Part 1 out of 9
Produced by Charles Franks, Beth Trapaga
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
By BILL NYE.
(EDGAR W. NYE.)
Ah Sin was his name;
And I shall not deny,
In regard to the same,
What the name might imply:
But his smile it was pensive and childlike,
As I frequent remarked to Bill Nye.
With over one hundred and fifty illustrations,
by J.H. SMITH.
[Illustration: Bill Nye]
This book is not designed specially for any one class of people. It is
for all. It is a universal repository of thought. Some of my best
thoughts are contained in this book. Whenever I would think a thought
that I thought had better remain unthought, I would omit it from this
book. For that reason the book is not so large as I had intended. When
a man coldly and dispassionately goes at it to eradicate from his work
all that may not come up to his standard of merit, he can make a large
volume shrink till it is no thicker than the bank book of an outspoken
This is the fourth book that I have published in response to the
clamorous appeals of the public. Whenever the public got to clamoring
too loudly for a new book from me and it got so noisy that I could not
ignore it any more, I would issue another volume. The first was a red
book, succeeded by a dark blue volume, after which I published a green
book, all of which were kindly received by the American people, and,
under the present yielding system of international copyright, greedily
snapped up by some of the tottering dynasties.
But I had long hoped to publish a larger, better and, if possible, a
redder book than the first; one that would contain my better thoughts,
thoughts that I had thought when I was feeling well; thoughts that I
had emitted while my thinker was rearing up on its hind feet, if I may
be allowed that term; thoughts that sprang forth with a wild whoop and
This book is the result of that hope and that wish. It is my greatest
and best book. It is the one that will live for weeks after other books
have passed away. Even to those who cannot read, it will come like a
benison when there is no benison in the house. To the ignorant, the
pictures will be pleasing. The wise will revel in its wisdom, and the
housekeeper will find that with it she may easily emphasize a statement
or kill a cockroach.
The range of subjects treated in this book is wonderful, even to me. It
is a library of universal knowledge, and the facts contained in it are
different from any other facts now in use. I have carefully guarded,
all the way through, against using hackneyed and moth-eaten facts. As a
result, I am able to come before the people with a set of new and
attractive statements, so fresh and so crisp that an unkind word would
wither them in a moment.
I believe there is nothing more to add, except that I most heartily
endorse the book. It has been carefully read over by the proof-reader
and myself, so we do not ask the public to do anything that we were not
willing to do ourselves.
I cannot be responsible for the board of orphans whose parents read this
book and leave their children in destitute circumstances.
A Bright Future for Pugilism
Accepting the Laramie Postoffice
A Collection of Keys
A Father's Advice to his Son
A Father's Letter
A Goat in a Frame
A Great Spiritualist
A Great Upheaval
A Journalistic Tenderfoot
A Letter of Regrets
All About Menials
All About Oratory
Along Lake Superior
A Lumber Camp
A Mountain Snowstorm
Anecdotes of Justice
Anecdotes of the Stage
A New Autograph Album
A New Play
An Operatic Entertainment
Answering an Invitation
Answers to Correspondents
A Peaceable Man
A Picturesque Picnic
A Powerful Speech
Asking for a Pass
A Spencerian Ass
A Thrilling Experience
A Wallula Night
B. Franklin, Deceased
Biography of Spartacus
Boston Common and Environs
Care of House Plants
Catching a Buffalo
Causes for Thanksgiving
Concerning Book Publishing
Crowns and Crowned Heads
Dogs and Dog Days
"Done It A-Purpose"
Down East Rum
Dr. Dizart's Dog
Drunk in a Plug Hat
Early Day Justice
Eccentricities of Genius
Eccentricity in Lunch
Etiquette at Hotels
Every Man His Own Paper-Hanger
Extracts from a Queen's Diary
Farming in Maine
Favored a Higher Fine
Fifteen Years Apart
General Sheridan's Horse
George the Third
Great Sacrifice of Bric-a-Brac
Habits of a Literary Man
History of Babylon
Hours With Great Men
How Evolution Evolves
Insomnia in Domestic Animals
I Tried Milling
John Adams' Diary
John Adams' Diary, (No. 2.)
John Adams' Diary, (No. 3.)
Knights of the Pen
Letter from New York
Letter to a Communist
Life Insurance as a Health Restorer
Milling in Pompeii
More Paternal Correspondence
Mr. Sweeney's Cat
Murray and the Mormons
Mush and Melody
My Experience as an Agriculturist
My Lecture Abroad
My School Days
No More Frontier
One Kind of Fool
Petticoats at the Polls
Polygamy as a Religious Duty
Preventing a Scandal
Recollections of Noah Webster
Rev. Mr. Hallelujah's Hoss
Second Letter to the President
She Kind of Coaxed Him
Sixty Minutes in America
Skimming the Milky Way
Somnambulism and Crime
Squaw Jim's Religion
Stirring Incidents at a Fire
Strabismus and Justice
Street Cars and Curiosities
The Amateur Carpenter
The Approaching Humorist
The Arabian Language
The Average Hen
The Bite of a Mad Dog
The Blase Young Man
The Board of Trade
The Cell Nest
The Chinese God
The Church Debt
The Cow Boy
The Duke of Rawhide
The Expensive Word
The Heyday of Life
The Holy Terror
The Indian Orator
The Little Barefoot Boy
The Miner at Home
The Old South
The Old Subscriber
The Opium Habit
The Photograph Habit
The Poor Blind Pig
The Sedentary Hen
The Silver Dollar
The Snake Indian
The Story of a Struggler
The Wail of a Wife
The Warrior's Oration
The Ways of Doctors
The Weeping Woman
The Wild Cow
To a Married Man
To an Embryo Poet
To Her Majesty
To The President-Elect
Two Ways of Telling It
What We Eat
Woman's Wonderful Influence
Woodtick William's Story
Words About Washington
Wrestling With the Mazy
"You Heah Me, Sah!"
[Illustration: WE WERE NOT ON TERMS OF INTIMACY.]
My School Days.
Looking over my own school days, there are so many things that I would
rather not tell, that it will take very little time and space for me to
use in telling what I am willing that the carping public should know about
my early history.
I began my educational career in a log school house. Finding that other
great men had done that way, I began early to look around me for a log
school house where I could begin in a small way to soak my system full of
hard words and information.
For a time I learned very rapidly. Learning came to me with very little
effort at first. I would read my lesson over once or twice and then take
my place in the class. It never bothered me to recite my lesson and so I
stood at the head of the class. I could stick my big toe through a
knot-hole in the floor and work out the most difficult problem. This
became at last a habit with me. With my knot-hole I was safe, without it I
A large red-headed boy, with feet like a summer squash and eyes like those
of a dead codfish, was my rival. He soon discovered that I was very
dependent on that knot-hole, and so one night he stole into the school
house and plugged up the knot-hole, so that I could not work my toe into
it and thus refresh my memory.
Then the large red-headed boy, who had not formed the knot-hole habit went
to the head of the class and remained there.
After I grew larger, my parents sent me to a military school. That is
where I got the fine military learning and stately carriage that I still
My room was on the second floor, and it was very difficult for me to leave
it at night, because the turnkey locked us up at 9 o'clock every evening.
Still, I used to get out once in a while and wander around in the
starlight. I did not know yet why I did it, but I presume it was a kind of
somnambulism. I would go to bed thinking so intently of my lessons that I
would get up and wander away, sometimes for miles, in the solemn night.
One night I awoke and found myself in a watermelon patch. I was never so
ashamed in my life. It is a very serious thing to be awakened so rudely
out of a sound sleep, by a bull dog, to find yourself in the watermelon
vineyard of a man with whom you are not acquainted. I was not on terms of
social intimacy with this man or his dog. They did not belong to our set.
We had never been thrown together before.
After that I was called the great somnambulist and men who had watermelon
conservatories shunned me. But it cured me of my somnambulism. I have
never tried to somnambule any more since that time.
There are other little incidents of my schooldays that come trooping up in
my memory at this moment, but they were not startling in their nature.
Mine is but the history of one who struggled on year after year, trying to
do better, but most always failing to connect. The boys of Boston would do
well to study carefully my record and then--do differently.
Recollections of Noah Webster.
Mr. Webster, no doubt, had the best command of language of any American
author prior to our day. Those who have read his ponderous but rather
disconnected romance known as "Websters Unabridged Dictionary, or How One
Word Led on to Another." will agree with me that he was smart. Noah never
lacked for a word by which to express himself. He was a brainy man and a
It would ill become me at this late day to criticise Mr. Webster's great
work--a work that is now in almost every library, school-room and counting
house in the land. It is a great book. I do believe that had Mr. Webster
lived he would have been equally fair in his criticism of my books.
I hate to compare my own works with those of Mr. Webster, because it may
seem egotistical in me to point out the good points in my literary labors;
but I have often heard it said, and so do not state it solely upon my own
responsibility, that Mr. Webster's book does not retain the interest of
the reader all the way through.
He has tried to introduce too many characters, and so we cannot follow
them all the way through. It is a good book to pick up and while away an
idle hour with, perhaps, but no one would cling to it at night till the
fire went out, chained to the thrilling plot and the glowing career of its
Therein consists the great difference between Mr. Webster and myself. A
friend of mine at Sing Sing once wrote me that from the moment he got hold
of my book, he never left his room till he finished it. He seemed chained
to the spot, he said, and if you can't believe a convict, who is entirely
out of politics, who in the name of George Washington can you believe?
