Part 6 out of 9
to the postoffice he would probably mail his pocketbook and carefully
bring his letter back to the office.
One day he got to thinking about the Monroe doctrine, or the sudden and
horrible death of Judas Iscariot, and actually lost his office. He walked
up and down for an hour, scouring the town for the evanescent office that
had escaped his notice while he was sorrowing over the shocking death of
Judas, or Noah's struggles against malaria and a damp, late spring.
Martin Luther Brandt was the name of this eccentric jurist. He got up in
the night once, and dressed himself, and taking a night train in that
dreamy way of his, rode on to Denver, took the Rio Grande train in the
morning and drifted away into old Mexico somewhere. He must have been in
that same old half comatose state when he went away, for he made a most
ludicrous error in getting his wife in the train. When he arrived in old
Mexico he found that he had brought another man's wife, and by some
strange oversight had left his own at home with five children. It hardly
seems possible that a man could be so completely enveloped in a brown
study that he would err in the matter of a wife and five children, but
such was the case with Martin Luther. Martin Luther couldn't tell you his
own name if you asked him suddenly, so as to give him a nervous shock.
This dreamy, absent-minded, wool-gathering disease is sometimes
contagious. Pretty soon after Martin Luther struck Mexico the malignant
form of brown study broke out among the greasers, and an alarming mania
on the somnambulistic order seemed to follow it. A party of Mexican
somnambuloes one night got together, and while the disease was at its
height tied Martin Luther to the gable of a 'dobe hen palace. His soul
is probably at this moment floundering around through space, trying to
find the evergreen shore.
An old hunter, who was a friend of mine, had this odd way of walking
aimlessly around with his thoughts in some other world.
I used to tell him that some day he would regret it, but he only laughed
and continued to do the same fool thing.
Last fall he saw a grizzly go into a cave in the upper waters of the
Platte, and strolled in there to kill her. As he has not returned up to
this moment, I am sure he has erroneously allowed himself to get mixed up
as to the points of the compass, and has fallen a victim to this fatal
brown study. Some think that the brown study had hair on it.
Woman's Wonderful Influence.
"Woman wields a wonderful influence over man's destinies," said Woodtick
William, the other day, as he breathed gently on a chunk of blossom rock
and then wiped it carefully with the tail of his coat.
"Woman in most cases is gentle and long suffering, but if you observe
close for several consecutive weeks you will notice that she generally
gets there with both feet.
"I've been quite a student of the female mind myself. I have, therefore,
had a good deal of opportunity to compare the everedge man with the
everedge woman as regards ketchin' on in our great general farewell
journey to the tomb.
[Illustration: "YOU GO ON WITH YOUR PETITION."]
"Woman has figgered a good deal in my own destinies. My first wife was a
large, powerful woman, who married me before I hardly knew it. She married
me down near Provost, in an early day. Her name was Lorena. The name
didn't seem to suit her complexion and phizzeek as a general thing. It was
like calling the fat woman in the museum Lily. Lorena was a woman of great
strength of purpose. She was also strong in the wrists. Lorena was of
foreign extraction, with far-away eyes and large, earnest red hands. You
ought to have saw her preserve order during the hour for morning prayers.
I had a hired man there in Utah, in them days, who was inclined to be a
scoffer at our plain home-made style of religion. So I told Lorena that I
was a little afraid that Orlando Whoopenkaugh would rise up suddenly while
I was at prayer and spatter my thinker all over the cook stove, or create
some other ruction that would cast a gloom over our devotions.
"Lorena said: 'Never mind, William. You are more successful in prayer,
while I am more successful in disturbances. You go on with your petition,
and I will preserve order."
"Lorena saved my life once in a singular manner. Being a large, powerful
woman, of course she no doubt preserved me from harm a great many times;
but on this occasion it was a clear case.
"I was then sinking on the Coopon claim, and had got the prospect shaft
down a couple of hundred foot and was drifting for the side wall with
indifferent success. We was working a day shift of six men, blasting,
hysting and a little timbering. I was in charge of the crew and eastern
capital was furnishing the ready John Davis, if you will allow me that low
[Illustration: LORENA JUMPING NINE FEET HIGH.]
"Lorena and me had been a little edgeways for several days, owing to a
little sassy remark made by her and a retort on my part in which I
thoughtlessly alluded to her brother, who was at that time serving out a
little term for life down at Canyon City, and who, if his life is spared,
is at it yet. If I wanted to make Lorena jump nine feet high and holler,
all I had to do was just to allude in a jeering way to her family record,
so she got madder and madder, till at last it ripened into open hostility,
and about noon on the 13th day of September Lorena attacked me with a
large butcher knife and drove me into the adjoining county. She told me,
also, that if I ever returned to Provost she would cut me in two right
between the pancreas and the watch pocket and feed me to the hens.
"I thought if she felt that way about it I would not return. I felt so
hurt and so grieved about it that I never stopped till I got to Omaha.
Then I heard how Lorena, as a means in the hands of Providence, had saved
my unprofitable life.
"When she got back to the house and had put away her butcher knife, a man
came rushing in to tell her that the boys had struck a big pay streak of
water, and that the whole crew in the Coopon was drowned, her husband
among the rest.
"Then it dawned on Lorena how she had saved me, and for the first time in
her life she burst into tears. People who saw her said her grief was
terrible. Tears are sad enough when shed by a man, but when we see a
strong woman bowed in grief, we shudder.
"No one who has never deserted his wife at her urgent request can fully
realize the pain and anguish it costs. I have been married many times
since, but the sensation is just the same to-day as it was the first time
I ever deserted my wife.
"As I said, though, a woman has a wonderful influence over a man's whole
life. If I had a chance to change the great social fabric any, though, I
should ask woman to be more thoughtful of her husband, and, if possible,
less severe. I would say to woman, be a man. Rise above these petty little
tyrannical ways. Instead of asking your husband what he does with every
cent you give him, learn to trust him. Teach him that you have confidence
in him. Make him think you have anyway, whether you have or not. Do not
seek to get a whiff of his breath every ten minutes to see whether he has
been drinking or not. If you keep doing that you will sock him into a
drunkard's grave, sure pop. He will at first lie about it, then he will
use disinfectants for the breath, and then he will stay away till he gets
over it. The timid young man says, 'Pass the cloves, please. I've got to
get ready to go home pretty soon.' The man whose wife really has fun with
him says, 'Well, boys, good-night. I'm sorry for you.' Then he goes home.
"Very few men have had the opportunities for observation in a matrimonial
way that I have, William. You see, one man judges all the wives in
Christendom by his'n. Another does ditto, and so it goes. But I have made
matrimony a study. It has been a life-work for me. Others have simply
dabbled into it. I have studied all its phases and I am an expert. So I
say to you that woman, in one way or another, either by strategy and
winnin' ways or by main strength and awkwardness, is absolutely sure to
wield an all-fired influence over poor, weak man, and while grass grows
and water runs, pardner, you will always find her presiding over man's
destinies and his ducats."
Causes for Thanksgiving.
We are now rapidly approaching the date of our great national
thanksgiving. Another year has almost passed by on the wings of tireless
Since last we gathered about the festive board and spattered the true
inwardness of the family gobbler over the table cloth, remorseless time,
who knows not the weight of weariness, has sought out the good, the true
and the beautiful, as well as the old, the sinful and the tough, and has
laid his heavy hand upon them. We have no more fitting illustration of the
great truth that death prefers the young and tender than the deceased
turkey upon which we are soon to operate. How still he lies, mowed down in
life's young morn to make a yankee holiday.
How changed he seems! Once so gay and festive, now so still, so strangely
quiet and reserved. How calmly he lies, with his bare limbs buried in the
lurid atmosphere like those of a hippytehop artist on the west side.
Soon the amateur carver will plunge the shining blade into the unresisting
bird, and the air will be filled with stuffing and half smothered
profanity. The Thanksgiving turkey is a grim humorist, and nothing pleases
him so well as to hide his joint in a new place and then flip over and
smile when the student misses it and buries the knife in the bosom of a
personal friend. Few men can retain their _sang froid_ before company when
they have to get a step ladder and take down the second joint and the
merry thought from the chandelier while people are looking at them.
And what has the past year brought us? Speaking from a Republican
standpoint, it has brought us a large wad of dark blue gloom. Speaking
from a Democratic standpoint, it has been very prolific of fourth-class
postoffices worth from $200 down to $1.35 per annum. Politically, the past
year has been one of wonderful changes. Many have, during the year just
past, held office for the first time. Many, also, have gone out into the
cold world since last Thanksgiving and seriously considered the great
problem of how to invest a small amount of actual perspiration in plain
Many who considered the life of a politician to be one of high priced food
and inglorious ease, have found, now that they have the fruit, that it is
ashes on their lips.
Our foreign relations have been mutually pleasant, and those who dwell
across the raging main, far removed from the refining influences of our
prohibitory laws, have still made many grand strides toward the
amelioration of our lost and undone race. Many foreigners who have never
experienced the pleasure of drinking mysterious beverages from gas
fixtures and burial caskets in Maine, or from a blind pig in Iowa, or a
Babcock fire extinguisher in Kansas, still enjoy life by bombarding the
Czar as he goes out after a scuttle of coal at night, or by putting a
surprise package of dynamite on the throne of a tottering dynasty, where
said tottering dynasty will have to sit down upon it and then pass rapidly
to another sphere of existence.
Many startling changes have taken place since last November. The political
fabric in our own land has assumed a different hue, and men who a year ago
were unnoticed and unknown are even more so now. This is indeed a healthy
sign. No matter what party or faction may be responsible for this, I say
in a wholly non-partisan spirit, that I am glad of it.
I am glad to notice that, owing to the active enforcement of the Edmunds
bill in Utah, polygamy has been made odorous. The day is not far distant
when Utah will be admitted as a State and her motto will be "one country,
one flag, and one wife at a time." Then will peace and prosperity unite to
make the modern Zion the habitation of men. The old style of hand-made
valley tan will give place to a less harmful beverage, and we will welcome
the new sister in the great family circle of States, not clothed in the
disagreeable endowment robe, but dressed up in the Mother Hubbard wrapper,
with a surcingle around it, such as the goddess of liberty wears when she
has her picture taken.
Crops throughout the northwest have been fairly good, though the gain
yield has been less in quantity and inferior in quality to that of last
year. A Democratic administration has certainly frowned upon the
professional, partisan office seekers, but it has been unable to stay the
onward march of the chintz bug or to produce a perceptible falling off in
pip among the yellow-limbed fowls. While Jeffersonian purity and economy
have seemed to rage with great virulence at Washington, in the northwest
heaves and botts among horses and common, old-fashioned hollow horn among
cattle have been the prevailing complaints.
