Produced by PG Distributed Proofreaders
by GEORGE ADE
FABLES in SLANG
CLYDE J. NEWMAN
Table _of_ Contents
_The_ Fable _of_ How Uncle Brewster was _Too_ Shifty _for the_ Tempter
_The_ Fable _of the_ Grass Widow _and the_ Mesmeree _and the_ Six
_The_ Fable _of the_ Honest Money-Maker and the Partner of His Joys,
_Such as They Were_
_The_ Fable _of_ Why Sweetie Flew _the_ Track
_The_ Fable _of the_ Ex-Chattel _and the_ Awful Swat _that_ was Waiting
_for the_ Colonel
_The_ Fable _of the_ Corporation Director _and the_ Mislaid Ambition
_The_ Fable _of_ What Happened _the_ Night the Men Came _to the_ Women's
_The_ Fable _of_ Why Essie's Tall Friend Got _the_ Fresh Air
_The_ Fable _of the_ Michigan Counterfeit _Who_ Wasn't One Thing _or
_The_ Fable _of the_ Adult Girl Who Got Busy Before They Could Ring
_the_ Bell _on_ Her
_The_ Fable _of the_ Man-Grabber Who Went Out _of_ His Class
_The_ Fable _of the_ Inveterate Joker who Remained _in_ Montana
_The_ Fable _of the_ Cruel Insult _and the_ Arrival _of the_ Lover
_from_ No. 6
_The_ Fable _of the_ Lodge Fiend, _and the_ Delilah Trick Played _by_
_The_ Fable _of the_ Apprehensive Sparrow _and_ Her Daily Escape
_The_ Fable _of the_ Regular Customer _and the_ Copper-Lined Entertainer
_The_ Fable _of_ Lutie, _the_ False Alarm, _and_ How She Finished about
_the_ Time _that_ She Started
_The_ Fable _of the_ Cotillon Leader _from the_ Huckleberry District
_with the_ Intermittent Memory
_The_ Fable _of the_ He-Gossip _and the_ Man's Wife _and the_ Man
_The_ Fable _of the_ Author Who was Sorry _for_ What He Did _to_ Willie
_THE_ FABLE _OF_ HOW UNCLE BREWSTER WAS _TOO_ SHIFTY _FOR THE_ TEMPTER
When Uncle Brewster had put on his Annual Collar and combed his Beard
and was about to start to the Depot, his Wife, Aunt Mehely, looked at
him through her Specs and shook her Head doubtfully.
Then she spoke as follows: "You go slow there in the City. You know your
Failin's. You're just full of the Old Harry, and when you're Het Up
you're just like as not to Raise Ned."
"I guess I can take keer of myse'f about as well as the Next One,"
retorted Uncle Brewster. "I've been to the Mill an' got my Grist, if any
one should ask. I ain't no Greeny."
With that he started for the Train, which was due in one Hour.
As he rode toward the Great City he smoked a Baby Mine Cigar, purchased
of the Butcher, and told the Brakeman a few Joe Millers just to throw
out the Impression that he was Fine and Fancy.
After he had Registered at the Hotel and Swelled Up properly when
addressed as "Mister" by the Clerk, he wanted to know if there was a
Lively Show in Town. The Clerk told him to follow the Street until he
came to all the Electric Lights, and there he would find a Ballet. Uncle
Brewster found the Place, and looked in through the Hole at an Assistant
Treasurer, who was Pale and wore a Red Vest.
[Illustration: UNCLE BREWSTER]
"I want a Chair near the Band," said Uncle Brewster. "How much does one
of 'em Fetch?"
"Two Dollars," replied the Assistant Treasurer, pulling down his Cuffs
and then examining himself in a small Mirror at one side of the Diagram.
"Great Grief!" ejaculated Uncle Brewster. "I only paid Thirty-Five Cents
for the Glass Blowers, an' I'll warrant you they beat your Troupe as bad
as Cranberries beats Glue. I'll see you plumb in Halifax before I--"
"Stand aside, please," said the Assistant Treasurer.
Uncle Brewster saw a Policeman, and thought it his Duty to tell the
Officer that the Theater Folks were a Pack of Robbers.
"Up an Alley," said the Policeman.
Instead of going to a Show, Uncle Brewster stood in front of a Clothing
Store and watched the Wax Figures.
When he got back to his Room the Bell-Hopper came around and asked him
if he cared to Sit in a Quiet Game. Uncle Brewster wanted to know
whether they were Gamblers or Business Men, and the Boy said they were
Business Men. It was all Friendly, with an Ante of Two Bits and the
Chandelier as the Limit. Uncle Brewster said he was accustomed to
playing with Lima Beans, Three for a Cent and One call Two and no fair
to Bluff. The Bell-Hopper told him to Turn In and get a Good Night's
Next Morning at the Hotel he spotted a stylish little Chunk of a Woman
who kept the Cigar Case and sold Books with Actress Photos on the
He walked over to buy a Cigar, but he happened to see the "3 for 50c."
Label and his Feet got cold.
So, instead of buying a Cigar, he conversed with the Proprietress. He
seemed to be a Success with her, and ventured to say that he was a
Stranger in Town and would like first-rate to go out to a Lecture or
some other kind of Entertainment that Evening if he could find a Nice
Girl that didn't mind going with a Respectable Man who could give
References, and besides was nearly old enough to be her Father. Then
after the Lecture they could go to a First-Class Restaurant and have an
[Illustration: THE INVITATION]
Uncle Brewster had read the Illustrated Papers in the Barber Shop out
Home, and he certainly knew what was Expected of a Man who wanted to
give a Gay Girl the Time of her Life.
The Cigar and Literary Girl said she would be Charmed to Accompany him
only for one Thing: She said she didn't have a Hat that was Fit to Wear.
She said she could tell by his Looks that he was a Gentleman that
wouldn't want to go anywhere with a Lady whose Lid was Tacky. Possibly
he would be willing to Stake her to a Hat.
"What would the Hat come to?" asked Uncle Brewster, somewhat Leary.
"Only Fourteen Dollars," she replied.
"I'll Think it Over," quoth Uncle Brewster, in a choking Voice, and he
was so Groggy he walked into the Elevator instead of going out the
A little while later Uncle Brewster met an Acquaintance who gave him a
Complimentary Badge to the Races. He walked out to the Track, so as to
make the Expense as Reasonable as possible.
As soon as he was in the Ring a Tout took him back of a Hot Sausage
Booth and told him not to Give it Out, but Green Pill in the First Race
was sure to Win as far as a man could throw an Anvil, and to hurry and
get a Piece of Money on. Uncle Brewster looked at the Entries and began
to Quiver. He wished that Doc Jimmison could be there to Advise him.
Green Pill was 30 to 1, and the Tout had his information from a Stable
Boy that slept with the Horse.
A Reckless Spirit seized Uncle Brewster. He said he would take a Chance
even if he didn't know for Sure that he would Win. So he walked up to a
Bookie and said to him: "I want to Bet Fifty Cents on Green Pill, and
this is a Dollar here, so you want to give me Fifty Cents Change."
Whereupon the Bookie told him to Back Up and Fade and do a Disappearing
Uncle Brewster Escaped and found himself at a Bar. He decided that he
would take a Drink, because he wouldn't be Home until next Day and by
that time it would be off his Breath.
So he laid his Bosom against the Brass Railing and said to the Man in
White, "You might as well draw me a Glass of Beer."
"We've got it in Bottles," said the Barkeep, regarding Uncle Brewster
without a sign of Enthusiasm.
"What do you git for a Bottle?" asked Uncle Brewster.
"Twenty Cents," was the Reply of the Liquor Clerk.
"Keep it," said Uncle Brewster.
Perceiving that the Race-Track was in the hands of Gougers, Uncle
Brewster walked back to the Hotel. By that Time his New Shoes had
Crippled him, and he decided to take the Afternoon Train for home
instead of Waiting Over.
That Evening he was back at his own Fireside, with the Bunged-Up Feet
resting in Carpet Slippers. As he sat and read the Poultry Magazine,
Aunt Mehely looked at him sidewise, and full of Suspicion said, "I
s'pose you just Played Hob there in the City."
And Uncle Brewster replied as follows: "No, Mother, I didn't Drink and I
didn't Gamble. I didn't do Nothin'--not even go to a Theayter."
And as he spoke an Aureole of Virtue seemed to curdle above him, while
his Countenance bore an Expression of Placid Triumph, which meant that
he was the real Asbestos Paragon who had been tried in the Furnace and
MORAL: _Some People are Good because it Comes High to be Otherwise_.
_THE_ FABLE _OF THE_ GRASS WIDOW _AND THE_ MESMEREE _AND THE_ SIX
One Day a keen Business manager who thought nobody could Show him was
sitting at his Desk. A Grass Widow floated in, and stood Smiling at him.
She was a Blonde, and had a Gown that fit her as if she had been Packed
into it by Hydraulic Pressure. She was just as Demure as Edna May ever
tried to be, but the Business Manager was a Lightning Calculator, and he
Surmised that the Bunk was about to be Handed to him. The Cold Chills
went down his Spine when he caught a Flash of the Half-Morocco
If it had been a Man Agent he would have shouted "Sick 'em" and reached
for a Paper-Weight. But when the Agent has the Venus de Milo beaten on
Points and Style, and when the Way the Skirt sets isn't so Poor, and she
is Coy and introduces the Startled Fawn way of backing up without
getting any farther away, and when she comes on with short Steps, and he
gets the remote Swish of the Real Silk, to say nothing of the Faint
Aroma of New-Mown Hay, and her Hesitating Manner seems to ask, "Have I
or have I not met a Friend?"--in a Case of that kind, the Victim is just
the same as Strapped to the Operating-Table. He has about One Chance in
The timorous but trusting little Grass Widow sat beside the Business
Manager and told him her Hard-Luck Story in low, bird-like Notes. She
said she was the only Support of her Little Boy, who was attending a
Military School at Syracuse, N.Y. She turned the Liquid Orbs on him and
had him to the Bad. He thought he would tell her that already he had
more Books at Home than he could get on the Shelves, but when he tried
to Talk he only Yammered. She Kept on with her little Song, and Smiled
all the Time, and sat a little Closer, and he got so Dizzy he had to
lock his Legs under the Office Chair to keep from Sinking Away.
[Illustration: GRASS WIDOW]
When she had him in the Hypnotic State she pushed the Silver Pencil into
his Right Hand, and showed him where to sign his Name. He wrote it,
while the dim Sub-Consciousness told him that probably he was the
Softest Thing the Lady Robber had Stood Up that Season. Then she
recovered the Pencil, which he was confusedly trying to put into his
Vest Pocket, and missing it about Six Inches, and with a cheery Good By
she was gone.
He shook himself and took a Long Breath, and asked where he was. Then it
all came back to him and he felt Ornery, and called himself Names and
roasted the Office Boy in the Next Room, and made a Rule that hereafter
Nobody could get at him except by Card, and if any Blonde Sharks in
Expensive Costumes asked for him, to call up the Chief and ask for a
[Illustration: THE OFFICE BOY]
He was so Wrothy at himself for being Held Up that he could not find any
Consolation except in the Fact that he had seen on the List of
Subscribers the name of nearly every well-known married Citizen above
the Age of 35. He was not the Only One. She had Corralled the Street.
When the Man came around to deliver the seven-pound copy of "Happy Hours
with the Poets," and he paid out his Six Silver Pieces for a queer
Volume that he would not have Read for Six an Hour, he hated himself
worse than ever. He thought some of giving the Book to the Office Boy,
by way of Revenge, but he hit upon a Better Use for it. He put it back
into the Box and carried it Home, and said to his Wife, "See what I have
Bought for you."
It occurred to him that after getting a Present like that, she ought to
let him stay out every Night for a Month. But she could not see it that
Way. He had to tell her that Some Women never seem to Appreciate having
Husbands to Grind and Toil all day, so as to be able to purchase
Beautiful Gifts for them. Then she told him that all the Women of her
Acquaintance had received these Books as Presents, and a crowd of
Married Men must have been given a Club Rate. Then he Spunked up and
said that if she was going to look a Gift Horse in the Mouth, they
wouldn't Talk about it any more.
In the meantime the Grass Widow was living at the Waldorf-Astoria.
MORAL: _Those who are Entitled to it Get it sooner or later_.
_THE_ FABLE _OF THE_ HONEST MONEY-MAKER AND THE PARTNER OF HIS JOYS,
_SUCH AS THEY WERE_
The Prosperous Farmer lived in an Agricultural Section of the Middle
West. He commanded the Respect of all his Neighbors. He owned a Section,
and had a Raft of big Horses and white-faced Cows and Farm Machinery,
and Money in the Bank besides. He still had the first Dollar he ever
made, and it could not have been taken away from him with Pincers.
Henry was a ponderous, Clydesdale kind of Man, with Warts on his Hands.
He did not have to travel on Appearances, because the whole County knew
what he was Worth. Of course he was Married. Years before he had
selected a willing Country Girl with Pink Cheeks, and put her into his
Kitchen to serve the Remainder of her Natural Life. He let her have as
high as Two Dollars a Year to spend for herself. Her Hours were from 6
A.M. to 6 A.M., and if she got any Sleep she had to take it out of her
Time. The Eight-Hour Day was not recognized on Henry's Place.
