by Jonathan F.
It seems to be just as natural for a subordinate in a grocery to
levy upon the till, for material aid to his own pocket, as for
the sparks to fly upwards or water run down hill. Innumerable stories
are told of the peculations of these light-fingered gentry, but one
of the best of the boodle is a story we are now about to dress up and
trot out, for your diversion.
A tavern-keeper in this city, some years ago, advertised for a
bar-keeper, a young man from the country preferred! Among the several
applicants who exhibited themselves for the vacancy, was a decent,
harmless-looking youth whose general contour at once struck the
tavern-keeper with most favorable impressions.
So you wish to try your hand tending bar?
Yes, sir, said he.
Have you ever tended bar?
No, sir; but I do not doubt my ability to learn.
Yes, yes, you can learn fast enough, says the tavern-keeper. In
fact, I'm glad you are green at the business, you will suit me the
better; the last fellow I had come to me recommended as one of the best
bar-keepers in New Orleans; he was posted up in all the fancy drinks
and fancy names, he wore fancy clothes and had a fancy dog, and I
fancied pretty soon that the rascal had taken a fancy to my small
change, so I discharged him in double quick time.
Served him right, sir, said the new applicant.
Of course I did. Well now, sir, I'll engage you; you can get the
'run' of things in a few weeks. I will give you twenty-five dollars a
month, first month, and thirty dollars a month for the balance of the
I'll accept it, sir, says the youth.
Do you think it's enough?
O, yes, indeed, sir!
Well, says Boniface. Now mark me, young man, I will pay you,
punctually, but you mustn't pay yourself extra wages!
Pay myself? says the unsophisticated youth.
Musn't take 'the run' of the till!
Run of the till?
No knocking down, sir!
O, bless you! quoth the verdant youth, I am as good-natured as a
lamb; I never knocked any body down in all my life.
Ha! ha! ejaculated the landlord; he is green, so I won't
teach him what he don't know. What's your name?
Absalom Hart, sir.
Good Christian-like name, and I've no doubt we shall agree
together, for a long time; so go to work.
Absalom pitched in, a whole year passed, Absalom and the landlord
got along slick as a whistle. Another year, two, three, four; never was
there a more attentive, diligent and industrious bar-keeper behind a
marble slab, or armed with a toddy stick. He was the ne plus ultra
of bar-keepers, a perfect paragon of toddy mixers. But one day, somehow
or other, the landlord found himself in custody of the sheriff, bag and
baggage. Business had not fallen off, every thing seemed properly
managed, but, somehow or other, the landlord broke, failed, caved in,
and the sheriff sold him out.
Who bought the concern? Absalom Hartnobody else. Some of the
people were astonished.
Well, who would have thought it?
Hurrah for Absalom!
By George, that was quick work! were the remarks of the outsiders,
when the fact of the sale and purchase became known. The landlord felt
quite humbled, he was out of house and home, but he had a friend,
Mr. Hart, things work queer in this world, sometimes.
Think so? quietly responded the new landlord.
I do, indeed; yesterday I was up, and to-day I am down.
Very true, sir.
Yesterday you were down, to-day you are up.
Very true; time works wonders, Mr. Smith.
It does indeed, sir. Now, Mr. Hart, I am out of employmentgot my
family to support; I always trusted I treated you like a man, didn't
Aye-e-s, you did, I believe.
Now, I want you to employ me; I have a number of friends who of
course will patronize our house while I am in it, and you can afford me
a fair sort of a living to help you.
Well, Mr. Smith, said Mr. Hart, I suppose I shall have to hire
somebody, and as I don't believe in taking a raw hand from the country,
I will take one who understands all about it. I'll engage you; so go to
Thank you, Mr. Hart. And so the master became the man, and the man
Poor Smith, he's down! cries one old habitue of the 'General
Washington' bar-room. I carkelated he'd gin out afore long, if he let
other people 'tend to his business instead of himself.
I didn't like that fellow Absalom, no how, says another old head;
he's 'bout skin'd Smith.
Well, Smith kin be savin', he's larnt something, says a third,
and oughter try to get on to his pegs again.
But when Absalom gave his free blow, these fellows all went in,
partook of the landlord's hospitality, and hopedof course they
didthat he might live several thousand years, and make a fortune!
Time slid onSmith was attentive, no bar-keeper more assiduous and
devoted to the toddy affairs of the house, than Jerry Smith, the
pseudo-bar-keeper of Absalom Hart. Absalom being landlord of a popular
drinking establishment, was surrounded by politicians, horse jockies,
and various otherwise complexioned, fancy living personages. Ergo,
Absalom began to lay off and enjoy himself; he had his horses, dogs,
and other pastimes; got married, and cut it very fat. One day he got
involved for a friend, got into unnecessary expenses, was sued for
complicated debts, and so entangled with adverse circumstances, that at
the end of his third year as landlord, the sheriff came in, and the
General Washington again came under the hammer.
Now, who will become purchaser? Every body wondered who would become
the next customer.
I will, by George! says Smith. And Smith did; he had worked long
and faith_fully, and he had saved something. Smith bought out the
whole concern, and once more he was landlord of the General
Absalom was cut down, like a hollyhock in Novemberhe was dead
broke, and felt, in his present situation, flat, stale, and
Mr. Smith, said Absalom, the day after the collapse, I am once
more on my oars.
Yes, Ab, so it seems; it's a queer world, sometimes we are up, and
sometimes we are down. Time, Ab, works wonders, as you once very
It does, indeed, sir.
We have only to keep up our spirits, Ab, go ahead; the world is
large, if it is full of changes.
True, sir, very true. I was about to remark, Mr. Smith
That we have known one another
Pretty well, I think!
A long time, sir
And when I was up and you down
Yes, go on.
I gave you a chance to keep your head above water.
True enough, Ab, my boy.
Now, sir, I want you to give me charge of the bar again, and I'll
off coat and go to work like a Trojan.
Ab Hart, said Smith, when you came to me, you was so green you
could hardly tell a crossed quarter from a bogus pistareenthe 'run of
the till' you learnt in a week, while in less than a month you was the
best hand at 'knocking down' I ever met! There's fifty dollars, you and
I are square; we will keep sogo!
Poor Absalom was beat at his own game, and soon left for parts