And yet there is much for which we should be thankful. Many broad-browed
men who knew how a good paper ought to be conducted, but who had no other
visible means of support, have passed on to another field of labor,
leaving the work almost solely in the hands of the vast army of novices
who at the present are at the head of journalism throughout the country,
and who sadly miss those timely words of caution that were wont to fall
from the lips of those men whose spirits are floating through space,
finding fault with the arrangement of the solar system.
The fool-killer, in the meantime, has not been idle. With his old, rusty,
unloaded musket, he has gathered in enough to make his old heart swell
with pride, and to this number he has added many by using "rough on rats,"
a preparation that never killed anything except those that were
unfortunate enough to belong to the human family.
Still the fool-killer has missed a good many on account of the great rush
of business in his line, and I presume that no one has a greater reason to
be thankful for this oversight than I have.
Farming in Maine.
The State of Maine is a good place in which to experiment with
prohibition, but it is not a good place to farm it in very largely.
In the first place, the season is generally a little reluctant. When I was
up near Moosehead Lake, a short time ago, people were driving across that
body of water on the ice with perfect impunity. That is one thing that
interferes with the farming business in Maine. If a young man is
sleigh-riding every night till midnight, he don't feel like hoeing corn
the following day. Any man who has ever had his feet frost-bitten while
bugging potatoes, will agree with me that it takes away the charm of
pastoral pursuits. It is this desire to amalgamate dog days and Santa
Claus, that has injured Maine as an agricultural hot-bed.
[Illustration: A DAY-DREAM.]
Another reason that might be assigned for refraining from agricultural
pursuits in Maine, is that the agitator of the soil finds when it is too
late that soil itself, which is essential to the successful propagation of
crops, has not been in use in Maine for years. While all over the State
there is a magnificent stone foundation on which a farm might safely rest,
the superstructure, or farm proper, has not been secured.
If I had known when I passed through Minnesota and Illinois what a soil
famine there was in Maine, I would have brought some with me. The stone
crop this year in Maine will be very great. If they do not crack open
during the dry weather, there will be a great many. The stone bruise is
also looking unusually well for this season of the year, and chilblains
were in full bloom when I was there.
In the neighborhood of Pittsfield, the country seems to run largely to
cold water and chattel mortgages. Some think that rum has always kept
Maine back, but I claim that it has been wet feet. In another article I
refer to the matter of rum in Maine more fully.
The agricultural resources of Pittsfield and vicinity are not great, the
principal exports being spruce gum and Christmas trees. Here also the
huckleberry hath her home. But the country seems to run largely to
Christmas trees. They were not yet in bloom when I visited the State, so
it was too early to gather popcorn balls and Christmas presents.
Here, near Pittsfield, is the birthplace of the only original wormless
dried apple pie, with which we generally insult our gastric economy when
we lunch along the railroad. These pies, when properly kiln-dried and
rivetted, with German silver monogram on top, if fitted out with Yale time
lock, make the best fire and burglar-proof wormless pies of commerce. They
take the place of civil war, and as a promoter of intestine strife they
have no equal.
The farms in Maine are fenced in with stone walls. I do not know way this
is done, for I did not see anything on these farms that anyone would
naturally yearn to carry away with him.
I saw some sheep in one of these enclosures. Their steel-pointed bills
were lying on the wall near them, and they were resting their jaws in the
crisp, frosty morning air. In another enclosure a farmer was planting
clover seed with a hypodermic syringe, and covering it with a mustard
plaster. He said that last year his clover was a complete failure because
his mustard plasters were no good. He had tried to save money by using
second-hand mustard plasters, and of course the clover seed, missing the
warm stimulus, neglected to rally, and the crop was a failure.
Here may be noticed the canvas-back moose and a strong antipathy to good
rum. I do not wonder that the people of Maine are hostile to rum--if they
judge all rum by Maine rum. The moose is one of the most gamey of the
finny tribe. He is caught in the fall of the year with a double-barrel
shotgun and a pair of snow-shoes. He does not bite unless irritated, but
little boys should not go near the female moose while she is on her nest.
The masculine moose wears a harelip, and a hat rack on his head to which
is attached a placard on which is printed:
PLEASE KEEP OFF THE GRASS.
This shows that the moose is a humorist.
Since the investigation of Washington pension attorneys, it is a little
remarkable how scarce in the newspapers is the appearance of
advertisements like this.
Pensions! Thousands of soldiers of the late war are still entitled to
pensions with the large accumulations since the injury was received. We
procure pensions, back pay, allowances. Appear in the courts for
nonresident clients in United States land cases, etc. Address Skinnem &
Co., Washington, D.C.
I didn't participate in the late war, but I have had some experience in
putting a few friends and neighbors on the track of a pension. Those who
have tried it will remember some of the details. It always seemed to me a
little more difficult somehow for a man who had lost both legs at
Antietam, than for the man who got his nose pulled off at an election
three years after the war closed. It, of course, depended a good deal on
the extemporaneous affidavit qualifications of the applicant. About five
years ago an acquaintance came to me and said he wanted to get a pension
from the government, and that he hadn't the first idea about the details.
He didn't know whether he should apply to the President or to the
Secretary of State. Would I "kind of put him onto the racket." I asked him
what he wanted a pension for, and he said his injury didn't show much, but
it prevented his pursuit of kopecks and happiness. He had nine children by
his first wife, and if he could get a pension he desired to marry again.
As to the nature of his injuries, he said that at the battle of Fair Oaks
he supported his command by secreting himself behind a rail fence and
harassing the enemy from time to time, by a system of coldness and neglect
on his part. While thus employed in breaking the back of the Confederacy,
a solid shot struck a crooked rail on which he was sitting, in such a way
as to jar his spinal column. From this concussion he had never fully
recovered. He didn't notice it any more while sitting down and quiet, but
the moment he began to do manual labor or to stand on his feet too long,
unless he had a bar or something to lean up against, he felt the cold
chill run up his back and life was no object.
I told him that I was too busy to attend to it, and asked him why he
didn't put his case in the hands of some Washington attorney, who could be
on the ground and attend to it. He decided that he would, so he wrote to
one of these philanthropists whom we will call Fitznoodle. I give him the
_nom de plume_ of Fitznoodle to nip a $20,000 libel suit in the bud. Well,
Fitznoodle sent back some blanks for the claimant to sign, by which he
bound himself, his heirs, executors, representatives and assigns, firmly
by these presents to pay to said Fitznoodle, the necessary fees for
postage, stationery, car fare, concert tickets, and office rent, while
said claim was in the hands of the pension department. He said in a letter
that he would have to ask for $2, please, to pay for postage. He inclosed
a circular in which he begged to refer the claimant to a reformed member
of the bar of the District of Columbia, a backslidden foreign minister and
three prominent men who had been dead eleven years by the watch. In a
postscript he again alluded to the $2 in a casual way, waved the American
flag two times, and begged leave to subscribe himself once more. "Yours
Fraternally and professionally, Good Samaritan Fitznoodle, Attorney at
Law, Solicitor in Chancery, and Promotor of Even-handed Justice in and for
the District of Columbia." The claimant sent his $2, not necessarily for
publication, but as a guaranty of good faith.
Later on Mr. Fitznoodle said that the first step would be to file a
declaration enclosing $5 and the names of two witnesses who were present
when the claimant was born, and could identify him as the same man who
enlisted from Emporia in the Thirteenth Kansas Nighthawks. Five dollars
must be enclosed to defray the expenses of a trip to the office of the
commissioner of pensions, which trip would naturally take in eleven
saloons and ten cents in car fare. "P.S.--Attach to the declaration the
signature and seal of a notary public of pure character, $5, the
certificate of the clerk of a court of record as to the genuineness of
the signature of the notary public, his term of appointment and $5."
These documents were sent, after which there was a lull of about three
months. Then the swelling in Mr. Fitznoodle's head had gone down a
little, but there was still a seal brown taste in his mouth. So he wrote
the claimant that it would be necessary to jog the memory of the
department about $3 dollars worth; and to file collateral testimony
setting forth that claimant was a native born American or that he had
declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States, that he
had not formed nor expressed an opinion for or against the accused, which
the testimony would not eradicate, that he would enclose $3, and that he
had never before applied for a pension. After awhile a circular from the
pension end of the department was received, stating that the claimant's
application had been received, filed and docketed No. 188,935,062-1/2, on
page 9,847 of book G, on the thumb-hand side as you come in on the New
York train. On the strength of this document the claimant went to the
grocery and bought an ecru-colored ham, a sack of corn meal and a pound
of tobacco. In June Mr. Fitznoodle sent a blank to be filled out by the
claimant, stating whether he had or had not been baptized prior to his
enlistment; and, if so, to what extent, and how he liked it so far as he
had gone. This was to be sworn to before two witnesses, who were to be
male, if possible, and if not, the department would insist on their being
female. These witnesses must swear that they had no interest in the said
claim, or anything else. On receipt of this, together with $5 in
postoffice money order or New York draft, the document would be filed
and, no doubt, acted upon at once. In July, a note came from the attorney
saying that he regretted to write that the pension department was now
250,000 claims behind, and if business was taken up in its regular order,
the claim under discussion might not be reached for between nine and ten
years. However, it would be possible to "expedite" the claim, if $25
could be remitted for the purpose of buying a spike-tail coat and plug
hat, in which to appear before the commissioner of pensions and mash him
flat on the shape of the attorney. As the claimant didn't know much of
the practical working of the machinery of government, he swallowed this
pill and remitted the $25. Here followed a good deal of red tape and
international monkeying during which the claimant was alternately taking
an oath to support the constitution of the United States, and promising
to support the constitution and by-laws of Mr. Fitznoodle. The claimant
was constantly assured that his claim was a good one and on these
autograph letters written with a type-writer, the war-born veteran with a
concussed vertebra bought groceries and secured the funds to pay his
For a number of years I heard nothing of the claim, but a few months ago,
when Mr. Fitznoodle was arrested and jerked into the presence of the grand
jury, a Washington friend wrote me that the officers found in his table a
letter addressed to the man who was jarred in the rear of the Union army,
and in which (the letter, I mean), he alluded to the long and pleasant
correspondence which had sprung up between them as lawyer and client, and
regretting that, as the claim would soon be allowed, their friendly
relations would no doubt cease, would he please forward $13 to pay freight
on the pension money, and also a lock of his hair that Mr. Fitznoodle
could weave into a watchchain and wear always. As the claimant does not
need the papers, he probably thinks by this time that Mr. Good Samaritan
Fitznoodle has been kidnapped and thrown into the moaning, hungry sea.
Every Man His Own Paper-Hanger.