After Ten Years of raising Children, Steaming over the Washtub, Milking
the Cows, Carrying in Wood, Cooking for the Hands, and other Delsarte
such as the Respected Farmer usually Frames Up for his Wife, she was as
thin as a Rail and humped over in the Shoulders. She was Thirty, and
looked Sixty. Her Complexion was like Parchment and her Voice had been
worn to a Cackle. She was losing her Teeth, too, but Henry could not
afford to pay Dentist Bills because he needed all his Money to buy more
Poland Chinas and build other Cribs. If she wanted a Summer Kitchen or a
new Wringer or a Sewing Machine, or Anything Else that would lighten her
Labors, Henry would Moan and Grumble and say she was trying to land him
in the Poorhouse.
They had a dandy big Barn, painted Red With White Trimmings, and a
Patent Fork to lift the Hay into the Mow, and the Family lived in a Pine
Box that had not been Painted in Years and had Dog-Fennel all around the
Front of it.
The Wife of the Respected Farmer was the only Work Animal around the
Place that was not kept Fat and Sleek. But, of course, Henry did not
count on Selling her. Henry often would fix up his Blooded Stock for the
County Fair and tie Blue Ribbons on the Percherons and Herefords, but it
was never noticed that he tied any Blue Ribbons on the Wife.
And yet Henry was a Man to be Proud of. He never Drank and he was a Good
Hand with Horses, and he used to go to Church on Sunday Morning and hold
a Cud of Tobacco in his Face during Services and sing Hymns with Extreme
Unction. He would sing that he was a Lamb and had put on the Snow-White
Robes and that Peace attended him. People would see him there in his
Store Suit, with the Emaciated Wife and the Scared Children sitting in
the Shadow of his Greatness, and they said that she was Lucky to have a
Man who was so Well Off and lived in the Fear of the Lord.
Henry was Patriotic as well as Pious. He had a Picture of Abraham
Lincoln in the Front Room, which no one was permitted to Enter, and he
was glad that Slavery had been abolished.
Henry robbed the Cradle in order to get Farm-Hands. As soon as the
Children were able to Walk without holding on, he started them for the
Corn-Field, and told them to Pay for the Board that they had been
Sponging off of him up to that Time. He did not want them to get too
much Schooling for fear that they would want to sit up at Night and Read
instead of Turning In so as to get an Early Start along before Daylight
next Morning. So they did not get any too much, rest easy. And he never
Foundered them on Stick Candy or Raisins or any such Delicatessen for
sale at a General Store. Henry was undoubtedly the Tightest Wad in the
Township. Some of the Folks who had got into a Box through Poor
Management, and had been Foreclosed out of House and Home by Henry and
his Lawyer, used to say that Henry was a Skin, and was too Stingy to
give his Family enough to Eat, but most People looked up to Henry, for
there was no getting around it that he was Successful.
[Illustration: THE FARM]
When the Respected Farmer had been Married for Twenty Years and the
Children had developed into long Gawks who did not know Anything except
to get out and Toil all Day for Pa and not be paid anything for it, and
after Henry had scraped together more Money than you could load on a
Hay-Rack, an Unfortunate Thing happened. His Wife began to Fail. She was
now Forty, but the Fair and Fat did not go with it. At that Age some
Women are Buxom and just blossoming into the Full Charm of Matronly
Womanhood. But Henry's Wife was Gaunt and Homely and all Run Down. She
had been Poorly for Years, but she had to keep up and do the Chores as
well as the House-Work, because Henry could not afford to hire a Girl.
At last her Back gave out, so that she had to sit down and Rest every
Once in a While. Henry would come in for his Meals and to let her know
how Hearty all the Calves seemed to be, and he began to Notice that she
was not very Chipper. It Worried him more than a little, because he did
not care to pay any Doctor Bills. He told her she had better go and get
some Patent Medicine that he had seen advertised on the Fence coming out
from Town. It was only Twenty-Five cents a Bottle, and was warranted to
Cure Anything. So she tried it, but it did not seem to restore her Youth
and she got Weaker, and at last Henry just had to have the Doctor,
Expense or No Expense. The Doctor said that as nearly as he could
Diagnose her Case, she seemed to be Worn Out. Henry was Surprised, and
said she had not been Complaining any more than Usual.
Next Afternoon he was out Dickering for a Bull, and his Woman, lying on
the cheap Bedstead, up under the hot Roof, folded her lean Hands and
slipped away to the only Rest she had known since she tied up with a
Prosperous and Respected Farmer.
[Illustration: THE FAMILY]
Henry was all Broken Up. He Wailed and Sobbed and made an Awful Fuss at
the Church. The Preacher tried to Comfort him by saying that the Ways of
Providence were beyond all Finding Out. He said that probably there was
some Reason why the Sister had been taken right in the Prime of her
Usefulness, but it was not for Henry to know it. He said the only
Consolation he could offer was the Hope that possibly she was Better
Off. There did not seem to be much Doubt about that.
In about a Month the Respected Farmer was riding around the Country in
his Buck-Board looking for Number Two. He had a business Head and he
knew it was Cheaper to Marry than to Hire one. His Daughter was only
Eleven and not quite Big Enough as yet to do all the Work for five Men.
Finally he found one who had the Reputation of being a Good Worker. When
he took her over to his House to Break Her In, the Paper at the County
Seat referred to them as the Happy Couple.
MORAL: _Be Honest and Respected and it Goes_.
_THE_ FABLE _OF_ WHY SWEETIE FLEW _THE_ TRACK
Once there were two Married People who used "Lovey" and "Pet" when they
were in Company, and as soon as they were at Home they Threw Things at
each other. She used to watch him through a Hole in the Curtain to see
if he Flirted with any Women as he walked up the Street, and he bribed
the Hired Girl to tell him Everything that happened while he was off the
They did not Mocha and Java worth a Cent.
The Cardboard Motto in the Dining Room said, "Love One Another," but
they were too Busy to Read.
He had a Clearing on the top of his Head and wore Side-Whiskers and bore
a general Resemblance to the Before in an Ad for a Facial Treatment, and
yet she suspected that all the Women in Town were Crazy to steal him
away from her.
Likewise, inasmuch as she was the same Width all the way up and down,
the same as a Poster Girl, and used to sport a Velvet Shroud with Black
Beads on it, and could wield a Tooth-Pick and carry on a Conversation at
the same time, he knew that sooner or later some Handsome Wretch with
Money would try to Abduct her.
Sometimes he would bring a Friend Home to Dinner, and then if the Friend
extended himself and told the Missus how well she was looking or
Perjured himself over her Hand-Painting, Papa would get a Grouch and
hide in the Corner.
Then she would Fan herself rapidly and ask, "Aren't you well, Dear?"
Dear would force one of those Dying-Martyr Smiles and reply, "I am quite
Then Puss would tell the Visitor that Baby was simply ruining his Health
through Devotion to his Employers, but they didn't seem to Appreciate
him at all.
After the Visitor went away there would be Language all over the Shop,
and the poor Hired Girl would lock the Door and write to the
Intelligence Office for a new Place.
Truly, it was a Happy Little Home, with the Reverse English.
She would Frisk his Wardrobe every day or two, looking for Evidence, and
he would compel her to Itemize her Accounts so that he might be sure she
was not giving Jewelry to the Iceman.
She would find a certain Passage in a Book, relating to Man's Cruelty
and Woman's Silent Suffering, and then she would Mark the Passage and
put it where he could Find it. Then when he Found it, he would Mark it
"Rot!" and put it where She could find it, and then she would Weep and
write Letters to Lady Authors telling them how Sad and Lonely she was.
But all the Time they kept up an Affectionate Front before their
Acquaintances. They thought it better to avoid Scenes in Public; and
although each knew that the other was False and had ceased to Love, they
could not bring themselves to think of a Separation or a Divorce on
account of the Cat--their Cat! The Cat must never know.
However, one of his Business Associates was On. He was a Bachelor and
had lived at a European Hotel for Years, and he knew just how to
Arbitrate a Domestic Scrap. So he sat down one day and gave the Husband
a Good Talking-To. He said it was a Shame that such Nice People should
have their Differences when it was so easy to be Happy. With that he
handed over a Slew of Platitudes and Proverbs, such as: "A Soft Answer
Turneth Away Wrath," "It takes Two to Make a Quarrel," "Think Twice
before you Speak once," _et cetera._
The Gist of his heart-to-heart Talk was that any Husband could stop
Rough House Proceedings and shoot all kinds of Sweetness and Light into
the sassiest Mooch a Wife ever got on to herself, if only he would
refuse to Quarrel with her, receive her Flings without a Show of Wrath,
and get up every Morning ready to Plug for a Renaissance of their Early
Oh, but it was a Beauty Bright System! The European Hotel Bachelor said
it couldn't Lose.
The Husband decided to give it a Trial. That very Afternoon he met his
Wife, who had come out in her long Fawn-Colored Coat that fell straight
in the Back. She had her Upper Rigging set, and was trying to Blanket
everything on the Street. He flashed a Smiling Countenance, and said he
was glad to see her. Then, instead of asking her When she left the
House, and Where she had been since then, and How Soon she expected to
go Home again, he told her she was looking Unusually Charming. She was
[Illustration: THE CAT]
He handed her a Ten and told her to have a Good Time. Now, usually, when
she wanted any Pin Money, she had to Pry it out of him.
On her way home her Mind was in a Tumult. Why had he given her the Con
Speech and all that Money? What was the Ulterior Motive? What had he
been Doing that he should attempt to Coddle her into a Forgiving Mood?
Did he Fear that she would get next to his Past? Huh?
He just couldn't Fool her. She knew Something was Doing. Else why should
he try to Fix her?
As soon as he came Home that Evening she Accused him and said she knew
All. Instead of Countering with the usual Gibe, he told her that she was
the Only Woman he had ever Loved and would she go to a Show that
Evening? She went, thinking that perhaps the Other Woman might be there
and she could detect some Signal passing between them. While at the
Theater he fanned her and explained the Plot, and was all Attention.
They rode Home in a Cab, because he said a Car wasn't good enough for
His Queen. After they were at Home he asked her to sing the Song he had
liked so much in the Old Days, "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean." This was
Conclusive Proof to her that the Hussy's Name was Bonnie.
Next Morning before he started away he Kissed her, and it wasn't any
Make-Believe such as you see in Comic Opera. It was a genuine Olga
Nethersole Buss, full of Linger and Adhesion. To cap the Climax he said
he would stop in and order some Violets.
As soon as the Door slammed she Staggered toward the Kitchen, holding on
to the Furniture here and there, the same as a Sardou Heroine. In the
Kitchen was a Box of Rough on Rats. Hastily Concealing it beneath the
loose Folds of her Morning Gown, she went to her Room and looked in the
Ah, when he saw that Cold, White Face, then he would be Sorry. Upon
Second Thought, this didn't seem to be a Moral Certainty, so she
Weakened and had the Girl take the Poison and Hide it. She said she
would Live--Live to Forget his Perfidy.
That day she went back to Mamma, and took the Cat with her.
When he came Home in the Twilight he found no Wife, no Cat--only a
Scribbled Note saying that he could no longer Deceive her; that she had
seen through his Diabolical Plan to Lull her Suspicions, and that she
was no longer Safe in the Same House.
When the Deserted Husband went to the Friend and told him what had
Happened, the Wise Bachelor said:
"I see. You did not go at her Strong enough."
MORAL: _They don't know Anything about it_.
_THE_ FABLE _OF THE_ EX-CHATTEL _AND THE_ AWFUL SWAT _THAT_ WAS WAITING
_FOR THE COLONEL_
In one of the States of the Sunny South there stood a war-time House
that had six white Columns along the Veranda, and the Chimney ran up the
outside of the Wall.
This House was the Abode of a Colonel who had a silver-gray Goatee and
the Manners of the Old School. All the First Families in the State were
related to him, and therefore he was somewhat Particular as to who Lined
Up with him when he took his Toddy.
He was proud of his Ancestry, and he carried the Scars to prove that he
would Resent an Insult.
Now it happened that the Thirteenth Amendment signified nothing to him.
He had been Reconstructed, but it didn't Take.
While on a Business Trip to the North he stopped at a Gaudy Hotel with
all kinds of Mirrors and Onyx Stairways.
The Head Waiter at this Hotel was a Colored Gentleman with a False Front
and a Dress Suit that fit him too soon. His Name was Mr. Winfield. He
was President of the Colored Waiters' Union, Vice-President of the
Republican County Central Committee, and Regal Commander of the Princes
His Honors lay Heavily upon him. He showed People where to sit in the
Dining Room, and those who failed to Obey usually had to wait fifteen or
twenty Minutes for their Vermicelli.
