closing tableau, and fills a new-made grave at $9 per week.

I could also write the lines, I think, for the young man who comes in wearing a light summer cane and a seersucker coat so tight that you can count his vertebrae. I could write what he would say without great mental strain, I think. I must avoid mental strain or my intellect might split down the back and I would be a mental wreck, good for nothing but to strew the shores of time with myself.

Various other crude ideas present themselves to my mind, but they need to be clothed. You will say that this is unnecessary. I know you will at once reply that, for the stage, the less you clothe an idea the more popular it will be, but I could not consent to have even a bare thought of mine make an appearance night after night before a cultivated audience.

What do you think of introducing a genuine case of small-pox on the stage? You say in your letter that what the American people clamor for is something “catchy.” That would be catchy, and it would also introduce itself.

I wish you would also tell me what kind of diet you confine yourself to while writing a play, and how you go to work to procure it. Do you live on a mixed diet, or on your relatives? Would you soak your head while writing a play, or would you soak your overcoat? I desire to know all these things, because, Mr. Marble, to tell you the truth, I am as ignorant about this matter as the babe unborn. In fact, posterity would have to get up early in the morning to know less about play-writing than I have succeeded in knowing.

If we are to make a kind of comedy, my idea would be to introduce something facetious in the middle of the comedy. No one will expect it, you see, and it will tickle the audience almost to death.

A friend of mine suggests that it would be a great hit to introduce, or rather to reproduce, the Hell Gate explosion. Many were not able to be there at the time, and would willingly go a long distance to witness the reproduction.

I wish that you would reply to this letter at an early date, telling me what you think of the schemes suggested. Feel perfectly free to express yourself fully. I am not too proud to receive your suggestions.

The Silver Dollar

It would seem at this time, while so little is being said on the currency question, and especially by the men who really control the currency, that a word from me would not be out of place. Too much talking has been done by those only who have a theoretical knowledge of money and its eccentric habits. People with a mere smattering of knowledge regarding national currency have been loquacious, while those who have made the matter a study, have been kept in the background.

At this period in the history of our country, there seems to be a general stringency, and many are in the stringency business who were never that way before. Everything seems to be demonetized. The demonetization of groceries is doing as much toward the general wiggly palsy of trade as anything I know of.

But I may say, in alluding briefly to the silver dollar, that there are worse calamities than the silver dollar. Other things may occur in our lives, which, in the way of sadness and three-cornered gloom, make the large, robust dollar look like an old-fashioned half-dime.

I met a man the other day, who, two years ago, was running a small paper at Larrabie’s Slough. He was then in his meridian as a journalist, and his paper was frequently quoted by such widely-read publications as the Knight of Labor at Work, a humorous semi-monthly journal. He boldly assailed the silver dollar, and with his trenchant pen he wrote such burning words of denunciation that the printer had to set them on ice before he could use the copy.

Last week I met him on a Milwaukee & St. Paul train. He was very thin in flesh, and the fire of defiance was no longer in his eye. I asked him how he came on with the paper at Larrabie’s Slough. He said it was no more.

“It started out,” said he, “in a fearless way, but it was not sustained.”

He then paused in a low tone of voice, gulped, and proceeded:

“Folks told me when I began that I ought to attack almost everything. Make the paper non-partisan, but aggressive, that was their idea. Sail into everything, and the paper would soon be a power in the land. So I aggressed.

“Friends came in very kindly and told me what to attack. They would neglect their own business in order to tell me of corruption in somebody else. I went on that way for some time in a defiant mood, attacking anything that happened to suggest itself.

“Finally I thought I would attack the silver dollar. I did so. I thought that friends would come to me and praise me for my manly words, and that I could afford to lose the friendship of the dollar provided I could win friends.

“In six months I took an unexpired annual pass over our Larrabie Slough Narrow-Gauge, or Orphan Road, and with nothing else but the clothes I wore, I told the plaintiff how to jerk the old Washington press and went away. The dear old Washington press that had more than once squatted my burning words into the pure white page. The dear old towel on which I had wiped my soiled hands for years, until it had almost become a part of myself, the dark blue Gordon press with its large fly wheel and intermittent chattel mortgage, a press, to which I had contributed the first joint of my front finger; the editor’s chair; the samples of large business cards printed in green with an inflamed red border, which showed that we could do colored work at Larrabie’s Slough just as well as they could in the large cities; the files of our paper; the large wilted potato that Mr. Alonzo G. Pinkham of Erin Corners kindly laid on our table-all, all had to go.

“I fled out into the great, hollow, mocking world of people who had requested me to aggress. They were people who had called my attention to various things which I ought to attack. I had attacked those things. I had also attacked the Larrabie Slough Narrow-Gauge Railroad, but the manager did not see the attack, and so my pass was good.

“What could I do?

“I had attacked everything, and more especially the silver dollar, and now I was homeless. For fourteen weeks I rode up the narrow-gauge road one day and back the next, subsisting solely on the sample of nice pecan meat that the newsboy puts in each passenger’s lap.

“You look incredulous, I see, but it is true.

“I feel differently toward the currency now, and I wish I could undo what I have done. Were I called up again to jerk the Archimedean lever, I would not be so aggressive, especially as regards the currency. Whether it is inflated or not, silver dollars, paper certificates of deposit or silver bullion, it does not matter to me.

“I yearn for two or three adult doughnuts and one of those thick, dappled slabs of gingerbread, or slat of pie with gooseberries in it. I presume that I could write a scathing editorial on the abuses of our currency yet, but I am not so much in the scathe business as I used to be.

“I wish you would state, if you will, through some great metropolitan journal, that my views in relation to the silver coinage and the currency question have undergone a radical change, and that any plan whatever, by which to make the American dollar less skittish, will meet with my hearty approval.

“If I have done anything at all through my paper to injure or repress the flow of our currency, and I fear I have, I now take this occasion to cheerfully regret it.”

He then wrung my hand and passed from my sight.

Polygamy as a Religious Duty

During the past few years in the history of our republic, we have had leprosy, yellow fever and the dude, and it seemed as though each one would wreck the whole national fabric at one time. National and international troubles of one kind and another have gradually risen, been met and mastered, but the great national abscess known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints still obstinately refuses to come to a head.

I may be a radical monogamist and a rash enthusiast upon this matter, but I still adhere to my original motto, one country, one flag and one wife at a time. Matrimony is a good thing, but it can be overdone. We can excuse the man who becomes a collection of rare coins, stamps, or autographs, but he who wears out his young life making a collection of wives, should be looked upon with suspicion.

After all, however, this matter has always been, and still is, treated with too much levity. It seems funny to us, at a distance of 1,600 miles, that a thick-necked patriarch in the valley of the Jordan should be sealed to thirteen or fourteen low-browed, half human females, and that the whole mass of humanity should live and multiply under one roof.

Those who see the wealthy polygamists of Salt Lake City, do not know much of the horrors of trying to make polygamy and poverty harmonize in the rural districts. In the former case, each wife has a separate residence or suite of rooms, perhaps; but in the latter is the aggregation of vice and depravity, doubly horrible because, instead of the secluded character which wickedness generally assumes, here it is the common heritage of the young and at once fails to shock or horrify.

Under the All-seeing eye, and the Bee Hive, and the motto, “Holiness to the Lord,” with a bogus Bible and a red-nosed prophet, who couldn’t earn $13. per month pounding sand, this so called church hanging on to the horns of the altar, as it were, defies the statutes, and while in open rebellion against the laws of God and man, refers to the constitution of the United States as protecting it in its “religious belief.”

In a poem, the patient Mormon in the picturesque valley of the Great Salt Lake, where he has “made the desert blossom as the rose,” looks well. With the wonderful music of the great organ at the tabernacle sounding in your ears, and the lofty temple near by towering to the sky, you say to yourself, there is, after all, something solemn and impressive in all this; but when a greasy apostle in an alapaca duster, takes his place behind the elevated desk, and with bad grammar and slangy sentences, asks God in a businesslike way to bless this buzzing mass of unclean, low-browed, barbarous scum of all foreign countries, and the white trash and criminals of our own, you find no reverence, and no religious awe.

The same mercenary, heartless lunacy that runs through the sickly plagiarism of the Book of Mormon, pervades all this, and instead of the odor of sanctity you notice the flavor of bilge water, and the emigrant’s own hailing sign, the all-pervading fragrance of the steerage.

Education is the foe of polygamy, and many of the young who have had the means by which to complete their education in the East, are apostate, at least so far as polygamy is concerned. Still, to the great mass of the poor and illiterate of Mormondom this is no benefit. The rich of the Mormon Church are rich because their influence with this great fraud has made them so; and it would, as a matter of business, injure their prospects to come out and bolt the nomination.

Utah, even with the Edmunds bill, is hopelessly Mormon; all adjoining States and Territories are already invaded by them, and the delegate in Congress from Wyoming is elected by the Mormon vote.

I believe that I am moderately liberal and free upon all religious matters, but when a man’s confession of faith involves from three to twenty-seven old corsets in the back yard every spring, and a clothes line every Monday morning that looks like a bridal trousseau emporium struck by a cyclone, I must admit that I am a little bit inclined to be sectarian in my views.

It’s bad enough to be slapped across the features by one pair of long wet hose on your way to the barn, but to have a whole bankrupt stock of cold, wet garments every week fold their damp arms around your neck, as you dodge under the clothes line to drive the cow out of the yard, is wrong.

It is not good for man to be alone, of course, but why should he yearn to fold a young ladies’ seminary to his bosom? Why should this morbid sentiment prompt him to marry a Female Suffrage Mass Meeting? I do not wish to be considered an extremist in religious matters, but the doctrine that requires me to be sealed to a whole emigrant train, seems unnatural and inconsistent.

The Newspaper

An Address Delivered Before the Wisconsin State Press Association, at White-Water, Wis., August 11, 1886.

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Press of Wisconsin:

I am sure that when you so kindly invited me to address you to-day, you did not anticipate a lavish display of genius and gestures. I accepted the invitation because it afforded me an opportunity to meet you and to get acquainted with you, and tell you personally that for years I have been a constant reader of your valuable paper and I like it. You are running it just as I like to see a newspaper run.

I need not elaborate upon the wonderful growth of the press in our country, or refer to the great power which journalism wields in the development of the new world. I need not ladle out statistics to show you how the newspaper has encroached upon the field of oratory and how the pale and silent man, while others sleep, compiles the universal history of a day and tells his mighty audience what he thinks about it before he goes to bed.

Of course, this is but the opinion of one man, but who has a better opportunity to judge than he who sits with his finger on the electric pulse of the world, judging the actions of humanity at so much per judge, invariably in advance?

I need not tell you all this, for you certainly know it if you read your paper, and I hope you do. A man ought to read his own paper, even if he cannot endorse all its sentiments.

So necessary has the profession of journalism become to the progress and education of our country, that the matter of establishing schools where young men may be fitted for an active newspaper life, has attracted much attention and discussion. It has been demonstrated that our colleges do not fit a young man to walk at once into the active management of a paper. He should at least know the difference between a vile contemporary and a Gothic scoop.

It is difficult to map out a proper course for the student in a school of journalism, there are so many things connected with the profession which the editor and his staff should know and know hard. The newspaper of to-day is a library. It is an encyclopaedia, a poem, a biography, a history, a prophecy, a directory, a time-table, a romance, a cook book, a guide, a horoscope, an art critic, a political resume, a multum in parvo. It is a sermon, a song, a circus, an obituary, a picnic, a shipwreck, a symphony in solid brevier, a medley of life and death, a grand aggregation of man’s glory and his shame. It is, in short, a bird’s-eye-view of all the magnanimity and meanness, the joys and griefs, the births and deaths, the pride and poverty of the world, and all for two cents–sometimes.

I could tell you some more things that the newspaper of to-day is, if you had time to stay here and your business would not suffer in your absence. Among others it is a long felt want, a nine-column paper in a five-column town, a lying sheet, a feeble effort, a financial problem, a tottering wreck, a political tool and a sheriff’s sale.

If I were to suggest a curriculum for the young man who wished to take a regular course in a school of journalism, preferring that to the actual experience, I would say to him, devote the first two years to meditation and prayer. This will prepare the young editor for the surprise and consequent temptation to profanity which in a few years he may experience when he finds that the name of the Deity in his double-leaded editorial is spelled with a little “g,” and the peroration of the article is locked up between a death notice and the advertisement of a patent moustache coaxer, which is to follow pure reading matter every day in the week and occupy the top of column on Sunday tf.

The ensuing five years should be devoted to the peculiar orthography of the English language.

Then put in three years with the dumb bells, sand bags, slung shots and tomahawk. In my own journalistic experience I have found more cause for regret over my neglect of this branch than anything else. I usually keep on my desk during a heated campaign, a large paper weight, weighing three or four pounds, and in several instances I have found that I could feed that to a constant reader of my valuable paper instead of a retraction.

Fewer people lick the editor though, now, than did so in years gone by. Many people–in the last two years–have gone across the street to lick the editor and never returned. They intended to come right back in a few moments, but they are now in a land where a change of heart and a palm leaf fan is all they need.

Fewer people are robbing the editor now-a-days, too, I notice with much pleasure. Only a short time ago I noticed that a burglar succeeded in breaking into the residence of a Dakota journalist, and after a long, hard struggle the editor succeeded in robbing him.

After the primary course, mapped out already, an intermediate course of ten years should be given to learning the typographical art, so that when visitors come in and ask the editor all about the office, he can tell them of the mysteries of making a paper, and how delinquent subscribers have frequently been killed by a well-directed blow with a printer’s towel.

Five years should be devoted to a study of the art of proof-reading. In that length of time the young journalist can perfect himself to such a degree that it will take another five years for the printer to understand his corrections and marginal notes.

Fifteen years should then be devoted to the study of American politics, especially civil service reform, looking at it from a non-partisan standpoint. If possible, the last five years should be spent abroad. London is the place to go if you wish to get a clear, concise view of American politics, and Chicago or Milwaukee would be a good place for the young English journalist to go and study the political outlook of England.

The student should then take a medical and surgical course, so that he may be able to attend to contusions, fractures and so forth, which may occur to himself or to the party who may come to his office for a retraction and by mistake get his spinal column double-leaded.

Ten years should then be given to the study of law. No thorough, metropolitan editor wants to enter upon the duties of his profession without knowing the difference between a writ of mandamus and other styles of profanity. He should thoroughly understand the entire system of American jurisprudence, so that in case a certiorari should break out in his neighborhood he would know just what to do for it.

The student will, by this time, begin to see what is required of him and enter with great zeal upon the further study of his profession.

He will now enter upon a theological course of ten years and fit himself thoroughly to speak intelligently of the various creeds and religions of the world. Ignorance or the part of an editor is almost a crime, and when he closes a powerful editorial with the familiar quotation, “It is the early bird that catches the worm,” and attributes it to St. Paul instead of Deuteronomy, it makes me blush for the profession.

The last ten years may be profitably devoted to the acquisition of a practical knowledge of cutting cordwood, baking beans, making shirts, lecturing, turning double handsprings, being shot out of a catapult at a circus, learning how to make a good adhesive paste that will not sour in hot weather, grinding scissors, punctuating, capitalization, condemnation, syntax, plain sewing, music and dancing, sculpting, etiquette, prosody, how to win the affections of the opposite sex and evade a malignant case of breach of promise, the ten commandments, every man his own tooter on the flute, croquet, rules of the prize ring, rhetoric, parlor magic, calisthenics, penmanship, how to run a jack from the bottom of the pack without getting shot, civil engineering, decorative art, kalsomining, bicycling, base ball, hydraulics, botany, poker, international law, high-low-jack, drawing and painting, faro, vocal music, driving, breaking team, fifteen ball pool, how to remove grease spots from last year’s pantaloons, horsemanship, coupling freight cars, riding on a rail, riding on a pass, feeding threshing machines, how to wean a calf from the parent stem, teaching school, bull-whacking, plastering, waltzing, vaccination, autopsy, how to win the affections of your wife’s mother, every man his own washerwoman, or how to wash underclothes so they will not shrink, etc., etc.