Mr. Webster was most assuredly a brilliant writer, and I have discovered
in his later editions 118,000 words, no two of which are alike. This shows
great fluency and versatility, it is true, but we need something else. The
reader waits in vain to be thrilled by the author's wonderful word
painting. There is not a thrill in the whole tome. I had heard so much of
Mr. Webster that when I read his book I confess I was disappointed. It is
cold, methodical and dispassionate in the extreme.
As I said, however, it is a good book to pick up for the purpose of
whiling away an idle moment, and no one should start out on a long journey
without Mr. Webster's tale in his pocket. It has broken the monotony of
many a tedious trip for me.
Mr. Webster's "Speller" was a work of less pretentions, perhaps, and yet
it had an immense sale. Eight years ago this book had reached a sale of
40,000,000, and yet it had the same grave defect. It was disconnected,
cold, prosy and dull. I read it for years, and at last became a close
student of Mr. Webster's style, yet I never found but one thing in this
book, for which there seems to have been such a perfect stampede, that was
even ordinarily interesting, and that was a little gem. It was so
thrilling in its details, and so diametrically different from Mr.
Webster's style, that I have often wondered who he got to write it for
him. It related to the discovery of a boy by an elderly gentleman, in the
crotch of an ancestral apple tree, and the feeling of bitterness and
animosity that sprung up at the time between the boy and the elderly
Though I have been a close student of Mr. Webster for years, I am free to
say, and I do not wish to do an injustice to a great man in doing so, that
his ideas of literature and my own are entirely dissimilar. Possibly his
book has had a little larger sale than mine, but that makes no difference.
When I write a book it must engage the interest of the reader, and show
some plot to it. It must not be jerky in its style and scattering in its
I know it is a great temptation to write a book that will sell, but we
should have a higher object than that.
I do not wish to do an injustice to a man who has done so much for the
world, and one who could spell the longest word without hesitation, but I
speak of these things just as I would expect people to criticise my work.
If we aspire to monkey with the literati of our day we must expect to be
criticised. That's the way I look at it.
P.S.--I might also state that Noah Webster was a member of the
Legislature of Massachusetts at one time, and though I ought not to throw
it up to him at this date, I think it is nothing more than right that the
public should know the truth.
To Her Majesty.
To Queen Victoria, Regina Dei Gracia and acting mother-in-law on the side:
Dear Madame.--Your most gracious majesty will no doubt be surprised to hear
from me after my long silence. One reason that I have not written for some
time is that I had hoped to see you ere this, and not because I had grown
cold. I desire to congratulate you at this time upon your great success as
a mother-in-law, and your very exemplary career socially. As a queen you
have given universal satisfaction, and your family have married well.
[Illustration: ADVERTISING THE ENTERPRISE.]
But I desired more especially to write you in relation to another matter.
We are struggling here in America to establish an authors' international
copyright arrangement, whereby the authors of all civilized nations may be
protected in their rights to the profits of their literary labor, and the
movement so far has met with generous encouragement. As an author we
desire your aid and endorsement. Could you assist us? We are giving this
season a series of authors' readings in New York to aid in prosecuting the
work, and we would like to know whether we could not depend upon you to
take a part in these readings, rendering selections from your late work.
I assure your most gracious majesty that you would meet some of our best
literary people while here, and no pains would be spared to make your
visit a pleasant one, aside from the reading itself. We would advertise
your appearance extensively and get out a first-class audience on the
occasion of your debut here.
[Illustration: QUEEN VIC. READING.]
An effort would be made to provide passes for yourself, and reduced rates,
I think, could be secured for yourself and suite at the hotels. Of course
you could do as you thought best about bringing suite, however. Some of
us travel with our suites and some do not. I generally leave my suite at
You would not need to make any special change as to costume for the
occasion. We try to make it informal, so far as possible, and though some
of us wear full dress we do not make that obligatory on those who take a
part in the exercises. If you decide to wear your every-day reigning
clothes it will not excite comment on the part of our literati. We do not
judge an author or authoress by his or her clothes.
You will readily see that this will afford you an opportunity to appear
before some of the best people of New York, and at the same time you will
aid in a deserving enterprise.
It will also promote the sale of your book.
Perhaps you have all the royalty you want aside from what you may receive
from the sale of your works, but every author feels a pardonable pride in
getting his books into every household.
I would assure your most gracious majesty that your reception here as an
authoress will in no way suffer because you are an unnaturalized
foreigner. Any alien who feels a fraternal interest in the international
advancement of thought and the universal encouragement of the good, the
true and the beautiful in literature, will be welcome on these shores.
This is a broad land, and we aim to be a broad and cosmopolitan people.
Literature and free, willing genius are not hemmed in by State or national
linos. They sprout up and blossom under tropical skies no less than
beneath the frigid aurora borealis of the frozen North. We hail true merit
just as heartily and uproariously on a throne as we would anywhere else.
In fact, it is more deserving, if possible, for one who has never tried it
little knows how difficult it is to sit on a hard throne all day and write
well. We are to recognize struggling genius wherever it may crop out. It
is no small matter for an almost unknown monarch to reign all day and then
write an article for the press or a chapter for a serial story, only,
perhaps, to have it returned by the publishers. All these things are
drawbacks to a literary life, that we here in America know little of.
I hope your most gracious majesty will decide to come, and that you will
pardon this long letter. It will do you good to get out this way for a few
weeks, and I earnestly hope that you will decide to lock up the house and
come prepared to make quite a visit. We have some real good authors here
now in America, and we are not ashamed to show them to any one. They are
not only smart, but they are well behaved and know how to appear in
company. We generally read selections from our own works, and can have a
brass band to play between the selections, if thought best. For myself, I
prefer to have a full brass band accompany me while I read. The audience
also approves of this plan.
[Illustration: THE ACCOMPANIMENT.]
We have been having some very hot weather here for the past week, but it is
now cooler. Farmers are getting in their crops in good shape, but wheat is
still low in price, and cranberries are souring on the vines. All of our
canned red raspberries worked last week, and we had to can them over
again. Mr. Riel, who went into the rebellion business in Canada last
winter, will be hanged in September if it don't rain. It will be his first
appearance on the gallows, and quite a number of our leading American
criminals are going over to see his debut.
Hoping to hear from you by return mail or prepaid cablegram, I beg leave
to remain your most gracious and indulgent majesty's humble and obedient
Habits of a Literary Man.
The editor of an Eastern health magazine, having asked for information
relative to the habits, hours of work, and style and frequency of feed
adopted by literary men, and several parties having responded who were no
more essentially saturated with literature than I am, I now take my pen in
hand to reveal the true inwardness of my literary life, so that boys, who
may yearn to follow in my footsteps and wear a laurel wreath the year round
in place of a hat, may know what the personal habits of a literary party
I rise from bed the first thing in the morning, leaving my couch not
because I am dissatisfied with it, but because I cannot carry it with me
during the day.
I then seat myself on the edge of the bed and devote a few moments to
thought. Literary men who have never set aside a few moments on rising for
thought will do well to try it.
I then insert myself into a pair of middle-aged pantaloons. It is needless
to say that girls who may have a literary tendency will find little to
interest them here.
Other clothing is added to the above from time to time. I then bathe
myself. Still this is not absolutely essential to a literary life. Others
who do not do so have been equally successful.
Some literary people bathe before dressing.
I then go down stairs and out to the barn, where I feed the horse. Some
literary men feel above taking care of a horse, because there is really
nothing in common between the care of a horse and literature, but
simplicity is my watchword. T. Jefferson would have to rise early in the
day to eclipse me in simplicity. I wish I had as many dollars as I have
I then go in to breakfast. This meal consists almost wholly of food. I am
passionately fond of food, and I may truly say, with my hand on my heart,
that I owe much of my great success in life to this inward craving, this
constant yearning for something better.
During this meal I frequently converse with my family. I do not feel above
my family, at least, if I do, I try to conceal it as much as possible.
Buckwheat pancakes in a heated state, with maple syrup on the upper side,
are extremely conducive to literature. Nothing jerks the mental faculties
around with greater rapidity than buckwheat pancakes.
After breakfast the time is put in to good advantage looking forward to
the time when dinner will be ready. From 8 to 10 A. M., however, I
frequently retire to my private library hot-bed in the hay mow, and write
1,200 words in my forthcoming book, the price of which will be $2.50 in
cloth and $4 with Russia back.
I then play Copenhagen with some little girls 21 years of age, who live
near by, and of whom I am passionately fond.
After that I dig some worms, with a view to angling. I then angle. After
this I return home, waiting until dusk, however, as I do not like to
attract attention. Nothing is more distasteful to a truly good man of
wonderful literary acquirements, and yet with singular modesty, than the
coarse and rude scrutiny of the vulgar herd.
In winter I do not angle. I read the "Pirate Prince" or the "Missourian's
Mash," or some other work, not so much for the plot as the style, that I
may get my mind into correct channels of thought I then play "old sledge"
in a rambling sort of manner. I sometimes spend an evening at home, in
order to excite remark and draw attention to my wonderful eccentricity.
I do not use alcohol in any form, if I know it, though sometimes I am
basely deceived by those who know of my peculiar prejudice, and who do it,
too, because they enjoy watching my odd and amusing antics at the time.
Alcohol should be avoided entirely by literary workers, especially young
women. There can be no more pitiable sight to the tender hearted, than a
young woman of marked ability writing an obituary poem while under the
influence of liquor.