[Illustration: THE COLONEL]
Mr. Winfield favored his Feet somewhat, which caused him to walk
Syncopated, but, everything considered, he was quite Important and
One morning the Colonel went into the Dining Room, and after he had
seated himself he called Mr. Winfield to him and said he wanted some Hot
Biscuit. At the same time he addressed Mr. Winfield as a Black Hound.
Mr. Winfield did not know that this was a Term of Endearment in
Apahatchie County, so he picked up a Silver Fruit Dish and bounced it
against the Colonel's Head.
The Colonel arose and pulled his Persuader, expecting to make it a Case
of Justifiable Homicide, but two Waiters named George and Grant grabbed
him and backed him up against the Wall.
There were other guests in the Dining Room, but they did not jump in
with any Gun Plays and make it a Race War, because Apahatchie County was
Eight Hundred Miles away. One of them Co-Operated to the extent of
Ringing three times for a Policeman.
The Officer of the Law who arrived in a few Minutes was Mr. Otis
Beasley, Most Worshipful Scribe of the Princes of Ethiopia, of which Mr.
Winfield was the Regal Commander.
Mr. Beasley walked up to Mr. Winfield, and placing his Left Hand on his
Brow, said, "Hail, Brother."
"Hail, Most Noble Prince!" responded Mr. Winfield, making the Mystic
"What are the Objects of our Beloved Fraternity?" asked Mr. Beasley, in
"Hope, Coslosterousness, and Polotomy," replied the Regal Commander.
"'Tis Well," said the Most Worshipful Scribe, giving him the Grip.
Having completed the Secret work, Mr. Beasley wanted to know what he
could do for Brother Winfield.
"Remove this Pusson," said Mr. Winfield, pointing at the Colonel.
So it came about that He who in Apahatchie County had trained them to
hop off the Sidewalk and stand Uncovered until he had passed, now
suffered the Hideous Degradation of being marched downstairs by One of
Them and then slammed into the Hurry-Up Wagon. Under which Circumstances
the Colonel had the Rabies.
[Illustration: MR. WINFIELD]
At the Police Station he was dragged before a Magistrate and was charged
with Disorderly Conduct, Carrying Concealed Weapons, Assault and
Battery, Assault with Intent to Kill, and Resisting an Officer.
The Magistrate was a White Man, and to him the Colonel appealed for
Justice, claiming Brotherhood as a Caucasian. He told what would have
happened in Apahatchie if any Coon had dared to lay a finger on a
Here was an opening for the Court. It must be known that the Court lived
in a Ward that was Dark in one End, and he was out for the Colored Vote
in case he ran for Judge. This was his Chance to make a Grand-Stand
He handed down a Decision to the Effect that all Men are Free and Equal,
with incidental References to the Emancipation Proclamation and Striking
the Shackles from Four Millions of Human Beings. He Ratified the
Constitution and Permitted the Negro to stand in the Free Sunlight. In
Apahatchie County he would have been used for Target Practice, but
Apahatchie County was still Eight Hundred Miles away.
In Conclusion he Soaked the Colonel for $32.75 in Fines and Costs,
Confiscating the Weapon, which he afterward presented to Officer Otis
Beasley as a Slight Token of Esteem.
Next Morning, as a south-bound Passenger Train was crossing the Ohio
River, the Colored Porter on the Atlanta Sleeper jumped eighty feet from
the Trestle into the Water in order to Escape with his Life.
MORAL: _A Head Waiter must be Ruled by Kindness_.
_THE_ FABLE _OF THE_ CORPORATION DIRECTOR _AND THE_ MISLAID AMBITION
One of the Most Promising Boys in a Graded School had a Burning Ambition
to be a Congressman. He loved Politics and Oratory. When there was a
Rally in Town he would carry a Torch and listen to the Spellbinder with
his Mouth open.
The Boy wanted to grow up and wear a Black String Tie and a Bill Cody
Hat and walk stiff-legged, with his Vest unbuttoned at the Top, and be
On Friday Afternoons he would go to School with his Face scrubbed to a
shiny pink and his Hair reached up on one side, and he would Recite the
Speeches of Patrick Henry and Daniel Webster and make Gestures.
When he Graduated from the High School he delivered an Oration on "The
Duty of the Hour," calling on all young Patriots to leap into the Arena
and with the Shield of Virtue quench the rising Flood of Corruption. He
said that the Curse of Our Times was the Greed for Wealth, and he
pleaded for Unselfish Patriotism among those in High Places.
He boarded at Home for a while without seeing a chance to jump into the
Arena, and finally his Father worked a Pull and got him a Job with a
Steel Company. He proved to be a Handy Young Man, and the Manager sent
Him out to make Contracts. He stopped roaching his Hair, and he didn't
give the Arena of Politics any serious Consideration except when the
Tariff on Steel was in Danger.
[Illustration: AMBITIOUS YOUTH]
In a little while he owned a few Shares, and after that he became a
Director. He joined several Clubs and began to enjoy his Food. He drank
a Small Bottle with his Luncheon each Day, and he couldn't talk Business
unless he held a Scotch High Ball in his Right Hand.
With the return of Prosperity and the Formation of the Trust and the
Whoop in all Stocks he made so much Money that he was afraid to tell the
His Girth increased--he became puffy under the Eyes--you could see the
little blue Veins on his Nose.
He kept his Name out of the Papers as much as possible, and he never
gave Congress a Thought except when he talked to his Lawyer of the
Probable Manner in which they would Evade any Legislation against
Trusts. He took two Turkish Baths every week and wore Silk Underwear.
When an Eminent Politician would come to his Office to shake him down he
would send out Word by the Boy in Buttons that he had gone to Europe.
That's what he thought of Politics.
One day while rummaging in a lower Drawer in his Library, looking for a
Box of Poker Chips, he came upon a Roll of Manuscript and wondered what
it was. He opened it and read how it was the Duty of all True Americans
to hop into the Arena and struggle unselfishly for the General Good. It
came to him in a Flash--this was his High School Oration!
Then suddenly he remembered that for several Years of his Life his
consuming Ambition had been--to go to Congress!
With a demoniacal Shriek he threw himself at full length on a Leather
Couch and began to Laugh.
He rolled off the Sofa and tossed about on a $1,200 Rug in a Paroxysm of
His Man came running into the Library and saw the Master in Convulsions.
The poor Trust Magnate was purple in the Face.
They sent for a Great Specialist, who said that his Dear Friend had
ruptured one of the smaller Arteries, and also narrowly escaped Death by
[Illustration: THE MAGNATE]
He advised Rest and Quiet and the avoidance of any Great Shock.
So they took the High School Oration and put it on the Ice, and the
Magnate slowly recovered and returned to his nine-course Dinners.
MORAL: _Of all Sad Words of Tongue or Pen, the Saddest are these, "It
Might Have Been."_
_THE_ FABLE _OF_ WHAT HAPPENED _THE_ NIGHT THE MEN CAME _TO THE_ WOMEN'S
In a Progressive Little City claiming about twice the Population that
the Census Enumerators could uncover, there was a Literary Club. It was
one of these Clubs guaranteed to fix you out with Culture while you
wait. Two or three Matrons, who were too Heavy for Light Amusements, but
not old enough to remain at Home and Knit, organized the Club. Nearly
every Woman in town rushed to get in, for fear somebody would say she
hadn't been Asked.
The Club used to Round Up once a week at the Homes of Members. There
would be a Paper, followed by a Discussion, after which somebody would
The Organization seemed to be a Winner. One Thing the Lady Clubbers were
Dead Set On. They were going to have Harmony with an Upper Case H. They
were out to cut a seven-foot Swath through English Literature from
Beowulf to Bangs, inclusive, and no petty Jealousies or Bickerings would
stand in the Way.
So while they were at the Club they would pull Kittenish Smiles at each
other, and Applaud so as not to split the Gloves. Some times they would
Kiss, too, but they always kept their Fingers crossed.
Of course, when they got off in Twos and Threes they would pull the
little Meat-Axes out of the Reticules and hack a few Monograms, but that
was to have been expected.
Everything considered, the Club was a Tremendous Go. At each Session the
Lady President would announce the Subject for the next Meeting. For
instance, she would say that Next Week they would take up Wyclif. Then
every one would romp home to look in the Encyclopedia of Authors and
find out who in the world Wyclif was. On the following Thursday they
would have Wyclif down Pat, and be primed for a Discussion. They would
talk about Wyclif as if he had been down to the House for Tea every
evening that Week.
After the Club had been running for Six Months it was beginning to be
Strong on Quotations and Dates. The Members knew that Mrs. Browning was
the wife of Mr. Browning, that Milton had Trouble with his Eyes, and
that Lord Byron wasn't all that he should have been, to say the Least.
They began to feel their Intellectual Oats. In the meantime the
Jeweler's Wife had designed a Club Badge.
The Club was doing such Notable Work that some of the Members thought
they ought to have a Special Meeting and invite the Men. They wanted to
put the Cap-Sheaf on a Profitable Season, and at the same time hand the
Merited Rebuke to some of the Husbands and Brothers who had been making
It was decided to give the Star Programme at the Beadle Home, and after
the Papers had been read then all the Men and Five Women who did not
hold Office could file through the Front Room and shake Hands with the
President, the Vice-President, the Recording Secretary, the
Corresponding Secretary, the Treasurer, and the members of the various
Committees, all of whom were to line up and Receive.
The reason the Club decided to have the Brain Barbecue at the Beadle
Home was that the Beadles had such beautiful big Rooms and Double Doors.
There was more or less quiet Harpoon Work when the Announcement was
made. Several of the Elderly Ones said that Josephine Beadle was not a
Representative Member of the Club. She was Fair to look upon, but she
was not pulling very hard for the Uplifting of the Sex. It was suspected
that she came to the Meetings just to Kill Time and see what the Others
were Wearing. She refused to buckle down to Literary Work, for she was a
good deal more interested in the Bachelors who filled the Windows of the
new Men's Club than she was in the Butler who wrote "Hudibras." So why
should she have the Honor of entertaining the Club at the Annual
Meeting? Unfortunately, the Members who had the most Doing under their
Bonnets were not the ones who could come to the Front with large Rooms
that could be Thrown together, so the Beadle Home got the Great Event.
[Illustration: THE MEN]
Every one in Town who carried a Pound of Social Influence showed up in
his or her Other Clothes. Extra Chairs had to be brought in, and what
with the Smilax and Club Colors it was very Swell, and the Maiden in the
Lace Mitts who was going to write about it for the Weekly threw a couple
The Men were led in pulling at the Halters and with their Ears laid
back. After they got into the Dressing Room they Stuck there until they
had to be Shooed out. They did not know what they were going against,
but they had their Suspicions. They managed to get Rear Seats or stand
along the Wall so that they could execute the Quiet Sneak if Things got
too Literary. The Women were too Flushed and Proud to Notice.
At 8:30 P.M. the Lady President stood out and began to read a few Pink
Thoughts on "Woman's Destiny--Why Not?" Along toward 9:15, about the
time the Lady President was beginning to show up Good and Earnest,
Josephine Beadle, who was Circulating around on the Outskirts of the
Throng to make sure that everybody was Happy, made a Discovery. She
noticed that the Men standing along the Wall and in the Doorways were
not more than sixty per cent En Rapport with the Long Piece about
Woman's Destiny. Now Josephine was right there to see that Everybody had
a Nice Time, and she did not like to see the Prominent Business Men of
the Town dying of Thirst or Leg Cramp or anything like that, so she gave
two or three of them the Quiet Wink, and they tiptoed after her out to
the Dining Room, where she offered Refreshments, and said they could
slip out on the Side Porch and Smoke if they wanted to.
[Illustration: LADY PRESIDENT]
Probably they preferred to go back in the Front Room and hear some more
about Woman's Destiny not.
As soon as they could master their Emotions and get control of their
Voices, they told Josephine what they thought of her. They said she made
the Good Samaritan look like a Cheap Criminal, and if she would only say
the Word they would begin to put Ground Glass into the Food at Home.
Then Josephine called them "Boys," which probably does not make a Hit
with one who is on the sloping side of 48. More of the Men seemed to
awake to the Fact that they were Overlooking something, so they came on
the Velvet Foot back to the Dining Room and declared themselves In, and
flocked around Josephine and called her "Josie" and "Joe." They didn't
care. They were having a Pleasant Visit.
Josephine gave them Allopathic Slugs of the Size that they feed you in
the Navy and then lower you into the Dingey and send you Ashore. Then
she let them go out on the Porch to smoke. By the time the Lady
President came to the last Page there were only two Men left in the
Front Room. One was Asleep and the other was Penned In.
The Women were Huffy. They went out to make the Men come in, and found
them Bunched on the Porch listening to a Story that a Traveling Man had
just brought to Town that Day.
Now the Plan was that during the Reception the Company would stand about
in little Groups, and ask each other what Books they liked, and make it
something on the order of a Salon. This Plan miscarried, because all the
Men wanted to hear Rag Time played by Josephine, the Life-Saver.
Josephine had to yield, and the Men all clustered around her to give
their Moral Support. After one or two Selections, they felt sufficiently
Keyed to begin to hit up those low-down Songs about Baby and Chickens
and Razors. No one paid any Attention to the Lady President, who was off
in a Corner holding an Indignation Meeting with the Secretary and the
When the Women began to sort out the Men and order them to start Home
and all the Officers of the Club were giving Josephine the frosty Good
Night, any one could see that there was Trouble ahead.
