Cordwood by Edgar Wilson Nye
BILL NYE ON THE
A NEW BIOGRAPHY
NOTES ON SOME
NO DOUBT AS TO
BILL NYE ON
IN ADVANCE FOR A
TIME OF NEED.
BILL NYE ON
FAVORED A HIGHER
HOW BILL NYE
FAILED TO MAKE
SEEING A SAW
HOW A CHINAMAN
BILL NYE WANTS
TO KNOW HOW TO
BILL NYE ATTENDS
THE BRONCO COW.
RHODES & MCCLURE PUBLISHING CO.
[Illustration: Bill Nye]
BILL NYE ON THE COW INDUSTRY.
A COWBOY COLLEGE NEEDED TO EDUCATE YOUNG MEN TO THIS PROFESSION.
No one can go through the wide territory of Montana to-day without
being strongly impressed with the wonderful growth of the great cattle
growing and grazing industry of that territory. And yet Montana is but
the northern extremity of the great grazing belt which lies at the foot
of the Rocky Mountains, extending from the British possessions on the
north to the Mexican border on the south, extending eastward, too, as
far as the arable lands of Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.
Montana, at this season of the year, is the paradise of the sleek,
high-headed, 2-year-old Texan steer, with his tail over the dashboard,
as well as the stock yearling, born on the range, beneath the glorious
mountain sky and under the auspices of roundup No. 21.
I do not say this to advertise the stock growing business, because
it is already advertised too much, anyway. So many millionaires have
been made with free grass and the early-rising, automatic branding
iron that every man in the United States who has a cow that can stand
the journey seems to be about to take her west and embark in business
as a cattle king.
But let me warn the amateur cow man that in the great grazing
regions it takes a good many acres of thin grass to maintain the adult
steer in affluence for twelve months, and the great pastures at the
base of the mountains are being pretty well tested. Moreover, I believe
that these great conventions of cattlemen, where free grass and easily
acquired fortunes are naturally advertised, will tend to overstock the
ranges at last and founder the goose that now lays the golden egg.
This, of course, is really none of my business, but if I didn't now and
then refer to matters that do not concern me I would be regarded as
My intention, however, in approaching the great cow industry, which,
by the way, is anything but an industry, being in fact more like the
seductive manner whereby a promissory note acquires 2 per cent. per
month without even stopping to spit on its hands, was to refer
incidentally to the proposition of an English friend of mine. This
friend, seeing at once the great magnitude of the cow industry and the
necessity for more and more cowboys, has suggested the idea of
establishing a cowboys' college, or training school, for self-made
young men who desire to become accomplished. The average Englishman
will most always think of something that nobody else would naturally
think of. Now, our cattleman would have gone on for years with his
great steer emporium without thinking of establishing an institution
where a poor boy might go and learn to rope a 4-year-old in such a way
as to throw him on his stomach with a sickening thud.
The young Maverick savant could take a kindergarten course in the
study of cow brands. Here a wide field opens up to the scholar. The
adult steer in the great realm of beef is now a walking Chinese wash
bill, a Hindoo poem in the original junk shop alphabet, a four-legged
Greek inscription, punctuated with jim-jams, a stenographer's notes of
a riot, a bird's-eye view of a premature explosion in a hardware store.
The cowboy who can at once grapple with the great problem of where
to put the steer with B bar B on left shoulder, Key circle G on
left side, Heart D Heart on right hip, left ear crop, wattle te
wattle, and seven hands round with Dash B Dash on right shoulder
vented, wattle on dew lap vented, and P. D. Q., C. O. D., and N.
G. vented on right side, keeping track of transfers, range and
post-office of last owner, has certainly got a future, which lies
mostly ahead of him.
But now that the idea has been turned loose, I shall look forward to
the time when wealthy men who have been in the habit of dying and
leaving their money to other institutions, will meet with a change of
heart, and begin to endow the cowboys' college, and the Maverick hotbed
of broncho sciences.
We live in an age of rapid advancement in all branches of learning,
and people who do not rise early in the morning will not retain their
position in the procession. I look forward with confidence to the day
when no cowboy will undertake to ride the range without a diploma.
Educated labor is what we need. Cowboys who can tell you in scientific
terms why it is always the biggest steer that eats pigeon weed in the
spring and why he should swell up and bust on a rising Chicago market.
I hope that the day is not far distant when in the holster of the
cowboy we will find the Iliad instead of the killiad, the unabridged
dictionary instead of Mr. Remington's great work on homicide. As it is
now on the ranges you might ride till your Mexican saddle ached before
you would find a cowboy who carries a dictionary with him. For that
reason the language used on the general roundup is at times
grammatically incorrect, and many of our leading cowboys spell
cavvy-yard with a k.
A college for riding, roping, branding, cutting out, corralling,
loading and unloading, and handling cattle generally, would be a great
boon to our young men, who are at present groping in dark and pitiable
ignorance of the habits of the untutored cow. Let the young man first
learn how to sit up three nights in succession, through a bad March
snow storm and hold a herd of restless cattle. Let him then ride
through the hot sun and alkali dust a week or two, subsisting on a
chunk of disagreeable side pork just large enough to bait a trap. Then
let his horse fall on him and injure his constitution and preamble. All
these things would give the cow student an idea of how to ride the
range. The amateur who has never tried to ride a skittish and sulky
range has still a great deal to learn.
Perhaps I have said too much on this subject, but when I get
thoroughly awakened on this great porterhouse steak problem I am apt to
carry the matter too far.
OVERHEARD IN DUDEDOM.
Why, Awthaw, what makes youah hand twemble
A NEW BIOGRAPHY OF GALILEO.
SOME HERETOFORE UNPUBLISHED FACTS ABOUT THE QUEER OLD ITALIANHIS
REMARKABLE INVENTIONS AND DISCOVERIESHIS BOOKS.
Galilei, commonly called Galileo, was born at Pisa on the 14th day
February, 1564. He was a man who discovered some of the fundamental
principles underlying the movements, habits, and personal peculiarities
of the earth. He discovered things with marvelous fluency. Born as he
was, at a time when the rotary motion of the earth was still in its
infancy and astronomy taught only in a crude way, Galileo started in to
make a few discoveries and advance some theories of which he was very
He was the son of a musician and learned to play several instruments
himself, but not in such a way as to arouse the jealousy of the great
musicians of his day. They came and heard him play a few selections and
then they went home contented with their own music. Galileo played for
several years in the band at Pisa, and people who heard him said that
his manner of gazing out over the Pisan hills with a far-away look in
his eye after playing a selection, while he gently upended his alto
horn and worked the mud-valve as it poured out about a pint of moist
melody that had accumulated in the flues of the instrument, was simply
At the age of 20 Galileo began to discover. His first discoveries
were, of course, clumsy and poorly made, but very soon he began to turn
out a neat and durable discovery that would stand for years.
It was at this time that Galileo noticed the swinging of a lamp in a
church, and, observing that the oscillations were of equal duration, he
inferred that this principle might be utilized in the exact measurement
of time. From this little accident, years after, came the clock, one of
the most useful of man's dumb friends. And yet there are people who
will read this little incident and still hesitate about going to
Galileo also invented the thermometer, the microscope, and the
proportional compass. He seemed to invent things, not for the money to
be obtained in that way, but solely for the joy of being first on the
ground. He was a man of infinite genius and perseverance. He was also
very fair in his treatment of other inventors. Though he did not
personally invent the rotary motion of the earth, he heartily indorsed
it and said it was a good thing. He also came out in a card in which he
said that he believed it to be a good thing, and that he hoped some day
to see it applied to the other planets.
He was also the inventor of a telescope that had a magnifying power
of thirty times. He presented this to the Venetian senate, and it was
used in making appropriations for river and harbor improvements.
By telescopic investigation Galileo discovered the presence of
microbes in the moon, but was unable to do anything for it. I have
spoken of Mr. Galileo all the way through this article informally,
calling him by his first name, but I feel so thoroughly acquainted with
him, though there was such a striking difference in our ages, that I am
almost justified in using his given name while talking of him.
Galileo also sat up nights and visited with Venus through a long
telescope which he had made himself from an old bamboo fishing-rod.
But astronomy is a very enervating branch of science. Galileo
frequently came down to breakfast with red, heavy eyes; eyes that were
swollen full of unshed tears. Still he persevered. Day after day he
worked and toiled. Year after year he went on with his task till he had
worked out in his own mind the satellites of Jupiter and placed a small
tin tag on each one, so that he would know it readily when he saw it
again. Then he began to look up Saturn's rings and investigate the
freckles on the sun. He did not stop at trifles, but went bravely on
till everybody came for miles to look at him and get him to write
something funny in their albums. It was not an unusual thing for
Galileo to get up in the morning, after a wearisome night with a
fretful new-born star, to find his front yard full of autograph albums.
Some of them were little red albums with floral decorations on them,
while others were the large plush and alligator albums of the affluent.
Some were new and had the price-mark still on them, while others were
old, foundered albums, with a droop in the back and little flecks of
egg and gravy on the title-page. All came with a request for Galileo
to write a little, witty, characteristic sentiment in them.
Galileo was the author of the hydrostatic paradox and other
sketches. He was a great reader and a fluent penman. One time he was
absent from home, lecturing in Venice for the benefit of the United
Aggregation of Mutual Admirers, and did not return for two weeks, so
that when he got back he found the front room full of autograph albums.
It is said that he here demonstrated his great fluency and readiness as
a thinker and writer. He waded through the entire lot in two days with
only two men from West Pisa to assist him. Galileo came out of it fresh
and youthful, and the following night he was closeted all night with
another inventor, a wicker-covered microscope, and a bologna sausage.
The investigations were carried on for two weeks, after which Galileo
went out to the inebriate asylum and discovered some new styles of
Galileo was the author of a little work called I Discarsi e
Dimas-Trazioni Matematiche Intorus a Due Muove Scienze. It was a neat
little book, of about the medium height, and sold well on the trains,
for the Pisan newsboys on the cars were very affable, as they are now,
and when they came and leaned an armful of these books on a passenger's
leg and poured a long tale into his ear about the wonderful beauty of
the work and then pulled in the name of the book from the rear of the
last car, where it had been hanging on behind, the passenger would most
always buy it and enough of the name to wrap it up in.
He also discovered the isochronism of the pendulum. He saw that the
pendulum at certain seasons of the year looked yellow under the eyes,
and that it drooped and did not enter into its work with the old zest.
He began to study the case with the aid of his new bamboo telescope and
wicker-covered microscope. As a result, in ten days he had the pendulum
on its feet again.
Galileo was inclined to be liberal in his religious views, and more
especially in the matter of the scriptures, claiming that there were
passages in the bible which did not literally mean what the translator
said they did. This was where Galileo missed it. So long as he
discovered stars and isochronisms and such things as that he succeeded,
but when he began to fool with other people's religious beliefs he got
into trouble. He was forced to fly from Pisa, we are told by the
historian, and we are assured at the same time that Galileo, who had
always been far, far ahead of all competitors in other things, was
equally successful as a fleer.
Galileo received but 60 scudi per year for his salary at Pisa, and a
part of that he took in town orders, worth only 60 cents on the scudi.
A RECENT BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE OF THIS GRAND OLD MANA SLAVE TO
I have just been reading James Whitcomb Riley's response to the old
man at the annual dinner of the Indianapolis Literary club, and his
reference to Methuselah has awakened in my mind many recollections and
reminiscences of that grand old man. We first met Methuselah in the
capacity of a son. At the age of 65, Enoch arose one night and
telephoned his family physician to come over and assist him in meeting
Methuselah. Day at last dawned upon Enoch's happy home, and its first
red rays lit up the still redder surface of the little stranger. For
three hundred years Enoch and Methuselah jogged along together in the
capacity of father and son. Then Enoch was suddenly cut down. It was at
this time that little Methuselah first realized what it was to be an
orphan. He could not at first realize that his father was dead. He
could not understand why Enoch, with no inherited disease, should be
shuffled out at the age of 365 years. But the doctor said to
Methuselah: My son, you are indeed fatherless. I have done all I
could, but it is useless. I had told Enoch many a time that if he went
in swimming before the ice was out of the creek it would finally down
him, but he thought he knew better than I did. He was a headstrong man,
Enoch was. He sneered at me and alluded to me as a fresh young gosling,
because he was 300 years older than I was. He has received the reward
of the willful, and verily the doom of the smart Aleck is his.
Methuselah now cast about him for some occupation which would take
up his attention and assuage his wild, passionate grief over the loss
of his father. He entered into the walks of men and learned their ways.
It was at this time that he learned the pernicious habit of using
tobacco. We can not wonder at it when we remember that he was now
fatherless. He was at the mercy of the coarse, rough world. Possibly he
learned to use tobacco when he went away to attend business college
after the death of his father. Be that as it may, the noxious weed
certainly hastened his death, for 600 years after this we find him a
Death is ever a surprise, even at the end of a long illness and
after a ripe old age. To those who are near it seems abrupt; so to his
grand-children some of whom survived him, his children having died of
old age, the death of Methuselah came like a thunderbolt from a clear
Methuselah succeeded in cording up more of a record such as it was,
than any other man of whom history informs us. Time, the tomb-builder
and amateur mower, came and leaned over the front fence and looked at
Methuselah, and ran his thumb over the jagged edge of his scythe, and
went away whistling a low refrain. He kept up this refrain business for
nearly ten centuries, while Methuselah continued to stand out amid the
general wreck of men and nations.
Even as the young, strong mower going forth with his mower to mow
spareth the tall and dignified drab hornet's nests and passeth by on
the other side, so time, with his Waterbury hour-glass and his
overworked hay-knife over his shoulder, and his long Mormon whiskers
and his high, sleek dome of thought, with its gray lambrequin of hair
around the base of it, mowed all around Methuselah and then passed on.
Methuselah decorated the graves of those who perished in a dozen
different wars. He did not enlist himself, for over nine hundred years
of his life he was exempt. He would go to the enlisting place and offer
his services, and the officer would tell him to go home and encourage
his grand-children to go. Then Methuselah would sit around Noah's
steps, and smoke and criticise the conduct of the war, also the conduct
of the enemy.
It is said of Methuselah that he never was the same man after his
son Lamech died. He was greatly attached to Lamech, and when he woke up
one night to find his son purple in the face with membraneous croup he
could hardly realize that he might lose him. The idea of losing a boy
who had just rounded the glorious morn of his 777th year had never
occurred to him. But death loves a shining mark, and he garnered little
Lammie and left Methuselah to moan and mourn on for a couple more
centuries without him.
Methuselah finally got so that he couldn't sleep after 4 o'clock in
the morning, and he didn't see how anyone else could. The older he got
and the less valuable his time became the earlier he would rise, so
that he could get an early start. As the centuries filed slowly by
Methuselah got where all he had to do was to shuffle into his
loose-fitting clothes, and rest his gums on the top of a large
sleek-headed cane, and mutter up the chimney, and then groan and
extricate himself from his clothes again and retire. He arose earlier
and earlier in the morning, and muttered more and more about the young
folks sleeping away the best of the day, and said he had no doubt that
sleeping and snoring until breakfast time helped to carry off Lam. But
one day old Father Time came along with a new scythe, and he drew the
whetstone across it a few times and rolled the sleeves of his red
flannel undergarment up over his warty elbows, and Mr. Methuselah
passed on to that undiscovered country with a ripe experience and a
long, clean record.
We can almost fancy how the physicians, who had disagreed about his
case all the way through, came and insisted on a post-mortem
examination to prove which was right, and what was really the matter
with him. We can imagine how people went by shaking their heads and
regretting that Methuselah should have tampered with tobacco when he
knew it affected his heart.
But he is gone. He lived to see his own promissory notes rise,
flourish, acquire interest, pine away at last, and finally outlaw. He
acquired a large farm in the very heart of the county-seat, and refused
to move or to plot it and call it Methuselah's addition. He came out in
spring regularly for nine hundred years after he got too old to work
out his poll-tax on the road and put in his time telling the rising
generation how to make a good road. Meantime other old people, who were
almost 100 years of age, moved away and went west, where they would
attract attention and command respect. There was actually no pleasure
in getting old around where Methuselah was and being ordered about and
scolded and kept in the background by him.
So when at last he died people sighed and said: Well, it was better
for him to die before he got childish. It was best that he should die
at a time when he knew it all. We can't help thinking what an
acquisition Methuselah will be on the evergreen shore when he gets
there, with all his ripe experience and habits of early rising.
And the next morning after the funeral Methuselah's family did not
get out of bed till 9 o'clock.
NOTES ON SOME SPRING STYLES.
THE LADIES FAVORITE BONNET AND HOSIERYTHE SMALL DOG WORN IN SHADES
TO MATCH THE COSTUMEPREVAILING FASHIONS FOR GENTLEMEN.
It is customary at this season of the year to poke fun at the good
clothes of our friends and well-wishers, the ladies, but it occurs to
me that this spring there is a very small field for the witty and
sarcastic critic of female attire. There has not been a time since I
first began to make a study of this branch of science when the ladies
seem to have manifested better taste or sounder judgment in the matter
Even bonnets seem to be less grotesque this season than heretofore,
although the high, startled bonnet, the bonnet that may be
characterized as the excelsior bonnet, is still retained by some,
though how it is retained has always been a mystery to me. Perhaps it
holds its place in society by means of a long, black pin, which
apparently passes through the brain of the wearer.
Black hosiery continues to be very popular, I am informed. Sometimes
it is worn clocked, and then again it is worn crocked. The crockless
black stocking is gaining in favor in our best circles, I am pleased to
note. Nothing looks more mortified than a foot that has been inside of
a crockable stocking all through a long, hot, summer day.
