by Bill Nye

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Ah Sin was his name;
And I shall not deny,
In regard to the same,
What the name might imply:
But his smile it was pensive and childlike,
As I frequent remarked to Bill Nye.

–Bret Harte.


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

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

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

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

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

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

I cannot be responsible for the board of orphans whose parents read this book and leave their children in destitute circumstances.

Bill Nye

My School Days

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recollections of Noah Webster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Her Majesty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It will also promote the sale of your book.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Nye.

Habits of a Literary Man

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

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

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

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

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

Some literary people bathe before dressing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Father’s Letter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Father.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To the President-Elect.

Dear Sir.–The painful duty of turning over to you the administration of these United States and the key to the front door of the White House has been assigned to me. You will find the key hanging inside the storm-door, and the cistern-pole up stairs in the haymow of the barn. I have made a great many suggestions to the outgoing administration relative to the transfer of the Indian bureau from the department of the Interior to that of the sweet by-and-by. The Indian, I may say, has been a great source of annoyance to me, several of their number having jumped one of my most valuable mining claims on White river. Still, I do not complain of that. This mine, however, I am convinced would be a good paying property if properly worked, and should you at any time wish to take the regular army and such other help as you may need and re-capture it from our red brothers, I would be glad to give you a controlling interest in it.

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

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

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

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

Bill Nye.

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Sweeney’s Cat

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

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

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

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

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

At first she regarded it as a joke, and treated the matter very lightly, but later on she observed that the fly-paper stuck to her feet with great tenacity of purpose. Those who have never seen the look of surprise and deep sorrow that a cat wears when she finds herself glued to a whole sheet of fly-paper, cannot fully appreciate the way Dr. Mary Walker felt. She did not dash wildly through a $150 plate-glass window, as some cats would have done. She controlled herself and acted in the coolest manner, though you could have seen that mentally she suffered intensely. She sat down a moment to more fully outline a plan for the future. In doing so, she made a great mistake. The gesture resulted in glueing the fly-paper to her person in such a way that the edge turned up behind in the most abrupt manner, and caused her great inconvenience.

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

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

Dr. Mary Walker never returned to St. Paul, and her exact whereabouts are not known, though every effort was made to find her. Fragments of flypaper and brindle hair were found as far west as the Yellowstone National Park, and as far north as the British line, but the doctor herself was not found. My own theory is, that if she turned her bow to the west so as to catch the strong easterly gale on her quarter, with the sail she had set and her tail pointing directly toward the zenith, the chances for Dr. Mary Walker’s immediate return are extremely slim.

The Heyday of Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They Fell

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

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

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

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

“Think so?” said the sad Huerferno man.

“Yes, you entered into the description of rum’s maniac till I could almost see the red-eyed centipedes and tropical hornets in the air. How could you describe the jimjams so graphically?”

“Well, you see, I’m a reformed drunkard. Only a little while ago I was in the gutter.”

“So was I.”

“How long ago?”

“Week ago day after to-morrow.”

“Next Tuesday it’ll be a week since I quit.”

“Well, I swan!”

“Ain’t it funny?”


“It’s going to be a long, cold winter; don’t you think so?”

“Yes, I dread it a good deal.”

“It’s a comfort, though, to know that you never will touch rum again.”

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

When he said this he looked up at the other delegate, and they looked into each other’s eyes earnestly, as though each would read the other’s soul. Then the Huerferno man said:

“In fact, I never did care much for rum.”

Then there was a long pause.

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

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

“Have you got any antidote with you?”

“Yes, I’ve got some up in 232-1/2. If you’ll come up I’ll give you a dose.”

“There’s no rum in it, is there?”


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

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

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

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

Second Letter to the President

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Very respectfully yours,

Bill Nye.

[Dictated Letter.]

Milling in Pompeii

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

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

Office of Lucretius & Procalus, Dealers In Flour, Bran, Shorts, Middlings, Screenings, Etruscan Hen Feed, and Other Choice Bric-A-Brac.

Highest Cash Price Paid for Neapolitan Winter Wheat and Roman Corn

Why haul your Wheat through the sand to Herculaneum when we pay the same price here?

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

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

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

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

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

We desire to state to the farmers about Pompeii and Herculaneum that we aim to please. We desire to make a grade of flour this summer that will not have to be run through the coffee mill before it can be used. We will also pay you the highest price for good wheat, and give you good weight. Our capacity is now greatly enlarged, both as to storage and grinding. We now turn out a sack of flour, complete and ready for use, every little while. We have an extra handle for the mill, so that in case of accident to the one now in use, we need not shut down but a few moments. We call attention to our XXXX Git-there brand of flour. It is the best flour in the market for making angels’ food and other celestial groceries. We fully warrant it, and will agree that for every sack containing whole kernels of corn, corncobs, or other foreign substances, not thoroughly pulverized, we will refund the money already paid, and show the person through our mill.

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

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

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

Lucretius & Peocalus,

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

Broncho Sam

Speaking about cowboys, Sam Stewart, known from Montana to Old Mexico as Broncho Sam, was the chief. He was not a white man, an Indian, a greaser or a negro, but he had the nose of an Indian warrior, the curly hair of an African, and the courtesy and equestrian grace of a Spaniard. A wide reputation as a “broncho breaker” gave him his name.

To master an untamed broncho and teach him to lead, to drive and to be safely-ridden was Sam’s mission during the warm weather when he was not riding the range. His special delight was to break the war-like heart of the vicious wild pony of the plains and make him the servant of man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It took Sam four days to walk back.

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

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

How Evolution Evolves

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

Some Features Of Evolution.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hours With Great Men

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Concerning Coroners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once he charged the county with an inquest he felt sure of, but in the night the patient got delirious, eluded his nurse, the physician and coroner, and fled to the foot-hills, where he was taken care of and finally recovered.

The experiences of some of the patients who escaped from this man read more like fiction than fact. One man revived during the inquest, knocked the foreman of the jury through the window, kicked the coroner in the stomach, fed him a bottle of violet ink, and, with a shriek of laughter, fled. He is now traveling under an assumed name with a mammoth circus, feeding his bald head to the African lion twice a day at $9 a week and found.

Down East Rum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Railway Etiquette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

B. Franklin, Deceased

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

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

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

How many of us to-day, fellow journalists, would be willing to stay in jail while the lawn festival and the kangaroo came and went? Who, of all our company, would go to a prison cell for the cause of freedom while a double-column ad. of sixteen aggregated circuses, and eleven congresses of ferocious beasts, fierce and fragrant from their native lair, went by us?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life Insurance as a Health Restorer

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

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

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

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

The Opium Habit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Paternal Correspondence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Father.

Twombley’s Tale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then there was a long pause.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then I suggested a desperate plan. We would elope!

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

On Cyclones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Arabian Language

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Verona has an ancient skating rink, known in history as the amphitheatre, It is 404-1/2 feet by 516 in size, and the wall is still 100 feet high in places. The people of Verona wanted me to lecture there, but I refrained. I was afraid that some late comers might elbow their way in and leave one end of the amphitheatre open and then there would be a draft. I will speak more fully on the subject of amphitheatres in another letter. There isn’t room in this one.

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

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

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

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

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

A Great Upheaval

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

William Nye, Esq.–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours, with great respect,

William Lemons.

The Weeping Woman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Incidentally I asked her what authors she read mostly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Crops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Literary Freaks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Father’s Advice to His Son

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So good-bye for this time.

Your Father.

Eccentricity in Lunch

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

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

“But doesn’t it impair your trade to run on in this wild, reckless way about your cigars?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Insomnia in Domestic Animals

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

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

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

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

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

After I had introduced myself to the physician and asked him for a cigar, explaining that I could not find any in the clothes I had on, I asked him about Lucretia Borgia. I told the doctor how Lucretia seemed restless nights and nervous and irritable days, and how he seemed to be almost a mental wreck, and asked him what the trouble was.

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

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

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

Along Lake Superior

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Tried Milling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Forefathers

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

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

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

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

Not much!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Acknowledgement.

To The Metropolitan Guide Publishing Co., New York.

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

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

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

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

Your revelations in the liquor manufacture, and how to make any mixed drink with one hand tied, is well worth the price of the book. The chapter on bar etiquette is also excellent. Very few men know how to properly enter a bar-room and what to do after they arrive. How to get into a bar-room without attracting attention, and how to get out without police interference, are points upon which our American drunkards are lamentably ignorant. How to properly address a bar tender, is also a page that no student of good breeding could well omit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preventing a Scandal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Portraits

Hudson, Wis., August 25, 1885.

Hon. William F. Vilas, Postmaster-General, Washington, D.C.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Nye.

The Old South

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knights of the Pen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Wild Cow

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

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

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

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

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

Spinal Meningitis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Skimming the Milky Way


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


This luminous body is 92,000,000 miles from the earth, though there have been mornings this winter when it seemed to me that it was further than that. A railway train going at the rate of 40 miles per hour would be 263 years going there, to say nothing of stopping for fuel or water, or stopping on side tracks to wait for freight trains to pass. Several years ago it was discovered that a slight error had been made in the calculations of the sun’s distance from the earth, and, owing to a misplaced logarithm, or something of that kind, a mistake of 3,000,000 miles was made in the result. People cannot be too careful in such matters. Supposing that, on the strength of the information contained in the old time-table, a man should start out with only provisions sufficient to take him 89,000,000 miles and should then find that 3,0000,000 miles still stretched out ahead of him. He would then have to buy fresh figs of the train boy in order to sustain life. Think of buying nice fresh figs on a train that had been en route 250 years!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Thrilling Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catching a Buffalo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Adams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Wail Of A Wife.

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

“–– Vt., Feb. 28, 1885.

My Dear Sir:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

No, Ethel, if you married expecting to be a dormant partner during the day and then to go through Mr. Ethel’s pantaloons pocket at night and declare a dividend, of course life is full of bitter, bitter regret and disappointment. Perhaps it is also for Mr. Ethel. Anyhow, I can’t help feeling a pang of sympathy for him. You do not say that he is unkind or that he so far forgets himself as to wake you up in the morning with a harsh tone of voice and a yearling club. You do not say that he asks you for pocket-money, or, if so, whether you give it to him or not.

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

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

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

Bunker Hill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Stand, the ground’s your own, my braves! Will ye give it up to slaves?”

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

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

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

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

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

Boston has just reason to be proud of Bunker Hill, and it was certainly a great stroke of enterprise to have the battle located there. Bunker Hill is dear to every American heart, and there are none of us who would not have cheerfully gone into the battle then if we had known about it in time.

A Lumber Camp

I have just returned from a little impromptu farewell tour in the lumber camps toward Lake Superior. It was my idea to wade around in the snow for a few weeks and swallow baked beans and ozone on the 1/2 shell. The affair was a success. I put up at Bootjack camp on the raging Willow River, where the gay-plumaged chipmunk and the spruce gum have their home.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Lecture Abroad

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

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

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

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

I shall appear in costume during the lecture.

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

Persons attending the lecture need not be identified.

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Nye, at the beginning of the season, offered a prize to anyone who should neither be absent nor tardy through the entire six weeks. After some hot discussion last evening, the prize was awarded to the janitor of the hall.

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

The Miner at Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Operatic Entertainment

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

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

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

But I am wandering. We were speaking of the Festival. Theodore Thomas is certainly a great leader. What a pity he is out of politics. He pounded the air all up fine there, Thursday. I think he has 25 small-size fiddles, 10 medium-size, and 5 of those big, fat ones that a bald-headed man generally annoys. Then there were a lot of wind instruments, drums, et cetera. There were 600 performers on the stage, counting the chorus, with 4,500 people in the house and 3,000 outside yelling it the ticket office–also at the top of their voices–and swearing because they couldn’t mortgage their immortal souls and hear Nilsson’s coin silver notes. It was frightful. The building settled twelve inches in those two hours and a half, the electric lights went out nine times for refreshments, and, on the whole, the entertainment was a grand success. The first time the lights adjourned, an usher came in on the stage through a side entrance with a kerosene lamp. I guess he would have stood there and held it for Nilsson to sing by, if 4,500 people hadn’t with one voice laughed him out into the starless night. You might as well have tried to light benighted Africa with a white bean. I shall never forget how proud and buoyant he looked as he sailed in with that kerosene lamp with a soiled chimney on it, and how hurt and grieved he seemed when he took it and groped his way out, while the Coliseum trembled with ill-concealed merriment. I use the term “ill-concealed merriment” with permission of the proprietors, for this season only.

Dogs and Dog Days

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

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

I wot not.

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

But again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christopher Columbus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accepting the Laramie Postoffice

Office of Daily Boomerang, Laramie City, Wy., Aug. 9, 1882.

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

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

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

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

My general information is far beyond my years.

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

I remain, sincerely yours,

Bill Nye, P.M.

Gen. Frank Hatton, Washington, D.C.

A Journalistic Tenderfoot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why was it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Amateur Carpenter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Average Hen

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

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

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

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

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

When the adult hen in my presence expresses a desire to set I excuse myself and go away. That is the supreme moment when a hen desires to be alone. That is no time for me to introduce my shallow levity, I never do it is after death that I most fully appreciate the hen. When she has been cut down early in life and fried I respect her. No one can look upon the still features of a young hen overtaken by death in life’s young morning, snuffed out as it were, like an old tin lantern in a gale of wind, without being visibly affected.

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

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

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

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

Woodtick William’s Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Monday he sailed in about 9 A.M. with his grip-sack, and begun the discharge of his juties.

“He brought in a bunch of mountain-willers, and, after driving a big railroad-spike into the door-casing, over the latch, he said the senate and house would sit with closed doors during the morning session. Several large, white-eyed holy terrors gazed at him in a kind of dumb, inquiring tone of voice, but he didn’t say much. He seemed considerably reserved as to the plan of the campaign. The new teacher then unlocked his alligator-skin grip, and took out a Bible and a new self-cocking weepon that had an automatic dingus for throwing out the empty shells. It was one of the bull-dog variety, and had the laugh of a joyous child.

“He read a short passage from the Scriptures, and then pulled off his coat and hung it on a nail. Then he made a few extemporaneous remarks, after which he salivated the palm of his right hand, took the self-cocking songster in his left, and proceeded to wear out the gads over the varied protuberances of his pupils.

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

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

In Washington

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

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

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

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

“Ah,” said he, “it is indeed rough!”

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

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

I danced with a beautiful young lady whose trail had evidently caught in a doorway. She hadn’t noticed it till she had walked out partially through her costume.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Experience as an Agriculturist

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

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

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

One morning late in the month, however, I saw a cut-worm come out from behind a cabbage stump and take off his ear muff. He was a little stiff in the joints, but he had not lost hope. I saw at once now was the time to assist him if I had a spark of humanity left. I searched every work I could find on agriculture to find out what it was that farmers fed their blamed cut-worms, but all scientists seemed to be silent. I read the agricultural reports, the dictionary, and the encyclopedia, but they didn’t throw any light on the subject. I got wild. I feared that I had brought but one cut-worm through the winter, and I was liable to lose him unless I could find out what to feed him. I asked some of my neighbors, but they spoke jeeringly and sarcastically. I know now how it was. All their cut-worms had frozen down last winter, and they couldn’t bear to see me get ahead.

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

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

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

A New Autograph Album

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Resign

Postoffice Divan, Laramie City, W.T., Oct. 1, 1883.

To the President of the United States:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tears are unavailing. I once more become a private citizen, clothed only with the right to read such postal cards as may be addressed to me personally, and to curse the inefficiency of the postoffice department. I believe the voting class to be divided into two parties, viz: Those who are in the postal service, and those who are mad because they cannot receive a registered letter every fifteen minutes of each day, including Sunday.

Mr. President, as an official of this Government I now retire. My term of office would not expire until 1886. I must, therefore, beg pardon for my eccentricity in resigning. It will be best, perhaps, to keep the heart-breaking news from the ears of European powers until the dangers of a financial panic are fully past. Then hurl it broadcast with a sickening thud.

My Mine

I have decided to sacrifice another valuable piece of mining property this spring. It would not be sold if I had the necessary capital to develop it. It is a good mine, for I located it myself. I remember well the day I climbed up on the ridge-pole of the universe and nailed my location notice to the eaves of the sky.

It was in August that I discovered the Vanderbilt claim in a snow-storm. It cropped out apparently a little southeast of a point where the arc of the orbit of Venus bisects the milky way, and ran due east eighty chains, three links and a swivel, thence south fifteen paces and a half to a blue spot in the sky, thence proceeding west eighty chains, three links of sausage and a half to a fixed star, thence north across the lead to place of beginning.

The Vanderbilt set out to be a carbonate deposit, but changed its mind. I sent a piece of the cropping to a man over in Salt Lake, who is a good assayer and quite a scientist, if he would brace up and avoid humor. His assay read as follows to-wit:

Salt Lake City, U.T., August 25, 1877.

Mr. Bill Nye:–Your specimen of ore No. 35832, current series, has been submitted to assay and shows the following result:

Metal. Ounces. Value per ton.

Gold – – Silver – – Railroad iron 1 – Pyrites of poverty 9 – Parasites of disappointment 90 –

McVicker, Assayer.

Note.–I also find that the formation is igneous, prehistoric and erroneous. If I were you I would sink a prospect shaft below the vertical slide where the old red brimstone and preadamite slag cross-cut the malachite and intersect the schist. I think that would be schist about as good as anything you could do. Then send me specimens with $2 for assay and we shall see what we shall see.

Well, I didn’t know he was “an humorist,” you see, so I went to work on the Vanderbilt to try and do what Mac. said. I sank a shaft and everything else I could get hold of on that claim. It was so high that we had to carry water up there to drink when we began and before fall we had struck a vein of the richest water you ever saw. We had more water in that mine than the regular army could use.

When we got down sixty feet I sent some pieces of the pay streak to the assayer again. This time he wrote me quite a letter, and at the same time inclosed the certificate of assay.