Next Day the Club held a Special Session and expelled Josephine for
Conduct Unbecoming a Member, and Josephine sent Word to them as follows:
Then the Men quietly got together and bought Josephine about a Thousand
Dollars' Worth of American Beauty Roses to show that they were With her,
and then Homes began to break up, and somebody started the Report that
anyway it was the Lady President's Fault for having such a long and
pokey Essay that wasn't hers at all, but had been Copied out of a Club
Paper published in Detroit.
Before the next Meeting there were two Factions. The Lady President had
gone to a Rest Cure, and the Meeting resolved itself into a Good Cry and
a general Smash-Up.
MORAL: _The only Literary Men are those who have to Work at it._
_THE_ FABLE _OF_ WHY ESSIE'S TALL FRIEND GOT _THE_ FRESH AIR
The Owner of a Furnishing Store gave employment to a Boy with Dreamy
Eyes, who took good care of his Nails and used Scented Soap and carried
a Pocket Looking-Glass. It was his Delight to stand in the Doorway and
watch the Girls all Color Up when they caught Sight of him. He was said
to be a Divine Waltzer at these Balls that cost the Gents 50 cents each
and the Ladies get in free.
There was a Girl named Essie who was Hanging Around the Front of the
Store about half of the Time, waiting to get a Chance to Speak to Bert.
She Chewed Gum and kept her Sailor Hat pulled down to her Eyebrows and
had her Name worked out in Wire and used it as a Breastpin. After she
had waited an Hour or so, and he had Broken Away long enough to take her
aside, she would want to know what it was that Net had said about her,
or else she would ask why he had not Answered her Note. It was always
just about as Momentous as that.
If Essie did not come, she sent some one with a Message, and sometimes
other Floor Managers with Red Neckties and Forelocks would come in to
see about the Arrangements for the next Grand Hop by the Eucalyptus
Bert was so Engrossed with his Love Affairs and the Pleasure Club and
the Bundle of Correspondence that he carried with him that he had little
Time for Furnishing Goods. It used to Annoy him considerably when any
one came in and wanted to Spend Money. He would set out the Goods in a
Manner that showed it to be something of a Come-Down for him to be
compelled to Wait on Outsiders. While the Customer would be asking
Questions, Bert would be working the Flexible Neck to see if Essie was
still waiting for him. Sometimes when there was a Rush he would get real
Cross, and if People did not Buy in a Hurry he would slam the Boxes
around and be Lippy and give them the Eye. Yet he wondered why he did
not get a Raise in Salary.
During the Holiday Season, when the Eucalyptus Pleasure Club was simply
in a Delirium of All-Night Dances and Fried-Oyster Suppers, and when
Essie had worn a Path in the Snow coming down to tell Bert not to
Forget, the Proprietor decided that the Boy's Job was interfering with
his Gaiety. So when Bert came to get his Envelope the Furnisher told him
he needed more Outdoor Life and Exercise, and he had better find it by
moving around Town and looking for another Job.
MORAL: _Omit the Essie Proposition_.
_THE_ FABLE _OF THE_ MICHIGAN COUNTERFEIT WHO WASN'T ONE THING _OR THE_
Two Travelers sat in a Sleeping Car that was fixed up with Plush and
Curly-Cues until it resembled a Chambermaid's Dream of Paradise. They
were talking about the Man who sat across the Aisle.
"I think he is an Englishman," said the First Traveler.
"Why do you think so?" queried his Companion.
"Well, in the first place his Clothes don't fit him," replied the First
Traveler. "I observe, also, that he has piled all his Luggage on Another
Man's Seat, that he has opened several Windows without asking
Permission, that he has expected the Porter to pay Attention to him and
nobody else, and that he has Kicked at something every Thirty Seconds
since we left Buffalo."
"You make out a Strong Case," said the Second Traveler, nodding. "I will
admit that the Suit is Fierce. Still, I maintain that he is not an
Englishman. I notice that he seems somewhat Ashamed of his Clothes. Now,
if he were an Englishman, he would Glory in the Misfit."
"Perhaps he is a Canadian," suggested the First Traveler.
"Impossible," said the other. "He may be English, but he is not
sufficiently British to be a Canadian. If he were a Canadian he would
now be singing 'Britannia Rules the Wave!' No, I insist that he is an
American traveling Incog. I suspect that I have Caught him with the
Goods. While sitting here, I have had my Sherlock Holmes System at work.
A few Moments ago he read a Joke in a Comic Paper, and the Light of
Appreciation kindled in his Eye before a full Minute had elapsed."
[Illustration: PULLMAN CAR]
"Perhaps it was not a Comic Paper at all," said the First Traveler. "It
may have been Punch. Very often an Englishman will Get Next almost
immediately if the Explanation is put in Parenthesis. You have to Hand
it to him with a Diagram and a Map and then give him a little Time, and
then he Drops. This man is certainly an Englishman. Notice the
Expression of Disapproval. He does not fancy our Farm Scenery. Get onto
the Shoes, too. They are shaped like Muffins. Then if you are still in
Doubt, pay attention to the Accent. Didn't you hear him just now when he
was complaining to the Porter because the Sun was on the wrong side of
"Yes, but did you hear him use 'Cahn't' and 'Glass' both in the same
Sentence? When a Man Plays it Both Ways, it is a Sign that he was born
in Wisconsin and attended Harvard. I am convinced that he is not an
Englishman at all. He is probably an American who takes a Bahth in a
But the First Traveler persisted that surely the Man across the aisle
was an Englishman, so they Jawed back and forth and finally made a Bet.
Then the First Traveler stepped over and begged the Stranger's Pardon
and asked him, as a personal favor, to Identify himself. Was he an
Englishman or an American?
"Really, that is a Hard Question to answer," said the Surprised
Stranger. "I confess with some Mortification that Father was an
American, but he wore Detachable Cuffs and talked about Live Stock at
the Table, so the Heirs are trying to Forget him. As nearly as we can
learn, one of my Ancestors came to this Country from Yorkshire early in
the Eighteenth Century and founded a Tannery in Massachusetts, so I feel
that I can claim an English Birthright, regardless of the intervening
Ancestors. My Claim is strengthened by the Fact that our Family has a
Regular Coat-of-Arms. Everybody had forgotten about it for over Seven
Hundred Years until Sister and I hired a Man to find it. Sister is now
Lady Frost-Simpson and lives on the Other Side. When she discovered his
Lordship he was down to his last Dickey. She took him out of Hock, and
he is so Grateful that sometimes he lets me come and Visit them. I have
seen the Prince."
"Then you are an Englishman?" queried the Traveler who had Bet that way.
"It is not admitted in London," was the sorrowful Reply. "Sometimes if
Frost-Simpson has to come Home for Money while I am visiting Sister, he
puts me up at the Clubs and all the Chaps seem to think I am an
American. I try to be exactly like them, but I fail. They say I have an
Accent, although I have been working all my Life to overcome it. I have
not used the word 'Guess' for many Years."
"Yours is a Sad Case," remarked the Second Traveler. "Why do you ever
"To collect my Income," was the Reply. "Isn't it a Bore? Rents and all
that sort of Rot, you know."
"But you have not settled the Bet," said one of the Persistent
Travelers. "Are you a Yankee?"
"I have never Admitted it, and I cannot do so now," said the
Brother-in-Law of Lord Frost-Simpson. "At the same time, it is on Record
that I was born at Pontiac, Michigan. Of course, you know What I am
Striving to be. But there must be a Handicap somewhere. During the Two
Hundred Years in which my Ancestors temporarily resided in the States,
they must have absorbed some of the Characteristics of this Uncouth and
Vulgar People, and as a Result the Sins of the Father are visited upon
the Child even to the third and fourth Generations, and I cannot hold a
Monocle in my Eye to save my Life. I live Abroad, and strive to Forget,
and work hard to be just like the other Fellows, but I do not seem to
Arrive. Even in this Beastly Country, where the Imitation Article
usually passes current as the Real Thing, there seems to be some Doubt
as to my Case, seeing that you two Persons have made this Bet.
Concerning the Bet, I fear that I am unable to Decide it. I do not know
What I am."
"I know What you are," said the First Traveler, "but I do not dare to
tell you right here in the Car, because the Pullman Company has a Rule
against the use of such Language."
So they declared the Bet off and went forward and sat in the Day Coach.
MORAL: _Be Something_.
_THE_ FABLE _OF THE_ ADULT GIRL WHO GOT BUSY BEFORE THEY COULD RING
_THE_ BELL _ON_ HER
Once upon a Time there was a Lovely and Deserving Girl named Clara, who
was getting so near Thirty that she didn't want to Talk about it.
Everybody had a Good Word for her. She traveled with the Thoroughbreds,
and was always Among Those Present; so it was hard to understand why she
hadn't Married. Other Girls not as Good-Looking or Accomplished had been
grabbed off while they were Buds. Already some of them were beginning to
act as Chaperons for Clara. They were keeping Tab on Clara's Age, too,
and began to think that she would land on the Bargain Counter, and have
to be satisfied with a Widower who wore a Toupee and dyed his Eyebrows.
Clara was somewhat of a Mind-Reader. She knew that the Friends of her
Youth were predicting a Hard Finish for her, so she decided to Fool
them. And she knew that it Behooved her to Catch On before the Children
started in to call her Auntie.
Now it is not to be inferred that Clara was what the Underwriters call a
Bad Risk. She never had been a Drug on the Market. When she went to a
Hop she did not have to wait for Ladies' Choice in order to swing into
the Mazy. In fact, she had been Engaged now and then, just for Practice,
and she had received Offers from some of the holdover Bachelors who went
around Proposing from Force of Habit. But Clara was not out for any man
who had been Turned Down elsewhere. She wanted the Right Kind, and she
was going to do the Picking herself.
Having made an Inventory of the Possibilities, she selected the
Treasurer of the Shoe Factory, and decided that she could Love him
without Straining herself. He was about her age, and was almost as
good-looking as a Gibson Man, and had A1 Prospects. It would be no Easy
Job to Land him, however, because the Competition was very keen and he
was Wary, trying to be a Kind Friend to every Girl he knew, but playing
no Favorites. He kept the Parents guessing. He had been Exposed to
Matrimony so often without being Taken Down, that he was generally
regarded as an Immune.
Clara got Busy with herself and hatched a Scheme. When all the Smart Set
got ready to pike away for the Heated Term, Clara surprised her Friends
by guessing that she would remain at Home. It was a Nervy Thing to do,
because all the Social Head-Liners who could command the Price were
supposed to flit off to a Summer Hotel, and loiter on the Pine Veranda
and try to think they were Recuperating.
Clara told her Mother to go, as usual, but she would stay at Home and be
a Companion to poor lonesome Papa. So all the Women went away to the
Resorts with their Cameras and Talcum Powder and Witch Hazel, and Clara
was left alone in Town with the Men.
It is a Traditional Fact that there is no Social Life in Town during the
Dog Days. But there is nothing to prevent a Bright Girl from Starting
Something. That is what Clara did.
She stocked up the Refrigerator, and hung a Hammock on the Lawn with a
few Easy Chairs around it. The Young Men marooned in Town heard of the
Good Thing, and no one had to tear their Garments to induce them to
come. They arrived at the rate of from Seven to Twelve a Night, and
dipped into Papa's Cigars and the Liquid Nourishment, regardless.
Although Clara had remained in town to act as Companion to Papa, it was
noticed that when she had all the Company in the Evening, Papa either
had been Chloroformed and put to Bed or else he had his Orders to stay
Clara did not send for the Treasurer of the Shoe Factory. She knew
better than to go out after her Prey. She allowed him to find his Way to
the House with the others. When he came, she did not chide him for
failing to make his Party Call; neither did she rush toward him with a
Low Cry of Joy, thereby tipping her Hand. She knew that the Treasurer of
the Shoe Factory was Next to all these Boarding School Tactics, and
could not be Handled by the Methods that go with the College Students.
Clara had enjoyed about ten years' Experience in handling the Creatures,
and she had learned to Labor and to Wait. She simply led him into the
Circle and took his Order, and allowed him to sit there in the Gloaming
and observe how Popular she was. All the men were Scrapping to see who
would be Next to sit in the Hammock with her. It looked for a while as
if Clara would have to give out Checks, the same as in a Barber Shop.
Late that night when the Men walked homeward together, they remarked
that Clara was a Miserable Hostess, they didn't think.
Next Evening the Treasurer of the Shoe Factory was back on the Lawn. So
were all the Others. They said there was no beating a Place where you
could play Shirt-Waist Man under the Trees, and have a Fairy Queen in
White come and push Cold Drinks at you and not have to sign any Ticket.
They composed flattering Songs about Clara, and every time she moved
there was a Man right there with a Sofa Cushion to help her to be
[Illustration: HIGH-SCHOOL CADET]
In the mean time, the Other Girls out at the Summer Resorts were doing
the best they could with these High School Cadets, wearing Tidies around
their Hats, who would rather go out in a Cat-Boat and get their arms
tanned than remain on Shore and win the Honest Love of an American Girl,
with a String to it.