I am very glad to notice that the effort made a few years ago by a
French reformer to abolish the stocking on the ground of
unhealthfulness has met with well-merited failure. The custom of
wearing hosiery is one that does great credit to the spirit of American
progress, which cannot be thwarted by the puny hand of foreign
interference or despotic intervention.
Street costumes of handsomely fitting and unobtrusive shades of soft
and comfortable goods will be generally in favor, and the beautiful and
symmetrical American arm with a neatly fitting sleeve on the outside of
it will gladden the hearts of the casual spectator once more.
The lady with the acute elbow and the italicized clavicle will make
a strong effort this season to abolish the close-fitting and extremely
attractive sleeve, but it will be futile.
The small dog will be worn this season in shades to match the
costume. For dark and brown combinations in street dresses the
black-and-tan dog will be very much in favor, while the black-and-drab
pug will be affected by those wearing these shades in dress. Small pugs
that are warranted not to bag at the knees are commanding a good price.
Spitz dogs to match lynx or fox trimmed garments or spring wraps are
now being sprinkled with camphor and laid aside for the summer. Coach
dogs of the spotted variety will be worn with polka-dot costumes. Tall,
willowy hounds with wire tails will be much affected by slender young
ladies and hydrophobia. Antique dogs with weak eyes, asthma, and an air
of languor will be used a great deal this season to decorate lawns and
railroad crossings. Young dogs that are just budding into doghood will
be noticed through the spring months trying their new teeth on the
light spring pantaloons of male pedestrians.
Styles in gentlemen's clothing have not materially changed. Lavender
pantaloons, with an air of settled melancholy and benzine, are now
making their appearance, and young men trying to eradicate the droop in
the knees of last summer's garment may be seen in their luxurious
apartments most any calm spring evening.
An old nail-brush, with a solution of ammonia and prussic acid, will
remove traces of custard pie from light shades in pantaloons. This
preparation will also remove the pantaloons.
The umbrella will be worn over the shoulder and in the eye of the
passing pedestrian, very much as usual on pleasant days, and left
behind the door in a dark closet on rainy days.
Gentlemen will wear one pocket-handkerchief in the side pocket, with
the corner gently emerging, and another in the hip pocket, as they did
last season, the former for decorative purposes and the latter for
business. This is a wise provision and never fails to elicit favorable
The custom of wearing a few kernels of roasted coffee or a dozen
cloves in the little cigarette pocket of the cutaway coat will still
continue, and the supply will be replenished between the acts, as
Straw hats will be chased down the streets this spring by the same
gentlemen who chased them last spring, and in some instances the same
hats will be used. Shade trees will be worn a little lower this summer,
and will therefore succeed in wiping off a larger crop of plug hats, it
is hoped. Linen dusters, with the pockets carefully soldered together,
have not yet made their appearance.
HUNTING AN ICHTHYOSAURUS.
THE VICTIMS OF A PRACTICAL JOKE TRAMP FIVE DAYS ALONG BITTER CREEK
IN SEARCH OF AN ANIMAL THAT HAD BEEN DEAD 5,000 YEARS.
Several years ago I had the pleasure of joining a party about to
start out along the banks of Bitter creek on a hunting expedition. The
leader of the party was a young man who had recently escaped from
college with a large amount of knowledge which he desired to experiment
with on the people of the far west. He had heard that there was an
ichthyosaurus up somewhere along the west side of Bitter creek, and he
wanted us to go along and help him to find it.
I had been in the west some eight or nine years then and I had never
seen an ichthyosaurus myself, but I thought the young man must know his
business, so I got out my Winchester and went along with the group.
We tramped over the pale, ashy, glaring, staring stretch of
desolation, through burning, quivering days of monotony and sage brush
and alkali water and aching eyes and parched and bleeding lips and
nostrils cut through and eaten by the sharp alkaline air, mentally
depressed and physically worn out, but cheered on and braced up by the
light and joyous manner of the ever-hopeful James Trilobite Eton of
James Trilobite Eton of Concord never moaned, never gigged back or
shed a hot, remorseful tear in this powdery, hungry waste of gray,
parched ruin. No regret came forth from his lips in the midst of this
mighty cemetery, this ghastly potter's field for all that nature had
ever reared that was too poor to bear its own funeral expenses.
Now and then a lean, soiled gray coyote, without sufficient moral
courage to look a dead mule in the hind foot, slipped across the
horizon like a dirty phantom and faded into the hot and tremulous
atmosphere. We scorned such game as that and trudged on, cheered by the
hope that seemed to spring eternal in the breast of James Trilobite
Eton of Concord.
Four days we wallowed through the unchanging desolation. Four nights
we went through the motions of slumbering on the arid bosom of the
wasted earth. On the fifth day James Trilobite Eton said we were now
getting near the point where we would find what we sought. On we
pressed through the keen, rough blades of the seldom bunch-grass, over
the shifting, yellow sand and the greenish gray of the bad-land soil
which never does anything but sit around through the accumulating
centuries and hold the world together, a kind of powdery poison that
delights to creep into the nostrils of the pilgrim and steal away his
brains, or when moistened by a little snow to accumulate around the
feet of the pilgrim or on the feet of the pilgrim's mule till he has
the most of an unsurveyed forty on each foot, and the casual observer
is cheered by the novel sight of one homestead striving to jump
Toward evening James Trilobite Eton gave a wild shriek of joy and
ran to us from the bed of an old creek, where he had found an
ichthyosaurus. The animal was dead! Not only that, but it had been dead
a long, long time!
James Milton Sherrod said that if a college education was of no
more use to a man than that he, for one, allowed that his boy would
have to grope through life with an academical education, and very
little of it.
I uncocked my gun and went back to camp a sadder and madder man,
and, though years have come and gone, I am still irritable when I think
of the five days we tramped along Bitter creek searching for an animal
that was no longer alive, and our guide knew it before he started.
I ventured to say to J. Trilobite Eton that night as we all sat
together in the gloaming discussing whether he should be taken home
with us in the capacity of a guide or as a remains, that it seemed to
me a man ought to have better sense than to wear his young life away
trying to have fun with his superiors in that way.
Why, blame it all, says James, what did you expect? You ought to
know yourself that that animal is extinct!
Extinck! says James Milton Sherrod, in shrill, angry tones. I
should say he was extinck. That's what we're kickin' about. What
gallded me was that you should of waited till the old cuss was extinck
before you come to us like a man and told us about it. You pull us
through the sand for a week and blister our heels and condemb near kill
us, and all the time you know that the blame brute is layin' there in
the hot sun gittin' more and more extinck every minute. Fun is fun, and
I like a little nonsense now and then just as well as you do, but I'll
be eternally banished to Bitter creek if I think it's square or right
or white to play it on your friends this kind of a way.
You claim that the animal has been dead goin' on five thousand
years, or some such thing as that, and try to get out of it that way,
but long as you knew it and we didn't it shows that you're a low cuss
not to speak of it.
What difference does it make to us, I say, whether this brute was
or was not dead and swelled up like a pizen'd steer long before Nore
got his zoologickle show together? We didn't know it. We haven't seen
the Salt Lake papers for weeks. You use your edjecation to fool people
with. My opinion is that the day is not far distant when you will wake
up and find yourself in the bottom of an untimely grave.
You bring us a hundred and fifty miles to look at an old bone pile
all tramped into the ground and then say that the animal is extinck.
That's a great way to talk to an old man like me, a man old enough to
be your grandfather. Probly you cacklate that it is a rare treat for an
old-timer like me to waller through from Green River to the Yallerstone
and then hear a young kangaroo with a moth-eaten eyebrow under his nose
burst forth into a rollicking laugh and say that the animal we've been
trailin' for five days is extinck.
I just want to say to you, James Trilobite Eton, and I say it for
your good and I say it with no prejudice against you, for I want to see
you succeed, that if this ever happens agin and you are the party to
blame you will wake up with a wild start on the follerin' day and find
yourself a good deal extincker than this here old busted lizard is.
TRUE MERIT REWARDED.
STYLE OF SCHOOL LITERATURE KNOWN THIRTY YEARS AGO.
ONE OF BILL NYE'S SELECTIONS, WRITTEN BY HIMSELFARRANGED WITH
SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE MATTER OF CHOICE, DELICATE AND DIFFICULT
One day as George Oswald was going to his tasks, and while passing
through the wood, he spied a tall man approaching in an opposite
direction along the highway.
Ah, thought George, in a low, mellow tone of voice, whom have we
Good morning, my fine fellow, exclaimed the stranger, pleasantly.
Do you reside in this locality?
Indeed I do, retorted George, cheerily dropping his cap. In
yonder cottage, near the glen, my widowed mother and her thirteen
children dwell with me.
And how did your papa die? asked the man, as he thoughtfully stood
on the other foot awhile.
Alas, sir, said George, as a large hot tear stole down his pale
cheek and fell with a loud report on the warty surface of his bare
foot, he was lost at sea in a bitter gale. The good ship foundered two
years ago last Christmastide, and father was foundered at the same
time. No one knew of the loss of the ship and that the crew was drowned
until the next spring, and it was then too late.
And what is your age, my fine fellow? quoth the stranger.
If I live until next October, said the boy, in a declamatory tone
of voice suitable for a Second Reader, I will be 7 years of age.
A LARGE FAMILY OF CHILDREN.
And who provides for your mother and her large family of children?
queried the man.
Indeed, I do, sir, replied George, in a shrill tone. I toil, oh,
so hard, sir, for we are very, very poor, and since my elder sister,
Ann, was married and brought her husband home to live with us I have to
toil more assiduously than heretofore.
And by what means do you obtain a livelihood? exclaimed the man,
in slowly measured and grammatical words.
By digging wells, kind sir, replied George, picking up a tired ant
as he spoke and stroking it on the back. I have a good education, and
so I am enabled to dig wells as well as a man. I do this daytimes and
take in washing at night. In this way I am enabled to maintain our
family in a precarious manner; but, oh, sir, should my other sisters
marry, I fear that some of my brothers-in-law would have to suffer.
You are indeed a brave lad, exclaimed the stranger, as he
repressed a smile. And do you not at times become very weary and wish
for other ways of passing your time?
Indeed I do, sir, said the lad. I would fain run and romp and be
gay like other boys, but I must engage in constant manual exercise, or
we will have no bread to eat and I have not seen a pie since papa
perished in the moist and moaning sea.
SAVED FROM A HURRIED GRAVE.
And what if I were to tell you that your papa did not perish at
sea, but was saved from a hurried grave? asked the stranger in
Ah, sir, exclaimed George, in a genteel manner, again doffing his
cap. I'm too polite to tell you what I would say, and beside, sir, you
are much larger than I am.
But, my brave lad, said the man in low musical tones, do you not
know me, Georgie. Oh, George!
I must say, replied George, that you have the advantage of me.
Whilst I may have met you before, I can not at this moment place you,
My son! oh, my son! murmured the man, at the same time taking a
large strawberry mark out of the valise and showing it to the lad. Do
you not recognize your parent on your father's side? When our good ship
went to the bottom, all perished save me. I swam several miles through
the billows, and at last, utterly exhausted, gave up all hope of life.
Suddenly a bright idea came to me and I walked out of the sea and
And now, my brave boy, exclaimed the man with great glee, see
what I have brought for you. It was but the work of a moment to
unclasp from a shawl strap, which he held in his hand, and present to
George's astonished gaze, a large 40 cent watermelon, which he had
brought with him from the Orient.
Ah, said George, this is indeed a glad surprise. Albeit, how can
I ever repay you?Bill Nye in Boston Globe.
BILL NYE CONDOLES WITH CLEVELAND.
SURPRISE EXPRESSED THAT THE PRESIDENT SHOULD TAKE A MOTHER-IN-LAW
INTO HIS CABINET AND ADD HOUSEKEEPING TO HIS OTHER AGONY.
HUDSON, WIS., June 3, 1886.
The Hon. Grover Cleveland, Washington, D. C.:
MY DEAR SIR: You have now assumed a new duty and taken upon yourself
an additional responsibility. Not content with the great weight of
national affairs, sufficient to crush any other pachyderm, you have
cheerfully and almost gleefully become a married man. While I cannot
agree with you politically, Grover, I am forced to admire your courage.
This morning a new life opens out to youthe life of a married man.
It is indeed a humiliating situation. To be a president of the United
States, the roustabout of a free people, is a trying situation; but to
be a newly married president, married in the full glare of official
life, with the eye of a divided constituency upon you, is to place
yourself where nerve is absolutely essential.
I, too, am married, but not under such trying circumstances. Others
have been married and still lived, but it has remained for you, Mr.
President, young as you are, to pose as a newly wedded president and to
take your new mother-in-law into the cabinet with you. For this reason,
I say freely that to walk a slack rope across the moist brow of Niagara
and carry a nervous man in a wheelbarrow sinks into a mere commonplace.
Daniel playing tag with a denful of half-starved lions becomes a
historic cipher, and the Hebrew children, sitting on a rosy bed of
red-hot clinkers in the fiery furnace, are almost forgotten.
With a large wad of civil service wedged in among your back teeth, a
larger fragment, perhaps, than you were prepared to masticate when you
bit it off; with an agonized southern democracy and a clamorous
northern constituency; with disappointment poorly concealed among your
friends and hilarity openly expressed by your enemies; with the snarl
of the vanquished Mr. Davis, who was at one time a sort of president
himself, as he rolls up future majorities for your foes; with a lot of
sharp-witted journalists walking all over you every twenty-four hours
and climbing up your stalwart frame with their telegraph repair boots
on, I am surprised, Grover, honestly, as between man and man, that you
should have tried to add housekeeping to all this other agony. Had you
been young and tender under the wings I might have understood it, but
you must admit, in the quiet and sanctity of your own home, Grover,
that you are no gosling. You have arrived at man's estate. You have
climbed the barbed-wire fence which separates the fluff and bloom and
blossom and bumble-bees of impetuous youth from the yellow fields and
shadowy orchards of middle life. You now stand in the full glare of
life's meridian. You are entering upon a new experience. Possibly you
think that because you are president the annoyances peculiar to the
life of a new, green groom will not reach you. Do not fool yourself in
this manner. Others have made the same mistake. Position, wealth and
fame cannot shut out the awkward and trying circumstances which attend
the married man even as the sparks are prone to fly upward.
It will seem odd to you at first, Mr. President, after the affairs
of the nation have been put aside for the day and the government fire
proof safe locked up for the night, to go up to your boudoir and
converse with a bride, with one corner of her mouth full of pins. A man
may write a pretty fair message to congress, one that will be accepted
and printed all over the country, and yet he may not be fitted to hold
a conversation with one corner of a woman's mouth while the other is
filled with pins. To some men it is given to be great as statesmen,
while to others it is given to be fluent conversationalists under these
Mr. President, I may be taking a great liberty in writing to you and
touching upon your private affairs, but I noticed that everybody else
was doing it and so I have nerved myself up to write you, having once
been a married man myself, though not, as I said, under the same
circumstances. When I was married I was only a plain justice of the
peace, plodding quietly along and striving to do my duty. You was then
sheriff of your county. Little did we think in those days that now you
would be a freshly married president and I the author of several pieces
which have been printed in the papers. Little did we think then, when I
was a justice of the peace in Wyoming and you a sheriff in New York,
that to-day your timothy lawn would be kicked all to pieces by your
admiring constituents, while I would be known and loved wherever the
English language is tampered with.
So we have risen together, you to a point from which you may be
easily observed and flayed alive by the newspapers, while I am the same
pleasant, unassuming, gentlemanly friend of the poor that I was when
only a justice of the peace and comparatively unknown.
I cannot close this letter without expressing a wish that your
married life may be a joyous one, as the paper at Laramie has said,
and that no cloud may ever come to mar the horizon of your wedded
bliss. (This sentence is not my own. I copy it verbatim from a wedding
notice of my own written by a western journalist who is now at the Old
Mr. President, I hope you will not feel that I have been too forward
in writing to you personally over my own name. I mean to do what is
best for you. You can truly say that all I have ever done in this way
has been for your good. I speak in a plain way sometimes, but I don't
beat about the bush. I see that you do not want to have any engrossed
bills sent to you for a couple of weeks.
That's the way I was. I told all my creditors to withhold their
engrossed bills during my honeymoon, as I was otherwise engrossed. This
remark made me a great many friends and added to my large circle of
creditors. It was afterward printed in a foreign paper and explained in
a supplement of eight pages.
We are all pretty well here at home. I may go to Washington this
fall if I can sell a block of stock in the Pauper's Dream, a rich gold
claim of mine on Elk mountain. It is a very rich claim, but needs
capital to develop it. (This remark is not original with me. I quote
from an exchange.)
If I do come over to Washington do not let that make any difference
in your plans. If I thought your wife would send out to the neighbors
and borrow dishes and such things on my account I would not go a step.
Just stick your head out of the window and whistle as soon as the
cabinet is gone and I will come up there and spend the evening.
Remember that I have not grown cold toward you just because you have
married. You will find me the kind of a friend who will not desert you
just when you are in trouble. Yours, as heretofore,
P. S.I send you to-day a card-receiver. It looks like silver. Do
not let your wife bear on too hard when she polishes it. I was afraid
you might try to start into keeping house without a card-receiver, so I
bought this yesterday. When I got married I forgot to buy a
card-receiver, and I guess we would have frozen to death before we
could have purchased one, but friends were more thoughtful, and there
were nine of them among the gifts. If you decide that it would not be
proper for you to receive presents, you may return the card receiver to
me, or put it in the cellar-way till I come over there this fall.
NO DOUBT AS TO HIS CONDITION.
HarryI hear that you have lost your father. Allow me to express my
Jack (with a sigh)Thank you. Yes, he has gone; but the event was
expected for a long time, and the blow was consequently less severe
than if it had not been looked for.
H.His property was large?
J.Yes; something like a quarter of a million.