Salt Lake City, U.T., October 3, 1877.

Mr. Bill Nye:–Your specimen of ore No. 36132, current series, has been submitted to assay and shows the following result:

Metal. Ounces. Value per ton. Gold – – Silver – – Stove polish trace .01 Old gray whetstone trace .01 Bromide of axle grease stain – Copperas trace 5c worth Blue vitrol trace 5c worth

McVicker, Assayer.

In the letter he said there was, no doubt, something in the claim if I could get the true contact with calcimine walls denoting a true fissure. He thought I ought to run a drift. I told him I had already run adrift.

Then he said to stope out my stove polish ore and sell it for enough to go on with the development. I tried that, but capital seemed coy. Others had been there before me and capital bade me soak my head and said other things which grated harshly on my sensitive nature.

The Vanderbilt mine, with all its dips, spurs, angles, variations, veins, sinuosities, rights, titles, franchises, prerogatives and assessments is now for sale. I sell it in order to raise the necessary funds for the development of the Governor of North Carolina. I had so much trouble with water in the Vanderbilt, that I named the new claim the Governor of North Carolina, because he was always dry.

Mush and Melody

Lately I have been giving a good deal of attention to hygiene–in other people. The gentle reader will notice that, as a rule, the man who gives the most time and thought to this subject is an invalid himself; just as the young theological student devotes his first sermon to the care of children, and the ward politician talks the smoothest on the subject of how and when to plant ruta-bagas or wean a calf from the parent stem.

Having been thrown into the society of physicians a great deal the past two years, mostly in the role of patient, I have given some study to the human form; its structure and idiosyncracies, as it were. Perhaps few men in the same length of time have successfully acquired a larger or more select repertoire of choice diseases than I have. I do not say this boastfully. I simply desire to call the attention of our growing youth to the glorious possibilities that await the ambitious and enterprising in this line.

Starting out as a poor boy, with few advantages in the way of disease, I have resolutely carved my way up to the dizzy heights of fame as a chronic invalid and drug-soaked relic of other days. I inherited no disease whatever. My ancestors were poor and healthy. They bequeathed me no snug little nucleus of fashionable malaria such as other boys had. I was obliged to acquire it myself. Yet I was not discouraged. The results have shown that disease is not alone the heritage of the wealthy and the great. The poorest of us may become eminent invalids if we will only go at it in the right way. But I started out to say something on the subject of health, for there are still many common people who would rather be healthy and unknown than obtain distinction with some dazzling new disease.

Noticing many years ago that imperfect mastication and dyspepsia walked hand in hand, so to speak, Mr. Gladstone adopted in his family a regular mastication scale; for instance, thirty-two bites for steak, twenty-two for fish, and so forth. Now I take this idea and improve upon it. Two statesmen can always act better in concert if they will do so.

With Mr. Gladstone’s knowledge of the laws of health and my own musical genius, I have hit on a way to make eating not only a duty, but a pleasure. Eating is too frequently irksome. There is nothing about it to make it attractive.

What we need is a union of mush and melody, if I may be allowed that expression. Mr. Gladstone has given us the graduated scale, so that we know just what metre a bill of fare goes in as quick as we look at it. In this way the day is not far distant when music and mastication will march down through the dim vista of years together.

The Baked Bean Chant, the Vermicelli Waltz, the Mush and Milk March, the sad and touchful Pumpkin Pie Refrain, the gay and rollicking Oxtail Soup Gallop, and the melting Ice Cream Serenade will yet be common musical names.

Taking different classes of food, I have set them to music in such a way that the meal, for instance, may open with a Soup Overture, to be followed by a Roast Beef March in C, and so on, closing with a kind of Mince Pie La Somnambula pianissimo in G. Space, of course, forbids an extended description of this idea as I propose to carry it out, but the conception is certainly grand. Let us picture the jaws of a whole family moving in exact time to a Strauss waltz on the silent remains of the late lamented hen, and we see at once how much real pleasure may be added to the process of mastication.

The Blase Young Man

I have just formed the acquaintance of a blase young man. I have been on an extended trip with him. He is about twenty-two years old, but he is already weary of life. He was very careful all the time never to be exuberant. No matter how beautiful the landscape, he never allowed himself to exube.

Several times I succeeded in startling him enough to say “Ah!” but that was all. He had the air all the time of a man who had been reared in luxury and fondled so much in the lap of wealth that he was weary of life, and yearned for a bright immortality. I have often wished that the pruning-hook of time would use a little more discretion. The blase young man seemed to be tired all the time. He was weary of life because life was hollow.

He seemed to hanker for the cool and quiet grave. I wished at times that the hankering might have been more mutual. But what does a cool, quiet grave want of a young man who never did anything but breathe the nice pure air into his froggy lungs and spoil it for everybody else?

This young man had a large grip-sack with him which he frequently consulted. I glanced into it once while he left it open. It was not right, but I did it. I saw the following articles in it:

31 Assorted Neckties.
 1 pair Socks (whole).
 1 pair do. (not so whole).
17 Collars.
 1 Shirt
 1 quart Cuff-Buttons.
 1 suit discouraged Gauze Underwear.
 1 box Speckled Handkerchiefs.
 1 box Condition Powders.
 1 Toothbrush (prematurely bald).
 1 copy Martin F. Tupper’s Works.
 1 box Prepared Chalk.
 1 Pair Tweezers for encouraging Moustache to come out to breakfast.
 1 Powder Rag.
 1 Gob ecru-colored Taffy.
 1 Hair-brush, with Ginger Hair in it.
 1 Pencil to pencil Moustache at night.
 1 Bread and Milk Poultice to put on Moustache on retiring, so that it will
    not forget to come out again the next day.
 1 Box Trix for the breath.
 1 Box Chloride of Lime to use in case breath becomes unmanageable.
 1 Ear-spoon (large size).
 1 Plain Mourning Head for Cane.
 1 Vulcanized Rubber Head for Cane (to bite on).
 1 Shoe-horn to use in working Ears into Ear-Muffs.
 1 Pair Corsets.
 1 Dark-brown Wash for Mouth, to be used in the morning.
 1 Large Box Ennui, to be used in Society.
 1 Box Spruce Gum, made in Chicago and warranted pure.
 1 Gallon Assorted Shirt Studs.
 1 Polka-dot Handkerchief to pin in side pocket, but not for nose.
 1 Plain Handkerchief for nose.
 1 Fancy Head for Cane (morning).
 1 Fancy Head for Cane (evening).
 1 Picnic Head for Cane.
 1 Bottle Peppermint.
 1 do. Catnip.
 1 Waterbury Watch.
 7 Chains for same.
 1 Box Letter Paper.
 1 Stick Sealing Wax (baby blue).
 1 do     “   (Bismarck brindle).
 1 do     “   (mashed gooseberry).
 1 Seal for same.
 1 Family Crest (wash-tub rampant on a field calico).

There were other little articles of virtu and bric-a-brac till you couldn’t rest, but these were all that I could see thoroughly before he returned from the wash-room.

I do not like the blase young man as a traveling companion. He is nix bonum. He is too E pluribus for me. He is not de trop or sciatica enough to suit my style.

If he belonged to me I would picket him out somewhere in a hostile Indian country, and then try to nerve myself up for the result.

It is better to go through life reading the signs on the ten-story buildings and acquiring knowledge, than to dawdle and “Ah!” adown our pathway to the tomb and leave no record for posterity except that we had a good neck to pin a necktie upon. It is not pleasant to be called green, but I would rather be green and aspiring than blase and hide-bound at nineteen.

Let us so live that when at last we pass away our friends will not be immediately and uproariously reconciled to our death.

History of Babylon

The history of Babylon is fraught with sadness. It illustrates, only too painfully, that the people of a town make or mar its success rather than the natural resources and advantages it may possess on the start.

Thus Babylon, with 3,000 years the start of Minneapolis, is to-day a hole in the ground, while Minneapolis socks her XXXX flour into every corner of the globe, and the price of real estate would make a common dynasty totter on its throne.

Babylon is a good illustration of the decay of a town that does not keep up with the procession. Compare her to-day with Kansas City. While Babylon was the capital of Chaldea, 1,270 years before the birth of Christ, and Kansas City was organized so many years after that event that many of the people there have forgotten all about it, Kansas City has doubled her population in ten years, while Babylon is simply a gothic hole in the ground.

Why did trade and emigration turn their backs upon Babylon and seek out Minneapolis, St. Paul, Kansas City and Omaha? Was it because they were blest with a bluer sky or a more genial sun? Not by any means. While Babylon lived upon what she had been and neglected to advertise, other towns with no history extending back into the mouldy past, whooped with an exceeding great whoop and tore up the ground and shed printers’ ink and showed marked signs of vitality. That is the reason that Babylon is no more.

This life of ours is one of intense activity. We cannot rest long in idleness without inviting forgetfulness, death and oblivion. “Babylon was probably the largest and most magnificent city of the ancient world." Isaiah, who lived about 300 years before Herodotus, and whose remarks are unusually free from local or political prejudice, refers to Babylon as "the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldic’s excellency,” and, yet, while Cheyenne has the electric light and two daily papers, Babylon hasn’t got so much as a skating rink.

A city fourteen miles square with a brick wall around it 355 feet high, she has quietly forgotten to advertise, and in turn she, also, is forgotten.

Babylon was remarkable for the two beautiful palaces, one on each side of the river, and the great temple of Belus. Connected with one of these palaces was the hanging garden, regarded by the Greeks as one of the seven wonders of the world, but that was prior to the erection of the Washington monument and civil service reform.

This was a square of 400 Greek feet on each side. The Greek foot was not so long as the modern foot introduced by Miss Mills, of Ohio. This garden was supported on several tiers of open arches, built one over the other, like the walls of a classic theatre, and sustaining at each stage, or story, a solid platform from which the arches of the next story sprung. This structure was also supported by the common council of Babylon, who came forward with the city funds, and helped to sustain the immense weight.

It is presumed that Nebuchadnezzar erected this garden before his mind became affected. The tower of Belus, supposed by historians with a good memory to have been 600 feet high, as there is still a red chalk mark in the sky where the top came, was a great thing in its way. I am glad I was not contiguous to it when it fell, and also that I had omitted being born prior to that time.

“When we turn from this picture of the past,” says the historian, Rawlinson, referring to the beauties of Babylon, “to contemplate the present condition of these localities, we are at first struck with astonishment at the small traces which remain of so vast and wonderful a metropolis. The broad walls of Babylon are utterly broken down. God has swept it with the besom of destruction.”

One cannot help wondering why the use of the besom should have been abandoned. As we gaze upon the former site of Babylon we are forced to admit that the new besom sweeps clean. On its old site no crumbling arches or broken columns are found to indicate her former beauty. Here and there huge heaps of debris alone indicate that here Godless wealth and wicked, selfish, indolent, enervating, ephemeral pomp, rose and defied the supreme laws to which the bloated, selfish millionaire and the hard-handed, hungry laborer alike must bow, and they are dust to-day.

Babylon has fallen. I do not say this in a sensational way or to depreciate the value of real estate there, but from actual observation, and after a full investigation, I assent without fear of successful contradiction, that Babylon has seen her best days. Her boomlet is busted, and, to use a political phrase, her oriental hide is on the Chaldean fence.

Such is life. We enter upon it reluctantly; we wade through it doubtfully, and die at last timidly. How we Americans do blow about what we can do before breakfast, and, yet, even in our own brief history, how we have demonstrated what a little thing the common two-legged man is. He rises up rapidly to acquire much wealth, and if he delays about going to Canada he goes to Sing Sing, and we forget about him. There are lots of modern Babylonians in New York City to-day, and if it were my business I would call their attention to it. The assertion that gold will procure all things has been so common and so popular that too many consider first the bank account, and after that honor, home, religion, humanity and common decency. Even some of the churches have fallen into the notion that first comes the tall church, then the debt and mortgage, the ice cream sociable and the kingdom of Heaven. Cash and Christianity go hand in hand sometimes, but Christianity ought not to confer respectability on anybody who comes into the church to purchase it.

I often think of the closing appeal of the old preacher, who was more earnest than refined, perhaps, and in winding up his brief sermon on the Christian life, said: “A man may lose all his wealth and get poor and hungry and still recover, he may lose his health and come down close to the dark stream and still git well again, but, when he loses his immortal soul it is good-bye John.”

Lovely Horrors

I dropped in the other day to see New York’s great congress of wax figures and soft statuary carnival. It is quite a success. The first thing you do on entering is to contribute to the pedestal fund. New York this spring is mostly a large rectangular box with a hole in the top, through which the genial public is cordially requested to slide a dollar to give the goddess of liberty a boom.

I was astonished and appalled at the wealth of apertures in Gotham through which I was expected to slide a dime to assist some deserving object. Every little while you run into a free-lunch room where there is a model ship that will start up and operate if you feed it with a nickle. I never visited a town that offered so many inducements for early and judicious investments as New York.

But we were speaking of the wax works. I did not tarry long to notice the presidents of the United States embalmed in wax, or to listen to the band of lutists who furnished music in the winter garden. I ascertained where the chamber of horrors was located, and went there at once. It is lovely. I have never seen a more successful aggregation of horrors under one roof and at one price of admission.

If you want to be shocked at cost, or have your pores opened for a merely nominal price, and see a show that you will never forget as long as you live, that is the place to find it. I never invested my money so as to get so large a return for it, because I frequently see the whole show yet in the middle of the night, and the cold perspiration ripples down my spinal column just as it did the first time I saw it.

The chamber of horrors certainly furnishes a very durable show. I don’t think I was ever more successfully or economically horrified.

I got quite nervous after a while, standing in the dim religious light watching the lovely horrors. But it is the saving of money that I look at most. I have known men to pay out thousands of dollars for a collection of delirium tremens and new-laid horrors no better than these that you get on week days for fifty cents and on Sundays for two bits. Certainly New York is the place where you get your money’s worth.

There are horrors there in that crypt that are well worth double the price of admission. One peculiarity of the chamber of horrors is that you finally get nervous when anyone touches you, and you immediately suspect that he is a horror who has come out of his crypt to get a breath of fresh air and stretch his legs.

That is the reason I shuddered a little when I felt a man’s hand in my pocket. It was so unexpected, and the surroundings were such that I must have appeared startled. The man was a stranger to me, though I could see that he was a perfect gentleman. His clothes were superior to mine in every way, and he had a certain refinement of manners which betrayed his ill-concealed Knickerbocker lineage high.

I said, “Sir, you will find my fine cut tobacco in the other pocket.” This startled him so that he wheeled about and wildly dashed into the arms of a wax policeman near the door. When he discovered that he was in the clutches of a suit of second-hand clothes filled with wax, he seemed to be greatly annoyed and strode rapidly away.

I returned to view a chaste and truthful scene where one man had successfully killed another with a club. I leaned pensively against a column with my own spinal column, wrapped in thought.

Pretty soon a young gentleman from New Jersey with an Adam’s apple on him like a full-grown yam, and accompanied by a young lady also from the mosquito jungles of Jersey, touched me on the bosom with his umbrella and began to explain me to his companion.

“This,” said the Adam’s apple with the young man attached to it, “is Jesse James, the great outlaw chief from Missouri. How life-like he is. Little would you think, Emeline, that he would as soon disembowel a bank, kill the entire board of directors of a railroad company and ride off the rolling stock, as you would wrap yourself around a doughnut. How tender and kind he looks. He not only looks gentle and peaceful, but he looks to me as if he wasn’t real bright.”

I then uttered a piercing shriek and the young man from New Jersey went away. Nothing is so embarrassing to an eminent man as to stand quietly near and hear people discuss him.

But it is remarkable to see people get fooled at a wax show. Every day a wax figure is taken for a live man, and live people are mistaken for wax. I took hold of a waxen hand in one corner of the winter garden to see if the ring was a real diamond, and it flew up and took me across the ear in such a life-like manner that my ear is still hot and there is a roaring in my head that sounds very disagreeable, indeed.

The Bite of a Mad Dog

A “Family Physician,” published in 1883, says, for the bite of a mad dog: "Take ash-colored ground liverwort, cleaned, dried, and powdered, half an ounce; of black pepper, powdered, a quarter of an ounce. Mix these well together, and divide the powder into four doses, one of which must be taken every morning, fasting, for four mornings successively in half an English pint of cow’s milk, warm. After these four doses are taken, the patient must go into the cold bath, or a cold spring or river, every morning, fasting, for a month. He must be dipped all over, but not stay in (with his head above water) longer than half a minute if the water is very cold. After this he must go in three times a week for a fortnight longer. He must be bled before he begins to take the medicine.”

It is very difficult to know just what is best to do when a person is bitten by a mad dog, but my own advice would be to kill the dog. After that feel of the leg where bitten, and ascertain how serious the injury has been. Then go home and put on another pair of pantaloons, throwing away those that have been lacerated. Parties having but one pair of pantaloons will have to sequester themselves or excite remarks. Then take a cold bath, as suggested above, but do not remain in the bath (with the head above water) more than half an hour. If the head is under water, you may remain in the bath until the funeral, if you think best.

When going into the bath it would be well to take something in your pocket to bite, in case the desire to bite something should overcome you. Some use a common shingle-nail for this purpose, while others prefer a personal friend. In any event, do not bite a total stranger on an empty stomach. It might make you ill.

Never catch a dog by the tail if he has hydrophobia. Although that end of the dog is considered the most safe, you never know when a mad dog may reverse himself.

If you meet a mad dog on the street, do not stop and try to quell him with a glance of the eye. Many have tried to do that, and it took several days to separate the two and tell which was mad dog and which was queller.

The real hydrophobia dog generally ignores kindness, and devotes himself mostly to the introduction of his justly celebrated virus. A good thing to do on observing the approach of a mad dog is to flee, and remain fled until he has disappeared.