I knew a young man who was a good writer. His penmanship was very good,
indeed. He once wrote an article for the press while under the influence
of liquor. He sent it to the editor, who returned it at once with a cold
and cruel letter, every line of which was a stab. The letter came at a
time when he was full of remorse.
He tossed up a cent to see whether he should blow out his brains or go
into the ready-made clothing business. The coin decided that he should die
by his own hand, but his head ached so that he didn't feel like shooting
into it. So he went into the ready-made clothing business, and now he pays
taxes on $75,000, so he is probably worth $150,000. This, of course,
salves over his wounded heart, but he often says to me that he might have
been in the literary business to-day if he had let liquor alone.
A Father's Letter.
My dear son.--Your letter of last week reached us yesterday, and I enclose
$13, which is all I have by me at the present time. I may sell the other
shote next week and make up the balance of what you wanted. I will
probably have to wear the old buffalo overcoat to meetings again this
winter, but that don't matter so long as you are getting an education.
I hope you will get your education as cheap as you can, for it cramps your
mother and me like Sam Hill to put up the money. Mind you, I don't
complain. I knew education come high, but I didn't know the clothes cost
so like sixty.
I want you to be so that you can go anywhere and spell the hardest word. I
want you to be able to go among the Romans or the Medes and Persians and
talk to any of them in their own native tongue.
I never had any advantages when I was a boy, but your mother and I decided
that we would sock you full of knowledge, if your liver held out,
regardless of expense. We calculate to do it, only we want you to go as
slow on swallowtail coats as possible till we can sell our hay.
Now, regarding that boat-paddling suit, and that baseball suit, and that
bathing suit, and that roller-rinktum suit, and that lawn-tennis suit,
mind, I don't care about the expense, because you say a young man can't
really educate himself thoroughly without them, but I wish you'd send home
what you get through with this fall, and I'll wear them through the winter
under my other clothes. We have a good deal severer winters here than we
used to, or else I'm failing in bodily health. Last winter I tried to go
through without underclothes, the way I did when I was a boy, but a
Manitoba wave came down our way and picked me out of a crowd with its eyes
In your last letter you alluded to getting injured in a little "hazing
scuffle with a pelican from the rural districts." I don't want any harm to
come to you, my son, but if I went from the rural districts and another
young gosling from the rural districts undertook to haze me, I would meet
him when the sun goes down, and I would swat him across the back of the
neck with a fence board, and then I would meander across the pit of his
stomach and put a blue forget-me-not under his eye.
Your father aint much on Grecian mythology and how to get the square root
of a barrel of pork, but he wouldn't allow any educational institutions to
haze him with impunity. Perhaps you remember once when you tried to haze
your father a little, just to kill time, and how long it took you to
recover. Anybody that goes at it right can have a good deal of fun with
your father, but those who have sought to monkey with him, just to break
up the monotony of life, have most always succeeded in finding what they
[Illustration: RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE.]
I ain't much of a pensman, so you will have to excuse this letter. We are
all quite well, except old Fan, who has a galded shoulder, and hope this
will find you enjoying the same great blessing.
Archimedes, whose given name has been accidentally torn off and swallowed
up in oblivion, was born in Syracuse, 2,171 years ago last spring. He was
a philosopher and mathematical expert. During his life he was never
successfully stumped in figures. It ill befits me now, standing by his
new-made grave, to say aught of him that is not of praise. We can only
mourn his untimely death, and wonder which of our little band of great men
will be the next to go.
Archimedes was the first to originate and use the word "Eureka." It has
been successfully used very much lately, and as a result we have the
Eureka baking powder, the Eureka suspender, the Eureka bed-bug buster, the
Eureka shirt, and the Eureka stomach bitters. Little did Archimedes wot,
when he invented this term, that it would come into such general use.
Its origin has been explained before, but it would not be out of place
here for me to tell it as I call it to mind now, looking back over
Archie's eventful life.
King Hiero had ordered an eighteen karat crown, size 7-1/8, and, after
receiving it from the hands of the jeweler, suspected that it had been
adulterated. He therefore applied to Archimedes to ascertain, if possible,
whether such was the case or not. Archimedes had just got in on No. 3, two
hours late, and covered with dust. He at once started for a hot and cold
bath emporium on Sixteenth street, meantime wondering how the dickens he
would settle that crown business.
He filled the bath-tub level full, and, piling up his raiment on the
floor, jumped in. Displacing a large quantity of water, equal to his own
bulk, he thereupon solved the question of specific gravity, and,
forgetting his bill, forgetting his clothes, he sailed up Sixteenth street
and all over Syracuse, clothed in shimmering sunlight and a plain gold
ring, shouting "Eureka!" He ran head-first into a Syracuse policeman and
howled "Eureka!" The policeman said: "You'll have to excuse me; I don't
know him." He scattered the Syracuse Normal school on its way home, and
tried to board a Fifteenth street bob-tail car, yelling "Eureka!" The
car-driver told him that Eureka wasn't on the car, and referred Archimedes
to a clothing store.
Everywhere he was greeted with surprise. He tried to pay his car-fare, but
found that he had left his money in his other clothes.
Some thought it was the revised statute of Hercules; that he had become
weary of standing on his pedestal during the hot weather, and had started
out for fresh air. I give this as I remember it. The story is foundered on
Archimedes once said: "Give me where I may stand, and I will move the
world." I could write it in the original Greek, but, fearing that the
nonpareil delirium tremens type might get short, I give it in the English
It may be tardy justice to a great mathematician and scientist, but I have
a few resolutions of respect which I would be very glad to get printed on
this solemn occasion, and mail copies of the paper to his relatives and
"WHEREAS, It has pleased an All-wise Providence to remove from our midst
Archimedes, who was ever at the front in all deserving labors and
"WHEREAS, We can but feebly express our great sorrow in the loss of
Archimedes, whose front name has escaped our memory; therefore
"_Resolved_, That in his death we have lost a leading citizen of Syracuse,
and one who never shook his friends--never weakened or gigged back on
those he loved.
"_Resolved_, That copies of these resolutions will be spread on the
moments of the meeting of the Common Council of Syracuse, and that they be
published in the Syracuse papers eodtfpdq&cod, and that marked copies of
said papers be mailed to the relatives of the deceased."
To the President-Elect.
Dear Sir.--The painful duty of turning over to you the administration of
these United States and the key to the front door of the White House has
been assigned to me. You will find the key hanging inside the storm-door,
and the cistern-pole up stairs in the haymow of the barn. I have made a
great many suggestions to the outgoing administration relative to the
transfer of the Indian bureau from the department of the Interior to that
of the sweet by-and-by. The Indian, I may say, has been a great source of
annoyance to me, several of their number having jumped one of my most
valuable mining claims on White river. Still, I do not complain of that.
This mine, however, I am convinced would be a good paying property if
properly worked, and should you at any time wish to take the regular army
and such other help as you may need and re-capture it from our red
brothers, I would be glad to give you a controlling interest in it.
[Illustration: A DEARTH OF SOAP IN THE LAUNDRY AND BATH-ROOM.]
You will find all papers in their appropriate pigeon-holes, and a small
jar of cucumber pickles down cellar, which were left over and to which you
will be perfectly welcome. The asperities and heart burnings that were the
immediate result of a hot and unusually bitter campaign are now all
buried. Take these pickles and use them as though they were your own. They
are none too good for you. You deserve them. We may differ politically,
but that need not interfere with our warm personal friendship.
You will observe on taking possession of the administration, that the navy
is a little bit weather-beaten and wormy. I would suggest that it be newly
painted in the spring. If it had been my good fortune to receive a
majority of the suffrages of the people for the office which you now hold,
I should have painted the navy red. Still, that need not influence you in
the course which you may see fit to adopt.
There are many affairs of great moment which I have not enumerated in this
brief letter, because I felt some little delicacy and timidity about
appearing to be at all dictatorial or officious about a matter wherein the
public might charge me with interference.
I hope you will receive the foregoing in a friendly spirit, and whatever
your convictions may be upon great questions of national interest, either
foreign or domestic, that you will not undertake to blow out the gas on
retiring, and that you will in other ways realize the fond anticipations
which are now cherished in your behalf by a mighty people whose aggregated
eye is now on to you.
P.S.--You will be a little surprised, no doubt, to find no soap in the
laundry or bath-rooms. It probably got into the campaign in some way and
The word anatomy is derived from two Greek spatters and three polywogs,
which, when translated, signify "up through" and "to cut," so that anatomy
actually, when translated from the original wappy-jawed Greek, means to
cut up through. That is no doubt the reason why the medical student
proceeds to cut up through the entire course.
[Illustration: STUDYING ANATOMY.]
Anatomy is so called because its best results are obtained from the
cutting or dissecting of organism. For that reason there is a growing
demand in the neighborhood of the medical college for good second-hand
organisms. Parties having well preserved organisms that they are not
actually using, will do well to call at the side door of the medical
college after 10 P.M.
The branch of the comparative anatomy which seeks to trace the unities of
plan which are exhibited in diverse organisms, and which discovers, as far
as may be, the principles which govern the growth and development of
organized bodies, and which finds functional analogies and structural
homologies, is denominated philosophical or transcendental anatomy. (This
statement, though strictly true, is not original with me.)