It would please me very much, at no distant day, to issue a small book
filled with choice recipes and directions for making home happy. I have
accumulated an immense assortment of these things, all of general use and
all excellent in their way, because they have been printed in papers all
over the country--papers that would not be wrong. Some of these recipes I
I have tried the recipe for paste and directions for applying wall paper,
as published recently in an agricultural paper to which I had become very
This recipe had all the characteristics of an ingenuous and honest
document. I cut it out of the paper and filed it away where I came very
near not finding it again. But I was unfortunate enough to find it after a
The scheme was to prepare a flour paste that would hold forever, and at
the same time make the paper look smooth and neat to the casual observer.
It consisted of so many parts flour, so many parts hot water and so many
parts common glue. First, the walls were to be sized, however. I took a
common tape measure and sized the walls.
Then I put a dishpan on the cook stove, poured in the flour, boiling water
and glue. This rapidly produced a dark brown mess of dough, to which I was
obliged to add more hot water. It looked extremely repulsive to me, but it
looked a good deal better than it smelled.
I did not have much faith in it, but I thought I would try it. I put some
of it on a long strip of wall paper and got up on a chair to apply it. In
the excitement of trying to stick it on the wall as nearly perpendicular
as possible, I lost my balance while still holding the paper and fell in
such a manner as to wrap four yards of bronze paper and common flour paste
around my wife's head, with the exception of about four feet of the paper
which I applied to an oil painting of a Gordon Setter in a gilt frame.
I decline to detail the dialogue which then took place between my wife and
myself. Whatever claim the public may have on me, it has no right to
demand this. It will continue to remain sacred. That is, not so very
sacred of course, if I remember my exact language at the time, but
sacredly secret from the prying eyes of the public.
It is singular, but it is none the less the never dying truth, that the
only time that paste ever stuck anything at all, was when I applied it to
my wife and that picture. After that it did everything but adhere. It
gourmed and it gummed everything, but that was all.
The man who wrote the recipe may have been stuck on it, but nothing else
[Illustration: I LOST MY BALANCE.]
Finally a friend came along who helped me pick the paper off the dog and
soothe my wife. He said that what this paste needed was more glue and a
quart of molasses. I added these ingredients, and constructed a quart of
chemical molasses which looked like crude ginger bread in a molten state.
Then, with the aid of my friend, I proceeded to paper the room. The paper
would seem to adhere at times, and then it would refrain from adhering.
This was annoying, but we succeeded in applying the paper to the walls in
a way that showed we were perfectly sincere about it. We didn't seek to
mislead anybody or cover up anything. Any one could see where each roll of
paper tried to be amicable with its neighbor--also where we had tried the
laying on of hands in applying the paper.
We got all the paper on in good shape--also the bronze. But they were in
different places. The paper was on the walls, but the bronze was mostly on
our clothes and on our hands. I was very tired when I got through, and I
went to bed early, hoping to get much needed rest. In the morning, when I
felt fresh and rested, I thought that the paper would look better to me.
There is where I fooled myself. It did not look better to me. It looked
All night long I could occasionally hear something crack like a Fourth of
July. I did not know at the time what it was, but in the morning I
It seems that, during the night, that paper had wrinkled itself up like
the skin on the neck of a pioneer hen after death. It had pulled itself
together with so much zeal that the room was six inches smaller each way
and the carpet didn't fit.
There is only one way to insure success in the publication of recipes.
They must be tried by the editor himself before they are printed. If you
have a good recipe for paste, you must try it before you print it. If you
have a good remedy for botts, you must get a botty horse somewhere and try
the remedy before you submit it. If you think of publishing the antidote
for a certain poison, you should poison some one and try the antidote on
him, in order to test it, before you bamboozle the readers of your paper.
This, of course, will add a good deal of extra work for the editor, but
editors need more work. All they do now is to have fun with each other,
draw their princely salaries, and speak sarcastically of the young poet
"You have came far o'er the sea,
And I've went away from thee."
Sixty Minutes in America.
The following selections are from the advance sheets of a forthcoming work
with the above title, to be published by M. Foll de Roll. It is possible
that other excerpts will be made from the book, in case the present
harmonious state of affairs between France and America is not destroyed by
my style of translation.
In the preface M. Foll de Roll says: "France has long required a book of
printed writings about that large, wide land of whom we listen to so much
and yet so little _sabe_, as the piquant Californian shall say. America is
considerable. America I shall call vast. She care nothing how high freedom
shall come, she must secure him. She exclaims to all people: 'You like
freedom pretty well, but you know nothing of it. We throw away every day
more freedom than you shall see all your life. Come to this place when you
shall run out of freedom. We make it. Do not ask us for money, but if you
want personal liberty, please look over our vast stock before you
"So everybody goes to America, where he shall be free to pay cash for what
the American has for sale.
"In this book will be found everything that the French people want to know
of that singular land, for did I not cross it from New Jersey City, the
town where all the New York people have to go to get upon the cars,
through to the town of San Francisco?
"For years the writer of this book has had it in his mind to go across
America, and then tell the people of France, in a small volume costing one
franc, all about the grotesque land of the freedom bird."
In the opening chapter he alludes to New York casually, and apologizes for
taking up so much space.
"When you shall land in New York, you shall feel a strange sensation. The
stomach is not so what we should call 'Rise up William Riley,' to use an
Americanism which will not bear translation. I ride along the Rue de
Twenty-three, and want to eat everything my eyes shall fall upon.
"I stay at New York all night, and eat one large supper at 6 o'clock, and
again at 9. At 12 I awake and eat the inside of my hektograph, and then
lie down once more to sleep. The hektograph will be henceforth, as the
American shall say, no good, but what is that when a man is starving in a
"I leave New York in the morning on the Ferry de Pavonia, a steamer that
goes to New Jersey City. Many people go to New York to buy food and
clothes. Then you shall see them return to the woods, where they live the
rest of the time. Some of the females are quite _petite_ and, as the
Americans have it,'scrumptious.' One stout girl at New Jersey City, I was
told, was 'all wool and a yard wide.'
"The relations between New York and New Jersey City are quite amicable,
and the inhabitants seem to spend much of their time riding to and fro on
the Ferry de Pavonia and other steamers. When I talked to them in their
own language they would laugh with great glee, and say they could not
parley voo Norwegian very good.
"The Americans are very fond of witnessing what may be called the
_tournament de slug_. In this, two men wearing upholstered mittens shake
hands, and then one strikes at the other with his right hand, so as to
mislead him, and, while he is taking care of that, the first man hits him
with his left and knocks out some of his teeth. Then the other man spits
out his loose teeth and hits his antagonist on the nose, or feeds him with
the thumb of his upholstered mitten for some time. Half the gate money
goes to the hospital where these men are in the habit of being repaired.
"One of these men, who is now the champion scrapper, as one American
author has it, was once a poor boy, but he was proud and ambitious. So he
practiced on his wife evenings, after she had washed the dishes, until he
found that he could 'knock her out,' as the American has it. Then he tried
it on other relatives, and step by step advanced till he could make almost
any man in America cough up pieces of this upholstered mitten which he
wears in public.
"In closing this chapter on New York, I may say that I have not said so
much of the city itself as I would like, but enough so that he who reads
with care may feel somewhat familiar with it. New York is situated on the
east side of America, near New Jersey City. The climate is cool and frosty
a part of the year, but warm and temperate in the summer months. The
surface is generally level, but some of the houses are quite tall.
"I would not advise Frenchmen to go to New York now, but rather to wait
until the pedestal of M. Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty has been paid for.
Many foreigners have already been earnestly permitted to help pay for this
Rev. Mr. Hallelujah's Hoss.
There are a good many difficult things to ride, I find, beside the bicycle
and the bucking Mexican plug. Those who have tried to mount and
successfully ride a wheelbarrow in the darkness of the stilly night will
agree with me.
You come on a wheelbarrow suddenly when it is in a brown study, and you
undertake to straddle it, so to speak, and all at once you find the
wheelbarrow on top. I may say, I think, safely, that the wheelbarrow is,
as a rule, phlegmatic and cool; but when a total stranger startles it, it
spreads desolation and destruction on every hand.
This is also true of the perambulator, or baby-carriage. I undertook to
evade a child's phaeton, three years ago last spring, as it stood in the
entrance to a hall in Main street. The child was not injured, because it
was not in the carriage at the time; but I was not so fortunate. I pulled
pieces of perambulator out of myself for two weeks with the hand that was
How a sedentary man could fall through a child's carriage in such a manner
as to stab himself with the awning and knock every spoke out of three
wheels, is still a mystery to me, but I did it. I can show you the
doctor's bill now.
The other day, however, I discovered a new style of riding animal. The
Rev. Mr. Hallelujah was at the depot when I arrived, and was evidently
waiting for the same Chicago train that I was in search of. Rev. Mr.
Hallelujah had put his valise down near an ordinary baggage-truck which
leaned up against the wall of the station building.
He strolled along the platform a few moments, communing with himself and
agitating his mind over the subject of Divine Retribution, and then he
went up and leaned against the truck. Finally, he somehow got his arms
under the handles of the truck as it stood up between his back and the
wall. He still continued to think of the plan of Divine Retribution, and
you could have seen his lips move if you had been there.
Pretty soon some young ladies came along, rosy in winter air, beautiful
beyond compare, frosty crystals in their hair; smiled they on the preacher
He returned the smile and bowed low. As he did so, as near as I can figure
it out, he stepped back on the iron edge of the truck that the baggageman
generally jabs under the rim of an iron-bound sample-trunk when he goes to
load it. Anyhow, Mr. Hallelujah's feet flew toward next spring. The truck
started across the platform with him and spilled him over the edge on the
track ten feet below. So rapid was the movement that the eye with
difficulty followed his evolutions. His valise was carried onward by the
same wild avalanche, and "busted" open before it struck the track below.
I was surprised to see some of the articles that shot forth into the broad
light of day. Among the rest there was a bran fired new set of ready-made
teeth, to be used in case of accident. Up to that moment I didn't know
that Mr. Hallelujah used the common tooth of commerce. These teeth slipped
out of the valise with a Sabbath smile and vulcanized rubber gums.
[Illustration: A RAPID MOVEMENT.]
In striking the iron track below, the every-day set which the Rev. Mr.
Hallelujah had in use became loosened, and smiled across the road-bed and
right of way at the bran fired new array of incisors, cuspids, bi-cuspids
and molars that flew out of the valise. Mr. Hallelujah got up and tried to
look merry, but he could not smile without his teeth. The back seams of
his Newmarket coat were more successful, however.
Mr. Hallelujah's wardrobe and a small boy were the only objects that dared
Somnambulism and Crime.
A recent article in the London _Post_ on the subject of somnambulism,
calls to my mind several little incidents with somnambulistic tendencies
in my own experience.