But time forbids anything like a thorough list of what a young man should study in order to fully understand all that he may be called upon to express an opinion about in his actual experience as a journalist. There are a thousand little matters which every editor should know; such, for instance, as the construction of roller composition. Many newspaper men can write a good editorial on Asiatic cholera, but their roller composition is not fit to eat.

With the course of study that I have mapped out, the young student would emerge from the college of journalism at the age of 95 or 96, ready to take off his coat and write an article on almost any subject. He would be a little giddy at first, and the office boy would have to see that he went to bed at a proper time each night, but aside from that, he would be a good man to feed a waste paper basket.

Actual experience is the best teacher in this peculiarly trying profession. I hope some day to attend a press convention where the order of exercise will consist of five-minute experiences from each one present It would be worth listening to.

My own experience was a little peculiar. It was my intention at first to practice law, when I went to the Rocky Mountains, although I had been warned by the authorities not to do so. Still, I did practice in a surreptitious kind of a way, and might have been practicing yet if my client hadn’t died. When you have become attached to a client and respect and like him, and then when, without warning, like a bolt of electricity from a clear sky, he suddenly dies and takes the bread right out of your mouth, it is rough.

Then I tried the practice of criminal law, but my client got into the penitentiary, where he was no use to me financially or politically. Finally, when the judge was in a hurry, he would appoint me to defend the pauper criminals. They all went to the penitentiary, until people got to criticising the judge, and finally they told him that it was a shame to appoint me to defend an innocent man.

My first experience in journalism was in a Western town, in which I was a total stranger. I went there with thirty-five cents, but I had it concealed in the lining of my clothes so that no one would have suspected it if they had met me. I had no friends, and I noticed that when I got off the train the band was not there to meet me. I entered the town just as any other American citizen would. I had not fully decided whether to become a stage robber or a lecturer on phrenology. At that time I got a chance to work on a morning paper. It used to go to press before dark, so I always had my evenings to myself and I liked that part of it first-rate. I worked on that paper a year and might have continued if the proprietors had not changed it to an evening paper.

Then a company incorporated itself and started a paper, of which I took charge. The paper was published in the loft of a livery stable. That is the reason they called it a stock company. You could come up the stairs into the office or you could twist the tail of the iron-gray mule and take the elevator.

It wasn’t much of a paper, but it cost $16,000 a year to run it, and it came out six days in the week, no matter what the weather was. We took the Associated Press news by telegraph part of the time and part of the time we relied on the Cheyenne morning papers, which we got of the conductor on the early morning freight. We got a great many special telegrams from Washington in that way, and when the freight train got in late, I had to guess at what congress was doing and fix up a column of telegraph the best I could. There was a rival evening paper there, and sometimes it would send a smart boy down to the train and get hold of our special telegrams, and sometimes the conductor would go away on a picnic and take our Cheyenne paper with him.

All these things are annoying to a man who is trying to supply a long felt want. There was one conductor, in particular, who used to go away into the foot-hills shooting sage hens and take our cablegrams with him. This threw too much strain on me. I could guess at what congress was doing and make up a pretty readable report, but foreign powers and reichstags and crowned heads and dynasties always mixed me up. You can look over what congress did last year and give a pretty good guess at what it will do this year, but you can’t rely on a dynasty or an effete monarchy in a bad state of preservation. It may go into executive session or it may go into bankruptcy.

Still, at one time we used to have considerable local news to fill up with. The north and middle parks for a while used to help us out when the mining camps were new. Those were the days when it was considered perfectly proper to kill off the board of supervisors if their action was distasteful. At that time a new camp generally located a cemetery and wrote an obituary; then the boys would start out to find a man whose name would rhyme with the rest of the verse. Those were the days when the cemeteries of Colorado were still in their infancy and the song of the six-shooter was heard in the land.

Sometimes the Indians would send us in an item. It was generally in the obituary line. With the Sioux on the north and the peaceful Utes on the south, we were pretty sure of some kind of news during the summer. The parks used to be occupied by white men winters and Indians summers. Summer was really the pleasantest time to go into the parks, but the Indians had been in the habit of going there at that season, and they were so clannish that the white men couldn’t have much fun with them, so they decided they would not go there in the summer. Several of our best subscribers were killed by the peaceful Utes.

There were two daily and three weekly papers published in Laramie City av that time. There were between two and three thousand people and our local circulation ran from 150 to 250, counting dead-heads. In our prospectus we stated that we would spare no expense whatever in ransacking the universe for fresh news, but there were times when it was all we could do to get our paper out on time. Out of the express office, I mean.

One of the rival editors used to write his editorials for the paper in the evening, jerk the Washington hand-press to work them off, go home and wrestle with juvenile colic in his family until daylight and then deliver his papers on the street. It is not surprising that the great mental strain incident to this life made an old man of him, and gave a tinge of extreme sadness to the funny column of his paper.

In an unguarded moment, this man wrote an editorial once that got all his subscribers mad at him, and the same afternoon he came around and wanted to sell his paper to us for $10,000. I told him that the whole outfit wasn’t worth ten thousand cents.

“I know that,” said he, “but it is not the material that I am talking about. It is the good will of the paper.”

We had a rising young horsethief in Wyoming in those days, who got into jail by some freak of justice, and it was so odd for a horsethief to get into jail that I alluded to it editorially. This horsethief had distinguished himself from the common, vulgar horsethieves of his time, by wearing a large mouth–a kind of full-dress, eight-day mouth. He rarely smiled, but when he did, he had to hold the top of his head on with both hands. I remember that I spoke of this in the paper, forgetting that he might criticise me when he got out of jail. When he did get out again, he stated that he would shoot me on sight, but friends advised me not to have his blood on my hands, and I took their advice, so I haven’t got a particle of his blood on either of my hands.

For two or three months I didn’t know but he would drop into the office any minute and criticise me, but one day a friend told me that he had been hung in Montana. Then I began to mingle in society again, and didn’t have to get in my coal with a double barrel shot gun any more.

After that I was always conservative in relation to horsethieves until we got the report of the vigilance committee.

Wrestling with the Mazy.

Very soon now I shall be strong enough on my cyclone leg to resume my lessons in waltzing. It is needless to say that I look forward with great pleasure to that moment. Nature intended that I should glide in the mazy. Tall, lithe, bald-headed, genial, limber in the extreme, suave, soulful, frolicsome at times, yet dignified and reserved toward strangers, light on the foot–on my own foot, I mean–gentle as a woman at times, yet irresistible as a tornado when insulted by a smaller, I am peculiarly fitted to shine in society. Those who have observed my polished brow, when under a strong electric light, say they never saw a man shine so in society as I do.

My wife taught me how to waltz. She would teach me on Saturdays and repair her skirts during the following week. I told her once that I thought I was too brainy to dance. She said she hadn’t noticed that, but she thought I seemed to run too much to legs. My wife is not timid about telling me anything that she thinks will be for my good. When I make a mistake she is perfectly frank with me, and comes right to me and tells me about it, so that I won’t do so again.

I had just learned how to reel around a ballroom to a little waltz music, when I was blown across the State of Mississippi in September last by a high wind, and broke one of my legs which I use in waltzing. When this accident occurred I had just got where I felt at liberty to choose a glorious being with starry eyes and fluffy hair, and magnificently modeled form, to steer me around the rink to the dreamy music of Strauss. One young lady, with whom I had waltzed a good deal, when she heard that my leg was broken, began to attend every dancing party she could hear of, although she had declined a great many previous to that. I asked her how she could be so giddy and so gay when I was suffering. She said she was doing it to drown her sorrow, but her little brother told me on the quiet that she was dancing while I was sick because she felt perfectly safe. A friend of mine says I have a pronounced and distinctly original manner of waltzing, and that he never saw anybody, with one exception, who waltzed as I did, and that was Jumbo. He claimed that either one of us would be a good dancer if he could have the whole ring to himself. He said that he would like to see Jumbo and me waltz together if he were not afraid that I would step on Jumbo and hurt him. You can see what a feeling of jealous hatred it arouses in some small minds when a man gets so that he can mingle in good society and enjoy himself.

I could waltz more easily if the rules did not require such a constant change of position. I am sedentary in my nature, slow to move about, so that it takes a lady of great strength of purpose to pull me around on time.

Anecdotes of the Stage

Years ago, before Laramie City got a handsome opera house, everything in the theatrical and musical line of a high order was put on the stage of Blackburn’s Hall. Other light dramas on the stage, and thrilling murders in the audience, used to occur at Alexander’s Theater, on Front street. Here you could get a glass of Laramie beer, made of glucose, alkali water, plug tobacco, and Paris green, by paying two bits at the bar, and, as a prize, you drew a ticket to the olio, specialties, and low gags of the stage. The idea of inebriating a man at the box office, so that he will endure such a sham, is certainly worthy of serious consideration. I have seen shows at Alexander’s, and also at McDaniel’s, in Cheyenne, however, where the bar should have provided an ounce of chloroform with each ticket in order to allay the suffering.

Here you could sit down in the orchestra and take the chances of getting hit when the audience began to shoot at the pianist, or you could go up into the boxes and have a quiet little conversation with the timid beer-jerkers. The beer-jerker was never too proud to speak to the most humble, and if she could sell a grub-staker for $5 a bottle of real Piper Heidsick, made in Cheyenne and warranted to remove the gastric coat, pants and vest from a man’s stomach in two minutes, she felt pleased and proud.

A room-mate of mine, whose name I will not give, simply because he was and still is the best fellow in the United States, came home from the "theater” one night with his hair parted in the middle. He didn’t wear it that way generally, so it occasioned talk in social circles. He still has a natural parting of the hair about five inches long, that he acquired that night. He said it was accidental so far as he was concerned, but unless the management could keep people from shooting the holders of reserved seats between the acts or any other vital spot, he would withdraw his patronage. And he was right about it. I think that any court in the land would protect a man who had purchased a seat in good faith, and with his hat on and both feet on the back of the seat in front of him, sits quietly in said seat, smoking a Colorado Maduro cigar and watching the play.

Several such accidents occurred at the said theater. Among them was a little tableau in which Joe Walker and Centennial Bob took the leading parts. Bob went to the penitentiary, and Joe went to his reward with one of his lungs in his coat pocket. There was a little difference between them as to the regularity of a “draw” and “show down,” so Bob went home from the theater and loaded a double-barrel shot-gun with a lot of scrap-iron, and, after he had introduced the collection into Joe’s front breadth, the latter’s system was so lacerated that it wouldn’t retain ground feed.

There were other little incidents like that which occurred in and around the old theater, some growing out of the lost love of a beer-jerker, some from an injudicious investment in a bob-tail flush that never got ripe enough to pick, and some from the rarified mountain air, united with an epidemic known as mania rotguti.

A funny incident of the stage occurred not long ago to a friend of mine, who is traveling with a play in which a stage cow appears. He is using what is called a profile cow now, which works by machinery. Last winter this cow ran down while in the middle of the stage, and forgot her lines. The prompter gave the string a jerk in order to assist her. This broke the cow in two, and the fore-quarters walked off to the left into one dressing-room, while the behind-quarters and porter-house steak retired to the outer dressing-room. The audience called for an encore; but the cow felt as though she had made a kind of a bull of the part, and would not appear. Those who may be tempted to harshly criticise this last remark, are gently reminded that the intense heat of the past month is liable to effect anyone’s mind. Remember, gentle reader, that your own brain may some day soften also, and then you will remember how harsh you were toward me.

Prior to the profile cow, the company ran a wicker-work cow, that was hollow and admitted of two hired-men, who operated the beast at a moderate salary. These men drilled a long time on what they called a heifer dance–a beautiful spectacular, and highly moral and instructive quadruped clog, sirloin shuffle, and cow gallop, to the music of a piano-forte. The rehearsals had been crowned with success, and when the cow came on the stage she got a bouquet, and made a bran mash on one of the ushers.

She danced up and down the stage, perfectly self-possessed, and with that perfect grace and abandon which is so noticeable in the self-made cow. Finally she got through, the piano sounded a wild Wagnerian bang, and the cow danseuse ambled off. She was improperly steered, however, and ran her head against a wing, where she stopped in full view of the audience. The talent inside of the cow thought they had reached the dressing-room and ran against the wall, so they felt perfectly free to converse with each other. The cow stood with her nose jammed up against the wing, wrapped in thought, Finally, from her thorax the audience heard a voice say:

“Jim, you blamed galoot, that ain’t the step we took at rehearsal no more’n nuthin’. If you’re going to improvise a new cow duet, I wish you wouldn’t take the fore-quarters by surprise next time.”

It is not now known what the reply was, for just then the prompter came on the stage, rudely twisted the tail of the cow, rousing her from her lethargy, and harshly kicking her in the pit of the stomach, he drove her off the stage, The audience loudly called for a repetition, but the cow refused to come in.

George the Third

George III was born in England June 4, 1738, and ran for king in 1760. He was a son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and held the office of king for sixty years. He was a natural born king and succeeded his grandfather, George II. Look as you will a-down the long page of English history, and you will not fail to notice the scarcity of self-made kings. How few of them were poor boys and had to skin along for years with no money, no influential friends and no fun.

Ah, little does the English king know of hard times and carrying two or three barrels of water to a tired elephant in order that he may get into the afternoon performance without money. When he gets tired of being prince, all he has to do is just to be king all day at good wages, and then at night take off his high-priced crown, hang it up on the hat-rack, put on a soft hat and take in the town.

George III quit being prince at the age of 22 years, and began to hold down the English throne. He would reign along for a few years, taking it kind of quiet, and then all at once he would declare war and pick out some people to go abroad and leave their skeletons on some foreign shore. That was George’s favorite amusement. He got up the Spanish war in two years after he clome the throne; then he had an American revolution, a French revolution, an Irish rebellion and a Napoleonic war. He dearly loved carnage, if it could be prepared on a foreign strand. George always wanted imported carnage, even if it came higher. It was in 1765, and early in George’s reign, that the American stamp act passed the Legislature and the Goddess of Liberty began to kick over the dashboard.

George was different from most English kings, morally. When he spit on his hand and grasped the sceptre, he took his scruples with him right onto the throne. He was not talked about half so much as other kings before or since his time. Nine o’clock most always found George in bed, with his sceptre under the window-sash, so that he could get plenty of fresh air. As it got along toward 9 o’clock, he would call the hired girl, tell her to spread a linen lap-robe on the throne till morning, issue a royal ukase directing her to turn out the cat, and instructing the cook to set the pancake batter behind the royal stove in the council chamber, then he would wind the clock and retire. Early in the morning George would be up and dressed, have all his chores done and the throne dusted off ready for another hard day’s reign.

George III is the party referred to in the Declaration of Independence the present king of Great Britain, and of whom many bitter personal remarks were made by American patriots. On this side of the water George was not highly esteemed. If he had come over here to spend the summer with friends in Boston, during the days of the stamp act excitement, he could have gone home packed in ice, no doubt, and with a Swiss sunset under each eye.

George’s mind was always a little on the bias, and in 1810 he went crazy for the fifth time. Always before that he had gone right ahead with his reign, whether he was crazy or not, but with the fifth attack of insanity, coupled with suggestion of the brain and blind staggers, it was decided to tie him up in the barn and let someone else reign awhile. The historian says that blindness succeeded this attack, and in 1811 the Prince of Wales became regent.