Careful study of the human organism after death, shows traces of
functional analogies and structural homologies in people who were supposed
to have been in perfect health all their lives Probably many of those we
meet in the daily walks of life, many, too, who wear a smile and outwardly
seem happy, have either one or both of these things. A man may live a
false life and deceive his most intimate friends in the matter of
anatomical analogies or homologies, but he cannot conceal it from the
eagle eye of the medical student. The ambitious medical student makes a
specialty of true inwardness.
The study of the structure of animals is called zootomy. The attempt to
study the anatomical structure of the grizzly bear from the inside has not
been crowned with success. When the anatomizer and the bear have been
thrown together casually, it has generally been a struggle between the two
organisms to see which would make a study of the structure of the other.
Zootomy and moral suasion are not homogeneous, analogous, nor indigenous.
Vegetable anatomy is called phytonomy, sometimes. But it would not be safe
to address a vigorous man by that epithet. We may call a vegetable that,
however, and be safe.
Human anatomy is that branch of anatomy which enters into the description
of the structure and geographical distribution of the elements of a human
being. It also applies to the structure of the microbe that crawls out of
jail every four years just long enough to whip his wife, vote and go back
Human anatomy is either general, specific, topographical or surgical.
Those terms do not imply the dissection and anatomy of generals,
specialists, topographers and surgeons, as they might seem to imply, but
really mean something else. I would explain here what they actually do
mean if I had more room and knew enough to do it.
Anatomists divide their science, as well as their subjects, into
fragments. Osteology treats of the skeleton, myology of the muscles,
angiology of the blood vessels, splanchology the digestive organs or
department of the interior, and so on.
People tell pretty tough stories of the young carvists who study anatomy
on subjects taken from life. I would repeat a few of them here, but they
are productive of insomnia, so I will not give them.
I visited a matinee of this kind once for a short time, but I have not
been there since. When I have a holiday now, the idea of spending it in
the dissecting-room of a large and flourishing medical college does not
occur to me.
I never could be a successful surgeon, I fear. While I have no hesitation
about mutilating the English, I have scruples about cutting up other
nationalities. I should always fear, while pursuing my studies, that I
might be called upon to dissect a friend, and I could not do that. I
should like to do anything that would advance the cause of science, but I
should not want to form the habit of dissecting people, lest some day I
might be called upon to dissect a friend for whom I had a great
attachment, or some creditor who had an attachment for me.
Mr. Sweeney's Cat.
Robert Ormsby Sweeney is a druggist of St. Paul, and though a recent
chronological record reveals the fact that he is a direct descendant of a
sure-enough king, and though there is mighty good purple, royal blood in
his veins that dates back where kings used to have something to do to earn
their salary, he goes right on with his regular business, selling drugs at
the great sacrifice which druggists will make sometimes in order to place
their goods within the reach of all.
As soon as I learned that Mr. Sweeney had barely escaped being a crowned
head, I got acquainted with him and tried to cheer him up, and I told him
that people wouldn't hold him in any way responsible, and that as it
hadn't shown itself in his family for years he might perhaps finally wear
He is a mighty pleasant man to meet, anyhow, and you can have just as much
fun with him as you could with a man who didn't have any royal blood in
his veins. You could be with him for days on a fishing trip and never
notice it at all.
But I was going to speak more in particular about Mr. Sweeney's cat. Mr.
Sweeney had a large cat, named Dr. Mary Walker, of which he was very fond.
Dr. Mary Walker remained at the drug store all the time, and was known all
over St. Paul as a quiet and reserved cat. If Dr. Mary Walker took in the
town after office hours, nobody seemed to know anything about it. She
would be around bright and cheerful the next morning and attend to her
duties at the store just as though nothing whatever had happened.
One day last summer Mr. Sweeney left a large plate of fly-paper with water
on it in the window, hoping to gather in a few quarts of flies in a
deceased state. Dr. Mary Walker used to go to this window during the
afternoon and look out on the busy street while she called up pleasant
memories of her past life. That afternoon she thought she would call up
some more memories, so she went over on the counter and from there jumped
down on the window-sill, landing with all four feet in the plate of
At first she regarded it as a joke, and treated the matter very lightly,
but later on she observed that the fly-paper stuck to her feet with great
tenacity of purpose. Those who have never seen the look of surprise and
deep sorrow that a cat wears when she finds herself glued to a whole sheet
of fly-paper, cannot fully appreciate the way Dr. Mary Walker felt. She
did not dash wildly through a $150 plate-glass window, as some cats would
have done. She controlled herself and acted in the coolest manner, though
you could have seen that mentally she suffered intensely. She sat down a
moment to more fully outline a plan for the future. In doing so, she made
a great mistake. The gesture resulted in glueing the fly-paper to her
person in such a way that the edge turned up behind in the most abrupt
manner, and caused her great inconvenience.
[Illustration: AT FIRST SHE REGARDED IT AS A JOKE.]
Some one at that time laughed in a coarse and heartless way, and I wish
you could have seen the look of pain that Dr. Mary Walker gave him.
Then she went away. She did not go around the prescription case as the
rest of us did, but strolled through the middle of it, and so on out
through the glass door at the rear of the store. We did not see her go
through the glass door, but we found pieces of fly-paper and fur on the
ragged edges of a large aperture in the glass, and we kind of jumped at
the conclusion that Dr. Mary Walker had taken that direction in retiring
from the room.
Dr. Mary Walker never returned to St. Paul, and her exact whereabouts are
not known, though every effort was made to find her. Fragments of flypaper
and brindle hair were found as far west as the Yellowstone National Park,
and as far north as the British line, but the doctor herself was not
found. My own theory is, that if she turned her bow to the west so as to
catch the strong easterly gale on her quarter, with the sail she had set
and her tail pointing directly toward the zenith, the chances for Dr. Mary
Walker's immediate return are extremely slim.
The Heyday of Life.
There will always be a slight difference in the opinions of the young and
the mature, relative to the general plan on which the solar system should
be operated, no doubt. There are also points of disagreement in other
matters, and it looks as though there always would be.
To the young the future has a more roseate hue. The roseate hue comes
high, but we have to use it in this place. To the young there spreads out
across the horizon a glorious range of possibilities. After the youth has
endorsed for an intimate friend a few times, and purchased the paper at
the bank himself later on, the horizon won't seem to horizon so
tumultuously as it did aforetime. I remember at one time of purchasing
such a piece of accommodation paper at a bank, and I still have it. I
didn't need it any more than a cat needs eleven tails at one and the same
time. Still the bank made it an object for me, and I secured it. Such
things as these harshly knock the flush and bloom off the cheek of youth,
and prompt us to turn the strawberry box bottom side up before we purchase
Youth is gay and hopeful, age is covered with experience and scars where
the skin has been knocked off and had to grow on again. To the young a
dollar looks large and strong, but to the middle-aged and the old it is
weak and inefficient.
When we are in the heyday and fizz of existence, we believe everything;
but after awhile we murmur: "What's that you are givin' us," or words of
like character. Age brings caution and a lot of shop-worn experience,
purchased at the highest market price. Time brings vain regrets and wisdom
teeth that can be left in a glass of water over night.
Still we should not repine. If people would repine less and try harder to
get up an appetite by persweating in someone's vineyard at so much per
diem, it would be better. The American people of late years seem to have a
deeper and deadlier repugnance for mannish industry, and there seems to be
a growing opinion that our crops are more abundant when saturated with
foreign perspiration. European sweat, if I may be allowed to use such a
low term, is very good in its place, but the native-born Duke of Dakota,
or the Earl of York State should remember that the matter of perspiration
and posterity should not be left solely to the foreigner.
There are too many Americans who toil not, neither do they spin. They
would be willing to have an office foisted upon them, but they would
rather blow their so-called brains out than to steer a pair of large
steel-gray mules from day to day. They are too proud to hoe corn, for fear
some great man will ride by and see the termination of their shirts
extending out through the seats of their pantaloons, but they are not too
proud to assign their shattered finances to a friend and their shattered
remains to the morgue.
Pride is all right if it is the right kind, but the pride that prompts a
man to kill his mother, because she at last refuses to black his boots any
more, is an erroneous pride. The pride that induces a man to muss up the
carpet with his brains because there is nothing left for him to do but to
labor, is the kind that Lucifer had when he bolted the action of the
convention and went over to the red-hot minority.
Youth is the spring-time of life. It is the time to acquire information,
so that we may show it off in after years and paralyze people with what we
know. The wise youth will "lay low" till he gets a whole lot of knowledge,
and then in later days turn it loose in an abrupt manner. He will guard
against telling what he knows, a little at a time. That is unwise. I once
knew a youth who wore himself out telling people all he knew from day to
day, so that when he became a bald-headed man he was utterly exhausted and
didn't have anything left to tell anyone. Some of the things that we know
should be saved for our own use. The man who sheds all his knowledge, and
don't leave enough to keep house with, fools himself.
Two delegates to the General Convocation of the Sons of Ice Water were
sitting in the lobby of the Windsor, in the city of Denver, not long ago,
strangers to each other and to everybody else. One came from Huerferno
county, and the other was a delegate from the Ice Water Encampment of
From the beautiful billiard hall came the sharp rattle of ivory balls, and
in the bar-room there was a glitter of electric light, cut glass, and
French plate mirrors. Out of the door came the merry laughter of the giddy
throng, flavored with fragrant Havana smoke and the delicate odor of lemon
and mirth and pine apple and cognac.