This subject has, indeed, attracted my attention for some years, and it
has afforded me great pleasure to investigate it carefully.
Regarding the causes of dreams and somnambulism, there are many theories,
all of which are more or less untenable. My own idea, given, of course, in
a plain, crude way, is that thoughts originate on the inside of the brain
and then go at once to the surface, where they have their photographs
taken, with the understanding that the negatives are to be preserved. In
this way the thought may afterward be duplicated back to the thinker in
the form of a dream, and, if the impulse be strong enough, muscular action
and somnambulism may result.
On the banks of Bitter Creek, some years ago, lived an open-mouthed man,
who had risen from affluence by his unaided effort until he was entirely
free from any incumbrance in the way of property. His mind dwelt on this
matter a great deal during the day. Thoughts of manual labor flitted
through his mind, but were cast aside as impracticable. Then other means
of acquiring property suggested themselves. These thoughts were
photographed on the delicate negative of the brain, where it is a rule to
preserve all negatives. At night these thoughts were reversed within the
think resort, if I may be allowed that term, and muscular action resulted.
Yielding at last to the great desire for possessions and property the
somnambulist groped his way to the corral of a total stranger, and
selecting a choice mule with great dewy eyes and real camel's hair tail,
he fled. On and on he pressed, toward the dark, uncertain west, till at
last rosy morn clomb the low, outlying hills and gilded the gray outlines
of the sage-brush. The coyote slunk back to his home, but the somnambulist
He awoke as day dawned, and, when he found himself astride the mule of
another, a slight shudder passed the entire length of his frame. He then
fully realized that he had made his debut as a somnambulist. He seemed to
think that he who starts out to be a somnambulist should never turn back.
So he pressed on, while the red sun stepped out into the awful quiet of
the dusty waste and gradually moved up into the sky, and slowly added
another day to those already filed away in the dark maw of ages.
Night came again at last, and with it other somnambulists similar to the
first, only that they were riding on their own beasts. Some somnambulists
ride their own animals, while others are content to bestride the steeds of
The man on the anonymous mule halted at last at the mouth of a deep canon.
He did so at the request of other somnambulists. Mechanically he got down
from the back of the mule and stood under a stunted mountain pine.
After awhile he began to ascend the tree by means of his neck. When he had
reached the lower branch of the tree he made a few gestures with his feet
by a lateral movement of the legs. He made several ineffectual efforts to
kick some pieces out of the horizon, and then, after he had gently
oscilliated a few times, he assumed a pendent and perpendicular position
at right angles with the limb of the tree.
The other somnambulists then took the mule safely back to his corral, and
the tragedy of a night was over.
The London _Post_ very truly says that where somnambulism can be proved it
is a good defense in a criminal action. It was so held in this case.
Various methods are suggested for rousing the somnambulist, such as
tickling the feet, for instance; but in all my own experience, I never
knew of a more radical or permanent cure than the one so imperfectly given
above. It might do in some cases to tickle the feet of a somnambulist
discovered in the act of riding away on an anonymous mule, but how could
you successfully tickle the soles of his feet while he is standing on
them? In such cases, the only true way would be to suspend the
somnambulist in such a way as to give free access to the feet from below,
and, at the same time, give him a good, wide horizon to kick at.
It may be premature, perhaps, but I desire to suggest to anyone who may be
contemplating the erection of a summer residence for me, as a slight
testimonial of his high regard for my sterling worth and symmetrical
escutcheon--a testimonial more suggestive of earnest admiration and warm
personal friendship than of great intrinsic value, etc., etc., etc., that
I hope he will not construct it on the modern plan of mental hallucination
and morbid delirium tremens peculiar to recent architecture.
Of course, a man ought not to look a gift house in the gable end, but if
my friends don't know me any better than to build me a summer cottage and
throw in odd windows that nobody else wanted, and then daub it up with
colors they have bought at auction and applied to the house after dark
with a shotgun, I think it is time that we had a better understanding.
[Illustration: THE ARCHITECT.]
Such a structure does not come within either of the three classes of
renaissance. It is neither Florentine, Roman, or Venetian. Any man can
originate such a style if he will only drink the right kind of whiskey
long enough and then describe the feelings to an amanuensis.
Imagine the sensation that one of these modern, sawed-off cottages would
create a hundred years from now, if it should survive! But that is
impossible. The only cheering feature of the whole matter is that these
creatures of a disordered imagination must soon pass away, and the bright
sunlight of hard horse sense shine in through the shattered dormers and
gables and gnawed-off architecture of the average summer resort.
A friend of mine a few days ago showed me his new house with much pride.
He asked me what I thought of it. I told him I liked it first-rate. Then I
went home and wept all night. It was my first falsehood.
The house, taken as a whole, looked to me like a skating rink that had
started out to make money, and then suddenly changed its mind and resolved
to become a tannery. Then ten feet higher it lost all self-respect and
blossomed into a full-blown drunk and disorderly, surrounded by the
smokestack of a foundry and the bright future of thirty days ahead with
the chain gang. That's the way it looked to me.
The roofs were made of little odds and ends of misfit rafters and
distorted shingles that somebody had purchased at a sheriff's sale, and
the rooms and stairs were giddy in the extreme.
I went in and rambled around among the cross-eyed staircases and other
night-mares till reason tottered on her throne. Then I came out and stood
on the architectural wart, called the side porch, to get fresh air. This
porch was painted a dull red, and it had wooden rosettes at the corners
that looked like a new carbuncle on the nose of a social wreck.
Farther up on the demoralized lumber pile I saw, now and then, places
where the workman's mind had wandered and he had nailed on his clapboards
wrong side up, and then painted them with Paris green that he had intended
to use on something else.
It was an odd looking structure, indeed. If my friend got all the material
for nothing from people who had fragments of paint and lumber left over
after they failed, and then if the workmen constructed it of night for
mental relaxation and intellectual repose, without charge, of course the
scheme was a financial success, but architecturally the house is a gross
violation of the statutes in such cases made and provided, and against the
peace and dignity of the State.
There is a look of extreme poverty about the structure which a man might
struggle for years to acquire and then fail. No one could look upon it
without a feeling of heartache for the man who built that house, and
probably struggled on year after year, building a little at a time as he
could steal the lumber, getting a new workman each year, building a knob
here and a protuberance there, putting in a three-cornered window at one
point and a yellow tile or a wad of broken glass and other debris at
another, patiently filling in around the ranch with any old rubbish that
other people had got through with, painting it as he went along, taking
what was left in the bottom of the pots after his neighbors had painted
their bob-sleds or their tree boxes--little favors thankfully
received--and then surmounting the whole pile with a potpourri of roof,
and grand farewell incubus of humps and hollows for the rain to wander
through and seek out the different cells where the lunatics live who
I did tell my friend one thing that I thought would improve the looks of
his house. He asked me eagerly what it could be. I said it would take a
man of great courage to do it for him. He said he didn't care for that. He
would do it himself. If it only needed one thing he would never rest till
he had it, whatever that might be.
Then I told him that if he had a friend--one he could trust--who would
steal in there some night while the family were away, and scratch a match
on the leg of his breeches, or on the breeches of any other gentleman who
happened to be present, and hold it where it would ignite the alleged
house, and then remain near there to see that the fire department did not
meddle with it, he would confer a great favor on one who would cheerfully
retaliate in kind on call.
Letter to a Communist.
Dear Sir.--Your courteous letter of the 1st instant, in which you
cordially consent to share my wealth and dwell together with me in
fraternal sunshine, is duly received. While I dislike to appear cold and
distant to one who seems so yearnful and so clinging, and while I do not
wish to be regarded as purse-proud or arrogant, I must decline your kind
offer to whack up. You had not heard, very likely, that I am not now a
Communist. I used to be, I admit, and the society no doubt neglected to
strike my name off the roll of active members. For a number of years I was
quite active as a Communist. I would have been more active, but I had
conscientious scruples against being active in anything then.
While you may be perfectly sincere in your belief that the great
capitalists like Mr. Gould and Mr. Vanderbilt should divide with you, you
will have great difficulty in making it perfectly clear to them. They will
probably demur and delay, and hem and haw, and procrastinate, till finally
they will get out of it in some way. Still, I do not wish to throw cold
water on your enterprise. If the other capitalists look favorably on the
plan, I will cheerfully co-operate with them. You go and see what you can
do with Mr. Vanderbilt, and then come to me.
You go on at some length to tell me how the most of the wealth is in the
hands of a few men, and then you attack those men and refer to them in a
way that makes my blood run cold. You tell the millionaires of America to
beware, for the hot breath of a bloody-handed Nemesis is already in the
[Illustration: PRACTICAL COMMUNISM.]
You may say to Nemesis, if you please, that I have a double-barreled
shotgun standing at the head of my bed every night, and that I am in the
Nemesis business. You also refer to the fact that the sleuth-hounds of
eternal justice are camped on the trail of the pampered millionaire, and
you ask us to avaunt. If you see the other sleuth-hounds of your society
within a week or two, I wish you would say to them that at a regular
meeting of the millionaires of this country, after the minutes of the
previous meeting had been read and approved, we voted almost unanimously
to discourage any sleuth-hound that we found camped on our trail after ten
o'clock, P.M. Sleuth-hounds who want to ramble over our trails during
office hours may do so with the utmost impunity, but after ten o'clock we
want to use our trails for other purposes. No man wants to go to the great
expense of maintaining a trail winter and summer, and then leave it out
nights for other people to use and return it when they get ready.
I do not censure you, however. If you could convince every one of the
utility of Communism, it would certainly be a great boon--to you. To those
who are now engaged in feeding themselves with flat beer out of a tomato
can, such a change as you suggest would fall like a ray of sunshine in a
rat-hole, but alas! it may never be. I tried it awhile, but my efforts
were futile. The effect of my great struggle seemed to be that men's
hearts grew more and more stony, and my pantaloons got thinner and thinner
on the seat, 'till it seemed to me that the world never was so cold. Then
I made some experiments in manual labor. As I began to work harder and sit
down less, I found that the world was not so cold. It was only when I sat
down a long time that I felt how cold and rough the world really was.
Perhaps it is so with you. Sedentary habits and stale beer are apt to make
us morbid. Sitting on the stone door sills of hallways and public
buildings during cold weather is apt to give you an erroneous impression
Of course I am willing to put my money into a common fund if I can be
convinced that it is best. I was an inside passenger on a Leadville coach
some years ago, when a few of your friends suggested that we all put our
money into a common fund, and I was almost the first one to see that they
were right. They went away into the mountains to apportion the money they
got from our party, but I never got any dividend. Probably they lost my
The Warrior's Oration.