George III died at Windsor in 1820, with the consent of a joint committee of both houses of congress, at the age of 82 years. He made the longest run as king, without stopping for feed or water, of any monarch in English history. Sixty years is a long time to be a monarch and look under the bed every night for a Nihilist loaded with a cut-glass bomb and Paris green. Sixty years is a long while to jerk a sceptre over a nation and keep on the right side, politically, all the time.

George was of an inventive turn of mind, and used to be monkeying with some kind of a patent, evenings, after he had peeled his royal robes. Most of his patents related to land, however, and some of the most successful soil in Massachusetts was patented by George.

He was always trying some scheme to make a pile of money easy, so that he wouldn’t have to work; but he died poor and crazy at last, in England. He was not very smart, but he attended to business all the time, and did not get up much of a reputation as a moral leper. He said that as king of Great Britain and general superintendent of Cork he did not aim to make much noise, but he desired to attract universal attention by being so moral that he would be regarded as eccentric by other crowned heads.

The Cell Nest

To the Members of the Academy of Science, at Wrin Prairie, Wisconsin:

Gentlemen:–I beg leave to submit herewith my microscopic report on the several sealed specimens of proud flesh and other mementoes taken from the roof of Mr. Flannery’s mouth. As Mr. Flannery is the mayor of Erin Prairie, and therefore has a world-wide reputation, I deemed it sufficiently important to the world at large, and pleasing to Mr. Flannery’s family, to publish this report in the medical journals of the country, and have it telegraphed to the leading newspapers at their expense. Knowing that the world at large is hungry to learn how the laudable pus of an eminent man appears under the microscope, and what a pleasure it must be to his family to read the description after his death, I have just opened a new box of difficult words and herewith transmit a report which will be an ornament not only to the scrap-book of Mr. Flannery’s immediate family after his death, but a priceless boon to the reading public at large.

Removing the seals from the jars as soon as I had returned from the express office, I poured off the alcohol and recklessly threw it away. A true scientist does not care for expense.

The first specimen was in a good state of preservation on its arrival. I never saw a more beautiful or robust proliferation epitherial cell nest in my life. It must have been secured immediately after the old epitherial had left the nest, and it was in good order on its arrival. The whole lobule was looking first-rate. You might ride for a week and not run across a prettier lobule or a more artistic aggregation of cell nests outside a penitentiary.

Only one cell nest had been allowed to dry up on the way, and this looked a good deal fatigued. In one specimen I noticed a carneous degeneration, but this is really no reflection on Mr. Flannery personally. While he has been ill it is not surprising that he should allow his cell nests to carneously degenerate. Such a thing might happen to almost any of us.

One of the scrapings from the sore on the right posterior fauces, I found on its arrival, had been seriously injured, and therefore not available. I return it herewith.

From an examination, which has been conducted with great care, I am led to believe that the right posterior rafter of Mr. Flannery’s mouth is slightly indurated, and it is barely possible that the northeast duplex and parotid gable end of the roof of his mouth may become involved.

I wish you would ask Mr. Flannery’s immediate relatives, if you can do so without arousing alarm in the breast of the patient, if there has ever been a marked predisposition on the part of his ancestors to tubercular gumboil. I do not wish to be understood as giving this diagnosis as final at all, but from what I have already stated, taken together with other clinical and pathological data within my reach, and the fact that minute, tabulated gumboil bactinae were found floating through some of the cell nests, I have every reason to fear the worst. I would be glad to receive from you for microscopic examination a fragment of Mr. Flannery’s malpighian layer, showing evidences of cell proliferation. I only suggest this, of course, as practicable in case there should be a malpighian layer which Mr. Flannery is not using. Do not ask him to take a malpighian layer off her cell nest just to please me.

From one microscopic examination I hardly feel justified in giving a diagnosis, nor care to venture any suggestion as to treatment, but it might be well to kalsomine the roof of Mr. Flannery’s mouth with gum-arabic, white lime and glue in equal parts.

There has already been some extravatations and a marked multiformity. I also noticed an inflamed and angry color to the stroma with trimmings of the same. This might only indicate that Mr. Flannery had kept his mouth open too much during the summer, and sunburned the roof of his mouth, were it not that I also discovered traces of gumboil microbes of the squamous variety. This leads me to fear the worst for Mr. Flannery. However, if the gentlemanly, courteous and urbane members of the Academy of Science, of Erin Prairie, to whom I am already largely indebted for past favors, will kindly forward to me, prepaid, another scraping from the mansard roof of Mr. Flannery’s mouth next week, I will open another keg of hard words and trace this gumboil theory to a successful termination, if I have to use up the whole ceiling of the patient’s mouth.

Yours, with great sincerity, profundity and verbosity,

Bill Nye, Microscopist, Lobulist and Microbist.

Hudson, Wis., May 3.

Parental Advice

The past fifty years have done much for the newspaper and periodical readers of the United States. That period has been fruitful of great advancement and a great reduction in price, but these are not all. Fifty years and less have classified information so that science and sense are conveniently found, and humor and nonsense have their proper sphere. All branches are pretty full of lively and thoroughly competent writers, who take hold of their own special work even as the thorough, quick-eyed mechanic takes hold of his line of labor and acquits himself in a creditable manner. The various lines of journalism may appear to be crowded, but they are not. There may be too much vagabond journalism, but the road that is traveled by the legitimate laborer is not crowded. The clean, Caucasian journalist, as he climbs the hill, is not crowded very much. He can make out to elbow his way toward the front, if he tries very hard. There may be too much James Crow science, and too much editorial vandalism and gush, and too much of the journalism for revenue only. There may be too much ringworm humor also, but there is still a demand for the scientific work of the true student. There is still a good market for honest editorial opinion, reliable news and fearless and funny paragraph work and character sketches, as the song and dance men would say.

All this, however, points in one direction. It all has one hoarse voice, and in the tones of the culverin, whatever that is, it says that to the young man who is starting out with the intention of filling the tomb of a millionaire, “Learn to do something well.”

Lots of people rather disliked the famous British hangman, and thought he hadn’t made a great record for himself, but he performed a duty that had to be done by someone, and no one ever complained much about Marwood’s work. He warranted every job and told everyone that if they were dissatisfied he would refund their money at the door. No man ever came back to Marwood and said, “Sir, you broke my neck in an unworkmanlike manner.”

It is better to be a successful hangman than to be the banished, abused and heart-broken, cast-off husband of a great actress. Learn to take hold of some business and jerk it bald-headed. Learn to dress yourself first. This will give you self-assurance, so that you can go away from home and not be dependent on your mother. Teach yourself to be accurate and careful in all things. It is better to turn the handle of a sausage grinder and make a style of sausage that is free from hydrophobia, than to be the extremely hence cashier of a stranded bank, fighting horseflies in the solemn hush of a Canadian forest.

People have wrong ideas of the respective merits of different avocations. It is better to be the successful driver of a dray than to be the unsuccessful inventor of a still-born motor. I would rather discover how to successfully wean a calf from the parent stem without being boosted over a nine rail fence, than to discover a new star that had never been used, and the next evening find that it had made an assignment.

Boys, oh, boys! How I wish I could take each of you by the ear and lead you away by yourselves, and show you how many ruins strew the road to success, and how life is like a mining boom. We only hear of those who strike it rich. The hopeful, industrious prospector who failed to find the contact and finally filled a nameless grave, is soon forgotten when he is gone, but a million tongues tell to forty million listening ears of the man who struck it rich and went to Europe.

Therefore make haste to advance slowly and surely. I am aware that your ears ache with the abundance wherewith ye are advised, but if ye seek not to brace up while yet it is called to-day, and file away information for future reference and cease to look upon the fifteen-ball pool game when it moveth itself aright, at such time as ye think not ye shall be in pecuniary circumstances and there shall be none to indorse for you–nay, not one.

Early Day Justice.[2]

[Footnote 2: From the Chicago Rambler.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the great difficulty with the Salvation Army was that it didn’t want to bring Esau into town. A long, cold night ride with a person in Esau’s condition was disagreeable. Twenty miles of lonely road with a deceased murderer in the bottom of the wagon is depressing. Those of my readers who have tried it will agree with me that it is not calculated to promote hilarity. So the Salvation Army stopped at Whatley’s ranch to get warm, hoping that someone would steal the remains and elope with them. They stayed some time and managed to “give away” the fact that there was a reward of $5,000 out for Esau, dead or alive. The Salvation Army even went so far as to betray a great deal of hilarity over the easy way it had nailed the reward, or would as soon as said remains were delivered up and identified.

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

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

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

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

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

People who contemplate shuffling off their own or other people’s mortal coils, will please not do so on these grounds.

The Salvation Army of the Rocky Mountains is especially hereby warned to keep off the grass!

James Whatley.

The Indian Orator

I like to read of the Indian orator in the old school books. Most everyone does. It is generally remarkable that the American Demosthenes, so far, has dwelt in the tepee, and lived on the debris of the deer and the buffalo. I mean to say that the school readers have impressed us with the great magnetism of the crude warrior who dwelt in the wilderness and ate his game, feathers and all, while he studied the art of swaying the audience by his oratorical powers.

I am inclined to think that Black Hawk and Logan must have been fortunate in securing mighty able private secretaries, or that they stood in with the stenographers of their day. At least, the Blue Juniata warriors of our time, from Little Crow, Red Iron, Standing Buffalo, Hole-in-the-Day and Sitting Bull, to Victoria, Colorow, Douglas, Persume, Captain Jack and Shavano, seem to do better as lobbyists than they do as orators. They may be keen, logical and shrewd, but they are not eloquent. In some minds, Black Hawk will ever appear as the Patrick Henry of his people; but I prefer to honor his unknown, unhonored and unsung amanuensis. Think what a godsend such a man would have been to Senator Tabor.

The Indian orator of to-day is not scholarly and grand. He is soiled, ignorant and sedentary in his habits. An orator ought to take care of his health. He cannot overload his stomach and make a bronze Daniel Webster of himself. He cannot eat a raw buffalo for breakfast and at once attack the question of tariff for revenue only. His brain is not clear enough. He cannot digest the mammalia of North America and seek out the delicate intricacies of the financial problem at the same time. All scientists and physiologists will readily see why this is true.

It is quite popular to say that the modern Indian has seen too much of civilization. This may be true. Anyhow, civilization has seen too much of him. I hope the day will never come when the pale face and the White Father will have to stay on their reservation, whether the red man does or not.

Indian eloquence, toned down by the mellow haze of a hundred years, sounds very well, but the clarion voice of the red orator has died away. The stony figure, the eagle eye, the matchless presence, have all ceased to palpitate.

He does not say: “I am an aged hemlock. I am dead at the top. The forest is filled with the ghosts of my people. I hear their moans on the night winds and in the sighing pines.” He does not talk in the blank verse of a century ago. He uses a good many blanks, but it is not blank verse. Even the Indian’s friend would admit that it was not blank verse. Perhaps it might be called blankety verse.

Once he pleaded for the land of his fathers. Now he howls for grub, guns and fixed ammunition.

I tried to interview a big Crow chief once. I had heard some Sioux, and learned a few irrelevant and disconnected Ute phrases. I connected these with some Spanish terms and hoped to get a reply, and keep up a kind of running conversation that might mislead a friend who was with me, into the belief that I was as familiar with the Indian tongue as with my own. I began conversing with him in my polyglot manner. I did not get a reply. I conversed with him some more in a desultory way, for I had heard that he was a great orator in his tribe, and I wanted to get his views on national affairs. Still he was silent. He would not even answer me. I got hostile and used some badly damaged Spanish on him. Then I used some sprained and dislocated German on him, but he didn’t seem to wot whereof I spoke.

Then my friend, with all the assurance of a fresh young manhood, began to talk with the great warrior in the English language, and incidentally asked him about a new Indian agent, who had the name of being a bogus Christian with an eye to the main chance.

My friend talked very loud, with the idea that the chieftain could understand any language if spoken so that you could hear it in the next Territory. At the mention of the Indian agent’s name, the Crow statesman brightened up and made a remark. He simply said: “Ugh! too much God and no flour.”

You Heah Me, Sah!

Col. Visscher, of Denver, who is delivering his lecture, “Sixty Minutes in the War,” tells a good story on himself of an episode, or something of that nature, that occurred to him in the days when he was the amanuensis of George D. Prentice.

Visscher, in those days, was a fair-haired young man, with pale blue eyes, and destitute of that wealth of brow and superficial area of polished dome which he now exhibits on the rostrum. He was learning the lesson of life then, and every now and then he would bump up against an octagonal mass of cold-pressed truth of the never-dying variety that seemed to kind of stun and concuss him.

One day Mr. Visscher wandered into a prominent hotel in Louisville, and, observing with surprise and pleasure that “boiled lobster” was one of the delicacies on the bill of fare, he ordered one.

He never had seen lobster, and a rare treat seemed to be in store for him. He breathed in what atmosphere there was in the dining-room, and waited for his bird. At last it was brought in. Mr. Visscher took one hasty look at the great scarlet mass of voluptuous limbs and oceanic nippers, and sighed. The lobster was as large as a door mat, and had a very angry and inflamed appearance. Visscher ordered in a powerful cocktail to give him courage, and then he tried to carve off some of the breast.

The lobster is honery even in death. He is eccentric and trifling. Those who know him best are the first to evade him and shun him. Visscher had failed to straddle the wish bone with his fork properly, and the talented bird of the deep rolling sea slipped out of the platter, waved itself across the horizon twice, and buried itself in the bosom of the eminent and talented young man. The eminent and talented young man took it in his napkin, put it carefully on the table, and went away.

As he passed out, the head waiter said:

“Mr. Visscher, was there anything the matter with your lobster?”

Visscher is a full-blooded Kentuckian, and answered in the courteous dialect of the blue-grass country.

“Anything the matter with my lobster, sah? No, sah. The lobster is very vigorous, sah. If you had asked me how I was, sah, I should have answered you very differently, sah. I am not well at all, sah. If I were as well, and as ruddy, and as active as that lobster, sah, I would live forever, sah. You heah me, sah?

“Why, of course, I am not familiar with the habits of the lobster, sah, and do not know how to kearve the bosom of the bloomin’ peri of the summer sea, but that’s no reason why the inflamed reptile should get up on his hind feet and nestle up to me, sah, in that earnest and forthwith manner, sah.

“I love dumb beasts, sah, and they love me, sah; but when they are dead, sah, and I undertake to kearve them, sah, I desiah, sah, that they should remain as the undertakah left them, sah. You doubtless heah me, sah!”


Plato was a Greek philosopher who flourished about 426 B.C., and kept on flourishing for eighty-one years after that, when he suddenly ceased do so. He early took to poetry, but when he found that his poems were rejected by the Greek papers, he ceased writing poetry and went into the philosophy business. At that time Greece had no regular philosopher, and so Plato soon got all he could do.

Plato was a pupil of Socrates, who was himself no slouch of a philosopher. Many and many a day did Socrates take his little class of kindergarten philosophers up the shady banks of the Ilissus, and sit all day discoursing to his pupils on deep and difficult doctrines, while his unsandaled feet were bathed in the genial tide. Many happy hours were thus spent. Socrates would take his dinner or tell some wonderful tale to his class, whereby he would win their dinner himself. Then in the deep Athenian shade, with his bare, Gothic feet in the clear, calm waters of the Ilissus, he would eat the Grecian doughnut of his pupils, and while he spoke in poetic terms of his belief, he would dig his heel in the mud and heave a heart-broken sigh.

Such was Socrates, the great teacher. He got a small salary, and went barefoot till after Thanksgiving. He was a great tutor, and boarded around, teaching in the open air while the mosquitos bit his bare feet. No tutor ever tuted with a more unselfish purpose or a smaller salary.