The delegate from Correjos felt lonely, and he turned to the Ice Water
representative from Huerferno:
"That was a bold and fearless speech you made this afternoon on the demon
rum at the convocation."
"Think so?" said the sad Huerferno man.
"Yes, you entered into the description of rum's maniac till I could almost
see the red-eyed centipedes and tropical hornets in the air. How could you
describe the jimjams so graphically?"
"Well, you see, I'm a reformed drunkard. Only a little while ago I was in
"So was I."
"How long ago?"
"Week ago day after to-morrow."
"Next Tuesday it'll be a week since I quit."
"Well, I swan!"
"Ain't it funny?"
"It's going to be a long, cold winter; don't you think so?"
"Yes, I dread it a good deal."
"It's a comfort, though, to know that you never will touch rum again."
"Yes, I am glad in my heart to-night that I am free from it. I shall never
touch rum again."
When he said this he looked up at the other delegate, and they looked into
each other's eyes earnestly, as though each would read the other's soul.
Then the Huerferno man said:
"In fact, I never did care much for rum."
Then there was a long pause.
Finally the Correjos man ventured: "Do you have to use an antidote to cure
"Yes, I've had to rely on that a good deal at first. Probably this vain
yearning that I now feel in the pit of the bosom will disappear after
"Have you got any antidote with you?"
"Yes, I've got some up in 232-1/2. If you'll come up I'll give you a
"There's no rum in it, is there?"
Then they went up the elevator. They did not get down to breakfast, but at
dinner they stole in. Tho man from Huerferno dodged nervously through the
archway leading to the dining-room as though he had doubts about getting
through so small a space with his augmented head, and the man from
Correjos looked like one who had wept his eyes almost blind over the woe
that rum has wrought in our fair land.
When the waiter asked the delegate from Correjos for his dessert order,
the red-nosed Son of Ice Water said: "Bring me a cup of tea, some pudding
without wine sauce, and a piece of mince pie. You may also bring me a
corkscrew, if you please, to pull the brandy out of the mince pie with."
Then the two reformed drunkards looked at each other, and laughed a
hoarse, bitter and joyous laugh.
At the afternoon session of the Sons of Ice Water, the Huerferno delegate
couldn't get his regalia over his head.
Second Letter to the President.
To the President.--I write this letter not on my own account, but on
behalf of a personal friend of mine who is known as a mugwump. He is a
great worker for political reform, but he cannot spell very well, so he
has asked me to write this letter. He knew that I had been thrown among
great men all my life, and that, owing to my high social position and fine
education, I would be peculiarly fitted to write you in a way that would
not call forth disagreeable remarks, and so he has given me the points and
I have arranged them for you.
In the first place, my friend desires me to convey to you, Mr. President,
in a delicate manner, and in such language as to avoid giving offense,
that he is somewhat disappointed in your Cabinet. I hate to talk this way
to a bran-new President, but my friend feels hurt and he desires that I
should say to you that he regrets your short-sighted policy. He says that
it seems to him there is very little in the course of the administration
so far to encourage a man to shake off old party ties and try to make men
better. He desires to say that after conversing with a large number of the
purest men, men who have been in both political parties off and on for
years and yet have never been corrupted by office, men who have left
convention after convention in years past because those conventions were
corrupt and endorsed other men than themselves for office, he finds that
your appointment of Cabinet officers will only please two classes, viz:
Democrats and Republicans.
[Illustration: WORKING FOR REFORM.]
Now, what do you care for an administration which will only gratify those
two old parties? Are you going to snap your fingers in disdain at men who
admit that they are superior to anybody else? Do you want history to
chronicle the fact that President Cleveland accepted the aid of the pure
and highly cultivated gentlemen who never did anything naughty or
unpretty, and then appointed his Cabinet from men who had been known for
years as rude, naughty Democrats?
My friend says that he feels sure you would not have done so if you had
fully realized how he felt about it. He claims that in the first week of
your administration you have basely truckled to the corrupt majority. You
have shown yourself to be the friend of men who never claimed to be truly
If you persist in this course you will lose the respect and esteem of my
friend and another man who is politically pure, and who has never smirched
his escutcheon with an office. He has one of the cleanest and most
vigorous escutcheons in that county. He never leaves it out over night
during the summer, and in the winter he buries it in sawdust. Both of
these men will go back to the Republican party in 1888 if you persist in
the course you have thus far adopted. They would go back now if the
Republican party insisted on it.
Mr. President, I hate to write to you in this tone of voice, because I
know the pain it will give you. I once held an office myself, Mr.
President, and it hurt my feelings very much to have a warm personal
friend criticise my official acts.
The worst feature of the whole thing, Mr. President, is that it will
encourage crime. If men who never committed any crime are allowed to earn
their living by the precarious methods peculiar to manual labor, and if
those who have abstained from office for years, by request of many
citizens, are to be denied the endorsement of the administration, they
will lose courage to go on and do right in the future. My friend desires
to state vicariously, in the strongest terms, that both he and his wife
feel the same way about it, and they will not promise to keep it quiet any
longer. They feel like crippling the administration in every way they can
if the present policy is to be pursued.
He says he dislikes to begin thus early to threaten a President who has
barely taken off his overshoes and drawn his mileage, but he thinks it may
prevent a recurrence of these unfortunate mistakes. He claims that you
have totally misunderstood the principles of the mugwumps all the way
through. You seem to regard the reform movement as one introduced for the
purpose of universal benefit. This was not the case. While fully endorsing
and supporting reform, he says that they did not go into it merely to kill
time or simply for fun. He also says that when he became a reformer and
supported you, he did not think there were so many prominent Democrats who
would have claims upon you. He can only now deplore the great national
poverty of offices and the boundless wealth of raw material in the
Democratic party from which to supply even that meagre demand.
He wishes me to add, also, that you must have over-estimated the zeal of
his party for civil service reform. He says that they did not yearn for
civil service reform so much as many people seem to think.
I must now draw this letter to a close. We are all well with the exception
of colds in the head, but nothing that need give you any uneasiness. Our
large seal-brown hen last week, stimulated by a rising egg market,
over-exerted herself, and on Saturday evening, as the twilight gathered,
she yielded to a complication of pip and softening of the brain and
expired in my arms. She certainly led a most exemplary life and the forked
tongue of slander could find naught to utter against her.
Hoping that you are enjoying the same great blessing and that you will
write as often as possible without waiting for me, I remain,
Very respectfully yours,
Milling in Pompeii.
While visiting Naples, last fall, I took a great interest in the wonderful
museum there, of objects that have been exhumed from the ruins of Pompeii.
It is a remarkable collection, including, among other things, the
cumbersome machinery of a large woolen factory, the receipts, contracts,
statements of sales, etc., etc., of bankers, brokers, and usurers. I was
told that the exhumist also ran into an Etruscan bucket-shop in one part
of the city, but, owing to the long, dry spell, the buckets had fallen to
The object which engrossed my attention the most, however, was what seems
to have been a circular issued prior to the great volcanic vomit of 79
A.D., and no doubt prior even to the Christian era. As the date is torn
off however, we are left to conjecture the time at which it was issued. I
was permitted to make a copy of it, and with the aid of my hired man, I
have translated it with great care.
Office of Lucretius & Procalus,
Flour, Bran, Shorts, Middlings, Screenings, Etruscan Hen Feed, and Other
_Highest Cash Price Paid for Neapolitan Winter Wheat and Roman Corn
Why haul your Wheat through the sand to Herculaneum when we pay the same
Office and Mill, Via VIII, Near the Stabian Gate, Only Thirteen Blocks
From the P.O., Pompeii.
Dear Sir: This circular has been called out by another one issued last
month by Messrs. Toecorneous & Chilblainicus, alleged millers and wheat
buyers of Herculaneum, in which they claim to pay a quarter to a half-cent
more per bushel than we do for wheat, and charge us with docking the
farmers around Pompeii a pound per bushel more than necessary for cockle,
wild buck-wheat, and pigeon-grass seed. They make the broad statement that
we have made all our money in that way, and claim that Mr. Lucretius, of
our mill, has erected a fine house, which the farmers allude to as the
"wild buckwheat villa."
[Illustration: TWO OLD ROMANS.]
We do not, as a general rule, pay any attention to this kind of stuff; but
when two snide romans, who went to Herculaneum without a dollar and drank
stale beer out of an old Etruscan tomato-can the first year they were
there, assail our integrity, we feel justified in making a prompt and
final reply. We desire to state to the Roman farmers that we do not test
their wheat with the crooked brass tester that has made more money for
Messrs. Toecorneous & Chilblainicus than their old mill has. We do not do
that kind of business. Neither do we buy a man's wheat at a cash price and
then work off four or five hundred pounds of XXXX Imperial hog feed on him
in part payment. When we buy a man's wheat we pay him in money. We do not
seek to fill him up with sour Carthagenian cracked wheat and orders on the
We would also call attention to the improvements that we have just made in
our mill. Last week we put a handle in the upper burr, and we have also
engaged one of the best head millers in Pompeii to turn the crank
day-times. Our old head miller will oversee the business at night, so that
the mill will be in full blast night and day, except when the head miller
has gone to his meals or stopped to spit on his hands.