Clara's work about this time was ever so Glossy. She began by asking the
Treasurer of the Shoe Factory to come with her to the Refrigerator to
get out some more Imported Ginger Ale. All the men Volunteered to help,
and two or three wanted to Tag along, but Clara drove them back.
They were gone a Long Time, because the Treasurer had to draw all the
Corks, and they Fussed around together in the Pantry fixing up a Lunch
for the Boys. Clara told him how Strong and Handy he was, until he felt
an increase in his Chest Measurement.
On successive evenings she had the Treasurer supervise all the
Arrangements. The Hired Girl had every Evening off, because it was so
much more Jolly to go out and run the place yourself. In less than a
Week the Treasurer was giving Orders around the House. She would get him
back to the Kitchen and tie an Apron around him and ask what she should
do next. She made him out to be the Only One who could be Trusted. The
others were Company, but he was like one of the Family. And although he
was being Worked like Creamery Butter, he never Suspected.
Her Game was to Domesticate him in Advance, and let him have a Foretaste
of what it is to be Boss of your own House, except as to the Bills. The
Pantry was full of Home Delicacies such as he couldn't get at the Hotel,
and the Service was the best ever. Clara was right at his Elbow with a
It didn't take him long to realize that he was missing a lot by
remaining Single. He wondered why he had been so slow in getting on to
Clara's Good Points. Also he wondered if it was any Open-and-Shut
Certainty when a dozen other Men, some of them Younger and more Gallus,
were after her in Full Cry.
Clara had him Pulled In, Strung and Hung over the side of the Boat.
Of course if all the other Girls had been in Town, they would have
Tumbled long before it ran into a Certainty, and probably they would
have formed a V and rushed in to break up the Play. But the other Girls
were Far Away with the Old Men and the Seminary Striplings. Clara had an
Open Field, with no need of any Interfering or Blocking, and if she Fell
Down it was her own Fault. Besides, she had all these other Admirers set
out as Decoys to prove that if he didn't, somebody else might.
The Treasurer of the Shoe Factory got a large Rally on himself, and she
had to Give In and make a Promise.
He loves to tell Callers how he proposed to his Wife in the Kitchen, and
he doesn't know to this Day that she was Expecting it.
MORAL: _As soon as he begins to Frequent the Back Rooms of the House,
measure him for the Harness_.
_THE_ FABLE _OF THE_ MAN-GRABBER WHO WENT OUT _OF_ HIS CLASS
While standing in front of his Store, between two Dummies in Seersucker
Suits, one of the Chosen People spotted a Good Thing that resembled a
Three-Sheet of the Old Homestead. It was looking up at the Top Stories
and bumping against Hydrants and Unsurpassed Coffee Bulletins. The flip
Yahooda, with the City Education and Thirty Centuries of Commercial
Training to back him up, saw that here was a Chance to work off some Old
Stock. So when the mild old Gentleman with the strawcolored Sluggers and
the Freckles on his Wrists came near enough, he Closed with him and told
him to come inside and look at a New Style called the McKinley Overcoat
because the President had one just like it.
Uncle Eck replied that he did not really need an Overcoat, as he had
traded for one only a few Seasons before, but he was willing to go in
and Look Around, and if he did not buy anything he reckoned there
wouldn't be any Hard Feelings. Accordingly he walked straight into the
Trap and permitted Mr. Zangwill to show him an Assortment of Shoddy
Garments fastened together with Mucilage. The Crafty Merchant came down
from $38 to $6.50, and showed him a Confidential Letter from his Cousin
Sig to prove that the Goods had been Smuggled in, but old Peaceful
Valley refused to Bite. He allowed the Proprietor to talk himself out,
and then he walked up and down the Counters, careless-like, to see what
was on the Shelves, and he did some quiet Figuring in a Memorandum Book
such as they give away at Drug Stores. Before he left he had Traded 20
Acres of flinty Hillside in New Hampshire for the Clothing Store, the
Mortgage on the Land to be Assumed by the New Owner, and he had $75 to
Boot and an Agreement in Writing.
[Illustration: THE TRAPPER]
The Hauler-In is now Clerking and trying to Hold Out enough to give him
MORAL: _Lower Broadway is not New England_.
_THE_ FABLE _OF THE_ INVETERATE JOKER WHO REMAINED _IN_ MONTANA
The Subject of this Fable started out in Life as a Town Cut-Up. He had a
keen Appreciation of Fun, and was always playing Jokes. If he wanted a
few Gum-Drops he would go into the Candy Store and get them, and then
ask the Man if he was willing to take Stamps. If the Man said he was,
then the Boy would stamp a couple of times, which meant that the Laugh
was on the Man. It was considered a Great Sell in Those Parts.
Or else he would go into a Grocery with another tricky Tad and get some
Article of Value, and they would pretend to Quarrel as to which should
Pay for it. One would ask the Proprietor if he cared who paid for it,
and if he said he did not, they would up and tell him to Pay for it
Himself. This one was so Cute that they had a little Piece in the Paper
Or they would go and Purchase a Watermelon to be paid for as soon as a
Bet was decided, and afterward it would Develop that the Bet was whether
the Saw-Mill would fall to the East or the West, in case the Wind blew
It was Common Talk that the Boy was Sharp as a Tack and Keen as a Brier
and a Natural-Born Humorist.
Once he sold a Calf to the Butcher, several Hours after the Calf had
been struck by Lightning. As for ordering Goods and having them charged
to his Father, that was one of the Slickest Things he ever did.
About the time the Joker was old enough to leave Home, he traveled out
through the Country selling Bulgarian Oats to the Farmers. When the
Contract for the Seed Oats got around to the Bank, it proved to be an
iron-clad and double-riveted Promissory Note. The Farmer always tried to
get out of Paying it, but when the Case came to Trial and the Jurors
heard how the Agent palavered the Hay-Seed they had to Snicker right out
in Court. They always gave Judgment for the Practical Joker, who would
take them out and buy Cigars for them, and they would hit him on the
Back and tell him he was a Case.
One Day the Joker had an Inspiration, and he had to tell it to a Friend,
who also was something of a Wag.
They bought a Cat-Tail Swamp remote from Civilization and divided it
into Building Lots. The Marsh was Advertised as a Manufacturing Suburb,
and they had side-splitting Circulars showing the Opera House, the Drill
Factory, Public Library, and the Congregational Church. Lots were sold
on the Instalment Plan to Widows, Cash-Boys, and Shirt-Factory Girls who
wanted to get Rich in from fifteen to twenty Minutes.
The Joker had a Lump of Bills in every Pocket. If asked how he made his
Roll, he would start to Tell, and then he would Choke Up, he was so full
of Laugh. He certainly had a Sunny Disposition.
[Illustration: MANUFACTURING SUBURB]
Finally he went to the State of Montana. He believed he could have a
Season of Merriment by depositing some Valuable Ore in a Deserted Mine,
and then selling the Mine to Eastern Speculators. While he was Salting
the Mine, pausing once in a while to Control his Mirth, a few Natives
came along, and were Interested. They were a slow and uncouth Lot, with
an atrophied Sense of Humor, and the Prank did not Appeal to them. They
asked the Joker to Explain, and before he could make it Clear to them or
consult his Attorney they had him Suspended from a Derrick. He did not
Hang straight enough to suit, so they brought a Keg of Nails and tied to
his Feet, and then stood off and Shot at the Buttons on the Back of his
MORAL: _Don't Carry a Joke too far, and never Carry it into Montana_.
_THE_ FABLE _OF THE_ CRUEL INSULT _AND THE_ ARRIVAL _OF THE_ LOVER FROM
One Morning there came into the Dining Room of the Peerless Hotel at
Welby's Junction an English Tourist and the Advance Agent of the Mabel
Mooney Repertoire Company.
They took their Places at the Table underneath a Chromo representing a
Pyramid of Idealized Fruit. The Table was covered with Sail Cloth, and
in the Center was the Corroded Caster, which gave out a Sound similar to
that of the Galloping Horse in the War Drama whenever any one walked
across the Floor.
The English Traveler appeared to have received Bad News from Home, but
he had not. That was the Normal Expression. His Mustache was long and
wilted. Also the Weary Look around the Eyes. He traveled with a Cowhide
Bag that must have used up at least one Cow. The Clothes he wore
evidently had been cut from a Steamer Rug by his Mother, or some other
Aged Relative suffering from Astigmatism. He had been Sleeping in them.
As for the Second Traveler, he was an Advance Agent.
"Cheer Up," said the Advance Agent to the English Tourist. "It may not
be True, and if it is True it may be for the Best."
The English Tourist made no Response, fearing that his Fellow-Traveler
might be In Trade.
Then the One that waited on the Table did the Glide from behind a
She was very Pale, up to a certain Point.
Pausing about six feet from the English Tourist she looked resolutely at
a Knot-Hole in the Floor and said:
"My Good Woman," said the Man from Stoke-on-Tritham, just as if he meant
to Prorogue something. "I should like a Rasher of Bacon, and have it
Jolly Well Done."
"Ain't got no Bacon," she replied, feeling of her Brooch.
"Dyuh-me! Then I should like some Boiled Eggs, and mind that they are
"I'll give you Regular Aigs," she said, lifting her Head proudly, for
she was no Serf.
"Approach me, Kit," said the Advance Agent, with gentle Voice.
"Is tha-a-at so-o-o?" she asked. "I'll have you know, Smarty, my name
ain't Kit. So There!"
"Well, make it Genevieve," said the Advance Agent. "Come close and hold
my Hand while I give you this Order. And merely as one Friend speaking
to another, I want to tell you that the Blending under the Left Ear is
very poor, and if you are not careful somebody will Sign you as a
"My Mother was a Lady," she said.
"That being the Case, I would like to have you go out and Engage a nice
piece of Liver for me. And if you show yourself to be real Winsome and
Chic I may be able to use you with the Troupe."
"Tea or Coffee?"
"Don't tell me which one you bring and see if I can Guess. And I would
like some Actual Potatoes."
"I suppose, Sir, you think I have no Feelings."
"That is none of my Business," he replied. "I am merely passing through
your Beautiful Little City."
"I wish Edmund was here," said she.
"So do I," assented the Advance Agent, promptly. "If he can wait on the
Table I wish he was here. Now see if you can make the Kitchen in two
[Illustration: ADVANCE AGENT]
"He'd show you if you could get Flossy with a Lady, even though she
"You are about to lose your Tip, standing around here trying to shoot it
back at the Handsome Guest," remarked the Advance Agent. "Has Edmund
about finished his Fall Plowing?"
"He don't do no Fall Plowing," was the Bitter Reply. "He Fires on Number
At that Moment there entered a Railroad Boy with Braid on his Clothes
and Coal-Dust on his Neck. He removed the Cap that had rested on his
flanging Ears and sat at the Table with the Advance Agent and the
"Feed me Everything, with One in the Light to come along," he said. "If
any of the Cockroaches ask for me, tell them I'm for all Night with the
Yellow Rattlers, and laid out at Winona."
The English Tourist was holding his Head.
"I guess you won't carry on so Gay since he's come," said the Sensitive
Waitress, addressing the Advance Agent.
"Did he Call you Down?" asked Edmund, the Loving Fireman, glancing at
the Advance Agent.
"He used me like I was the Dirt under his Feet," she replied, placing
her Hand on her Breast and biting her Lower Lip.
"Well, it's a Good Thing," said Edmund. "You've needed a few of them
Jolts ever since you had your Hand read by the Gypsy and started to read
that Bertha Clay Book. It's a good thing to have a Strong Josher come
along now and then, just to show you Proud Dolls how to take a Joke. Do
The Sensitive Waitress hurried Away, feeling hurt.
"Overlook all the Phoney Acting by the Little Lady, Bud," said the
Fireman to the Advance Agent. "She's only twenty-seven."
Producing a small Note-Book, the English Traveler said: "Gentlemen, I
regard this Incident as Most Extraordinary and somewhat Mystifying. I
fear that I am not sufficiently acquainted with your Vernacular to grasp
the full Purport of what has occurred here. Will you Explain it to me?"
[Illustration: WORKING GIRL]
"Did you notice the Ingenue that guaranteed you the Regular Eggs," asked
the Advance Agent.
"You mean the Young Woman who was here a moment ago?"
"That's the Party! You saw her?"
"Now, I'll tell you all about it, if you promise not to put it in your
"Really, you know, I had intended to Use it," said the Traveler.
"All right, then; put it in, but don't use any Names. This is Under the
Rose, remember. The Proud Working Girl that was in here just now is my
And the Englishman was deeply Perplexed.
MORAL: _Brothers in Name only._
_THE_ FABLE _OF THE_ LODGE FIEND, _AND THE_ DELILAH TRICK PLAYED _BY_
A Woman who had done nothing to Deserve it was the Wife of a Joiner. He
was the K.G. of one Benevolent Order and the Worshipful High Guy of
something else, and the Senior Warden of the Sons of Patoosh, and a lot
more that she couldn't keep track of.