Warriors! We are met here to-day to celebrate the white man's Fourth of
July. I do not know what the Fourth of July has done for us that we should
remember his birthday, but it matters not. Another summer is on the wane,
and so are we. We are the walleyed waners from Wanetown. We have
monopolized the wane business of the whole world.
Autumn is almost here, and we have not yet gone upon the war path. The
pale face came among us with the corn planter and the Desert Land Act, and
we bow before him.
What does the Fourth of July signify to us? It is a hollow mockery! Where
the flag of the white man now waves in the breeze, a few years ago the
scalp of our foe was hanging in the air. Now my people are seldom. Some
are dead and others drunk.
Once we chased the deer and the buffalo across the plains, and lived high.
Now we eat the condemned corned beef of the oppressor, and weep over the
graves of our fallen braves. A few more moons and I, too, shall cross over
to the Happy Reservation.
Once I could whoop a couple of times and fill the gulch with warlike
athletes. Now I may whoop till the cows come home and only my sickly howl
comes back to me from the hillsides. I am as lonely as the greenback
party. I haven't warriors enough to carry one precinct.
Where are the proud chieftains of my tribe? Where are Old Weasel Asleep
and Orlando the Hie Jacet Promoter? Where are Prickly Ash Berry and The
Avenging Wart? Where are The Roman-nosed Pelican and Goggle-eyed Aleck,
They are extremely gone. They are extensively whence. Ole Blackhawk, in
whose veins flows the blood of many chiefs, is sawing wood for the Belle
of the West deadfall for the whiskey. He once rode the war pony into the
fray and buried his tomahawk in the phrenology of his foe. Now he
straddles the saw-buck and yanks the woodsaw athwart the bosom of the
My people once owned this broad land; but the Pilgrim Fathers (where are
they?) came and planted the baked bean and the dried apple, and my tribe
vamoosed. Once we were a nation. Now we are the tin can tied to the
Warriors! This should be a day of jubilee, but how can the man rejoice who
has a boil on his nose? How can the chief of a once proud people shoot
firecrackers and dance over the graves of his race? How can I be hilarious
with the victor, on whose hands are the blood of my children?
If we had known more of the white man, we would have made it red hot for
him four hundred years ago when he came to our coast. We fed him and
clothed him as a white-skinned curiosity then, but we didn't know there
were so many of him. All he wanted then was a little smoking tobacco and
love. Now he feeds us on antique pork, and borrows our annuities to build
a Queen Anne wigwam with a furnace in the bottom and a piano in the top.
Warriors! My words are few. Tears are idle and unavailing. If I had
scalding tears enough for a mill site, I would not shed a blamed one. The
warrior suffers, but he never squeals. He accepts the position and says
nothing. He wraps his royal horse blanket around his Gothic bones and is
But the pale face cannot tickle us with a barley straw on the Fourth of
July and make us laugh. You can kill the red man, but you cannot make him
hilarious over his own funeral. These are the words of truth, and my
warriors will do well to paste them in their plug hats for future
The Holy Terror.
While in New England trying in my poor, weak way to represent the "rowdy
west," I met a sad young man who asked me if I lived in Chi-eene. I told
him that if he referred to Cheyenne, I had been there off and on a good
He said he was there not long ago, but did not remain. He bought some
clothes in Chicago, so that he could appear in Chi-eene as a "holy terror"
when he landed there, and thus in a whole town of "holy terrors" he would
not attract attention.
I am not, said he, by birth or instinct, a holy terror, but I thought I
would like to try it a little while, anyhow. I got one of those Chicago
sombreros with a gilt fried cake twisted around it for a band. Then I got
a yellow silk handkerchief on the ten cent counter to tie around my neck.
Then I got a suit of smoke-tanned buckskin clothes and a pair of
moccasins. I had never seen a bad, bad man from Chi-eene, but I had seen
pictures of them and they all wore moccasins. The money that I had left I
put into a large revolver and a butcher knife with a red Morocco sheath to
it. The revolver was too heavy for me to hold in one hand and shoot, but
by resting it on a fence I could kill a cow easy enough if she wasn't too
I went out to the stock yards in Chicago one afternoon and practiced with
my revolver. One of my thumbs is out there at the stock yards now.
At Omaha I put on my new suit and sent my human clothes home to my father.
He told me when I came away that when I got out to Wyoming, probably I
wouldn't want to attract attention by wearing clothes, and so I could send
my clothes back to him and he would be glad to have them.
At Sidney I put on my revolver and went into the eating house to get my
dinner. A tall man met me at the door and threw me about forty feet in an
oblique manner. I asked him if he meant anything personal by that and he
said not at all, not at all. I then asked him if he would not allow me to
eat my dinner and he said that depended on what I wanted for my dinner. If
I would lay down my arms and come back to the reservation and remain
neutral to the Government and eat cooked food, it would be all right, but
if I insisted on eating raw dining-room girls and scalloped young ladies,
he would bar me out.
We landed at Chi-eene in the evening. They had hacks and 'busses and
carriages till you couldn't rest, all standing there at the depot, and a
large colored man in a loud tone of voice remarked: "INTEROCEAN
[Illustration: A REAL COWBOY.]
I went there myself. It had doors and windows to it, and carpets and gas.
The young man who showed me to my room was very polite to me. He seemed to
want to get acquainted. He said:
"You are from New Hampshire, are you not?"
I told him not to give it away, but I was from New Hampshire. Then I asked
him how he knew.
He said that several New Hampshire people had been out there that summer,
and they had worn the same style of revolver and generally had one thumb
done up in a rag. Then he said that if I came from New Hampshire he would
show me how to turn off the gas.
He also took my revolver down to the office with him and put it in the
safe, because he said someone might get into my room in the night and kill
me with it if he left it here. He was a perfect gentleman.
They have a big opera house there in Chi-eene, and while I was there they
had the Eyetalian opera singers, Patty and Nevady there. The streets were
lit up with electricity, and people seemed to kind of politely look down
on me, I thought. Still, they acted as if they tried not to notice my
clothes and dime museum hat.
They seemed to look at me as if I wasn't to blame for it, and as if they
felt sorry for me. If I'd had my United States clothes with me, I could
have had a good deal of fun in Chi-eene, going to the opera and the
lectures, and concerts, et cetera. But finally I decided to return, so I
wrote to my parents how I had been knocked down and garroted, and left for
dead with one thumb shot off, and they gladly sent the money to pay
With this I got a cut-rate ticket home and surprised and horrified my
parents by dropping in on them one morning just after prayers. I tried to
get there prior to prayers, but was side-tracked by my father's new
anti-tramp bull dog.
Boston Common and Environs.
Strolling through the Public Garden and the famous Boston Common, the
untutored savage from the raw and unpolished West is awed and his wild
spirit tamed by the magnificent harmony of nature and art. Everywhere the
eye rests upon all that is beautiful in nature, while art has heightened
the pleasing effect without having introduced the artistic jim-jams of a
lost and undone world.
It is a delightful place through which to stroll in the gray morning while
the early worm is getting his just desserts. There, in the midst of a
great city, with the hum of industry and the low rumble of the throbbing
Boston brain dimly heard in the distance, nature asserts herself, and the
weary, sad-eyed stranger may ramble for hours and keep off the grass to
his heart's content.
Nearly every foot of Boston Common is hallowed by some historical
incident. It is filled with reminiscences of a time when liberty was not
overdone in this new world, and the tyrant's heel was resting calmly on
the neck of our forefathers.
In the winter of 1775-6, over 110 years ago, as the ready mathematician
will perceive, 1,700 redcoats swarmed over Boston Common. Later on the
local antipathy to these tourists became so great that they went away.
They are still fled. A few of their descendants were there when I visited
the Common, but they seemed amicable and did not wear red coats. Their
coats this season are made of a large check, with sleeves in it. Their
wardrobe generally stands a larger check than their bank account.
The fountains in the Common and the Public Garden attract the eye of the
stranger, some of them being very beautiful. The Brewer fountain on
Flagstaff hill, presented to the city by the late Gardner Brewer, is very
handsome. It was cast in Paris, and is a bronze copy of a fountain
designed by Lienard of that city. At the base there are figures
representing Neptune with his fabled pickerel stabber, life size; also
Amphitrite, Acis and Galatea. Surviving relatives of these parties may
well feel pleased and gratified over the life-like expression which, the
sculptor has so faithfully reproduced.
But the Coggswell fountain is probably the most eccentric squirt, and one
which at once rivets the eye of the beholder. I do not know who designed
it, but am told that it was modeled by a young man who attended the
codfish autopsy at the market daytimes and gave his nights to art.
The fountain proper consists of two metallic bullheads rampart. They stand
on their bosoms, with their tails tied together at the top. Their mouths
are abnormally distended, and the water gushes forth from their tonsils in
a beautiful stream.
The pose of these classical codfish or bullheads is sublime. In the
spirited Graeco-Roman tussle which they seem to be having, with their
tails abnormally elevated in their artistic catch-as-catch-can or can-can
scuffle, the designer has certainly hit upon a unique and beautiful
Each bullhead also has a tin dipper chained to his gills, and through the
live-long day, till far into the night, he invites the cosmopolitan tramp
to come and quench his never-dying thirst.
The frog pond is another celebrated watering place. I saw it in the early
part of May, and if there had been any water in it, it would have been a
fine sight. Nothing contributes to the success of a pond like water.
I ventured to say to a Boston man that I was a little surprised to find a
little frog pond containing neither frogs or pond, but he said I would
find it all right if I would call around during office hours.
While sitting on one of the many seats which may be found on the Common
one morning, I formed the acquaintance of a pale young man, who asked me
if I resided in Boston. I told him that while I felt flattered to think
that I could possibly fool anyone, I must admit that I was only a pilgrim
and a stranger.
He said that he was an old resident, and he had often noticed that the
people of the Hub always Spoke to a Felloe till he was tired. I afterward
learned that he was not an actual resident of Boston, but had just
completed his junior year at the State asylum for the insane. He was sent
there, it seems, as a confirmed case of unjustifiable Punist. Therefore
the governor had Punist him accordingly. This is a specimen of our
capitalized joke with Queen Anne do-funny on the corners. We are shipping
a great many of them to England this season, where they are greedily
snapped up and devoured by the crowned heads. It is a good hot weather
joke, devoid of mental strain, perfectly simple and may be laughed at or
not without giving the slightest offense.
Drunk in a Plug Hat.