The mill of our vile contemporaries at Herculaneum is an old one that was
used around Naples one hundred years ago to smash rock for the Neapolitan
road, and is entirely out of repair. It was also used in a brick-yard here
near Pompeii; then an old junk man sold it to a tenderfoot from Jerusalem
as an ice-cream freezer. He found that it would not work, and so used it
to grind up potato bugs for blisters. Now it is grinding ostensible flour
We desire to state to the farmers about Pompeii and Herculaneum that we
aim to please. We desire to make a grade of flour this summer that will
not have to be run through the coffee mill before it can be used. We will
also pay you the highest price for good wheat, and give you good weight.
Our capacity is now greatly enlarged, both as to storage and grinding. We
now turn out a sack of flour, complete and ready for use, every little
while. We have an extra handle for the mill, so that in case of accident
to the one now in use, we need not shut down but a few moments. We call
attention to our XXXX Git-there brand of flour. It is the best flour in
the market for making angels' food and other celestial groceries. We fully
warrant it, and will agree that for every sack containing whole kernels of
corn, corncobs, or other foreign substances, not thoroughly pulverized, we
will refund the money already paid, and show the person through our mill.
[Illustration: ANCIENT ROMAN MILLER.]
We would also like to call the attention of farmers and housewives around
Pompeii to our celebrated Dough Squatter. It is purely automatic in its
operation, requiring only two men to work it. With this machine two men
will knead all the bread they can eat and do it easily, feeling thoroughly
refreshed at night. They also avoid that dark maroon taste in the mouth so
common in Pompeii on arising in the morning.
To those who do not feel able to buy one of these machines, we would say
that we have made arrangements for the approaching season, so that those
who wish may bring their dough to our mammoth squatter and get it treated
at our place at the nominal price of two bits per squat. Strangers calling
for their squat or unsquat dough, will have to be identified.
Do not forget the place, Via VIII, near Stabian gate.
Lucretius & Peocalus,
Dealers in choice family flour, cut feed and oatmeal with or without
clinkers in it. Try our lumpless bran for indigestion.
Speaking about cowboys, Sam Stewart, known from Montana to Old Mexico as
Broncho Sam, was the chief. He was not a white man, an Indian, a greaser
or a negro, but he had the nose of an Indian warrior, the curly hair of an
African, and the courtesy and equestrian grace of a Spaniard. A wide
reputation as a "broncho breaker" gave him his name.
To master an untamed broncho and teach him to lead, to drive and to be
safely-ridden was Sam's mission during the warm weather when he was not
riding the range. His special delight was to break the war-like heart of
the vicious wild pony of the plains and make him the servant of man.
I've seen him mount a hostile "bucker," and, clinching his italic legs
around the body of his adversary, ride him till the blood would burst from
Sam's nostrils and spatter horse and rider like rain. Most everyone knows
what the bucking of the barbarous Western horse means. The wild horse
probably learned it from the antelope, for the latter does it the same
way, i.e., he jumps straight up into the air, at the same instant
curving his back and coming down stiff-legged, with all four of his feet
in a bunch. The concussion is considerable.
I tried it once myself. I partially rode a roan broncho one spring day,
which will always be green in my memory. The day, I mean, not the broncho.
It occupied my entire attention to safely ride the cunning little beast,
and when he began to ride me I put in a minority report against it.
I have passed through an earthquake and an Indian outbreak, but I would
rather ride an earthquake without saddle or bridle than to bestride a
successful broncho eruption. I remember that I wore a large pair of
Mexican spurs, but I forgot them until the saddle turned. Then I
remembered them. Sitting down on them in an impulsive way brought them to
my mind. Then the broncho steed sat down on me, and that gave the spurs an
opportunity to make a more lasting impression on my mind.
To those who observed the charger with the double "cinch" across his back
and the saddle in front of him like a big leather corset, sitting at the
same time on my person, there must have been a tinge of amusement; but to
me it was not so frolicsome.
There may be joy in a wild gallop across the boundless plains, in the
crisp morning, on the back of a fleet broncho; but when you return with
your ribs sticking through your vest, and find that your nimble steed has
returned to town two hours ahead of you, there is a tinge of sadness about
Broncho Sam, however, made a specialty of doing all the riding himself. He
wouldn't enter into any compromise and allow the horse to ride him.
In a reckless moment he offered to bet ten dollars that he could mount and
ride a wild Texas steer. The money was put up. That settled it. Sam never
took water. This was true in a double sense. Well, he climbed the
cross-bar of the corral-gate, and asked the other boys to turn out their
best steer, Marquis of Queensbury rules.
As the steer passed out, Sam slid down and wrapped those parenthetical
legs of his around that high-headed, broad-horned brute, and he rode him
till the fleet-footed animal fell down on the buffalo grass, ran his hot
red tongue out across the blue horizon, shook his tail convulsively,
swelled up sadly and died.
It took Sam four days to walk back.
A ten-dollar bill looks as large to me as the star spangled banner, some
times; but that is an avenue of wealth that had not occurred to me.
I'd rather ride a buzz-saw at two dollars a day and found.
[Illustration: A BRONCO ERUPTION.]
How Evolution Evolves.
The following paper was read by me in a clear, resonant tone of voice,
before the Academy of Science and Pugilism at Erin Prairie, last month,
and as I have been so continually and so earnestly importuned to print it
that life was no longer desirable, I submit it to you for that purpose,
hoping that you will print my name in large caps, with astonishers at the
head of the article, and also in good display type at the close:
Some Features Of Evolution.
No one could possibly, in a brief paper, do the subject of evolution full
justice. It is a matter of great importance to our lost and undone race.
It lies near to every human heart, and exercises a wonderful influence
over our impulses and our ultimate success or failure. When we pause to
consider the opaque and fathomless ignorance of the great masses of our
fellow men on the subject of evolution, it is not surprising that crime is
rather on the increase, and that thousands of our race are annually
filling drunkards' graves, with no other visible means of support, while
multitudes of enlightened human beings are at the same time obtaining a
livelihood by meeting with felons' dooms.
These I would ask in all seriousness and in a tone of voice that would
melt the stoniest heart: "Why in creation do you do it?" The time is
rapidly approaching when there will be two or three felons for each doom.
I am sure that within the next fifty years, and perhaps sooner even than
that, instead of handing out these dooms to Tom, Dick and Harry as
formerly, every applicant for a felon's doom will have to pass through a
competitive examination, as he should do.
It will be the same with those who desire to fill drunkards' graves. The
time is almost here when all positions of profit and trust will be
carefully and judiciously handed out, and those who do not fit themselves
for those positions will be left in the lurch, whatever that may be.
It is with this fact glaring me in the face that I have consented to
appear before you to-day and lay bare the whole hypothesis, history, rise
and fall, modifications, anatomy, physiology and geology of evolution. It
is for this that I have poured over such works as Huxley, Herbert Spencer,
Moses in the bulrushes, Anaxagoras, Lucretius and Hoyle. It is for the
purpose of advancing the cause of common humanity and to jerk the rising
generation out of barbarism into the dazzling effulgence of clashing
intellects and fermenting brains that I have sought the works of
Pythagoras, Democritus and Epluribus. Whenever I could find any book that
bore upon the subject of evolution, and could borrow it, I have done so
while others slept.
That is a matter which rarely enters into the minds of those who go easily
and carelessly through life. Even the general superintendent of the
Academy of Science and Pugilism here in Erin Prairie, the hotbed of a free
and untrammeled, robust democracy, does not stop to think of the midnight
and other kinds of oil that I have consumed in order to fill myself full
of information and to soak my porous mind with thought. Even the O'Reilly
College of this place, with its strong mental faculty, has not informed
itself fully relative to the great effort necessary before a lecturer may
speak clearly, accurately and exhaustingly of evolution.
And yet, here in this place, where education is rampant, and the idea is
patted on the back, as I may say; here in Erin Prairie, where progress and
some other sentiments are written on everything; here where I am
addressing you to-night for $2 and feed for my horse, I met a little child
with a bright and cheerful smile, who did not know that evolution
consisted in a progress from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous.
So you see that you never know where ignorance lurks. The hydra-headed
upas tree and bete noir of self-acting progress, is such ignorance as
that, lurking in the very shadow of magnificent educational institutions
and hard words of great cast. Nothing can be more disagreeable to the
scientist than a bete noir. Nothing gives him greater satisfaction than to
chase it up a tree or mash it between two shingles.
For this reason, as I said, it gives me great pleasure to address you on
the subject of evolution, and to go into details in speaking of it. I
could go on for hours as I have been doing, delighting you with the
intricacies and peculiarities of evolution, but I must desist. It would
please me to do so, and you would no doubt remain patiently and listen,
but your business might suffer while you were away, and so I will close,
but I hope that anyone now within the sound of my voice, and in whose
breast a sudden hunger for more light on this great subject may have
sprung up, will feel perfectly free to call on me and ask me about it or
immerse himself in the numerous tomes that I have collected from friends,
and which relate to this matter.
In closing I wish to say that I have made no statements in this paper
relative to evolution which I am not prepared to prove; and, if anything,
I have been over-conservative. For that reason I say now, that the person
who doubts a single fact as I have given it to-night, bearing upon the
great subject of evolution, will have to do so over my dumb remains.
And a man who will do that is no gentleman. I presume that many of these
statements will be snapped up and sharply criticised by other theologians
and many of our foremost thinkers, but they will do well to pause before
they draw me into a controversy, for I have other facts in relation to
evolution, and some personal reminiscences and family history, which I am
prepared to introduce, if necessary, together with ideas that I have
thought up myself. So I say to those who may hope to attract notice and
obtain notoriety by drawing me into a controversy, beware. It will be to
your interest to beware!