Hunting mad dogs in a crowded street is great sport. A young man with a new revolver shooting at a mad dog is a fine sight. He may not kill the dog, but he might shoot into a covey of little children and possibly get one.

It would be a good plan to have a balloon inflated and tied in the back yard during the season in which mad dogs mature, and get into it on the approach of the infuriated animal (get into the balloon, I mean, not the dog).

This plan would not work well, however, in case a cyclone should come at the same time. When we consider all the uncertainties of life, and the danger from hydrophobia, cyclones and breach of promise, it seems sometimes as though the penitentiary was the only place where a man could be absolutely free from anxiety.

If you discover that your dog has hydrophobia, it is absolutely foolish to try to cure him of the disease. The best plan is to trade him off at once for anything you can get. Do not stop to haggle over the price, but close him right out below cost.

Do not tie a tin can to the tail of a mad dog. It only irritates him, and he might resent it before you get the can tied on. A friend of mine, who was a practical joker, once sought to tie a tin can to the tail of a mad dog on an empty stomach. His widow still points with pride to the marks of his teeth on the piano. If mad dogs would confine themselves exclusively to practical jokers, I would be glad to endow a home for indigent mad dogs out of my own private funds.

Arnold Winkelreid

This great man lived in the old romantic days when it was a common thing for a patriot to lay down his life that his country might live. He knew not fear, and in his noble heart his country was always on top. Not alone at election did Arnold sacrifice himself, but on the tented field, where the buffalo grass was soaked in gore, did he win for himself a deathless name. He was as gritty as a piece of liver rolled in the sand. Where glory waited, there you would always find Arnold Winkelreid at the bat, with William Tell on deck.

One day the army of the tyrant got a scoop on the rebel mountaineers and it looked bad for the struggling band of chamois shooters. While Arnold’s detachment didn’t seem to amount to a hill of beans, the hosts of the tyrannical Austrian loomed up like six bits and things looked forbidding. It occurred to Colonel Winkelreid that the correct thing would be to break through the war front of the enemy, and then, while in his rear, crash in his cranium with a cross gun while he was looking the other way. Acting on this thought, he asked several of his most trusted men to break through the Austrian line, so that the balance of the command could pass through and slaughter enough of the enemy for a mess, but these men seemed a little reticent about doing so, owing to the inclemency of the weather and the threatening aspect of the enemy. The armed foe swarmed on every hillside and their burnished spears glittered below in the canon. You couldn’t throw a stone in any direction without hitting a phalanx. It was a good year for the phalanx business.

Then Arnold took off his suspenders, and, putting a fresh chew of tobacco in among his back teeth, he told his men to follow him and he would show them his little racket. Marching up to the solid line of lances, he gathered an armful and put them in the pit of his stomach, and, as he sank to the earth, he spoke in a shrill tone of voice to posterity, saying, "Clear the track for Liberty.” He then died.

His remains looked like a toothpick holder.

But he made way for Liberty, and his troops were victorious.

At the inquest it was shown that he might have recovered, had not the spears sat so hard on his stomach.

Probably A. Winkelreid will be remembered with gratitude long after the name of the Sweet Singer of Michigan shall have rotted in oblivion. He recognized and stuck to his proper spear. (This is a little mirthful deviation of my own.)

I can think of some men now, even in this $ age of the world, who could win glory by doing as A.W. did. They could offer themselves up. They could suffer for the right and have their names passed down to posterity, and it would be perfectly splendid.

But the heroes of to-day are different. They are just as courageous, but they take a wheelbarrow and push it from New York to San Francisco, or they starve forty days and forty nights and then eat watermelon and lecture, or they eat 800 snipe in 800 years, or get an inspiration and kill somebody with it.

The heroes of our day do not wear peaked hats and shoot chamois, and sass tyrants and knock the worm out of an apple at fifty-nine yards rise with a cross gun, as Tell did, but they know how to be loved by the people and get half of the gate money. They are brave, but not mortally. The heroes of our day all die of old age or political malaria.

Murray and the Mormons

Gov. Murray, the gritty Gentile governor of Utah, would be noticed in a crowd. He is very tall, yet well proportioned, square-built and handsome. He was called fine looking in Kentucky, but the narrow-chested apostle of the abnormally connubial creed does not see anything pretty about him. Murray moves about through Salt Lake City in a cool, self-possessed kind of way that is very annoying to the church. Full-bearded, with brown moustache and dark hair parted a little to leeward of center; clothed in a diagonal Prince Albert coat, a silk hat and other clothes, he strolls through Zion like a man who hasn’t got a yelping majority of ignorant lepers, led by a remorseless gang of nickel-plated apostles, thirsting for his young blood. I really believe he don’t care a continental. The days of the avenging angel and the meek-eyed Danite, carrying a large sock loaded with buckshot, are over, perhaps; but only those who try to be Gentiles in a land of polygamous wives and anonymous white-eyed children, know how very unpopular it is. Judge Goodwin, of the Tribune, feels lonesome if he gets through the day without a poorly spelled, spattered, daubed and profane valentine threatening his life. The last time I saw him he showed me a few of them. They generally referred to him as a blankety blank "skunk,” and a “hound of hell.” He said he hoped I wound pardon him for the apparent egotism, but he felt as though the Tribune was attracting attention almost everyday. Some of these little billet-doux invited him to call at a trysting place on Tribune avenue and get his alleged brains scattered over a vacant lot. Most all of them threatened him with a rectangular head, a tin ear, or a watch pocket under the eye He didn’t seem to care much. He felt pleased and proud. Goodwin was always pleased with things that other men didn’t like much. In the old days, when he and Mark Twain and Dan DeQuille were together, this was noticed in him. Gov. Murray is the same way. He feels the public pulse, and says to himself: "Sometime there’s going to be music here by the entire band, and I desire to be where I shan’t miss a note.”

There are people who think the Mormons will not fight. Perhaps not. They won’t if they are let alone, and allowed to fill the sage brush and line the banks of the Jordan with juvenile nom de plumes. They are peaceful while they may populate Utah and invade adjoining territories with their herds of ostensible wives and prattling progeny; while they can bring in every year via Castle Garden and the stock yards palace emigrant car, thousands of proselyted paupers from every pest house of Europe, and the free-love idiots of America. But when Murray gets an act of congress at his back and a squad of nervy, gamy, law-abiding monogamous assistants appointed by the president under that act of congress to knock crosswise and crooked the Jim Crow revelations of Utah and Mormondom, you will see the fur fly, and the fragrant follower of a false prophet will rise up William Riley and the regular army will feel lonesome. I asked a staff officer in one of the territories last summer what would be the result if the Mormons, with their home drill and their arms and their devotion to home and their fraudulent religion, should awake Nicodemas and begin to massacre the Gentiles, and the regular army should be sent over the Wasatch range to quell the trouble.

“Why,” said he, “the white-eyed followers of Mormonism would kill the regular army with clubs. You can wear out a tribe of hostile Indians when the grass gives out and the antelope hunts the foothills, but the Mormons make everything they eat, drink and wear. They don’t care whether there’s tariff or free trade. They can make everything from gunpowder to a knit undershirt, from a $250 revelation to a hand-made cocktail. When a church gets where it can make such cooking whisky as the Mormons do, it is time to call for volunteers and put down the hydra-headed monster.”

If congress don’t step on a technicality and fall down, it looks like amusement ahead, and if a District of Columbia rule, or martial law, or tocsin of war is the result, Gov. Murray is a good style of war governor. He isn’t the kind of a man to put on his wife’s gossamer cloak and meander over into Montana. He would give the matter his attention, and you would find him in the neighborhood when the national government decided to sit down on disorderly conduct in Utah. The first lever to be used will be the great wealth of which the Mormon church and its members privately are possessed. Then the oleaginous prophet will get a revelation to gird up his loins and to load the double-barrel shotgun, and fire the culverin, and to knock monogamy into a cocked hat. Money first and massacre second. They can draw on their revelation supply house at three days, any time, for authority to fill the irrigation ditches of Zion with the blood of the Gentile and feed his vital organs to the coyote.

About Geology

Geology is that branch of natural science which treats of the structure of the earth’s crust and the mode of formation of its rocks. It is a pleasant and profitable study, and to the man who has married rich and does not need to work, the amusement of busting geology with the Bible, or busting the Bible with geology is indeed a great boon.

Geology goes hand in hand with zoology, botany, physical geography and other kindred sciences. Taxidermy, chiropody and theology are not kindred sciences.

Geologists ascertain the age of the earth by looking at its teeth and counting the wrinkles on its horns. They have learned that the earth is not only of great age, but that it is still adding to its age from year to year.

It is hard to say very much of a great science in so short an article, and that is one great obstacle which I am constantly running against as a scientist.

I once prepared a paper in astronomy entitled “The Chronological History and Habits of the Spheres.” It was very exhaustive and weighed four pounds. I sent it to a scientific publication that was supposed to be working for the advancement of our race. The editor did not print it, but he wrote me a crisp and saucy postal card, requesting me to call with a dray and remove my stuff before the board of health got after it. In five short years from that time he was a corpse. As I write these lines, I learn with ill-concealed pleasure that he is still a corpse. An awful dispensation of Providence, in the shape of a large, wilted cucumber, laid hold upon his vitals and cursed him with an inward pain. He has since had the opportunity, by actual personal observation, to see whether the statements by me relating to astronomy were true. His last words were: "Friends, Romans and countrymen, beware of the q-cumber. It will w up.” It was not original, but it was good.

The four great primary periods of the earth’s history are as follows, viz, to-wit:

1. The Eozoic or dawn of life.

2. The Palaeozoic or period of ancient life.

3. The Mesozoic or middle period of life.

4. The Neozoic or recent period of life.

These are all subdivided again, and other words more difficult to spell are introduced into science, thus crowding out the vulgar herd who cannot afford to use the high priced terms in constant conversation.

Old timers state that the primitive condition of the earth was extremely damp. With the onward march of time, and after the lapse of millions of years, men found that they could get along with less and less water, until at last we see the pleasant, blissful state of things. Aside from the use of water at our summer resorts, that fluid is getting to be less and less popular. And even here at these resorts it is generally flavored with some foreign substance.

The earth’s crust is variously estimated in the matter of thickness. Some think it is 2,500 miles thick, which would make it safe to run heavy trains across the earth anywhere on top of a second mortgage, while other scientists say that if we go down one-tenth of that distance we will reach a place where the worm dieth not. I do not wish to express an opinion as to the actual depth or thickness of the earth’s crust, but I believe that it is none too thick to suit me.

Thickness in the earth’s crust is a mighty good fault. We estimate the age of certain strata of the earth’s formation by means of a union of our knowledge of plant and animal life, coupled with our geological research and a good memory. The older scientists in the field of geology do not rely solely upon the tracks of the hadrasaurus or the cornucopia for their data. They simply use these things to refresh their memory.

I wish that I had time and space to describe some of the beautiful bacteria and gigantic worms that formerly inhabited the earth. Such an aggregation of actual, living Silurian monsters, any one of which would make a man a fortune to-day, if it could be kept on ice and exhibited for one season only. You could take a full grown mastodon to-day, and with no calliope, no lithographs, no bearded lady, no clown with four pillows in his pantaloons and no iron-jawed woman, you could go across this continent and successfully compete with the skating rink.

There would be but one difficulty. Tour expenses would not be heavy. The mastodon would be willing to board around, and no one would feel like turning a mastodon out of doors if he seemed to be hungry; but he might get away from you and frolic away so far in one night that you couldn’t get him for a day or two, even if you sent a detective for him.

If I had a mastodon I would rather take him when he was young, and then I could make a pet of him, so that he could come and eat out of my hand without taking the hand off at the same time. A large mastodon weighing a hundred tons or so is awkward, too. I suppose that nothing is more painful than to be stepped on by an adult mastodon.

I hope at some future time to write a paper for the Academy of Science on the subject of “Deceased Fauna, Fossiliferous Debris and Extinct Jokes," showing how, when and why these early forms of animal life came to be extinct.

A Wallula Night

I have just returned after a short tour in the far West. I made the tour with my new lecture, which I am delivering this winter for the benefit, and under the auspices, of a young man who was a sufferer in the great rise-up-William-Biley-and-come-along-with-me cyclone, which occurred at Clear Lake, in this State, a year ago last September.

In said cyclone, said young man was severely caressed by the elements, and tipped over in such a way as to shatter the right leg, just below the gambrel joint. I therefore started out to deliver a few lectures for his benefit, and in so doing have made a 4,000 mile trip over the Northern Pacific railway, and the Oregon River and Navigation company’s road. On the former line the passenger is fed by means of the dining-car, a very good style of entertainment, indeed, and well worthy of the age in which we live; but at Wallula Junction I stopped over to catch a west-bound Oregon Railway and Navigation train.

That was where I fooled myself. I should have taken my valise and a rubber door mat from the sleeping-car, and crawled into the lee of a snow fence for the night. I did not give the matter enough thought. I just simply went into the hotel and registered my name as a man would in other hotels. This house was kept, or retained, I should say, by a relative of the late Mr. Shylock. You have heard, no doubt, how some of the American hotels have frowned on Mr. Shylock’s relatives. Well, Mr. Shylock’s family got even with the whole American people the night I stopped in No. 2, second floor of the Abomination of Desolation. As a representative of the American people, I received for my nation, vicariously, the stripes intended for many generations.

No. 2 is regarded as a room by people who have not been in it. By those who have, it is looked upon as a morgue.

When I stepped into it, I noticed an odor of the dead past. It made me shudder my overshoes off. The first thing that attracted my attention after I was left alone, was the fact that other people had occupied this room before I had, and, although they were gone, they had left a kind of an air of inferiority that clung to the alleged apartment, an air of plug tobacco and perspiration, if you will pardon the expression.

They had also left a pair of Venetian pantaloons. From this clue, my active brain at once worked out the problem and settled the fact that the party who had immediately preceded me was a man. Long and close study of the habits and characteristics of humanity has taught me to reason out these matters, and to reach accurate conclusions with astonishing rapidity.

He was not only a man, but he was a short man, with parenthetical legs and a thoughtful droop to the seat of his pants. I also discovered that more of this man’s life had been expended in sitting on a pitch pine log than in prayer.

One of his front teeth was gone, also. This I learned from a large cast of his mouth, shown on the end of a plug of tobacco still left in the pocket.

In Wallula there is a marked feeling of childlike trust and confidence between people. It is a feature of Wallula society, I may say. The people of the junction trust strangers to a remarkable extent. In what other town in this whole republic would a pair of pantaloons be thus left in the complete power of a total stranger, a stranger, too, to whom pantaloons were a great boon? I could easily have caught those pantaloons off the nail, thrust them into my bosom, and fled past the drowsy night clerk, out into the great, sheltering arms of the silent night, but I did not.

Anon through the long hours I would awake and listen fitfully to the wail of damned souls, as it seemed to me, the wail of those who tried to stay there a week, and had starved to death. Here was their favorite wailing place. Here was the place where damned souls seemed to throw aside all restraint and have a good time. I tried to keep out the sound by stuffing the pillow in my ear, but what is a cheap hotel pillow in a man’s ear, if he wants to keep the noise out.

So I lay there and listened to the soft sigh of the bath tub, the loud, defiant challenge of the athletic butler down stairs, the last weak death rattle in the throat of the coffee pot in the dining room, and the wail of the damned souls who had formerly stopped at this hotel, but who had been rescued at last, and had hilariously gone to perdition, only to come back at night and torment the poor guest by bragging over the superiority of hell as a refuge from the Wallula hotel.

Now and then in the night I would almost yield to a wild impulse and catch those pantaloons off the hook, to rush out and go to Canada with them, and then I would softly go through the pockets and hang them back again.

It was an awful night. When morning dawned at last, and I took the pillow out of my ear and looked in the delirious and soap-spattered mirror, I saw that my beautiful hair, which had been such a source of pride to me ten years ago, had disappeared in places. I paid my bill, called the attention of the landlord to the fact that I had not taken those pantaloons and ’betrayed’ his trust, and then I went away.

Flying Machines

A long and exhaustive examination of the history of flying machines enables me to give briefly some of the main points of a few, for the benefit of those who may be interested in this science. I give what I do in order to prepare the public to take advantage of the different methods, and be ready at once to fly as soon as the weather gets pleasant.

A Frenchman invented a flying-machine, or dofunny, as we scientists would term it, in 1600 and something, whereby he could sail down from the woodshed and not break his neck. He could not rise from the ground like a lark and trill a few notes as he skimmed through the sky, but he could fall off an ordinary hay stack like a setting hen, with the aid of his wings. His name was Besnier.

One hundred and twenty-five years after that a prisoner at Vienna, named Jacob Dagen, told the jailer that he could fly. The jailer seemed incredulous, and so Jake constructed a pair of double barrel umbrellas, that worked by hand, and fluttered with his machine into the air fifty feet. He came down in a direct line, and in doing so ran one of the umbrellas through his thorax. I am glad it is not the custom now to wear an umbrella in the thorax.

In England, during the present century, several inventors produced flying machines, but in an evil hour agreed to rise on them themselves, and so they died from their injuries. Some came down on top of the machines, while others preceded their inventions by a few feet, but the result was the same. The invention of flying machines has always been handicapped, as it were, by this fact Men invent a flying machine and then try to ride it and show it off, and thus they are prevented by death from perfecting their rolling stock and securing their right of way.

In 1842, Mr. William Henderson got out a “two-propeller” machine, and tried to incorporate a company to utilize it for the purpose of carrying letters, running errands, driving home the cows, lighting the Northern Lights and skimming the cream off the Milky Way, but it didn’t seem to compete very successfully with other modes of travel, and so Mr. Henderson wrapped it up in an old tent and put it away in the hay-mow.

