On Broadway by Edgar Wilson Bill Nye
Once when in New York I observed a middle-aged man remove his coat
at the corner of Fulton street and Broadway and wipe the shoulders
thereof with a large red handkerchief of the Thurman brand. There was a
dash of mud in his whiskers and a crick in his back. He had just sought
to cross Broadway, and the disappointed ambulance had gone up street to
answer another call. He was a plain man with a limited vocabulary, but
he spoke feelingly. I asked him if I could be of any service to him,
and he said No, not especially, unless I would be kind enough to go up
under the back of his vest and see if I could find the end of his
suspender. I did that and then held his coat for him while he got in it
again. He afterward walked down the east side of Broadway with me.
[Illustration: A man that crosses Broadway for a year can be
mayor of Boston, but my idee is that he's a heap more likely to be
mayor of New Jerusalem (Page 220)]
That's twice I've tried to git acrost to take the Cortlandt street
ferry boat sence one o'clock, and hed to give it up both times, he
said, after he had secured his breath.
So you don't live in town?
No, sir, I don't, and there won't be anybody else livin' in town,
either, if they let them crazy teamsters run things. Look at my coat!
I've wiped the noses of seventy-nine single horses and eleven double
teams sence one o'clock, and my vitals is all a perfect jell. I bet if
I was hauled up right now to be postmortumed the rear breadths of my
liver would be a sight to behold.
Why didn't you get a policeman to escort you across?
Why, condemb it, I did futher up the street, and when I left him
the policeman reckoned his collar-bone was broke. It's a blamed
outrage, I think. They say that a man that crosses Broadway for a year
can be mayor of Boston, but my idee is that he's a heap more likely to
be mayor of the New Jerusalem.
Where do you live, anyway?
Well, I live near Pittsburg, P. A., where business is active enough
to suit 'most anybody, 'specially when a man tries to blow out a
natural-gast well, but we make our teamsters subservient to the
Constitution of the United States. We don't allow this Juggernaut
business the way you fellers do. There a man would drive clear round
the block ruther than to kill a child, say nuthin of a grown person.
Here the hubs and fellers of these big drays and trucks are mussed up
all the time with the fragments of your best people. Look at me. What
encouragement is there for a man to come here and trade? Folks that
live here tell me that they do most of their business by telephone in
the daytime, and then do their runnin' around at night, but I've got
apast that. Time was when I could run around nights and then mow all
day, but I can't do it now. People that leads a suddentary life, I
s'pose, demands excitement, and at night they will have their fun; but
take a man like mehe wants to transact his business in the daytime by
word o' mouth, and then go to bed. He don't want to go home at 3
o'clock with a plug hat full of digestive organs that he never can
possibly put back just where they was before.
No, I don't want to run down a big city like New York and nuther do
I want to be run down myself. They tell me I can go up town on this
side and take the boat so as to get to Jersey City that way, and I'm
going to do it ruther than to go home with a neck yoke run through me.
Folks say that Jurden is a hard road to travel, but I'm positive that a
man would get jerked up and fined for driving as fast there as they do
on Broadway; and then another thing, I s'pose there's a good deal less
traffic over the road.
He then went down Wall street to the Hanover Square station and I
saw him no more.