Plato maintained, among other things, that evil is connected with matter, and aside from matter we do not find evil existing. That is true. At least, such evil as we might find apart from matter would be outside the jurisdiction of a police court. I think Plato was correct. Evil and matter are inseparable. That’s what’s the matter.

It is quite common for us to say that virtue is its own reward. Plato held that, while it was better to be virtuous as a matter of economy and ultimate peace than not to be virtuous at all, he believed in being virtuous for a higher reason. Probably it was notoriety. He would rather be right than be president. He believed in being good just for the excitement of it, and the notice it would attract, and not because it paid. Plato was a great virtuoso.

Socrates would have been called a crank if he had lived in our day and age, and if Plato were to go into London or New York and talk of organizing a society for the encouragement of virtue among adult male taxpayers he would have a lonesome time of it. Be virtuous and you will be happy was a favorite motto with Plato. The legend is still quoted by those who love to ransack the dead past.

Pluto was quite another party, and some get him mixed up with Plato. They were not related in any way, Pluto being a son of Saturn and Rhea, who flourished at about the same time as Plato. Pluto was a brother of Jupiter and Neptune, and when the estate of Saturn was wound up, Jupiter wanted the earth, and he got it. Neptune wanted the codfish conservatory and the mermaid’s home, so he took the deep, deep sea, and even yet he rides around in a gold spangled stone boat on the pale green billows of the summer sea, jabbing a pickerel ever and anon with a three pronged fork. He leads a gay life, going to picnics with the mermaids in their coral caves, or attending their full evening dress parties, clad in a trident and a fall beard. He loves the sea, the lone, blue sea, and those who have seen him turning handsprings on a sponge lawn, or riding in his water-tight chariot with his feet over the dash-board, beside a slim young mermaid with Paris green hair, and dressed in a tight-fitting, low-neck dorsal fin, say he is a lively old party.

But Pluto was different. He stood around till the estate was all closed up, and it looked as though he had got left. Just then the administrator says: “Why, here’s Pluto. He is going to come out of the little end of the horn. He will have to hustle for himself,” Pluto resented this and clinched with the administrator. They fought till each had a watch pocket on the brow and an Irish sunset symphony in green under the eye, while Jupiter and Neptune stood by and encouraged the fight. Jupiter rather took sides with his brother, and Neptune stood in with the administrator. In the midst of the confusion Jupiter speaks up and says: “Swat him under the ear, Pluto.” Whereupon Neptune says to the administrator. “Give him–hail.” The administrator paused and said that was a good suggestion. He would do so. And so he forgave Pluto and gave him–sheol.

The Expensive Word

Much that is annoying in this life is occasioned by the use of a high priced word where a cheaper one would do. In these days of failure, shortage at both ends and financial stringency generally, I often wonder that some people should go on, day after day, using just as extravagant language as they did during the flush times. When I get hard up the first thing I do is to economize in my expressions in every day conversation. If there is a marked stringency in business, I lay aside first, my French, then my Latin, and finally my German. Should the times become greatly depressed and failures and assignments become frequent, I begin to lop off the large words in my own language, beginning with “incomprehensibility," "unconstitutionally,” etc., etc.

Julius Caesar’s motto used to be, “Avoid an unusual word as you would a rock at sea,” and Jule was right about it, too. Large and unusual words, especially in the mouths of ignorant people, are worse than “Rough on Rats” in a boarding-house pie.

Years ago there used to be a pompous cuss in southern Wisconsin, who was a self-made man. Extremely so. Those who used to hear him assert again and again that he was a self-made man always felt renewed confidence in the Creator.

He rose one evening in a political meeting, and swelling out his bosom, as his eagle eye rested on the chairman, he said:

“Mr. Cheerman! I move you that the cheer do appoint a committee of three to attend to the matter under discussion, and that sayed committee be clothed by the cheer with ominiscient and omnipotent powers.”

The motion was duly seconded and the cheerman said he guessed that it wouldn’t be necessary to put it to a vote.

“I guess it will be all right, Mr. Pinkham. I guess there’ll be no declivity to that.”

And so the committee was appointed and clothed with omniscient and omnipotent powers, there being no declivity to it.

We had a self-made lawyer at one time in the northern part of the State who would rather find a seventy-five cent word and use it in a speech where it did not belong than to eat a good square meal. He was more fatal to the King’s English than O’Dynamite Rossa. One day he was telling how methodical one of the county officials was.

“Why,” said he, “I never saw a man do so much and do it so easy. But the secret of it is plain enough. You see, he has a regular rotunda of business every day.”

If he meant anything, I suppose he meant a routine of business, but a man would have to be a mind reader to follow him some days when he had about six fingers of cough medicine aboard and began to paw around in the dark and musty garret of his memory for moth-eaten words that didn’t mean anything.

A neighbor of mine went to Washington during the Guiteau trial and has been telling us about it ever since. He is one of those people who don’t want to be close and stingy about what they know. He likes to go through life shedding information right and left. He likes to get a crowd around him and then tell how he was in Washington at the time of the “post mortise examination.” “Boys, you may talk all your a mind to, but the greatest thing I saw in Washington,” said he, “was Dr. Mary Walker on the street every morning riding one of these philosophers.”

He painted the top of his fence green, last year, so it would “kind of combinate with his blinds.”

If he would make his big words “combinate” with what he means a little better, he would not attract so much attention. But he don’t care. He hates to see a big, fat word loafing around with nothing to do, so he throws one in occasionally for exercise, I guess.

In the Minnesota legislature, in 1867, they had under discussion a bill to increase the per diem of members from three dollars to five dollars. A member of the lower house, who voted for the measure, was hauled over the coals by one of his constituents and charged with corruption in no unmeasured terms. To all this the legislator calmly answered that when he got down to the capital and found out the awful price of board, he concluded that his “per diadem” ought to be increased, and so he supported the measure. Then the belligerent constituent said:

“I beg your pardon and acquit you of all charges of corruption, for a legislator who does not know the difference between a crown of glory and the price of a day’s work is too big a blankety blanked fool to be convicted of an intentional wrong.”

Petticoats at the Polls

There have been many reasons given, first and last, why women should not vote, but I desire to say, in the full light of a ripe experience, that some of them are fallacious. I refer more particularly to the argument that it will degrade women to go to the polls and vote like a little man. While I am not and have never been a howler for female suffrage, I must admit that it is much more of a success than prohibition and speculative science.

My wife voted eight years with my full knowledge and consent, and to-day I cannot see but that she is as docile and as tractable as when she won my trusting heart.

Now those who know me best will admit that I am not a ladies’ man, and, therefore, what I may say here is not said to secure favor and grateful smiles. I am not attractive and I am not in politics. I believe that I am homelier this winter than usual. There are reasons why I believe that what I may say on this subject will be sincere and not sensational or selfish.

It has been urged that good women do not generally exercise the right of suffrage, when they have the opportunity, and that only those whose social record has been tarnished a good deal go to the polls. This is not true.

It is the truth that a good full vote always shows a list of the best women and the wives of the best men. A bright day makes a better showing of lady voters than a bad one, and the weather makes a more perceptible difference in the female vote than the male, but when things are exciting and the battle is red-hot, and the tocsin of war sounds anon, the wife and mother puts on her armor and her sealskin sacque and knocks things cross-eyed.

It is generally supposed that the female voter is a pantaloonatic, a half horse, half alligator kind of woman, who looks like Dr. Mary Walker and has the appearance of one who has risen hastily in the night at the alarm of fire and dressed herself partially in her own garments and partially in her husband’s. This is a popular error. In Wyoming, where female suffrage has raged for years, you meet quiet, courteous and gallant gentlemen, and fair, quiet, sensible women at the polls, where there isn’t a loud or profane word, and where it is an infinitely more proper place to send a young lady unescorted than to the postoffice in any city in the Union. You can readily see why this is so. The men about the polls are always candidates and their friends. That is the reason that neither party can afford to show the slightest rudeness toward a voter. The man who on Wednesday would tell her to go and soak her head, perhaps, would stand bareheaded to let her pass on Tuesday. While she holds a smashed ballot shoved under the palm of her gray kid glove she may walk over the candidate’s prostrate form with impunity and her overshoes if she chooses to.

Weeks and months before election in Wyoming, the party with the longest purse subsidizes the most livery stables and carriages. Then, on the eventful day, every conveyance available is decorated with a political placard and driven by a polite young man who is instructed to improve the time. Thus every woman in Wyoming has a chance to ride once a year, at least. Lately, however, many prefer to walk to the polls, and they go in pairs, trios and quartettes, voting their little sentiments and calmly returning to their cookies and crazy quilts as though politics didn’t jar their mental poise a minute.

It is possible, and even probable, that a man and his wife may disagree on politics as they might on religion. The husband may believe in Andrew Jackson and a relentless hell, while his wife may be a stalwart and rather liberal on the question of eternal punishment. If the husband manages his wife as he would a clothes-wringer, and turns her through life by a crank, he will, no doubt, work her politically; but if she has her own ideas about things, she will naturally act upon them, while the man who is henpecked in other matters till he can’t see out of his eyes, will be henpecked, no doubt, in the matter of national and local politics.

These are a few facts about the actual workings of female suffrage, and I do not tackle the great question of the ultimate results upon the political machinery if woman suffrage were to become general. I do not pretend to say as to that. I know a great deal, but I do not know that. There are millions of women, no doubt who are better qualified to vote, and yet cannot, than millions of alleged men who do vote; but no one can tell now what the ultimate effect of a change might be.

So far as Wyoming is concerned, the Territory is prosperous and happy. I see, also, that a murderer was hung by process of law there the other day. That looks like the onward march of reform, whether female suffrage had anything to do with it or not. And they’re going to hang another in March if the weather is favorable and executive clemency remains dormant, as I think it will.

All these things look hopeful. We can’t tell what the Territory would have been without female suffrage, but when they begin to hang men by law instead of by moonlight, the future begins to brighten up. When you have to get up in the night to hang a man every little while and don’t get any per diem for it, you feel as though you were a good way from home.

The Sedentary Hen

Though generally cheerful and content with her lot, the hen at times becomes moody, sullen and taciturn. We are often called upon to notice and profit by the genial and sunny disposition of the hen, and yet there are times in her life when she is morose, cynical, and the prey of consuming melancholy. At such times not only her own companions, but man himself shuns the hen.

At first she seems to be preoccupied only. She starts and turns pale when suddenly spoken to. Then she leaves her companions and seems to be the victim of hypochondria. Then her mind wanders. At last you come upon her suddenly some day, seated under the currant bushes. You sympathize with her and you seek to fondle her. She then picks a small memento out of the back of your hand. You then gently but firmly coax her out of there with a hoe, and you find that she has been seated for some time on an old croquet ball, trying to hatch out a whole set of croquet balls. This shows that her mind is affected. You pick up the croquet ball, and find it hot and feverish, so you throw it into the shade of the woodshed. Anon, you find your demented hen in the loft of the barn hovering over a door knob and trying by patience and industry to hatch out a hotel.

When a hen imagines that she is inspired to incubate, she at once ceases to be an ornament to society and becomes a crank. She violates all the laws and customs of nature and society in trying to hatch a conservatory by setting through the long days and nights of summer on a small flower pot.

Man may win the affections of the tiger, the lion, or the huge elephant, and make them subservient to his wishes, but the setting hen is not susceptible to affection. You might as well love the Manitoba blizzard or try to quell the cyclone by looking calmly in its eye. The setting hen is filled with hatred for every living thing. She loves to brood over her wrongs or anything else she can find to squat on.

I once owned a hen that made a specialty of setting. She never ceased to be the proud anonymous author of a new, warm egg, but she yearned to be a parent. She therefore seated herself on a nest where other hens were in the habit of leaving their handiwork for inspection. She remained there during the summer hatching steadily on while the others laid, until she filled my barnyard with little orphaned henlets of different ages. She remained there night and day, patiently turning out poultry for me to be a father to. I brought up on the bottle about one hundred that summer that had been turned out by this morbidly maternal hen. All she seemed to ask in return was my kind regards and esteem. I fed her upon the nest and humored her in every way. Every day she became a parent, and every day added to my responsibility.

One day I noticed that she seemed weak and there was a far away look in her eye. For the first time the horrible truth burst upon my mind. I buried my face in the haymow and I am not ashamed to say that I wept. Strong man as I am, I am not too proud to say that I soaked that haymow through with unavailing tears.

My hen was dying even then. Her breath came hot and quick like the swift rush of a hot ball that caves in the short-stop and speeds away to center-field.

The next morning one hundred chickens of various sizes were motherless, and if anything had happened to me they would have been fatherless.

For many years I have made a close study of the setting hen, but I am still unsettled as to what is best to do with her. She is a freak of nature, a disagreeable anomaly, a fussy phenomenon. Logic, rhetoric and metaphor are all alike to the setting hen. You might as well go down into the bosom of Vesuvius and ask it to postpone the next eruption.

A Bright Future for Pugilism

The recent prominence of Mr. John E. Dempsey, better known as Jack Dempsey, of New York, brings to mind a four days’ trip taken in his company from Portland, Oregon, to St. Paul, over the Northern Pacific.

There were three pugilists in the party besides myself, viz. Dempsey, Dave Campbell and Tom Cleary. We made a grand, triumphant tour across the country together, and I may truthfully state that I never felt so free to say anything I wanted to–to other passengers–as I did at that time. I wish I could afford to take at least one pugilist with me all the time. In traveling about the country lecturing, a good pugilist would be of great assistance. I would like to set him on the man who always asks: “Where do you go to from here, Mr. Nye?” He does not ask because he wants to know, for the next moment he asks right over again. I do not know why he asks, but surely it is not for the purpose of finding out.

Well, throughout our long journey across the State of Oregon and the Territories of Idaho, Montana and Dakota, and the State of Minnesota, it was one continual ovation. Dempsey had a world-wide reputation, I found, co-extensive with the horizon, as I may say, and bounded only by the zodiac.

In my great forthcoming work, entitled “Half-Hours with Great Men, or Eminent People Which I Have Saw,” I shall give a fuller description of this journey. The book will be a great boon.

Mr. Dempsey is not a man who would be picked out as a great man. You might pass by him two or three times without recognizing his eminence, and yet, at a scrapping matinee or swatting recital, he seems to hold his audiences at his own sweet will–also his antagonist.

Mr. Dempsey does not crave notoriety. He seems rather to court seclusion. This is characteristic of the man. See how he walked around all over the State of New York last week–in the night, too–in order to evade the crowd.

His logic, however, is wonderful. Though quiet and unassuming in his manner, his arguments are powerful and generally make a large protuberance wherever they alight.

Nothing is more pleasing than the sight of a man who has risen by his own unaided effort, fought his way up, as it were, and yet who is not vain. Mr. Dempsey conversed with me frequently during our journey, and did not seem to feel above me.

I opened the conversation by telling him that I had seen a number of his works. Nothing pleases a young author so much as a little friendly remark in relation to his work. I had seen a study of his one day in New York last spring. It was an italic nose with quotation marks on each side.

It was a very happy little bon mot on Mr. Dempsey’s part, and attracted a good deal of notice at the time.

Mr. Dempsey is not a college graduate, as many suppose. He is a self-made man. This should be a great encouragement to our boys who are now unknown, and whose portraits have not as yet appeared in the sporting papers.

But Mr. Dempsey’s great force as a debater is less, perhaps, in the matter than in the manner. His delivery is good and his gestures cannot fail to convince the most skeptical. Striking in appearance, aggressive in his nature, and happy in his gestures, he is certain to attract the attention of the police, and he cannot fail to rivet the eye of his adversary. I saw one of his adversaries, not long ago, whose eye had been successfully riveted in that way.