In 1853, Mr. J.H. Johnson patented a balloon and parachute dingus which worked on the principle of a duck’s foot in the mud. I use scientific terms because I am unable to express myself in the common language of the vulgar herd. This machine had a tail which, under great excitement, it would throw over the dash board as it bounded through the air.

Probably the biggest thing in its way under this head was the revival of flying under the presidency of the Duke of Argyle, the society being called the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain. This society made some valuable calculations and experiments in the interest of aerostation, adding much to our scientific knowledge, and filling London with cripples.

In 1869, Mr. Joseph T. Kaufman invented and turned loose upon the people of Glasgow an infernal machine intended to soar considerably in a quiet kind of way and to be propelled by steam. It looked like the bird known to ornithology as the flyupithecrick, and had an air brake, patent coupler, buffer and platform. It was intended to hold two men on ice and a rosewood casket with silver handles. It was mounted on wheels, and, as it did not seem to skim through the air very much, the people of Glasgow hitched a clothes line to it and used it for a band wagon.

Rufus Porter invented an aerial dewdad ten years ago in Connecticut, where so many crimes have been committed since Mark Twain moved there. This was called the “aeraport,” and looked like a seed wart floating through space. This engine was worked by springs connected with propellers. A saloon was suspended beneath it, I presume on the principle that when a man is intoxicated he weighs a pound less. This machine flew around the rotunda of the Merchants’ Exchange, in New York City, eleven times, like a hen with her head cut off, but has not been on the wing much since then.

Other flying machines have been invented, but the air is not peopled with them as I write. Most of them have folded their pinions and sought the seclusion of a hen-house. It is to be hoped that very soon some such machine will be perfected, whereby a man may flit from the fifth story window of the Grand Pacific Hotel, in Chicago, to Montreal before breakfast, leaving nothing in his room but the furniture and his kind regards.

Such an invention would be hailed with much joy, and the sale would be enormous. Now, however, the matter is still in its infancy. The mechanical birds invented for the purpose of skimming through the ether blue, have not skum. The machines were built with high hopes and a throbbing heart, but the aforesaid ether remains unskum as we go to press. The Milky Way is in the same condition, awaiting the arrival of the fearless skimmer. Will men ever be permitted to pierce the utmost details of the sky and ramble around among the stars with a gum overcoat on? Sometimes I trow he will, and then again I ween not.

Asking for a Pass

The general passenger agent of a prominent road leading out of Chicago toward the south, tells me that he is getting a good many letters lately asking for passes, and he complains bitterly over the awkward and unsatisfactory style of the correspondence. Acting on this suggestion and though a little late in the day, perhaps, I have erected the following as a guide to those who contemplate writing under similar circumstances:

Office of The Evening Squeal, January 14, 1886.

General Passenger Agent, Great North American Gitthere R.R., Chicago, Ill.

Dear Sir.–I desire to know by return mail whether or no you would be pleased to swap transportation for kind words. I am the editor of “The Squeal,” published at this place. It is a paper pure in tone, world wide in its scope and irresistible in the broad sweep of its mighty arm.

I desire to visit the great exposition at New Orleans this winter, and would be willing to yield you a few words of editorial opinion, set in long primer type next to pure reading matter, and without advertising marks.

My object in thus addressing you is two-fold. I have always wanted to do your road a kind act that would put it on its feet, but I have never before had the opportunity. This winter I feel just like it, and am not willing, but anxious. Another object, though trivial, perhaps, to you, is vital to me. If I do not get the pass, I am afraid I shall not reach there till the exposition is over. You can see for yourself how important it is that I should have transportation. Day after day the president on to the grounds and ask if I am there. Some official will salute him and answer sadly, “No, your highness, he has not yet arrived, but we look for him soon. He is said to be stuck in a mud hole somewhere in Egypt.” Then the exposition will drag on again.

You may make the pass read, “For self, Chicago to New Orleans and return," and I will write the editorial, or you may make it read, “Self and wife" and I will let you write it yourself. Nothing is too good for my friends. When a man does me a kind act or shows signs of affection, I just allow him to walk all over me and make himself perfectly free with the policy of my paper.

The “Evening Squeal” has been heard everywhere. We send it to the four winds of Heaven, and its influence is felt wherever the English language is respected. And yet, if you want to belong to my coterie of friends, you can make yourself just as free with its editorial columns as you would if you owned it.

And yet “The Squeal” is a bad one to stir up. I shudder to think what the result would be if you should incur the hatred of “The Squeal.” Let us avoid such a subject or the possibility of such a calamity.

“The Squeal” once opposed the candidacy of a certain man for the office of school district clerk, and in less than four years he was a corpse! Struck down in all his wanton pride by one of the popular diseases of the day.

My paper at one time became the foe of a certain road which tapped the great cranberry vineyards of northern Minnesota, and that very fall the berries soured on the vines!

I might go on for pages to show how the pathway of “The Squeal” has been strewn with the ruins of railroads, all prosperous and happy till they antagonized us and sought to injure us.

I believe that the great journals and trunk lines of the land should stand in with one another. If you have the support and moral encouragement of the press you will feel perfectly free to run over any one who gets on your track. Besides, if I held a pass over your road I should feel very much reserved about printing the details of any accident, delay or washout along your line. I aim to mould public opinion, but a man can subsidize and corrupt me if he goes at it right. I write this to kind of give you a pointer as to how you can go to work to do so if you see fit.

Should you wish to pervert my high moral notions in relation to railways, please make it good for thirty days, as it may take me a week or so to mortgage my property and get ready to go in good style. I will let you know on what day I will be in New Orleans, so that you can come and see me at that time. Should you have difficulty in obtaining an audience with me, owing to the throng of crowned heads, just show this autograph letter to the doorkeeper, and he will show you right in. Wipe your boots before entering.

Yours truly,

Daniel Webster Briggs, Editor of “The Squeal.”

It is my opinion that no railroad official, however disobliging, would hesitate a moment about which way he would swing after reading an epistle after this pattern. Few, indeed, are the men who would be impolitic enough to incur the displeasure of such a paper as I have artfully represented "The Squeal” to be.

Words About Washington

The name of George Washington has always had about it a glamour that made him appear more in the light of a god than a tall man with large feet and a mouth made to fit an old-fashioned, full-dress pumpkin pie. I use the word glamour, not so much because I know what glamour means, but because I have never used it before, and I am getting a little tired of the short, easy words I have been using so long.

George Washington’s face has beamed out upon us for many years now, on postage stamps and currency, in marble, and plaster, and bronze, in photographs of original portraits, paintings, end stereoscopic views. We have seen him on horseback and on foot, on the war-path and on skates, cussing his troops for their shiftlessness, and then in the solitude of the forest, with his snorting war-horse tied to a tree, engaged in prayer.

We have seen all these pictures of George, till we are led to believe that he did not breathe our air or eat American groceries. But George Washington was not perfect. I say this after a long and careful study of his life, and I do not say it to detract the very smallest iota from the proud history of the Father of his Country. I say it simply that the boys of America who want to become George Washingtons will not feel so timid about trying it.

When I say that George Washington, who now lies so calmly in the limekiln at Mount Vernon, could reprimand and reproach his subordinates at times, in a way to make the ground crack open and break up the ice in the Delaware a week earlier than usual, I do not mention it in order to show the boys of our day that profanity will make them resemble George Washington. That was one of his weak points, and no doubt he was ashamed of it, as he ought to have been. Some poets think that if they get drunk, and stay drunk, they will resemble Edgar A. Poe and George D. Prentice. There are lawyers who play poker year after year, and get regularly skinned, because they have heard that some of the able lawyers of the past century used to come home at night with poker chips in their pockets.

Whisky will not make a poet, nor poker a great pleader. And yet I have seen poets who relied solely on the potency of their breath, and lawyers who knew more of the habits of a bob-tail flush than they ever did of the statutes in such case made and provided.

George Washington was always ready. If you wanted a man to be first in war, you could call on George. If you desired an adult who would be first baseman in time of peace, Mr. Washington could be telephoned at any hour of the day or night. If you needed a man to be first in the hearts of his countrymen, George’s postoffice address was at once secured.

Though he was a great man, he was once a poor boy. How often we hear that in America! It is the place where it is a positive disadvantage to be born wealthy. And yet, sometimes I wish they had experimented a little that way on me. I do not ask now to be born rich, of course, because it is too late; but it seems to me that, with my natural good sense and keen insight into human nature, I could have struggled along under the burdens and cares of wealth with great success. I do not care to die wealthy, but if I could have been born wealthy, it seems to me I would have been tickled almost to death.

I love to believe that true greatness is not accidental. To think and to say that greatness is a lottery is pernicious. Man may be wrong sometimes in his judgment of others, both individually and in the aggregate, but he who gets ready to be a great man will surely find the opportunity.

Many who read the above paragraph will wonder who I got to write it for me, but they will never find out.

In conclusion, let me say that George Washington was successful for three reasons. One was that he never shook the confidence of his friends. Another was that he had a strong will without being a mule. Some people cannot distinguish between being firm and being a big blue jackass.

Another reason why Washington is loved and honored to-day, is that he died before we had a chance to get tired of him. This is greatly superior to the method adopted by many modern statesmen, who wait till their constituency weary of them and then reluctantly and tardily die.

The Board of Trade

I went into the Chicago Board of Trade awhile ago to see about buying some seed wheat for sowing on my farm next spring. I heard that I could get wheat cheaper there than anywhere else, so I went over. The members of the Board seemed to be all present. They were on the upper floor of the house, about three hundred of them, I judge, engaged in conversation. All of them were conversing when I entered, with the exception of a sad-looking man who had just been squeezed into a corner and injured, I was told. I told him that arnica was as good as anything I knew of for that, but he seemed irritated, and I strode majestically away. Probably he thought I had no business to speak to him without an introduction, but I never stand on ceremony when I see anyone in pain.

I got a ticket when I went in, and began to look around for my wheat. I didn’t see any at first. I then asked one of the conversationalists how wheat was.

“Oh, wheat’s pretty steady just now, ’specially October, but yesterday we thought the bottom had dropped out. Perfect panic in No. 2, red; No. 2, Chicago Spring, 73-7/8. Dull, my Christian friend, dull is no name for it. More fellers got pinched yesterday than would patch purgatory fifteen miles. What you doing, buying or selling?”


“Better let me sell you some choice Chicago Spring way down. Get some man you know on the Board to make the trade for you.”

“Well, if you’ve got something good and cheap, and that you know will grow, I’d like to look at it,” I said.

He took me over by the door where there was a dishpan full of wheat, and asked me how that struck me, I said it looked good and asked him how much he could spare of it at .73. He said he had 50,000 bushels that he wasn’t using, and he thought he could get me another 50,000 of a friend, if I wanted it. I said no, 100,000 bushels was more than I needed. I told him that if he would let me have that dishpan full, one-half cash and the balance in installments, I might trade with him, but I didn’t want him to sell me his last bushel of wheat and rob himself.

“Very likely you’ve got a family,” said I, “and you mustn’t forget that we’ve got a long, cold, hard winter ahead of us. Hang on to your wheat. Don’t let Tom, Dick and Harry come along and chisel you out of your last kernel, just to be neighborly.”

I remained in the room an hour and a half, the cynosure of all eyes. There is a great deal of sociability there. Three hundred men all talking diagonally at each other at the same time, reminds me of a tete-a-tete I once had with a warm personal friend, who was a boiler-maker. He invited me to come around to the shop and visit him. He said we could crawl down through the manhole into the boiler and have a nice visit while he worked.

I remember of following him down through the hole into the boiler; then they began to head boiler rivets, and I knew nothing more till I returned to consciousness the next day to find myself in my own luxuriously-furnished apartments.

The family physician was holding my hand. My wife asked: “Is he conscious yet, do you think, doctor?”

“Yes,” he replied, “your husband begins to show signs of life. He may live for many years, but his intellect seems to have been mislaid during his illness. Do you know whether the cat has carried anything out of this room lately?”

Then my wife said: “Yes, the cat did get something out of this room only the other day and ate it. Poor thing!”

The Cow-Boy.

So much amusing talk is being made recently anent the blood-bedraggled cow-boy of the wild West, that I rise as one man to say a few things, not in a dictatorial style, but regarding this so-called or so esteemed dry land pirate who, mounted on a little cow-pony and under the black flag, sails out across the green surge of the plains to scatter the rocky shores of Time with the bones of his fellow-man.

A great many people wonder where the cow-boy, with his abnormal thirst for blood, originated. Where did this young Jesse James, with his gory record and his dauntless eye, come from? Was he born in a buffalo wallow at the foot of some rock-ribbed mountain, or did he first breathe the thin air along the brink of an alkali pond, where the horned toad and the centipede sang him to sleep, and the tarantula tickled him under the chin with its hairy legs?

Careful research and cold, hard statistics show that the cow-boy, as a general thing, was born in an unostentatious manner on the farm. I hate to sit down on a beautiful romance and squash the breath out of a romantic dream; but the cow-boy who gets too much moist damnation in his system, and rides on a gallop up and down Main street shooting out the lights of the beautiful billiard palaces, would be just as unhappy if a mouse ran up his pantaloon-leg as you would, gentle reader. He is generally a youth who thinks he will not earn his twenty-five dollars per month if he does not yell, and whoop, and shoot, and scare little girls into St. Vitus’s dance. I’ve known more cow-boys to injure themselves with their own revolvers than to injure anyone else. This is evidently because they are more familiar with the hoe than they are with the Smith & Wesson.

One night while I had rooms in the business part of a Territorial city in the Rocky Mountain cattle country, I was awakened at about one o’clock A. M. by the most blood-curdling cry of “Murder” I ever heard. It was murder with a big “M.” Across the street, in the bright light of a restaurant, a dozen cow-boys with broad sombreros and flashing silver braid, huge leather chaperajas,

Mexican spurs and orange silk neckties, and with flashing revolvers, were standing. It seemed that a big, red-faced Captain Kidd of the band, with his skin full of valley tan, had marched into an ice-cream resort with a self-cocker in his hand, and ordered the vanilla coolness for the gang. There being a dozen young folks at the place, mostly male and female, from a neighboring hop, indulging in cream, the proprietor, a meek Norwegian with thin white hair, deemed it rude and outre to do so. He said something to that effect, whereat the other eleven men of alcoholic courage let off a yell that froze the cream into a solid glacier, and shook two kerosene lamps out of their sockets in the chandeliers.

Thereupon, the little Y.M.C.A. Norwegian said:

“Gentlemans, I kain’t neffer like dot squealinks and dot kaind of a tings, and you fellers mit dot ledder pantses on and dot funny glose and such a tings like dot, better keep kaind of quiet, or I shall call up the policemen mit my delephone.”

Then they laughed at him, and cried yet again with a loud voice.

This annoyed the ice-cream agriculturist, and he took the old axe-handle that he used to jam the ice down around the freezer with, and peeled a large area of scalp off the leader’s dome of thought, and it hung down over his eyes, so that he could not see to shoot with any degree of accuracy.

After he had yelled “Murder!” three or four times, he fell under an ice-cream table, and the mild-eyed Scandinavian broke a silver-plated castor over the organ of self-esteem, and poured red pepper, and salt, and vinegar, and Halford sauce and other relishes, on the place where the scalp was loose.

This revived the brave but murderous cow-gentleman, and he begged that he might be allowed to go away.

The gentle Y.M.C.A. superintendent of the ten-stamp ice-cream freezers then took the revolvers away from the bold buccaneer, and kicked him out through a show-case, and saluted him with a bouquet of July oysters that suffered severely from malaria.

All cow-boys are not sanguinary; but out of twenty you will generally find one who is brave when he has his revolvers with him; but when he forgot and left his shooters at home on the piano, the most tropical violet-eyed dude can climb him with the butt-end of a sunflower, and beat his brains out and spatter them all over that school district.

In the wild, unfettered West, beware of the man who never carries arms, never gets drunk and always minds his own business. He don’t go around shooting out the gas, or intimidating a kindergarten school; but when a brave frontiersman, with a revolver in each boot and a bowie down the back of his neck, insults a modest young lady, and needs to be thrown through a plate-glass window and then walked over by the populace, call on the silent man who dares to wear a clean shirt and human clothes.

Stirring Incidents at a Fire

Last night I was awakened by the cry of fire. It was a loud, hoarse cry, such as a large, adult man might emit from his window on the night air. The town was not large, and the fire department, I had been told, was not so effective as it should have been.

For that reason I arose and carefully dressed myself, in order to assist, if possible. I carefully lowered myself from my room, by means of a staircase which I found concealed in a dark and mysterious corner of the passage.

On the streets all was confusion. The hoarse cry of fire had been taken up by others, passed around from one to another, till it had swollen into a dull roar. The cry of fire in a small town is always a grand sight.

All along the street in front of Mr. Pendergast’s roller rink the blanched faces of the people could be seen. Men were hurrying to and fro, knocking the bystanders over in their frantic attempts to get somewhere else. With great foresight, Mr. Pendergast, who had that day finished painting his roller rink a dull-roan color, removed from the building the large card which bore the legend:


so that those who were so disposed might feel perfectly free to lean up against the rink and watch the progress of the flames.

Anon the bright glare of the devouring element might have been seen bursting through the casement of Mr. Cicero Williams’s residence, facing on the alley west of Mr. Pendergast’s rink. Across the street the spectator whose early education had not been neglected could distinctly read the sign of our esteemed fellow-townsman, Mr. Alonzo Burlingame, which was lit up by the red glare of the flames so that the letters stood out plainly as follows:

Alonzo Burlingame,

Dealer in Soft and Hard Coal, Ice-Cream, Wood, Lime, Cement, Perfumery, Nails, Putty, Spectacles, and Horse Radish. Chocolate Caramels and Tar Roofing. Gas Fitting and Undertaking in all Its Branches. Hides, Tallow, and Maple Syrup. Fine Gold Jewelry, Silverware, and Salt. Glue, Codfish, and Gent’s Neckwear. Undertaker and Confectioner. Diseases of Horses and Children a Specialty.