When he got on all of his Pins he had Sousa put away.
Night after Night he was off to a Hall up a Dark Stairway to land some
Unfortunate into the Blue Lodge or the Commandery or else Over the Hot
He carried at least twenty Rituals in his Head, and his Hands were all
twisted out of Shape from giving so many different Grips.
In the Morning when he came out of the House he usually found some one
waiting on the Door-Step to give him the Sign of Distress and work the
fraternal Pan-Handle on him. He subscribed for the Magazines that were
full of these sparkling Chapter Reports, and after that, if he had not
spent all his money going to Conclaves and Grand Lodge Meetings, he paid
Dues and Assessments and bought Uniforms. He had one Suit in particular,
with Frogs and Cords and Gold Braid strung around over the Front of it,
and then a Helmet with about a Bushel of Red Feathers. When he got into
this Rig and strapped on his Jeweled Sword he wouldn't have traded
Places with Nelson A. Miles.
His Wife often said that he ought not to leave her and take up with a
Goat, and that she could use on Groceries some of the Coin that he was
devoting to Velvet Regalia and Emblematic Watch-Charms, but he always
tried to make it Right with her by explaining that he had Insurance in
most of these Whispering Organizations, so that she and the Children
would come in for a whole Wad of Money. The Wife thought it was too long
to wait. He seemed to be in a Fair Way to live another Century and keep
on paying Assessments.
There was no use in Arguing with him. When a Man gets to be a confirmed
Joiner he is not Happy unless he can get into an unlighted Room two or
three Nights a Week, and wallop the Neophyte with a Stuffed Club, and
walk him into a Tub of Water, and otherwise Impress him with the
Solemnity of the Ordeal.
The real Joiner loves to sit up on an elevated Throne, wearing a Bib and
holding a dinky Gavel, and administer a blistering Oath to the Wanderer
who seeks the Privilege of helping to pay the Rent.
To a Man who does not cut very many Lemons around his own House, where
they are Onto him, it is a great Satisfaction to get up in a Lodge Hall
and put on a lot of Ceremonial Dog, and have the Members kneel in front
of him and Salute him as the Exalted Sir Knight.
[Illustration: THE JOINER]
You take a Man who is Plugging along on a Salary, and who has to answer
the 'Phone and wrap up Tea all Day, and let him go out at Night and be
an Exalted Sir, and it helps him to feel that he isn't such a Nine-Spot
Now this particular Joiner wanted to be up on a carpeted Dais every
blessed Evening, having the Brothers march in front of him and give him
the High Office. His Wife, being unacquainted with the Secrets of the
Lodge Room, was unable to understand why he was so Fascinated with the
Life. She was exceedingly Inquisitive and often tried to Pump him by the
most Artful Methods, but of course he did not dare to Divulge or his
Right Arm would have Withered and his Tongue would have Cleaved to the
Roof of his Mouth, and he would have been an Outcast on the Face of the
Earth, despised by all other Members of the Royal Tararum. Now and then
he Talked in his Sleep, and she caught Expressions in regard to Branding
him on the Other Leg or putting him back into the Coffin, and her
Curiosity was intensified.
One day she read in a Veracious Newspaper that if the Left Hand of a
Sleeping Person be immersed in Tepid Water, then the Sleeper will
truthfully answer any Question that may be asked. She resolved to try it
on her Husband. She was dying to know what they Said and Did at Lodge
Meetings that would keep a Man away from Home so many Nights in the
That Night after he had come home from the Odd Fellows and passed into
Slumber she crept out and took a Low Advantage of him. She slid his Left
Hand into a bowl of Warm Water without arousing him, and he Gave Up. He
told all the Passwords, the Secret Mottoes, the Oaths, the Meaning of
the Symbols and the Unwritten Work. When he had finished she had a
Notion to Ring for a Night Cab and go Home to her own Family, but her
Better Judgment prevailed. She concluded that she would have to continue
to Live with him, no matter what she Thought of him.
She never dared to tell that she Knew, and he never Suspected. Husband
never guessed why it was that when he started out for an Evening with
the Skeletons and the Candidates she stood back and smiled at him more
in Pity than in Anger.
MORAL: _It's a Good Thing they don't Know_.
_THE_ FABLE _OF THE_ APPREHENSIVE SPARROW _AND_ HER DAILY ESCAPE
Once there was a Proper little Female who Fluttered and was interested
in Movements. She was born the Year that Fremont ran against Buchanan.
All she knew about Spooning was what she had Read in Ella Wheeler
Wilcox. Time and again she said that if a Man ever attempted to Take
Liberties with her, she knew she would Die of Mortification. At Last
Reports she was Living, but she had Courted Death at least Fifteen
If a Strange Man came up behind her while she was walking Homeward in
the Dusk, she always gave a Timid Glance behind and Hurried, suspecting
that he would Overtake her and seize her by both Wrists and tell her not
to Scream. She would reach her own Door and lean against it, almost in a
Swoon, and the Strange Man would pass by, softly Humming to Himself.
Occasionally an Adventurer with Coal-Black Eyes and a Suspicious Manner
would come and sit right beside her in a Car, evidently for some
Purpose, and she would close her Lips tightly and resolve to do a Steve
Brodie out of the Window if she saw his Hand slipping over toward Hers.
Fortunately, the man kept his Eyes on the Sporting Page and made no
If she happened to be in the Waiting-Room at the Station, and a coarse
but masterful Claim Agent, or some one else equally Terrifying, happened
to come across the Room at her, she could feel her Little Heart stand
still, and she would say, "This is where I get it." After he had gone
past, on his way to the Check-Room, she would put some Camphor on her
Handkerchief and declare to Goodness that never again would she start
out to Travel unless she had some Older Person with her.
[Illustration: THE SPARROW]
More than once when she was at Home, with only a few other Persons
around the House, she saw a Large Man come up the Front Steps, and she
would be Frozen with Terror, and could see herself being lifted into a
Closed Carriage by the Brutal Confederates. She would slip a Pair of
Scissors under her Apron and creep to the Front Door, prepared to Resist
with all her Girlish Strength, and the Man would have to talk to her
through the Door, and ask where they wanted the Coal delivered.
Now and then a Caller would find her Reviving herself with a Cup of Tea.
The Caller would say: "Madge, Child, you are as Pale as a Ghost."
Madge would reply: "Oh, I have just had such a Turn! I was out watering
the Nasturtiums, when a Man in a Crash Suit came along the Street and
looked right at me. The Gate was open, and there was nothing to prevent
him from coming right in and Getting me."
The Appalled Visitor would want to know what became of him, and Madge
would explain that he turned at the Next Corner, and she had been as
Weak as a Cat ever since.
On her Shopping Expeditions she noticed Dozens of Men, apparently
Trailing right along after her, and she knew that her only Salvation was
to look straight ahead and indicate by her Bearing that she was no
Flirt. By so doing she eluded many a one who wanted to Catch Step with
her and begin a Conversation.
The Collected Stories of her Successful but Hair-Breadth Escapes from
Men of the World, who seemed to Forget that all Women were not Alike,
would have filled a Volume bigger than the Family Medicine Book.
Happily, no one ever went Quite So Far. She invariably Escaped.
MORAL: _Don't Worry._
_THE_ FABLE _OF THE_ REGULAR CUSTOMER _AND THE_ COPPER-LINED ENTERTAINER
One day the Main Works of a Wholesale House was Jacking Up the Private
Secretary and getting ready to close his desk for the Day, when in blew
a Country Customer. The Head of the Concern would have given Seven
Dollars if he could have got out and caught the Elevated before the
Country Customer showed up. However, he was Politic, and he knew he must
not throw down a Buyer who discounted his Bills and was good as Old
Wheat. So he gave a Correct Imitation of a Man who is tickled nearly to
Death. After calling the Country Customer "Jim," he made him sit down
and tell him about the Family, and the Crops, and Collections, and the
Prospects for Duck-Shooting. Then, selecting an opportune moment, he
threw up Both Hands. He said he had almost forgotten the Vestry Meeting
at Five O'clock, and going out to Dinner at Six-Thirty. He was about to
Call Off the Vestry Meeting, the Dinner, and all other Engagements for a
Week to come, but Jim would not Listen to it. As a Compromise the Head
of the Concern said he would ask their Mr. Byrd to take charge of the
Country Customer. They could surely find some Way of putting in the
Evening. He said the Oratorio Club war going to sing at Music Hall, and
also there was a Stereopticon Lecture on India. Jim said he would prefer
the Stereopticon Show, because he loved to look at Pictures.
The Head of the Concern said that the Country Customer would be sure to
like their Mr. Byrd. Everybody liked Byrd. His Full Name was Mr. Knight
He pushed on a few Buttons and blew into several snaky Tubes and put the
whole Shop on the Jump to find Mr. Byrd. The latter happened to be in a
Rathskeller not far away. When he heard that there was Work to be done
in his Department he brushed away the Crumbs and Hot-Footed up to see
In presenting Mr. Byrd to the Country Customer the Head of the Concern
laid it on with a Shovel. He said that Jim Here was his Friend, and the
House considered it an Honor to Entertain him. The Country Customer sat
there feeling Sheepish and Unworthy but a good deal Puffed Up just the
same. Then the Head of the Firm made his Escape and the Country Customer
was in the Hands of Mr. Byrd.
Mr. Byrd was known in the Establishment as the Human Expense Account. No
one had ever accused him of being a Quitter. He was supposed to be
Hollow inside. Whenever any Friend of the Firm showed up, Mr. Byrd was
called upon to take charge of him and Entertain him to a Stand-Still.
The Boss was troubled with Dyspepsia, and Conscientious Scruples, and a
Growing Family, and a few other Items that prevented him from going out
at Night with the Visiting Trade. He had it arranged to give each one of
them a choice Mess of Beautiful Language and then pass him along to Mr.
Mr. Byrd was a Rosy and Red-Headed Gentleman, with a slight Overhang
below the Shirt Front. He breathed like a Rusty Valve every time he had
to go up a Stairway, but he had plenty of Endurance of another Kind. For
Years he had been playing his Thirst against his Capacity, and it was
still a Safe Bet, whichever Way you wanted to place your Money. His
Batting Average was about Seven Nights to the Week. He discovered that
Alcohol was a Food long before the Medical Journals got onto it.
Mr. Byrd's chief value to the Wholesale House lay in the Fact that he
could Meet all Comers and close up half the Places in Town, and then
show up next Morning with a Clean Collar and a White Carnation, and send
in word to lead out another Country Customer.
Mr. Byrd's first Move was to take Jim to a Retreat that was full of
Statuary and Paintings. It was owned by a gray-haired Beau named Bob,
who was a Ringer for a United States Senator, all except the White Coat.
Bob wanted to show them a new Tall One called the Mamie Taylor, and
after they had Sampled a Couple Jim said it was all right and he
believed he would take one. Then he told Bob how much he had taken in
the Year before and what his Fixtures cost him, and if anybody didn't
think he was Good they could look him up in Bradstreet or Dun, that was
all. He said he was a Gentleman, and that no Cheap Skate in a Plug Hat
could tell him where to Get Off. This last Remark was intended for an
inoffensive Person who had slipped in to get a Rhine Wine and Seltzer,
and was pronging about Forty Cents' Worth of Lunch.
They got around Jim and Quieted him, and Mr. Byrd suggested that they go
and Eat something before they got too Busy. The Country Customer would
not leave the Art Buffet until Bob had promised to come down and Visit
him sometime. When they got into the Street again the Country Customer
noticed that all the Office Buildings were set on the Bias, and they
were introducing a new style of spiral Lamp-Post.
They dined at a Palm-Garden that had Padding under the Table-Cloth and a
Hungarian Orchestra in the Corner. Mr. Byrd ordered Eleven Courses, and
then asked Jim what Kind he usually had with his Dinner. This is an
Awful Question to pop at a Man who has been on Rain Water and Buttermilk
all his Life. Jim was not to be Fazed. He said that he never ordered any
Particular Label for fear People might think he was an Agent. That was
the Best Thing that Jim said all Evening.
Mr. Byrd told the Waiter to stand behind Jim and keep Busy. When Jim
began to Make Signs that he could not Stand any more, the Entertainer
told him to Inhale it and rub it in his Hair.
[Illustration: "HOORAY! HOORAY!"]
Along toward Dessert Jim was talking in the Tone used by Muggsy McGraw
when he is Coaching the Man who is Playing Off from Second. He was
telling how much he Loved his Wife. She would have been Pleased to hear
Mr. Byrd paid a Check that represented One Month's Board down where Jim
lived. They fell into a Horseless Hansom and went to see the Hity-Tity
Variety and Burlesque Aggregation in a new Piece entitled "Hooray!