H.I heard that his intellect, owing to his illness, was somewhat
feeble during his latter years. Is there any probability of the will
J.No; father was quite sane when he made his will. He left
everything to me.
We were riding along on the bounding train yesterday, and some one
spoke of the free and democratic way that people in this country got
acquainted with each other while traveling. Then we got to talking
about railway sociability and railway etiquette, when a young man from
East Jasper, who had wildly jumped and grabbed his valise every time
the train hesitated, said that it was queer what railway travel would
do in the way of throwing people together. He said that in Nebraska
once he and a large, corpulent gentleman, both total strangers, were
thrown together while trying to jump a washout, and an intimacy sprang
up between them that had ripened into open hostility.
From that we got to talking about natural phenomena and storms. I
spoke of the cyclone with some feeling and a little bitterness,
perhaps, briefly telling my own experience, and making the storm as
loud and wet and violent as possible.
Then a gentleman from Kansas, named George L. Murdock, an old
cattleman, was telling of a cyclone that came across his range two
years ago last September. The sky was clear to begin with, and then all
at once, as Mr. Murdock states, a little cloud no larger than a man's
hand might have been seen. It moved toward the southwest gently, with
its hands in its pockets for a few moments, and then Mr. Murdock
discovered that it was of a pale-green color, about sixteen hands high,
with dark-blue mane and tail. About a mile from where he stood the
cyclone, with great force, swooped down and, with a muffled roar, swept
a quarter-section of land out from under a heavy mortgage without
injuring the mortgage in the least. He says that people came for miles
the following day to see the mortgage, still on file at the office of
the register of deeds and just as good as ever.
Then a gentleman named Bean, of western Minnesota, a man who went
there in an early day and homesteaded it when his nearest neighbor was
fifty miles away, spoke of a cyclone that visited his county before the
telegraph or railroad had penetrated that part of the state.
Mr. Bean said it was very clear up to the moment that he noticed a
cloud in the northwest no larger than a man's hand. It sauntered down
in a southwesterly direction like a cyclone that had all summer to do
its chores in. Then it gave two quick snorts and a roar, wiped out of
existence all the farm buildings he had, sucked the well dry, soured
all the milk in the milk house, and spread desolation all over that
quarter-section. But Mr. Bean said that the most remarkable thing he
remembered was this: He had dug about a pint of angle worms that
morning, intending to go over to the lake toward evening and catch a
few perch. But when the cyclone came it picked up those angle worms and
drove them head first through his new grindstone without injuring the
worms or impairing the grindstone. He would have had the grindstone
photographed, he said, if the angle worms could have been kept still
long enough. He said that they were driven just far enough through to
hang on the other side like a lambrequin.
The cyclone is certainly a wonderful phenomenon, its movements are
so erratic, and in direct violation of all known rules.
Mr. Louis P. Barker of northern Iowa was also on the car, and he
described a cyclone that he saw in the '70s along in September at the
close of a hot but clear day. The first intimation that Mr. Barker had
of an approaching storm was a small cloud no larger than a man's hand
which he discovered moving slowly toward the southwest with a gyratory
movement. It then appeared to be a funnel-shaped cloud which passed
along near the surface of the ground with its apex now and then lightly
touching a barn or a well, and pulling it out by the roots. It would
then bound lightly into the air and spit on its hands. What he noticed
most carefully on the following day was the wonderful evidences of its
powerful suction. It sucked a milch cow absolutely dry, pulled all the
water out of his cistern, and then went around to the waste-water pipe
that led from the bath-room and drew a 2-year-old child, who was taking
a bath at the time, clear down through the two-inch waste-pipe, a
distance of 150 feet. He had two inches of the pipe with him and a lock
of hair from the child's head.
It is such circumstances as these, coming to us from the mouths of
eye-witnesses, that leads us to exclaim: How prolific is nature and how
wonderful are all her worksincluding poor, weak man! Man, who comes
into the world clothed in a little brief authority, perhaps, and
nothing else to speak of. He rises up in the morning, prevaricates, and
dies. Where are our best liars to-day? Look for them where you will and
you will find that they are passing away. Go into the cemetery and
there you will find them mingling with the dust, but striving still to
perpetuate their business by marking their tombs with a gentle
prevarication, chiseled in enduring stone.
I have heard it intimated by people who seemed to know what they
were talking about that truth is mighty and will prevail, but I do not
see much show for her till the cyclone season is over.
The earth is that body in the solar system which most of my readers
now reside upon, and which some of them, I regret to say, modestly
desire to own and control, forgetting that the earth is the Lord's, and
the fullness thereof. Some men do not care who owns the earth so long
as they get the fullness.
The earth is 500,000,000 years of age, according to Prof. Proctor,
but she doesn't look it to me. The Duke of Argyll maintains that she is
10,000,000 years old last August, but what does an ordinary duke know
about these things? So far as I am concerned I will put Proctor's
memory against that of any low-priced duke that I have ever seen.
Newton claimed that the earth would gradually dry up and become
porous, and that water would at last become a curiosity. Many believe
this and are rapidly preparing their systems by a rigid course of
treatment, so that they can live for years without the use of water
internally or externally.
Other scientists who have sat up nights to monkey with the solar
system, and thereby shattered their nervous systems, claim that the
earth is getting top-heavy at the north pole, and that one of these
days while we are thinking of something else, the great weight of
accummulated ice, snow, and the vast accummulation of second-hand
arctic relief expeditions, will jerk the earth out of its present
position with so much spontaneity, and in such an extremely forthwith
manner, that many people will be permanently strabismused and much
bric-a-brac will be for sale at a great sacrifice. This may or may not
be true. I have not been up in the arctic regions to investigate its
truth or falsity, though there seems to be a growing sentiment
throughout the country in favor of my going. A great many people during
the past year have written me and given me their consent.
If I could take about twenty good, picked men, and go up there for
the summer, instead of bringing back twenty picked men, I wouldn't mind
the trip, and I feel that we really ought to have a larger colony on
ice in that region than we now have.
The earth is composed of land and water. Some of the water has large
chunks of ice in it. The earth revolves around its own axle once in
twenty-four hours, though it seems to revolve faster than that, and to
wobble a good deal during the holidays. Nothing tickles the earth more
than to confuse a man when he is coming home late at night, and then to
rise up suddenly and hit him in the back with a town lot. People who
think there is no fun or relaxation among the heavenly bodies certainly
have not studied their habits. Even the moon is a humorist.
A friend of mine, who was returning late at night from a regular
meeting of the Society for the Amelioration of the Hot Scotch, said
that the earth rose up suddenly in front of him, and hit him with a
right of way, and as he was about to rise up again he was stunned by a
terrific blow between the shoulder blades with an old land grant that
he thought had lapsed years ago. When he staggered to his feet he found
that the moon, in order to add to his confusion, had gone down in front
of him, and risen again behind him, with her thumb on her nose.
So I say, without fear of successful contradiction, that if you do
not think that planets and orbs and one thing and another have fun on
the quiet you are grossly ignorant of their habits.
The earth is about half way between Mercury and Saturn in the matter
of density. Mercury is of about the specific gravity of iron, while
that of Saturn corresponds with that of cork in the matter of density
and specific gravity. The earth, of course, does not compare with
Mercury in the matter of solidity, yet it is amply firm for all
practical purposes. A negro who fell out of the tower of a twelve-story
building while trying to clean the upper window by drinking a quart of
alcohol and then breathing hard on the glass, says that he regards the
earth as perfectly solid, and safe to do business on for years to come.
He claims that those who maintain that the earth's crust is only 2,500
miles in thickness have not thoroughly tested the matter by a system of
The poles of the earth are merely imaginary. I hate to print this
statement in a large paper in such a way as to injure the reputation of
great writers on this subject who still cling to the theory that the
earth revolves upon large poles, and that the aurora borealis is but
the reflection from a hot box at the north pole, but I am here to tell
the truth, and if my readers think it disagreeable to read the truth,
what must be my anguish who have to tell it? The mean diameter of the
earth is 7,916 English statute miles, but the actual diameter from pole
to pole is a still meaner diameter, being 7,899 miles, while the
equatorial diameter is 7,925-1/2 miles.
The long and patient struggle of our earnest and tireless
geographers and savants in past years in order to obtain these figures
and have them exact, few can fully realize. The long and thankless job
of measuring the diameter of the earth, no matter what the weather
might be, away from home and friends, footsore and weary, still
plodding on, fatigued but determined to know the mean diameter of the
earth, even if it took a leg, measuring on for thousands of weary
miles, and getting farther and farther away from home, and then
forgetting, perhaps, how many thousand miles they had gone, and being
compelled to go back and measure it over again while their noses got
red and their fingers were benumbed. These, fellow-citizens, are a few
of the sacrifices that science has made on our behalf in order that we
may not grow up in ignorance. These are a few of the blessed privileges
which, along with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, are
oursours to anticipate, ours to participate, ours to precipitate.
FRANCISCO PIZARRO'S CAREER.
BORN IN SHAME AND REARED AMONG SWINE, HE CONQUERS FAME AND FORTUNE
IN PERU WITH THE SWORDHISTORY OF A SELF-MADE MAN.
Perhaps the history of the western hemisphere has never furnished a
more wonderful example of the self-made man than may be found in the
person of Francisco Pizarro, a gentleman who came to America about
1510, intending to grow up with the country.
Mr. Pizarro was born at Truxillo, Spain, about 1471. His father was
a Spanish colonel of foot and his mother was a peasant girl who admired
and respected the dashing colonel very much, but felt that she had
scruples about marriage, and so, although years afterward Francisco
tried his best to make a match between his father and mother, they were
never married. It is said that this embittered his whole life. None but
those who have experienced it can fully realize what it is to have a
Pizarro's mother's name was Estramadura. This was her maiden name.
It was a name which seemed to harmonize well with her rich,
pickled-olive complexion and so she retained it all her life. Her son
did not have many early advantages, for he was neglected by his mother
and allowed to grow up a swineherd, and it is even said that he was
suckled by swine in his infancy while his giddy mother joined in the
mad whirl at the skating-rink. We can hardly imagine anything more
pitiable than the condition of a little child left to rustle for
nourishment among the black-and-tan hogs of Spain while his father
played old sledge on the frontier in the regular army and his mother
stood on her Spanish head and wrote her cigar-box name in the
atmosphere at the rink.
Poor little Pizarro had none of the modern advantages, therefore,
and his education was extremely crude. The historian says that he grew
up a bold, ignorant, and brutal man. He came to what was then called
Spanish America at the age of 39 years and assisted Mr. Balboa in
discovering the Pacific ocean. Having heard of the existence of Peru
with all its wealth, Pizarro secured a band of self-made men like
himself and lit out for that province for the purpose of conquering it
if he liked it and bringing home some solid silver teapots and
gold-lined card-receivers. He was engaged in gathering this line of
goods and working them off on the pawnbroker for twenty-one years,
during which time he did not get killed, but continued to enjoy a
reasonable degree of health and strength.
Although Peru at that time was quite densely populated with an
industrious and wealthy class of natives, Pizarro subdued her with 110
foot soldiers armed with old-fashioned muskets that had these
full-blown barrels, with muzzles on them like the business end of a
tuba horn, sixty-seven mounted men, and two toy cannon loaded with
carpet-tacks. With no education, and, what was still harder to bear,
the inner consciousness that his parents were plain, common, every-day
people whose position in life would not advance him in the estimation
of the Peruvians, he battled on. His efforts were crowned with success,
insomuch that at the close of the year 1532 peace was declared and he
could breathe the free air once more without fear of getting a bronze
arrow-head mixed up with his kidneys when his back was turned. For the
first time in two years, says the historian, Pizarro was able to take
off his tin helmet and his sheet-iron corset at night when he lay down
to rest, or undismayed to go forth bareheaded and wearing only his
crinkled seersucker coat and a pair of sandals at the twilight hour and
till midnight wander alone amid the famous guano groves of Peru.
Such is the history of a man who never even knew how to write his
own name. He won fame for himself and great wealth without an education
or a long, dark-blue lineage. Pizarro was like Job. You know, we
Oh, Job, he was a fine young lad,
Sing glory hallelujah.
His heart was good but his blood was bad,
Sing glory hallelujah.
So Pizarro could not brag on his blood and his education was not
classical. He could not write his name, though he tried faithfully for
many years. Day after day during the campaign, and late into the night,
when the yaller dogs of Lima came forth with their Peruvian bark, he
would get his orderly sergeant to set him the copy:
Paul may plant and Apollinaris water, but it is God that giveth the
Then Pizarro would bring out his writing material and his tongue and
try to write, but he never could do it. His was not a studious mind. It
was more on the knock-down-and-drag-out order.
Pizarro was made a marquis in after years. He was also made a
corpse. He acquired the latter position toward the close of his life.
He, at one time, married the inca's daughter and founded a long line of
grandees, marquises, and macaroni sculptors, whose names may be found
on the covers of imported cigar boxes and in the topmost tier of the
wrought-iron resorts in our best penitentiaries.
Pizarro lived a very busy life during the conquest, some days
killing as many as seventy and eighty Peruvians between sun and sun.
But death at last crooked his finger at the marquis and he slept. We
all brag and blow our horn here for a few brief years, it is true, but
when the grim reaper with his new and automatic twine-binder comes
along he gathers us in; the weak and the strong, the ignorant and the
educated, the plain and the beautiful, the young and the old, those who
have just sniffed the sweet and dew-laden air of life's morning and
those who are footsore and weary and waitingall alike must bow low to
the sickle that goes on cutting closer and closer to us even when we
Had Pizarro thought more about this matter, he would have been ahead
HE DISCOVERS A MAN WITH AN IDEAA NEW PLAN OF RUNNING A GOOD
HOTELIMPROVEMENTS FOR WHICH PEOPLE PAY IN ADVANCE.
The following circular from a hotel-man in Kansas is going about
over the country, and it certainly deserves more than a passing notice.
I change the name of the hotel and proprietor in order to avoid giving
any free boom to a man who seems to be thoroughly self-reliant and able
to take care of himself. The rest of the circular is accurately copied:
KANSAS.Dear Sir: Not having enough room under our
arrangements, and wishing to make the Roller-Towel House the
recognized head-quarters for traveling men, we desire to
the building. Not having the money on hand to do so, we make
following proposition: If you will advance us $5, to be used
the above purpose, we will deduct that amount from your bill
stopping with us. We feel assured that the traveling men
our efforts to give them first-class accommodations, and as
above amount will be deducted from your bill when stopping
we hope for a favorable reply. Should you not visit our town
the loan will be repaid in cash.
J. KRASH TOWEL,
Proprietor Roller-Towel House.
Here we have a man with a quiet, gentlemanly way, and yet withal a
cool, level head, a man who knows when he needs more room and how best
to go to work to remedy that defect. Mr. Towel sees that another row of
sleeping rooms, cut low in the ceiling, is actually needed. In fancy he
already sees these rooms added to his house. Each has a strip of hemp
carpet in front of the bed and a cute little green shade over the
window, a shade that falls down when we try to adjust it, filling the
room with Kansas dust. In his dreams he sees each room fitted out with
one of those smooth, deceptive beds that are all right until we begin
to use them for sleeping purposes, a bed that the tall man lies
diagonally across and groans through the livelong night.
Mr. Towel has made a rapid calculation on the buttered side of a
menu, and ascertained that if one-half the traveling men in the United
States would kindly advance $5, to be refunded in case they did not
decide to make a tour to the Roller Towel House, and to be taken out of
the bill in case they did, the amount so received would not only add a
row of compressed hot-air bedrooms, with flexible soap and a
delirious-looking glass, but also insure an electric button, which may
or may not connect with the office, and over which said button the
following epitaph could be erected:
One Ring for Bell Boy.
Two Rings for Porter.
Three Rings for Ice Water.
Four Rings for Rough on Rats.
Five Rings for Borrowed Money.
Six Rings for Fire.
Seven Rings for Hook and Ladder Company.
In fact, a man could have rings on his fingers and bell-boys on his
toes all the time if he wanted to do so.
And yet there will be traveling-men who will receive this kind
circular and still hang back. Constant contact with a cold, cruel world
has made them cynical, and they will hesitate even after Mr. Towel has
said that he will improve his house with the money, and even after he
has assured us that we need not visit Kansas at all if we will advance
the money. This shows that he is not altogether a heartless man. Mr.
Towel may be poor, but he is not without consideration for the feelings
of people who loan him money.
For my own part I fully believe that Mr. Towel would be willing to
fit up his house and put matches in each room if traveling-men
throughout the country would respond to this call for assistance.
But the trouble is that the traveling public expect a landlord to
take all the risks and advance all the money. This makes the matter of
hotel keeping a hazardous one. Mr. Towel asks the guests to become an
interested party. Not that he in so many words agrees to divide the
profits proportionately at the end of the year with the stockholders,
but he is willing to make his hotel larger, and if food does not come
up as fast as it goes downin price, I meanhe will try to make all
his guests feel perfectly comfortable while in his house.
Under favorable circumstances the Roller-Towel House would no doubt
be thoroughly refitted and refurnished throughout. The little
writing-table in each room would have its legs reglued, new wicks would
be inserted in the kerosene lamps, the stairs would be dazzled over
with soft soap, and the teeth in the comb down in the wash-room would
be reset and filled. Numerous changes would be made in the corps de
ballet also. The large-handed chambermaid, with the cow-catcher teeth
and the red Brazil-nut of hair on the back of her head, would be sent
down in the dining-room to recite that little rhetorical burst so often
rendered by the elocutionist of the dining-roomthe smart
Aleckutionist, in the language of the poet, beginning:
Bfsteakprkstk'ncoldts, with a falling inflection that sticks its head
into the bosom of the earth and gives its tail a tremolo movement in
On receipt of $5 from each one of the traveling men of the union new
hinges would be put into the slippery-elm towels; the pink soap would
be revarnished; the different kinds of meat on the table will have tags
on them, stating in plain words what kinds of meat they are so that
guests will not be forced to take the word of servant or to rely on
their own judgement; fresh vinegar with a sour taste to it, and without
microbes, will be put in the cruets; the old and useless cockroaches
will be discharged; and the latest and most approved adjuncts of hotel
life will be adopted.