Jno. White, Ptr.

The flames spread rapidly, until they threatened the Palace rink of our esteemed fellow-townsman, Mr. Pendergast, whose genial and urbane manner has endeared him to all.

With a degree of forethought worthy of a better cause, Mr. Leroy W. Butts suggested the propriety of calling out the hook and ladder company, an organization of which every one seemed to be justly proud. Some delay ensued in trying to find the janitor of Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company No. 1’s building, but at last he was secured, and, after he had gone home for the key, Mr. Butts ran swiftly down the street to awaken the foreman, but, after he had dressed himself and inquired anxiously about the fire, he said that he was not foreman of the company since the 2d of April.

Meantime the firefiend continued to rise up ever and anon on his hind feet and lick up salt-barrel after salt-barrel in close proximity to the Palace rink, owned by our esteemed fellow-citizen, Mr. Pendergast. Twice Mr. Pendergast was seen to shudder, after which he went home and filled out a blank which he forwarded to the insurance company.

Just as the town seemed doomed, the hook and ladder company came rushing down the street with their navy-blue hook and ladder truck. It is indeed a beauty, being one of the Excelsior noiseless hook and ladder factory’s best instruments, with tall red pails and rich blue ladders.

Some delay ensued, as several of the officers claimed that under a new bylaw passed in January they were permitted to ride on the truck to fires. This having been objected to by a gentleman who had lived in Chicago several years, a copy of the by-laws was sent for and the dispute summarily settled. The company now donned its rubber overcoats with great coolness and proceeded at once to deftly twist the tail of the firefiend.

It was a thrilling sight as James McDonald, a brother of Terrance McDonald, Trombone, Ind., rapidly ascended one of the ladders in the full glare of the devouring element and fell off again.

Then a wild cheer arose to a height of about nine feet, and all again became confused.

It was now past 11 o’clock, and several of the members of the hook and ladder company who had to get up early the next day in order to catch a train excused themselves and went home to seek much-needed rest.

Suddenly it was discovered that the brick livery stable of Mr. Abraham McMichaels, a nephew of our worthy assessor, was getting hot. Leaving the Palace rink to its fate, the hook and ladder company directed its attention to the brick barn, and, after numerous attempts, at last succeeded in getting its large iron prong fastened on the second story window-sill, which was pulled out. The hook was again inserted, but not so effectively, bringing down at this time an armful of hay and part of an old horse blanket. Another courageous jab was made with the iron hook, which succeeded in pulling out about 5 cents worth of brick. This was greeted by a wild burst of applause from the bystanders, during which the hook and ladder company fell over each other and added to the horror of the scene by a mad burst of pale-blue profanity.

It was not long before the stable was licked up by the firefiend, and the hook and ladder company directed its attention toward the undertaking, embalming, and ice-cream parlors of our highly esteemed fellow-townsman, Mr. A. Burlingame. The company succeeded in pulling two stone window-sills out of this building before it burned. Both times they were encored by the large and aristocratic audience.

Mr. Burlingame at once recognized the efforts of the heroic firemen by tapping a keg of beer, which he distributed among them at 25 cents per glass.

This morning a space forty-seven feet wide, where but yesterday all was joy and prosperity and beauty, is covered over with blackened ruins. Mr. Pendergast is overcome by grief over the loss of his rink, but assures us that if he is successful in getting the full amount of his insurance he will take the money and build two rinks, either one of which will be far more imposing than the one destroyed last evening.

A movement is on foot to give a literary and musical entertainment at Burley’s hall, to raise funds for the purchase of new uniforms for the "fire laddies,” at which Mrs. Butts has consented to sing “When the Robins Nest Again,” and Miss Mertie Stout will recite “’Ostler Jo,” a selection which never fails to offend the best people everywhere. Twenty-five cents for each offense.

Let there be a full house.

The Little Barefoot Boy

With the moist and misty spring, with the pink and white columbine of the wildwood and the breath of the cellar and the incense of burning overshoes in the back yard, comes the little barefoot boy with fawn colored hair and a droop in his pantaloons. Poverty is not the grand difficulty with the little barefoot boy of spring. It is the wild, ungovernable desire to wiggle his toes in the ambient air, and to soothe his parboiled heels in the yielding mud.

I see him now in my mind’s eye, making his annual appearance like a rheumatic housefly, stepping high like a blind horse. He has just left his shoes in the woodshed and stepped out on the piazza to proclaim that violet-eyed spring is here. All over the land the gladiolus bulb and the ice man begin to swell. The south wind and the new-born calf at the barn begin to sigh. The oak tree and the dude begin to put on their spring apparel. All nature is gay. The thrush is warbling in the asparagus orchard, and the prima donna does her throat up in a red flannel rag to wait for another season.

All these things indicate spring, but they are not so certain and unfailing as the little barefoot boy whose white feet are thrust into the face of the approaching season. Five months from now those little dimpled feet, now so bleached and tender, will look like a mudturtle’s back and the superior and leading toe will have a bandage around it, tied with a piece of thread.

Who would believe that the budding hoodlum before us, with the yellow chilblain on his heel and the early spring toad in his pocket, which he will present to the timid teacher as a testimonial of his regard this afternoon, may be the Moses who will lead the American people forty years hence into the glorious sunlight of a promised land.

He may possibly do it, but he doesn’t look like it now.

Yet John A. Logan and Samuel J. Tilden were once barefooted boys, with a suspender apiece. It doesn’t seem possible, does it?

How can we imagine at this time Julius Caesar and Hannibal Hamlin and Lucretia Borgia at some time or other stubbed their bare toes against a root and filled the horizon with pianissimo wails. The barefoot boy of spring will also proceed to bathe in the river as soon as the ice and the policeman are out. He will choose a point on the boulevard, where he can get a good view of those who pass, and in company with eleven other little barefoot boys, he will clothe himself in an Adam vest, a pair of bare-skin pantaloons, a Greek slave overcoat and a yard of sunlight, and gaze earnestly at those who go by on the other side. Up and down the bank, pasting each other with mud, the little barefoot boys of spring chase each other, with their vertebrae sticking into the warm and sleepy air, while down in the marsh, where the cat-tails and the broad flags and the peach can and the deceased horse grow, the bull-frog is twittering to his mate.

Later on, the hoarse voice of a rude parental snorter is heard approaching, and twelve slim Cupids with sunburned backs are inserted into twelve little cotton shirts and twelve despondent pairs of pantaloons hang at half-mast to twelve home-made suspenders, and as the gloaming gathers about the old home, twelve boys back up against the ice-house to cool off, while the enraged parent hangs up the buggy whip in the old place.

Favored a Higher Fine

Will Taylor, the son of the present American Consul at Marseilles, was a good deal like other boys while at school in his old home, at Hudson, Wis. One day he called his father into the library, and said:

“Pa, I don’t like to tell you, but the teacher and I have had trouble.”

“What’s the matter now?”

“Well, I cut one of the desks a little with my knife, and the teacher says I’ve got to pay a dollar or take a lickin’.”

“Well, why don’t you take the licking and say nothing more about it? I can stand considerable physical pain, so long as it visits our family in that form. Of course, it is not pleasant to be flogged, but you have broken a rule of the school, and I guess you’ll have to stand it. I presume that the teacher will in wrath remember mercy, and avoid disabling you so that you can’t get your coat on any more.”

“But, pa, I feel mighty bad about it already, and if you’d pay my fine I’d never do it again. I know a good deal more about it now, and I will never do it again. A dollar ain’t much to you, pa, but it’s a heap to a boy that hasn’t got a cent. If I could make a dollar as easy as you can, pa, I’d never let my little boy get flogged that way just to save a dollar. If I had a little feller that got licked bekuz I didn’t put up for him, I’d hate the sight of money always. I’d feel as if every dollar in my pocket had been taken out of my little kid’s back.”

“Well, now, I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll give you a dollar to save you from punishment this time, but if anything of this kind ever occurs again I’ll hold you while the teacher licks you, and then I’ll get the teacher to hold you while I lick you. That’s the way I feel about that. If you want to go around whittling up our educational institutions you can do so; but you will have to purchase them afterward yourself. I don’t propose to buy any more damaged school furniture. You probably grasp my meaning, do you not? I send you to school to acquire an education, not to acquire liabilities, so that you can come around and make an assessment on me. I feel a great interest in you, Willie, but I do not feel as though it should be an assessable interest. I want to go on, of course, and improve the property, but when I pay my dues on it I want to know that it goes toward development work. I don’t want my assessments to go toward the purchase of a school-desk with American hieroglyphics carved on it.

“I hope that you will bear this in your mind, my son, and beware. It will be greatly to your interest to beware. If I were in your place I would put in a large portion of my time in the beware business.”

The boy took the dollar and went thoughtfully away to school, and no more was ever said about the matter until Mr. Taylor learned casually several months later that the Spartan youth had received the walloping and filed away the dollar for future reference. The boy was afterward heard to say that he favored a much heavier fine in cases of that kind. One whipping was sufficient, he said, but he favored a fine of $5. It ought to be severe enough to make it an object.

“I Spy.”

Dear reader, do you remember the boy of your school who did the heavy falling through the ice and was always about to break his neck, but managed to live through it all? Do you call to mind the youth who never allowed anybody else to fall out of a tree and break his collar bone when he could attend to it himself? Every school has to secure the services of such a boy before it can succeed, and so our school had one. When I entered the school I saw at a glance that the board had neglected to provide itself with a boy whose duty it was to nearly kill himself every few days in order to keep up the interest so I applied for the position. I secured it without any trouble whatever. The board understood at once from my bearing that I would succeed. And I did not betray the trust they had reposed in me.

Before the first term was over I had tried to climb two trees at once and been carried home on a stretcher; been pulled out of the river with my lungs full of water, and artificial respiration resorted to; been jerked around over the north half of the county by a fractious horse whose halter I had tied to my leg, and which leg is now three inches longer than the other; together with various other little early eccentricities which I cannot at this moment call to mind. My parents at last got so that along about 2 o’clock P.M. they would look anxiously out of the window and say, "Isn’t it about time for the boys to get here with William’s remains? They generally get here before 2 o’clock.”

One day five or six of us were playing “I spy” around our barn. Every body knows how to play “I spy.” One shuts his eyes and counts 100, for instance, while the others hide. Then he must find the rest and say “I spy” so-and-so and touch the “goal” before they do. If anybody beats him to the goal the victim has to “blind” over again.

Well, I knew the ground pretty well, and could drop twenty feet out of the barn window and strike on a pile of straw so as to land near the goal, touch it, and let the crowd in free without getting found out. I did this several times and got the blinder, James Bang, pretty mad. After a boy has counted 500 or 600, and worked hard to gather in the crowd, only to get jeered and laughed at by the boys, he loses his temper. It was so with James Cicero Bang. I knew that he almost hated me, and yet I went on. Finally, in the fifth ballot, I saw a good chance to slide down and let the crowd in again as I had done on former occasions. I slipped out of the window and down the side of the barn about two feet, when I was detained unavoidably. There was a “batten” on the barn that was loose at the upper end. I think I was wearing my father’s vest on that day, as he was away from home, and I frequently wore his clothes when he was absent. Anyhow the vest was too large, and when I slid down that loose board ran up between the vest and my person in such a way as to suspend me about eighteen feet from the ground, in a prominent but very uncomfortable position.

I remember it quite distinctly. James C. Bang came around where he could see me. He said: “I spy Billy Nye and touch the goal before him.” No one came to remove the barn. No one came to sympathize with me in my great sorrow and isolation. Every little while James C. Bang would come around the corner and say: “Oh, I see ye. You needn’t think you’re out of sight up there. I can see you real plain. You better come down and blind. I can see ye up there!”

I tried to unbutton my vest and get down there and lick James, but it was of no use. It was a very trying time. I can remember how I tried to kick myself loose, but failed. Sometimes I would kick the barn and sometimes I would kick a large hole in the horizon. Finally I was rescued by a neighbor who said he didn’t want to see a good barn kicked into chaos just to save a long-legged boy that wasn’t worth over six bits.

It affords me great pleasure to add that while I am looked up to and madly loved by every one that does not know me, Jas. C. Bang is brevet president of a fractured bank, taking a lonely bridal tour by himself in Europe and waiting for the depositors to die of old age.

The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they most generally get there with both feet. (Adapted from the French by permission.)

Mark Anthony.

Marcus Antonius, commonly called Mark Antony, was a celebrated Roman general and successful politician, who was born in 83 B.C. His grandfather, on his mother’s side, was L. Julius Caesar, and it is thought that to Mark’s sagacity in his selection of a mother, much of his subsequent success was due.

Young Antony was rather gay and festive during his early years, and led a life that in any city but Rome would have occasioned talk. He got into a great many youthful scrapes, and nothing seemed to please him better than to repeatedly bring his father’s gray hairs down in sorrow to the grave. Debauchery was a matter to which he gave much thought, and many a time he was found consuming the midnight oil while pursuing his studies in this line.

At that time Rome was well provided for in the debauchery department, and Mr. Antony became a thorough student of the entire curriculum.

About 57 B.C. he obtained command of the cavalry of Gambinino in Syria and Egypt. He also acted as legate for Caesar in Gaul about 52 B.C., as nearly as I can recall the year. I do not know exactly what a legate is, but it had something to do with the Roman ballet, I understand, and commanded a good salary.

He was also elected, in 50, B.C., as Argus and Tribune–acting as Tribune at night and Argus during the day time, I presume, or he may have been elected Tribune and ex-officio Argus. He was more successful as Tribune than he was in the Argus business.

Early in 49, B.C., he fled to Caesar’s camp, and the following year was appointed commander-in-chief. He commanded the left wing of the army at the battle of Pharsalia, and years afterward used to be passionately fond of describing it and explaining how he saved the day, and how everybody else was surprised but him, and how he was awakened by hearing one of the enemy’s troops, across the river, stealthily pulling on his pantaloons.

Antony married Fulvia, the widow of a successful demagogue named P. Clodius. This marriage could hardly be regarded as a success. It would have been better for the widow if she had remained Mrs. P. Clodius, for Mark Antony was one of those old-fashioned Romans who favored the utmost latitude among men, but heartily enjoyed seeing an unfaithful woman burned at the stake. In those days the Roman girl had nothing to do but live a pure and blameless life, so that she could marry a shattered Roman rake who had succeeded in shunning a blameless life himself, and at last, when he was sick of all kinds of depravity and needed a good, careful wife to take care of him, would come with his dappled, sin-sick soul and shattered constitution, and his vast acquisitions of debts, and ask to be loved by a noble young woman. Nothing pleased a blase Roman so well as to have a young and beautiful girl, with eyes like liquid night, to take the job of reforming him. I frequently get up in the night to congratulate myself that I was not born, 2,000 years ago, a Roman girl.

The historian continues to say, that though Mr. Antony continued to live a life of licentious lawlessness, that occasioned talk even in Rome, he was singularly successful in politics.

He was very successful at funerals, also, and his off-hand obituary works were sought for far and wide. His impromptu remarks at the grave of Caesar, as afterward reported by Mr. Shakespeare, from memory, attracted general notice and made the funeral a highly enjoyable affair. After this no assassination could be regarded as a success, unless Mark Antony could be secured to come and deliver his justly celebrated eulogy.

About 43, B.C., Antony, Octavius and Lepidus formed a co-partnership under the firm name and style of Antony, Octavius & Co., for the purpose of doing a general, all-round triumvirate business and dealing in Roman republican pelts. The firm succeeded in making republicanism extremely odious, and for years a republican hardly dared to go out after dark to feed the horse, lest he be jumped on by a myrmidon and assassinated. It was about this time that Cicero had a misunderstanding with Mark’s myrmidons and went home packed in ice.

Mark Antony, when the firm of Antony, Octavius & Co. settled up its affairs, received as his share the Asiatic provinces and Egypt. It was at this time that he met Cleopatra at an Egyptian sociable and fell in love with her. Falling in love with fair women and speaking pieces over new-made graves seemed to be Mark’s normal condition. He got into a quarrel with Octavius and settled it by marrying Octavia, Octavius’ sister, but this was not a love match, for he at once returned to Cleopatra, the author of Cleopatra’s needle and other works.

This love for Cleopatra was no doubt the cause of his final overthrow, for he frequently went over to see her when he should have been at home killing invaders. He ceased to care about slashing around in carnage, and preferred to turn Cleopatra’s music for her while she knocked out the teeth of her old upright piano and sang to him in a low, passionate, vox humana tone.

So, at last, the great cemetery declaimer and long distance assassin, Mark Antony, was driven out of his vast dominions after a big naval defeat at Actium, in September, 31 B.C., retreated to Alexandria, called for more reinforcements and didn’t get them. Deserted by his fleet, and reduced to a hand-me-down suit of clothes and a two-year-old plug hat, he wrote a poetic wail addressed to Cleopatra and sent it to the Alexandria papers; then, closing the door and hanging up his pantaloons on a nail so as to reduce the sag in the knees, he blew out the gas and climbed over the high board fence which stands forever between the sombre present and the dark blue, mysterious ultimatum.

Man Overbored

“Speaking about prohibition,” said Misery Brown one day, while we sat lying on the damp of the Blue Tail Fly, “I am prone to allow that the more you prohibit, the more you–all at once–discover that you have more or less failed to prohibit.

“Now, you can win a man over to your way of thinking, sometimes, but you mustn’t do it with the butt-end of a telegraph-pole. You might convert him that way, perhaps, but the mental shock and phrenological concussion of the argument might be disastrous to the convert himself.

