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Cordwood by Edgar Wilson Nye







[Illustration: Bill Nye]




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 reticent.

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.


    “Why, Awthaw, what makes youah hand twemble




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 fond.

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 grand.

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 church.

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 reptiles.

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.




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 corpse!

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 sky.

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.





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 of dress.

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 comment.

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 heretofore.

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.





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 Concord.

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 another.

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.”





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 here?”

“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.”


“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.”


“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 pleasing tones.

“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, sir.”

“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 rested myself.

“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.




    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 you—the 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 circumstances.

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 Woman's Home.)

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,

    Bill Nye.

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.

    B. N.



Harry—I hear that you have lost your father. Allow me to express my sympathy.

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 being contested?

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 works—including 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 practical experiments.

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 ours—ours to anticipate, ours to participate, ours to precipitate.





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 thankless parent.

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 sometimes sing:

    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 increase.”

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 waiting—all alike must bow low to the sickle that goes on cutting closer and closer to us even when we sleep.

Had Pizarro thought more about this matter, he would have been ahead to-day.




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 present
     arrangements, and wishing to make the Roller-Towel House the
     recognized head-quarters for traveling men, we desire to enlarge
     the building. Not having the money on hand to do so, we make the
     following proposition: If you will advance us $5, to be used for
     the above purpose, we will deduct that amount from your bill when
     stopping with us. We feel assured that the traveling men appreciate
     our efforts to give them first-class accommodations, and as the
     above amount will be deducted from your bill when stopping with us,
     we hope for a favorable reply. Should you not visit our town again
     the loan will be repaid in cash.


    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 down—in price, I mean—he 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-room—the 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 the air.

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 life?

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 contribute?—Boston Globe.


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 change off.

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 life.

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 chicken pie.

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 horse.

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.


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 topics.

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 one
     of the cannibal islands. He must fully understand the appetites and
     tastes of the cannibals, must be able to reach their inner nature
     at once, and must not use tobacco. Applicants may communicate in
     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.


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 tongue.

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 mind.

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 their remains.

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 observations—to each other regarding the backward spring—and 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 useless.

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.


Capitalist—Will 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 unknown.

“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 him.

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 battles—beaten back, perhaps, and wounded—with 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 his handkerchief.

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.


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 sincere.

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 perish:

Fellow-Citizens: You have seen fit to renominate me for the office which I have held one term already—viz.: member of congress from this district.

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 America—could they stand before me to-day—do 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 crank?

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 ballot erased.

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 made.

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 convictions—convictions 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 heeler!

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.


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 ashes.

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 ready.

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.




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-eight”—as he called it—had 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 away.

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

    Your father,





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 day.

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 amusement column.

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 upon it.

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 head.

The stage manager came forward to the footlights and inquired what was wanted. The tall man with the self-cocking credentials answered simply:

“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 the show.

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.”




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 trouble.”

“What's the matter now?”

“Well, I cut one of the desks a little with my knife, and the teacher says I've got to pay $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 kid's back.”

“Well, now, I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll give you a dollar to save you from punishment this time, but if anything of this kind ever occurs again I'll hold you while the teacher licks you and then I'll get the teacher to hold you while I lick you. That's the way I feel about that. If you want to go around whittling up our educational institutions you can do so; but you will have to purchase them afterward yourself. I don't propose to buy any more damaged 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.


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.”



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 ever knew.

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.



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 asparagus.

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.


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 pheasants.

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 delight.

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 replaced.

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.



    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:


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 perish.

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 elocutionist—kind 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.



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 money—a few hundred dollars—with 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.

    Respectfully yours,

    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 success.

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 prices.

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.

    Bill Nye.




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 operation.

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 have—“tea 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.


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 memory—a warm memory with a red place all around it.

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 hair—that was when I wore my own hair—and 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.”




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 years.

The last cow I tried to milk was a common cow, born in obscurity; kind of a self-made cow. I remember her brow was low, but she wore her tail high and she was haughty, oh, so haughty.

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

Just then I heard something crash through the window of the barn and fall with a dull, sickening thud on the outside.

The neighbors came to see what it was that caused the noise. They found that I had done it in getting through the window.

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

I am buying all my milk now of a 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 market.

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.






“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 a case?”

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 omelet habit.

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 incorrect?”

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 heart.

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.


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 ever happened.

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

At first she regarded it as a joke and treated the matter very lightly, but later on she observed that the fly-paper stuck to her feet with great tenacity of purpose. Those who have never seen the look of surprise and deep sorrow that a cat wears when she finds herself glued to a whole sheet of fly-paper 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 inconvenience.

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

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.



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 altogether.

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 mouth”—of 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 ham.

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 smoking tobacco.

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 Park—that 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 income.

The sportsman may sport here with impunity, and the angler may also triangular relaxation.

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 warm.

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.




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 way.

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 reason—I 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 is.

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 his sleeve.

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.


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