Hooray!" Jim sat in a Box for the First Time, and wanted to throw Money
on the Stage. The Head Usher had to come around once in a while to ask
him not to let his Feet hang over, and to remember that the Company
could do all the Singing without any Help from him. Mr. Byrd sat back
slightly Flushed and watched the Country Customer make a Show of
himself. It was an Old Story to him. He knew that the quiet School
Trustee kind of a Man who goes Home at Sundown for 364 Days in the Year,
with the Morning Steak and a Roll of Reading Matter under his Arm, is
the worst Indian in the World when he does find himself among the Tall
Houses and gets it Up his Nose.
He allowed Jim to stand and Yell when the Chorus struck the Grand
Finale, and a little later on, when they had chartered a low-necked
Carriage and Jim wanted to get up and Drive, he Stood for it, although
he had to make a Pretty Talk to a couple of Policemen before he landed
Jim at the Hotel.
If this were a Novel, there would be a Row of Stars inserted right here.
The Sun was high in the Heavens when the Country Customer opened his
Eyes and tried to Remember and then tried to Forget. Some one was
sitting at his Bedside. It was Mr. Byrd, the Long-Distance Entertainer,
looking as Sweet and Cool as a Daisy.
"Before I give you the Photograph of Myself which you requested last
Night, would you care for anything in the way of Ice Water?" he asked.
Jim did a sincere Groan, and said he could use a Barrel of it.
"Did I request a Photograph?" he asked, as he felt for the Boundaries of
"You did," replied the Entertainer. "And you gave me your Watch as a
Keepsake. I have brought the Watch and all the Money you had left after
you bought the Dog."
"The Dog that you gave to Bob."
"Did we go back there again? I remember the First Time."
"Yes, it was In There that you wanted to Run a Hundred Yards with any
Man Present for Chalk, Money, or Marbles."
"Where are we now--at the Hotel?"
"Yes, and Everything is Smoothed Over. The Night Clerk has agreed not to
swear out a Warrant."
Jim did not Comprehend, but he was afraid to Ask.
"It may be that I was a mite Polluted," he suggested.
"You were a teeny bit Pickled about Two, when you tried to upset the
Lunch Wagon, but I don't think any one Noticed it," said Mr. Byrd.
"Take me to the Noon Train," requested the Country Customer. "Tell the
Conductor where I live, and send me the Bills for all that I have
"Everything is Settled," responded the Entertainer. "But why Tear
"I am Through," replied Jim, "So why Tarry?"
Mr. Byrd took him to the Train and arranged with the Porter of the
Parlor Car for a Pillow.
When the Country Customer arrived at Home he accounted for the Eyes by
saying that the Night Traffic makes so much Noise on these Hard Stone
Pavements, it is almost impossible to get the usual amount of Sleep.
The Head of the Concern put his O.K. on a Voucher for $43.60, and it
occurred to him that Stereopticon Lectures seemed to be Advancing, but
he asked no Questions.
Ever after that Jim bought all his Goods of this one House. He had to.
MORAL: _Scatter Seeds of Kindness_.
_THE_ FABLE _OF_ LUTIE, _THE_ FALSE ALARM, _AND_ HOW SHE FINISHED ABOUT
_THE_ TIME _THAT_ SHE STARTED
Lutie was an Only Child. When Lutie was eighteen her Mother said they
ought to do something with Lutie's Voice. The Neighbors thought so, too.
Some recommended killing the Nerve, while others allowed that it ought
to be Pulled.
But what Mamma meant was that Lutie ought to have it Cultivated by a
Professor. She suspected that Lutie had a Career awaiting her, and would
travel with an Elocutionist some day and have her Picture on the
Lutie's Father did not warm up to the Suggestion. He was rather Near
when it came to frivoling away the National Bank Lithographs. But pshaw!
The Astute Reader knows what happens in a Family when Mother and the
Only Child put their Heads together to whipsaw the Producer. One Day
they shouldered him into a Corner and extorted a Promise. Next Day Lutie
started to Take.
She bought a red leather Cylinder marked "Music," so that people would
not take it to be Lunch. Every Morning about 9 o'clock she would wave
the Housework to one side and tear for a Trolley.
Her Lessons cost the Family about twenty cents a Minute. She took them
in a large Building full of Vocal Studios. People who didn't know used
to stop in front of the Place and listen, and think it was a Surgical
There were enough Soprani in this one Plant to keep Maurice Grau stocked
up for a Hundred Years. Every one thought she was the Particular One who
would sooner or later send Melba back to Australia and drive Sembrich
into the Continuous. Lutie was just about as Nifty as the Next One.
When she was at Home she would suck Lemons and complain about Draughts
and tell why she didn't like the Other Girls' Voices. She began to act
like a Prima Donna, and her Mother was encouraged a Lot. Lutie certainly
had the Artistic Temperament bigger than a Church Debt.
Now before Lutie started in to do Things to her Voice she occasionally
Held Hands with a Young Man in the Insurance Business, named Oliver.
This Young Man thought that Lutie was all the Merchandise, and she
regarded him as Permanent Car-Fare.
But when Lutie began to hang out at the Studios she took up with the
Musical Set that couldn't talk about anything but Technique and Shading
and the Motif and the Vibrato. She began to fill up the Parlor with her
new Friends, and the first thing Oliver knew he was in the Side Pocket
and out of the Game.
In his own Line this Oliver was as neat and easy-running as a Red Buggy,
but when you started him on the topic of Music he was about as light and
speedy as a Steam Roller. Ordinarily he knew how to behave himself in a
Flat, and with a good Feeder to work back at him he could talk about
Shows and Foot-Ball Games and Things to Eat, but when any one tried to
draw him out on the Classics, he was unable to Qualify.
When Lutie and her Musical acquaintances told about Shopan and Batoven
he would sit back so quiet that often he got numb below the Hips. He was
afraid to move his Feet for fear some one would notice that he was still
in the Parlor and ask him how he liked Fugue No. II, by Bock. He had
never heard of any of these People, because they did not carry Tontine
Policies with his Company.
Oliver saw that he would have to Scratch the Musical Set or else begin
to Read Up, so he changed his Route. He canceled all Time with Lutie,
and made other Bookings.
Lutie then selected for her Steady a Young Man with Hair who played the
'Cello. He was so wrapped up in his Art that he acted Dopey most of the
time, and often forgot to send out the Laundry so as to get it back the
same Week. Furthermore, he didn't get to the Suds any too often. He
never Saw more than $3 at one time; but when he snuggled up alongside of
a 'Cello and began to tease the long, sad Notes out of it, you could
tell that he had a Soul for Music. Lutie thought he was Great, but what
Lutie's Father thought of him could never get past the Censor. Lutie's
Father regarded the whole Musical Set as a Fuzzy Bunch. He began to
think that in making any Outlay for Lutie's Vocal Training he had bought
a Gold Brick. When he first consented to her taking Lessons his Belief
was that after she had practiced for about one Term she would be able to
sit up to the Instrument along in the Dusk before the Lamps were lit,
and sing "When the Corn is Waving, Annie Dear," "One Sweetly Solemn
Thought," or else "Juanita." These were the Songs linked in his Memory
with some Purple Evenings of the Happy Long Ago. He knew they were
Chestnuts, and had been called in, but they suited him, and he thought
that inasmuch as he had put up the Wherewith for Lutie's Lessons he
ought to have some kind of a Small Run for his Money.
Would Lutie sing such Trash? Not she. She was looking for Difficult
Arias from the Italian, and she found many a one that was Difficult to
sing, and probably a little more Difficult to Listen To.
The Voice began to be erratic, also. When father wanted to sit by the
Student's Lamp and read his Scribner's, she would decide to hammer the
Piano and do the whole Repertoire.
But when Mother had Callers and wanted Lutie to Show Off, then she would
hang back and have to be Coaxed. If she didn't have a Sore Throat, then
the Piano was out of Tune, or else she had left all of her Good Music at
the Studio, or maybe she just couldn't Sing without some one to
Accompany her. But after they had Pleaded hard enough, and everybody was
Embarrassed and sorry they had come, she would approach the Piano
timidly and sort of Trifle with it for a while, and say they would have
to make Allowances, and then she would Cut Loose and worry the whole
Block. The Company would sit there, every one showing the Parlor Face
and pretending to be entranced, and after she got through they would
Come To and tell her how Good she was.
She made so many of these Parlor Triumphs that there was no Holding her.
She had herself Billed as a Nightingale. Often she went to Soirees and
Club Entertainments, volunteering her Services, and nowhere did she meet
a Well-Wisher who took her aside and told her she was a Shine--in fact,
the Champion Pest.
No, Lutie never got out of her Dream until she made a bold Sashay with a
Concert Company. It was her Professional Debut.
Father fixed it. The Idea of any one paying Real Money to hear Lutie
sing struck him as being almost Good enough to Print. But she wouldn't
be Happy until she got it, and so she Got It right where the Newport
Lady wears the Rope of Pearls.
On the First Night the mean old Critics, who didn't know her Father or
Mother, and had never been entertained at the House, came and got in the
Front Row, and defied Lutie to come on and Make Good. Next Morning they
said that Lutie had Blow-Holes in her Voice; that she hit the Key only
once during the Evening, and then fell off backward; that she was a Ham,
and her Dress didn't fit her, and she lacked Stage Presence. They
expressed Surprise that she should be attempting to Sing when any bright
Girl could learn to pound a Type-Writer in Four Weeks. They wanted to
know who was responsible for her Appearance, and said it was a Shame to
String these Jay Amateurs. Lutie read the Criticisms, and went into
Nervous Collapse. Her Mother was all Wrought Up, and said somebody ought
to go and kill the Editors. Father bore up grimly.
Before Lutie was Convalescent he had the Difficult Italian Arias carted
out of the house. The 'Cello Player came to call one Day, and he was
given Minutes to get out of the Ward.
By the time Oliver looked in again Lutie was more than ready to pay some
Attention to him. She is now doing a few quiet Vocalizations for her
Friends. When some one who hasn't Heard tells her that she is good
enough for Opera, they have to open the Windows and give her more Air.
MORAL: _When in Doubt, try it on the Box-office_.
_THE_ FABLE _OF THE_ COTILLON LEADER _FROM THE_ HUCKLEBERRY DISTRICT
_WITH THE_ INTERMITTENT MEMORY
A Young Man who had made a Sudden Winning, and was beginning to act as
Shawl-Holder and Emergency Errand-Boy for the Society Queens, seemed to
have a great deal of Trouble with his Memory. If he met Any One who had
started with him a few Years before, and who used to Stake him to a
Meal-Ticket now and then, or let him have a Scarf-Pin when he had to go
out and make a Front, he could not appear to remember the Man's Name or
tell where he had seen him before. When he was in a Loge at the
Play-House with Exclusive Ethel and her Friends, he might look down in
the Parquette and see the Landlady who had carried him through a Hard
Winter and accepted a Graceful Wave of the Hand when she really needed
the Board Money, but he found it impossible to Place her. Even the
People who came from his own Town, and who knew him when he was getting
Five a Week and wearing Celluloid Cuffs, and who could relate the Family
History if they wanted to Knock, they couldn't make him Remember, even
when they stopped him on the Street and recalled such Humiliations as
the Time he used to pick Cherries on the Shares, and how Odd he looked
in his Brother's Made-Over Clothes.
[Illustration: AFFECTIONATE MASSAGE]
This Young Man buried the Dead Past until his Memory was a Blank for the
whole Period up to the Time that the President of the Fidelity National
invited him to Dinner and he got his first Peek at a sure-enough Butler.
He had been a Genuine Aristocrat for about Eighteen Months, when he made
a Mis-step and landed with his Face in the Gravel. The Gigantic
Enterprise which he had been Promoting got into the Public Prints as a
Pipe Dream. There was no more Capital coming from the Angels. He was
back at the Post, with nothing to Show for his Bold Dash except a
Wardrobe and an Appetite for French Cooking. Society gave him the Frozen
Face, and all those who had been speaking of him as a Young Napoleon
agreed that he was a Dub. The Banks were trying to Collect on a lot of
Slow Notes that he had floated in his Palmy Days, and they had a Proud
Chance to Collect. He went into the Bankruptcy Court and Scheduled
$73,000 of Liabilities, the Assets being a Hat-Box and a Set of
When he had to go out and Rustle for a Job he was a Busy Hand-Shaker
once more. The Blow seemed to have landed right on the Bump of Memory,
and put his Recollecting Department into full Operation again. He could
spot an Old Pal clear across the Street. He was rushing up to Obscure
Characters that he had not seen in Eight Years, and he called each one
of them "Old Man." It was now their Turn to do the Forgetful Business.
The Tablets of his Memory read as clear as Type-Writing. Upon meeting
any Friend of his Boyhood he did the Shoulder-Slap, and rang in the Auld
Lang Syne Gag. He was so Democratic he was ready to Borrow from the
Humblest. The same Acquaintances who had tried to Stand In with him when
Things were coming his Way, were cutting off Street-Corners and getting
down behind their Newspapers to escape the Affectionate Massage,
beginning at the Hand and extending to the Shoulder-Blade. It was No
Use. He remembered them all, and no one got Past him.