And yet, John E. Dempsey was once a poor boy. He had none of the advantages which wealth and position bring. But, confident of his latent ability as a middle-weight convincer, he toiled on, ever on, sitting up until long after other people had gone to bed, patiently knocking out those who might be brought to him for that purpose. He never hung back because the way looked long and lonely. And what is the result? To-day, in the full vigor of manhood, he is sought out and petted by everyone who takes an interest in the onward march of pugilism.

It is a wonderful record, though brief. It shows what patient industry will accomplish unaided. Had John E. Dempsey hesitated to enter the ring and said that he would rather go to school, where he would be safe, he might to-day be an educated man; but what does that amount to here in America, where everybody can have an education? He would have lost his talent as a slugger, and drifted steadily downward, perhaps, till he became a school-teacher or a narrow-chested editor, writing things day after day just to gratify the morbid curiosity of a sin-cursed world.

In closing, I would like to say that I hope I have not expressed an opinion in the above that may hereafter be used against me. Do not understand me to be the foe of education. Education and refinement are good enough in their places, but how shall we attract attention by trying to become refined and educated in a land where, as I say, education and refinement seem almost to run rampant.

Heretofore, in America, pugilism has been made subservient to the common schools. Pugilism and polygamy have both been crowded to the wall. Now pugilism is about to assert itself. The tin ear and the gory nose will soon come to the front, and the day is not far distant when progressive pugilism and the prize-ring will take the place of the poorly ventilated common school and the enervating prayer meeting.

The Snake Indian

There are about 5,000 Snake or Shoshone Indians now extant, the greater part being in Utah and Nevada, though there is a reservation in Idaho and another in Wyoming.

The Shoshone Indian is reluctant to accept of civilization on the European plan. He prefers the ruder customs which have been handed down from father to son along with other hairlooms. I use the word hairlooms in its broadest sense.

There are the Shoshones proper and the Utes or Utahs, to which have been added by some authorities the Comanches, and Moquis of New Mexico and Arizona, the Netelas and other tribes of California. The Shoshone, wherever found, is clothed in buckskin and blanket in winter, but dressed more lightly in summer, wearing nothing but an air of intense gloom in August. To this he adds on holidays a necklace made from the store teeth of the hardy pioneer.

The Snake or Shoshone Indian is passionately fond of the game known as poker among us, and which, I learn, is played with cards. It is a game of chance, though skill and a thorough knowledge of firearms are of great use. The Indians enter into this game with great zeal, and lend to it the wonderful energy which they have preserved from year to year by abstaining from the debilitating effects of manual labor. All day long the red warrior sits in his skin boudoir, nursing the sickly and reluctant "flush,” patient, silent and hopeful. Through the cold of winter in the desolate mountains, he continues to

“Hope on, hope ever,”

that he will “draw to fill.” Far away up the canyon he hears the sturdy blows of his wife’s tomahawk as she slaughters the grease wood and the sage brush for the fire in his gilded hell where he sits and woos the lazy Goddess of Fortune.

With the Shoshone, poker is not alone a relaxation, the game wherewith to wear out a long and listless evening, but it is a passion, a duty and a devotion. He has a face designed especially for poker. It never shows a sign of good or evil fortune. You might as well try to win a smile from a railroad right of way. The full hand, the fours, threes, pairs and bob-tail flushes are all the same to him, if you judge by his face.

When he gets hungry he cinches himself a little tighter and continues to "rastle” with fate. You look at his smoky, old copper cent of a face, and you see no change. You watch him as he coins the last buckshot of his tribe and later on when he goes forth a pauper, and the corners of his famine-breeding mouth have never moved, His little black, smoke-inflamed eyes have never lighted with triumph or joy. He is the great aboriginal stoic and sylvan dude. He does not smile. He does not weep. It certainly must be intensely pleasant to be a wild, free, lawless, irresponsible, natural born fool.

The Shoshones proper include the Bannocks, which are again subdivided into the Koolsitakara or Buffalo Eaters, on Wind River, the Tookarika or Mountain Sheep Eaters, on Salmon or Suabe Eivers, the Shoshocas or White Knives, sometimes called Diggers, of the Humbolt Eiver and the Great Salt Lake basin. Probably the Hokandikahs, Yahooskins and the Wahlpapes are subdivisions of the Digger tribe. I am ’not sure of this, but I shall not suspend my business till I can find out about it. If I cannot get at a great truth right off I wait patiently and go right on drawing my salary.

The Shoshones live on the government and other small game. They will eat anything when hungry, from a buffalo down to a woodtick. The Shoshone does not despise small things. He loves insects in any form. He loves to make pets of them and to study their habits in his home life.

Formerly, when a great Shoshone warrior died, they killed his favorite wife over his grave, so that she could go to the happy hunting grounds with him, but it is not so customary now. I tried to impress on an old Shoshone brave once that they ought not to do that. I tried to show him that it would encourage celibacy and destroy domestic ties in his tribe. Since then there has been quite a stride toward reform among them. Instead of killing the widow on the death of the husband, the husband takes such good care of his health and avoids all kinds of intellectual strain or physical fatigue, that late years there are no widows, but widowers just seem to swarm in the Shoshone tribe. The woods are full of them.

Now, if they would only kill the widower over the grave of the wife, the Indian’s future would assume a more definite shape.

Roller Skating

I have once more tried to ride a pair of roller skates. That is the reason I got down on the rink and down on roller skates. That is the reason several people got down on me. That is also the reason why I now state in a public manner, to a lost and undone race, that unless the roller-rink is at once abolished, the whole civilized race will at once be plunged into arnica.

I had tried it once before, but had not carried my experiments to a successful termination. I made a trip around the rink last August, but was ruled out by the judges for incompetency, and advised to skate among the people who were hostile to the government of the United States, while the proprietors repaired the rink.

On the 9th of June I nestled in the bosom of a cyclone to excess, and it has required the bulk of the succeeding months for nature to glue the bone of my leg together in proper shape. That is the reason I have not given the attention to roller-skating that I should.

A few weeks ago I read what Mr. Talmage said about the great national vice. It was his opinion that, if we skated in a proper spirit, we could leave the rink each evening with our immortal souls in good shape.

Somehow it got out that on Thursday evening I would undertake the feat of skating three rounds in three hours with no protection to my scruples, for one-half the gate money, Talmage rules. So there was quite a large audience present with opera glasses. Some had umbrellas, especially on the front rows. These were worn spread, in order to ward off fragments of the rink which might become disengaged and set in motion by atmospheric disturbances.

In obedience to a wild, Wagnerian snort from the orchestra, I came into the arena with my skates in hand. I feel perfectly at home before an audience when I have my skates in hand. It is a morbid desire to wear the skates on my feet that has always been my bete noire. Will the office boy please give me a brass check for that word so that I can get it when I go away?

My first thought, after getting myself secured to the skates, was this: "Am I in the proper frame of mind? Am I doing this in the right spirit? Am I about to skate in such a way as to lift the fog of unbelief which now envelopes a sinful world, or shall I deepen the opaque night in which my race is wrapped?”

Just then that end of the rink erupted in a manner so forthwith and so tout ensemble that I had to push it back in place with my person. I never saw anything done with less delay or less languor.

The audience went wild with enthusiasm, and I responded to the encore by writing my name in the air with my skates.

This closed the first seance, and my trainer took me in the dressing-room to attend a consultation of physicians. After the rink carpenter had jacked up the floor a little I went out again. I had no fears about my ability to perform the mechanical part assigned me, but I was still worried over the question of whether it would or would not be of lasting benefit to mankind.

Those who have closely scrutinized my frame in repose have admitted that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Students of the human frame say that they never saw such a wealth of looseness and limberness lavished upon one person. They claim that nature bestowed upon me the hinges and joints intended for a whole family, and therefore when I skate the air seems to be perfectly lurid with limbs. I presume that this is true; though I have so little leisure while skating in which to observe the method itself, the plot or animus of the thing, as it were, that my opinion would be of little value to the scientist.

I am led to believe that the roller skate is certainly a great civilizer and a wonderful leveler of mankind. If we so skate that when the summons comes to seek our ward in the general hospital, where each shall heal his busted cuticle within the walls where rinkists squirm, we go not like the moral wreck, morally paralyzed, but like a hired man taking his medicine, and so forth–we may skate with perfect impunity, or anyone else to whom we may be properly introduced by our cook.

No More Frontier

The system of building railroads into the wilderness, and then allowing the wilderness to develop afterward, has knocked the essential joy out of the life of the pioneer. At one time the hardy hewer of wood and drawer of water gave his lifetime willingly that his son might ride in the "varnished cars.” Now the Pullman palace car takes the New Yorker to the threshold of the sea, or to the boundary line between the United States and the British possessions.

It has driven out the long handled frying pan and the flapjack of twenty years ago, and introduced the condensed milk and canned fruit of commerce. Along the highways, where once the hopeful hundreds marched with long handled shovel and pick and pan, cooking by the way thin salt pork and flapjacks and slumgullion, now the road is lined with empty beer bottles and peach cans that have outlived their usefulness. No landscape can be picturesque with an empty peach can in the foreground any more than a lion would look grand in a red monogram horse blanket and false teeth.

The modern camp is not the camp of the wilderness. It wears the half-civilized and shabby genteel garments of a sawed-off town. You know that if you ride a day you will be where you can get the daily papers and read them under the electric light. That robs the old canyons of their solemn isolation and peoples each gulch with the odor of codfish balls and civilization. Civilization is not to blame for all this, and yet it seems sad.

Civilization could not have done all this alone. It had to call to its aid the infernal fruit can that now desolates the most obscure trail in the heart of the mountains. You walk over chaos where the “hydraulic” has plowed up the valley like a convulsion, or you tread the yielding path across the deserted dump, and on all sides the rusty, neglected and humiliated empty tin can stares at you with its monotonous, dude-like stare.

An old timer said to me once: “I’ve about decided, Bill, that the West is a matter of history. When we cooked our grub over a sage brush fire we could get fat and fight Indians, but now we fill our digesters with the cold pizen and pewter of the canned peach; we go to a big tavern and stick a towel under our chins and eat pie with a fork and heat up our carkisses with antichrist coal, and what do we amount to? Nuthin! I used to chase Injuns all day and eat raw salt pork at night, bekuz I dassent build a fire, and still I felt better than I do now with a wad of tin-can solder in my stummick and a homesick feeling in my weather-beaten breast.

“No, we don’t have the fun we used to. We have more swarrees and sciatica and one bloomin’ thing and another of that kind, but we don’t get one snort of pure air and appetite in a year. They’re bringin’ in their blamed telephones now and malaria and aigue and old sledge, and fun might as well skip out. There ain’t no frontier any more. All we’ve got left is the old-fashioned trantler joos and rhumatiz of ’49.”

Behind the red squaw’s cayuse plug, The hand-car roars and raves, And pie-plant pies are now produced Above the Indian graves. I hear the oaths of pioneers, The caucus yet to be, The first low hum where soon will The fuzzy bumble bee.

A Letter of Regrets

My dear Princess Beatrice–I received your kind invitation to come up to Whippingham on the 23d inst. and see you married, but I have not been able to get there. The weather has been so hot this month, that, to tell you the truth, Beatrice, I haven’t been going anywhere to speak of. At first I thought I would go anyhow, and even went so far as to pick out a nice corner bracket to take along for a wedding present. Not so much for its intrinsic value, of course, but so you would have something with my name to it on a card that you could show to those English dudes, and let them know that you had influential friends, even in America. But when I thought what a long, hard trip it would be, and how I would probably mash that bracket on the cars before I got half way there, I gave it up.

I am not personally acquainted with your inamorato, if that’s all right, never having met him in our set; but I understand you have done well, and that your husband is a rising young man of good family, and that he will never allow you to put your hands into dishwater. I hope this is true and that he does not drink. Rum has certainly paralyzed more dukes and such things than war has. I attribute this to the fact that princes and dukes are generally more reckless about exposing themselves to the demon rum than to the rude alarums and one thing another of war.

If you keep a girl I hope you will get a good one who knows her business. A green girl in the house of a newly-married princess is a great source of annoyance. A friend of mine who got married last winter got a girl whose mind had been eaten by cut-worms and she had not discovered it. All the faculty that had been spared her was that power of the mind which enabled her to charge $3 a week. She lubricated the buckwheat pancake griddle for a week with soap grease and a dash of castor oil, and when she was discharged she wept bitterly because capital with the iron heel ground the poor servant girl into the dust.

Probably you will take a little tour after the wedding is over. They are doing that way a good deal in Boston this season. I thought you would like a pointer in the very lum-tumest thing to do, and so I write this. So long as you have the means to do this thing right, I think you ought to do so. You may never be married again, princess, and now is the time to paint the British Isles red.

You can also get more concessions from your husband now, while he is a little rattled, and temporarily knocked silly by the pomp and pageant of marrying into your family, and if you work it right you can maintain this supremacy for years. Treat him with a gentle firmness, and do not weep on his bosom if you detect the aroma of beer and bologna sausage on his young breath. Bologna and royalty do not seem to harmonize first-rate, but remember you can harass your husband if you choose, so that he will fall to even lower depths than bologna and Milwaukee beer. Do not aggravate him when he comes home tired, but help him do the chores and greet him with a smile.

I’d just as soon tell you, Beatrice, that this smile racket is not original with me. I read it in a paper. This paper went on to say that a young wife should always greet her husband with a smile on his return. I showed the article to my wife and suggested that it was a good scheme, and hoped she would try it on me sometime. She said if I would like to change off awhile, and take my smile when I got home instead of taking it down town, we would make the experiment. The trouble with the average woman of the age in which we live, Beatrice, is that she is above her business. She tries to be superior to her husband, and in many instances she succeeds. That is the bane of wedded life. Do not strive to be superior to your husband, Beatrice. If you do, it is good-bye, John.

Treat him well at all times, whether he treats you well or not; then when your mother gets tired of reigning and wants to come down and spend the hot weather with you, she will be kindly greeted by her son-in-law.

Do not allow the fact that you belong to the royal family to interfere with your fun, Beatrice. If you want to wear a Mother Hubbard dress on the throne during hot weather, or mash a mosquito with your mother’s sceptre, do so. Conventionality is a humbug and a nuisance, and I’d just as soon tell you right here that if I could have gone to your wedding and worn a linen coat and a perspiration, I would have gone; but to stand around there all day in a tight black suit of clothes, in a mixed crowd of dukes, and counts, and princes of high degree, most of whom are total strangers to me, is more than I can stand.

I wish you would give my love to your mother and tell her just how it was. Make it as smooth as you can and break it to her gently. Tell her that the royal family is spreading out so that I can’t leave my work every time one of its members gets married. Remember me to the Waleses, the Darmstadts, Princess Irene and Victoria, Mr. and Mrs. Prince Alexander of Bulgaria, also Prince Francis of Battenberg and the Countess Erbach Schomberg. They will all be there probably, and so will Lord Latham and Lord Edgcumbe. I know just how Edgcumbe will snort around there when he finds that I can’t be there. Give my kind regards to any other lords, dukes, duchesses, dowagers or marchionesses who may inquire for me, and tell them all that I will be in London next year if the Prince of Wales will drop me a line stating that the moral tone of the city is such that it would be safe for me to come.


We arrived in Venice last evening, latitude 45 deg. 25 min, N., longitude 12 deg. 19 min. E.

Venice is the home of the Venetian, and also where the gondola has its nest and rears its young. It is also the headquarters for the paint known as Venetian red. They use it in painting the town on festive occasions. This is the town where the Merchant of Venice used to do business, and the home of Shylock, a broker, who sheared the Venetian lamb at the corner of the Rialto and the Grand Canal. He is now no more. I couldn’t even find an old neighbor near the Rialto who remembered Shylock. From what I can learn of him, however, I am led to believe that he was pretty close in his deals, and liked to catch a man in a tight place and then make him squirm. Shylock, during the great panic in Venice, many years ago, it is said, had a chattel mortgage on more lives than you could shake a stick at. He would loan a small amount to a merchant at three per cent, a month, and secure it on a pound of the merchant’s liver, or by a cut-throat mortgage on his respiratory apparatus. Then, when the paper matured, he would go up to the house with a pair of scales and a pie knife and demand a foreclosure.