Why, then, should the traveling man hesitate? Why should he doubt
and draw back, falter and shrink? Why should he allow pessimism and
other foreign substances to get into his system and change his whole
Let him remit $5 to the Roller Towel House, and if this should prove
a success he may assist other hotels in the same manner. He would thus
feel an interest in their growth and prosperity. Then, as he became
more and more forehanded, he could assist the railroads, the 'bus
lines, and the boot-blacks, barbers, laundries, &c., in the same
manner. I would like to call upon the American people in the same way.
I would like very much to establish a nice, expensive home for
inebriates. It would cost, properly fitted up, about $750,000 or
$800,000. If those who read this article will lend $50, by express or
draft, I will take it out of their bill the first time they will stop
at my new and attractive inebriate asylum. Who will be the first to
BILL NYE INCUBATES.
My Dear Son: We are still pegging along here at home in the
same old way, your mother and me. We are neither of us real well, and
yet I suppose we are as well as folks at our time of life could expect
to be. Your mother has a good deal of pain in her side all the while
and I am off my feed more or less in the morning. Doc has fixed me up
some condition powders that he says will straighten me out right away.
Perhaps so. Doc has straightened out a good many people in his time. I
wish I had as many dollars as he has straightened out people.
Most every Spring I've had to take a little dandelion root, limbered
up with gin, but this year that didn't seem to get there, as the boys
say. I fixed up a dost of it and took it day and night for a week till
I wore that old dandelion root clear down to skin and bone, but in ten
days my appetite was worse than ever and I had a head on me like a
2-year-old colt. Dandelion root never served me that way before and
your mother thinks that the goodness is all out of it, may be. It's the
same old dandelion root that I've been using for twenty years, and I
believe when you've tried a thing and proved it's good, you ortent to
I tried to get your mother to take a dost of it last week for the
pain in her side. Fixed up a two-quart jug of it for her, but she can't
bear the smell of gin so I had to take it myself. Dandelion is a great
purifier of the blood, Henry. Some days after I've been taking this
dandelion root for an hour or two I feel as if my blood was pretty near
pure enough. I feel like a new man.
You know I wrote you last winter, Henry, that I was going to buy
some new-fangled hens in the spring and go into the egg business. Well,
I sent east in March for a couple of fowls, one of each sect. They came
at $9 per pair over and above railroad charges, which was some $4.35
more on top of that.
I thought that as soon as the hen got here and got her things off
and got rested she would proceed to lay some of these here high-priced
eggs which we read of in the Poultry-Keepers' Guide and American
Eggist. But she seemed pensive, and when I tried to get acquainted with
her she would cluck in a croupy tone of voice and go away.
The rooster was no doubt a fine-looking brute when he was shipped,
but when he got here he strolled around with a preoccupied air and
seemed to feel above us. He was a poker-dot rooster, with gray mane and
tail, and he was no doubt refined, but I did not think he should feel
above his business, for we are only plain people who are accustomed to
the self-made American hen. He seemed bored all the time, and I could
see by the way he acted that he pined to be back in Fremont, O., having
his picture taken for the Poultry-Keepers' Guide and American Eggist.
He still yearned for approbation. He was used to being made of, as your
mother says, and it galled him to enter into our plain, humdrum home
I never saw such a haughty rooster in my life. Actually, when I got
out to feed him in the morning he would give me a cold, arrogant look
that hurt my feelings. I know I'm not what you would call an educated
man nor a polished man, though I claim to have a son that is both of
said things, but I hate to have a rooster crow over me because he has
had better advantages and better breeding than I have. So there was no
love lost between us, as you can see.
Directly I noticed that the hen began to have spells of vertigo. She
would be standing in a corner of the hen retreat, reverting to her
joyous childhood at Fremont, O., when all at once she would fall
senseless to the earth and there lie prone upon the sward, to use the
words of a great writer whose address has been mislaid. She would
remain in this comytoes condition for between five minutes, perhaps.
Then she would rally a little, slowly pry open her large, mournful
eyes, and seem to murmur Where am I?
I could see that she was evading the egg issue in every way and
ignoring the great object for which she was created. With the ability
to lay eggs worth from $4 to $5.75 per dozen delivered on the cars, I
could plainly see that she proposed to roll up this great talent in a
napkin and play the invalid act. I do not disguise the fact, Henry,
that I was mad. I made a large rectangular affidavit in the inner
temple of the horse-barn that this poker-dot hen should never live to
say that I had sent her to the seashore for her health when she was
eminently fitted by nature to please the public with her lay.
I therefore gave her two weeks to decide on whether she would
contribute a few of her meritorious articles or insert herself into a
She still continued haughty to the last moment. So did her pardner.
We therefore treated ourselves to a $9 dinner in April.
I then got some expensive eggs from the effete east. They were not
robust eggs. They were layed during a time of great depression, I
judge. So they were that way themselves also. They came by express, and
were injured while being transferred at Chicago. No one has travelled
over that line of railroad since.
I do not say that the eggs were bad, but I say that their instincts
and their inner life wasn't what they ort to have been.
In early May I bought one of these inkybaters that does the work of
ten setting hens. I hoped to head off the hen so far as possible,
simply purchasing her literary efforts and editing them to suit myself.
I cannot endure the society of a low-bred hen, and a refined hen seems
to look down on me, and so I thought if I could get one of those
ottymatic inkybaters I could have the whole process under my own
control, and if the blooded hens wanted to go to the sanitarium and sit
around there with their hands in their pockets while the great hungry
world of traffic clamored for more spring chickens fried in butter they
might do so and be doggoned.
Thereupon I bought one of the medium size, two story hatchers and
loaded it with eggs. In my dreams I could see a long procession of
fuzzy little chickens marching out of my little inkybater arm in arm,
every day or two, while my bank account swelled up like a deceased
I was dreaming one of these dreams night before last at midnight's
holy hour when I was rudely awakened by a gallon of cold water in one
of my ears. I arose in the darkness and received a squirt of cold water
through the window from our ever-watchful and courageous fire
department. I opened the casement for the purpose of thanking them for
this little demonstration, wholly unsolicited on my part, when I
discovered the hennery was in flames.
I went down to assist the department, forgetting to put on my
pantaloons as is my custom out of deference to the usages of good
society. We saved the other buildings, but the hatchery is a mass of
smoldering ruins. So am I.
It seems that the kerosene lamp which I kept burning in the
inkybater for the purpose of maintaining an even temperature, and also
for the purpose of showing the chickens the way to the elevator in case
they should hatch out in the night, had torched up and ignited the
hatchery, so to speak.
I see by my paper that we are importing 200,000,000 of hens' eggs
from Europe every year. It'll be 300,000,000 next year so far as I'm
concerned, Henry, and you can bet your little pleated jacket on it,
too, if you want to.
To-day I send P. O. order No. 143,876 for $3.50. I agree with the
bible that the fool and his money are soon parted. Your father,
BILL NYE ON TOBACCO.A DISCOURAGER
I am glad to notice a strong effort on the part of the friends of
humanity to encourage those who wish to quit the use of tobacco. To
quit the use of this weed is one of the most agreeable methods of
relaxation. I have tried it a great many times, and I can safely say
that it has afforded me much solid felicity.
To violently reform and cast away the weed and at the end of a week
to find a good cigar unexpectedly in the quiet, unostentatious pocket
of an old vest, affords the most intense and delirious delight.
Scientists tell us that a single drop of the concentrated oil of
tobacco on the tongue of an adult dog is fatal. I have no doubt about
the truth or cohesive power of this statement, and for that reason I
have always been opposed to the use of tobacco among dogs. Dogs should
shun the concentrated oil of tobacco, especially if longevity be any
object to them. Neither would I advise a man who may have canine
tendencies or a strain of that blood in his veins to use the
concentrated oil of tobacco as a sozodont. To those who may feel that
way about tobacco I would say, shun it by all means. Shun it as you
would the deadly upas tree or the still more deadly whipple tree of the
In what I may say under this head please bear in mind that I do not
speak of the cigarette. I am now confining my remarks entirely to the
subject of tobacco.
The use of the cigarette is, in fact, beneficial in in some ways,
and no pest house should try to get along without it. It is said that
they are very popular in the orient, especially in the lazar houses,
where life would otherwise become very monotonous.
Scientists, who have been unable to successfully use tobacco and who
therefore have given their whole lives and the use of their microscopes
to the investigation of its horrors, say that cannibals will not eat
the flesh of tobacco-using human beings. And yet we say to our
missionaries: No man can be a Christian and use tobacco.
I say, and I say it, too, with all that depth of feeling which has
always characterized my earnest nature, that in this we are committing
a great error.
What have the cannibals ever done for us as a people that we should
avoid the use of tobacco in order to fit our flesh for their tables. In
what way have they sought to ameliorate our condition in life that we
should strive in death to tickle their palates.
Look at the history of the cannibal for past ages. Read carefully
his record and you will see that it has been but the history of a
selfish race. Cast your eye back over your shoulder for a century, and
what do you find to be the condition of the cannibalists? A new
missionary has landed a few weeks previous perhaps. A little group is
gathered about on the beach beneath a tropical tree. Representative
cannibals from adjoining islands are present. The odor of sanctity
pervades the air.
The chief sits beneath a new umbrella, looking at the pictures in a
large concordance. A new plug hat is hanging in a tree near by.
Anon the leading citizens gather about on the ground, and we hear
the chief ask his attorney-general whether he will take some of the
light or some of the dark meat.
That is all.
Far away in England the paper contains the following personal:
WANTED.A YOUNG MAN TO GO AS MISSIONARY TO supply vacancy in
of the cannibal islands. He must fully understand the
tastes of the cannibals, must be able to reach their inner
at once, and must not use tobacco. Applicants may communicate
person or by letter.
Is it strange that under these circumstances those who frequented
the cannibal islands during the last century should have quietly
accustomed themselves to the use of a peculiarly pernicious, violent,
and all-pervading brand of tobacco? I think not.
To me the statement that tobacco-tainted human flesh is offensive to
the cannibal does not come home with crushing power.
Perhaps I do not love my fellow-man so well as the cannibal does. I
know that I am selfish in this way, and if my cannibal brother desires
to polish my wishbone he must take me as he finds me. I cannot abstain
wholly from the use of tobacco in order to gratify the pampered tastes
of one who has never gone out of his way to do me a favor.
Do I ask the cannibal to break off the pernicious use of tobacco
because I dislike the flavor of it in his brisket? I will defy any
respectable resident of the cannibal islands to-day to place his finger
on a solitary instance where I have ever, by word or deed, intimated
that he should make the slightest change in his habits on my account,
unless it be that I may have suggested that a diet consisting of more
anarchists and less human beings would be more productive of general
and lasting good.
My own idea would be to send a class of men to these islands so
thoroughly imbued with their great object and the oil of tobacco that
the great Caucasian chowder of those regions would be followed by such
weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth and such remorse and
repentance and gastric upheavals that it would be as unsafe to eat a
missionary in the cannibal islands as it is to eat ice-cream in the
United States to-day.
BILL NYE'S ARCTIC-LE.
The excitement consequent upon the anticipated departure of Mr.
Gilder for the north pole has recently awakened in the bosom of the
American people a new interest in what I may term that great terra
incognita, if I may be pardoned for using a phrase from my own mother
Let us for a moment look back across the bleak waste of years and
see what wonderful progress has been made in the discovery of the pole.
We may then ask ourselves, who will be first to tack his location
notice on the gnawed and season-cracked surface of the pole itself, and
what will he do with it after he has so filed upon it?
Iceland, I presume, was discovered about 860 A. D., or 1,026 years
ago, but the stampede to Iceland has always been under control, and you
can get corner lots in the most desirable cities of Iceland, and wear a
long rickety name with links in it like a rosewood sausage, to-day at a
low price. Naddodr, a Norwegian viking, discovered Iceland A. D. 860,
but he did not live to meet Lieutenant Greely or any of our most
celebrated northern tourists. Why Naddodr yearned to go north and
discover a colder country than his own, why he should seek to wet his
feet and get icicles down his back in order to bring to light more
snow-banks and chilblains, I cannot at this time understand. Why should
a robust and prosperous viking roam around in the cold trying to nose
out more frost-bitten Esquimaux, when he could remain at home and vike?
But I leave this to the thinking mind. Let the thinking mind grapple
with it. It has no charms for me. Moreover, I haven't that kind of a
Octher, another Norwegian gentleman, sailed around North cape and
crossed the arctic circle in 890 A. D., but he crossed it in the night,
and didn't notice it at the time.
Two or three years later, Erik the Red took a large snow-shovel and
discovered the east coast of Greenland. Erik the Red was a Northman,
and he flourished about the ninth century, and before the war. He
sailed around in that country for several years, drinking bay rum and
bear's oil and having a good time. He wore fur underclothes all the
time, winter and summer, and evaded the poll-tax for a long time. Erik
also established a settlement on the south-east coast of Greenland in
about latitude 60 degrees north. These people remained here for some
time, subsisting on shrimp salad, sea-moss farina, and neat's-foot oil.
But finally they became so bored with the quiet country life and the
backward springs that they removed from there to a land that is fairer
than day, to use the words of another. They removed during the
holidays, leaving their axle grease and all they held dear, including
From that on down to 1380 we hear or read varying and disconnected
accounts of people who have been up that way, acquired a large red
chilblain, made an observation, and died. Representatives from almost
every quarter of the globe have been to the far north, eaten their
little hunch of jerked polar-bear, and then the polar-bear has eaten
his little hunch of jerked explorer, and so the good work went on.
The polar bear, with his wonderful retentive faculties, has
succeeded in retaining his great secret regarding the pole, together
with the man who came out there to find out about it. So up to 1380 a
large number of nameless explorers went to this celebrated
watering-place, shot a few pemmican, ate a jerked whale, shuddered a
couple of times, and died. It has been the history of arctic
exploration from the earliest ages. Men have taken their lives and a
few doughnuts in their hands, wandered away into the uncertain light of
the frozen north, made a few observationsto each other regarding the
backward springand then cached their skeletons forever.
In 1380 two Italians named Lem took a load of sun-kissed bananas and
made a voyage to the extreme north, but the historian says that the
accounts are so conflicting, and as the stories told by the two
brothers did not agree and neither ever told it the same on two
separate occasions, the history of their voyage is not used very much.
Years rolled on, boys continued to go to school and see in their
geographies enticing pictures of men in expensive fur clothing running
sharp iron spears and long dangerous stab knives into ferocious white
bears and snorting around on large cakes of cold ice and having a good
time. These inspired the growing youth to rise up and do likewise. So
every nation 'neath the sun has contributed its assortments of choice,
white skeletons and second hand clothes to the remorseless maw of the
hungry and ravenous north.
And still the great pole continued to squeak on through days that
were six months long and nights that made breakfast seem almost
In 1477 Columbus went up that way, but did not succeed in starving
to death. He got a bird's-eye view of a large deposit of dark-blue ice,
got hungry and came home.
During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the northern nations of
Europe, and especially the Dutch, kept the discovery business red-hot,
but they did not get any fragments of the true pole. The maritime
nations of Europe, together with other foreign powers, dynasties, and
human beings, for some time had spells of visiting the polar seas and
neglecting to come back. It was the custom then as it is now, to go
twenty rods farther than any other man had ever been, eat a deviled
bootleg, curl up, and perish. Thousands of the best and brightest minds
of all ages have yielded to this wild desire to live on sperm oil,
pain-killer and jerked walrus, keep a little blue diary for thirteen
weeks, and then feed it to a tall white bear with red gums.
That is not all. Millions of gallons of whiskey are sent to these
frozen countries and used by the explorer in treating the untutored
Esquimaux, who are not, and never will be, voters. It seems to me
utterly ill-advised and shamefully idiotic.
BILL NYE'S ANSWERS TO
CapitalistWill you kindly furnish your address once more? You must
either stop moving about so or leave some one at home to represent you.
Nothing is more humiliating to a literary man of keen sensibilities
than to draw at sight and have the draft returned with the memorandum
on the back in pencil Gone to the White mountains, or Gone to Lake
Elmo on another bridal tour, or Gone to Bayfield to be absent several
years, or Gone to Minnetonka to wait till the clouds roll by.
Searcher, Peru, Ill.Cum grano salis was the motto of the
ancients, and was written in blue letters at the base of the shield on
a field emerald, supported by a cucumber recumbent. The author is
S. Q. G., McGree's Prairie, Iowa, asks: Do you know of any place
where a young man can get a good living?
That depends on what you call a good living, S. Q. G. If your
stomach would not revolt at plain fare, such as poor people use, come
up and stop at our house awhile. We don't live high, but we aim to eke
out an existence, as it were. Come and abide with us, S. Q. G. Here is
where the prince of Wales comes when he gets weary of being heir
apparently to the throne. Here is where Bert comes when he has stood a
long time, first on one leg and then on the other, waiting for his
mother to evacuate said throne. He bids dull care begone, and clothing
himself in some of my own gaudy finery he threads a small Limerick hook
through the vitals of a long-waisted worm, as we hie us to the bosky
dell where the plash of the pleasant-voiced brook replies to the turtle
dove's moan. There, where the pale green plush of the moss on the big
flat rocks deadens the footfall of Wales and me, where the tip of the
long willow bough monkeys with the stream forever, where neither powers
nor principalities, nor things present or things to come, can embitter
us, we sit there, young Regina and me, and we live more happy years in
twenty minutes than a man generally lives all his whole life socked up
against a hard throne with the eagle eye of a warning constituency on
It's a good place to come, S. Q. G. Quiet but restful; full of balm
for the wounded spirit and close up to nature's great North American
heart. That's the idea. Perhaps I do not size you up accurately, S. Q.