MORAL: _Don't begin to Forget until you have it in Government Bonds._
_THE_ FABLE _OF THE_ HE-GOSSIP _AND THE_ MAN'S WIFE _AND THE_ MAN
Once upon a time there was a He-Gossip named Cyrenius Bizzy. Mr. Bizzy
was Middle-Aged and had a Set of dark Chinchillas. He carried a
Gold-Headed Cane on Sunday. His Job on this Earth was to put on a pair
of Pneumatic Sneakers every Morning and go out and Investigate Other
He called himself a Reformer, and he did all his Sleuthing in the line
If he heard of a Married Man going out Cab-Riding after Hours or playing
Hearts for Ten Cents a Heart or putting a Strange Woman on the Car, he
knew it was his Duty to edge around and slip the Information to some one
who would carry it to the Wife. He was such a Good Man himself that he
wanted all the other Men to wear long sable Belshazzars on the
Sub-Maxillary and come to him for Moral Guidance. If they would not do
it, the only Thing left for him to do was to Warn their Families now and
then and get them into Hot Water, thus demonstrating that the
Transgressor must expect Retribution to fall on him with quite a Crash.
Sometimes he would get behind a Board Fence to see the Wife of the
Postmaster break off a Yellow Rose and pass it over the Gate to the
Superintendent of the High School. Then he would Hustle out on his Beat
and ask People if they had heard the Talk that was Going Around. Of
course it Grieved him to be compelled to Peddle such Stories, but he had
to do it in the Interests of Morality. If Folks did not have a Pious
Protector to spot Worldly Sin and then get after it with a Sharp Stick,
the Community would probably go to the Dogs in less than no time. When
he had a Disagreeable Task to Perform, such as letting a Merchant know
that his Business Partner had been seen slightly Sprung at a Picnic, he
always wished to get through with it as quickly as possible, so usually
he Ran. He did not want any one else to beat him there, because the
Other Fellow might not get it Right.
[Illustration: THE SCANDAL]
Next Door to Cyrenius Bizzy there lived a Family that needed Regulating.
Cyrenius Bizzy knew that he had been Called to do the Regulating. The
Family had too much Fun to suit Cy. The Neighbor never came over to ask
Mr. Bizzy how late they had better Sit Up, or what Young Men the Girls
ought to invite to the House. Cyrenius would have been glad to fix up a
Set of Rules, for he was a Bureau of Advice, open at all Hours. He could
tell People just how much Money they ought to Save every Week, and how
often they ought to Lick the Children, and so on. But the Family that
lived Next Door made Loud Sport of Mr. Bizzy, and had no use for his
Counsel. They played Authors right in the Front Room with the Curtains
up, and they Danced the Two-Step so that he could be sure to see it from
where he was hidden behind the Evergreen Tree, and they ran the
Ice-Cream Freezer on Sunday Morning, and sang College Songs nearly every
It kept the He-Gossip on the Go most of the time to let the Neighborhood
know all the Details of these Debauches. It did very little Good. The
Family did not want to be Reformed. He even wrote Anonymous Letters
telling them how Depraved they were. They were so Brazen and Hardened
they paid no Attention except to give him the Rowdy Hee-Ho when they saw
him pottering around the Shrubbery in his Front Yard, pretending to be
at Work, but really doing the Pinkerton Act, and keeping one Ear spread
for a nice, juicy Bit of Scandal.
[Illustration: THE HE-GOSSIP]
Mr. Bizzy watched the Family at all Hours of the Day and Night for many
Months. Although convinced that they were Children of Belial and pretty
Hard Nuts in general, he still hoped to Rescue them. He wondered if he
could not Appeal to the Man's Wife. She was a Daughter of Iniquity, all
right, but maybe she might listen to an Entreaty if it came from one who
was Pure, and who could point out to her in Fatherly Kindness that she
was leading her Family on a Short Cut to the Weeping and Wailing and
Gnashing of Teeth.
One Day Mr. Bizzy got a quiet Tip from another Moral Detective, that the
Man had stayed out until 2 A.M., at a Banquet given to a Militia
Company, so he knew it was Time for him to Act. He lay in Ambush until
the Coast was Clear, and then he went across the Dead-Line and caught
her on the Piazza. She was Surprised to see him.
He told her all the Reports he had heard about her Husband, and said he
was Sorry for her. He wondered if they couldn't get together a few of
the Respectable Men and Women of the Neighborhood, and have a Talk with
the Husband, and try to Pluck him as a Brand from the Burning. She
listened with that Ominous Calm which always precedes the Iowa Cyclone
that takes the Roof off the Court House and moves the Poor Farm into the
Adjoining County. She said she would take her Husband aside and have a
Confidential Chat with him, and if he wanted to be Plucked, then she
would call in the Cyrenius Bizzy Association of Pluckers.
The He-Gossip went Home feeling that he was entitled to a Pedestal right
in between Savonarola and Martin Luther.
When the Man came Home his Wife told him. He murmured something about
the Last Straw and moved swiftly out of doors. Pulling up the Rover
Stake from the Croquet Grounds as he ran, he cleared the Dividing Fence
without touching his Hands and began to Clean House. In about a Second
there was a Sound as if somebody had stubbed his Toe and dropped a
Crockery Store. Then Cyrenius was seen to Break the Record for the
Running Long Jump, off the Front Stoop into an Oleander Tub, while
wearing a Screen Door. After him came the Worldly Husband. For several
Minutes the Copse where once the Garden smiled was full of He-Gossip and
Cries for Help.
[Illustration: A MAN]
When the Man came back to where his Wife stood with her Hand on her
Heart, he reported that the He-Gossip would be found on top of the
MORAL: _Any one hoping to do Something in the Rescue Line had better go
further than Next Door._
_THE_ FABLE _OF THE_ AUTHOR WHO WAS SORRY _FOR_ WHAT HE DID _TO_ WILLIE
An Author was sitting at his Desk trying to pull himself together and
grind out Any Old Thing that could be converted into Breakfast Food. It
was his Off Day, however. His Brain felt as if some one had played a
Mean Trick on him and substituted a Side-Order of Cauliflower. All he
could do was to lean up against his Desk and make marks and Piffle his
Time away. Between Scribbles he wrote a few Verses about, "When Willie
Came to say Good Night." It was a Sad Effort. He made it almost as Salty
as a Mother Song and filled it with Papa and Mamma and the Patter of
Baby Feet. He used Love-Light and the Evening Prayer and the
Heart-Strings and other venerable Paraphernalia. He had to commit
Infanticide to make it Weepy enough for the last Stanza. The Author
wrote this Stuff merely to Get Back at himself and see how Sloppy he
could be. He did not intend to Print it, because he was not a Vendor of
Death-Beds, and he shrank from making any violent Assault on the
Sensibilities. So he tossed the Idle Product into the Waste-Basket and
wondered if he was biginning to lose his Mind. With that Poem in his
Right Hand he could have walked into Bloomingdale and no Questions
While he was still Backing Up and Jockeying for a Fair Start at his
Day's Work, A Friend came in and sat on the Edge of the Desk, and told
him to go right ahead and not pay any Attention.
Seeing the Crumpled Paper in the Basket, the Friend, who was
Inquisitive, hooked it out and read the Lines. Presently, when the
Author looked up, the Friend had big Tears rolling down his Cheeks and
"This is the Best Thing you have ever done," said the Friend. "My God,
but it is Pathetic! It will certainly Appeal to any one who has lost a
"I have no desire to Manufacture any more Sorrow for the Bereaved," said
the Author. "They have had Trouble enough. If I have to deal in White
Caskets or tap the Lachrymal Glands in order to thrash out an Income, I
will cease being an Author and go back to Work."
"But this Poem will touch any Heart," insisted the Friend. "As soon as I
got into it I began to Cry. You can get a Good Price for this."
When it came down to a Business Basis, the Author Switched.
"Get what you can on it," he said. "It seems a Shame to go and Market
that kind of Scroll-Work; still if it hits you, it may be Bad enough to
affect others having the same Shape of Head. I need the Money and I have
Thereupon the Friend sent the Verses to the Publisher of a Family
Monthly that Percolates into every Postoffice in the Country. In a few
Days there came a tear-stained Acceptance and a Check. The Author said
it was just like Finding $22.50, and he thought that was the End of it.
[Illustration: LANTERN SLIDE]
But when the Verses came out in the Monthly he began to get Letters from
all parts of the United States telling him how much Suffering and
Opening of Old Wounds had been caused by his little Poem about Willie
and how Proud he ought to be. Many who wrote expressed Sympathy for him,
and begged him to Bear Up. These Letters dazed the Author. He never had
owned any Boy named Willie. He did not so much as Know a Boy named
Willie. He lived in an Office Building with a lot of Stenographers and
Bill Clerks. If he had been the Father of a Boy named Willie, and Willie
had ever come to tell him "Good Night" when he was busy at Something
Else, probably he would have jumped at Willie and snapped a piece out of
his Arm. Just the Same, the Correspondents wrote to him from All Over,
and said they could read Grief in every Line of his Grand Composition.
That was only the Get-Away. The next thing he knew, some Composer in
Philadelphia had set the Verses to Music and they were sung on the Stage
with colored Lantern-Slide Pictures of little Willie telling Papa "Good
Night" in a Blue Flat with Lace Curtains on the Windows and a Souvenir
Cabinet of Chauncey Olcott on the What-Not. The Song was sold at Music
Stores, and the Author was invited out to Private Houses to hear it
Sung, but he was Light on his Feet and Kept Away.
Several Newspapers sent for his Picture, and he was asked to write a
Sunday Article telling how and why he did it. He was asked to Contribute
Verses of the same General Character to various Periodicals. Sometimes
he would get away by himself and read the Thing over again, and shake
his Head and Remark: "Well, if they are Right, then I must be Wrong, but
to me it is Punk."
He had his Likeness printed in Advertisements which told the Public to
read what the Author of "Willie's Good Night" had to say about their
Lithia Water. Some one named a light, free-smoking Five-Cent Cigar after
him, and he began to see Weird Paintings on the Dead Walls, and was
Ashamed to walk along those Streets.
[Illustration: LITTLE FERN]
It came out that one of the Frohmans wanted to Dramatize the
Masterpiece, and it was Rumored that Stuart Robson, Modjeska, Thomas Q.
Seabrooke, Maude Adams, Dave Warfield, and Walker Whiteside had been
requested to play the Part of Willie.
Every morning the Author would get up and say to himself that it could
not go on much longer. He felt sure that the Public would come to its
Senses some Day, and get after him with a Rope, but it didn't. His Fame
continued to Spread and Increase. All those Persons who had not Read it
claimed that they had, so as to be in Line, and he had the same old
Floral Tributes handed to him Day after Day.
It was Terrible. He had gone to College and spent a large amount of
Money irrigating and fertilizing his Mind, and he had Dreamed of writing
Something that would be Strong enough for Charles Dudley Warner's
Library of the World's Warmest Copy, in a Limited Edition of 20,000; but
instead of landing with the Heavy-Weights he seemed Destined to achieve
Greatness as the Author of a Boy's Size Poem, bearing about the same
Relation to the Literature of the Ages that a May Howard Window Hanger
does to Pure Art. He was Famous until he couldn't rest, but it was not
the Brand he had Coveted.
He decided to Live It Down. He would Produce something Serious and
Meritorious that would throw "Willie's Good Night" into the Shade. So he
labored for Two Years on a Novel that analyzed Social Conditions, and
every Reviewer said that here was a Volume by the Author of "Willie's
Good Night." The Purchasers of the Book expected to take it Home and
Read it and Weep. When they found that it did not contain any Dark Skies
or Headstones, they felt that they had been Bilked out of $1.50 each. It
was Suggested that the Author of "Willie's Good Night" was losing his
Grip and seemed to have Written Himself Out.
He was not wholly Discouraged. He went out Lecturing on the Occult, just
to prove to People that he had been Misjudged. The Local Chairman always
introduced him as the Celebrated Author of "Willie's Good Night."
Frequently he was Dragged away to a Home to meet all the Big Guns of one
of these Towns that call a Lecture a Show. After he had been on
Exhibition for a Half Hour or so, the same as the Albino or the Man with
the Elastic Skin in the Main Curio Hall, the Host would clear a Space in
the Center of the Room and announce that he was about to spring a
Delightful Surprise on their Distinguished Guest. Little Fern, the
Daughter of the County Recorder, was going to Speak "Willie's Good
There are Times and Times, but those were the Times when he suffered
Agony that went beyond the Limit.
The Author always knew the Verses were Bad enough to be Wicked, but he
never guessed how Yellow they really were until he heard them recited by
Little Girls who made the Full Stop at the Comma instead of the Period.
He used to lose a Pound a Minute, and when he would start back to the
Hotel his Shoes would be Full of Cold Perspiration. Finally, when he
began to decline Invitations, against the advice of his Manager, it was
said of him that he was Eccentric and appeared to have a Case of the
He had to retire into a Suburb, where he built a Wall around his
Premises and put up Signs against Trespassing. He had a Chinaman for a
Servant, because the Chinaman did not know he was an Author, but
supposed him to be a Retired Porch-Climber.
Thus he was enabled to Forget for an Hour or Two at a Time.
MORAL: _Refrain from Getting Gay with the Emotions._