Hours With Great Men.
I presume that I could write an entire library of personal reminiscences
relative to the eminent people with whom I have been thrown during a busy
life, but I hate to do it, because I always regarded such things as sacred
from the vulgar eye, and I felt bound to respect the confidence of a
prominent man just as much as I would that of one who was less before the
people. I remember very well my first meeting with General W.T. Sherman.
I would not mention it here if it were not for the fact that the people
seem so be yearning for personal reminiscences of great men, and that is
perfectly right, too.
It was since the war that I met General Sherman, and it was on the line of
the Union Pacific Railway, at one of those justly celebrated
eating-houses, which I understand are now abandoned. The colored waiter
had cut off a strip of the omelette with a pair of shears, the scorched
oatmeal had been passed around, the little rubber door mats fried in
butter and called pancakes had been dealt around the table, and the
cashier at the end of the hall had just gone through the clothes of a
party from Vermont, who claimed a rebate on the ground that the waiter had
refused to bring him anything but his bill. There was no sound in the
dining-room except the weak request of the coffee for more air and
stimulants, or perhaps the cry of pain when the butter, while practicing
with the dumb-bells, would hit a child on the head; then all would be
General Sherman sat at one end of the table, throwing a life-preserver to
a fly in the milk pitcher.
We had never met before, though for years we had been plodding along
life's rugged way--he in the war department, I in the postoffice
department. Unknown to each other, we had been holding up opposite corners
of the great national fabric, if you will allow me that expression.
I remember, as well as though it were but yesterday, how the conversation
began. General Sherman looked sternly at me and said:
"I wish you would overpower that butter and send it up this way."
"All right," said I, "if you will please pass those molasses."
That was all that was said, but I shall never forget it, and probably he
never will. The conversation was brief, but yet how full of food for
thought! How true, how earnest, how natural! Nothing stilted or false
about it. It was the natural expression of two minds that were too great
to be verbose or to monkey with social, conversational flapdoodle.
[Illustration: AN ENCOUNTER WITH THE BUTTER.]
I remember, once, a great while ago, I was asked by a friend to go with
him in the evening to the house of an acquaintance, where they were going
to have a kind of musicale, at which there was to be some noted pianist,
who had kindly consented to play a few strains, I did not get the name of
the professional, but I went, and when the first piece was announced I saw
that the light was very uncertain, so I kindly volunteered to get a lamp
from another room. I held that big lamp, weighing about twenty-nine
pounds, for half an hour, while the pianist would tinky tinky up on the
right hand, or bang, boomy to bang down on the bass, while he snorted and
slugged that old concert grand piano and almost knocked its teeth down its
throat, or gently dawdled with the keys like a pale moonbeam shimmering
through the bleached rafters of a deceased horse, until at last there was
a wild jangle, such as the accomplished musician gives to an instrument to
show the audience that he has disabled the piano, and will take a slight
intermission while it is sent to the junk shop.
With a sigh of relief I carefully put down the twenty-nine pound lamp, and
my friend told me that I had been standing there like liberty enlightening
the world, and holding that heavy lamp for Blind Tom.
I had never seen him before, and I slipped out of the room before he had a
chance to see me.
I am glad to notice that in the East there is a growing disfavor in the
public mind for selecting a practicing physician for the office of
coroner. This matter should have attracted attention years ago. Now it
gratifies me to notice a finer feeling on the part of the people, and an
awakening of those sensibilities which go to make life more highly prized
and far more enjoyable.
I had the misfortune at one time to be under the medical charge of a
coroner who had graduated from a Chicago morgue and practiced medicine
along with his inquest business with the most fiendish delight. I do not
know which he enjoyed best, holding the inquest or practicing on his
patient and getting the victim ready for the quest.
One day he wrote out a prescription and left it for me to have filled. I
was surprised to find that he had made a mistake and left a rough draft of
the verdict in my own case and a list of jurors which he had made in
memorandum, so as to be ready for the worst. I was alarmed, for I did not
know that I was in so dangerous a condition. He had the advantage of me,
for he knew just what he was giving me, and how long human life could be
sustained under his treatment. I did not.
That is why I say that the profession of medicine should not be allowed to
conflict with the solemn duties of the coroner. They are constantly
clashing and infringing upon each other's territory. This coroner had a
kind of tread-softly-bow-the-head way of getting around the room that made
my flesh creep. He had a way, too, when I was asleep, of glancing
hurriedly through the pockets of my pantaloons as they hung over a chair,
probably to see what evidence he could find that might aid the jury in
arriving at a verdict. Once I woke up and found him examining a draft that
he had found in my pocket. I asked him what he was doing with my funds,
and he said that he thought he detected a draft in the room and he had
just found out where it came from.
After that I hoped that death would come to my relief as speedily as
possible. I felt that death would be a happy release from the cold touch
of the amateur coroner and pro tem physician. I could look forward with
pleasure, and even joy, to the moment when my physician would come for the
last time in his professional capacity and go to work on me officially.
Then the county would be obliged to pay him, and the undertaker could take
charge of the fragments left by the inquest.
The duties of the physician are with the living, those of the coroner with
the dead. No effort, therefore, should be made to unite them. It is in
violation of all the finer feelings of humanity. When the physician
decides that his tendencies point mostly toward immortality and the names
of his patients are nearly all found on the moss-covered stones of the
cemetery, he may abandon the profession with safety and take hold of
politics. Then, should his tastes lead him to the inquest, let him
gravitate toward the office of coroner; but the two should not be united.
No man ought to follow his fellow down the mysterious river that defines
the boundary between the known and the unknown, and charge him
professionally till his soul has fled, and then charge a per diem to the
county for prying into his internal economy and holding an inquest over
the debris of mortality. I therefore hail this movement with joy and wish
to encourage it in every way. It points toward a degree of enlightenment
which will be in strong contrast with the darker and more ignorant epochs
of time, when the practice of medicine was united with the profession of
the barber, the well-digger, the farrier, the veterinarian or the coroner.
Why, this physician plenipotentiary and coroner extraordinary that I have
referred to, didn't know when he got a call whether to take his morphine
syringe or his venire for a jury. He very frequently went to see a patient
with a lung tester under one arm and the revised statutes under the other.
People never knew when they saw him going to a neighbor's house, whether
the case had yielded to the coroner's treatment or not. No one ever knew
just when over-taxed nature would yield to the statutes in such case made
When the jury was impanelled, however, we always knew that the medical
treatment had been successfully fatal.
Once he charged the county with an inquest he felt sure of, but in the
night the patient got delirious, eluded his nurse, the physician and
coroner, and fled to the foot-hills, where he was taken care of and
The experiences of some of the patients who escaped from this man read
more like fiction than fact. One man revived during the inquest, knocked
the foreman of the jury through the window, kicked the coroner in the
stomach, fed him a bottle of violet ink, and, with a shriek of laughter,
fled. He is now traveling under an assumed name with a mammoth circus,
feeding his bald head to the African lion twice a day at $9 a week and
Down East Rum.
Rum has always been a curse to the State of Maine. The steady fight that
Maine has made, for a century past, against decent rum, has been worthy of
a better cause.
Who hath woe? who hath sorrow and some more things of that kind? He that
monkeyeth with Maine rum; he that goeth to seek emigrant rum.
In passing through Maine the tourist is struck with the ever-varying
styles of mystery connected with the consumption of rum.
In Denver your friend says: "Will you come with me and shed a tear?" or
"Come and eat a clove with me."
In Salt Lake City a man once said to me: "William, which would you rather
do, take a dose of Gentile damnation down here on the corner, or go over
across the street and pizen yourself with some real old Mormon Valley tan,
made last week from ground feed and prussic acid?" I told him that I had
just been to dinner, and the doctor had forbidden my drinking any more,
and that I had promised several people on their death beds never to touch
liquor, and besides, I had just taken a large drink, so he would have to
But in Maine none of these common styles of invitation prevail. It is all
shrouded in mystery. You give the sign of distress to any member in good
standing, pound three times on the outer gate, give two hard kicks and one
soft one on the inner door, give the password, "Rutherford B. Hayes," turn
to the left, through a dark passage, turn the thumbscrew of a mysterious
gas fixture 90 deg. to the right, holding the goblet of the encampment
under the gas fixture, then reverse the thumbscrew, shut your eyes, insult
your digester, leave twenty-five cents near the gas fixture, and hunt up
the nearest cemetery, so that you will not have to be carried very far.
If a man really wants to drink himself into a drunkard's grave, he can
certainly save time by going to Maine. Those desiring the most prompt and
vigorous style of jim-jams at cut rates will do well to examine Maine
goods before going elsewhere. Let a man spend a week in Boston, where the
Maine liquor law, I understand, is not in force, and then, with no warning
whatever, be taken into the heart of Maine; let him land there a stranger
and a partial orphan, with no knowledge of the underground methods of
securing a drink, and to him the world seems very gloomy, very sad, and
At the Bangor depot a woman came up to me and addressed me. She was rather
past middle age, a perfect lady in her manners, but a little full.
I said: "Madam, I guess you will have to excuse me. You have the
advantage. I can't just speak your name at this moment. It has been now
thirty years since I left Maine, a child two years old. So people have
changed. You've no idea how people have grown out of my knowledge. I don't
see but you look just as young as you did when I went away, but I'm a poor
hand to remember names, so I can't just call you to mind."