G. You may be a man who does not pant for the sylvan shade. Very likely
you are a seaside resortist and do not care for pants, but I simply say
to you that if you are a worthy young man weary with life's great
battlesbeaten back, perhaps, and woundedwith your neck knocked
crooked like a tom-tit that has run against a telegraph wire in the
night, come up here into northern Wisconsin, where the butternut gleams
in the autumn sunshine and the ax-helve has her home. Come where the
sky is a dark and glorious blue and the town a magnificent red. Come
where the coral cranberry nestles in the green heart of the yielding
marsh and the sand-hill crane stands idly on the sedgy brim of the
lonely lake through all the long, idle day with his hands in the tail
pockets of his tan-colored coat, trying to remember what he did with
Come up here, S. Q. G. and be my amanuensis. I want a man to go with
me on a little private excursion from the Dallas of the St. Croix to
the Sault Ste. Marie. I want him to go with me and act as my private
secretary and carry my canoe for me. The salary would be small the
first year, but you would have a good deal of fun. Most any one can
have fun with me. We would go mostly for relaxation and to build up our
systems. My system is pretty well built up, but it would be a pleasure
to me to watch you build yours up. What I need is a private secretary
to go with me and take down little thinklets that I may have thought.
You would have nothing to carry but the canoe, a small tent, my gun and
a type-writer. I would carry the field glass. I always carry the field
glass because something might happen to it. One time an amanuensis who
went with me insisted on carrying the field glass, and the second day
he lost the cork out of it, so we had to come back and make a new
observation before we could start.
You would be welcome, S. Q. G.; welcome here in the fastness of the
forest; welcome where the resinous air of the spruce and the tamarack
would kiss your wan cheek; welcome to the rocky shores of the grand old
fresh water monarch, the champion heavyweight of all the great lakes;
welcome to the hazy, lazy days of our long voluptuous autumn, the
twilight of the closing year; welcome to the shade of the elms, where
the sunshine sneaks in on tiptoe and frolics with the dew and the
daisies; welcome to the sombre depths of the ever regretful and
repentant pines, whose venerable heads are first to greet the day, and
whose heaving bosoms hold the night.
Come over, S. Q. G. Be my stenographer and I will show you where a
friend of mine has concealed a watermelon patch in the very heart of
his corn-field. Come over and we will show him how concealment, like a
worm, may feed upon his damaged fruit. Till then, S. Q. G., ta-ta.
BILL NYE PREPARING A POLITICAL
SPEECH IN ADVANCE FOR A TIME OF NEED.
Sept. 1.I have just been preparing a speech for to-morrow evening
at our convention. It is a good speech and will take well. It is also
I will give the outlines of the speech here, so that in case I
should die or slip up on a stenographer the basis of my remarks may not
Fellow-Citizens: You have seen fit to renominate me for the office
which I have held one term alreadyviz.: member of congress from this
As you are aware, I am a self-made man. I have carved out my own
career from the ground up, as I may say, till to-day I am your nominee
for the second time.
What we want these days is not so much men of marked ability as
candidates but available, careful and judicious men. We are too apt to
strive for the nomination of brilliant men of pronounced opinions when
we must need men who can be easily elected. Of what avail is a man of
genius and education and robust brains and earnest convictions if we
cannot elect him? He is simply a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.
Therefore, I would say to the youth of Americacould they stand
before me to-daydo not strive too hard or strain yourselves by
endeavoring to attain some object after you are elected to office. Let
your earnest convictions remain dormant. Should a man have convictions
these days, let him reserve them for use in his own family. They are
not necessary in politics. If a member of congress must have a
conviction and earnestly feels as though he could not possibly get
along another day without it, let him go to the grand jury and make a
clean breast of it.
I may say, fellow-citizens, without egotism, that I have been
judicious both in the heat of the campaign and in the halls of
legislation. I have done nothing that could disrupt the party or weaken
our vote in this district. It is better to do nothing than to do things
that will be injurious to the interests of the majority.
What do you care, gentlemen, for what I said or did in our great
session of last winter so long as I came home to you with a solidified
vote for this fall; so long as I have not trodden on the toes of the
Irish, the German, the Scandinavian, the prohibitionist, the
female-suffragist, the anti-mormon, or the international-copyright
Let us be frank with each other, fellow-citizens. Do you ask me on
my return to you how many speeches my private secretary and the public
printer attached my name to, or how many packages of fly-blown turnip
seed I sent to you during the last two years?
You ask yourself how is the vote of our party this fall as compared
with two years ago? And I answer that not a vote has been mislaid or a
I have done nothing and said nothing that a carping constituency
could get hold of. Though I was never in congress before, old members
envied me the long, blank, evasive, and irreproachable record I have
No man can say that, even under the stimulating influence of the
wine cup, I have given utterance in the last two years to anything that
could be distorted into an opinion. And so to-day I come back to you
and find my party harmonious, while others return to their homes to be
greeted by a disrupted constituency, over whose ruins the ever-alert
adversary clambers to success.
So I say to you to-night, Mr. President and gentlemen of the
convention, let us leave to the newspapers the expression of what we
call earnest convictionsconvictions that arise up in after years to
belt us across the face and eyes. Let injudicious young men talk about
that kind of groceries, but the wary self-made politician who succeeds
does not do that way.
It seems odd to me that young men will go on year after year trying
to attain distinction by giving utterance to opinions when they can see
for themselves that we do not want such men for any place whatever,
from juryman to congressman.
If you examine my record for the last session, for instance, you
will not find that I spent the day pounding my desk with an autograph
album and filling the air with violent utterances pro or con and then
sat up nights to get myself interviewed by the disturbing elements of
the press. No, sir!
I am not a disturber, a radical or a disrupter!
At Washington I am a healer and at home in my ward I am also a
What America wants to-day is not so much a larger number of
high-browed men who will get up on their hind feet and call on heaven
to paralyze their right arms before they will do a wrong act, or ask to
have their tongues nailed to the ridge-pole of their mouths rather than
utter a false or dangerous doctrine. That was customary when the
country was new and infested with bears; when men carried their guns to
church with them and drank bay rum as a beverage.
These remarks made good pieces for boys to speak, but they will not
do now. What this country needs is a congress about as equally balanced
as possible politically, so that when one side walks up and smells of
an appropriation the other can growl in a low tone of voice, from
December till dog-days. In this way by a pleasing system of
postponements, previous questions, points of order, reference to
committees, laying on the table, and general oblivion, a great deal may
be evaded, and people at home who do not closely read and remember the
Congressional Record will not know who was to blame.
Judicious inertness and a gentle air of evasion will do much to
prevent party dissension. I have done that way, and I look for the same
old majority that we had at the former election.
I often wonder if Daniel Webster would have the nerve to get up and
talk as freely about things now as he used to when politics had not
reached the present state of perfection. We often hear people ask why
we haven't got any Websters in congress now. I can tell you. They are
sat down on long before they get that far along. They are not
encouraged to say radical things and split up the vote.
I will now close, thanking you for your kind preferment. I will ever
strive, while representing you in congress, to retain my following, and
never, by word or deed, endeavor to win fame and applause there at the
expense of votes at home. I care not to be embalmed in the school
speakers and declaimers of future ages, provided my tombstone shall
bear upon it the simple, poetic refrain:
He got there.
BILL NYE ON RAILROADS.
Perhaps there is nothing in the line of discovery and improvement
that has shown more marked progress in the last century than the
railway and its different auxiliaries. When we remember that much less
than a century has passed since the first patent for a locomotive to
move upon a track was issued, where now we have everything that heart
can wish, and, in fact, live better on the road than we do at home,
with but thirty-six hours between New York and Minneapolis, and a
gorgeous parlor, bedroom, and dining-room between Maine and Oregon,
with nothing missing that may go to make life a rich blessing, we are
compelled to express our wonder and admiration.
To Peter Cooper is largely due the boom given to railway business,
he having constructed the first locomotive ever made in this country,
and put it on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad.
The first train ever operated must have been a grand sight. First
came the locomotive, a large Babcock fire-extinguisher on trucks, with
a smoke-stack like a full-blown speaking-tube with a frill around the
top; the engineer at his post in a plug hat, with an umbrella over his
head and his hand on the throttle, borrowing a chew of tobacco now and
then of the farmers who passed him on their way to town. Near him stood
the fireman, now and then bringing in an armful of wood from the fields
through which he passed, and turning the damper in the smoke-stack
every little while so it would draw. Now and then he would go forward
and put a pork-rind on a hot box or pound on the cylinder head to warn
people off the track.
Next comes the tender loaded with nice, white birch wood, an
economical style of fuel because its bark may be easily burned off
while the wood itself will remain uninjured. Besides the firewood we
find on the tender a barrel of rainwater and a tall, blonde jar with
wicker-work around it, which contains a small sprig of tansy immersed
in four gallons of New England rum. This the engineer has brought with
him for use in case of accident. He is now engaged in preparing for the
accident in advance.
Next comes the front brakeman in a plug hat about two sizes too
large for him. He also wears a long-waisted frock coat with a bustle to
it and a tall shirt-collar with a table-spread tie, the ends of which
flutter gayly in the morning breeze. As the train pauses at the first
station he takes a hammer out of the tool-box and nails on the tire of
the fore wheel of his coach. The engineer gets down with a long oil-can
and puts a little sewing-machine oil on the pitman. He then wipes it
off with his sleeve.
It is now discovered that the rear coach, containing a number of
directors and the division superintendent, is missing. The conductor
goes to the rear of the last coach, and finds that the string by which
the directors' car was attached is broken, and that, the grade being
pretty steep, the directors and one brakeman have no doubt gone back to
the starting place.
But the conductor is cool. He removes his bell-crowned plug hat,
and, taking out his orders and time-card, he finds that the track is
clear, and, looking at a large, valuable Waterbury watch, presented to
him by a widow whose husband was run over and killed by the train, he
sees he can still make the next station in time for dinner. He hires a
livery team to go back after the directors' coach, and, calling All
aboard, he swings lightly upon the moving train.
It is now 10 o'clock, and nineteen weary miles still stretch out
between him and the dinner station. To add to the horrors of the
situation, the front brakeman discovers that a very thirsty boy in the
emigrant car has been drinking from the water-supply tank on the
tender, and there is not enough left to carry the train through. Much
time is consumed in filling the barrel again at a spring near the
track, but the conductor finds a spotter on the train, and gets him
to do it. He also induces him to cut some more wood and clean out the
The engineer then pulls out a draw-head and begins to make up time.
In twenty minutes he has made up an hour's time, though two miles of
hoop-iron are torn from the track behind him. He sails into the eating
station on time, and, while the master mechanic takes several of the
coach-wheels over to the machine-shop to soak, he eats a hurried lunch.
The brakeman here gets his tin lanterns ready for the night run and
fills two of them with red oil to be used on the rear coach. The
fireman puts a fresh bacon-rind on the eccentric, stuffs some more
cotton batting around the axles, puts a new lynch-pin in the hind
wheels, sweeps the apple-peelings out of the smoking car, and he is
Then comes the conductor, with his plug hat full of excursion
tickets, orders, passes, and timechecks; he looks at his Waterbury
watch, waves his hand, and calls All aboard again. It is upgrade,
however, and for two miles the spotter has to push behind with all
his might before the conductor will allow him to get on and ride.
Thus began the history of a gigantic enterprise which has grown till
it is a comfort, a convenience, a luxury, and yet a necessity. It has
built up and beautified the desert. It has crept beneath the broad
river, scaled the snowy mountain, and hung by iron arms from the canon
and the precipice, carrying the young to new lands and reuniting those
long separated. It has taken the hopeless to lands of new hope. It has
evaded the solitude of the wilderness, spiked down valuable
land-grants, killed cheap cattle and then paid a high price for them,
whooped through valleys, snorted over lofty peaks, crept through long,
dark tunnels, turning the bright glare of day suddenly upon those who
thought the tunnel was two miles long, roared through the night and
glittered through the day, bringing alike the groom to his beautiful
bride and the weeping prodigal to the moss-grown grave of his mother.
You are indeed a heartless, soulless corporation, and yet you are
very essential in our business.
BILL NYE'S LETTER.
HOW OLD BRINDLE MET HER DEATH WITH A TRAIN.
A QUAINT EPISTLE, IN WHICH THE HUMORIST GIVES HIS EXPERIENCE WITH
RAILROAD OFFICIALSHOW HE SECURED PAY FOR A COW.
DEAR HENRY: Your letter stating that you had just succeeded in
running your face for a new curriculum is at hand and contents noted,
as the feller said when I wrote to him two years ago and told him that
his cussed railroad had mashed old Brin. You remember that just as you
entered on what you called your junior year, old Brin remained out all
night, and your mother and me took our coffee milkless in the morning.
Well, I went down to the pound to see if she had registered there,
but she hadn't been stopping there, the night clerk said. He
maintained, however, that number two-aught-eightas he called
ithad come in half an hour late with a cow's head on the pilot and
brindle hair on the runnin' gears of the tender.
So I went over to the station and found Brin's head there, whereupon
I went down the track in search of her, though I feared it would be
futile, as you once said about administering a half sole to your summer
pantaloons. Well, I was right about it, Henry. If I'd been in the
futile business for years I couldn't have been more so than I was on
this occasion. The old cow was dead and so identified with the right of
way, that her own mother would not have known her.
I spoke to the conductor about it and he said it wasn't on his run
and for me to see the other conductor. Time I found him he was on
another road and killed in a collision with a lumber train. Then I
wrote to the general traffic manager, using great care to spell all the
words as near right as possible, and he didn't reply at all. His hired
man wrote me, however, with a printing press, that my letter had been
received and contents duly noted. In reply would say that the general
traffic manager was then attending a tripartite reunion at Chicago, at
which meeting the subject of cows would come up. He said that there had
been such competition between the Milwaukee, the Northwestern and the
Rock Island in the matter of prices paid for shattered cows, that
farmers got to dragging their debilitated stock on the track at night
and selling it to the roads, after which they would retire from
business on their ill-gotten gains.
When the general traffic manager got back I went in to see him. He
was very pleasant with me, but said he had nothing to do with the dead
cow industry. Go to the auditor or the general solicitor, said he,
they run the morgue. But they were both away attending a large
Eastern mass meeting of auditors and general solicitors, where they
where discussing the practicability of a new garnishee-proof pay-car,
that some party had patented, they said.
So I went home and wrote to the auditor a nice, long, fluent letter
in relation to the cow and her merits. I told him that it wasn't the
intrinsic value of the cow that I cared about. Intrinsic value is a
term that I found in one of your letters and liked very much. I wrote
him that old Brin was an heir-loom and a noble brute. I said among
other things that she had never been antagonistic to railroads. She had
rather favored them; also that her habits and tastes were simple and
that she had never aspired to rise above her station in life, and why
she should rise higher than the station when she was injured I could
not understand. I told him what a good milkster she was, and also that
she came up every night as regular as an emetic.
I then wrote my name with a little ornamental squirm to it, added a
postscript in which I said that you was now in your junior year, and I
thought that about seventy-five dollars would be a fair quotation on
such a cow as I had feebly described, and said good-by to him, hoping
he would remit at a prior date if possible.
I got a letter after awhile, stating that my favor of the 25th ult.
or prox. or something of that nature, had been duly received and
contents noted. This was no surprise to me, because that is too often
the sad fate of a letter. In fact the same thing had happened to the
other one I had previously sent.
I was mad, and wrote to the president of the company stating in
crisp language that if his company would pay more cash for cows and do
less in the noting and contents business, he would be more apt to
endear himself to those who reside along his line and who had their
horses scared to death twice a day by his arrogant and bellering besom
of destruction. If you will deal more in scads and less in stenography
and monkey business, says I, in closing, you will warm yourself into
the hearts of the plain people. Otherwise, I says, we will arise in
our might and walk.
I then, in a humorsome way, marked it dictated letter and sent it
I got it back in the face by way of the dead-letter office where
they know me. I'll bet they had a good laugh over it, for they opened
it and read it while it was there. I wouldn't be surprised if every man
in Congress had a good hearty laugh over that letter. Congressmen enjoy
a good thing once in a while, Henry. They ain't so dumb as they look.
But I finally got my pay for old Brin, to make a long story short.
They cut me down some on the price, but I finally got my money. No
railroad company can run over a cow of mine and mix her up with a
trestle three-quarters of a mile long, without paying for it, and
favors received and contents duly noted don't go with
ATTENDS A WESTERN THEATER AND SEES A REMARKABLE SHOOTING AFFRAY.
Those were troublesome times, indeed, when we were trying to settle
up the new world and a few other matters at the same time.
Little do the soft-eyed sons of prosperity understand to-day, as
they walk the paved streets of the west under the cold glitter of the
electric light, surrounded by all that can go to make life sweet and
desirable, that not many years ago on that same ground their fathers
fought the untutored savage by night and chased the bounding buffalo by
All, all is changed. Time in his restless and resistless flight has
filed away those early years in the county clerk's office, and these
times are not the old times. With the march of civilization I notice
that it is safer for a man to attend a theatre than in the early days
of the wild and wooly west. Time has made it easier for one to go to
the opera and bring his daylights home with him than it used to be.
It seems but a few short years since my room-mate came home one
night with a long red furrow plowed along the top of his head, where
some gentleman at the theatre had shot him by mistake. My room-mate
said that a tall man had objected to the pianist and suggested that he
was playing pianissimo when he should have played fortissimo, and
trouble grew out of this which had ended in the death of the pianist
and the injury of several disinterested spectators.