Venice is one of the best watered towns in Europe. You can hardly walk a block without getting your feet wet, unless you ride in a gondola.

The gondola is a long, slim hack without wheels and is worked around through the damp streets by a brunette man whose breath should be a sad framing to us all. He is called the gondolier. Sometimes he sings in a low tone of voice and in a foreign tongue. I do not know where I have met so many foreigners as I have here in Europe, unless it was in New York, at the polls. Wherever I go, I hear a foreign tongue. I do not know whether these people talk in the Italian language just to show off or not. Perhaps they prefer it. London is the only place I have visited where the Boston dialect is used. London was originally settled by adventurers from Boston. The blood of some of the royal families of Massachusetts may be found in the veins of London people.

Wealthy young ladies in Venice do not run away with the coachman. There are no coaches, no coachmen and no horses in Venice. There are only four horses in Venice and they are made of copper and exhibited at St Mark’s as curiosities.

The Accademia delle Belle Arti of Venice is a large picture store where I went yesterday to buy a few pictures for Christmas presents. A painting by Titian, the Italian Prang, pleased me very much, but I couldn’t beat down the price to where it would be any object for me to buy it. Besides, it would be a nuisance to carry such a picture around with me all over the Alps, up the Rhine and through St. Lawrence county. I finally decided to leave it and secure something less awkward to carry and pay for.

The Italians are quite proud of their smoky old paintings. I have often thought that if Venice would run less to art and more to soap, she would be more apt to win my respect. Art is all right to a certain extent, but it can be run in the ground. It breaks my heart to know how lavish nature has been with water here, and yet how the Venetians scorn to investigate its benefits. When a gondolier gets a drop of water on him, he swoons. Then he lies in a kind of coma till another gondolier comes along to breathe in his face and revive him.

She Kind of Coaxed Him

I never practiced law very much, but during the brief period that my sheet-iron sign was kissed by the Washoe zephyr, I had several odd experiences. I’m sure that lawyers who practice for forty years, especially on the frontier or in a new country, could write a large book that would make mighty interesting reading.

One day I was figuring up how much a man could save in ten years, paying forty dollars a month rent, and taking in two dollars and fifty cents per month, when a large man with a sad eye and an early purple tumor on the side of his head, came in and asked me if my name was Nye. I told him it was and asked him to take a chair and spit on the stove a few times, and make himself entirely at home.

He did so.

After answering in a loud, tremulous tone of voice that we were having rather a backward spring, he produced a red cotton handkerchief and took out of it a deed which he submitted to my ripe and logical legal mind.

I asked him if that was his name that appeared in the body of the deed as grantor. He said it was. I then asked him why his wife had not signed it, as it seemed to be the homestead, and her name appeared in the instrument with that of her husband, but her signature wasn’t at the foot, though his name was duly signed, witnessed and acknowledged.

“Well,” said he, “there’s where the gazelle comes in.” He then took a bite off the corner of a plug of tobacco about as big as a railroad land grant, and laid two twenty dollar gold pieces on the desk near my arm. I took them and tapped them together like the cashier of the Bank of England, and, disguising my annoyance over the little episode, told him to go on.

“Well,” said the large man, fondling the wen which nestled lovingly in his faded Titian hair, “my wife has conscientious scruples against signing that deed. We have been married about a year now, but not actively for the past eleven months. I’m kind of ex-officio husband, as you might say. After we’d been married about a month a little incident occurred which made a riffle, as you might say, in our domestic tide. I was division master on the U.P., and one night I got an order to go down towards Sidney and look at a bridge. Of course I couldn’t get back till the next evening. So I sighed and switched off to the superintendent’s office, expecting to go over on No. 4 and look at the bridge. At the office they told me that I needn’t go till Tuesday, so I strolled up town and got home about nine o’clock, went in with a latch key, just as a mutual friend went out through the bed-room window, taking a sash that I paid two dollars for. I didn’t care for the sash, because he left a pair of pantaloons worth twelve dollars and some silver in the pockets, but I thought it was such odd taste for a man to wear a sash without his uniform.

“Well, as I had documentary evidence against my wife, I told her she could take a vacation. She cried a good deal, but it didn’t count I suffered a good deal, but tears did not avail. It takes a good deal of damp weather to float me out of my regular channel. She spent the night packing her trousseau, and in the morning she went away. Now, I could get a divorce and save all this trouble of getting her signature, but I’d rather not tell this whole business in court, for the little woman seems to be trying to do better, and if it wasn’t for her blamed old hyena of a mother, would get along tip-top. She’s living with her mother now and if a lawyer would go to the girl and tell her how it is, and that I want to sell the property and want her signature, in place of getting a divorce, I believe she’d sign. Would you mind trying it?”

I said if I could get time I would go over and talk with her and see what she said. So I did. I got along pretty well, too. I found the young woman at home, and told her the legal aspects of the case. She wouldn’t admit any of the charges, but after a long parley agreed to execute the deed and save trouble. She came to my office an hour later, and signed the instrument I got two witnesses to the signature and had just put the notarial seal on it when the girl’s mother came in. She asked her daughter if she had signed the deed and was told that she had. She said nothing, but smiled in a way that made my blood run cold. If a woman were to smile on me that way every day, I should certainly commit some great crime.

I was just congratulating myself on the success of the business, and was looking at the two $20 gold pieces and trying to get acquainted with them, as it were, after the two women had gone away; when they returned with the husband and son-in-law at the head of the procession. He looked pale and careworn to me. He asked me in a low voice if I had a deed there, executed by his wife. I said yes. He then asked me if I would kindly destroy it. I said I would. I would make deeds and tear them up all day at $40 apiece. I said I liked the conveyancing business very much, and if a client felt like having a grand, warranty deed debauch, I was there to furnish the raw material.

I then tore up the deed and the two women went quietly away. After they had gone, my client, in an absent-minded way, took out a large quid that had outlived its usefulness, laid it tenderly on the open page of Estey’s Pleadings, and said:

“You doubtless think I am a singular organization, and that my ways are past finding out. I wish to ask you if I did right a moment ago?” Here he took out another $20 and put it under the paper weight. “When I went down stairs I met my mother-in-law. She always looked to me like a firm woman, but I did not think she was so unswerving as she really was. She asked me in a low, musical voice to please destroy the deed, and then she took one of them Smith & Wesson automatic advance agents of death out from under her apron and kind of wheedled me into saying I would. Now, did I do right? I want a candid, legal opinion, and I’m ready to pay for it.”

I said he did perfectly right.

Answering an Invitation

Hudson, Wis., January 19, 1886.

Dear friend.–I have just received your kind and cordial invitation to come to Washington and spend several weeks there among the eminent men of our proud land. I would be glad to go as you suggest, but I cannot do so at this time. I am passionately fond of mingling with the giddy whirl of good society. I hope you will not feel that my reason for declining your kind invitation is that I feel myself above good society. I assure you I do not.

Nothing pleases me better than to dress up and mingle among my fellow-men, with a sprinkling here and there of the other sex. It is true that the most profitable study for mankind is man, but we should not overlook woman. Woman is now seeking to be emancipated. Let us put our great, strong arms around her and emancipate her. Even if we cannot emancipate but one, we shall not have lived entirely for naught.

I am told by those upon whom I can rely that there are hundreds of attractive young women throughout our joyous land who have arrived at years of discretion and yet who have never been emancipated. I met a woman on the cars last week who is lecturing on this subject, and she told me all about it. Now, the question at once presents itself, how shall we emancipate woman unless we go where she is? We must go right into society and take her by the hand and never let go of her hand till she is properly emancipated. Not only must she be emancipated, but she must be emancipated from her present thralldom. Thralldom of this kind is liable to break out in any community, and those who are now in perfect health may pine away in a short time and flicker.

My course, while mingling in society’s mad whirl, is to first open the conversation with a young lady by leading her away to the conservatory, where I ask her if she has ever been the victim of thralldom and whether or not she has ever been ground under the heel of the tyrant man. I then time her pulse for thirty minutes, so as to strike a good average. The emancipation of woman is destined at some day to become one of our leading industries.

You also ask me to kindly lead the German while there. I would cheerfully do so, but owing to the wobbly eccentricity of my cyclone leg, it would be sort of a broken German. But I could sit near by and watch the game with a furtive glance, and fan the young ladies between the acts, and converse with them in low, earnest, passionate tones. I like to converse with people in whom I take an interest. I was conversing with a young lady one evening at a recherche ball in my far away home in the free and unfettered West, a very brilliant affair, I remember, under the auspices of Hose Company No. 2, I was talking in a loud and earnest way to this liquid-eyed creature, a little louder than usual, because the music was rather forte just then, and the base viol virtuoso was bearing on rather hard at that moment. The music ceased with a sudden snort. And so did my wife, who was just waltzing past us. If I had ceased to converse at the same time that the music shut off, all might have been well, but I did not.

Your remark that the president and cabinet would be glad to see me this winter is ill-timed.

There have been times when it would have given me much pleasure to visit Washington, but I did not vote for Mr. Cleveland, to tell the truth, and I know that if I were to go to the White House and visit even for a few days, he would reproach me and throw it up to me. It is true I did not pledge myself to vote for him, but still I would hate to go to a man’s house and eat his popcorn and use his smoking tobacco after I had voted against him and talked about him as I have about Cleveland.

No, I can’t be a hypocrite. I am right out, open and above board. If I talk about a man behind his back, I won’t go and gorge myself with his victuals. I was assured by parties in whom I felt perfect confidence that Mr. Cleveland was a “moral leper,” and relying on such assurances from men in whom I felt that I could trust, and not being at that time where I could ask Mr. Cleveland in person whether he was or was not a moral leper as aforesaid, I assisted in spreading the report that he had been exposed to moral leprosy, and as near as I could learn, he was liable to come down with it at any time.

So that even if I go to Washington I shall put up at a hotel and pay my bills just as any other American citizen would. I know how it is with Mr. Cleveland at this time. When the legislature is in session there, people come in from around Buffalo with their butter and eggs to sell, and stay overnight with the president. But they should not ride a free horse to death. I may not be well educated, but I am high strung till you can’t rest Groceries are just as high in Washington as they are in Philadelphia.

I hope that you will not glean from the foregoing that I have lost my interest in national affairs. God forbid. Though not in the political arena myself, my sympathies are with those who are. I am willing to assist the families of those who are in the political arena trying to obtain a precarious livelihood thereby. I was once an official under the Federal government myself, as the curious student of national affairs may learn if he will go to the Treasury Department at Washington, D.C., and ask to see my voucher for $9.85, covering salary as United States commissioner for the Second Judicial District of Wyoming for the year 1882. It was at that time that a vile contemporary characterized me as “a corrupt and venal Federal official who had fattened upon the hard-wrung taxes of my fellow citizens and gorged myself for years at the public crib.” This was unjust I was not corrupt I was not venal. I was only hungry!

Street Cars and Curiosities

There is an institution in Boston which the Pilgrim Fathers did not originate. That is the street car. There is a street car parade all day on Washington street, and a red-light procession most of the night.

People told me that I could get into a car and go anywhere I wanted to. I tried it. There was a point in Boston, I learned, where there were some more relics that I hadn’t seen. Parties told me where I could find some more fragments of the Mayflower, and an old chair in which Josiah Quincy had sat down to think. There were also a few more low price flint-lock guns and tomahawks that no man who visited Boston could afford to miss. Besides, there was said to be the lock that used to be on the door of a room in which General Washington had a good notion to write his farewell address. All these things were in the collection which I started out to find, and there were others, also.

For instance, there was a specimen of the lightning that Franklin caught in his demijohn out of the sky, and still in a good state of preservation; also some more clothes in which he was baptized, more swords of Bunker Hill, and a little shirt which John Hancock put on as soon as he was born. Hancock was a perfect gentleman from his birth, and it is said that the first thing he did was to excuse himself for a moment and then put on this shirt. His manners were certainly very agreeable, and he was very much polished.

I heard, too, that there was an acorn from the tree in which Benedict Arnold had his nest while he was hatching treason. I did not believe it, but I had an idea I could readily discover the fraud if I could only see the acorn, for I am a great historian and researcher from away back. I was told that in this collection there was a suspender button shed by Patrick Henry during his memorable speech in which he raised up to his full height on his hind feet and permitted the war to come in italics, also in SMALL CAPS and in LARGE CAPS!!! with three astonishers on the end.

So I wanted to find this place, and as I had plenty of means I decided to ride in a street car. Therefore, I aimed my panic price cane at the driver of a cream-colored car with a blue stomach, and remarked, “Hi, there!" Before I go any further, and in order to avoid ambiguity, let me say that it was the car that had the blue stomach. He (the driver) twisted the brake and I went inside, clear to the further end, and sat down by the side of a young woman who filled the whole car with sunshine. I was so happy that I gave the conductor half a dollar and told him to keep the change. If by chance she sees this, I hope she still remembers me. Pretty soon a very fat woman came into the car and aimed for our quarter. She evidently intended to squat between this fair girl and myself. But ah, thought I to myself in a low tone of voice, I will fool thee. So I shoved my person along in the seat toward the sweet girl of the Bay State. The corpulent party, whose name I did not learn, had in the meantime backed up to where she had detected a slight vacancy, and where I had seen fit to place myself. At that moment she heaved a sigh of relief, and, assisted by the motion of the car, which just then turned a corner, she sat down in my lap and nestled in my bosom like a tired baby elephant.

Dear reader, if I were to tell you that the crystal of my watch was picked out from under my shoulder blades the next day, you would not believe it, would you? I will not strain your faith in me by making the statement, but that was the heaviest woman I ever held.

While all this was going on I lost track of my location. The car began to squirm around all over Boston, and finally the conductor came back and wanted more money. I said no, I would get off and try a dark red car with a green stomach for a while. So I did I rode on that till I had seen a great deal of new scenery, and then I asked the conductor if he passed Number Clankety Clank, Blank street. He said he did not, but if I would go down two blocks further and take a maroon car with a plaid stomach it would take me to the corner of “What-do-you-call-it and What’s-his-name streets,” where, if I took a seal brown car with squshed huckleberry trimmings it would take me to where I wanted to go. So I tried it. I do not know just where I missed my train, but when I found the seal brown car with scrunched huckleberry trimmings it was going the other way, and as it was late I went into a cafe and refreshed myself. When I came out I discovered that it was too late to see the collection, even if I could find it, for at 6 o’clock they take the relics in and put them into a refrigerator till morning.

I was now weary and somewhat disappointed, so I desired to get back to my headquarters, wherein I could rest and where I could lock myself up in my room, so no prize fat woman could enter. I hailed one of those sawed-off landaus, consisting of two wheels, one door behind, and a bill for two bits. I told the college graduate on the box where I wanted to go, gave him a quarter and got in. I sat down and heaved a chaste sigh. The sigh was only half hove when the herdic backed up to my destination, which was about 300 feet from where I got in, as the crow flies.

When I go to Boston again, I am going in charge of the police.

The street railway system of Boston is remarkably perfect. Fifty cars pass a given point on Washington street in an hour, and yet there are no blockades. You can take one of those cars, if you are a stranger, and you can get so mixed up that you will never get back, and all for five cents. I felt a good deal like the man who was full and who stepped on a man who was not full. The sober man was mad, and yelled out: “See here; condemn it, can’t you look where you’re walking?” “Betcher life,” says the inebriate, “but trouble is to walk where I’m lookin’.”