“A man once said to me that rum was the devil’s drink, that Satan’s home was filled with the odor of hot rum, that perdition was soaked with spiced rum and rum punch. ’You wot not,’ said he, ’the ruin rum has rot. Why, Misery Brown,’ said he, ’rum is my bete noir.’ I said I didn’t care what he used it for, he’d always find it very warming to the system. I told him he could use it for a hot bete noir, or a blanc mange, or any of those fancy drinks; I didn’t care.

“But the worst time I ever had grappling with the great enemy, I reckon, was in the later years of the war, when I pretty near squashed the rebellion. Grim-visaged war had worn me down pretty well. I played the big tuba in the regimental band, and I began to sigh for peace.

“We had been on the march all summer, it seemed to me. We’d travel through dust ankle-deep all day that was just like ashes, and halt in the red-hot sun five minutes to make coffee. We’d make our coffee in five minutes, and sometimes we’d make it in the middle of the road; but that’s neither here nor there.

“We finally found out that we would make a stand in a certain town, and that the Q.M. had two barrels of old and reliable whisky in store. We also found out that we couldn’t get any for medical purposes nor anything else All we could do was to suffer on and wait till the war closed. I didn’t feel like postponing the thing myself, so I began to investigate. The great foe of humanity was stored in a tobacco-house, and the Q.M. slept three nights between the barrels. The chances for a debauch looked peaked and slim in the extreme. However, there was a basement below, and I got in there one night with a half-inch auger, and two wash-tubs. Later on there was a sound of revelry by night. There was considerable ’on with the dance, let joy be unconfined.’

“The next day there was a spongy appearance to the top of the head, which seemed to be confined to our regiment, as a result of the sudden giving way, as it were, of prohibitory restrictions. It was a very disagreeable day, I remember. All nature seemed clothed in gloom, and R.E. Morse, P.D.Q., seemed to be in charge of the proceedings. Redeyed Regret was everywhere.

“We then proceeded to yearn for the other barrel of woe, that we might pile up some more regret, and have enough misery to last us through the balance of the campaign. We acted on this suggestion, and, with a firm resolve and the same half-inch auger, we stole once more into the basement of the tobacco-house.

“I bored nineteen consecutive holes in the atmosphere, and then an intimate friend of mine bored twenty-seven distinct holes in the floor, only to bore through the bosom of the night. Eleven of us spent the most of the night boring into the floor, and at three o’clock A.M. it looked like a hammock, it was so full of holes. The quartermaster slept on through it all. He slept in a very audible tone of voice, and every now and then we could hear him slumbering on.

“At last we decided that he was sleeping middling close to that barrel, so we began to bore closer to the snore. It was my turn to bore, I remember, and I took the auger with a heavy heart. I bored through the floor, and for the first time bored into something besides oxygen. It was the quartermaster. A wild yell echoed through the southern confederacy, and I pulled out my auger. It had on the point a strawberry mark, and a fragment of one of those old-fashioned woven wire gray shirts, such as quartermasters used to wear.

“I remember that we then left the tobacco-house. In the hurry we forgot two wash-tubs, a half-inch auger, and 980,361 new half-inch auger holes that had never been used.”

“Done It A-Purpose.”

At Greeley a young man with a faded cardigan jacket and a look of woe got on the train, and as the car was a little crowded he sat in the seat with me. He had that troubled and anxious expression that a rural young man wears when he first rides on the train. When the engine whistled he would almost jump out of that cardigan jacket, and then he would look kind of foolish, like a man who allows his impulses to get the best of him. Most everyone noticed the young man and his cardigan jacket, for the latter had arrived at the stage of droopiness and jaded-across-the-shoulders look that the cheap knit jacket of commerce acquires after awhile, and it had shrunken behind and stretched out in front so that the horizon, as you stood behind the young man, seemed to be bound by the tail of this garment, which started out at the pocket with good intentions and suddenly decided to rise above the young man’s shoulder blades.

He seemed so diffident and so frightened among strangers, that I began to talk with him.

“Do you live at Greeley?” I inquired.

“No, sir,” he said, in an embarrassed way, as most anyone might in the presence of greatness. “I live on a ranch up the Pandre. I was just at Greeley to see the circus.”

I thought I would play the tenderfoot and inquiring pilgrim from the cultured East, so I said: “You do not see the circus often in the West, I presume, the distance is so great between towns and the cost of transportation is so great?”

“No, sir. This is the first circus I ever was to. I have never saw a circus before.”

“How did you like it?”

“O, tip-top. It was a good thing. I’d like to see it every day if I could, I laughed and drank lemonade till I’ve got my cloze all pinned up with pins, and I’d as soon tell you, if you wont give it away, that my pants is tied on me with barbed fence wire.”

“Probably that’s what gives you that anxious and apprehensive look?”

“Yes, sir. If I look kind of doubtless about something, its because I’m afraid my pantaloons will fall off on the floor and I will have to borrow a roller towel to wear home.”

“How did you like the animals?”

“I liked that part of the Great Moral Aggregation the best of all. I have not saw such a sight before. I could stand there and watch that there old scaly elephant stuff hay into his bosom with his long rubber nose for hours. I’d read a good deal first and last about the elephant, the king of beasts, but I had never yet saw one. Yesterday father told me there hadn’t been much joy into my young life, and so he gave me a dollar and told me to go over to the circus and have a grand time. I tell you, I just turned myself loose and gave myself up to pleasure.”

“What other animals seemed to please you?” I asked, seeing that he was getting a little freer to talk.

“Oh, I saw the blue-nosed baboon from Farther India, and the red-eyed sandhill crane from Maddygasker, I think it was, and the sacred Jack-rabbit from Scandihoovia, and the lop-eared layme from South America. Then there was the female acrobat with her hair tied up with red ribbon. It’s funny about them acrobat wimmen. They get big pay, but they never buy cloze with their money. Now, the idea of a woman that gets $2 or $3 a day, for all I know, coming out there before 2,000 total strangers, wearing a pair of Indian war clubs and a red ribbon in her hair. I tell you, pardner, them acrobat prima donnars are mighty stingy with their money, or else they’re mighty economical with their cloze.”

“Did you go into the side show?”

“No, sir. I studied the oil paintings on the outside, but I didn’t go in, I met a handsome looking man there near the side show, though, that seemed to take an interest in me. There was a lottery along with the show and he wanted me to go and throw for him.”

“Capper, probably?”

“Perhaps so. Anyhow, he gave me a dollar and told me to go and throw for him.”

“Why didn’t he throw for himself?”

“O, he said the lottery man knew him and wouldn’t let him throw.”

“Of course. Same old story. He saw you were a greeney and got you to throw for him. He stood in with the game so that you drew a big prize for the capper, created a big excitement, and you and the crowd sailed in and lost all the money you had. I’ll bet he was a man with a velvet coat, and a moustache dyed a dead black and waxed as sharp as a cambric needle.”

“Yes; that’s his description to a dot. I wonder if he really did do that a-purpose.”

“Well, tell us about it. It does me good to hear a blamed fool tell how he lost his money. Don’t you see that your awkward ways and general greenness struck the capper the first thing, and you not only threw away your own money, but two or three hundred other wappy-jawed pelicans saw you draw a big prize and thought it was yours, then they deposited what little they had and everything was lovely.”

“Well, I’ll tell you how it was, if it’ll do any good and save other young men in the future. You see this capper, as you call him, gave me a $1 bill to throw for him, and I put it into my vest pocket so, along with the dollar bill father gave me. I always carry my money in my right hand vest pocket. Well, I sailed up to the game, big as old Jumbo himself, and put a dollar into the game. As you say, I drawed a big prize, $20 and a silver cup. The man offered me $5 for the cup and I took it.”

“Then it flashed over my mind that I might have got my dollar and the other feller’s mixed, so I says to the proprietor, ’I will now invest a dollar for a gent who asked me to draw for him.’

“Thereupon I took out the other dollar, and I’ll be eternally chastised if I didn’t draw a brass locket worth about two bits a bushel.”

I didn’t say anything for a long time. Then I asked him how the capper acted when he got his brass locket.

“Well, he seemed pained and grieved about something, and he asked me if I hadn’t time to go away into a quiet place where we could talk it over by ourselves; but he had a kind of a cruel, insincere look in his eye, and I said no, I believed I didn’t care to, and that I was a poor conversationalist, anyhow; and so I came away, and left him looking at his brass locket and kicking holes in the ground and using profane language.

“Afterward I saw him talking to the proprietor of the lottery, and I feel, somehow, that they had lost confidence in me. I heard them speak of me in a jeering tone of voice, and one said as I passed by: ’There goes the meek-eyed rural convict now,’ and he used a horrid oath at the same time.

“If it hadn’t been for that one little quincidence, there would have been nothing to mar the enjoyment of the occasion.”

Picnic Incidents

Camping out in summer for several weeks is a good thing generally. Freedom from social restraint and suspenders is a great luxury for a time, and nothing purifies the blood quicker, or makes a side of bacon taste more like snipe on toast, than the crisp ozone that floats through the hills and forests where man can monkey o’er the green grass without violating a city ordinance.

The picnic is an aggravation. It has just enough of civilization to be a nuisance, and not enough barbarism to make life seem a luxury. If our aim be to lean up against a tree all day in a short seersucker coat and ditto pantaloons that segregated while we were festooning the hammock, the picnic is the thing. If we desire to go home at night with a jelly symphony on each knee and a thousand-legged worm in each ear, we may look upon the picnic as a success.

But to those who wish to forget the past and live only in the booming present, to get careless of gain and breathe brand-new air that has never been used, to appease an irritated liver, or straighten out a torpid lung, let me say, pick out a high, dry clime, where there are trout enough to give you an excuse for going there, take what is absolutely necessary and no more, and then stay there long enough to have some fun.

If we picnic, we wear ourselves out trying to have a good time, so that we can tell about it when we get back, but we do not actually get acquainted with each other before we have to quit and return.

To camp, is to change the whole programme of life, and to stop long enough in the never-ending conflict for dollars and distinction, to get a full breath and look over the field. Still, it is not always smooth sailing. To camp, is sometimes to show the material of which we are made. The dude at home is the dude in camp, and wherever he goes he demonstrates that he was made for naught. I do not know what a camping party would do with a dude unless they used him to bait a bear trap with, and even then it would be taking a mean advantage of the bear. The bear certainly has some rights which we are bound in all decency to respect.

James Milton Sherrod said he had a peculiar experience once while he was in camp on the Poudre in Colorado.

“We went over from Larmy,” said he, “in July, eight years ago–four of us. There was me and Charcoal Brown, and old Joe and young Joe Connoy. We had just got comfortably down on the Lower Fork, out of the reach of everybody and sixty miles from a doctor, when Charcoal Brown got sick. Wa’al we had a big time of it. You can imagine yourself somethin’ about it. Long in the night Brown began to groan and whoop and holler, and I made a diagnosis of him. He didn’t have much sand anyhow. He was tryin’ to git a pension from the government on the grounds of desertion and failure to provide, and some such a blame thing or another, so I didn’t feel much sympathy fur him. But when I lit the gas and examined him, I found that he had a large fever on hand, and there we was without a doggon thing in the house but a jug of emigrant whiskey and a paper of condition powders fur the mule. I was a good deal rattled at first to know what the dickens to do fur him. The whiskey wouldn’t do him any good, and, besides, if he was goin’ to have a long spell of sickness we needed it for the watchers.

“Wa’al, it was rough. I’d think of a thousand things that was good fur fevers, and then I’d remember that we hadn’t got ’em. Finally old Joe says to me, ’James, why don’t ye soak his feet?’ says he. ’Soak nuthin’,’ says I; ’what would ye soak ’em in?’ We had a long-handle frying-pan, and we could heat water in it, of course, but it was too shaller to do any good, anyhow; so we abandoned that synopsis right off. First I thought I’d try the condition powders in him, but I hated to go into a case and prescribe so recklessly. Finally I thought of a case of rheumatiz that I had up in Bitter Creek years ago, and how the boys filled their socks full of hot ashes and put ’em all over me till it started the persbyterian all over me and I got over it. So we begun to skirmish around the tent for socks, and I hope I may be tee-totally skun if there was a blame sock in the whole syndicate. Ez fur me, I never wore ’em, but I did think young Joe would be fixed. He wasn’t though. Said he didn’t want to be considered proud and high strung, so he left his socks at home.

“Then we begun to look around and finally decided that Brown would die pretty soon if we didn’t break up the fever, so we concluded to take all the ashes under the camp-fire, fill up his cloze, which was loose, tie his sleeves at the wrists, and his pants at the ankles, give him a dash of condition powders and a little whiskey to take the taste out of his mouth, and then see what ejosted nature would do.

“So we stood Brown up agin a tree and poured hot ashes down his back till he begun to fit his cloze pretty quick, and then we laid him down in the tent and covered him up with everything we had in our humble cot. Everything worked well till he begun to perspirate, and then there was music, and don’t you forget it. That kind of soaked the ashes, don’t you see, and made a lye that would take the peelin’ off a telegraph pole.

“Charcoal Brown jest simply riz up and uttered a shrill whoop that jarred the geology of Colorado, and made my blood run cold. The goose flesh riz on old Joe Connoy till you could hang your hat on him anywhere. It was awful.

“Brown stood up on his feet, and threw things, and cussed us till we felt ashamed of ourselves. I’ve seen sickness a good deal in my time, but–I give it to you straight–I never seen an invalid stand up in the loneliness of the night, far from home and friends, with the concentrated lye oozin’ out of the cracks of his boots, and reproach people the way Charcoal Brown did us.

“He got over it, of course, before Christmas, but he was a different man after that. I’ve been out campin’ with him a good many times sence, but he never complained of feelin’ indisposed. He seemed to be timid about tellin’ us even if he was under the weather, and old Joe Connoy said mebbe Brown was afraid we would prescribe fur him or sumthin’.”


Nero, who was a Roman Emperor from 54 to 68 A.D., was said to have been one of the most disagreeable monarchs to meet that Rome ever had. He was a nephew of Culigula, the Emperor, on his mother’s side, and a son of Dominitius Ahenobarbust, of St. Lawrence county. The above was really Nero’s name, but in the year 50, A.D., his mother married Claudius and her son adopted the name of Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus. This name he was in the habit of wearing during the cold weather, buttoned up in front. During the hot weather, Nero was all the name he wore. In 53, Nero married Octavia, daughter of Claudius, and went right to housekeeping. Nero and Octavia did not get along first-rate. Nero soon wearied of his young wife and finally transferred her to the New Jerusalem.

In 54, Nero’s mother, by concealing the rightful heir to the throne for several weeks and doctoring the returns, succeeded in getting the steady job of Emperor for Nero at a good salary.

His reign was quite stormy and several long, bloody wars were carried on during that period. He was a good vicarious fighter and could successfully hold a man’s coat all day, while the man went to the front to get killed. He loved to go out riding over the battle fields, as soon as it was safe, in his gorgeously bedizened band chariot and he didn’t care if the wheels rolled in gore up to the hub, providing it was some other man’s gore. It gave him great pleasure to drive about over the field of carnage and gloat over the dead. Nero was not a great success as an Emperor, but as a gloater he has no rival in history.

Nero’s reign was characterized, also, by the great conflagration and Roman fireworks of July, 64, by which two-thirds of the city of Rome was destroyed. The emperor was charged with starting this fire in order to get the insurance on a stock of dry goods on Main street.

Instead of taking off his crown, hanging it up in the hall and helping to put out the fire, as other Emperors have done time and again, Nero took his violin up stairs and played, “I’ll Meet You When the Sun Goes Down." This occasioned a great deal of adverse criticism on the part of those who opposed the administration. Several persons openly criticised Nero’s policy and then died.

A man in those days, would put on his overcoat in the morning and tell his wife not to keep dinner waiting. “I am going down town to criticise the Emperor a few moments,” he would say. “If I do not get home in time for dinner, meet me on the ’evergreen shore.’”

Nero, after the death of Octavia, married Poppaea Sabina. She died afterward at her husband’s earnest solicitation. Nero did not care so much about being a bridegroom, but the excitement of being a widower always gratified and pleased him.

He was a very zealous monarch and kept Rome pretty well stirred up during his reign. If a man failed to show up anywhere on time, his friends would look sadly at each other and say, “Alas, he has criticised Nero.”

A man could wrestle with the yellow fever, or the small-pox, or the Asiatic cholera and stand a chance for recovery, but when he spoke sarcastically of Nero, it was good-bye John.

When Nero decided that a man was an offensive partisan, that man would generally put up the following notice on his office door:

“Gone to see the Emperor in relation to charge of offensive partisanship. Meet me at the cemetery at 2 o’clock.”

Finally, Nero overdid this thing and ran it into the ground. He did not want to be disliked and so, those who disliked him were killed. This made people timid and muzzled the press a good deal.

The Roman papers in those days were all on one side. They did not dare to be fearless and outspoken, for fear that Nero would take out his ad. So they would confine themselves to the statement that: “The genial and urbane Afranius Burrhus had painted his new and recherche picket fence last week,” or “Our enterprising fellow townsman, Caesar Kersikes, will remove the tail of his favorite bulldog next week, if the weather should be auspicious,” or “Miss Agrippina Bangoline, eldest daughter of Romulus Bangoline, the great Roman rinkist, will teach the school at Eupatorium, Trifoliatum Holler, this summer. She is a highly accomplished young lady, and a good speller.”

Nero got more and more fatal as he grew older, and finally the Romans began to wonder whether he would not wipe out the Empire before he died. His back yard was full all the time of people who had dropped in to be killed, so that they could have it off their minds.

Finally, Nero himself yielded to the great strain that had been placed upon him and, in the midst of an insurrection in Gaul, Spain and Rome itself, he fled and killed himself.

The Romans were very grateful for Nero’s great crowning act in the killing line, but they were dissatisfied because he delayed it so long, and therefore they refused to erect a tall monument over his remains. While they admired the royal suicide and regarded it as a success, they censured Nero’s negligence and poor judgment in suiciding at the wrong end of his reign.