And yet the excitement of knowing that you might be killed at any
moment made the theatre more attractive, and instead of scaring men
away it rather induced patronage. Of course it prevented the attendance
of ladies who were at all timid, but it did not cause any falling off
in the receipts. Some thought it aided a good deal, especially where
the show itself didn't have much blood in it.
The Bella Union was a pretty fair sample of the theatre in those
days. It was a low wooden structure with a perpetual band on the
outside, that played gay and festive circus tunes early and often.
Inside you could poison your soul at the bar and see the show at one
and the same price of admission. In an adjoining room silent men joined
the hosts of faro and the timid tenderfoot gamboled o'er the green.
I visited this place of amusement one evening in the capacity of a
reporter for the paper. I would not admit this, even at this late day,
only that it has been overlooked in Mr. Talmage since; and if he could
go through such an ordeal in the interests of humanity, I might be
forgiven for going there professionally to write up the show for our
The programme was quite varied. Negro minstrelsy, sleight-of-hand,
opera bouffe, high tragedy, and that oriental style of quadrille called
the khan-khan, if my sluggish memory be not at fault, formed the
principal attractions of the evening.
At about 10:30 or 11 o'clock the khan-khan was produced upon the
stage. In the midst of it a tall man rose up at the back of the hall,
and came firmly down the aisle with a large, earnest revolver in his
right hand. He was a powerfully built man, with a dyed mustache and
wicked eye on each side of his thin, red nose. He threw up the revolver
with a little click that sounded very loud to me, for he had stopped
right behind me and rested his left hand on my shoulder as he gazed
over on the stage. I could distinctly hear his breath come and go, for
it was a very loud breath, with the odor of onions and emigrant whisky
The orchestra paused in the middle of a snort, and the man whose
duty it was to swallow the clarionet pulled seven or eight inches of
the instrument out of his face and looked wildly around. The gentleman
who had been agitating the feelings of the bass viol laid it down on
the side, crawled in behind it, and spread a sheet of music over his
The stage manager came forward to the footlights and inquired what
was wanted. The tall man with the self-cocking credentials answered
By Dashety Blank to Blank Blank and back again, I want my wife!
The manager stepped back into the wings for a moment, and when he
came forward he also had a large musical instrument such as Mr.
Remington used to make before he went into the type-writer business. I
can still remember how large the hole in the barrel looked to me, and
how I wished that I had gone to the meeting of the Literary club that
evening, as I had at first intended to do.
Literature was really more in my line than the drama. I still
thought that it was not too late, perhaps, and so I rose and went out
quietly so as not to disturb any one, and as I went down the aisle the
tall man and stage manager exchanged regrets.
I looked back in time to see the tall man fall in the aisles with
his face in the sawdust and his hand over his breast. Then I went out
of the theatre in an aimless sort of way, taking a northeasterly
direction as the crow flies. I do not think I ran over a mile or two in
this way before I discovered that I was going directly away from home.
I rested awhile and then returned.
On the street I met the stage manager and the tall, dark man just as
they were coming out of the Moss Agate saloon. They said they were very
sorry to notice that I got up and came away at a point in the programme
where they had introduced what they had regarded as the best feature of
This incident had a great deal to do with turning my attention in
the direction of literature instead of the drama.
But I am glad to notice that many of the horrors of the drama are
being gradually eliminated as the country gets more thickly settled,
and the gory tragedy of a few years ago is gradually giving place to
the refining influences of the Tin Soldier and A Rag Baby.
FAVORED A HIGHER FINE.
THE BOY WHO MADE A DOLLAR BY A WHIPPING.
Will Taylor, the son of the present American consul at Marseilles,
was a good deal like other boys while at school in his old home in
Hudson, Wis. One day he called his father into the library and said:
Pa, I don't like to tell you, but the teacher and I have had
What's the matter now?
Well, I cut one of the desks a little with my knife, and the
teacher says I've got to pay $1 or take a lickin'!
Well, why don't you take the lickin' and say nothing more about it?
I can stand considerable physical pain, so long as it visits our family
in that form. Of course it is not pleasant to be flogged, but you have
broken a rule of the school, and I guess you'll have to stand it. I
presume that the teacher will in wrath remember mercy and avoid
disabling you, so that you can't get your coat on any more.
But, pa, I feel mighty bad over it, already, and if you would pay
my fine, I'd never do it again. A dollar isn't much to you, pa, but
it's a heap to a boy who hasn't a cent. If I could make a dollar as
easy as you can, pa, I'd never let my little boy get flogged that way
to save a dollar. If I had a little feller that got licked bekuz I
didn't put up for him I'd hate the sight of money always. I'd feel as
ef every dollar I had in my pocket had been taken out of my little
Well, now, I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll give you a dollar to
save you from punishment this time, but if anything of this kind ever
occurs again I'll hold you while the teacher licks you and then I'll
get the teacher to hold you while I lick you. That's the way I feel
about that. If you want to go around whittling up our educational
institutions you can do so; but you will have to purchase them
afterward yourself. I don't propose to buy any more damaged furniture.
You probably grasp my meaning, do you not? I send you to school to
acquire an education, not to acquire liabilities, so that you can come
around and make an assessment on me. I feel a great interest in you,
Willie, but I do not feel as though it should be an assessable
interest. I want to go on of course and improve the property, but when
I pay my dues on it, I want to know that it goes toward development
work. I don't want my assessments to go toward the purchase of a
school-desk with American hieroglyphics carved on it. I hope you will
bear this in mind, my son, and beware. It will be greatly to your
interest to beware. If I were in your place I would put in a large
portion of my time in the beware business.
The boy took the dollar and went thoughtfully away to school and no
more was ever said about the matter until Mr. Taylor learned casually
several months later that the Spartan youth had received the walloping
and filed away the $1 for future reference. The boy was afterward heard
to say that he favored a much higher fine in cases of that kind. One
whipping was sufficient, he said, but he favored a fine of $5. It ought
to be severe enough to make it an object.
HOW BILL NYE FAILED TO MAKE THE
AMENDE HONORABLEA PATHETIC INCIDENT.
It is rather interesting to watch the manner by which old customs
have been slightly changed and handed down from age to age.
Peculiarities of old traditions still linger among us, and are forked
over to posterity like a wappy-jawed tea-pot or a long-time mortgage.
No one can explain it, but the fact still remains patent that some of
the oddities of our ancestors continue to appear from time to time
clothed in the changing costumes of the prevailing fashions.
Along with these choice antiquities and carrying the nut-brown
flavor of the dead and relentless original amende in which the offender
appeared in public clothed only in a cotton flannel shirt and with a
rope around his neck as an evidence of a former recantation down to
this day when (sometimes) the pale editor in a stickfull of type admits
that his informant was in error, the amende honorable has marched
along with the easy tread of time. The blue-eyed moulder of public
opinion, with one suspender hanging down at his side and writing on a
sheet of news-copy paper, has a more extensive costume perhaps than the
old-time offender who bowed in the dust in the midst of the great
populace and with a halter under his ear admitted his offense, but he
does not feel any more cheerful over it.
I have been called upon several times to make the amende honorable,
and I admit that it is not an occasion of much mirth and merriment.
People who come into the editorial office to invest in a retraction are
generally healthy, and have a stiff, reserved manner that no
cheerfulness or hospitality can soften.
I remember an incident of this kind which occurred last summer in my
office while I was writing something scathing. A large man with an air
of profound perspiration about him and a plaid flannel shirt, stepped
into the middle of the room and breathed in all the air that I was not
using. He said he would give me four minutes in which to retract, and
pulled out a watch by which to ascertain the exact time. I asked him if
he would not allow me a moment or two to step over to a telegraph
office to wire my parents of my awful death. He said I could walk out
that door when I walked over his dead body. Then I waited a long time,
till he told me my time was up, and asked me what I was waiting for. I
told him I was waiting for him to die so that I could walk over his
dead body. How could I walk over a corpse until life was extinct?
* * * * *
He stood and looked at me, at first in astonishment, afterward in
pity. Finally tears welled up in his eyes and plowed their way down his
broad and grimy face. Then he said I need not fear him.
You are safe, said he. A youth who is so patient and cheerful as
you are, one who would wait for a healthy man to die so you could
meander over his pulseless remnants, ought not to die a violent death.
A soft-eyed seraph like you, who is no more conversant with the ways of
the world than that, ought to be put in a glass vial of alcohol and
preserved. I came up here to kill you and throw you into the rain-water
barrel, but now that I know what a patient disposition you have, I
shudder to think of the crime I was about to commit.
SEEING A SAW MILL.
I have just returned from a little trip up from the North Wisconsin
Railway, where I went to catch a string of codfish and anything else
that might be contagious.
Northern Wisconsin is the place where they yank a big wet log into a
mill and turn it into cash as quick as a railroad man can draw his
salary out of the pay-car. The log is held on a carriage by means of
iron dogs while it is being worked into lumber. These iron dogs are not
like those we see on the front steps of a brown stone front
occasionally. They are another breed of dogs.
The managing editor of the mill lays out the log in his mind and
works it into dimension stuff, shingles, bolts, slabs, edgings,
two-by-fours, two-by-eights, two-by-sixes, etc., so as to use the goods
to the best advantage, just as a woman takes a dress-pattern and cuts
it so she won't have to piece the front breadths and will still have
enough left to make a polonaise for last summer's gown.
I stood there for a long time watching the various saws and
listening to the monstrous growl and wishing that I had been born a
successful timber-thief instead of a poor boy without a rag to my back.
At one of these mills not long ago, a man backed up to get away from
the carriage and thoughtlessly backed against a large saw that was
revolving at the rate of about 200 times a minute. The saw took a large
chew of tobacco from the plug he had in his pistol pocket and then
began on him.
But there's no use going into the details. Such things are not
cheerful. They gathered him up out of the saw-dust and put him in a
nail keg and carried him away, but he did not speak again. Life was
quite extinct. Whether it was the nervous shock that killed him, or the
concussion of the cold saw against his liver that killed him no one
The mill shut down a couple of hours so that the head sawyer could
file his saw, and then work was resumed once more.
We should learn from this never to lean on the buzz-saw when it
moveth itself aright.
HOW A CHINAMAN RIDES THE UNTAMED
A Chinaman does not grab the bit of a broncho and yank it around
till the noble beast can see thirteen new and peculiar kinds of
fire-works, or kick him in the stomach, or knock his ribs loose, or
swear at him until the firmament gets loose and begins to roll together
like a scroll, but he gets on the wrong side and slides into the saddle
and smiles and says something like what a guinea hen would say if she
got excited and tried to repeat one of Bjoernstjerne Bjoernson's poems
backward in his native tongue. At first the broncho seems temporarily
rattled, but by-and-by he shoots athwart the sunny sky like a thing of
life and comes down with his legs in a cluster like a bunch of
This will throw a Chinaman's liver into the northwest corner of his
throat, and his upper left hand duodessimo into the middle of next
week, but he doesn't complain. He opens his mouth and breaths in all of
the atmosphere the rest of the universe can spare, and tickles the
broncho on the starboard quarter with his cork sole. The
mirth-provoking movement throws the broncho into the wildest hysterics,
and for some minutes the spectator doesn't see anything very
distinctly. The autumnal twilight seems fraught with blonde broncho and
pale-blue shirt tail and Chinaman moving in an irregular orbit, and
occasionally throwing off meteoric articles of apparel and pre-historic
chunks of ingenious profanity of the vintage of Confucius. When the sky
clears up a little the Chinaman's hair is down and in wild profusion
about his olive features. His shirt flap is very much frayed, like an
American flag that has snapped in the breeze for thirteen weeks.
He finds also that he has telescoped his spinal column and jammed
two ribs through the right superior duplex, has two or three vertebræ
floating about through his system that he doesn't know what to do with.
In fact, the Chinaman is a robust ruin, while the broncho is still in a
good state of preservation. Now the broncho humps his back up into a
circumambient atmosphere, and when he once bisects the earth's orbit
and jabs his feet into the trembling earth a shapeless mass of brocaded
silk and coarse black hair and taper nails and celestial shirt-tails
and oolong profanity and disorganized Chinese remains comes down
apparently from the New Jerusalem, and the coroner goes out on the
street to get six good men and a chemist, and they analyze the
collection. They report that the deceased had come to his death by
reasons of concussion, induced by a ride from the outer battlements of
the sweet by-and-by.
BILL NYE WANTS TO KNOW HOW TO
SLIPPERYELMHURST, HUDSON, WIS., Oct. 6.To the Editor: Might
I ask, through the column of your justly celebrated paper, if any one
will give me the requisite information regarding the care of game
during the winter?
My preserves are located on my estate here at Slipperyelmhurst, and
while I am absent lecturing in the winter, in answer to the loud calls
of the public, I am afraid that my game may not have the proper care,
and that unscrupulous people may scalp my fox and poach the eggs of my
Besides, I am rather ignorant of the care of game, and I would like
to be able to instruct my game-keeper when I go away as to his duties.
The game-keeper at Slipperyelmhurst is what might be called a
self-made game-keeper. He never had any instruction in his profession,
aside from a slight amount of training in high-low-jack. Therefore he
has won his way unassisted to the position he now occupies.
What I wish most of all is to understand the methods of preserving
game during the winter so that when it is scarce in the spring I can
take a can-opener and astonish people with my own preserves.
My fox succeeded in getting through the summer in fine form. I got
him from Long Island where the sportsmen from New York had tried to
hunt him for several seasons, but with indifferent success. He was not
well broken in the first place, I presume, and the noise of the hounds
and domesticated Englishmen in full cry no doubt frightened him. He is
still timid and more or less afraid of the cars. He shies, too, when I
lead him past an imitation Englishman. He is in good health, this fall,
however, and as I got him at a low price I am greatly pleased. Very
likely the reason he did not give good satisfaction in New York was
that those who used him did not employ a good earth-stopper. Much
depends on this man. Of what use is an active, robust and well-broken
fox, well started, if he be permitted to get back into his hole? I have
employed as an earth-stopper a gentleman who saws my wood during the
winter and who assists us in fox-hunting in the hunting season.
Born in a quiet little rural village called Martelle, in Pierce
county, Wisconsin, he early evinced a strong love for sport. Day after
day he would abstain from going to school that he might go forth into
the woods and study the habits of the chipmunk. For five years his
health was impaired to such a degree that he was not well enough to
safely attend school, but just barely robust enough to drag himself
away to a distance of fourteen miles, where he could snare suckers and
try to regain his health. To climb a lightning-rod and skin off the
copper wire for snaring purposes with him was but the work of a moment.
To go joyously afield day after day and drown out the gopher, while
other boys were compelled to gopher an education, was his chief
As a result of this course he is not a close student of books, but
he can skin a squirrel without the slightest embarrassment, and you
could wake him up suddenly out of a profound slumber and ascertain from
him exactly what the best method is for draping a frog over a pickerel
hook so as to produce the best and most pleasing effects. Such is the
description of a man who, by his own unaided exertions, has risen to
the proud position of earth-stopper on my estate.
He is ignorant of the care of wild game, however, and says he has
never preserved any. We want to know whether it would be best to
sprinkle our fox with camphor and put him down cellar or let him run in
the henhouse during the winter.
Would your readers please say, also, if any of them have had any
experience in fox-hunting, what is the best treatment for a horse which
has injured himself on a barbed-wire fence while in rapid pursuit of
the fox? I have a fine fox-hunter that I bought two years ago from a
milk-man. This horse was quite high-spirited, and while the hounds were
in full cry one day I had to take a barbed-wire fence with him. This
horse, which I call Isosceles, because he is one kind of a triangle,
went over the fence in such a manner as to catch the pit of his stomach
on the barbed wire and expose his interior department and its methods
to the casual spectator. We put back all the stomachs we thought he was
entitled to, but he has not done well since that, and I have often
thought that possibly we did not succeed in returning all his works.
How many stomachs has the adult horse? I am utterly and sadly ignorant
in these matters and I yearn for light.
I certainly favor a more thorough knowledge of animal anatomy on the
part of our school-children.
Every child should know how many stomachs, bowels and gizzards there
are in the fully equipped cow or horse. Nothing is more embarrassing to
the true sportsman than to see his favorite horse ripped open by a
barbed-wire fence while in full chase, and then not know which
digestive organ should go back first, or when they have all been
So far as Isosceles is concerned, I remember thinking at the time
that we must have put back inside of his system about twice as much
digestive apparatus as he had before, as my earth-stopper said that we
had given that horse enough for a four-horse team, and yet he is ill.
I would like to hear from any of the fox-hunters in Cook county who
may have had a similar experience.
BILL NYE ATTENDS BOOTH'S HAMLET.
CLEVELAND, O., Oct. 27, 1886.
Last evening I went to hear Mr. Edwin Booth in Hamlet. I had read
the play before, but it was better as he gave it, I think.
The play of Hamlet is not catchy, and there is a noticeable lack
of local gags in it. A gentleman who stood up behind me and leaned
against his breath all the evening said that he thought Ophelia's
singing was too disconnected. He is a keen observer and has seen a
great many plays. He went out frequently between the acts, and always
came back in better spirits. He noticed that I wept a little in one or
two places, and said that if I thought that was affecting I ought to
see Only a Farmer's Daughter. He drives a 'bus for the Hollenden
Hotel here and has seen a great deal of life. Still, he talked freely
with me through the evening, and told me what was coming next. He is a
great admirer of the drama, and night after night he may be seen in the
foyer, accompanied only by his breath.
There is considerable discussion among critics as to whether Hamlet
was really insane or not, but I think that he assumed it in order to
throw the prosecution off the track, for he was a very smart man, and
when his uncle tried to work off some of his Danish prevarications on
him I fully expected him to pull a card out of his pocket and present
it to his royal tallness, on which might be seen the legend:
I AM SOMETHING OF A LIAR MYSELF!