The Poor Blind Pig

I have just been over to the Falls of Minnehaha. In fact I have been quite a tourist and summer resorter this season, having saturated my system with nineteen different styles of mineral water in Wisconsin alone, and tried to win the attention of nineteen different styles of head waiters at these summer hotels. I may add in passing that the summer hotels of Wisconsin and Minnesota have been crowded full the past season and more room will have to be added before another season comes around.

The motto of the summer hotel seems to be, “Unless ye shall have feed the waiter, behold ye shall in no wise be fed.” Many waiters at these places, by a judicious system of blackmail and starvation, have reduced the guest to a sad state.

The mineral water of Wisconsin ranks high as a beverage. Many persons are using it during the entire summer in place of rum.

The water of Waukesha does not appear to taste of any mineral, although an analysis shows the presence of several kinds of groceries in solution. The water at Palmyra Springs also tastes like any other pure water, but at Kankanna, on the Fox River, they have a style of mineral water which is different. Almost as soon as you taste it you discover that it is extremely different. Colonel Watrous, of the Milwaukee Sunday Telegraph, took some of it. I saw him afterward. He looked depressed, and told me that he had been deceived. Several Kankanna people had told him that this was living water, He had discovered otherwise. He hated to place his confidence in people and then find it misplaced.

A favorite style of Kankanna revenge is to drink a quart of this water, and then, on meeting an enemy, to breathe on him and wither him. One breath produces syncope and blind staggers. Two breaths induce coma and metallic casket for one.

Minnehaha is not mineral water. It is just plain water, giving itself away day after day like a fresh young man in society. If you want pure water you get it at the spring near the foot of the fall, and if you want it flavored, with something that will leave a blazed road the whole length of your alimentary canal, you go to the “blind pig,” a few rods away from the falls.

The blind pig draws many people toward the falls through sympathy. To be blind must indeed be a sad plight. Let us pause and reflect on this proposition.

By good fortune I have had a chance to watch the rum problem in all its phases this summer. Beginning in Maine, where the most ingenious methods of whipping the devil around the stump are adopted, then going through northern Iowa and tasting her exhilarating pop, and at last paying ten cents to see the blind pig at Minnehaha, I feel like one who has wrestled with the temperance problem in a practical way, and I have about decided that a high license is about the only way to make the sale of whisky odious. Prohibition is too abrupt in its methods, and one generation can hardly wipe out the appetite for liquor that has been planted and fostered by fifty preceding generations.

For fear that a few of my lady readers do not know what the Minnehaha blind pig looks like, and that they may be curious about it, I will just say that it is a method of evading the law, and consists of a dumb waiter, wherein, if you pay ten cents, you get a glass of stimulants without the annoyance of conversation. Many ladies who visit the falls, and who have heard incidentally about the blind pig, express a desire to see the poor little thing, but their husbands generally persuade them to refrain.

Minnehaha is a beautiful waterfall. It is not so frightfully large and grand as Niagara, but it is very fine, and if the State of Minnesota would catch the man who nails his signs on the trees around there, and choke him to death near the falls on a pleasant day, a large audience wold attend with much pleasure, I believe that the fence-board advertiser is not only, as a rule, wicked, but he also lacks common sense. Who ever bought a liver pad or a corset because he read about it on a high board fence? No one. Who ever purchased a certain kind of pill or poultice because the name of that pill or poultice was nailed on a tree to disfigure a beautiful landscape? I do not believe that any sane human being ever did so. If everyone feels as I do about it, people would rather starve to death for pills and freeze to death in a perfect wilderness of liver pads than buy of the man who daubs the fair face of nature with names of his alleged goods.

I saw a squaw who seemed to belong in the picture of the poetic little waterfall. I did not learn her name. It was one of these long, corduroy Sioux names, that hang together with hyphens like a lot of sausage. The salaried humorist of the party said he never sausage a name before.

Translated into our tongue it meant The-swift-daughter-of-the-prairie-blizzard-that-gathers-the-huckleberry-on -the-run-and-don’t-you-forget-it.

Daniel Webster

I presume that Daniel Webster was as good an off-hand speaker as this country has ever produced. Massachusetts has been well represented in Congress since that time, but she has had few who could successfully compete with D. Webster, Esq., attorney and counsellor-at-law, Boston, Mass.

I have never met Mr. Webster, but I have seen a cane that he used to wear, and since that time I have felt a great interest in him. It was a heavy winter cane, and was presented to him as a token of respect.

This reminds me of the inscription on a grave stone in the 280-year-old churchyard at LaPointe, on Lake Superior, where I was last week. It shows what punctuation has done for a lost and undone race. I copy the inscription exactly as it appears:


Daniel Webster had one of the largest and most robust brains that ever flourished in our fair land. It was what we frequently call a teeming brain, one of those four-horse teeming brains, as it were. Mr. Webster wore the largest hat of any man then in Congress, and other senators and representatives used to frequently borrow it to wear on the 2nd of January, the 5th of July, and after other special occasions, when they had been in executive session most all night and endured great mental strain. This hat matter reminds me of an incident in the life of Benjamin F. Butler, a man well known in Massachusetts even at the present time.

One evening, at a kind of reception or some such dissipation as that, while Jim Nye was in the Senate, the latter left his silk hat on the lounge with the opening turned up, and while he was talking with someone else, Mr. Butler sat down in the hat with so much expression that it was a wreck. Everyone expected to see James W. Nye walk up and smite Benjamin F. Butler, but he did not do so. He looked at the chaotic hat for a minute, more in sorrow than in anger, and then he said:

“Benjamin, I could have told you that hat wouldn’t fit you before you tried it on.”

Daniel Webster’s brain was not only very large, but it was in good order all the time. Sometimes Nature bestows large brains on men who do not rise to great prominence. Large brains do not always indicate great intellectual power. These brains are large but of an inferior quality. A schoolmate of mine used to wear a hat that I could put my head and both feet into with perfect ease. I remember that he tied my shirt one day while I was laying my well-rounded limbs in the mill pond near my childhood’s home.

I was mad at the time, but I could not lick him, for he was too large. All I could do was to patiently untie my shirt while my teeth chattered, then fling a large, three-cornered taunt in his teeth and run. He kept on poking fun at me, I remember, till I got dressed, and alluded incidentally, to my small brain and abnormal feet. This stung my sensitive nature, and I told him that if I had such a wealth of brain as he had, and it was of no use to think with, I would take it to a restaurant and have it breaded. Then I went away.

But we were speaking of Webster. Many lawyers of our day would do well to read and study the illustrious example of Daniel Webster. He did not sit in court all day with his feet on the table and howl, “We object,” and then down his client for $50, just because he had made a noise. I employed a lawyer once to bring suit for me to recover quite a sum of money due me. After years of assessments and toilsome litigation, we got a judgment. He said to me that he was anxious to succeed with the case mainly because he knew I Wanted to vindicate myself. I said yes, that was the idea exactly. I wanted to be vindicated.

So he gave me the vindication and took the judgment as a slight testimonial of his own sterling worth. When I want to be vindicated again I will do it with one of those self-cocking vindicators that you can carry in a pocket.

Looking over this letter, I am amazed to see the amount of valuable information relative to the life of Mr. Webster that I have succeeded in using. There are, of course, some minor details of Mr. Webster’s life which I have omitted, but nothing of real importance. The true history of Mr. Webster is epitomized here, and told in a pleasing and graceful manner, a style that is at once accurate and just and still elegant, chaste and thoroughly refined, while at the same time there are little gobs of sly humor in it that are real cute.

Two Ways of Telling It

I remember one sunny day in summer, we were sitting in the Boomerang office, I and the city editor, and he was speaking enviously of my salary of $150 per month as compared with his of $80, and I had just given him the venerable minstrel witticism that of course my salary was much larger than his, but he ought not to forget that he got his.

Just then there was a revolver shot at the foot of our stairs, and then another. The printers rushed into the stairway from the composing room, and to save time I ran out on the balcony that hung over the sidewalk and which gave me a bird’s-eye view of the murder. The next issue of the paper contained an account about like this:

Cold-Blooded Murder.–Yesterday, between 12 and 1 o’clock, in front of this office on Second street, James McKeon, in a manner almost wholly unprovoked, shot James Smith, commonly known as Windy Smith. Smith died at 2 o’clock this morning of his wounds. Windy Smith was not a bad man, but, as his nickname would imply, he was a kind of noisy, harmless fellow, and McKeon, who is a gambler and professional bad man, can give no good reason for the killing. There is a determined effort on foot to lynch the murderer.

This account was brief, but it seemed to set forth the facts pretty clearly, I thought, and I felt considerably chagrined when I saw an account of the matter latter on, as written up by the prosecuting attorney. I may be inaccurate as to dates and some other points of detail, but, as nearly as I can remember, his version of the matter was like this:


In Justice’s Court, before E.W. Nye, Esq., Justice of the Peace.

The Territory of Wyoming, plt’ff.} vs. } Complaint. James McKeon, def’t. }

The above named defendant, James McKeon, is accused of the crime of murder, for that he, the said defendant, James McKeon, at the town of Laramie City, in the County of Albany and Territory of Wyoming, and on the 13th day of July, Anno Domini 1880, then and there being, he, the said defendant, James McKeon, did wilfully, maliciously, feloniously, wickedly, unlawfully, criminally, illegally, unjustly, premeditatedly, coolly and murderously, by means of a certain deadly weapon commonly called a Smith & Wesson revolver, or revolving pistol, so constructed as to revolve upon itself and to be discharged by means of a spring and hammer, and with six chambers thereto, and known commonly as a self-cocker, the same loaded with gun-powder and leaden bullets, and in the hands of him, the said defendant, James McKeon, level at, to, upon, by, contiguous to and against the body of one James Smith, commonly called Windy Smith, in the peace of the commonwealth then and there being, and that by means of said deadly weapon commonly called a Smith & Wesson revolver, or revolving pistol, so constructed as to revolve upon itself and to be discharged by means of a spring or hammer, and with six chambers thereto and known commonly as a self-cocker, the same loaded with gunpowder and leaden bullets and in the hands of him the said defendant, James McKeon, held at, to, upon, by, contiguous to and against the body of him, the said James Smith, commonly called Windy Smith, he, the said James McKeon, did wilfully, maliciously, feloniously, wickedly, fraudulently, virulently, unlawfully, criminally, illegally, brutally, unjustly, premeditatedly, coolly and murderously, of his malice aforethought with the deadly weapon aforesaid held in the right hand of him, the said defendant, James McKeon, to, at, against, etc., the body of him, the said James Smith, commonly called Windy Smith, he, the said defendant, James McKeon, at the said town of Laramie City, in the said County of Albany, and in the heretofore enumerated Territory of Wyoming, and on the hereinbefore mentioned 13th day of July, Anno Domini 1880, did inflict to, at, upon, by, contiguous to, adjacent to, adjoining, over and against the body of him, the said James Smith, commonly called Windy Smith, one certain deadly, mortal, dangerous and painful wound, to-wit: Over, against, to, at, by, upon, contiguous to, near, adjacent to and bisecting the intestines of him, the said James Smith, commonly called Windy Smith, by reason of which he, the said James Smith, commonly called Windy Smith, did in great agony linger, and lingering did die, on the 14th day of July, Anno Domini 1880, at 2 o’clock in the forenoon of said day, contrary to the statutes in such case made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the Territory of Wyoming.

I am now convinced that although the published account was correct, it was not as full as it might have been. Perhaps the tendency of modern journalism is to epitomize too much. In the hurry of daily newspaper work and the press of matter upon our pages, very likely we are fatally brief, and sacrifice rhetorical beauty to naked and goose-pimply facts.

All About Menials

The subject of meals, lunch-counters, dining-cars and buffet-cars came up the other day, incidentally. I had ordered a little breakfast in the buffet-car, not so much because I expected to get anything, but because I liked to eat in a car and have all the other passengers glaring at me. I do not know which affords me the most pleasure–to sit for a photograph and be stabbed in the cerebellum with a cast-iron prong, to be fed in the presence of a mixed company of strangers, or to be called on without any preparation to make a farewell speech on the gallows.

However, I got my breakfast after awhile. The waiter was certainly the most worthless, trifling, half-asleep combination of Senegambian stupidity and poor white trash indolence and awkwardness that I ever saw. He brought in everything except what I wanted, and then wound up by upsetting the little cream pitcher in my lap. He did not charge for the cream. He threw that in.

So all the rest of the journey I was trying to eradicate a cream dado from my pantaloons. It made me mad, because those pantaloons were made for me by request Besides, I haven’t got pantaloons to squander in that way. To some a pair of pantaloons, more or less, is nothing, but it is much to me.

There was a porter on the same train who was much the same kind of furniture as the waiter. He slept days and made up berths all night. Truly, he began making up berths at Jersey City, and when he got through, about daylight, it was time to begin to unmake them again. All night long I could hear him opening and shutting the berths like a concertina. He sang softly to himself all night long:

“You must camp a little in the wilderness And then we’ll all go home.”

He played his own accompaniment on the berths.

When in repose he was generally asleep with a whisk broom in one hand and the other hand extended with the palm up, waiting for a dividend to be declared.

He generally slept with his mouth open, so that you could read his inmost thoughts, and when I complained to him about the way my bunk felt, he said he was sorry, and wanted to know which cell I was in.

I rode, years ago, over a new stage line for several days. It was through an almost trackless wilderness, and the service hadn’t been “expedited" then. It was not a star route, anyhow. The government seemed to think that the man who managed the thing ought not to expect help so long as he had been such a fool asterisk it.

(Five minutes intermission for those who wish to be chloroformed.)

The stage consisted of a buckboard. It was one of the first buckboards ever made, and the horse was among the first turned out, also. The driver and myself were the passengers.

When it got to be about dinner time, I asked him if we were not pretty near the dinner station. He grunted. He hadn’t said a word since we started. He was a surly, morose and taciturn man. I was told that he had been disappointed in love. A half-breed woman named No-Wayno had led him to believe that she loved him, and that if it had not been for her husband she would gladly have been the driver’s bride. So the driver assassinated the disagreeable husband of No-Wayno. Then he went to the ranch to claim his bride, but she was not there. She had changed her mind, and married a cattle man, who had just moved on to the range with a government mule and a branding iron, intending to slowly work himself into the stock business.

So this driver was a melancholy man. He only made one remark to me during that long forty-mile drive through the wilderness. About dinner time he drove the horse under a quaking asp tree, tied a nose bag of oats over its head and took a wad of bread and bacon from his greasy pocket. The bacon and bread had little flakes of smoking tobacco all over it, because he carried his grub and tobacco in the same pocket. For a moment he introduced one corner of the bacon and bread in among his whiskers. Then he made the only remark that he uttered while we were together. He said:

“Pardner, dinner is now ready in the dining-car.”

A Powerful Speech

I once knew a man who was nominated by his fellow citizens for a certain office and finally elected without having expended a cent for that purpose. He was very eccentric, but he made a good officer. When he heard that he was nominated, he went up, as he said, into the mountains to do some assessment work on a couple of claims. He got lost and didn’t get his bearings until a day or two after election. Then he came into town hungry, greasy and ragged, but unpledged.

He found that he was elected, and in answer to a telegram started off for ’Frisco to see a dying relative. He did not get back till the first of January. Then he filed his bond and sailed into the office. He fired several sedentary deputies who had been in the place twenty years just because they were good “workers.” That is, they were good workers at the polls. They saved all their energies for the campaign, and so they only had vitality enough left to draw their salaries during the balance of the two years.

This man raised the county scrip from sixty to ninety-five in less than two years, and still they busted him in the next convention. He was too eccentric. One delegate asked what in Sam Hill would become of the country if every candidate should skin out during the campaign and rusticate in the mountains while the battle was being fought.