I have often wondered what Nero would have done if he had been Emperor of the United States for a few weeks and felt as sensitive to newspaper criticism as he seems to have been. Wouldn’t it be a picnic to see Nero cross the Jersey ferry to kill off a few journalists who had adversely criticised his course? The great violin virtuoso and light weight Roman tyrant would probably go home by return mail, wrapped in tinfoil, accompanied by a note of regret from each journalist in New York, closing with the remark, that “in the midst of life we are in death, therefore now is the time to subscribe.”

Squaw Jim

“Jim, you long-haired, backslidden Caucasian nomad, why don’t you say something? Brace up and tell us your experience. Were you kidnapped when you were a kid and run off into the wild wickyup of the forest, or how was it that you came to leave the Yankee reservation and eat the raw dog of the Sioux?”

We were all sitting around the roaring fat-pine fire at the foot of the canon, and above us the full moon was filling the bottom of the black notch in the mountains, where God began to engrave the gulch that grew wider and deeper till it reached the valley where we were.

Squaw Jim was tall, silent and grave. He was as dignified as the king of clubs, and as reticent as the private cemetery of a deaf and dumb asylum. He didn’t move when Dutch Joe spoke to him, but he noticed the remark, and after awhile got up in the firelight, and later on the silent savage made the longest speech of his life.

“Boys, you call me Squaw Jim, and you call my girl a half breed. I have no other name than Squaw Jim with the pale faced dude and the dyspeptic sky pilot who tells me of his God. You call me Squaw Jim because I’ve married a squaw and insist on living with her. If I had married Mist-of-the-Waterfall, and had lived in my tepee with her summers, and wintered at St. Louis with a wife who belonged to a tall peaked church, and who wore her war paint, and her false scalp-lock, and her false heart into God’s wigwam, I’d be all right, probably. They would have laughed about it a little among the boys, but it would have been “wayno” in the big stone lodges at the white man’s city.

“I loved a pale faced girl in Connecticut forty years ago. She said she did me, but she met with a change of heart and married a bare-back rider in a circus. Then she ran away with the sword swallower of the side show, and finally broke her neck trying to walk the tight rope. The jury said if the rope had been as tight as she was it might have saved her life.

“Since then I’ve been where the sun and the air and the soil were free. It kind of soothed me to wear moccasins and throw my biled shirt into the Missouri. It took the fever of jealousy and disappointment out of my soul to sleep in the great bosom of the unhoused night. Soon I learned how to parley-vous in the Indian language, and to wear the clothes of the red man. I married the squaw girl who saved me from the mountain fever and my foes. She did not yearn for the equestrian of the white man’s circus. She didn’t know how to raise XxYxZ to the nth power, but she was a wife worthy of the President of the United States. She was way off the trail in matters of etiquette, but she didn’t know what it was to envy and hate the pale faced squaw with the sealskin sacque and the torpid liver, and the high-priced throne of grace. She never sighed to go where they are filling up Connecticut’s celestial exhibit with girls who get mysteriously murdered and the young men who did it go out lecturing. You see I keep posted.

“Boys, you kind of pity me, I reckon, and say Squaw Jim might have been in Congress if he’d stayed with his people and wore night shirts and pared his claws, but you needn’t.

“My wife can’t knock the tar out of a symphony on the piano, but she can mop the dew off the grass with a burglar, and knock out a dude’s eyes at sixty yards rise.

“My wife is a little foggy on the winter style of salvation, and probably you’d stall her on how to drape a silk velvet overskirt so it wouldn’t hang one-sided, but she has a crude idea of an every day, all wool General Superintendent of the Universe and Father of all-Humanity, whether they live under a horse blanket tepee or a Gothic mortgage. She might look out of place before the cross, with her chilblains and her childlike confidence, among the Tom cat sealskin sacques of your camel’s hair Christianity, but if the world was supplied with Christians like my wife, purgatory would make an assignment, and the Salvation Army would go home and hoe corn. Sabe?”

Squaw Jim’s Religion

Referring to religious matters, the other day, Squaw Jim said: “I was up at the Post yesterday to kind of rub up against royalty, and refresh my memory with a few papers. I ain’t a regular subscriber to any paper, for I can’t always get my mail on time. We’re liable to be here, there and everywhere, mebbe at some celebrated Sioux watering place and mebbe on the warpath, so I can’t rely on the mails much, but I manage, generally, to get hold of a few old papers and magazines now and then. I don’t always know who’s president before breakfast the day after election, but I manage to skirmish around and find out before his term expires.

“Now, speaking about the religion of the day, or, rather, the place where it used to be, it seems to me as if there’s a mistake somewhere. It looks as if religion meant greenness, and infidelity meant science and smartness, according to the papers. I’m no scientist myself. I don’t know evolution from the side of a house. As an evolver I couldn’t earn my board, probably, and I wouldn’t know a protoplasm from a side of sole leather; but I know when I get to the end of my picket rope, and I know just as sure where the knowable quits and the unknowable begins as anybody. I mean I can crawl into a prairie dog hole, and pull the hole in and put it in my pocket, in my poor, weak way, just as well as a scientist can. If a man offered to trade me a spavined megatherium for a foundered hypothesis, I couldn’t know enough about either of the blamed brutes to trade and make a profit. I never run around after delightful worms and eccentric caterpillers. I have so far controlled myself and escaped the habit, but I am able to arrive at certain conclusions. You think that because I am the brother-in-law to an Indian outbreak, I don’t care whether Zion languishes or not; but you are erroneous. You make a very common mistake.

“Mind you, I don’t pretend to be up on the plan of salvation, and so far as vicarious atonement goes, I don’t even know who is the author of it, but I’ve got a kind of hand-made religion that suits me. It’s cheap, and portable, and durable, and stands our severe northern climate first rate. It ain’t the protuberant kind. It don’t protrude into other people’s way like a sore thumb. All-wool religion don’t go around with a chip on it’s shoulder looking for a personal deal.

“If I had time and could move my library around with me during our summer tour, I might monkey with speculative science and expose the plan of creation, but as it is now, I really haven’t time.

“I say this, however, friends, Romans and backsliders: I think sometimes when my little half-breed girl comes to me in the evening in her night dress, and kneels by me with her little brown face in between my knees, and with my hard hands in her unbraided hair, that she’s got something better than speculative science when she says:

’Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep; If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take: This I ask for Jesus’ sake;’

“and I know that a million more little angels are saying that same thing, at that same hour, to the same imaginary God, I say to myself, if that is a vain, empty infatuation, blessed be that holy infatuation.

“If that’s a wild and crazy delusion, let me be always deluded. If forty millions of chubby little angels bow their dimpled knees every evening to a false and foolish tradition, let me do so, too. If I die, then I will be in good company, even if I go no farther than the clouds of the valley.”

One Kind of Fool

A young man, with a plated watch-chain that would do to tie up a sacred elephant, came into Denver the other day from the East, on the Julesburg Short line, and told the hotel clerk that he had just returned from Europe, and was on his way across the continent with the intention of publishing a book of international information. He handed an oilcloth grip across the counter, registered in a bold, bad way and with a flourish that scattered the ink all over the clerk’s white shirt front.

He was assigned to a quiet room on the fifth floor, that had been damaged by water a few weeks before by the fire department. After an hour or two spent in riding up and down the elevator and ringing for things that didn’t cost anything, he oiled his hair and strolled into the dining-room with a severe air and sat down opposite a big cattle man, who never oiled his hair or stuck his nose into other people’s business.

The European traveler entered into conversation with the cattle man. He told him all about Paris and the continent, meanwhile polishing his hands on the tablecloth and eating everything within reach. While he ate another man’s dessert, he chatted on gaily about Cologne and pitied the cattle man who had to stay out on the bleak plains and watch the cows, while others paddled around Venice and acquired information in a foreign land.

At first the cattle man showed some interest in Europe, but after awhile he grew quiet and didn’t seem to enjoy it. Later on the European tourist, with soiled cuffs and auburn mane, ordered the waiters around in a majestic way, to impress people with his greatness, tipped over the vinegar cruet into the salt and ate a slice of boiled egg out of another man’s salad.

Casually a tall Kansas man strolled in and asked the European tourist what he was doing in Denver. The cattle man, who, by the way, has been abroad five or six times and is as much at home in Paris as he is in Omaha, investigated the matter, and learned that the fresh French tourist had been herding hens on a chicken ranch in Kansas for six years, and had never seen blue water. He then took a few personal friends to the dining-room door, and they watched the alleged traveler. He had just taken a long, refreshing drink from the finger bowl of his neighbor on the left and was at that moment, trying to scoop up a lump of sugar with the wrong end of the tongs.

There are a good many fools who drift around through the world and dodge the authorities, but the most disastrous ass that I know is the man who goes West with two dollars and forty cents in his pocket, without brains enough to soil the most delicate cambric handkerchief, and tries to play himself for a savant with so much knowledge that he has to shed information all the time to keep his abnormal knowledge from hurting him.

John Adams’ Diary

December 3, 1764.–I am determined to keep a diary, if possible, the rest of my life. I fully realize how difficult it will be to do so. Many others of my acquaintance have endeavored to maintain a diary, but have only advanced so far as the second week in January. It is my purpose to write down each evening the events of the day as they occur to my mind, in order that in a few years they may be read and enjoyed by my family. I shall try to deal truthfully with all matters that I may refer to in these pages, whether they be of national or personal interest, and I shall seek to avoid anything bitter or vituperative, trying rather to cool my temper before I shall submit my thoughts to paper.

December 4.–This morning we have had trouble with the hired girl. It occurred in this wise: We had fully two-thirds of a pumpkin pie that had been baked in a square tin. This major portion of the pie was left over from our dinner yesterday, and last night, before retiring to rest, I desired my wife to suggest something in the cold pie line, which she did. I lit a candle and explored the pantry in vain. The pie was no longer visible. I told Mrs. Adams that I had not been successful, whereupon we sought out the hired girl, whose name is Tootie Tooterson, a foreign damsel, who landed in this country Nov. 7, this present year. She does not understand our language, apparently, especially when we refer to pie. The only thing she does without a strong foreign accent is to eat pumpkin pie and draw her salary. She landed on our coast six weeks ago, after a tedious voyage across the heaving billows. It was a close fight between Tootie and the ocean, but when they quit, the heaving billows were one heave ahead by the log.

Miss Tooterson landed in Massachusetts in a woolen dress and hollow clear down into the ground. A strong desire to acquire knowledge and cold, hand-made American pie seems to pervade her entire being.

She has only allowed Mrs. Adams and myself to eat what she did not want herself.

Miss Tooterson has also introduced into my household various European eccentricities and strokes of economy which deserve a brief notice here. Among other things she has made pie crust with castor oil in it, and lubricated the pancake griddle with a pork rind that I had used on my lame neck. She is thrifty and saving in this way, but rashly extravagant in the use of doughnuts, pie and Medford rum, which we keep in the house for visitors who are so unfortunate as to be addicted to the doughnut, pie or rum habit.

It is discouraging, indeed, for two young people like Mrs. Adams and myself, who have just begun to keep house, to inherit a famine, and such a robust famine, too. It is true that I should not have set my heart upon such a transitory and evanescent terrestrial object like a pumpkin pie so near to T. Tooterson, imported pie soloist, doughnut mastro and feminine virtuoso, but I did, and so I returned from the pantry desolate.

I told Abigail that unless we poisoned a few pies for Tootie the Adams family would be a short-lived race. I could see with my prophetic eye that unless the Tootersons yielded the Adamses would be wiped out. Abigail would not consent to this, but decided to relieve Miss Tooterson from duty in this department, so this morning she went away. Not being at all familiar with the English language, she took four of Abigail’s sheets and quite a number of towels, handkerchiefs and collars. She also erroneously took a pair of my night-shirts in her poor, broken way. Being entirely ignorant of American customs, I presume that she will put a belt around them and wear them externally to church. I trust that she will not do this, however, without mature deliberation.

I also had a bottle of lung medicine of a very powerful nature which the doctor had prepared for me. By some oversight, Miss Tooterson drank this the first day that she was in our service. This was entirely wrong, as I did not intend to use it for the foreign trade, but mostly for home consumption.

This is a little piece of drollery that I thought of myself. I do not think that a joke impairs the usefulness of a diary, as some do. A diary with a joke in it is just as good to fork over to posterity as one that is not thus disfigured. In fact, what has posterity ever done for me that I should hesitate about socking a little humor into a diary? When has posterity ever gone out of its way to do me a favor? Never! I defy the historian to show a single instance where posterity has ever been the first to recognize and remunerate ability.

John Adams’ Diary. (No. 2.)

December 6.–It is with great difficulty that I write this entry in my diary, for this morning Abigail thought best for me to carry the oleander down into the cellar, as the nights have been growing colder of late.

I do not know which I dislike most, foreign usurpation or the oleander. I have carried that plant up and down stairs every time the weather has changed, and the fickle elements of New England have kept me rising and falling with the thermometer, and whenever I raised or fell I most always had that scrawny oleander in my arms.

Richly has it repaid us, however, with its long, green, limber branches and its little yellow nubs on the end. How full of promises to the eye that are broken to the heart. The oleander is always just about to meet its engagements, but later on it peters out and fails to materialize.

I do not know what we would do if it were not for our house plants. Every fall I shall carry them cheerfully down cellar, and in the spring I will bring up the pots for Mrs. Adams to weep softly into. Many a night at the special instance and request of my wife I have risen, clothed in one simple, clinging garment, to go and see if the speckled, double and twisted Rise-up-William-Riley geranium was feeling all right.

Last summer Abigail brought home a slip of English ivy. I do not like things that are English very much, but I tolerated this little sickly thing because it seemed to please Abigail. I asked her what were the salient features of the English ivy. What did the English ivy do? What might be its specialty? Mrs. Adams said that it made a specialty of climbing. It was a climber from away back. “All right,” I then to her did straightway say, “let her climb.” It was a good early climber. It climbed higher than Jack’s beanstalk. It climbed the golden stair. Most of our plants are actively engaged in descending the cellar stairs or in ascending the golden stair most all the time.

I descended the stairs with the oleander this morning, though the oleander got there a little more previously than I did. Parties desiring a good, secondhand oleander tub, with castors on it, will do well to give us a call before going elsewhere. Purchasers desiring a good set of second-hand ear muffs for tulips will find something to their advantage by addressing the subscriber.

We also have two very highly ornamental green dogoods for ivy vines to ramble over. We could be induced to sell these dogoods at a sacrifice, in order to make room for our large stock of new and attractive dogoods. These articles are as good as ever. We bought them during the panic last fall for our vines to climb over, but, as our vines died of membranous croup in November, these dogoods still remain unclum. Second-hand dirt always on hand. Ornamental geranium stumps at bed-rock prices. Highest cash prices paid for slips of black-and-tan foliage plants. We are headquarters for the century plant that draws a salary for ninety-nine years and then dies.

I do not feel much like writing in my diary to-day, but the physician says that my arm will be better in a day or two, so that it will be more of a pleasure to do business.

We are still without a servant girl, so I do some of the cooking. I make a fire each day and boil the teakettle. People who have tried my boiled teakettle say it is very fine.

Some of my friends have asked me to run for the Legislature here next election. Somehow I feel that I might, in public life, rise to distinction some day, and perhaps at some future time figure prominently in the affairs of a one-horse republic at a good salary.

I have never done anything in the statesman line, but it does not look difficult to me. It occurs to me that success in public life is the result of a union of several great primary elements, to-wit:

Firstly–Ability to whoop in a felicitous manner.

Secondly–Promptness in improving the proper moment in which to whoop.

Thirdly–Ready and correct decision in the matter of which side to whoop on.

Fourthly–Ability to cork up the whoop at the proper moment and keep it in a cool place till needed.

And this last is one of the most important of all. It is the amateur statesman who talks the most. Fearing that he will conceal his identity as a fool, he babbles in conversation and slashes around in his shallow banks in public.

As soon as I get the house plants down cellar and get their overshoes on for the winter, I will more seriously consider the question of our political affairs here in this new land where we have to tie our scalps on at night and where every summer is an Indian summer.

John Adams’ Diary (No. 3.)

December 10.–I have put in a long and exhausting day in the court to-day in the case of Merkins vs. Merkins, a suit for divorce in which I am the counsel for the plaintiff, Eliza J. Merkins.

The case itself is a peculiarly trying one, and the plaintiff adds to its horrors by consulting me when I want to do something else. I took her case at an agreed price, and so Mrs. Merkins is trying to get her money’s worth by consulting me in a way I abhor. She has consulted me in every mood and tense that I know of; at my office, on the street, in church, at the festive board and at different funerals to which we both happened to be called. Mrs. Merkins has hung like a pall over several Massachusetts funerals which otherwise had every symptom of success.

I am a great admirer of woman as a woman, but as a client in a suit for divorce she has her peculiarities. I have seen Eliza in every phase of the case. She has been calm and tearful, stormy and snorting, low-spirited and red-nosed, violent and menacing, resigned but sobby, trustful and confidential, high strung and haughty, crushed and weepy.

She makes a specialty of shedding the red-hot scalding tear wherever she can obtain permission to do so. She has wept in my wood-box, in my new spittoon, on my desk and on my birthday. I told her that I wished she would please weep on something else. There were enough objects in nature upon which a poor woman who wept constantly and had no other visible means of support could shed the wild torrents of her grief, without weeping on my anniversary. A man wants to keep his birthday as dry as possible. He hates to have it wept on by a client who has jewed him down to half price, and then insisted on coming in to sob with him in the morning before he has swept the office floor.