But I am glad he did not, for it would have seemed out of character
in a play like that.
Mr. Booth wore a dark, water-proof cloak all the evening and a sword
with which he frequently killed people. He was dressed in black
throughout, with hair of the same shade. He is using the same hair in
Hamlet that he did twenty years ago, though he uses less of it. He
wears black knickerbockers and long, black, crockless stockings.
Mr. Booth is doing well in the acting business, frequently getting
as high as $2 apiece for tickets to his performances. He was encored by
the audience several times last night, but refrained from repeating the
play, fearing that it would make it late for those who had to go back
to Belladonna, O., after the close of the entertainment.
Toward the end of the play a little rough on rats gets into the
elderberry wine and the royal family drink it, after which there is
considerable excitement, and a man with a good, reliable stomach-pump
would have all he could do. Several of the royal family curl up and
They do not die in the house.
During an interview between Hamlet and his mother an old gentleman
who has the honor to be Ophelia's father hides behind a picket fence,
so as to overhear the conversation. He gets excited and says something
in a low, gutteral tone of voice, whereupon Hamlet runs his sword
through the picket fence in such a way as to bore a large hole into the
old man, who then dies.
I have heard a great many people speak the piece beginning
To be or not to be,
but Mr. Booth does it better than any one I have ever heard. I once
heard an elocutionistkind of a smart Alickutionist as my friend The
Hoosier Poet would say. This man recited To be or not to be in a
manner which, he said, had frequently brought tears to eyes unused to
weep. He recited it with his right hand socked into his bosom up to the
elbow and his fair hair tossed about over his brow. His teeming brain,
which claimed to be kind of a four-horse teaming brain, as it were,
seemed to be on fire, and to all appearances he was indeed mad. So were
the people who listened to him. He hissed it through his clinched teeth
and snorted it through his ripe, red nose, wailed it up into the
ceiling, and bleated it down the aisles, rolled it over and over
against the rafters of his reverberating mouth, handed it out in big
capsules, or hissed it through his puckered atomizer of a mouth, wailed
and bellowed like a wild and maddened tailless steer in fly-time,
darted across the stage like a headless hen, ripped the gentle
atmosphere into shreds with his guinea-hen voluntary, bowed to us, and
teetered off the stage.
Mr. Booth does not hoist his shoulders and settle back on his
pastern jints like a man who is about to set a refractory brake on a
coal car, neither does he immerse his right arm in his bosom up to the
second joint. He seems to have the idea that Hamlet spoke these lines
mostly because he felt like saying something instead of doing it to
introduce a set of health-lift gestures and a hoarse, baritone snort.
A head of dank hair, a low, mellow, union-depot tone of voice, and a
dark-blue, three sheet poster will not make a successful Hamlet, and
blessed be the man who knows this without experimenting on the people
till he has bunions on his immortal soul. I have sent a note to Mr.
Booth this morning asking him to call at my room, No. 6-5/8, and saying
that I would give him my idea about the drama from a purely unpartisan
standpoint, but it is raining so fast now that I fear he will not be
able to come.
BILL NYE'S ADVICE
TO A YOUTH ABOUT DRUGS AND WRITING.
Mr. Bill Nye, Hudson, Wis.DEAR SIR: I hope you will pardon
me for addressing you on a matter of pure business, but I have heard
that you are not averse to going out of your way to do a favor now and
then to those who are sincere and appreciative.
I have learned from a friend that you have been around all over the
west, and so I have taken the liberty of writing you to ask what you
think would be the chances of success for a young man if he were to go
to Kansas to enter the drug business.
I am a practical young druggist 23 years of age and have some
moneya few hundred dollarswith which to go into business. Would you
advise Kansas or Colorado as a good part of the west for that business?
I have also written some for the press, but with little success. I
enclose you a few slips cut from the papers in which these articles
originally appeared. I send stamp for reply and hope you will answer
me, even though your time may be taken up pretty well by other matters.
Adolph Jaynes, Lock-Box 604.
HUDSON, WIS., Oct. 1.Mr. Adolph Jaynes, Lock-Box 604.DEAR
SIR: Your favor of late date is at hand, and I take pleasure in writing
this dictated letter to you, using the columns of the Chicago Daily
News as a delicate way of reaching you. I will take the liberty of
replying to your last question first, if you pardon me, and I say that
you would do better, no doubt at once, in a financial way, to go on
with your drug business than to monkey with literature.
In the first place, your style of composition is like the present
style of dress among men. It is absolutely correct, and therefore it is
absolutely like that of nine men out of every ten we meet. Your style
of writing has a mustache on it, wears a three-button cutaway of some
Scotch mixture, carries a cane, and wears a straight stand-up collar
and scarf. It is so correct and so exactly in conformity with the
prevailing style of composition, and your thoughts are expressed so
thoroughly like other people's methods of dressing up their sentences
and sand-papering the soul out of what they say, that I honestly think
you would succeed better by trying to subsist upon the quick sales and
small profits which the drug trade insures.
Now, let us consider the question of location:
Seriously, you ought to look over the ground yourself, but as you
have asked me to give you my best judgment on the question of
preference as between Kansas and Colorado, I will say without
hesitation that, if you mean by the drug business the sale of
sure-enough drugs, medicines, paints, oils, glass, putty, toilet
articles, and prescriptions carefully compounded, I would not go
to Kansas at this time.
If you would like to go to a flourishing country and put out a big
basswood mortar in front of your shop in order to sell the tincture of
damnation throughout bleeding Kansas, now is your golden opportunity.
Now is the accepted time. If it is the great, big, burning desire of
your heart to go into a town of 2,000 people and open the thirteenth
drug store in order that you may stand behind a tall black walnut
prescription case day in and day out, with a graduate in one hand and a
Babcock fire-extinguisher in the other, filling orders for whiskey made
of stump-water and the juice of future punishment, you will do well to
go to Kansas. It is a temperance state and no saloons are allowed
there. All is quiet and orderly, and the drug business is a great
You can run a dummy drug store there with two dozen dreary old glass
bottles on the shelves, punctuated by the hand of time and the Kansas
fly of the period, and with a prohibitory law at your back and a tall,
red barrel in the back room filled with a mixture that will burn great
holes into nature's heart and make the cemetery blossom as the rose,
and in a few years you can sell enough of this justly celebrated
preparation for household, scientific and experimental purposes only to
fill your flabby pockets with wealth and paint the pure air of Kansas a
bright and inflammatory red.
If you sincerely and earnestly yearn for a field where you may go
forth and garner an honest harvest from the legitimate effort of an
upright soda fountain and free and open sale of slippery elm in its
unadulterated condition, I would go to some state where I would not
have to enter into competition with a style of pharmacy that has the
unholy instincts and ambitions of a blind pig, I would not go into the
field where red-eyed ruin simply waited for a prescription blank, not
necessarily for publication, but simply as a guaranty of good faith, in
order that it may bound forth from behind the prescription case and
populate the poor-houses and the paupers' nettle-grown addition to the
silent city of the dead.
The great question of how best to down the demon rum is before the
American people, and it will not be put aside until it is settled; but
while this is being attended to, Mr. Jaynes, I would start a drug store
farther away from the center of conflict and go on joyously,
sacrificing expensive tinctures, compounds, and syrups at bed-rock
Go on, Mr. Jaynes, dealing out to the yearning, panting public,
drugs, paints, oils, glass, putty, varnish, patent medicines, and
prescriptions carefully compounded, with none to molest or make afraid,
but shun, oh shun the wild-eyed pharmacopeia that contains naught but
the festering fluid so popular in Kansas, a compound that holds crime
in solution and ruin in bulk, that shrivels up a man's gastric economy,
and sears great ragged holes into his immortal soul. Take this advice
home to your heart and you will ever command the hearty cooperation of
yours for health, as the late Lydia E. Pinkham so succinctly said.
A WOULD-BE HOSTELRY.
BILL NYE STOPS AT A PLACE WHERE TWO ROADS FORK.
HIS MOURNFUL PILGRIMAGE THROUGH DESOLATE WILDS IN COMPANY WITH THE
SOULFUL HOOSIER POETA TALE OF GLOOM WITHOUT A RAY OF HOPE.
We are moving about over the country, James Whitcomb Riley and I, in
the capacity of a moral and spectacular show, I attend to the
spectacular part of the business. That is more in my line.
I am writing this at an imitation hotel where the roads fork. I will
call it the Fifth Avenue Hotel because the hotel at a railroad junction
is generally called the Fifth Avenue, or the Gem City House, or the
Palace Hotel. I stopped at an inn some years since called the Palace,
and I can truly say that if it had ever been a palace it was very much
run down when I visited it.
Just as the fond parent of a white-eyed, two-legged freak of nature
loves to name his mentally-diluted son Napoleon, and for the same
reason that a prominent horse owner in Illinois last year socked my
name on a tall, buckskin-colored colt that did not resemble me,
intellectually or physically, a colt that did not know enough to go
around a barbed-wire fence, but sought to sift himself through it into
an untimely grave, so this man has named his sway-backed wigwam the
Fifth Avenue Hotel.
It is different from the Fifth Avenue in many ways. In the first
place there is not so much travel and business in its neighborhood. As
I said before, this is where two railroads fork. In fact, that is the
leading industry here. The growth of the town is naturally slow, but it
is a healthy growth. There is nothing in the nature of dangerous or
wild-cat speculation in the advancement of this place, and while there
has been no noticeable or rapid advance in the principal business,
there has been no falling off at all, and these roads are forking as
much to-day as they did before the war, while the same three men who
were present for the first glad moment are still here to witness its
Sometimes a train is derailed, as the papers call it, and two or
three people have to remain over, as we did, all night. It is at such a
time that the Fifth Avenue Hotel is the scene of great excitement. A
large codfish, with a broad and sunny smile, and his bosom full of rock
salt, is tied in the creek to freshen and fit himself for the
responsible position of floor manager of the codfish ball.
A pale chambermaid, wearing a black jersey with large pores in it,
through which she is gently percolating, now goes joyously up the
stairs to make the little post-office lock-box rooms look ten times
worse than they ever did before. She warbles a low refrain as she
nimbly knocks loose the venerable dust of centuries, and sets it afloat
throughout the rooms. All is bustle about the house.
Especially the chambermaid.
We were put into the guest's chamber here. It has two atrophied beds
made up of pains and counterpanes.
This last remark conveys to the reader the presence of a light,
joyous feeling which is wholly assumed on my part.
The door of our room is full of holes where locks have been wrenched
off in order to let the coroner in. Last night I could imagine that I
was in the act of meeting, personally, the famous people who have tried
to sleep here and who moaned through the night and who died while
waiting for the dawn.
I have no doubt in the world but there is quite a good-sized
delegation from this hotel of guests who hesitated about committing
suicide, because they feared to tread the sidewalks of perdition, but
who became desperate at last and resolved to take their chances, and
they have never had any cause to regret it.
We washed our hands on door-knob soap, wiped them on a slippery elm
court-plaster, that had made quite a reputation for itself under the
non-de-plume of Towel, tried to warm ourselves at a pocket inkstand
stove, that gave out heat like a dark lantern and had a deformed elbow
at the back of it.
The chambermaid is very versatile, and waits on the table while not
engaged in agitating the overworked mattresses and puny pillows
upstairs. In this way she imparts the odor of fried pork to the pillow
cases and kerosene to the pie.
She has a wild, nervous and apprehensive look in her eye as though
she feared that some Herculean guest might seize her in his great,
strong arms and bear her away to a justice of the peace and marry her.
She certainly cannot fully realize how thoroughly secure she is from
such a calamity. She is just as safe as she was forty years ago, when
she promised her aged mother that she would never elope with anyone.
Still, she is sociable at times and converses freely with me at the
table, as she leans over my shoulder, pensively brushing the crumbs
into my lap with a general utility towel which accompanies her in her
various rambles through the house, and she asks which we would rather
havetea or eggs?
This afternoon we will pay our bill, in accordance with a life-long
custom of ours, and go away to permeate the busy haunts of men. It will
be sad to tear ourselves away from the Fifth Avenue Hotel at this
place; still, there is no great loss without some small gain, and at
our next hotel we may not have to chop our own wood and bring it
up-stairs when we want to rest. The landlord of a hotel who goes away
to a political meeting and leaves his guests to chop their own wood,
and then charges them full price for the rent of a boisterous and
tempest-tossed bed, will never endear himself to those with whom he is
thrown in contact.
We leave at 2:30 this afternoon, hoping that the two railroads may
continue to fork here just the same as though we had remained.
BILL NYE'S HORNETS.
Last fall I desired to add to my rare collection a large hornet's
nest. I had an enbalmed tarantula and her porcelain lined nest, and I
desired to add to these the gray and airy home of the hornet. I
procured one of the large size after cold weather and hung it in my
cabinet by a string. I forgot about it until this spring. When warm
weather came, something reminded me of it. I think it was a hornet. He
jogged my memory in some way and called my attention to it. Memory is
not located where I thought it was. It seemed as though whenever he
touched me he awakened a memorya warm memory with a red place all
Then some more hornets came and began to rake up old personalities.
I remember that one of them lit on my upper lip. He thought it was a
rosebud. When he went away it looked like a gladiolus bulb. I wrapped a
wet sheet around it to take out the warmth and reduce the swelling so
that I could go through the folding-doors and tell my wife about it.
Hornets lit all over me and walked around on my person. I did not
dare to scrape them off, because they are so sensitive. You have to be
very guarded in your conduct toward a hornet.
I remember once while I was watching the busy little hornet
gathering honey and June bugs from the bosom of a rose, years ago. I
stirred him up with a club, more as a practical joke than anything
else, and he came and lit on my sunny hairthat was when I wore my own
hairand he walked around through my gleaming tresses quite awhile,
making tracks as large as a watermelon all over my head. If he hadn't
run out of tracks my head would have looked like a load of summer
squashes. I remember I had to thump my head against the smoke house in
order to smash him, and I had to comb him out with a fine comb and wear
a waste paper basket two weeks for a hat.
Much has been said of the hornet, but he has an odd, quaint way
after all, that is forever new.
Out where the blue waves come and go,
Out where the zephyrs kiss the strand,
Down where the damp tides ebb and flow,
Where the ocean monkeys with the sand,
William, the hungry, rustles for his meal,
Slim William, the eldest, gathers the eel.
Up where the johnny jump-ups smile,
Up where the green hills meet the sky,
Where, out from her window for many a mile,
She watches the blue sea dimpling lie,
The wife of the eelist, with vizage grim,
Sits in the gloaming and watches for him.
Down in the moist and moaning sea,
Down where the day can never come,
With staring eyes that can never see
And lips that will ever continue dumb,
With eels in his breast, in a large wet wave,
William is filling a watery grave.
Up where the catnip is breathing hard,
Up where the tansy is flecked with dew,
Where the vesper soft as the onion peels
Wakens the echoes the twilight through,
The new-made widow still watches the shore
And sits there and waits, as I said before.
They come and tell her the pitiful tale,
With trembling voice and tear-dimmed eye,
They watch her cheek grow slightly pale,
Yet wonder at the calm reply:
All our tears are but idle, gentlemen,
Go bring in the eels and set him again.
THE BRONCO COW.
BILL NYE UNDERTAKES TO MILK HER WHEN THE SIGN IS NOT
When I was young and used to roam around over the country, gathering
water-melons in the dark of the moon, I used to think I could milk
anybody's cow, but I do not think so now. I do not milk a cow now
unless the sign is right, and it hasn't been right for a good many
The last cow I tried to milk was a common cow, born in obscurity;
kind of a self-made cow. I remember her brow was low, but she wore her
tail high and she was haughty, oh, so haughty.
I made a common-place remark to her, one that is used in the very
best of society, one that need not have given offense anywhere. I said
soand she soed. Then I told her to histeand she histed. But I
thought she overdid it. She put too much expression in it.
Just then I heard something crash through the window of the barn and
fall with a dull, sickening thud on the outside.
The neighbors came to see what it was that caused the noise. They
found that I had done it in getting through the window.
I asked the neighbors if the barn was still standing. They said it
was. Then I asked if the cow was injured much. They said she seemed to
be quite robust. Then I requested them to go in and calm the cow a
little and see if they could get my plug hat off her horns.
I am buying all my milk now of a milk-man. I select a gentle
milk-man who will not kick and I feel as though I could trust him. Then
if he feels as though he could trust me, it is all right.
There can be nothing sadder than the solemn hush of nature that
precedes the death of the year. The golden glory of autumn, with the
billowy bronze and velvet azure of the skies above the royal robes of
oak and maple, bespeak the closing hours of nature's teeming life and
the silent farewell to humanity's gauze underwear.
Thus while nature dons her regal robe of scarlet and gold in honor
of the farewell benefit to autumn, the sad-eyed poet hies away to a
neighboring clothes line, and the hour of nature's grand blowout dons
the flaming flannels of his friend out of respect for the hectic flush
of the dying year.
Leaves have their time to fall, and so has the price of coal. And
yet how sadly at variance with decaying nature is the robust coal
Another glorious summer with its wealth of pleasant memories is
stored away among the archives of our history. Another gloomy winter is
upon us. These wonderful colors that flame across the softened sky of
Indian summer like the gory banner of royal conqueror, come but to warn
us that in a few short weeks the water pipe will be bursted in the
kitchen and the decorated washbowl be broken.
We flit through the dreamy hours of summer like swift-winged bumble
bees amid the honeysuckle and pumpkin blossoms, storing away, perhaps,
a little glucose honey and buckwheat pancakes for the future, but all
at once, like a newspaper thief in the night, the king of frost and
ripe mellow chilblains is upon us, and we crouch beneath the wintry
blast and hump our spinal column up into the crisp air like a Texas
steer that has thoughtlessly swallowed a raw cactus.