This world is filled with woe everywhere you go. Sorrow is piled up in the
fence corners on every road. Unavailing regret and red-nosed remorse
inhabit the cot of the tie-chopper as well as the cut-glass cage of the
millionaire. The woods are full of disappointment. The earth is convulsed
with a universal sob, and the roads are muddy with tears. But I do not
call to mind a more touching picture of unavailing misery and ruin, and
hopeless chaos, than the plug hat that has endeavored to keep sober and
maintain self-respect while its owner was drunk. A plug hat can stand
prosperity, and shine forth joyously while nature smiles. That's the place
where it seems to thrive. A tall silk hat looks well on a thrifty man with
a clean collar, but it cannot stand dissipation.
I once knew a plug hat that had been respected by everyone, and had won
its way upward by steady endeavor. No one knew aught against it till one
evening, in an evil hour, it consented to attend a banquet, and all at
once its joyous career ended. It met nothing but distrust and cold neglect
everywhere, after that.
Drink seems to make a man temporarily unnaturally exhilarated. During that
temporary exhilaration he desires to attract attention by eating lobster
salad out of his own hat, and sitting down on his neighbor's.
The demon rum is bad enough on the coatings of the stomach, but it is even
more disastrous to the tall hat. A man may mix up in a crowd and carry off
an overdose of valley tan in a soft hat or a cap, but the silk hat will
proclaim it upon the house-tops, and advertise it to a gaping, wondering
world. It has a way of getting back on the rear elevation of the head, or
over the bridge of the nose, or of hanging coquettishly on one ear, that
says to the eagle-eyed public: "I am chockfull."
I cannot call to mind a more powerful lecture on temperance, than the
silent pantomime of a man trying to hang his plug hat on an invisible peg
in his own hall, after he had been watching the returns, a few years ago.
I saw that he was excited and nervously unstrung when he came in, but I
did not fully realize it until he began to hang his hat on the smooth
[Illustration: A POWERFUL LECTURE.]
At first he laughed in a good-natured way at his awkwardness, and hung it
up again carefully; but at last he became irritated about it, and almost
forgot himself enough to swear, but controlled himself. Finding, however,
that it refused to hang up, and that it seemed rather restless, anyhow, he
put it in the corner of the hall with the crown up, pinned it to the floor
with his umbrella, and heaved a sigh of relief. Then he took off his
overcoat and, through a clerical error, pulled off his dress-coat also. I
showed him his mistake and offered to assist him back into his apparel,
but he said he hadn't got so old and feeble yet that he couldn't dress
Later on he came into the parlor, wearing a linen ulster with the belt
drooping behind him like the broken harness hanging to a shipwrecked and
stranded mule. His wife looked at him in a way that froze his blood. This
startled him so that he stepped back a pace or two, tangled his feet in
his surcingle, clutched wildly at the empty gas-light, but missed it and
sat down in a tall majolica cuspidor.
There were three games of whist going on when he fell, and there was a
good deal of excitement over the playing, but after he had been pulled out
of the American tear jug and led away, everyone of the twelve
whist-players had forgotten what the trump was.
They say that he has abandoned politics since then, and that now he don't
care whether we have any more November elections or not. I asked him once
if he would be active during the next campaign, as usual, and he said he
thought not. He said a man couldn't afford to be too active in a political
campaign. His constitution wouldn't stand it.
At that time he didn't care much whether the American people had a
president or not. If every public-spirited voter had got to work himself
up into a state of nervous excitability and prostration where reason
tottered on its throne, he thought that we needed a reform.
Those who wished to furnish reasons to totter on their thrones for the
National Central Committee at so much per tot, could do so; he, for one,
didn't propose to farm out his immortal soul and plug hat to the party, if
sixty million people had to stand four years under the administration of a
Spring is now here. It has been here before, but not so much so, perhaps,
as it is this year. In spring the buds swell up and bust. The "violets"
bloom once more, and the hired girl takes off the double windows and the
storm door. The husband and father puts up the screen doors, so as to fool
the annual fly when he tries to make his spring debut. The husband and
father finds the screen doors and windows in the gloaming of the garret.
He finds them by feeling them in the dark with his hands. He finds the
rafters, also, with his head. When he comes down, he brings the screens
and three new intellectual faculties sticking out on his brow like the
button on a barn door.
Spring comes with joyous laugh, and song, and sunshine, and the burnt
sacrifice of the over-ripe boot and the hoary overshoe. The cowboy and the
new milch cow carol their roundelay. So does the veteran hen. The common
egg of commerce begins to come forth into the market at a price where it
can be secured with a step-ladder, and all nature seems tickled.
There are four seasons--spring, summer, autumn and winter. Spring is the
most joyful season of the year. It is then that the green grass and the
lavender pants come forth. The little robbins twitter in the branches, and
the horny-handed farmer goes joyously afield to till the soil till the
cows come home.--_Virgil_.
We all love the moist and fragrant spring. It is then that the sunlight
waves beat upon the sandy coast, and the hand-maiden beats upon the sandy
carpet. The man of the house pulls tacks out of himself and thinks of days
gone by, when you and I were young, Maggie. Who does not leap and sing in
his heart when the dandelion blossoms in the low lands, and the tremulous
tail of the lambkin agitates the balmy air?
The lawns begin to look like velvet and the lawn-mower begins to warm its
joints and get ready for the approaching harvest. The blue jay fills the
forest with his classical and extremely _au revoir_ melody, and the
curculio crawls out of the plum-tree and files his bill. The plow-boy puts
on his father's boots and proceeds to plow up the cunning little angle
worm. Anon, the black-bird alights on the swaying reeds, and the
lightning-rod man alights on the farmer with great joy and a new rod that
can gather up all the lightning in two States and put it in a two-gallon
jug for future use.
Who does not love spring, the most joyful season of the year? It is then
that the spring bonnet of the workaday world crosses the earth's orbit and
makes the bank account of the husband and father look fatigued. The low
shoe and the low hum of the bumble-bee are again with us. The little
striped hornet heats his nose with a spirit lamp and goes forth searching
for the man with the linen pantaloons. All nature is full of life and
activity. So is the man with the linen pantaloons. Anon, the thrush will
sing in the underbrush, and the prima donna will do up her voice in a
red-flannel rag and lay it away.
I go now into my cellar to bring out the gladiola bulb and the homesick
turnip of last year. Do you see the blue place on my shoulder? That is
where I struck when I got to the foot of the cellar stairs. The gladiola
bulbs are looking older than when I put them away last fall. I fear me
they will never again bulge forth. They are wrinkled about the eyes and
there are lines of care upon them. I could squeeze along two years without
the gladiola and the oleander in the large tub. If I should give my little
boy a new hatchet and he should cut down my beautiful oleander, I would
give him a bicycle and a brass band and a gold-headed cane.
O spring, spring,
You giddy young thing.
[Footnote 1: From poems of passion and one thing another, by the author of
The Duke of Rawhide.
"I believe I've got about the most instinct bulldog in the United States,"
said Cayote Van Gobb yesterday. "Other pups may show cuteness and cunning,
you know, but my dog, the Duke of Rawhide Buttes, is not only generally
smart, but he keeps up with the times. He's not only a talented cuss, but
his genius is always fresh and original."
"What are some of his specialties, Van?" said I.
"Oh, there's a good many of 'em, fust and last. He never seems to be
content with the achievements that please other dogs. You watch him and
you'll see that his mind is active all the time. When he is still he's
working up some scheme or another, that he will ripen and fructify later
"For three year's I've had a watermelon patch and run it with more or less
success, I reckon. The Duke has tended to 'em after they got ripe, and I
was going to say that it kept his hands pretty busy to do it, but, to be
more accurate, I should say that it kept his mouth full. Hardly a night
after the melons got ripe and in the dark of the moon, but the Dude would
sample a cowboy or a sheep-herder from the lower Poudre. Watermelons were
generally worth ten cents a pound along the Union Pacific for the first
two weeks, and a fifty-pounder was worth $5. That made it an object to
keep your melons, for in a good year you could grow enough on ten acres to
pay off the national debt.
"Well, to return to my subject. Duke would sleep days during the season
and gather fragments of the rear breadths of Western pantaloons at night.
One morning Duke had a piece of fancy cassimere in his teeth that I tried
to pry out and preserve, so that I could identify the owner, perhaps, but
he wouldn't give it up. I coaxed him and lammed him across the face and
eyes with an old board, but he wouldn't give it to me. Then I watched him.
I've been watchin' him ever since. He took all these fragments of goods I
found, over into the garret above the carriage shed.
"Yesterday I went in there and took a lantern with me. There on the floor
the Duke of Rawhide had arranged all the samples of Rocky Mountain
pantaloons with a good deal of taste, and I don't suppose you'd believe
it, but that blamed pup is collecting all these little scraps to make
himself a crazy quilt.
"You can talk about instinct in animals, but, so far as the Duke of
Rawhide Buttes is concerned, it seems to me more like all-wool genius a
Etiquette at Hotels.
Etiquette at hotels is a subject that has been but lightly treated upon by
our modern philosophy, and yet it is a subject that lies very near to
every American heart. Had I not already more reforms on hand than I can
possibly successfully operate I would gladly use my strong social
influence and trenchant pen in that direction. Etiquette at hotels, both
on the part of the proprietor, and his hirelings, and the guest, is a
matter that calls loudly for improvement.
The hotel waiter alone, would well repay a close study. From the tardy and
polished loiterer of the effete East, to the off-hand and social equal of
the budding West, all waiters are deserving of philosophical scrutiny. I
was thrown in contact with a waiter in New York last summer, whose manners
were far more polished than my own. Every time I saw him standing there
with his immediate pantaloons and swallow-tail coat, and the far-away,
chastened look of one who had been unfortunate, but not crushed, I felt
that I was unworthy to be waited upon by such a blue-blooded thoroughbred,
and I often wished that we had more such men in Congress. And when he
would take my order and go away with it, and after the meridian of my life
had softened into the mellow glory of the sere and yellow leaf, when he
came back, still looking quite young, and never having forgotten me,
recognizing me readily after the long, dull, desolate years, I was glad,
and I felt that he deserved something more than mere empty thanks and I
said to him: "Ah, sir, you still remember me after years of privation and
suffering. When every one else in New York has forgotten me, with the
exception of the confidence man, you came to me with the glad light of
recognition in your clear eye. Would you be offended if I gave you this
trifling testimonial of my regard?" at the same time giving him my note at
I wanted him to have something by which to always remember me, and I guess
Speaking of waiters, reminds me of one at Glendive, Montana. We had to
telegraph ahead in order to get a place to sleep, and when we registered
the landlord shoved out an old double-entry journal for us to record our
names and postoffice address in. The office was the bar and before we
could get our rooms assigned us, we had to wait forty-five minutes for the
landlord to collect pay for thirteen drinks and lick a personal friend.