One time she came and sobbed on my shoulder. Her tears are of the warm, damp kind, and feel disagreeable as they roll down the neck of a comparative stranger, who never can be aught but a friend. She rested her bonnet on my bosom while she wept, and I then discovered that she has been in the habit of wearing this bonnet while cooking her buckwheat pancakes. I presume she keeps her bonnet on all the time, so that she may be ready to dash out and consult me at all times without delay. Still, she ought not to do it, for when she leans her head on the bosom of her counsel in order to consult him, he detects the odor of the early sausage and the fleeting pancake.

You may bust such a bonnet and crush it if you will, But the scent of the pancake will cling round it still.

As soon as I saw that her object was to lean up against me and not only convulse herself with sobs, but that she intended to jar me also with her great woe, I told her that I would have to request her to avaunt. I then, as she did not act upon my suggestion, avaunted her myself. I avaunted her into a chair with a sickening thud.

She then burst forth in a torrent of vituperation. When the abnormal sobber is suddenly corked up, these sobs rankle in the system and burst forth in the shape of vituperation. In the course of her remarks, she stated in a violent manner that she would denounce me throughout the country and retain other counsel. I told her I wished she would, as my sympathies were with Mr. Merkins. I told her that she must either pay me a larger fee or I should insist on her weeping in the alley before she came up.

She then took her departure with a rising inflection. On the following day, however, I found her at the office door, and she stood near and consulted me again, while I took up the ashes and started a fire in the stove.

Her case is quite peculiar.

She wants a divorce from her husband on the grounds of cruelty to animals, or something of that kind, and when she first told me about it I thought she had a case, but when we came to trial I found that she had had every reason to believe that if she could be segregated from Mr. Merkins she could at once become the bride of a gentleman who ploughed the raging main.

Just as we went to the jury to-day with the case, she heard casually that the gentleman who had been in the main-ploughing business had just married without her knowledge or consent.

“Heap Brain.”

Much trouble has been done by a long haired phrenologist in the West who has, during his life, felt of over a hundred thousand heads. A comparison of a large number of charts given in these cases shows that so far no head examined would indicate anything less than a member of the lower house of congress. Artists, orators, prima-donnas and statesmen are plenty, but there are no charts showing the natural-born farmer, carpenter, shoemaker or chambermaid.

That is the reason butter is so high west of the Missouri river to-day, while genius actually runs riot.

What this day and age of the world needs, is a phrenologist who will paw around among the intellectual domes of free-born American citizens, and search out a few men who can milk a cow in a cool and unimpassioned tone of voice.

It is true that every man in America is a sovereign, but he had better not overdo it. The man who sits up nights to be a sovereign and allows the calves to eat his brown-eyed beans, is not leading his fellow men up to a higher and nobler life. The sovereign business can be run in the ground if we are not careful.

Very likely the white-eyed boy with the hickory dado along the base of his overalls is the boy who in future years is to be the president of the United States. But do not, oh, do not trow, fair young reader, that every Albino youth in our broad land who wears an isosceles triangle in navy blue flannel athwart his system, is going to be the chief magistrate of this mighty republic.

We need statesmen and orators and artists very much; but the world at this moment also needs several athletic parties with the horse-sense adequate to produce flour and other vegetables necessary to feed the aforesaid statesmen, orators, etc., etc.

Let me say a word to the bright-eyed youth of America, Let me murmur in your ear this never dying truth: When a long-haired crank asks you a dollar to tell you, you are a young Demosthenes, stand up and look yourself over at a distance before you swallow it all.

There is no use talking, we have got to procure provisions in some manner, and in order to do so the natural-born bone and muscle of the country must go at and promote the growth of such things, or else we artists, poets and statesmen, will have to take off our standing collars and do it ourselves.

Phrenology is a good thing, no doubt, if we can purify it. So long as it does not become the slave of capital, there is nothing about phrenology that is going to do harm; but when it becomes the creature of the trade dollar, it looks as though the country would be filled up with wild-eyed genius that hasn’t had a square meal for two weeks. The time will surely come when America will demand less statesmanship and more flour; when less statistics and a purer, nobler and more progressive style of beefsteak will demand our attention.

I had hoped that phrenology would step in and start this reform; but so far it has not, within the range of my observation. It may be, however, that the mental giant bump translator with whom I came in contact was not a fair representative. Still, he has been in the business for over thirty years, and some of our most polished criminals have passed under his hands.

An erroneous phrenologist once told me that I would shine as a revivalist, and said that I ought to marry a tall blonde with a nervous, sanguinary temperament. Then he said, “One dollar, please,” and I said, “All right, gentle scientist with the tawny mane, I will give you the dollar and marry the tall blonde with the bank account and bilious temperament, when you give me a chart showing me how to dispose of a brown-eyed brunette with a thoughtful cast of countenance, who married me in an unguarded moment two years ago.”

He looked at me in a reproachful kind of way, struck at me with a chair in an absent-minded manner and stole away.

The Approaching Humorist

The following letter has been received, and, as it encloses no unsmirched postage stamp to insure a private reply, I take great pleasure in answering it in these pages:

Christiana, Kas., Sept. 22nd, 1884

Dear Sir.–I am studying for a Humorist. Could you help me to some of the Joliest Books that are written? With some of the best Jokes of the Day &c &c &c.

Also what it would be best for me to do for to become an Humorist.

I am said to be a Natural Born Humorist by my friends and all I need is Cultivation to make my mark.

Please reply by return mail.

Kindly Yours

Herman A.H.

For some time I have been grieving over the dearth of humor in America, and wondering who the great coming humorist was to be. Several papers have already deplored the lack of humor in our land, but they have not been able to put their finger on the approaching humorist of the age. Just as we had begun to despair, however, here he comes, quietly and unostentatiously, modestly and ungrammatically. Unheralded and silently, like Maud S. or any other eminent man, he slowly rises above the Kansas horizon, and tells us that it will be impossible to conceal his identity any longer. He is the approaching humorist of the nineteenth century.

It is a serious matter, Herman, to prescribe a course of study that will be exactly what you need to bring you out. Perhaps you might do well to take a Kindergarten course in spelling and the rudiments of grammar; still, that is not absolutely necessary. A friend of mine named Billings has done well as a humorist, though his knowledge of spelling seems to be pitiably deficient. Grammar is convenient where a humorist desires to put on style or show off before crowned heads, but it is not absolutely indispensable.

Regarding the “Joliest Books” necessary for your perusal, in order to chisel your name on the eternal tablets of fame, tastes will certainly differ. I am almost sorry that you wrote to me, because we might not agree. You write like one of these “Joly” humorists such as people employ to go along with a picnic and be the life of the party, and whose presence throughout the country has been so depressing. If one may be allowed to judge of your genius by the few autograph lines forwarded, you belong to that class of brain-workers upon whom devolves the solemn duty of pounding sand. If you are really a brain-worker, will you kindly inform the writer whose brain you are working now, and how you like it as far as you have gone?

American humor has burst forth from all kinds of places, nearly. The various professions have done their share. One has risen from a tramp until he is wealthy and dyspeptic, and another was blown up on a steamboat before he knew that he was a humorist.

Suppose you try that, Herman. M. Quad, one of the very successful humorists of the day, both in a literary and financial way, was blown up by a steamboat before he bloomed forth into the full flush and power of success. Try that, Herman. It is a severe test, but it is bound to be a success. Even if it should be disastrous to you, it will be rich in its beneficial results to those who escape.

What We Eat

On 3d street, St. Paul, there stands a restaurant that has outside as a sign, under a glass case, a rib roast, a slice of ham and a roast duck that I remembered distinctly having seen there in 1860 and before the war. I asked an epicure the other day if he thought it right to keep those things there year after year when so many were starving throughout the length and breadth of the land. He then straightway did take me up close so that I could see that the food was made of plaster and painted, as hereinbefore set forth and by me translated, as Walt Whitman would say.

A day or two afterward, at a rural hotel, I struck some of that same roast beef and ham. I thought that the sign had been put on the table by mistake, and I made bold to tell the proprietor about it, on the ground that “any neglect or impertinence on the part of servants should be reported at the office.” He received the information with great rudeness and a most disagreeable air.

There are two kinds of guests who live at the average hotel. One is the party who gets up and walks over the whole corps de hote, from the bald-headed proprietor to the bootblack, while the other is the meek and mild-eyed man, doomed to sit at the table and bewail the flight of time and the horrors of starvation while waiting for the relief party to come with his food.

I belong to the latter class. Born, as I was, in a private family, and early acquiring the habit of eating food that was intended to assuage hunger mostly, it takes me a good while to accustom myself to the style of dyspeptic microbe used simply to ornament a bill of fare. Of course it is maintained by some hotel men that food solely for eating purposes is becoming obsolete and outre, and that the stuff they put on their bills of fare is just as good to pour down the back of a guest as diet that is cooked for the common, low, perverted taste of people who have no higher aspiration than to eat their food.

Of course the genial, urbane and talented reader will see at once the style of hotel I am referring to. It is the hotel that apes the good hotel and prints a bill of fare solely as a literary effort. That is the hotel where you find the moth-eaten towel and the bed-ridden coffee. There is where you get butter that runs the elevator day times and sleeps on the flannel cakes at night.

It is there that you meet the weary and way-worn steak that bears the toothprints of other guests who are now in a land where the early-rising chambermaid cannot enter.

I also refer to the hotel where the bellboy is simply an animated polisher of banisters, and otherwise extremely useless. It is likewise the house where the syrup tastes like tincture of rhubarb, and the pancakes taste like a hektograph.

The traveling man will call to mind the hotel to which I refer, and he will instantly name it and tell you that he has never spent the Sabbath there.

I honestly believe that some hotel men lose money and custom by trying to issue a large blanket-sheet bill of fare every day, when a more modest list containing two or three things that a human being could eat with impunity would be far more acceptable, healthy and remunerative.

Some people can live on cracked wheat, bran and skimmed milk, no matter where they go, and so they always seem to be perfectly happy; but, while simplicity is my watchword, and while I am Old Simplicity himself, as it were, I haven’t been constructed with stomachs enough to successfully wrestle with these things. I like a few plain dishes with victuals on them, cooked by a person who has had some experience in that line before. I am not so especially tied to high prices and finger-bowls, for I have risen from the common people, and during the first eighteen years of my life I had to dress myself. I was not always the pampered child of enervating luxury that I now am, by any means. So I can subsist for weeks on good, plain food, and never murmur or repine; but where the mistake at some hotels seems to have been made, is in trying to issue a bill of fare every day that will attract the attention of literary minds and excite the curiosity of linguists instead of people who desire to assuage an internal craving for grub.

I use the term grub in its broadest and most comprehensive sense.

So, if I may take the liberty to do so, let me exhort the landlord who is gradually accumulating indebtedness and remorse, to use a plainer, less elaborate, but more edible list of refreshments. Otherwise his guests will all die young.

Let him discard the seamless waffle and the kiln-dried hen. Let him abstain from the debris known as cottage pudding, that being its alias, while the doctors recognize it as old Gastric Disturbance. Too much of our hotel food tastes like the second day of January or the fifth day of July. That’s the whole thing in a few words, and unless the good hotels are nearer together we shall have to multiply our cemetery facilities.

Poor hotels are responsible for lots of drunkards every year. The only time I am tempted to soak my sorrows in rum is after I have read a delusive bill of fare and eaten a broiled barn-hinge with gravy on it that tasted like the broth of perdition. It is then that the demon of intemperance and colic comes to me and, in siren tones, says: “Try our bourbon, with ’Polly Narius’ on the side.”

Care of House Plants

Stern winter is the season in which to keep the eye peeled for the fragile little house plant. It is at that time that the coarse and brutal husband carries the Scandinavian flower known as the Ole Ander, part way down the cellar, and allows it to fall the rest of the way. I carried a large Ole Andor up and down stairs for nine years, until the spring of 1880. That was rather a backward spring, and a pale red cow, with one horn done up in a French twist, ate the most of it as it stood on the porch.

This cow was a total stranger to me. I had never done anything for her by which to win her esteem. It shows how Providence works through the humblest means sometimes to accomplish a great good.

I have tried many times to find the postoffice address of that lonely cow, so I might comfort her declining years, but she seemed to have melted away into the bosom of space, for I cannot find her. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of a pale red cow, with one horn done up in a French twist, and wearing a look of settled melancholy, will please communicate the same to me, as we have another Ole Ander that will just about fit her, I think, by spring.

Bulbs may be wrapped in cotton and put in a cool place in the fall, and fed to the domestic animals in the spring. Geraniums should put on their buffalo overcoats about the middle of November in our rigid northern clime, and in the spring they will have the same luxuriant foliage as the tropical hat-rack. Vines may be left in the room during the winter until the furnace slips a cog and then you can pull them down and feed them to the family horses. In changing your plants from the living rooms or elsewhere to the cellar in the fall, take great care to avoid injury to the pot. I have experienced some very severe winters in my life, but I have never seen the mercury so low that a flowerpot couldn’t struggle through and look fresh and robust in the spring. The longevity of the pot is surprising when we consider how much death there is all about it. I had a large brown flower-pot once that originally held the germ of a calla lily. This lily emerged from the soil with the light of immortality in its eye. It got up to where we began to be attached to it, and then it died. Then we put a plant in its place which was given us by a friend. I do not remember now what this plant was called, but I know it was sent to us wrapped up in a piece of moist brown paper, and half an hour later a dray drove up to the house with the name of the plant itself. In the summer it required very little care, and in the winter I would cover the little thing up with its name, and it would be safe till spring. One evening we had a free-for-all musicale at my house, and a corpulent friend of mine tried to climb it, and it died. (Tried to climb the plant, not the musicale.) The plant yielded to the severe climb it. This joke now makes its debut for the first time before the world. Anyone who feels offended with this joke may wreak his vengeance on a friend of mine named Sullivan, who is passionately fond of having people wreak their vengeance on him. People having a large amount of unwreaked vengeance on hand will do well to give him a call before purchasing elsewhere.

A Peaceable Man

Will L. Visscher always made a specialty of being a peaceable man. He would make most any sacrifice in order to secure general amnesty. I’ve known him to go around six blocks out of his way, to avoid a stormy interview with a belligerant dog. He was always very tender-hearted about dogs, especially the open-faced bulldog.

But he had a queer experience years ago, in St. Jo, Missouri. He had been city editor of the Kansas City Journal for some time, but one evening, while in the composing-room, the foreman told him that the place for the city editor was down stairs, in his office. He therefore ordered Visscher to go down there. Visscher said he would do so later on, after he got fatigued with the composing-room and wanted change of scene.

The foreman thereupon jumped on Mr. Visscher with a small pica wrought iron side stick. Visscher allowed that he was a peaceable man, but entered into the general chaos of double-leaded editorial, and hair and brass dashes, and dashes for liberty and heterogeneous “pi,” and foot-sticks and teeth, with great zeal. He succeeded in putting a large doric head on the foreman, and although he was a peaceable man, he went down to the office and got his discharge for disturbing the discipline of the office.

He went to St. Jo the same day, and celebrated his debut into the town by a little game of what is known as “draw.” He was fortunate in “filling his hand,” and while he was taking in the stakes, a young man from Arkansas, who was in the game, nipped a two-dollar note in a quiet kind of way, which, however, was detected by Mr. V., who mentioned the matter at the time. This maddened the Arkansas man, and later on he put one of his long arms around Mr. Visscher so as to pinion him, and then smote him across the brow with an instrument, known to science as “the brass knucks.” This irritated Mr. Visscher, and as soon as he had returned to consciousness he remarked that, although it was rather an up-hill job in Missouri, he was trying to be a peaceable man. He then broke the leg of a card-table over the head of the Arkansas man, and went to the doctor to get his own brow sewed on again.

While he was sitting in the doctor’s office a friend of the Arkansas man came in and asked him to please stand up while he knocked him down. Visscher opened a little dialogue with the man, and drew him into conversation till he could open a case of surgical instruments near by, then he took out one of those knives that the surgeons use in removing the viscera from the leading gentleman at a post mortem.

“Now,” said he, sharpening the knife on the stove-pipe and handing down a jar containing alcohol with a tumor in it, “I am a peaceful man and don’t want any fuss; but if you insist on a personal encounter, I will slice off fragments of your physiognomy at my leisure, and for twenty minutes I will fill this office with your favorite features. I make a specialty of being a peaceable man, remember; but if you’ll just say the word, I’ll put overcoat button-holes and eyelet-holes and crazy-quilts all over your system. If I’ve got to kill off the poker-players of St. Jo before I can have any fun, I guess I might as well begin on you as on any one I know.”

He then made a stab at the man and pinned his coat-tail to the door-frame. Fear loaned the bad man strength, and, splitting the coat-tail, he fled, taking little mementoes of the tumor-jar and shedding them in his flight.

When Mr. Visscher went up to the Herald office soon after to get a job, he was introduced casually to the foreman, who said:

“Ah, this is the young man who licks the foreman of the paper he works on, is it? I am glad to meet you, Mr. Visscher. I am looking for a white-eyed son of a sea-cook who goes around over Missouri thumping the foremen of our leading journals. Come out into the ante-room, Mr. Visscher, till I jar your back teeth loose and send you to the morgue in a gunny-sack.” Mr. Visscher repeated that he was trying to live in Missouri and be a peaceable man, but that if there was anything that he could do to make it pleasant for the foreman, he would cheerfully do it.

Mr. Visscher was a small man, but when he felt aggrieved about anything he was very harassing to his adversary. They “clinched” and threw each other back and forth across the hall with great vigor. When they stopped for breath, the foreman’s coat was pulled over his head and the bosom of Mr. Visscher’s shirt was hanging on the gas-jet. There were also two front teeth on the floor unaccounted for.

Visscher pinned on his shirt-bosom and said he was a peaceable man, but if the custom seemed to demand four fights in one day, he would try to conform to any local usage of the city. Wherever he went, he wanted to fall right into line and be one of the party.

When he got well he was employed on the Herald, and for four years edited the amnesty column of the paper successfully.

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