Says he, “I am a delegate from the precinct of Rawhide Buttes, and I calklate I know what I am talkin’ about. Gentlemen of the convention, just suppose that everybody, from the President of the United States down, was to git the nomination and then light out like a house afire and never come back till it was time to file his bond; what’s going to become of us common drunkards to whom election is a noasis in the bad lands, an orange grove in the alkali flats?

“Mr. Chairman, there’s millions of dollars in this broad land waiting for the high tide of election day to come and float ’em down to where you and I, Mr. Chairman, as well as other parched and patriotic inebriates, can git a hold of ’em.

“Gentlemen, we talk about stringency and shrinkage of values, and all such funny business as that; but that’s something I don’t know a blamed thing about. What I can grapple with is this: If our county offices are worth $30,000, and there are other little after-claps and soft snaps, and walk-overs, worth, say $10,000, and the boys, say, are willing to do the fair thing, say, blow in fifteen per cent, to the central committee, and what they feel like on the outside, then politics, instead of a burden and a reproach, becomes a pleasing duty, a joyous occasion and a picnic to those whose lives might otherwise be a dreary monotone.

“Mr. Chairman, the past two years has wrecked four campaign saloons, and a tinner who socked his wife’s fortune into campaign torches is now in a land where torchlights is no good. Overcome by a dull market, a financial depression and a reserved central committee, he ate a package of Rough on Rats, and passed up the flume. He is now at rest over yonder.

“Such instances would be common if we encouraged the eccentric economy of official cranks. It is an evil that is gnawing at the vitals of the republic. We must squench it or get left. There are millions of dollars in this country, Mr. Chairman, that, if we keep it out of the campaign, will get into the hands of the working classes, and then you and I, Mr. Chairman, and gentlemen of the convention, can starve to death. Keep the campaign money away from the soulless hired man, gentlemen, or good-bye John.

“Mr. Chairman, excuse my emotion! It is almighty seldom that I make a speech, but when I do, I strive to get there with both feet. We must either work the campaign funds into their legitimate channels, or every blamed patriot within the sound of my voice will have to fasten on a tin bill and rustle for angle-worms amongst the hens. You hear me?”

[Terrific applause, during which the delicate odor of enthusiasm was noticed on the breath of the entire delegation.]

A Goat in a Frame

Laramie has a seal brown goat, with iron gray chin whiskers and a breath like new mown hay.

He has not had as hard a winter as the majority of stock on the Rocky mountains, because he is of a domestic turn of mind and tries to make man his friend. Though social in his nature, he never intrudes himself on people after they have intimated with a shotgun that they are weary of him.

When the world seems cold and dark to him, and everybody turns coldly away from him, he does not steal away by himself and die of corroding grief; he just lies down on the sidewalk in the sun and fills the air with the seductive fragrance of which he is the sole proprietor.

One day, just as he had eaten his midday meal of boot heels and cold sliced atmosphere and kerosene barrel staves, he saw a man going along the street with a large looking glass under his arm.

The goat watched the man, and saw him set the mirror down by a gate and go inside the house after some more things that he was moving. Then the goat stammered with his tail a few times and went up to see if he could eat the mirror.

When he got pretty close to it, he saw a hungry-looking goat apparently coming toward him, so he backed off a few yards and went for him. There was a loud crash, and when the man came out he saw a full length portrait of a goat with a heavy, black walnut frame around it, going down the street with a great deal of apparent relish.

Then the man said something derogatory about the goat, and seemed offended about something.

Goats are not timid in their nature and are easily domesticated.

There are two kinds of goat–the cashmere goat and the plain goat. The former is worked up into cashmere shawls and cashmere bouquet. The latter is not.

The cashmere bouquet of commerce is not made of the common goat. It is a good thing that it is not.

A goat that has always been treated with uniform kindness and never betrayed, may be taught to eat out of the hand. Also out of the flour barrel or the ice-cream freezer.

To a Married Man

Adelbert G. Grimes writes as follows: “I am a young man not yet twenty-two years of age. I am said to be rather attractive in appearance and a fluent conversationalist. Three years ago I very foolishly married and settled on a tree claim in Dakota, where we have three children, consisting of one pair of twins and an ordinary child, born by itself. We are a considerable distance from town, and to remain at home during the winter with no company besides my wife and children is very irksome, especially as my wife has never had the advantages that I have in the way of society. Her conversational powers are very inferior, and I cannot bear to remain at home very much. So I go to town, where I can meet my equals and enjoy myself.

“I fear that this will lead to an estrangement, for, when I return at night, my wife’s nose is so red from sniveling all day that I can hardly bear to look at her. If there is anything in this world that I hate, it is a red-eyed, red-nosed woman who sheds tears on all occasions.

“Of course all this makes me irritable, and I say sharp things to her, as I have a wonderful command of language at such times. She surely cannot expect a young man twenty-two years old to stay at home day after day and listen to squalling children, when he is still in the heyday of life with joy beaming in his eye.

“Of course I do say things to my wife that I am afterward sorry for, but I made a great mistake in marrying the woman I did, and although some of my lady friends told me so at the time, I did not then believe it. Do you think I ought to bury myself on a tree claim with a woman far my inferior, while I have talents that would shine in the best of society? I am greatly distressed, and would willingly seek a legal separation if I knew how to go about it. Will you kindly advise me? What do you think of my penmanship?”

I hardly know how to advise you, Adelbert. You have got yourself into a place where you cannot do much but remain and take your medicine. Unfortunately, there are too many such young men as you are, Adelbert. You are young, and handsome, and smart. You casually admit this in your letter, I see. You have a social nature, and would shine in society. You also reluctantly confess this. That does not help you in my estimation, Adelbert. If you are a bright and shining light in society, you are probably a brunette fizzle as a husband. When you resolved to take a tree claim and make a home in Dakota, why didn’t you put your swallow-tail coat under the bed and retire from the giddy whirl and mad rush of society, the way your wife had to?

I dislike very much to speak to you in a plain, blunt way, Adelbert, being a total stranger to you, but when you convey the idea in your letter that you have made a great mistake in marrying at the age of nineteen, and marrying far beneath yourself, I am forced to agree with you. If, instead of marrying a young girl who didn’t know any better than to believe that you were a man, instead of a fractional one, you had come to me, and borrowed my revolver and blown out the fungus growth which you refer to as your brains, you would have bit it. Even now it is not too late. Yon can still come to me, and I will oblige you. You cannot do your wife a greater favor at this time than to leave her a widow, and the sooner you do so the less orphans there will be.

Did it ever occur to you, Adelbert, that your wife made a mistake also? Did it ever bore itself through your adamantine skull that it is not an unbroken round of gayety for a young girl to shut herself up in a lonesome house for three years, gradually acquiring children, and meantime being "sassed” by her husband because she is not a fluent conversationalist?

Wherein you offend me, Adelbert, is that you persist in breathing the air which human beings and other domestic animals more worthy than yourself are entitled to. There are too many such imitation men at large. There should be a law that would prohibit your getting up and walking on your hind legs and thus imposing on other mammals. If I could run the government for a few weeks, Adelbert, I would compel your style of zoological wonder to climb a tree and stay there.

So you married a woman who was far your inferior, did you? How did you do it? Where did you go to find a woman who could be your inferior and still keep out of the menagerie? Adelbert, I fear you do your wife a great injustice. With just barely enough vitality to hand your name down to posterity and blast the fair future of Dakota by leaving your trade-mark on future generations, you snivel and whine over your blasted life! If your life had been blasted a little harder twenty years ago, the life of your miserable little wife would have been less blasted.

If you had acquired a little more croup twenty years ago, Dakota would have been ahead. Why did you go on year after year, permitting people to believe you were a man, when you could have undeceived them in two minutes by crawling into a hollow log and remaining there?

Your penmanship is very good. It is better than your chances for a bright immortality beyond the grave. Write to me again whenever you feel lonesome or want advice. I was a young married man myself once, and I know what they have to endure. Up to the time of my marriage, I had never known a harsher tone than a flute note; my early life ran quiet as the clear brook by which I sported, and so on. I was a great belle in society, also. I attended all the swell balls and parties in our county for years. Wherever you found fair women and brave men tripping the light bombastic toe, you would also find me. “Sometimes I played second violin, and sometimes I called off.”

To an Embryo Poet

The following correspondence is now given to the press for the first time, with the consent of the parties:

Wm. Nye, Esq.–Dear Sir-I am a young man, 20 years of age, with fair education and a strong desire to succeed. I have done some writing for the press, having written up a very nice article on progressive euchre, which was a great success and published in our home paper, But it was not copied so much in other papers as I would like to have saw it, and I take my pen in hand at this time to write and ask you what there is in the article enclosed that prevents its being copied abroad all over our broad land. I write just as I hope you would feel perfectly free to write me at any time. I think that writers ought to aid each other. Yours with kind regards,

Algernon L. Tewey.

P.O. Box 202.

I have carefully read and pondered over the dissertation on progressive euchre which you send me, Algernon, and I cannot see why it should not be ravenously seized and copied by the press of the broad, wide land referred to in your letters. If you have time, perhaps it would be well enough to go to the leading journalists of our country and ask them what they mean by it. You might write till your vertebrae fell out of your clothes on the floor, and it would not do half so much good as a personal conference with the editors of America. First prepare your article, then go personally to the editors of the country and call them one by one out into the hall, in a current of cold air, and explain the article to them. In that way you will form pleasant acquaintances and get solid with our leading journalists. You have no idea, Algernon, how lonely and desolate the life of a practical journalist is. Your fresh young face and your fresh young ways, and your charming grammatical improvisations, would delight an editor who has nothing to do from year to year but attend to his business.

Do not try to win the editors of America by writing poems beginning:

Now the merry goatlet jumps, And the trifling yaller dog, With the tin can madly humps Like an acrobatic frog.

At times you will be tempted to write such stuff as this, and mark it with a large blue pencil and send it to the papers of the country, but that is not a good way to do.

Seriously, Algernon, I would suggest that you make a bold dash for success by writing things that other people are not writing, thinking things that other people are not thinking, and saying things that other people are not saying. You will say that this advice is easier to give than to take, and I agree with you. But the tendency of the age is to wear the same style of collar and coat and hat that every other man wears, and to talk and write like other men; and to be frank with you, Algernon, I think it is an infernal shame. If you will look carefully about you, you will see that the preacher, who is talking mostly to dusty pew cushions, is also the preacher who is thinking the thoughts of other men. He is “up-ending” his barrel of sermons annually, and they were made in the first place from the sermons of a man who also “up-ended” his barrel annually. Go where the preacher is talking to full houses, and you will discover that his sermons are full of humanity and originality. They are not written in a library by a man with interchangeable ideas, an automatic cog-wheel thinker, but they are prepared by a man who earnestly and honestly studies the great, aching heart of humanity, and full of sincerity, originality and old-fashioned Christianity, appeals to your better impulses.

How is it with our poetry? As a fellow-traveler and sea-sick tourist across life’s tempestuous tide, I ask you, Algernon, who is writing the poetry that will live? Is it the man who is sawing out and sandpapering stanzas of the same general dimensions as some other poet, in which he bewails the fact that he loved a tall, well-behaved, accomplished girl, sixteen hands high, who did not require his love?

Ah, no! He is not the poet whose terra cotta statue will stand in the cemetery, wearing a laurel wreath and a lumpy brow. Show me the poet who is intimate with nature and who studies the little joys and sorrows of the poor; who smells the clover and writes about live, healthy people with ideas and appetites. He is my poet.

I apologize for speaking so earnestly, Algernon, but I saw by your letter that you felt kindly toward me, and rather invited an expression of opinion on my part. So I have written more freely, perhaps, than I otherwise would. We are both writers. Measurably so, at least. You write on progressive euchre, and I write on anything that I can get hold of. So let us agree here and promise each other that, whatever we do, we will not think through the thinker of another man.

The Great Ruler of the universe has made and placed upon the earth a good many millions of men, but He never made any two of them exactly alike. We may differ from every one of the countless millions who have preceded us, and still be safe. Even you and I, Algernon, may agree in many matters, and yet be very dissimilar. At least I hope so, and I presume you do also.

Eccentricities of Genius

Alfonso Quanturnernit Dowdell, Frumenti, Ohio, writes to know something of the effects of alcohol on the brain of an adult, being evidently apprehensive that some day he may become an adult himself He says:

“I would be glad to know whether or not you think that liquor stimulates the brain to do better literary work. I have been studying the personal history of Edgar A. Poe, and learned through that medium that he was in the habit of drinking a good deal of liquor at times. I also read that George D. Prentice, who wrote ’The Closing Year,’ and other nice poems, was a hearty drinker. Will you tell me whether this is all true or not, and also what the effect of alcohol is on the brain of an adult?”

It is said on good authority that Edgar A. Poe ever and anon imbibed the popular beverages of his day and age, some of which contained alcohol. We are led to believe these statements because they remain as yet undenied. But Poe did a great deal of good in that way, for he set an example that has been followed ever since, more or less, by quite a number of poets’ apprentices who emulated Poe’s great gift as a drinker. These men, thinking that poesy and delirium tremens went hand in hand, became fluent drunkards early in their career, so that finally, instead of issuing a small blue volume of poems they punctuated a drunkard’s grave.

So we see that Poe did a great work aside from what he wrote. He opened up a way for these men which eradicated them, and made life more desirable for those who remained. He made it easy for those who thought genius and inebriation were synonymous terms to get to the hospital early in the day, while the overworked waste-basket might secure a few hours of much needed rest.

George D. Prentice has also done much toward weeding out a class of people who otherwise might have become disagreeable. It is better that these men who write under the influence of rum should fall into the hands of the police as early as possible. The police can handle them better than the editor can.

Do not try, Alfonso, to experiment in this way. Because Mr. Poe and Mr. Prentice could write beautiful and witty things between drinks, do not, oh do not imagine that you can begin that way and succeed at last.

The effect of alcohol on the brain of an adult is to congest it finally. Alcohol will sometimes congest the brain of an adult under the most trying and discouraging circumstances. I have frequently known it to scorch out and paralyze the brain in cases where other experiments had not been successful in showing the presence of a brain at all.

That is the reason why some people love to fool with this great chemical. It revives their suspicions regarding the presence of a brain.

The habits of literary men vary a good deal, for no two of them seem to care to adopt the same plan.

I have taken the liberty of showing here my own laboratory and methods of thought. This is from a drawing made by myself, and represents the writer in his study and in the act of thinking about a poem.

Last summer I wrote a large poem entitled, “Moanings of the Moist, Malarious Sea.” I have it still. The back of it has a memoranda on it in blue pencil from the leading editors of our broad land, but otherwise it is just as I wrote it.

The engraving represents me in the act of thinking about the poem, and what I will do with the money when I get it.

I am now preparing a poem entitled, “The Umbrella.” It is a dainty little bit of verse, and my hired man thinks it is a gem. I called it “The Umbrella” so that it would not be returned.

By looking at the drawing you will see the rapid change of expression on the face as the work goes on.

I give the drawing in order also, to show the rich furniture of the room. All poets do not revel in such gaudy trappings as I do, but I cannot write well in a bare and ill-furnished room. In these apartments there is also a window which does not show in the engraving. I have tried over and over again to write a poem in a room that had no window in it, but I cannot say that I ever wrote one under such circumstances that I thought would live.

You can do as you think best about furnishing your room as I have mine. You might, of course, succeed as well by writing in a plainer apartment, but I could not. All my poetical work that was done in the cramped and plainly furnished room that I formerly occupied over Knadler’s livery stable, was ephemeral.

It got into a few of the leading autograph albums of the country, but it never got into the papers.

I would not use alcohol, however. Poe and Prentice could use it, but I never could. After a long debauch, I could always work well enough on the street but I could not do literary work.

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