Finally, when he got around to me, he told me that I could sleep in the
night bar-tender's bed, as he would be up all night, and might possibly
get killed and never need it again, anyhow. It would cost me $4 cash in
advance to sleep one night in the bartender's bed, he said, and the house
was so blamed full that he and his wife had got to wait till things kind
of quieted down, and then they would have to put a mattress on the 15 ball
pool table and sleep there.
I called attention to my valuable valise that had been purchased at great
cost, and told him that he would be safe to keep that behind the bar till
I paid; but he said he wasn't in the second-hand valise business, and so I
paid in advance. It was humiliating, but he had the edge on me.
At the tea table I noticed that the waiter was a young man who evidently
had not been always thus. He had the air of one who yearns to have some
one tread on the tail of his coat. Meekness, with me, is one of my
characteristics. It is almost a passion. It is the result of personal
injuries received in former years at the hands of parties who excelled me
in brute force and who succeeded in drawing me out in conversation, as it
were, till I made remarks that were injudicious.
So I did not disagree with this waiter, although I had grounds. When he
came around and snorted in my ear, "Salt pork, antelope and cold beans,"
at the same time leaning his full weight on my back, while he evaded the
revenue laws by retailing his breath to the guests without a license, I
thought I would call for what he had the most of, so I said if he didn't
mind and it wouldn't be too much trouble, I would take cold beans.
I will leave it to the calm, impassionate and unpartisan reader to state
whether that remark ought to create ill-feeling. I do not think it ought.
However, he was irritable, and life to him seemed to be cold and dark. So
he went to the general delivery window that led into the cold bean
laboratory, and remarked in a hoarse, insolent, and ironical tone of
"Nother damned suspicious looking character wants cold beans."
Fifteen Years Apart.
The American Indian approximates nearer to what man should be--manly,
physically perfect, grand in character, and true to the instincts of his
conscience--than any other race of beings, civilized or uncivilized. Where
do we hear such noble sentiments or meet with such examples of heroism and
self-sacrifice as the history of the American Indian furnishes? Where
shall we go to hear again such oratory as that of Black Hawk and Logan?
Certainly the records of our so-called civilization do not furnish it, and
the present century is devoid of it.
They were the true children of the Great Spirit. They lived nearer to the
great heart of the Creator than do their pale-faced conquerors of to-day
who mourn over the lost and undone condition of the savage. Courageous,
brave and the soul of honor, their cruel and awful destruction from the
face of the earth is a sin of such magnitude that the relics and the
people of America may well shrink from the just punishment which is sure
to follow the assassination of as brave a race as ever breathed the air of
[Illustration: AT FIFTEEN.]
I wrote the above scathing rebuke of the American people when I was 15
years of age. I ran across the dissertation yesterday. As a general rule,
it takes a youth 15 years of age to arraign Congress and jerk the
administration bald-headed. The less he knows about things generally, the
more cheerfully will he shed information right and left.
At the time I wrote the above crude attack upon the government, I had not
seen any Indians, but I had read much. My blood boiled when I thought of
the wrongs which our race had meted out to the red man. It was at the time
when my blood was just coming to a boil that I penned the above paragraph.
Ten years later I had changed my views somewhat, relative to the Indian,
and frankly wrote to the government of the change. When I am doing the
administration an injustice, and I find it out, I go to the president
candidly, and say: "Look here, Mr. President, I have been doing you a
wrong. You were right and I was erroneous. I am not pig-headed and
stubborn. I just admit fairly that I have been hindering the
administration, and I do not propose to do so any more."
So I wrote to Gen. Grant and told him that when I was 15 years of age I
wrote a composition at school in which I had arraigned the people and the
administration for the course taken toward the Indians. Since that time I
had seen some Indians in the mountains--at a distance--and from what I had
seen of them I was led to believe that I had misjudged the people and the
executive. I told him that so far as possible I would like to repair the
great wrong so done in the ardor of youth and to once more sustain the arm
of the government.
He wrote me kindly and said he was glad that I was friendly with the
government again, and that now he saw nothing in the way of continued
national prosperity. He said he would preserve my letter in the archives
as a treaty of peace between myself and the nation. He said only the day
before he had observed to the cabinet that he didn't care two cents about
a war with foreign nations, but he would like to be on a peace footing
with me. The country could stand outside interference better than
intestine hostility. I do not know whether he meant anything personal by
that or not. Probably not.
He said he remembered very well when he first heard that I had attacked
the Indian policy of the United States in one of my school essays. He
still called to mind the feeling of alarm and apprehension which at that
time pervaded the whole country. How the cheeks of strong men had blanched
and the Goddess of Liberty felt for her back hair and exchanged her Mother
Hubbard dress for a new cast-iron panoply of war and Roman hay knife. Oh,
yes, he said, he remembered it as though it had been yesterday.
Having at heart the welfare of the American people as he did, he hoped
that I would never attack the republic again.
And I never have. I have been friendly, not only personally, but
officially, for a good while. Even if I didn't agree with some of the
official acts of the president I would allow him to believe that I did
rather than harass him with cold, cruel and adverse criticism. The
abundant success of this policy is written in the country's wonderful
growth and prosperous peace.
The red-eyed antagonist of truth is not found alone in the ranks of the
newspaper phalanx. You run up against him in all walks of life. He
flourishes in all professions, and he is ready at all times to entertain.
There is quite a difference between a malicious falsehood and the
different shades of parables, fables with a moral, Sabbath-school books,
newspaper sketches, and anecdotes told to entertain.
A malicious lie is injurious personally. A business lie is a falsehood for
revenue only. But the yarns that are spun around camp-fires, in mining and
logging camps, to while away a dull evening, are not within the
jurisdiction of the criminal code or the home missionary.
On the train, yesterday several old lumbermen were telling about hard
roads and steep hills, engineering skill and so forth. Finally they told
about "snubbing" a loaded team down bad hills, and one man said:
"You might 'snub' down a cheap hill, but you couldn't do it on our road.
We tried it. Couldn't do a thing. Finally we got to building snow-sheds
and hauling sand. You build a snow-shed that covers the grade, then fill
the road in with two feet of loose sand, and you're O.K. We did that last
winter, and when you drive a four-horse load of logs down through them
long snow-sheds on bare ground, mind ye, and the bobs go plowing through
the sand, the sled-shoes will make the fire fly so that you can read the
President's message at midnight."
Then an old man who went to Pike's Peak during the excitement and returned
afterward, woke up and yawned two or three times, and said they used to
have some trouble, a good many years ago getting over the range where the
South Park road now goes from Chalk Creek Canon through Alpine Tunnel to
"We tried 'snubbing' and everything we could think of, but it was N.G.
"Finally we got hold of a new kind of 'snub' that worked pretty well. We
had a long table made a-purpose, that would reach to the foot of the hill
from the top, and we'd tie a three-ton load to the end at the top of the
hill; then we would hitch six mules to the end at the foot of the hill.
Well, the principle of the thing was, that as the load went down on the
Gunnison side it would pull the mules up the opposite side, tails first."
"How did it work?"
"Oh, it worked all right if the mules and the load balanced; but one day
we put on a light mule named Emma Abbott, and the load got a start down
the Gunnison side that made that old cable sing. The wagon tipped over and
concussed a keg of blasting powder, and that obliterated the rest of the
"But the air on the other side was full of mules. You ought to seen 'em
come up that hill!
"It takes considerable of a crisis to affect the natural reserve of six
mules; but when they saw how it was, they backed up that mountain with
great enthusiasm. They didn't touch the ground but once in three thousand
feet, but they struck the canopy of heaven several times.
"When the sky cleared up, we made a careful inventory of the stock.
"We had a second-hand three-inch cable and some desiccated mule. We never
went to look for the wagon; but when the weather got warm, the Coyotes
helped us find Emma Abbott.
"She was hanging by the ear in the crotch of an old hemlock tree.
"Life was extinct.
"We found a few more of the mules, but they were fractional.
"Emma Abbott was the only complete mule we found."
I fixed myself and went out trout fishing on the only original
Kinnickinnick river last week. It was a kind of Rip Van Winkle picnic and
farewell moonlight excursion home. I believe that Rip Van Winkle, however,
confined himself to hunting mostly with an old musket that was on the
retired list when Rip took his sleepy drink on the Catskills. If he could
have gone with me fishing last week over the old trail, digging
angle-worms at the same old place where I left the spade sticking in the
grim soil twenty years ago--if we could have waded down the Kinnickinnick
together with high rubber boots on, and got nibbles and bites at the same
places, and found the same old farmers with nearly a quarter of a century
added to their lives and glistening in their hair, we would have had fun
no doubt on that day, and a headache on the day following. This affords me
an opportunity to say that trout may be caught successfully without a
corkscrew. I have tried it. I've about decided that the main reason why so
many large lies are told about the number of trout caught all over the
country, is that at the moment the sportsman pulls his game out of the
water, he labors under some kind of an optical illusion, by reason of
which he sees about nine trout where he ought to see only one.
I wish I had as many dollars as I have soaked deceased angle-worms in that
same beautiful Kinnickinnick. There was a little stream made into it that
we called Tidd's creek. It is still there. This stream runs across Tidd's
farm, and Tidd twenty years ago wouldn't allow anybody to fish in the
creek. I can still remember how his large hand used to feel, as he caught
me by the nape of the neck and threw me over the fence with my amateur
fishing tackle and a willow "stringer" with eleven dried, stiff trout on
it. Last week I thought I would try Tidd's creek again. It was always a
good place to fish, and I felt the same old excitement, with just enough
vague forebodings in it to make it pleasant. Still, I had grown a foot or
so since I used to fish there, and perhaps I could return the compliment
by throwing the old gentleman over his own fence, and then hiss in his ear
[Illustration: I BECAME MORE FEARLESS.]
I had got pretty well across the "lower forty" and had about decided that
Tidd had been gathered to his fathers, when I saw him coming with his head
up like a steer in the corn. Tidd is a blacksmith by trade, and he has an
arm with hair on it that looks like Jumbo's hind leg. I felt the same old
desire to climb the fence and be alone. I didn't know exactly how to work
it. Then I remembered how people had remarked that I had changed very much
in twenty years, and that for a homely boy I had grown to be a remarkably
picturesque-looking man. I trusted to Tidd's failing eyesight and said:
"How are you?"
He said, "How are you?" That did not answer my question, but I didn't mind
a little thing like that.
Then he said: "I sposed that every pesky fool in this country knew I don't
allow fishing on my land."