She was perfectly ladylike in her manner, but a little bit drunk. It is
singular how drunken people will come hundreds of miles to converse with
me. I have often been alluded to as the "drunkard's friend." Men have been
known to get intoxicated and come a long distance to talk with me on some
subject, and then they would lean up against me and converse by the hour.
A drunken man never seems to get tired of talking with me. As long as I am
willing to hold such a man up and listen to him, he will stand and tell me
about himself with the utmost confidence, and, no matter who goes by, he
does not seem to be ashamed to have people see him talking with me.
[Illustration: THAT BUTTONHOLE.]
I once had a friend who was very much liked by every one, so he drifted
into politics. For seven years he tried to live on free whiskey and
popular approval, but it wrecked him at last. Finally he formed the habit
of meeting me every day and explaining it to me, and giving me free
exhibitions of a breath that he had acquired at great expense. After he
got so feeble that he could not walk any more, this breath of his used to
pull him out of bed and drag him all over town. It don't seem hardly
possible, but it is so. I can show you the town yet.
He used to take me by the buttonhole when he conversed with me. This is a
diagram of the buttonhole.
If I had a son I would warn him against trying to subsist solely on
popular approval and free whiskey. It may do for a man engaged solely in
sedentary pursuits, but it is not sufficient in cases of great muscular
exhaustion. Free whiskey and popular approval on an empty stomach are
Many people have traveled all their lives and yet do not know how to
behave themselves when on the road. For the benefit and guidance of such,
these few crisp, plain, horse-sense rules of etiquette have been framed.
In traveling by rail on foot, turn to the right on discovering an
approaching train. If you wish the train to turn out, give two loud toots
and get in between the rails, so that you will not muss up the right of
way. Many a nice, new right of way has been ruined by getting a pedestrian
tourist spattered all over its first mortgage.
On retiring at night on board the train, do not leave your teeth in the
ice-water tank. If every one should do so, it would occasion great
confusion in case of wreck. It would also cause much annoyance and delay
during the resurrection. Experienced tourists tie a string to their teeth
and retain them during the night.
If you have been reared in extreme poverty, and your mother supported you
until you grew up and married, so that your wife could support you, you
will probably sit in four seats at the same time, with your feet extended
into the aisles so that you can wipe them off on other people, while you
snore with your mouth open clear to your shoulder blades.
If you are prone to drop to sleep and breathe with a low death rattle,
like the exhaust of a bath tub, it would be a good plan to tie up your
head in a feather bed and then insert the whole thing in the linen closet;
or, if you cannot secure that, you might stick it out of the window and
get it knocked off against a tunnel. The stockholders of the road might
get mad about it, but you could do it in such a way that they wouldn't
know whose head it was.
Ladies and gentlemen should guard against traveling by rail while in a
beastly state of intoxication.
In the dining car, while eating, do not comb your moustache with your
fork. By all means do not comb your moustache with the fork of another. It
is better to refrain altogether from combing the moustache with a fork
while traveling, for the motion of the train might jab the fork into your
eye and irritate it.
If your desert is very hot and you do not discover it until you have
burned the rafters out of the roof of your mouth, do not utter a wild yell
of agony and spill your coffee all over a total stranger, but control
yourself, hoping to know more next time.
In the morning is a good time to find out how many people have succeeded
in getting on the passenger train, who ought to be in the stock car.
Generally, you will find one male and one female. The male goes into the
wash room, bathes his worthless carcass from daylight until breakfast
time, walking on the feet of any man who tries to wash his face during
that time. He wipes himself on nine different towels, because when he gets
home, he knows he will have to wipe his face on an old door mat. People
who have been reared on hay all their lives, generally want to fill
themselves full of pie and colic when they travel.
The female of this same mammal, goes into the ladies' department and
remains there until starvation drives her out. Then the real ladies have
about thirteen seconds apiece in which to dress.
If you never rode in a varnished car before, and never expect to again,
you will probably roam up and down the car, meandering over the feet of
the porter while he is making up the berths. This is a good way to let
people see just how little sense you had left after your brain began to
In traveling, do not take along a lot of old clothes that you know you
will never wear.
B. Franklin, Deceased.
Benjamin Franklin, formerly of Boston, came very near being an only child.
If seventeen children had not come to bless the home of Benjamin's
parents, they would have been childless. Think of getting up in the
morning and picking out your shoes and stockings from among seventeen
pairs of them. Imagine yourself a child, gentle reader, in a family where
you would be called upon, every morning, to select your own cud of spruce
gum from a collection of seventeen similar cuds stuck on a window sill.
And yet B. Franklin never murmured or repined. He desired to go to sea,
and to avoid this he was apprenticed to his brother James, who was a
printer. It is said that Franklin at once took hold of the great
Archimedean lever, and jerked it early and late in the interests of
freedom. It is claimed that Franklin at this time invented the deadly
weapon known as the printer's towel. He found that a common crash towel
could be saturated with glue, molasses, antimony, concentrated lye, and
roller composition, and that after a few years of time and perspiration it
would harden so that the "Constant Reader" or "Veritas" could be stabbed
with it and die soon.
[Illustration: A DEADLY ONSLAUGHT.]
Many believe that Franklin's other scientific experiments were productive
of more lasting benefit to mankind than this, but I do not agree with
This paper was called the _New England Courant_. It was edited jointly by
James and Benjamin Franklin, and was started to supply a long-felt want.
Benjamin edited a part of the time and James a part of the time. The idea
of having two editors was not for the purpose of giving volume to the
editorial page, but it was necessary for one to run the paper while the
other was in jail. In those days you couldn't sass the king, and then,
when the king came in the office the next day and stopped his paper, and
took out his ad., you couldn't put it off on "our informant" and go right
along with the paper. You had to go to jail, while your subscribers
wondered why their paper did not come, and the paste soured in the tin
dippers in the sanctum, and the circus passed by on the other side.
[Illustration: STOPPING HIS PAPER.]
How many of us to-day, fellow journalists, would be willing to stay in
jail while the lawn festival and the kangaroo came and went? Who, of all
our company, would go to a prison cell for the cause of freedom while a
double-column ad. of sixteen aggregated circuses, and eleven congresses of
ferocious beasts, fierce and fragrant from their native lair, went by us?
At the age of 17, Ben got disgusted with his brother, and went to
Philadelphia and New York, where he got a chance to "sub" for a few weeks,
and then got a regular "sit." Franklin was a good printer, and finally got
to be a foreman. He made an excellent foreman, sitting by the hour in the
composing room and spitting on the stone, while he cussed the make-up and
press work of the other papers. Then he would go into the editorial rooms
and scare the editors to death with a wild shriek for more copy. He knew
just how to conduct himself as a foreman, so that strangers would think he
owned the paper.
In 1730, at the age of 24, Franklin married and established the
_Pennsylvania Gazette_. He was then regarded as a great man, and most
everyone took his paper. Franklin grew to be a great journalist, and
spelled hard words with great fluency. He never tried to be a humorist in
any of his newspaper work, and everybody respected him.
Along about 1746 he began to study the construction and habits of
lightning, and inserted a local in his paper, in which he said that he
would be obliged to any of his readers who might notice any new or odd
specimens of lightning, if they would send them into the _Gazette_ office
by express for examination. Every time there was a thunder storm, Franklin
would tell the foreman to edit the paper, and, armed with a string and an
old fruit jar, he would go out on the hills and get enough lightning for a
[Illustration: "HOW'S TRADE?"]
In 1753 Franklin was made postmaster-general of the colonies. He made a
good postmaster-general, and people say there were less mistakes in
distributing their mail than there has ever been since. If a man mailed a
letter in those days, old Ben Franklin saw that it went where it was
Franklin frequently went over to England in those days, partly on
business, and partly to shock the king. He used to delight in going to the
castle with his breeches tucked in his boots, figuratively speaking, and
attract a good deal of attention. It looked odd to the English, of course,
to see him come into the royal presence, and, leaving his wet umbrella up
against the throne, ask the king: "How's trade?" Franklin never put on any
frills, but he was not afraid of a crowned head. He used to say,
frequently, that to him a king was no more than a seven spot.
He did his best to prevent the Revolutionary war, but he couldn't do it,
Patrick Henry had said that the war was inevitable, and given it
permission to come, and it came. He also went to Paris and got acquainted
with a few crowned heads there. They thought a good deal of him in Paris,
and offered him a corner lot if he would build there and start a paper.
They also promised him the county printing, but he said no, he would have
to go back to America, or his wife might get uneasy about him.
Franklin wrote "Poor Richard's Almanac" in 1732-57, and it was republished
in England. Benjamin Franklin had but one son, and his name was William.
William was an illegitimate son, and, though he lived to be quite an old
man, he never got over it entirely, but continued to be but an
illegitimate son all his life. Everybody urged him to do differently, but
he steadily refused to do so.
Life Insurance as a Health Restorer.
Life insurance is a great thing. I would not be without it. My health is
greatly improved since I got my new policy. Formerly I used to have a
seal-brown taste in my mouth when I arose in the morning, but that has
entirely disappeared. I am more hopeful and happy, and my hair is getting
thicker on top. I would not try to keep house without life insurance. Last
September I was caught in one of the most destructive cyclones that ever
visited a republican form of government. A great deal of property was
destroyed and many lives were lost, but I was spared. People who had no
insurance were mowed down on every hand, but aside from a broken leg I was
[Illustration: PROTECTED BY LIFE INSURANCE.]