Life is one continued round of alternative joys and sorrows. To-day
we are on the top wave of prosperity and warming ourselves in the glad
sunlight of plenty, and to-morrow we are cast down and depressed
financially, and have to stand off the washer-woman for our clean shirt
or stay at home from the opera.
The November sky already frowns down upon us, and its frozen tears
begin to fall. The little birds have hushed their little lay. So has
the fatigued hen. Only a little while, and the yawning chasm in the
cold, calm features of the Thanksgiving turkey will be filled with
voluptuous stuffing and then sewed up. The florid features of the
polygamous gobbler will be wrapped in sadness, and cranberry pie will
be a burden, for the veal cutlet goeth to its long home, and the ice
cream freezer is broken in the woodhouse.
Oh, time! thou baldheaded pelican with the venerable corncutter and
the second hand hour-glass, thou playest strange pranks upon the
children of men. No one would think, to look at thy bilious countenance
and store teeth, that in thy bony bosom lurked such eccentric schemes.
The chubby boy, whose danger signal hangs sadly through the
lattice-work of his pants, knows that Time, who waits for no man, will
one day, if we struggle heroically on, give him knowledge and
suspenders, and a solid girl, and experience and soft white mustache
and eventually a low grave in the valley beneath the sighing elms and
the weeping willow, where, in the misty twilight of the year,
noiselessly upon his breast shall fall the deaf leaf, while the silent
tear of the gray autumnal sky will come and sink into the yellow grass
above his head.
BILL NYE'S ADVICE BAG.
ANXIOUS QUESTIONS ANSWERED.
PRESIDENT CLEVELAND'S CHILLING NEGLECT OF AN EDITOR DENOUNCEDTHE
WOMAN IN THE SLEEPING COACHCALM REASONING DEALT OUT.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
Ghoulish Glee, Bucyrus, O., writes: For two years I have
been sending a copy of my paper, the 'Palladium and Observer' to
President Cleveland. Although I have criticised his administration
editorially several times, I have done so with the best of motives and
certainly for his good. If he was angry with me for this, he surely has
never so expressed himself to me, but last August I sent him a bill for
his paper covering two years and over, and he has not answered my
letter up to this date. Will you answer this through the columns of the
Daily News telling me what I had better do, and so that others who
may be in the same fix can understand what your advice would be in such
Stop his paper. By all means deprive him of the paper. You should
have done so before. Then you will feel perfectly free to criticise his
administration to the bitter end.
Nothing startles a president any more than to shut off a paper that
he has become attached to. Mr. Cleveland will go out and paw around in
the wet grass in front of the white house, and finally he will go in,
wondering what has become of the Palladium and Observer. In a week or
two he will remit and tell you to continue sending the paper. Do not
criticise his administration too severely till you see whether he is
going to remit or not.
Early Rose, Mankato, Minn., writes: Is it proper to mark
passages in a book of poems loaned to one by a young man in whom one
feels an interest, or should one be content with simply expressing
one's admiration of certain passages in the book?
I think the latter plan would be preferable, Rose. I am sure that
young ladies make a great mistake when they mark the earnest and
impassioned passages in a book of poems belonging to another. I once
loaned a book of poems written by a gentleman named Swinburne. In this
book Mr. Swinburne had several times expressed himself as being
violently in love with all the works of nature, especially those people
who differed with him in the matter of sex. He wrote so fluently and so
earnestly regarding the matter of love that I loaned the book to a
young lady, hoping that she would take this as a vicarious expression
of my sentiments. It was a costly book, and so when it came back with
Mr. Swinburne's sentiments emphasized by means of a blue pencil, and
his earnest thoughts underscored with a crochet hook, punctuated with
tears, and stabbed with a hair-pin, I regretted it very much. I was led
to believe, also, by rereading the book, that she was in the habit of
perusing it at the breakfast table, and that she was a victim of the
Do not mark a borrowed book unless you have more friends than you
can avail yourself of.
Savant, Tailholt, Ind.: You can get Indian arrow-heads now
almost anywhere except on the frontier. A good hand-made Indian arrow
head is now made in Connecticut, and the prices are not exorbitant. I
believe that if you can get manufacturers' rates, delivered on board
the cars at New Haven, you can secure enough Indian arrow-heads for $25
to fresco the sides of a house. See that the name of the manufacturer
is burned in the shank of each.
You will have no more trouble in securing Indian skulls. The
manufacture of Indian skulls has not arrived at that degree of
perfection which we hope for it in the future. You can get an Indian
skull made of celluloid now that looks quite nice and ghastly, or you
can secure a bear's nose made of hard rubber, with pores in it and
little drops of perspiration standing out on it. These noses have been
used with great success in securing bounty in the New England states,
and several counties in Maine have a large stock of rubber bear noses
on which they have paid large bounties, and which they would now sell
at a great sacrifice.
Aztec pottery excavated from old mounds in the southwest can now be
purchased in any large city or made to order at the leading potteries
of the country.
Niagarn Plummer, Tutewler's Crossing, Tenn., asks: Is it
proper to use the following expression, which was made in our colored
debating society three weeks ago? If you will answer this inquiry you
will confer a blessing on two young ladies who's got a bet up on the
question. The expression we agree was as follows:
'He's entitled to pay me for them pair of license.'
I claim that the word 'them' should be 'those,' while my friend
Miss Bonesette Jackson says that the sentence is correct. Which is
Where both have done so well it is hard to say which is the more
incorrect. I will withhold my opinion till your debating society puts
in an evening devoted to the discussion of this question. Please let me
know when it will occur, as I would like to be there.
Etiquette, Chicago, Ill., asks: Will you answer through the
columns of the Daily News what remedy you would prescribe for
the great nuisance while traveling of being compelled to wait all the
forenoon for the female fiend who monopolizes one end of the sleeping
car half of the time and the other end of the car the other half. I am
a lady, and nothing tends to discourage my efforts in trying to
continue such like this constant contact with the average female brute
who bolts herself into the ladies' dressing room in a sleeper and
remains there all the forenoon calcimining her purple nose and striving
to beautify her chaotic features. Do tell us what you would suggest.
That is a question I have been called upon to settle before, but I
am still worrying over it. I do not think we ought to fritter away our
time on the tariff and other remote matters until we have, once for
all, met and settled this vital question which lies so near to every
I have seen a large woman take her teeth in one hand and a
shawl-strap full of hair in the other and adjourn to the ladies'
dressing room at Camp Douglas and finally emerge therefrom, with a
smooch of prepared chalk over each eye, at Winona. All that time half a
dozen ladies in the car gnawed their under lips and tried to look
happy. I have known a timid young lady to lose her breakfast because
this same ogress, with bristles along the back of her neck, as usual
moved into the dressing-room and lived there till the train reached its
destination and the dining-car was detached.
Some day this dressing-room will be made on the plan of a large
concertina, operated by means of clockwork, and after this venerable
hyena has laundered herself and primped and beautified and upholstered
herself and waxed her mustache, and insulted the plate-glass mirror for
an hour or two by constantly compelling it to reflect her features, the
walls of the apartment will gradually approach each other, and when
that woman is removed she will look like the battle of Gettysburg.
MR. SWEENEY'S CAT.
Robert Ormsby Sweeney is a druggist of St. Paul; and though a recent
chronological record reveals the fact that he is a direct descendant of
a sure-enough king, and though there is mighty good purple, royal blood
in his veins that dates back where kings used to have something to do
to earn their salary, he goes right on with his regular business,
selling drugs at the great sacrifice which druggists will make
sometimes in order to place their goods within the reach of all.
As soon as I learned that Mr. Sweeney had barely escaped being a
crowned head, I got acquainted with him and tried to cheer him up, and
I told him that people wouldn't hold him in any way responsible, and
that, as it hadn't shown itself in his family for years, he might
perhaps finally wear it out.
He is a mighty pleasant man, 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 would be with him for days on a fishing trip and never
notice it at all.
But I was going to speak more in particular of Mi. 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
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
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 can not 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
gluing the fly-paper to her person in such a way that the edge turned
up behind her in the most abrupt manner and caused her great
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
When 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 fly-paper 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.
BILL NYE'S LETTER.
THE HUMORIST WRITES FROM HIS WINTER RESORT IN HIS USUALLY HAPPY VEIN
ON VARIOUS TOPICS.
ASHEVILLE, N. C.As soon as I saw in the papers that my health was
failing, I decided to wing my way South for the winter. So I closed up
my establishment at Slipperyelmhurst, told the game-keeper not to
monkey with the preserves and came here, where I am now writing. At
first it seems odd to me that I should be writing from where I now am,
but the more I think it over the better I am reconciled to it, for what
better place can a man select from which to write a letter than the
point where he is located at the time.
Asheville is an enterprising cosmopolitan city of six or seven
thousand people and a visiting population during the season of sixty
thousand more. It is situated in the picturesque valley of the French
Brood and between the Blue Ridge and the Alleghanies. Asheville is the
metropolis of Western North Carolina, and has no competition nearer
than Knoxville, Tenn., one hundred and sixty miles away, and, in fact,
not in any way competing with Asheville, for it is in another county
This region of country is from 2,000 to 7,000 feet above sea level
and is, in fact, a mountain region with a southern exposure.
Strange stories are told here of people who came five, ten, twenty
or more years ago, with a view of dying here, but who afterward decided
to live on, and they are living yet. One man who was a survivor of the
Samso-Philistine war, if I am not mistaken, came here at last from the
mouth of the Amazon, full of malaria. He had been kind of down in the
mouthof the Amazon for some years, and they say his liver looked
like a rubber door-mat and his skin was like the cover of a sun-kissed
He picked up his spirits here and recovered his youth, and though he
was very old when he came, he is still older now and in pretty good
health. I went to see him the other day. He is so old that there is
moss on the north side of him and hieroglyphics on his feet. When I
made some facetious remarks to him and told him a story I had recently
acquired, he brightened up a good deal and emitted a dry, cackling
laugh like a xylophone, and said that he believed he enjoyed that story
just as well as he did when they used to tell it in the rifle-pits in
front of Troy.
He said he liked Asheville very much indeed.
Asheville is called the Switzerland of America. It has been my
blessed privilege during the past twenty years to view nearly all the
Switzerlands of America that are here, but this is fully the equal if
not the superior of any of them.
You can climb to the top of Beaucatcher Mountain and see a beautiful
sight in any direction, and on most any day of the year. Every where
the eye rests on a broad sweep of dark-blue climate. Up in the gorges,
under the whispering pines, along the rhododendron bordered margins of
the Swannonoa, or the French Brood, out through the Gap, and down the
thousand mountain brooks, you will find enough climate in twenty
minutes to last a week.
The chief products of Western North Carolina are smoking tobacco and
climate. If you do not like the climate you can keep yourself to the
Here you will find old Mr. Ozone with his coat off and a feather
duster in his hand, prepared to dust the cobwebs from the catacombs of
the asthmatic or the consumptive. There is enough climate wasted here
every year to supply a city the size of Chicago. Moreover, there is now
a handsome hotel here called the Battery Parkthat has been full ever
since it was built and you can get good saddle horses, carriages or
donkeys at reasonable rates in town.
The donkey is quite a feature of this country as he is apt to be of
all mountain countries in fact. I have never associated with a more
genial urbane or refined donkey than we have here. He is generally a
soft mouse color, about nine hands high, and delights in making small,
elongated foot-prints on the sands of time.
This small animal of the mountains is frequently accompanied by a
robust but poorly-modulated voice. It is very pathetic and generally
needs a little oil on it. The North Carolina donkey like the Colorado
burro, lives to a great age. He then dies.
Asheville has splendid water works supplying first-class water to
those who wish to use this popular fluid; electric lights all over the
city, a street railway organized with its money put up to construct it
next summer, first-class churches, schools and colleges, well supplied
markets with moderate prices, and lots of genuine attractions beside
the climate. Fuel and whiskey are about the same that they are in
Chicago, so a man need not suffer here provided he has a moderate
The sportsman may sport here with impunity, and the angler may also
Moonshine whisky is also produced here in the mountains, though in a
crude way, and very quietly. None of the moonshiners advertise much in
the papers. They do not care for a big run of trade, but seem content
to remain in obscurity. Sometimes, however, their work attracts the
attention of prominent people who come out and call on them with
shot-guns and regrets.
Then the moonshiner does his distillery up in a napkin and goes away
into the primeval forest. Some years ago a party of revenue officers
hunted out one of these amateur distillers and chased him up the side
of the mountain, where they surrounded and captured him with his
distillery on his back, like a Babcock fire-extinguisher, and still
The officer, in his report of the capture, referred to it as a still
hunt, whereupon his commission was promptly revoked. The man who tries
to have any fun with the present Administration must have his
resignation where he can put his hand on it at a moment's warning.
DECLINED WITH THANKS.
BILL NYE POLITELY REFUSES THE JOB OF KING OF BULGARIA.
HE GIVES HIS REASONS FOR THE DECLINATION AND THROWS IN CHUNKS OF
HEAVY-WEIGHT ADVICEADVISABILITY OF FORMING A ROYAL TRADES-UNION.
Bill Nye has furnished to the World the following copy of a
cable dispatch just forwarded to the Allied Powers of Europe:
SLIPPERYELMHURST, HUDSON, WIS.To the Allied Powers, care of
Lord Salisbury. Gentlemen: Your favor of recent date regarding my
acceptance of the Bulgarian throne, which is now vacant and for rent,
in which note you tender me the use of said throne for one year, with
the privilege of three, is at hand. You also state that the Allied
Powers are not favorable to Prince Nicholas and that you would prefer a
dark horse. Looking over the entire list of obscure men, it would seem
you have been unable to fix upon a man who has made a better showing in
this line than I have.
While I thank you for this kind offer of a throne that has, as you
state, been newly refitted and refurnished throughout, I must decline
it for reasons which I will try to give in my own rough, unpolished
In the first place I read in the dispatches to-day that Russia is
mobilizing her troops, and I do not want anything to do with a country
that will treat its soldiers in that way. Troops have certain rights as
well as those who have sought the pleasanter walks of peace.
That is not all. I do not care to enter into a squabble in which I
am not interested. Neither do I care to go to Bulgaria in the capacity
of a carpet-bag monarch from the ten-cent counter, wearing a
boiler-iron overcoat by day and a stab-proof corset at night. I have
always been in favor of Bulgaria's selection of a monarch viva voce
or vox populi, whichever you think would look the best in print.
I hate to see a monarch in hot water all the time and threatening to
abdicate. Supposing he does abdicate, what good will that do, when he
leaves a widow with nothing but a second-hand throne and a crown two
sizes too small for his successor? I have always said, and I still say,
that nothing can be more pitiful than the sight of a lovely queen whose
husband, in a wild frenzy of remorse, has abdicated himself.
Nothing, I repeat, can be sadder than this picture of a deserted
queen, left high and dry, without means, forced at last to go to the
pawnbrokers with a little plated, fluted crown with rabbit-skin
ear-tabs on it!
We are prone to believe that a monarch has nothing to do but issue a
ukase or a mandamus and that he will then have all the funds he wants;
but such is not the case. Lots of our most successful monarchs are
liable to be overtaken any year by a long, cold winter and found as
late as Christmas reigning in their summer scepters.
I am inclined also to hesitate about accepting the Bulgarian throne
for another reasonI do not care to be deposed when I want to do
something else. I have had my deposition taken several times and it did
not look like me either time.
I think that you monarchs ought to stand by each other more. If you
would form a society of free and independent monarchs there in Europe,
where you are so plenty, you could have a good time and every little
while you could raise your salaries if you worked it right.
Now you pull and haul each other all the time and keep yourselves in
hot water day and night. That's no way for a dynasty any more than any
one else. It impairs your usefulness and fills our telegraphic columns
full of names that we can not pronounce. Every little while we have to
pay the operator at this end of the cable ten dollars for writing in a
rapid, flowing hand that meanwhile Russia will continue to disregard
the acts of the Sobranje.
Why should a great country like Russia go about trying to make
trouble with a low-priced Sobranje! I think that a closer alliance of
crowned heads, whose interests are identical, would certainly relieve
the monotony of many a long, tedious reign. If I were to accept the
throne of Bulgaria, which is not likely, so long as my good right arm
can still jerk a fluent cross-cut saw in the English tongue, I would
form a syndicate of monarchs with grips, pass-words, explanations and
signals; every scepter would have a contralto whistle in the butt end
which could be used as a sign of distress, while the other end could
have a cork in it, and then steering a tottering dynasty down through
the dim vista of crumbling centuries would not be so irksome as it now
As it is now, three or four allied powers ask a man to leave his
business and squat on a cold, hard throne for a mere pittance, and then
just as he begins to let his whiskers grow and learns to dodge a big
porcelain bomb those same allied powers jump on top of him all
spraddled out and ask him for his deposition. That is no way to treat
an amateur monarch who is trying to do right.
You can see that unless you stand by each other the thrones of
Europe will soon be empty, and every two-dollar a day hotel in America
will have an heir apparently to the throne for a head-waiter, with a
coronet put on his clothes with a rubber stamp and a loaded scepter up
If you want to rear your children to love and respect the monarchy
industry you must afford them better protection. I say this as a man
who may not live to be over one hundred years of age, and with my feet
thus settling into the boggy shores of time let me beg of you, monarchs
and monarchesses, to make your calling an honorable one. Teach your
children and their children to respect the business by which their
parents earned their bread. Show them it is honorable to empire a
country if they do it right. Teach them that to do right is better than
to fraudulently turn a jack from the bottom of the pack. Teach them it
is better to be a popular straight out-and-out artisan king who is
sincere about it than to be a monarch who dares not leave his throne
night or day for fear that somebody will put a number of bombs under it
or criticise him in the papers.