"That may be," says I, "but I ain't fishing on your land. I always fish in
a damp place if I can. Moreover, how do I know this is your land? Carrying
the argument still further, and admitting that every peesky fool knows
that you didn't allow fishing here, I am not going to be called a pesky
fool with impunity, unless you do it over my dead body." He stopped about
ten rods away and I became more fearless. "I don't know who you are," said
I, as I took off my coat and vest and piled them up on my fish basket,
eager for the fray. "You claim to own this farm, but it is my opinion that
you are the hired man, puffed up with a little authority. You can't order
me off this ground till you show me a duly certified abstract of title and
then identify yourself. What protection does a gentleman have if he is to
be kicked and cuffed about by Tom, Dick and Harry, claiming they own the
whole State. Get out! Avaunt! If you don't avaunt pretty quick I'll scrap
you and sell you to a medical college."
He stood in dumb amazement a moment, then he said he would go and get his
deed and his shotgun. I said shotguns suited me exactly, and I told him to
bring two of them loaded with giant powder and barbed wire. I would not
live alway. I asked not to stay. When he got behind the corn-crib I
climbed the fence and fled with my ill-gotten gains.
The blacksmith in his prime may lick the small boy, but twenty years
changes their relative positions. Possibly Tidd could tear up the ground
with me now, but in ten more years, if I improve as fast as he fails, I
shall fish in that same old stream again.
Letter From New York.
Dear friend.--Being Sunday, I take an hour to write you a letter in regard
to this place. I came here yesterday without attracting undue attention
from people who lived here. If they was surprised, they concealed it from
I've camped out on the Chug years ago, and went to sleep with no live
thing near me except my own pony, and woke up with the early song of the
coyote, and have been on the lonesome plain for days where it seemed to me
that a hostile would be mighty welcome if he would only say something to
me, but I was never so lonesome as I was here in this big town last night,
although it is the most thick settled place I was ever at.
I was so kind of low and depressed that I strolled in to the bar at last,
allowing that I could pound on the counter and call up the boys and get
acquainted a little with somebody, just as I would at Col. Luke Murrin's,
at Cheyenne; but when I waved to the other parties, and told them to rally
round the foaming beaker, they apologized, and allowed they had just been
Just been to dinner, and there it was pretty blamed near dark! Then I
asked 'em to take a cigar, but they mostly cackillated they had no
I was mad, but what could I do? They was too many for me, and I couldn't
coerce the white livered aristocratic mob, for quicker'n scat they could
have hollored into a little cupboard they had there in the corner, and in
less'n two minits they'd of had the whole police department and the hook
and ladder company down there after me with a torch-light procession.
So I swallowed my wrath and a tame drink of cultivated whiskey with Apollo
Belvidere on the side, and went out into the auditorium of the hotel.
Here I was very unhappy, being, as the editor of the Green River _Gazette_
would say, "the cynosure of all eyes."
I would rather not be a cynosure, even at a good salary; so I thought I
would ask the proprietor to build a fire in my room. I went up to the
recorder's office, where the big hotel autograft album is, and asked to
see the proprietor.
A good-looking young man came forward and asked me what he could do for
me. I said if it wouldn't be too much trouble, I wisht he would build a
little fire in my room, and I would pay him for it; or, if he would show
me where the woodpile was, I would build the fire myself--I wasn't doing
anything special at that time.
He then whistled through his teeth and crooked his finger in a shrill tone
of voice to a young party who was working for him, and told him to "build
a fire in four-ought-two."
I then sat down in the auditorium and read out of a railroad tract, which
undertook to show that a party that undertook to ride over a rival road,
must do so because life was a burden to him, and facility, and comfort,
and safety, and such things no object whatever. But still I was very
lonely, and felt as if I was far, far away from home.
I couldn't have been more uncomfortable if I'd been a young man I saw
twenty-five years ago on the old overland trail. He had gone out to study
the Indian character, and to win said Indian to the fold. When I next saw
him he was twenty miles farther on. He had been thrown in contact with
said Indian in the meantime. I judged he had been making a collection of
Indian arrows. He was extremely no more. He looked some like Saint
Sebastian, and some like a toothpick-holder.
I was never successfully lost on the plains, and so I started out after
supper to find my room. I found a good many other rooms, and tried to get
into them, but I did not find four-ought-two till a late hour; then I
subsidized the night patrol on the third floor to assist me.
This is a nice place to stop, but it is a little too rich for my blood, I
guess Not so much as regards price, but I can see that I am beginning to
excite curiosity among the boarders. People are coming here to board just
because I am here, and it is disagreeable. I do not court notoriety. I
have always lived in a plain way, and I would give a dollar if people
would look the other way while I eat my pie.
To E. Wm. Nye, Esq.
P.S.--This is not a dictated letter. I left my stenograffer and revolver
at Pumpkin Buttes.
Crowns and Crowned Heads.
During the hot weather very few crowns are worn this season, and a few
hints as to the care of the crown itself may not be out of place.
The crown should not be carelessly hung on the hat rack in the royal hall
for the flies to roost upon, but it should be thoroughly cleaned and put
away as soon as the weather becomes too hot to wear it comfortably.
Great care should be used in cleaning a gold-plated crown, to avoid
wearing out the plate. Take a good stiff tooth brush, with a little
soapsuds, and clean the crown thoroughly at first, drying it on a clean
towel and taking care not to drop it on the floor and thus knock the
moss-agate diadem loose. Next, get a sleeve of the royal undershirt, or,
in case you can not procure one readily, the sleeve of a duke or
right-bower may be used. Soak this in vinegar, and, with a coat of
whiting, polish the crown thoroughly, wrap it in cotton-flannel and put in
the bureau. Sometimes, the lining of the crown becomes saturated with
hair-oil from constant use and needs cleaning. In such cases the lining
may be removed, boiled in concentrated lye two hours, or until tender, and
then placed on the grass to bleach in the sun.
Most crowns are size six-and-seven-eights, and they are therefore
frequently too large for the number six head of royalty. In such cases a
newspaper may be folded lengthwise and laid inside the sweat-band of the
crown, thus reducing the size and preventing any accident by which his or
her majesty might lose the crown in the coal-bin while doing chores.
After the Fourth of July and other royal holidays, this newspaper may be
removed, and the crown will be found none too large for the imperial dome
Sceptres may be cleaned and wrapped in woolen goods during the hot months.
The leg of an old pair of pantaloons makes a good retort to run a sceptre
into while not in use. Never try to kill flies or drive carpet tacks with
the sceptre. It is an awkward tool at best, and you might 'easily knock a
thumb nail loose. Great care should also be taken of the royal robe. Do
not use it for a lap robe while dining, nor sleep in it at night. Nothing
looks more repugnant than a king on the throne, with little white feathers
all over his robe.
It is equally bad taste to govern a kingdom in a maroon robe with white
horse hairs all over it.
[Illustration: A HARD-WORKING MONARCH.]
I once knew a king who invariably curried his horses in his royal robes;
and if the steeds didn't stand around to suit him, he would ever and anon
welt them in the pit of the stomach with his cast-iron sceptre. It was
greatly to the interest of his horses not to incur the royal displeasure,
as the reader has no doubt already surmised.
The robe of the king should only be worn while his majesty is on the
throne. When he comes down at night, after his day's work, and goes out
after his coal and kindling-wood, he may take off his robe, roll it up
carefully, and stick it under the throne, where it will be out of sight.
Nothing looks more untidy than a fat king milking a bobtail cow in a
Mother Hubbard robe trimmed with imitation ermine.
[An Open Letter.]
Dear Sir: I have seen recently an open letter addressed to me, and written
by you in a vein of confidence and strictly sub rosa. What you said was so
strictly confidential, in fact, that you published the letter in New York,
and it was copied through the press of the country. I shall, therefore,
endeavor to be equally careful in writing my reply.
You refer in your kind and confidential note to your experience as an
invalid, and your rapid recovery after the use of red-hot Mexican pepper
tea in a molten state.
But you did not have such a physician as I did when I had spinal
meningitis. He was a good doctor for horses and blind staggers, but he was
out of his sphere when he strove to fool with the human frame. Change of
scene and rest were favorite prescriptions of his. Most of his patients
got both, especially eternal rest. He made a specialty of eternal rest.
He did not know what the matter was with me, but he seemed to be willing
My wife says that while he was attending me I was as crazy as a loon, but
that I was more lucid than the physician. Even with my little, shattered
wreck of mind, tottering between a superficial knowledge of how to pound
sand and a wide, shoreless sea of mental vacuity, I still had the edge on
my physician, from an intellectual point of view. He is still practicing
medicine in a quiet kind of way, weary of life, and yet fearing to die and
go where his patients are.
He had a sabre wound on one cheek that gave him a ferocious appearance. He
frequently alluded to how he used to mix up in the carnage of battle, and
how he used to roll up his pantaloons and wade in gore. He said that if
the tocsin of war should sound even now, or if he were to wake up in the
night and hear war's rude alarum, he would spring to arms and make tyranny
tremble till its suspender buttons fell off.
Oh, he was a bad man from Bitter Creek.
One day I learned from an old neighbor that this physician did not have
anything to do with preserving the Union intact, but that he acquired the
scar on his cheek while making some experiments as a drunk and disorderly.
He would come and sit by my bedside for hours, waiting for this mortality
to put on immortality, so that he could collect his bill from the estate,
but one day I arose during a temporary delirium, and extracting a slat
from my couch I smote him across the pit of the stomach with it, while I
hissed through my clenched teeth:
"Physician, heal thyself."
[Illustration: "PHYSICIAN, HEAL THYSELF."]
I then tottered a few minutes, and fell back into the arms of my
attendants. If you do not believe this, I can still show you the clenched
teeth. Also the attendants.
I had a hard time with this physician, but I still live, contrary to his
I desire to state that should this letter creep into the press of the
country, and thus become in a measure public, I hope that it will create
no ill-feeling on your part.
Our folks are all well as I write, and should you happen to be on Lake
Superior this winter, yachting, I hope you will drop in and see us. Our
latch string is hanging out most all the time, and if you will pound on
the fence I will call off the dog.
I frequently buy a copy of your paper on the streets. Do you get the
Are you acquainted with the staff of _The Century_, published in New York?
I was in _The Century_ office several hours last spring, and the editors
treated me very handsomely, but, although I have bought the magazine ever
since, and read it thoroughly, I have not seen yet where they said that
"they had a pleasant call from the genial and urbane William Nye." I do
not feel offended over this. I simply feel hurt.
Before that I had a good notion to write a brief epic on the "Warty Toad,"
and send it to _The Century_ for publication, but now it is quite
_The Century_ may be a good paper, but it does not take the press
dispatches, and only last month I saw in it an account of a battle that to
my certain knowledge occurred twenty years ago.
All About Oratory.
Twenty centuries ago last Christmas there was born in Attica, near Athens,
the father of oratory, the greatest orator of whom history has told us.
His name was Demosthenes. Had he lived until this spring he would have
been 2,270 years old; but he did not live. Demosthenes has crossed the